December 12, 2022

And a month later.......


This photo was so cute, I printed it out to put in our Christmas cards.  This is probable the first year I've sent out cards in a decade.  I have no idea why ~ after so long ~ I suddenly get a wild hair and sent out cards.  Perhaps it's because time is my own now?  It's the only explanation I can come up with. 😀

Last week I had an oil change scheduled ~ at 8am, which is the only place I schedule early appointments with, because otherwise you sit there forever!  As I'm driving with all the folks that are in that big rush to get to work, I realize I've become one of those people that holds people up from zooming down road so they aren't late.  It was nice.  I really enjoyed it....I think I get it now, when I would be so frustrated by those drivers that are doing the actual speed limit.  Haha

I've been really busy, volunteering and baking, taking long walks with the puppy.  Now that he is fully vaccinated, we can let him explore and sniff ~ and he enjoys those walks!  Today isn't a good day though, we're supposed to have a rain/snow mix soon, and the wind!  Ugh.  So, we'll just have to find another way to get that activity going.  I hate cold weather.  It doesn't matter how many layers I put on, or how warm the hat is.  I feel so miserable cold.  I tried to see if I could teach Demitri to walk on the treadmill, but even at it's lowest lever, it starts out too fast!  Maybe later?  When he's older.  Hmmmm 

So, what are you doing for Christmas?  Do you bake cookies or fudge?  We always got together and brought what we needed and then split it all up.  This was my Mom and sister, and sometimes one of my Mom's friends.  It was fun.  I tried to do the same with a friends, but she wasn't much of a baker, and brought a recipe that took f o r e v e r.  So we didn't get much done, and I was so frustrated it was all I could do to NOT say REALLY?  I need a baking buddy.  Any of y'all want to come over?  

Have a great week...

Love, 365

November 12, 2022

Catching up....


View from our backyard a few nights ago......lovely sunset!

Los Poblamos decorating for fall...if you're ever in Albuquerque, stop in and check it out.  It's an organic lavender farm, restaurant, historic buildings....I love going there.

Look who's growing!  It's sometimes fun, sometimes frustrating.  No regrets, although as I mentioned before, Romeo said "no more puppies", haha.  It had been so long, there is a lot we forgot about!  I did purchase this: 


I thought about hanging a few bells from the door knob, but knew this little terrorist terrier would snatch those bells off and eat them, resulting in an expensive emergency vet visit.  So, he needs to press the one on the left side (see above) and the plug in has several different chimes you can choose.  Some of those chimes are super annoying.  Luckily one is a regular "doorbell" sound.  At first I couldn't get him to press on the button hard enough to make it go off.  Finally I had to take his paw and show him how to do it....he got it after a few training sessions.  As I've said he is a smart little buggar.  Of course, sometimes he uses it for attention, and he goes on streaks where he'll ring it often.  He's figuring out that if he sets it off, it's outside he goes ~ even if he doesn't want to.  

House training is pretty much complete.  Every now and then he will pee in the house, but we just do the usual take him to it and say no and put him outside.  The last week he's not had any mistakes, so I think he's got it.  It's been a long haul.  Yesterday he rang it and immediately went to his fav pee spot and peed.  It was so good to see.  

It's probably not so much that he is smart, but he's very independent and stubborn.  Hmmm, sort of like me :-)

After a few months break, we are back to baking for holiday sales at church.  We offer spanikopita, tiropita, and new this year, Thula will show us how to make melomakarona cookies ~ a traditional Christmas honey cookie.  I've never had them, but everyone says they melt in your mouth.  Yum....

I've been baking lots of bread....some we enjoy, some I give away.  Nothing warms up the house like having the oven at 450f.  Haha

It's a beautiful morning here, but rather chilly at 29.  Think we'll wait a bit before taking Demitri out for a walk!

Have a great weekend!

Love, 365

October 19, 2022

What's happening?......


