Ten on Tuesdays

Welcome to the Neighborhood

Today - on Tuesday - we're talking about welcoming new neighbors.  I'm thinking there will be plenty of lists with great welcoming tips:  food, flowers, offers, information.

So I'm going to go off the grid a bit.  And tell you what NOT to do to welcome your new neighbors.  (And this is A Biggie.)

Do NOT let your dog meet your new neighbors before you do.


(You can read all about this Real-Life, Personally-Mortifying Incident as it happened right here.)

In short, my welcome list looks a little different than it used to:

  1. Practice SIT. STAY. COME. more vigilantly.
  2. Do all you can to keep your overly enthusiastic dog from bowling down new neighbors - who just happen to step out of their car to introduce themselves.
  3. Especially keep your dog from jumping into the open door of their car.
  4. And, really, keep them from freaking out the new neighbor children (who are unaccustomed to dogs of any type, and especially big, happy dogs).
  5. Get the dog OUT OF THERE as quickly as you can.
  6. Apologize.
  7. Apologize.
  8. Apologize.
  9. Take them a plate of brownies.  (WITHOUT dog in tow.)
  10. Apologize.

I'm still apologizing.  They give me a very wide berth.  (Crazy dog neighbor who also gardens in the rain, hangs hand knits on the fence for photoshoots, AND encourages bees. . . )  

(You should have seen their faces when they realized we got ANOTHER dog. . .)

(They remain pet-less.)  (But did have another child.)

How about YOU?  How do you welcome new neighbors to your neighborhood?


See what everyone else has to say here.


Cooking . . . Mom Style

Mother's Day is Sunday . . . so Carole has us thinking about our Moms this week -- and those favorite dishes our Moms used to make!

Me and mom

My own Mom has never particularly loved cooking -- but she certainly has some specialities! In fact, there are some things my Mom makes that I just can't duplicate . . . even with her recipes.  Other dishes have just become "staples" over the years, and others?  Well.  My Mom's are just BETTER.

Like . . . 

  1. Potato Salad.  Although I have a couple of recipes of my own that are pretty darn tasty, nothing compares to my Mom's.  (She doesn't have a recipe.  Yeah.  She just whips it up.)
  2. Magic Cookie Bars.  I have her recipe . . . but mine never, ever, EVER turn out quite like hers!  (Brian once told me that "Nanny puts extra love in hers."  I suppose he's right!)
  3. Lasgne.  For decades, I have requested my Mom's lasagne for my special birthday dinner!  (It was a very special treat when I was young.  Because lasagne is always a bit of a pain to make.)
  4. "Grass Salad."  Who knows what it's really called, but ever since I was a child, it has been "grass salad."  (Green beans, French dressing, and dill; served cold.)  (It goes particiularly well with lasagne, I might add.)
  5. Pumpkin pie.  I've never even made one of my own!  (My Mom always brings the pies for Thanksgiving dinner.)
  6. "That Salad That No One Likes."  I can't quite remember why it's called that -- because everyone actually DOES like it -- but it has become a staple at our Thanksgiving table every year.  (It's some combination of raspberry jello and cranberries, and it's really quite tasty.)
  7. Mashed Potatoes.  My Mom makes perfect mashed potatoes -- smooth, fluffy, no lumps.  (Yum.)
  8. Blueberry Torte.  This was my Mom's "special dessert" when I was a kid -- and it remains one of Erin's all-time favorites.  (Whenever Erin comes home for a visit, my Mom makes an entire torte -- just for Erin.)
  9. Cakes.  My Mom is a Master when it comes to cakes!  Her cakes always turn out fluffy and even and pretty (from every direction).  She also has "the touch" when it comes to frosting!  (She took cake decorating classes when I was a kid -- and my birthday cakes were always beautiful.)
  10. Comfort foods of my childhood.  Although she hasn't made these for me in decades, I'll always have the fondest memories of my mom making me cinnamon-sugar toast, soft-boiled eggs, and pudding when I was a little girl!

How about YOU?  What are your favorite Mom-dishes?


Find out what everyone else has to say here.


Just Can't Look Away

Yesterday, Tom and I were in the car for a long time.   


We passed several miles of our trip discussing this week's Ten on Tuesday topic: 10 Movies You Have To Stop & Watch When You Come Across Them While Channel Surfing.

Our lists vary a bit, but we share a few, too.

We seem unable to look away from pretty much any Quentin Tarantino movie . . . 

1 -- Pulp Fiction

2 -- Kill Bill (1 or 2).

And, equally, get sucked right in to the Bourne series . . . 

3, 4, 5 -- Bourne (Identity, Supremacy, Ultimatum).

Tom stands alone with . . . 

6 -- any of the movies in the Rocky franchise,

and I am on my own when it comes to 

7 -- Mary Poppins or anything with Fred Astaire.

Jointly, we can't look away from these comedy favorites . . . 

8 -- Caddyshack*

9 -- Young Frankenstein

10 -- Best in Show

How about YOU?  What movies do you stop and watch when you find them as you channel surf?


See what sucks everyone else in . . . here!


* I have never actually seen Caddyshack from start to finish, but I've seen most of it . . . thanks to channel surfing through the years.


