Saturday, February 28, 2015

Fab-ruary Day Twenty-Eight: I Am Beautiful

I am the eyes of those who love me because, don't get me started, I loathe having my picture taken and very rarely think that I look good.

Anniversary Dinner February 2015
Someone once told me to get over it.  If anything ever happened to me, how would my family and friends feel if they didn't have photos to remember me?  They aren't going to think that I've got piggy little eyes, or that the size of my chin matters, or that I'm (as a comedian once put it) a little more fluffy than I should be.  They are going to remember that I loved them, that I was fun to be around, that I was kind and generous.  So, although I can find a dozen things I don't like about this photo above, I know that it's the photo that my husband took with his phone because he wanted to remember me on our special our anniversary evening.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fab-ruary Day Twenty-Six: I'd Like to Spend a Day with....doing.... and Fab-ruary Day Twenty-Seven: "Love"

Today is our 22nd wedding anniversary so I am combining days twenty-six and twenty-seven because they fit so well together on this special day.

I'd like to spend the day with my husband, Vic, retracing our steps of our days in Saipan.  I'd like to sit on the picnic table behind our office and see him come around the corner, a quick smile on his face when he saw me before he had to look away before anyone else caught the look between us.  I'd like to sit in the living room of the house where he lived with the rest of the cable construction crew, the house where they treated me to a great meal and then gave up one of the bedrooms so I could stay overnight, safe from the typhoon that raged outside.  I'd like to stand on the balcony of my old apartment at Millers Estates where Vic first told me that he loved me, the apartment where I left one morning as a single woman and returned as a wife.

I'd like to see our old house in San Vicente again, the house where we learned we were going to be parents and where we brought Sophia home from the hospital.  I'd like to visit Auntie Mag's, the restaurant that prepared most of our dinners while I was pregnant and too nauseous to cook, and the Aqua Resort Club where we enjoyed many Sunday brunches after Sophia was born.

I'd like to see the airport again where I said goodbye to Vic and then welcomed him home again after he completed Navy Basic Training and where we said goodbye to him again two weeks later.  Almost nine months later, Sophia and I said goodbye to Saipan and our dear friends there when we left to join Vic in Florida and begin our Navy adventure.

What is "love"?  Love is taking two people from vastly different cultures, with vastly different life experiences, and watching them build a life together. We endured the separations and trails of Navy life, the challenges of family members with different approaches to parenting and expectations, our own differences of opinion and the compromises that were the result, tragic losses of loved ones, and despite of it all, we reach for each other's hand and know that together, we can get through it all.  Twenty-two years later, we're still going strong.  That's love.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fab-ruary Day Twenty-Five: Fun

Family fun...Friends fun...Food fun?  Here we go again, another dose of Fab-ruary vagueness.  Guess I'll have to go with all three.

Berkeley Plantation, one of our last field trips in Virginia
Family fun usually involves some sort of field trip - a historical site, a quaint town, a breathtaking vista.  We're not much for theme parks (although another trip to Walt Disney World would definitely be fun), preferring something with a little more substance.

A short hike through the Hoh Rainforest
Now that we're in the Pacific Northwest, most of our family fun will involve nature since this is an absolutely gorgeous part of the country.  We've actually taken our first foray into hiking and more on that will be coming up when I finally get around to this week's Life Last Week.

Colonial Williamsburg
Friends fun also usually revolves around a field trip.  During our first stay in Virginia, it was homeschooling outside of the house adventures with friends - Colonial Williamsburg, or trips to the theater or ballet.

Ladies of Leisure in Seattle
Friends fun now is my Ladies of Leisure group and we have a lot of trips and tours in the planning stages.

Food fun goes with family and friends fun.  A yummy lunch, a new restaurant, a potluck get-together, food goes hand in hand with fun.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fab-ruary Day Twenty-Four: Guilty Pleasures

An amazing bubble bath with all the trimmings - big, deep tub, lots of bubbles, candles, champagne, endless hot water

followed by head to toe beauty treatments

followed by a soothing massage

and finished off with a lovely, long nap.  I guess that makes it a day of guilty pleasures!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Fab-ruary Day Twenty-Three: Soul Food

Chips and Gravy
I've covered this before in a favorite foods post so I'll just let the picture do the talking.  Might not be your idea of soul food but it is certainly mine.

Fab-ruary Day Twenty-Two: Beauty is...