As a kid, I grew up drinking iced tea...or the cold water in the fridge.  We rarely had soda, and I thought coffee was vile.  My Mom told me she even gave it to me in a bottle ~ so I'm probably really lucky I didn't have a lot of cavities.  Recently, I bought a jug of Peak sweetened tea.  And realized I could make this myself, so I bought the family sized Lipton.  Which was delicious.  Then I searched through my tea collection and for fun, tossed in 2 Teavana peach tranquility bags in after the Lipton had done it's job, and wow, I love it.  I've also tried the Teavana jade citrus mint which was good too.  I am glad to be back on the tea bandwagon, but coffee rules until around 11am, haha.

On the puppy front:

We had to wait awhile for an appointment for Demitri's next round of puppy shots from our mobile vet...that happened yesterday.  The excitement of new people and the shots wore him out, but not for too long.  A couple of hours later, he was ready to go again.  He is set up for the next round of vaccinations and is also scheduled for neutering.  I am hoping they will have something before February, because I really don't want to deal with leg humping.  The vet assured us we don't have to wait until 18 months as they do on larger dogs, and that breeds his size do have some unwanted leg humping.  Haha, although when he starts that, I'm sure I won't be laughing.  He has more than doubled his weight, which hasn't surprised us, he has really grown.  The biting will get better, and the next thing you know he grabs hold of your pant leg and won't let go.  I've developed some great strategies for distracting him, and am glad to say I don't have any new wounds 😁  This morning I had a text from my neighbor who saw the mobile vet and was worried something was wrong with the puppy.  I thought that was so kind and thoughtful.

Oh, there is nothing on tv.  We don't watch sports (well, except for tennis, but since I don't have the Tennis Channel, I rarely get to watch it), can't stand reality tv with the exception of a few cooking short, unless we watch a re-run, there's just nothing on, except for the Walking Dead.  Recently a new reality show is being heavily advertised on Pluto ~ Cheaters Channel.  Yep, you guessed, it's about married (or in a serious relationship) men or women cheating on each other.  I really can't imagine why that show would be popular.  I suppose it's like the Bachelorette ~ not a "real" reality show.  Ugh.  Luckily I have podcasts, Audible, and CD's (yep, we still have them!).  How low do we have to go to be entertained by the Cheater's Channel???

Enjoy you day ~ and I hope you are having the beautiful weather we're having!

Love, 365

October 13, 2022

Falling in love with fall......


70 degree days, chilly mornings.....perfect for a cup of hot coffee while watching the news.  Oh, and chasing the puppy, trying to keep him out of trouble.  House training is going well.  Peg, I have ordered a doggy door bell which will arrive on Friday.  Training to commence immediately.  I think it will be successful, as he is one really smart puppy.

We are waiting (5 more days) for the last of the puppy shots, the vet is coming on the 18th. I will have to warn him about the biting.  I'm sure he's experienced with it :D  Once those are done, we can go more places with him.  For now we are confining mostly to sidewalks and our neighborhood for walks outside.  We'd both like to go to the mountains for a hike, but that will have to wait!  Yesterday two kids came up and wanted to pet him, the girl picked him up and after I warned her not to drop him, she did....luckily the halter and leash broke the fall.  Lesson learned: kids don't listen.  The boy stuck out his finger and said: bite me! which is when I grabbed him up and said goodbye.  Sheesh.  

Otherwise, my projects have been on hold, until Demitri is in his crate for a rest.  He will sleep for 2 or 3 hours after a busy morning.  I have tons of photos to go through, with the decision on whether to keep or have scanned.  I've been thinking about it, and I don't know what type of media to have them scanned to.  Obviously there are the memory sticks, but remember when discs were the standard?  My laptop doesn't even have a disc reader anymore.  I don't want to spend all this money on something that will be obsolete in 4 or 5 years.  


 My original banneton's were getting old and crusty, making my dough stick to it.  So I tried these wood pulp baskets.  On the very first try, the dough came out beautifully.   I am going to get rid of my cane baskets and replace them with these!      Sometimes it really is the little things......

 Have a wonderful day!

Love, 365


October 4, 2022

Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta


In December of 2010, I was thinking I would just wait until January to have my annual mammogram.  December is so busy....our wedding anniversary is on the 1st, then there's Christmas.  Decor to put up, last minute gifts to buy, parties to attend.  But then I decided I should go ahead, I have the insurance benefit.  So, I did.  

