Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Changing Patterns

As I wrote in my journal this morning, I realized I was writing about changing patterns in my life. Not big things. Just little ways of being and doing that in a very short time are different than they have been for a long time.

1) I have unloaded the dishwasher every morning for years. Sunday, upon returning home, dinner dishes were minimal so we didn't do them that night. After lunch on Monday the dishwasher was full and so I ran it, unloaded it, and again the dinner dishes were minimal. I like this new pattern. It gives me a few extra minutes in the morning to stay in bed or keep a slower morning pace. And we can leave the bedroom door open at night because there is no dishwasher noise to disturb Dean's sleep.

2) I have changed my gym pattern. Starting this morning I have cut back on my treadmill time, using it mainly for warm-up, made sure I did all my usual exercises, even increasing reps and have added back my work on the balance board. The importance of balance has come to the fore of my thinking recently for several reasons, none having to do with me, but there nonetheless. It is good to be back.

3) It is the end of January and I have yet to set up the 2015 file folders. Arrrggghhh. And then this morning I realized I can make the new files without having to put anything in them at the same time. I will set up the files and then come back with what goes in them ~ maybe later the same day, maybe the next day. All I know is, it doesn't all have to be done at once. Phew.

Changing patterns do not have to be huge or life changing ~ just changing. A little change can be a good thing now and then.

Monday, January 26, 2015

More Award Images

Crossed swords on the floor.

The youngest dancer in the aisle - and yes, both feet are off the ground.

Patricia and Phil, our very own Scotsman, in formal kilt.

Michelle in her tartan scarf. Her paternal grandmother was a MacMinn.

The Owlet, because she was lovely and I'm a proud grandmother.

Click and listen and if you get goose bumps, then according to what I heard Saturday night, you have Scottish blood in your DNA somewhere. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

More of the Awards Event

A pipe band led us into dinner.

Program ~ and little glass of (they tell me) amazing Scotch whiskey for the toasts of the evening. We got to keep the glass as a souvenir.


One my other side was the precious Owlet.

The Haggis. This was paraded in accompanied by pipes and when in the place of honor, Robert Burns' poem To Haggis was read in old Scottish. Thank goodness for a translation in the program.
And yes, there was a bit of haggis on our plates and we all tried at least a bite. I think we were surprised that is was as edible as it was given all you hear about it. 

Dean accepting his award - although the gentleman next to him had forgotten to bring up the award itself so Dean thanked them without the award in hand.
In these pictures you see some of the Scottish regalia that was worn. These men are rather conservatively dressed compared to others we saw.

This is Phil, a friend and business colleague who has been in this country from his home in Scotland for less than a year. Phil came in formal attire. It was lovely to have authentic kilts in our party.

What a Night! What a Guy!

The Nevada Society of Scottish Clans held their 34th Annual Robert Burns Celebration and presented Dean with their Silver Thistle Award as Scot of the Year.

I had bought Dean a McKay tartan scarf and when we saw the way the other men were wearing their scarves and sashes, we bought Dean a celtic knot pin to attach his scarf on his shoulder and hang down his back in true clan fashion. We were all given little bouquets of heather to wear.

We were excited to be joined by Michelle and the Owlet as well as fly fishing friends Dick, Karolyn, Maureen and Paul. Michelle is wearing her tartan sash as her paternal grandmother was a MacMinn.

Dean was escorted to the stage by another winner of the award two years ago ~ Jackie is the only woman to win as far as I can tell.

Very proud of him.

The award itself. The bowl is a quiach, a traditional whiskey drinking bowl.
The thistle is engraved inside. 
This is only the beginning of the pictures. It was an amazing event with folks dressed in kilts and tartans, pipe bands, dancing, and lots of toasts. More to follow ~ 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Happy Birthday, Me

My birthday started by watching the FaceBook greetings arrive even as I was reading the ones already there. Those friends had amazing and very flattering things to say. I am touched as always by their friendship and kindness.

Dean and I then came to Reno where this lovely bouquet was waiting for me on the table in Dean's office ~ complete with a card they had all signed. The flowers grace our hotel room and will travel back home with us tomorrow. So thoughtful.

And finally the best present of all. We both knew Michelle was coming to celebrate my birthday and Dean's award ~ but what only I knew was that the Owlet was coming with her. We kept that a secret from Dean and the look of delight on his face when he saw who was sitting in his chair was a gift beyond compare! Not only the present of the Owlet for our celebrations but also the gift of his Joy. 
Happy Birthday indeed!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Day Before Birthday

My birthday is tomorrow and I have been told that I knew better than to open my presents today. However ~ the sweater was in an Acorn box and I have ordered several dvds from Acorn recently and I thought I had them all so I had to see. Instead of more dvds, there was this lovely cotton sweater that Meredith, David and I had talked about but they were out of stock. David was determined though and had Meredith look one more time and voila!