Fab-ruary Day Twenty-One: My Best Day Ever Would...

Bastille Days in Ghent, Norfolk, Virginia, July 12, 2014
My best day ever would be spent with my family, doing the things we love...taking a family field trip and enjoying a great meal.  It's not often that the three of us are together these days so that would make it extra special.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Fab-ruary Day Twenty: Guaranteed Ways to Win Your Heart

Flowers are good, but not elaborate displays that I know cost a fortune and were assembled by someone else.  A little bouquet from the supermarket shows that you stopped and took the time to think of me.

Something homemade - a card, something stitched, something that I know you made and thought of me while you were making it.

Something you know I love - picking me up a Starbucks coffee, something unique from your area that I can use as an ornament and hang on my tree, thinking of you whenever I see it, a book or magazine about England, a beautiful cup and saucer.

Courtesy of
A hand-written note - I really need to do the 52 Letters in 52 Weeks blog challenge next year as I know some of you would love a hand-written note as well.

It's the little things that count.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Life Last Week 2015-7


It was a pretty crazy week hence it's Thursday of this week and I'm just now getting around to blogging about it all.  I went back to Mah Jongg on Monday after having been absent since early December.  It was lovely to see my Mah Jongg ladies again but I have to say that I'm not thrilled that they've started keeping points.  I'm still a beginner and I'm overwhelmed by the sheer number of rules for the game.  The points system alone is baffling, but I'll just play along, thankful that there are those who know all the rules and will add up my points until I finally get it.

Tuesday was Craft Club - just two showed up but we had a nice morning.  I've set aside the time each month for crafting so it's not a problem if we have a low number but I'll have to look at continuing it next year.  I think a poll to see if a better date/time and/or location would be preferable might be the best way to go.

Wednesday was the day for the energy expert to come and take a look at the house.  When a representative from the power company knocked on the door the week before last, I told them we were renting but they said the consultation was free and I could pass the report on to the landlord.  They confirmed what I already knew, the heating system is inefficient - the fan system in the living and dining rooms can't heat the large area and the baseboard heaters in the bedrooms don't do much but there's nothing we can do about it except to make sure that we don't buy a house with this type of system.  Once that was over, it was off to the hairdresser for a much-needed haircut with a new stylist.  This is my third stylist at this particular salon - I haven't been able to get in to see her before and the other two that I settled for didn't do a very good job so this was the make or break appointment.  If this was another flop, I was moving on.  However, I was very happy with the cut, although I paid for it dearly as this stylist charges significantly more.  In this case, you get what you pay for and not only was the cut super, but she was very complimentary about my hair color and could not believe that I had never colored my hair.  The silver grey is blending nicely with the gold resulting in a looks-like-it's-been-highlighted combination and I think that there are many who pay quite a bit for a similar result.

Thursday was race around and get all the errands and chores done for the Valentine's surprise that I had in store for Vic on Friday.  Had to get everything done on Thursday because Friday was also Ladies of Leisure Chick Flick Fest with Food - the Valentine's Edition.  We had a lovely day of brunch dishes, mimosas, chocolate, strawberries, and a Nicholas Sparks double-header.  So much fun.

Started off my Friday with a manicure and pedicure and then I drove to the base to tape a card onto Vic's steering wheel and sprinkle a few rose petals over the seat of his truck.  Wish I could have seen the look on his face when he got to his truck!  We had a lovely dinner out at our favorite Italian restaurant and came home to spend a romantic evening with the help of these labels picked up from Pinterest.

Up early on Saturday and we took the ferry over to Seattle for the Seattle Home Show at CenturyLink Field Event Center.  CenturyLink Field is the home of the Seattle Seahawks.  It was a bit gloomy but the day would brighten up considerably.  The Seattle Home Show was amazing - everything you need for new construction or remodeling from architects, contractors, interior designers, solar/geothermal energy experts, heating and air conditioning systems, kitchen/bathroom planners, hot tubs, closet organizers, and a myriad of others.  We spent hours dreaming and drooling and came out with a large bag stuffed with brochures for future reference.

Loved this drawer with changeable posts - what a unique way to store your plates, bowls and platters
Space-saving cutlery drawer
Great way to get the knife block off the counter
Shower tile art
Amazing garage organization systems
An interesting flooring samples design
We left the show and headed to Pike Place Market.  I took Vic to Lowell's, the same restaurant I visited with the Ladies of Leisure and we had a delicious lunch with an amazing view.  We also did significant damage to the bank balance at Le Panier, the French bakery.