And right after Christmas I got the call that I needed to go back.  There was a certain area they had concerns about.  I cried, even though I didn't know what it was, and in fact I had been there and done that before, even though it was "nothing".  That second visit confirmed that they believed I had cancer, but they needed to biopsy the lump, which was positive.  I was shell shocked.  No one wants to hear the big C word.  Not long after that, a slew of doctor visits....and CT scan, blood work, chest x-ray, an electrocardiogram.  Soon after that, surgery. After that there were 7 weeks of radiation therapy.  I felt so lucky that I didn't need chemotherapy.

My cancer was found early, and was ductal carcinoma in situ, meaning it had not spread, nor was there any found in the lymph nodes.  So, as I said : lucky ~ at least if you have breast cancer, it's lucky.  I would have been happier never to have had it at all.  Even that small bit of cancer left it's mark on my body...scars, and the left one will be forever smaller than the right.

Since then, I've met so many women who have had breast cancer.  264,000 each year.  Men aren't immune either.  2,400 per year.   

Love, 365

October 3, 2022

This, that and beyond......


What is up with Blogger?  When I post comments, there are a couple of you that I can directly comment, just as it's supposed to work.  Sometimes I have to write/copy/paste.  I can click on the comment line all day and it won't allow me to type the comment.  Worst of all is when I have to copy/past and also put the name and URL unless I want the comment to show as "anonymous".  It's really a pain.  I sure haven't seen any improvement in their software in the past 6 months.  


I am so grateful that the Greek festival is over.  3 days of 6-8 hour days.  Two of those days I worked the pastry booth, giving out single servings of baklava.  We never seem to plan for how to deliver those, so it's always a pain in the butt.  On a napkin if people are eating it right away, but since the chocolate covered ones weren't in a container, I had to make-shift one with a styrofoam plate covered with plastic wrap.  Next year there needs to be a better system.  And I hate all those plastic containers.  Unfortunately, paper containers will absorb the honey syrup, and aren't good for freezing.  

Last year we sold out of everything by 2pm on Saturday.  This time we baked quite a bit more, and we sold out of the last bits by 1pm on Sunday.  We made so much baklava cheesecake, I figured we would still have some on Sunday morning, but it sold out on Saturday.  I was shocked!!!  The refrigerator was crammed with them!  I knew the bread would sell out.  We also sold out of the kourambiedes, which was the last to sell out of last year.  

One day I worked in the bookstore booth, but I chose Sunday for that shift ~ which turned out to be a mistake on my part.  By 2 pm all my pastry buddies were off shopping or eating lunch, and I ended up being there until 5pm when we closed ~ then we had to stack everything back into the bookstore room.  The person who was supposed to come at 2:30 sent a text he couldn't make it, and I didn't want to leave Steph by herself, so I ended up there until the end.  As I was driving home, I realized I smelled like incense, which is much better than smelling like food.  

Demitri is growing like crazy.  It's been nearly 3 weeks since we brought him home.  He's settling in, and we are still working on the house training. I have a few ideas on how to improve it, but it will take some doing.  Since we don't have any grass, I'm thinking about having a bit of astro turf put in.  One of our neighbor's has some, and he likes the feel of it.  I'll check into it, but I think it would improved things.  Even if we don't do that, I still think he'll get the hang of things.  It would be best if it happens before really cold weather.  I don't enjoy standing outside in the freezing cold waiting for a dog to pee!  So, if you have any training tips, please don't hold back.  

Love, 365

September 24, 2022

Cuteness overload, which is the only thing keeping him on this earth........


Not the best photo, but I like the sass :D

Demitri (the name we decided on) is a tiny little guy, weighs in at about 3 1/2 pounds right now.  

It's been a long time since we've had a puppy ~ probably about 13 years or so.  Romeo has already stated we won't be doing this again :-)  

The biting, oh man.  I am going to have scars.  He becomes frustrated and then will literally jump at your hand or arm and really bite hard.  I currently have 7 punctures on my right arm.  We're learning different ways to reduce the biting.  The best so far is a small spray bottle with water.  After a few squirts, he will leave your feet or arm alone.  I think we were playing a little too exuberantly and got him too excited.  So, we're trying to tone it down a bit.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes he's just in a bitey mood, so he goes into the crate for a little time-out.  Oh, yeah, he gets quite a few time outs.  Haha

House training is going ok.  I hope soon he will get the hang of it.  I told Romeo that by the time this is over, I will have hand cleaned the floors down stairs.  We have removed most of the rugs beforehand.  The one left is machine washable.