Please, don't judge the sweater by the attempt at the selfie.
And then I realized if I didn't want to wait until spring, it would easily go over the cowl neck shirt I was wearing today. Again ~ voila!
Having seen that the first package was a present, I had to open the next ~ and there were the amazing New Orleans pralines that I love so much and . . .

. . . and this made me cry . . . a picture of Joshua, Meredith and Sam on the Creole Queen when the kids went to visit their aunt in NOLA.
Birthdays do not need to come with presents, and when they do they make me extra special happy! 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Goodnight, Half Moon Bay

Our final night at Half Moon Bay ~

~ a spectacular sunset
followed by room service
and s'mores at our very own fire pit.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Ritz Bits

Planning this blog of random pictures from the Ritz, I decided on the title thinking I was really clever until I remembered there were crackers by this name. So ~ with apologies to the cracker company, here is a snack for your eyes instead of your tummy.

There are interesting plants in the area.

After sitting in the hot tub, you wait for your manicure in this setting.

My morning tea arrives in this delightful little pot.

The butter, sitting on a slab of lava rock, had sea salt on top.

The beach is not all smooth and easy treading.

Dean was given this card. Although there is a not a specific looking place, because it is folded, there is a place at our room number where he could tuck the card if he wanted people to know he was in the room. It is, after all, the Ritz!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Half Moon Bay

We are staying at the Ritz at Half Moon Bay. The Ritz is all it is meant to be: elegant, gracious, helpful. They hire amazing people and we are treated with amazing hospitality. This Ritz comes with a difference though. It is the Ritz At Half Moon Bay. Wow.

We have a room with fire pit on the terrace.

Sunrise from our room.

The hotel and terrace. The stairs come down to right beside our terrace.

The hotel from its level.

The hotel seen from beach level.

Thanks to a friendly native, I learned that these were built to support a restaurant.
A landslide brought a change in plans and the pylons still stand in Roman ruin fashion.

Pelican Rock ~ a feature of almost every beach on the California coast.

Land slides still happen. "Last week" according to my friendly native, this pile of rock came down after the huge rain storm. She walks the beach with her dog every morning and knows the changes and would rather her dog walk closer to the ocean than the cliff. In 20 years the hotel is expected to be right on the edge. Until then, I am enjoying the beach and the cliffs and heeding the warning signs to stay away from the edge.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Crow on the Crossbar

Over the Christmas holidays we heard a lot, saw a lot about the Elf on the Shelf. Something that started out as a fun family activity has evidently turned into a major marketing event so that every child in our daughter's kindergarten class has one at home and she even has one in her classroom. Folks on Facebook posted pictures of their elves, some of which were a little raunchy. Funny, but only if there were no children around.

Anyway, being grandparents, the Elf has not come to our home. Back in the fall, before I was going to Ashland, a friend gave me a little crow to take to Crow Mother because the crow is her spirit animal. We did not get to make the trip and the crow sat on the counter . . . and sat and sat. The counter became crowded, the crow got moved around, and one day while the family was here, the crow flew to the crossbar that holds our tapestry.

And there he sits, watching over us, bringing us luck with very little chance of ever getting to Ashland. We love him too much where he is. And unlike the Elf, he gets to stay all year.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


We have all received them. Maybe you have even sent them or passed them on. Those posts or emails that promise if you pass it on the angels will bless you - or the universe will provide - or something wonderful will happen. Usually you have to repost or resend within minutes or a day and to a certain number of people for it to work. I have received them and in all honesty, if things were low in my life, I have been tempted to repost or send them on just to see what would happen. But I never have. 

So, my question is this: have you ever seen a follow up post from anyone saying, “I did it and within 24 or 48 hours . . . I inherited a fortune, won the lottery, my best friend was cured of cancer, I got my dream job . . .or Any indication that the post worked?????? No ~ neither have I. And if you have, please, let me know. I know I haven’t. If you have or if it happened to you, say so. I really would be interested. I don’t want my obvious skepticism to be the last word here. Thanks for your input. ~ with blessings (which I believe come to us through each other and the Divine without post-it manipulation)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Mixed Emotions

This morning I put away the Christmas decorations. There is something always a little sad about that for me. I leave the tree lights turned on until the last minute. I put carols on for the last time. And once in a while I shed a tear or just stop and contemplate what I am putting away. Our little tree was so beautiful this year. I know, they all are, and this one seemed especially so. I will miss it's shining through the dark. It looks very empty.

On the other hand, with decorations out of the way, I am able to put out gifts for the first time. 

Candles that celebrate the life I hope we live.

A very comfortable pillow that celebrates where we live, laugh and love. 
And a comfy fleece blanket that defies picture taking because it is draped across my knees ~ after I reclaimed it from the grands who started using it as soon as I took it out of the box.
It has been a blessed and wonderful season, with the gift of family being the best gift of all.
That is a gift that is with us every minute of every day, every season of the year.
Blessings to you and your families all through the year!