Dungeness Crab Melt
Blackened Salmon
I had planned to head to Bellingham the following morning to pick up Sophia since Monday was a holiday but since we were already on the Bellingham side of the water, we headed up the freeway and picked her up that evening instead.

Vic had duty on Sunday so Sophia and I slept late and lazed around until the afternoon when we went to see Paddington and picked up fish and chips on the way home.  Such a cute movie.  Sunday evening is Downton Abbey and that wrapped up a very busy week.

Fab-ruary Day Nineteen: I'm Excellent At...

Courtesy of
Organizing...and I love it!

Fab-ruary Day Eighteen: Good News Headlines

How many of us have not had cancer take or drastically impact the lives of our loved ones?  Wouldn't this be the best good news headline?

Fab-ruary Day Seventeen: Fave Ever Item of Clothing

It's a cropped version of an old photo so it's not the best quality but this white shirt was one of my all-time favorite pieces of clothing and I wore it until it practically fell apart.  I bought it at TJ Maxx or Marshall's, no idea what brand it was and I should have looked to try to find another one or two.  I don't often wear white as it tends to cling in the wrong places but this one was perfect - just enough cling to not be baggy and a lightweight fabric that made it super comfortable.

Fab-ruray Day Sixteen: Success

Success means being able to wear something like this - a sweater dress that skims over the body and doesn't cling in all the wrong places.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Blogging from A to Z Announcement

I'm behind on everything this week and I'll catch up but I want to take a quick moment to post this for those of you who are planning to participate in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge in April, or for those of you who are interested.

The Great and Powerful A to Z Theme Reveal Blogfest linky is up so pop over and take a look.  I mean, really, how can you resist a quick read with a title like that!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Fab-ruary Day Fifteen: Fave Artist

Artist as in painting, drawing, sculpting?

Claude Monet
Or artist as in music?

Sarah Brightman
There could be a dozen other categories but I'll settle for those two right now.  Golly, these topics are rather vague.

Fab-ruary Day Fourteen: My Self-Care Box

A self-care box...for finding the fab in my life...good grief, what is that all about?  Beauty products perhaps?  Feel good things maybe?  This is really going to be a tough one.  What could I put into a box?

I was thinking it would be a really, really big box and there would be a manicurist, pedicurist, masseuse, hairdresser, housekeeper, and chauffeur tucked up in there but I don't think that's really what self-care is all about.  I'm thinking it's more along the lines of a little box of goodies that I can turn to when I need a little "self-care".

Here goes...a really good book, probably a biography about a member of a European royal family, one of those obscure ones that you don't read about very often; something warm and comforting to drink like the French Vanilla Cappucino K-cups I had at a friend's house last week; some really good chocolate like Godiva or Lindt; a fluffy blanket and some really good British telly.  That's my idea of self-care...nothing to do...nowhere to go...just snuggle into a comfy chair and have a little me time.  How about you?

Grow Your Blog 2015 Giveaway Winner

Courtesy of

There were 16 comments on my Grow Your Blog post and I used the Random Number Generator to come up with the lucky winner - Frances N from A Symphony of Stitches!

I'll be sending a box of goodies from my local area her way shortly.

Thank you to all of you who read my post and a special thank you to my new followers.  I hope you are enjoying my blog and will continue to follow along.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Fab-ruary Day Thirteen: Dream Big

I've already covered some pretty big dreams - a round-the-world cruise, living in Kettlewell, a Land Rover, even trips like a Viking River Cruise or a Cunard Transatlantic Cruise are pretty big dreams.  So I suppose to Dream Big, I'll have to go really over the top.

I think I'd like to attend a State Banquet.  How big is that dream?  You all know my fascination with British royalty, with pomp and ceremony, and with food so why not combine them all into one big (no, really, really huge) dream event.  Even as a minor functionary, sitting well below the salt, I think it would be an amazing experience. I'm off to polish my tiara!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Fab-ruary Day Twelve: I Was Brave

Yes, that's it, one of those tiny specks on the inset map

I was brave when I put my household goods into storage and packed the rest of my life into four suitcases and jetted off to Guam (from California = 5803 miles) where I knew one person vaguely (my future employer who had interviewed me in San Francisco).