I've been so busy, mostly because of festival baking.  The annual Greek Festival at our church is on 9/30-10/2. 

That's 100 (yes!) tsoureki we baked last Saturday.  I was exhausted.  We also made baklava, kourabiedes, koulourakia, paximadia over the past 4 months.  There are probably other types of cookies baked when I was on the road trip and missed.  I think my friend, who manages the baking for the festival, is a little miffed with me about being gone so much this summer. 

Fula taught me all about tsoureki.  I tried writing the instructions down, but she does most things by how they look.  I did my best.  

We not only have a new puppy, we have a new refrigerator.   About a week before we left to go get the little holy terror, I opened the freezer on our old one to discover the ice was halfway melted.  Which prompted a flurry of transferring freezer food into the garage chest freezer, and all of our other stuff to our neighbor's garage refrigerator (which luckily was mostly empty).  This was over Labor Day Weekend.  We splurged a bit, but it is really nice.  I especially like the snack drawer, and the back wall which is lighted.   Plus this one is a lot bigger than our old one, which we really needed.  We are really glad it went out before we left town, because the compressor was still running and we thought it might catch on fire.  It wasn't a lot of fun to live out of an ice chest for 4 days though.

Enjoy your Saturday!

Love, 365

August 31, 2022

The Good Fight......

Have you watched The Good Fight?  I never had, but ran across the series on Paramount +.  Thought, oh, why not.  There's not much on anyway.  I hardly watch the news.  I hate politics.  So.......after the first season I had to ask myself why I was watching this show.  Which is full of all kinds of hate.  

Backstabbing, manipulating.....well the list goes on.  The part that really got to me was the ponzi scheme story line.  I almost cried.  This man leaves the country after promising to go to jail so that his daughter won't be prosecuted.  Wow.  His daughter finally has the opportunity to speak to him, and he basically says he can't/won't turn himself in to save his kid from going to jail.

Yes, I realize they play fast and loose on the points of law.  But I can imagine it happening.  Humans are so self centered that I have no problem imagining the possibility.  

Now I just have to figure out ~ beyond the train wreck you just can't tear your eyes away from ~ why am I so fascinated?  There's plenty of politics (and the fact they are constantly making fun of Trump is a bonus) and news points...all the things I avoid.  So.....maybe I can watch it, because I know it's fiction.  I do like Christine Baranski.  She's a lovely lady, and plays the part of a lawyer well.  Plus, I want to see if she keeps taking PT-108, which is apparently some sort of hallucinogenic mushroom.  She is smiling more. :D

Love, 365

August 30, 2022

Now that I have all the time...........................


One of my better bakes.  It's always a toss up!

There are truly hundreds of sourdough bread recipes.  Some are for baking in a bread pan (called a Pullman) for sandwich bread...apparently the advantage is the square loaf.  It doesn't really appeal to me, but who knows, one day I might get one of these, as they are bigger than the yeasted bread loaves I've made in the past.

I have read recipes that create the "open crumb" (see below), but they are time consuming.  All day.  When I was working, I just didn't have a full weekend day to attempt one.  Well, actually I did try it once, and it was an utter failure.  So yesterday I fed my starter, and this morning I began.  

It is not easy to achieve the famed "open crumb".  On Facebook there are two sourdough baking sites I joined (there are many more), as people share recipes and ideas, and you can appeal for help if you have a disaster (it happens).  The way to achieve this is by increasing the hydration levels of the dough.  Which makes it rather sticky and difficult to work with, because it doesn't have the body to hold a shape until later on in the process.  I am currently in the "stretch and fold" process.  The dough is in a bowl, and all you do is wet your hands (to reduce the amount of dough sticking to your hands), grab the dough at the edge of the bowl, lift it up ~ stretch ~ and fold it over to the center.  You go all the way around the bowl when you do it.  In my recipe, you do 3 of these every 15 min, then do 3 more every 30 min.  The reasoning behind this process is to strengthen the gluten of the bread, so that you will have this lacy texture.

