Cottage Garden, Deer, Flowers, Gardening, Rabbits, Spring

Spring and I are Emerging from a Long Winter Sleep

Look at those beautiful buds! Finally, at long last, Spring is here! I have most definitely been impatient. I grew up in Southern California and never really acclimated to winter. Anything below 60 degrees Fahrenheit is too cold for me. Spring has just been flirting with warmth – every time I think it will FINALLY be warm the temperature drops and we are below freezing once again.

I took this photo of the cherry tree in my back yard yesterday

Trying to figure out how to dress each day is a real challenge – each morning I ask “Alexa” what the weather will be but “her” answer is usually less than adequate – she always forgets to calculate the wind chill factor. BRRRRRRRRRRR.

Yes – fickle, fickle Spring warmth!

One thing that I am excited about this year is being able to spend more time outside in my yard and gardens. Since I was a little girl one of the desires of my heart has been to grow flower gardens. I’ve always wanted one that begins blooming at the beginning of spring and continues with beautiful flowers all through summer and fall. Now I have a huge yard with room for anything I would care to grow. I thought one just puts seeds or plants into the ground, give them a little water and fertilizer, and VOLIA! A beautiful flower garden from which I could cut blooms to fill my house with fresh bouquets. I originally started with a butterfly garden in the back. It was quite lovely. Then I added flower beds in different areas all around the house. Here are some of the flowers that planted. I was ecstatic!

I actually grew all these flowers!

Little did I know that the deer, rabbits, and groundhogs were just as excited as I was.

The cute little bunny was in my former, now needs to be totally replanted, Butterfly Garden. The photo of the deer was taken yesterday in my front yard. There were actually 9 of them. They brought all their friends.

I have high hopes for the area where the deer are currently eating any and all tender shoots that are sprouting. I want to create a cottage garden. Through trial and error, I found that some of my favorite flowers the deer regard as candy to be sampled at any and all times they cut through my yard going to and from the river. Sometimes they sleep overnight in my yard, too. Or just bring their little ones for their naps during the day, then mosey along back down to the river. They feel very safe with us!

This is what I HOPE the garden will look like…

My Ideal for a Cottage Garden

I can only hope! I’ll have to figure out how to keep the critters from deciding the garden is their own personal salad bar. Any suggestions or recommendations? Any and all help you are willing to provide will be received with extreme gratitude! Wish me luck!

Anniversary, Architecture, Art, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Carole King, Inwood, J. R. R. Tolkein, Manhattan, Middle Earth, Musical Theatre, New York City, Stephen Sondheim, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Morgan Library & Museum, The Silmarillon, Travel

New York, New York…It’s a Wonderful Town!

New York City – AKA “The City” if you’re a local. Well, I’m not a local anymore but it is where I was born. It isn’t where I grew up, although I did attend P.S. 52 in Inwood for my first year of school. I grew up on the West Coast. But that is a story for another day. Today’s story is about my most recent visit to the place of my birth, and the very special reason for the visit.

Doesn’t this manhole cover say, “Manhattan Born” or am I reading it wrong??

My Dear Husband and I decided to make this trip in celebration of our 12th wedding anniversary. Trip highlight… orchestra front-row seats to see “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre.

12 Years – I can honestly say I didn’t know what love really was until I met this man!
We still know how to bring it

I cannot say enough good things about this production. It covers the early days of her musical career, beginning with selling her first song at age 16 (It Might as Well Rain Until September) through the years she (composer) and her partner/husband (lyricist) wrote some of the top songs of the 1960s, and ending when she decided to become the singer/songwriter we are familiar with today. With her move to California from New York and decision to write her own lyrics as well as sing her own songs she changed the musical landscape for female singer/songwriters. In 1971 she won Grammys for It’s Too Late (record of the year); Tapestry (album of the year); You’ve Got a Friend (song of the year); and Tapestry (best pop vocal performance, female). There have been additional nominations and wins in the years since. I have to say, the music and performances I saw on stage that day left me exhilarated and wanting more.

The architectural features inside the theatre enhanced the experience!

Walking around The City is an adventure in itself. I never leave the hotel without a camera. I love taking pictures of the buildings and their details.

An ice skating rink was set up in one of the nearby parks.

While I was there a friend told me the Morgan Library is hosting the exhibit Tolkien: Maker of Middle Earth. There is no way I was going to miss THAT once I knew it was there! From the Museum website: “The exhibition will be the most extensive public display of original Tolkien material for several generations. Drawn from the collections of the Tolkien Archive at the Bodleian Library (Oxford), Marquette University Libraries (Milwaukee), the Morgan, and private lenders, the exhibition will include family photographs and memorabilia, Tolkien’s original illustrations, maps, draft manuscripts, and designs related to The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.”

By the way, in case you are interested, costumes ARE permitted although shoes must be worn at all times. No masks, wizard staffs, scepters, axes, bow and arrows, or swords are permitted. What costume would YOU have worn if you decided to attend? Let me know in the comments! It will be there through May 12, 2019 so you still have the chance to go see it!