Long story short - quit my job, went back to school, got a phone call from my former boss to say he was working on Saipan (where?), mentioned casually that if he ever needed anyone (he was a great boss and I'd work for him again) to let me know, received a phone call a few days later from his boss asking if I would be interested in interviewing for the job of Office Manager for Guam Cable TV, flew to San Francisco for the interview, and about three weeks later, I was on my way to Guam!

I stayed in Guam about a month and then they transferred me to Saipan for a month.  Back to Guam for two months and then back to Saipan permanently.  The rest is history ( bells...Sophia...and four years later, back to the States as a Navy wife).

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Fab-ruary Day Eleven: I Feel Most Alive...

I feel most alive when I've lost a few pounds and can manage another notch on my belt or even a size smaller.  It makes me want to throw up my arms, spin around, and start singing the theme song from The Sound of Music!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fab-ruary Day Ten: Fear Overcome & How

I'm a natural worrier so I've got a lot of fears.  Over the years, I've had to buck up and deal with most of them - praying helps, keeping my fingers crossed, thinking good thoughts, etc.  Here's a couple for which I use different techniques.

1.  Cockroaches - covered here - how did I overcome this fear? By resolving not to live in the humid climate that they love so much!

2.  Spiders - overcome by a good, sturdy shoe and/or a can of hairspray!  If they are not easily swat-able (is that even a word?), a quick spray will numb them long enough for me to take aim.  Good grief, it sounds gruesome.

3.  The Dentist - a couple of ghastly experiences has really scarred me for life so it takes all the courage I can muster to make an appointment and that's exactly what I'm working on now.  Pray, keep your fingers crossed, send good thoughts my way...please.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Life Last Week 2015-6

It was the final countdown until Vic's return on Friday and I had a few things on the calendar so I used the free days to clean the house from top to bottom so that the weekend would be free from chores.

I met a new MilSpouse friend for coffee on Tuesday.  A mutual friend in Okinawa contacted me and asked me to connect with a friend of hers who had recently moved to the area and whose husband works with mine.  We met at Starbucks and spent three hours getting to know each other.  Turns out we have quite a bit in common and our husbands are pals.  It was an enjoyable morning.

I finished up whatever chores and errands had to be done on Wednesday so that I could join the Ladies of Leisure on Thursday.  We started with coffee at a local coffee shop and then strolled around downtown Poulsbo.  There are some really cute shops and I hadn't visited a couple of them before.  We finished up the outing with lunch overlooking Liberty Bay.

Up early on Friday - homecoming day.  Several spouses live within viewing distance of the pier so photos were up as soon as the ship was in sight.  I knew that the sailors would not be released (known as the liberty call in case you haven't heard that expression before) until at least 11:00am so I had plenty of time to get my manicure and pedicure out of the way before heading back home to change.  Vic called about noon so I bundled MudLynn into the car and off we went to pick him up.  How lovely it is to have him home again!

We spent the afternoon having a quick sandwich and coffee at the coffee shop I visited the day before with the Ladies of Leisure, picking up some of Vic's favorite pastries at the bakery, browsing through the magazine section at Barnes & Noble, and then picking up some Chinese food to enjoy with a Downton Abbey marathon of the three episodes Vic had missed while he was gone.

It was up early on Saturday as Vic had duty and had to head back to work.  I had a Navy Wives Club meeting at 11:00am which stretched to 1:00pm and several of us headed out to lunch after it was over.  I got home in time to finish all the laundry Vic brought home on Friday, feed and walk the dog, and watch an old episode of JAG before I headed to bed.

Vic got home early on Sunday so we went to church and then came home to change clothes and hit the road for a Sunday afternoon road trip.  We decided to go south until we hit Highway 101 (the highway that loops all the way around the Olympic Peninsula) and then follow it up along the Hood Canal to the bridge that loops us back around to home.  It was a beautiful day; we stopped for lunch at a local restaurant and then stopped again to take a photo of a sign for the Olympic National Forest.  As we got out of the car, we could hear a waterfall so we followed a short trail to take a look.

MudLynn enjoyed the outing as well.

Happy Homemaker Monday #2015-5 - February 9

The weather outside is:
It's dark but my weather app says it's 48 degrees outside with a 30% chance of rain.  I hope the rain holds off until I've finished my errands.  On a side note, it absolutely poured down last night.  It's so lovely to be snuggled under flannel sheets, listening to the rain outside.