See what I mean?  Time consuming.  I'm giving it a try to see if I can do it.  Perhaps my bread will look like the one above.  Or maybe not.  The last time I tried, I didn't even get to the baking stage.  The dough was so slack, and all the stretch and folds in creation weren't going to fix it ~ basically I put in too much water.

So far this recipe seems to have promise.  Although I did ferment part of it a bit too long, because I skipped a step and had to leave it for longer.  (read: gobbledy gook, haha)

Even if it's a success and I do get that wonderful open crumb, it's not something I'll do often.   The usual bread I bake is just fine.  Tasty, crunchy crust and soft interior.  Mine does not have a pronounced sour taste.  It's there, but more subtle, which most people seem to prefer.  

I'll let you know!  So far it is doing what it should.  I am hopeful.....

Love, 365

August 28, 2022

Moving forward, reflecting backward.....


Came home yesterday from a 5 day workshop in South Carolina.  Oh my, so much moisture all around.... would be a great place for a mushroom farm 😀

I know there's no way to gauge the size of this mushroom, but it was approximately 6-7 inches tall.  It was a grand size.  I snapped this photo the second day I was there.  Another day later, I woke up and it was raining ~ really no big surprise.  24 hours later and there were mushrooms popping up all over the place in groups.  I wonder if it ever really dries up around there!

Oh, it was beautiful.  Just look at that sunset in the photo above!  It was spectacular.  

The workshop was fun and challenging.  I know now that if I want to continue with this art form (iconography) I will need to take a class on color theory and brush skills.  Both of mine kind of suck.  It was also very structured and busy.  We were busy from 7 am to 7 pm.  I was ready to come home by Thursday!  The flights were all on time, no baggage was lost, so all was well.  Today is my rest and relaxation day.  Caught up on laundry (although I had one shirt that the paint didn't come out of), and watching some tv.  Dinner is lasagna, salad, garlic bread.  

Oh!  I forgot to include the meals.  Oh man.  Three full meals a day?  Who does that?  I did, as did all the folks I saw in the dining hall.  Breakfast: oatmeal, scrambled eggs, bread, hash browns, sausage, fruit.  That was just breakfast!  Lunch and dinner were the same.  The only thing I had going for me was the 5 miles a day I was walking.  I had just lost the weight I gained from the road trip, and now I'm right back where I started......argh!!  I hate dieting.  But I will go back to intermittent fasting.  

We will be going to pick up the puppy on Sept. 12th!  I can't wait.  Isn't he the cutest?

Love, 365

August 18, 2022

Electronic woes..........


When Romeo and I purchased our first computer, it was an Apple.  

1994 or 1995?  We still had this one when we arrived in New Mexico.  

Any way, we've been Apple fans ever since.  Now we each have our own lap top, phone and Apple watch.  

Apparently one of the last "updates" seems to have changed a few things.  On Monday I noticed that after my workout, the watch notification said "Good job, Romeo!  You closed all 3 rings!".  Wait a minute.  Why give him the credit?  Today I noticed it again.  I had to look up how to fix it.  The information from the support said you need to make sure that your spouse is listed only once in your contacts.  So I fixed that, because he's also listed under "ICE" (for "in case of emergency").  So I left the ICE listing and deleted the other one.  I restarted.  It still shows Romeo.  Argh.  I un-paired and re-paired my watch.  So, I'll have to wait until after my workout tomorrow.  If it still shows Romeo, I'm calling Apple support, as my watch is still under warranty.  

Here we were, happily going about our day, then Bam!.  Everything is screwed up, and I didn't even do anything!!!    Sometimes I think all this stuff is a giant waste of time.  I know when I worked out, for pete's sake.  But I do use the workout app on my watch just to make sure I meet the previously set goal.  

There are lots of reasons why I enjoy having the watch.  If my kids need to contact me, I will know right away.  I know if Romeo needs something (this was particularly helpful when I was working).  I enjoy having it until it becomes possessed by a demon.  :0

Love, 365             

August 15, 2022

Getting ready to go is stressful.....