The photos above are of the fencing and window coverings of the Library. Although we got there early on Sunday morning we still had to wait an hour in line to enter the exhibit hall itself. Of course, NO cameras allowed in the exhibit proper! I did get this photo of a portion of the original cover of The Hobbit since it was part of their advertising.

An added bonus was being able to visit J. P. Morgan’s actual library. I could have very easily lived in that room for a good long while! Three stories of books filling all four walls. Magnificent ceiling and skylight. And the books! Oh, the books! Facsimiles of some of the illuminated books are for sale in the Gift Shop: cost between $1,400 and $12,800. A little rich for my blood!The photos below show part of one wall, the ceiling, and one of the bookshelves. The jeweled cover is of the Lindeau Gospels, France. It was bound sometime between 751-888 AD. Next is A Medieval Romance from the Renaissance. It was completed in the thirteenth century. Last but not least is the Book of Hours, circa 1475, probably from Milan. This is only a taste of what you will see if you visit.

A couple more random street photos… need I say the food everywhere was fantastic! This carousel looked like it would be fun to ride!

So until next time, I leave you with warm memories of the very cold days we spent in The City!

Exercise, Health and Fitness, Life Experiences

AGGGGGGHHHHH! This is Harder Than I Thought It Would Be!

Two more “firsts” in the past week – I had my first session with my new personal trainer, and took my first yoga class.

Kate gave me an up close and personal introduction to my new playground equipment.

We are working on my “core” and strengthening my arms and legs. The next day, even my fingers hurt! Not that I am complaining mind you. I’ve always heard the expression “no pain, no gain.” And it is my understanding that the more I do this the more dexterous I will become and I’ll get my stamina back, too. I used to literally dance the night away. I used to hike to the tops of mountains. I used to raft class 5 whitewater. I am determined to do it all again!

The next “first” was my first yoga class, titled “Gentle Yoga.” Gentle yoga kicked my butt!

If anyone knows the source of this graphic please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due. We did all these things and more. I had never even heard of any of these poses let alone how to do them. I am learning so much about this whole new world and at the same time learning about myself, my limitations, my aspirations, and my brand new goals. I am working from the inside out, mentally and physically. It is exhilarating!

Next time I think I’ll do a bit of an introduction to me. I’ll be thinking about what to write, so until next time, enjoy!

Life Experiences

That Was the Week That Was

Last week was a surprise on many fronts. The first “front” was an actual one… the Polar Vortex, followed by a snowstorm.

As it turns out the three-day trip was very productive – the meetings for work allowed forward movement in adopting more efficient ways of getting the job done and establishing strong collaboration between various Divisions.

I was booked into a hotel that DIRECTLY attached to a major mall so I was able to walk every day without even going outside, and it had a plethora of restaurants and shops for me to enjoy during my stay. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Exercise, Health and Fitness, Uncategorized

My Fitness Journey Begins…

Yesterday was the opening (but not “grand opening”) of OneLife Fitness in the Hagerstown Mall. I have been anticipating this opening since last summer, when I saw a sign-up booth in the park in Williamsport, MD during a festival. The vendors said this was a great opportunity to get in on the ground  floor with a discounted membership/extra benefits. The club was under construction in the old Macy’s store space and should be open around Thanksgiving. 

I had been thinking hard about getting back into shape. My stamina and flexibility were going downhill fast, and I was experiencing waaaay too many aches and pains. I have trouble exercising by myself at home. I came to the conclusion that what I needed was some structure.  So, I signed up. And waited. And waited. And waited. So… here it was, January 25, and FINALLY opening day had arrived. It had been a long six month wait!  

I went to the club and took a tour of the HUGE facility, and signed up for an introductory hour with a personal trainer the next day. I went to the shoe store and bought a new pair of workout shoes. My current shoes were about 20+ years old – NOT well worn but very heavy! My new  HOKA shoes are like walking on a cloud albeit a very sturdy one! The are as light as air but the foot support is fantastic. 

Sporting my new kicks I headed to “my” gym for my introduction to my new world. I had a great trainer who spent about 30 minutes in questions, answers, ambitions and goals. We figured out, with the help of a machine, body fat (I even know how much each of my arms and legs weigh!) muscle mass weight, how much water is in my cells, and how much outside my cells. I told him I have arthritis in my knee and my doctor told me to lose weight, among other things. Goal setting time! Between now and March 2 he SAYS if I follow my plan I will lose six to eight pounds. Of course I don’t believe him! Four weeks, eight sessions, and eight pounds? Doesn’t sound possible to me! So we will see! The goals I chose for myself are nutritional – eat three servings of fruits per day, and take a multivitamin daily.

Next came 30 minutes on the gym floor. It went pretty fast, some things were more difficult than others, but I made it through feeling pretty good about my first “workout” of my journey. By the time I got home I knew I didn’t want to cook so we went out for pizza and a salad. See what I mean about those eight pounds! By the time I was home again the aches were getting intense. I took an Aleve and iced my shoulder first, then after 20 minutes iced my leg, and 20 minutes after that I moved the ice pack to my knee. That is the last thing I remember before I fell sound asleep in the chair…

Until next time, Goodnight One and All!