On the breakfast plate this morning:
A cup of Teavana's Peach Tranquility tea and a bottle of water.

As I look outside my window:
It's dark but I'm sure it's the same as last week - puddles everywhere.

Right now I am:
Still in my fleece robe, going through the e-mail, Facebook posts, and blog reading.  Vic's back so he was up at 3:00am to get ready for work.  He leaves at 4:00am so it makes for early mornings for us.

As I look around the house:
Everywhere is tidy - cleaned house thoroughly before Vic got home on Friday so that I could enjoy the weekend.

On today's to do list:
Laundry....Just a white load that Vic brought home after his duty day on Saturday.
Cleaning....In the kitchen....Nothing other than put my coffee cup in the dishwasher.
In the living room....It's all tidy - I'm doing the 15 minute declutter before bed each night.
In the bedrooms....Make the bed.
In the bathrooms....Swipe over the vanity and mirror after I'm finished in there.
Cooking.....Menus done, need to go grocery shopping.

Currently reading:
Still flipping through Army Wives by Tanya Biank when I have a minute.

On the TV today:
Still need to finish up last week's episode of Granchester and watch last night's.

On the menu this week:
Monday - Pork Tenderloin with Smashed Fingerling Potatoes and Carrots
Tuesday - Steak with Mushrooms and Roasted, Herbed Potatoes
Wednesday - Lamb Chops with New Potatoes with Parsley and Brussels Sprouts
Thursday - Chicken with Acorn Squash and Green Beans
Friday - Dinner out for Valentine's Day
Saturday - Spending the day in Seattle so perhaps we'll bring home some fish from the Pike Place Market Fish Company
Sunday - Vic has duty so it will be a snack night for me

What I am STILL creating at the moment:
Still need to adhere a few titles to the Janet Visits New England 2007 album - should get this done tomorrow as it's Craft Day at my house.  Pinning ideas for deployment care packages serves another purpose as it gives me ideas for Sophia's care packages.  I'm thinking a green/St. Patrick's Day theme for March and Easter for April.  Not sure about May; June will be a Surviving Finals package.  I bought the one that the university offered last quarter but she didn't really care for the contents so I need to tailor one to her tastes.  Need to pick up the last few things for the Valentine's Day surprise.

New recipe I tried or want to try this week:
Smashed Fingerling Potatoes - don't remember where I saw the particular technique I want to use so I'll be making it up.  Will let you know how it turns out.

Favorite photo from the camera:
An interesting tree we saw on our outing yesterday - the branches are covered in moss

Prayers, Inspirational Quotes or Devotionals:
  • Safety for Sophia as she is away from home at school and during her riding practice sessions
  • Safety for Vic at work; wisdom and patience as he deals with a frustrating parking situation

Fab-ruary Day Nine: What's Your Why?

What drives your passion? What is the soul and purpose in your heart? Why do you do the things you do? Why do you give the best you can?

These are just some of the things that come up when you Google "What's Your Why?".  I first heard the expression when I was a thirty-one consultant.  What's Your Why? is a method of explaining to potential recruits why you became a consultant, a way to show others what you wanted to achieve and how thirty-one helped you do that.

In my case, since I didn't stay a consultant for very long, my What's Your Why? has to refer to what I do in my daily life and why I do it.  Why do I stay at home, cook, clean, do laundry, make a nice home for my family?  Why do I get involved in various organizations that support the Navy and Navy spouses? Why do I spend endless hours making care packages or coming up with new ideas to make my husband's life easier?  Because that's my Why - giving my all for my family.  I love being a stay-at-home mom and wife.  I know stay-at-home seems a little strange given that there are no littles at home anymore.  Home is a place to come to where it is warm and cozy.  I can remember my Mum telling me what it was like to come home to a cold, empty house.  She vowed that her children would never know that and as much as has been possible, so have I.  I've worked off and on since Sophia was born, but I wish the circumstances had been different and that I had not worked when she was young.  I always made arrangements for her care - one on one with a nanny when it was possible and later with a close friend who had children of a similar age.  There's nothing wrong with being a working mom, we all make choices given our circumstances.

I am thankful that our circumstances allow me to stay at home and I love being here.  I may not be June Cleaver, but I try!