I know it's hard to see, but this bee ~ which was huge, by the way ~ has the largest pollen sacs I've seen in awhile!  Our sage is huge this year, and we have bees and other pollinators in droves.  

"You can't see me, I'm invisible!"  Bunnies are so funny.  One false move and off they go!  

I really hate having to pack again.  But I've had some great advice though ~ to take a backpack instead of a purse, which I really won't need anyway.  The workshop is an hour drive from the airport, and once there we won't be leaving the grounds, so why?  And a backpack will give me so much more room in case I have trouble fitting everything into the carry on.  If I get this figured out, I might be sold.  Although I really hate waiting for all the passengers to get all their crap before I can get off.  

We have had some relief from the heat....we went for a walk after dinner a few days ago, as the temp's were in the mid 70s.  We're still in the 90s, but haven't had 100s for awhile.  

Otherwise there isn't any exciting to write about. 😏  But I did exclaim to Romeo at 3:15pm that it sure is wonderful, this retirement thing.  💖

Love, 365

August 11, 2022

Guess I haven't had


If you haven't been to Texas lately, this is what you'll see.  It is so dry, and fires start quickly.  Lots of dead trees too.  I sure hope they have rain soon....  This is my sister's home, but the whole state looks just like this.  If you pray, please add Texas to yours....💓

I suppose I haven't had enough travel yet!  On August 21 I will travel to South Carolina for a workshop.  This one is associated with my church, and it's to learn how to write/paint icons, which are depictions of Christ/Saints/Martyrs.  The grounds are beautiful.  Romeo keeps me updated on how hot and humid it is in Greenville.  He's such a ray of sunshine.  

I am flying this time ~ done with the car trips for awhile.  Thanks to all the stories on lost luggage, and as I am flying on American Airlines which is #2 in lost luggage, I am planning to use a carry on.  The trip back home includes 3 stops ~ that sounds like an opportunity to lose luggage to me.  So.....I will try to find a way to pack for a week in a teeny tiny carry on.  I think I'll be wearing everything more than once. Except the underwear, haha. (just in case you were wondering)

I think this is the garden.  The cost for the workshop was reduced this year due to a donation, making it more affordable (less than $900) which includes lodging, food and the workshop.  I thought it would be a great opportunity to find out if I have any talent.  

A few weeks after I return from that trip we will go on another road trip to pick up the puppy.  As unexcited as I am to do another road trip, we are both excited to get him!  I think we'll find out what his personality is like in short order!

Love, 365

August 9, 2022

Home again!.......

 This pic is not from the trip back, but the trip out to Pa.  As soon as we hit Louisiana (although this is from Mississippi) it was green~green~green.  

But first, Peg, my luggage arrived just fine.  My next trip is to South Carolina on American Airlines.  The run a close second to #1 which is Envoy Air (which I've never heard of).  Southwest wasn't even in the top ten.  Which is wonderful, because I had two weeks of pj's, undies, tops, bottoms, a hair dryer, makeup, hats, socks, and two pair of shoes (and a lot of other stuff too).  I also brought stuff I never used.  I thought I would use my flat iron ~ nope.  Never had time.  Sharing a bathroom with another woman....well, you know.  A Yahtzee game.  We were so busy with our journaling, we never played it.  There are a few other items I never used, that will not go into my luggage for the S Carolina trip.  I am planning to keep it very basic.  Sunscreen but very little makeup.  Bottoms I will wear several times with multiple tops.  I do have to take my hiking shoes.  And we do have a piece of luggage that I can carry on, and perhaps not take the big one, because there are 3 stops/plane changes on the trip home.  If stuff is going to get lost, that's where it will happen.

The first day we drove to Meridian, Mississippi.  The hotel was typical.  The "hot breakfast" was a joke, which is really too bad, because it was the only real meal we ate.  We subsisted on fruit, trail mix and the like that first day, every day we were on the road.  Our next stop was Roanoke, Virginia.  I loved that city.  So beautiful.  That night we walked to a grocery store and bought pre-made salads and had that for dinner.  A fresh salad tasted like heaven.  I don't know why my sister didn't want to go to a restaurant....   That day we drove through Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia to arrive at Roanoke.  It was a long day.  Most of those first days were 11 to 13 hours long.  We switched off driving of course.  

