May 22, 2011

Luck be a lady.

We went to an amazing fundraiser in Asbury Park (NJ) Friday night. A good friend of ours is on the Board at The Center, a local organization serving people living with HIV and AIDS. Their annual Center a la Carte event brings together local restaurants and beverage suppliers in support of their incredible mission. And there's nothing we like better than getting together with friends to raise money for a great cause.

There were games and prizes. There was a ring toss. The deal was you had to try to land your rings around the neck(s) of wine bottles, and you won whatever bottles you landed on.

Mike was first to go. His technique was what I would describe as a machine gun scatter shot approach. (Note from Mike: "It was not!"). An interesting technique, but he didn't land a ring-around-the-neck.

Next up: Me. I took a breathe, had a pep talk with my friends, and let the first of my rings fly.

And let's just say, turns out I have a hidden talent.

It's true. I totally rocked the ring toss. I have witnesses. My last ring even bounced, ricocheted off the shelf, and landed on the bottle. It was quite something. I have witnesses.

I picked up an ice bucket at a yard sale on Saturday to chill my winnings in. That, and I bragged a lot.

I think we're officially ready to get the whole Summer thing started.

May 11, 2011

Tiptoe through my tulips.

Look at how my little garden grows!

Tulips and daffodils are new to the garden, thanks to a generous gift of bulbs from a former colleague (thanks, Pat!). I wasn't sure how they would do, especially given
those little pesky squirrels who seem to enjoy my garden even more than I do. But I'm quite happy with the colorful results.

My other spring blooms made their appearance as the tulips started to fade.

Even the pansies I planted in the fall (that spent most of the winter buried under some 71" of snow) are blooming.

One of my neighbors says I have magical soil. Maybe I do.

Speaking of tiptoeing through the tulips, I've started to play ukulele. Not a typo. I bought myself a uke for my birthday a couple of months ago and a lovely young man (dude?) is attempting to teach me to play. Tonight's my second to last lesson. Maybe I'll make my performance debut on the blog.

But not just yet. My ukulele playing isn't nearly as magical as my soil.

May 07, 2011

Junk in my trunk.

Spring is finally in the air at the Jersey Shore! The flowers are blooming, the sunshine is warm, the tents are going up in town, and my trunk is full of treasures.

Yard sale season kicked-off for me today with the town wide yard sale in Avon-by-the-Sea, NJ. I had a pretty good season opener, if I do say so myself, and didn't even spend twenty bucks.

One of my first stops was at this House of Many Frames. The most expensive one was $4 and it was on of those gigantic (40" tall) ones on the left side of this photo:

I got these three for $4 total:

I especially like the detail on the largest one.

Do I have a plan for them? Nope. But sometimes that's how I roll.

I think my favorite find of the day was definitely this antique ironing board.

And the price was right!

I do have a plan for this, and I can promise you it has nothing to do with ironing. That would be crazy talk.

I also nabbed two Fenton pieces ($5 for both). They needed to be hosed down (literally) and they're currently in the dishwasher, but I think I got a decent deal on these.

Oh, I also saw this door in someone's trash.

If it can't be in my home, I sure hope it winds up in someone else's and not in a landfill. (And by the way, the glass isn't frosted; it's dirty. But still!)

Any treasures in your trunk?

April 29, 2011

Wee William's Big Day

My grandma was from Liverpool. As a result, I knew a LOT about the British Monarchy at a very young age. My Christmas and birthday gifts were often quite regal.

And I've inherited some interesting pieces.

(Our family jewels are of the faux variety. But a gal can dream.)

I just wrapped up (intense! busy!) work in London and was happy to spend some time combing the shops for Royal Wedding 2.0 memorabilia to bring home. I was super excited to come home this week to this, sent from a colleague across the pond...

I had a vivid dream about my British Grammy the other night which really didn't surprise me. I'm hoping she'll visit again tonight so we can sit down to a "proper cuppa" (for her, that would have been a cuppa milk) and have a chat about the nuptials. Though I'm sure Grammy would still be hung up on
Kate's see-through dress. (I also saw a sketch of Harry's date's alleged dress for the wedding. Bare shoulder! In Westminster Abbey! Tsk.)

I've had some nasty computer issues (our home PCs...plural...are a hot mess) and I've actually started to snail mail people. I'm like a luddite blogger. The good news is, we're going away today and I'm looking forward to zippy hotel WiFi. The bad news is, our flight takes off in the middle of the Royal Wedding.

Travel fail.

Hope you're all well! Looking forward to seeing you again.

March 15, 2011

Beware the Ides of March

Nature can be so beautiful…like these late winter waves breaking on the Jersey Shore this weekend.

Just a few blocks away from the idyllic scene, almost a year to the day of last year’s massive blaze, another windstorm spread one more devastating fire through the town on Friday. Miraculously, everyone survived.

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. ~William Shakespeare

And thousands of miles away, our brothers and sisters in Japan have suffered the greatest of tragedies at the hands of nature. A few of my colleagues left Japan that morning, on a flight to New York just a couple of hours before the first quake hit. They were lucky. Ten thousand people, and the countless loved ones they’ve left behind, were not. If you can, please be sure to help the Tsunami victims.

How can something as beautiful as nature, so full of wonder, so at the core of what makes my world go around, betray us in such a way? Some things, no matter I hard I try to, I will never understand.

My heart goes out to everyone affected.

We had a couple of minor health issues in the family this past week so we’re especially hopeful that the arrival of the Ides of March marks the end of a tumultuous period. Spring is in the air in our part of the world, the temperature is slowly rising, and nature is once again showing she can be full of hope and promise.

March 08, 2011

Happy Mardi Gras!

Mardi Gras Indian, New Orleans Jazz Fest 2010
There are many things and places I love and one of them is New Orleans. I'll be back there in 52 days. But who's counting. Until then I'll have to wash down my not-quite-the-real-deal King Cake with a cup of chicory coffee. And by the way...the best, best King Cake I've ever had was sent to me by my brother last year from Sucre, a must visit when in the Big Easy.

March 07, 2011

Hope springs eternal. In the form of crocus.

For some reason, I insisted on ordering crocus bulbs this past fall. Maybe I had a inkling of what a LONG (emhasis on LONG) winter it would be, and how welcome their colorful little buds would be when the ground finally thawed.

I was so excited to wake up to the first of the crop this weekend.

Since spring was kind of, sort of in the air (or at least poking out of the front yard ground) I decided to head over to L.B. Forcellati & Sons in Wall, NJ -- a nursery and garden center with one incredible greenhouse. It's the perfect place to visit when you need a little sunshine and warmth in the middle of the cold season. My friends and I think they should set up tables and serve high tea. Just to us.

The orchids were amazing. I was definitely starting to feel spring was indeed in the air.

This bird of paradise plant had a sold sticker on it, and I'm dying to know where it's heading. Somewhere fancy for sure (maybe another greenhouse), since I can't imagine this plant handling the frosty Garden State winters.

And don't get me started about how much I wish one of these Meyer lemon trees could come home with me. And I wish you had smell-o-vision right now, because these little trees smelled fabulous.

I walked out feeling ready to take on the world! Until I realized I still had my ankle length parka, hat and gloves on. What do you do to get through the last days of winter? (Other than scream, which is something I'm strongly considering this year.)