Thursday, December 20, 2012

Packing it In

Happy trails to you,
until we meet again.
Some trails are happy
ones, others are blue.
It's the way you ride
the trail that counts.
Here's a happy one

~Dale Evans

I said good-bye to
 an old friend
last week.

Not a flesh and
bone friend, but an
 inanimate one
that had been part
of our household
for 25 years.

Standing nearly
seven feet tall and
made of pine, this
armoire stood sentry
for two and half decades,
first housing a
television, and later,
retrofitted with shelves
for a little boy's room.

A little boy who is
now six foot two and
needs a dresser for 
his teenage clothing
instead of a stashing
place for toys.

I arranged for movers
to hoist the armoire
down from my son's
room and into the

I arranged to donate
the armoire to The Hope
Chest for Breast Cancer, a
money to assist women
in poverty fighting 
breast cancer.

What I didn't anticipate
needing to arrange were
my emotions on 
pick-up day.

As the sun shone in 
through spotty garage
door windows onto the
armoire, I thought of 
all the memories 
inside of it.

Like the memory of choosing
the armoire at Homemaker's
in Chicago with my hubby as a
newlywed.  Romantic that
I am, I'd always dreamed
of owning an armoire!  

We were so proud when
it was delivered and our
television tucked inside.

For 15 years, it was the
heart beat of our 
family room.

I've laughed and cried in
front of this armoire.  TV
shows, movies, national
joys and national tragedies
all played out on the screen
housed within the armoire's
pine walls.

And Barney and Sesame
Street, Disney Singalong
Songs and Blue's Clues.

All there.

After a carpenter outfitted
the armoire with shelves, 
it housed stuffed animals,
baseball uniforms, little
boy inventions and a secret
hiding place for Christmas

Little hands used to stroke
its exterior and little hands
once reached into its interior.

We packed so much 
into the armoire's 25 years 
with us.

A lot like 2012.  It was a
year of highs and lows, and
just like the armoire, I've been
a bit nostalgic about what 
memories we've packed
inside of it.....

While wondering what 
memories we will pack 
into 2013.

And the armoire?

It's at The Hope Chest, 
ready for a new home. 

I hope the next owner will
pack in many
sweet, sweet 


PS:  Wishing you all a holiday
season full of moments
that make your heart sing.

I'll be back after New Year's.

Be well : )

all images P&H

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Still Learning

{AKA, British Fashion, Henry VIII and Curry!}

Get over the idea that only children
should spend their time in study.  Be
a student so long as you still have
something to learn, and this will 
mean all your life.

~ Henry L. Doherty

As a resident of a
cold winter climate,
I was eager to see
what women who live
in jolly old England
wear to stay warm 
and toasty on damp, chilly
winter days, when my
family recently visited 
our London relatives 

Riding London's
public transportation
for seven days, I was
able to study local
fashion on work days
and on the weekend.

That's the London Look,
explained Laura, my 
blogging friend and 
American ex-pat, who
lives outside this
amazing city, when we
discussed the fashionable 
ensemble I saw time
and again......

Window shopping!

The London Look:

An oversized tunic
length sweater.
Cozy tights ~ smooth
or wooly; usually black.
Boots.  Riding boots,
low boots, high heeled
boots, Ugg boots; it's
all good.
 A scarf wrapped around
the neck.  Any fabric will
do, but usually wool.
A cute coat.  The lady-
like cut with nipped in
waist and skirted bottom
was a favorite of mine.

All ages and sizes wore
the London look, even
though the tunics could
be quite short. It's warm,
it's practical, it's easy,
and it's chic!

{I've adopted this fashion
back at home and even
convinced a few friends
to try it, too.}  

We discovered a lot about
Henry VIII on our trip,
between visits to the Tower
of London and an excursion
to his pleasure palace,
Hampton Court.

And while we personally
would not have enjoyed
being his subjects, it
certainly peaked our
curiosity about the Tudor
era of English history.

10 miles outside of Central
London, Hampton Court
is situated next to a small
village.  It was here that
I met my blogging friend 
at a Lebanese cafe on the
high {main} street.

In years past, when I
thought of British food,
things like fish and chips
or Yorkshire pudding 
sprang to mind, but not 

Besides the Lebanese food,
we experienced delectable Indian, 
Italian, Thai and French foods, 
as well as that reliable favorite,
English pub food.

It was all wonderful.

One particular culinary
surprise was my family's
new fondness for curry.  
Not something that I'd
normally whip up, this
scrumptious introduction
was made to us by my
aunt and uncle on our
first night in London.

Who knew?

Blogging pals ~ Sweet Laura and Me

From fashion to history,
savory curries to rides on
red buses and The Tube,
in a way, I felt like a 
student again.

A student of life.

And London?

It truly is like 
Forest Gump's 
box of chocolates:

You really don't know
what you're gonna get : )

But for us, what we
got was 


I hope to return again
someday, to keep on
learning and to take

Are you a student
of life?


all pics: P&H

Thursday, December 6, 2012

What Goes Around.....

I am a big fan
of Rhonda Byrne's
The Power, where
she contends that
the secret to 
happiness is


Giving love.

Focusing on what 
you love.

Falling in love ~
with life.


Much of this love
manifests itself as
kindness, and
when you dole it
out, a funny thing

It comes back 
to you.

I witnessed this 
principal in action
a few weeks ago,
when my family
visited my aunt and 
uncle in London.

Big time.

My dad is the oldest
of five boys and my
Uncle Tom is the

When I was born,
Tommy was 
nine years old.

Maybe because we
are close in age,
I've always held him 
in high esteem.

Tommy with me, my mom and my little brother.

He was sweet.
He was fun.
He was smart.
He was cute : )

When he married
my Aunt Susan, he
rose even higher in
my estimation, as
she is also sweet,
fun, smart and

Me and Susan

18 months ago, Tom
was offered a position
with his company's
London office.  Susan
put her thriving career
on hold to join him 
on this adventure.

They're both blooming.

Tom and Susan's sweet London home;
their door is on the right.

But back to The Power.

Not only are T&S warm
and friendly with their
own family and friends,
they are that way with

I never saw Tom sit on the
Tube if a lady or an older
gent didn't have a seat.


I watched him and Susan
generously give to musicians
playing in the Tube station
or to the homeless who
{politely} asked for help.

They were up to make
sure the coffee was 
brewing before we 
awoke each morning
and went to bed after
the last lights were 
dimmed each night.

They love taking care of 
the people they love.

My aunt was very busy
co-chairing preparations
for a huge Christmas 
festival in their London 
village, but despite that, 
accompanied us cheerfully 
on many touristy outings 
that she's no doubt seen
countless times.

Smiling as if it were
the first time.

Many of the museums
around London are free
{paid for by the hard
working British taxpayers},
but usually there are
donation boxes.

T&S always quietly
slipped something in.

That's just who they are.

My aunt and uncle are
both very successful
people, but I believe it
is their kindness, more
than their intellect and
hard work, that has made
them so.

It's boomeranged.

And we were so 
to be in that 

All grown up : )

Be kind whenever possible.
It is always possible.

~ Dalai Lama