Things got ugly in Chatanooga and Knoxville.  The traffic was awful, and the number of semi's increased, along with construction woes.  We decided to avoid these on the trip back.  The hotel in Roanoke was nicer, more room.  But we didn't spend much time in any of them, as we took off again by 8 am.  

We treated ourselves to a short drive through the Blue Ridge Parkway as we left Roanoke.  Oh my.  I highly recommend the part near Roanoke.  It was breathtaking.

Flowers and vistas and beautiful trees ~ it was such a lovely landscape  If I thought I could talk Romeo into it, I would move to Roanoke in a heartbeat.  It's beautiful.  I kept wondering what the parkway looked in the fall.  We saw deer, turkey, all kinds of birds, cotton tail rabbits.  

The third day, we arrived at our first destination, my cousin's farm.  

This is the barn, and a small garage for the 4 wheeler and other machinery.  

A better pic of the farm, taken in the morning as the fog moved through the valley.

We stayed in my Aunt and Uncle's retirement home.  I took this photo from the backyard of my Aunt and Uncle's retirement home.  They passed away years ago, and the house was completely devoid of furniture, but my cousin moved in a couple of twin beds, nightstand, lamp, a window a/c unit for the bedroom, and a small kitchen set.  He went above and beyond ~ with the help of their daughter's college furniture.  

The burial/memorial for Mom went well.  It was a beautiful day.  We had more family come to the memorial than we thought would show up.

The next day was the family reunion, and that was fun too.  

After that we drove to Delaware to see our Aunt, she is my Mom's last living sister.  It was so great to see her, but we were sad as we drove away, as we will not likely see her again.  She is 91.  We felt the same about the last living brother we saw at the memorial and reunion.  It was great to see them though!  

After spending the night with another cousin, we drove to Virginia Beach to see my sister's daughter and family.  The have a beautiful little boy, who is quite the character.  He's not quite 2.  My niece's husband used his points to reserve 3 nights in a Marriott on the beach.  It was beautiful ~ and why not?  That suite was over $800 per night.  We sure didn't need it, and I think my daughter's son-in-law was trying his best to impress.  (I thought he was ok, just very egotistic)  The beach was beautiful, but oh, my.  Hot and humid.  It was hard for me, being from a low humidity environment.

We were on the top floor (9th).  The most annoying thing were the darn elevators.  They were so slow.

Teeny little crab.....


Statue of Neptune on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk.

We did take another short drive on another section of the Blue Ridge Pkwy, and although pretty, it didn't offer the landscape scenery we encountered outside of Roanoke.  

The trip home is never as fun as the anticipation and excitement of getting to your initial destination.  The first day was another 13 hour drive.  The next day we drove through Georgia, but missed getting any peaches or pecans.  I believe the peaches were already out of season, but I was hoping to score some jelly or preserves.  It was a bit disappointing. 

One the final day of driving we made time to go to Waco (which my sister pronounced as wacko, lol) and visited Magnolia Market ~ if you watch HGTV, you know this was put together by Chip and Joanna Gaines.  It was so much more than I thought.  And very expensive.  I saw a book on sourdough baking which was priced at $27.99...and I found on Amazon for $14.79.  Everything was over priced in my opinion.  A baseball cap was $34, tee shirts were $32.  We left with the purchase of two kitchen towels, which were the only souvenir we left with.  It's a cool facility though, with activities for kids like a small baseball diamond, and an area with a group of corn hole boards.   

 We finally arrived at my sister's around 4pm.  We enjoyed the beers we brought from Delaware (made in Belgium).  One of the highest alcohol content of any beer (8.5%).

Just one was enough for me!  I had called Southwest to see if I could move my flight from Tuesday to Monday.  Luckily enough they had an open seat with the same departure/arrival times.  I arrived home yesterday, and was so glad to be home with Romeo!  Two weeks is just too long!

Love, 365

I am tired.......

  See all that tsoureki?  We made the dough, waited awhile for it to rise, braided it, egg washed it, put sesame seeds on it, baked them, pu...