Only Ten?

Some Ten on Tuesday topics are oh-so-much harder for me to put together than others.  

Like this week.  Ten Albums We Love.


Only ten?

Because.  Well.  I love a lot of albums.


Loving an album, you see, is so much . . . more . . . than loving a song.  To love an album, you need to love each and every song.  Each. One.  And, for me . . . there are just so many!

It sort of pains me to limit myself to only ten.  So I had to pretend that I was stuck on a desert island, and could only have 10 albums on my iPod.  To listen to forever.  Here they are (and, if you know these albums, you'll notice that I've stacked the deck with four double-albums; so bonus!):

  1. Stadium Arcadium - Red Hot Chili Peppers
  2. White Album - The Beatles
  3. Nevermind - Nirvana
  4. Joshua Tree - U2
  5. Tapestry - Carole King
  6. Unplugged - Eric Clapton
  7. Hotel California - The Eagles
  8. Rearviewmirror - Pearl Jam
  9. So Far - Crosby Stills Nash & Young
  10. In Your Honor - Foo Fighters

But it really does pain me.  And I'd try to sneak in another ten . . . Kind of Blue, Rumours, The Stranger, Harvest, Breakfast in America, Brothers in Arms, Synchronicity, Red Octopus, A Few Small Repairs, Jagged Little Pill . . . 

How about YOU?  What albums do you love best?


See what everyone else has to say this week over here!


Drop Everything!

This girl?

Scan 2


As in . . . always, Always ALWAYS had her nose in a book.

Maxed out her check-out limit at the public library.

Maxed out her check-out limit at the school library.

Flew through her school work so she could spend "free time" reading.

Got in trouble for reading at the table.

Got in trouble for the flashlight-under-the-covers thing.

Lived for the Scholastic Book Fair.

Never, ever, ever was caught without a book to read.

Favorite books from my childhood* (when Drop Everything and Read hadn't really been invented yet, but seemed to happen just naturally?) . . . 

  1. Misty of Chincoteague
  2. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler
  3. A Wrinkle in Time
  4. Island of the Blue Dolphins
  5. Across Five Aprils
  6. Phantom Toll Booth
  7. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
  8. Johnny Tremain
  9. Little Women
  10. The Outsiders

How about YOU?  What are the books you . . . dropped everything to read?


Find out what everyone else has to say here!


* I had to narrow this topic to my childhood, ages 9-12, because I couldn't have managed any other way. (I just read too much.)  (As in . . . still maxing out my check-out limits.)

Keep Calm. Carry On.

Sometimes . . . 

life just gets overwhelming.


Life stresses.

Background noise.

Seemingly unfixable problems.

Here's what I do  . . . to calm myself down. . .

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  1. Meditate.  (I am a firm believer in the power of meditation and mindfulness practice.) 
  2. Take a deep breath.
  3. Then . . . another.
  4. Repeat a mantra.  ("I am enough" . . . )
  5. Stretch. (Go deep into some Warrior poses.)
  6. Work out.  (There is much restorative power in a good, hard workout.)
  7. Journal.  (Write. It. Out.)
  8. Get outside.  (Walk.  Breathe.  Pull a weed.  Or two.)
  9. Move your hands.  (Knit.  Stitch.  Paint.)
  10. Play with your dog.  (Or your cat.  Just . . . touch it.)

Feel better?  I sure do!  How do you keep yourself calm?


Find out what everyone else has to say!


Get Out!

It's spring -- both on the calendar and in the air.  It's much easier to get outside . . . now that it's warming up a bit.  (At least some of the time.)


Carole asks us, this week, about Ten Things We Love to Do Outside.  For me, that's kind of like . . . opening the flood gates.  Because, well.  I pretty much love to do All the Things . . . outside.

So I decided to narrow my focus.  (Because I can't start thinking about sitting on the dock at the lake.  Or going to the beach.  Or sipping a beer on the patio after spending the afternoon working in my garden.  Not yet, at least.)

Here, then, are Ten Things I Love to Do Outside . . . right now.  In Fickle-Early-Spring.

  1. Take the dogs for longer walks -- even after dinner.  (Because it's still light.)
  2. Wander through my awakening garden.  (To see what's up.)
  3. Ride my new bike.  (An early birthday present.)
  4. Check my trees for buds.  (I check at least once a day.)
  5. Prune.  (So much easier before the leaves pop out.*)
  6. Clean up my garden beds.  (Such a satisfying job.)
  7. Take stock.  (Garden tools.  Pots.  Patio furniture.)  (It's nearly time.)
  8. Grab my camera and take some photos.  (The light is so nice.)  (Plus hellebores.)
  9. Watch the birds build their nests.  (No front door wreath this year.  But we do have some determined sparrows building in our grill.)
  10. Fire up the grill.  (Which is Trouble for those sparrows.)

How about YOU?  What do you love to do outside?


See what everyone else has to say here.


*  Pruning is great right now -- but not for everything.  Always be mindful of the pruning guidelines for your trees and shrubs.  :-)


Not Superstitious . . . Just a Bit Grumpy

Today's Ten on Tuesday - Ten Superstitions We Believe In - doesn't quite work for me.  Because I'm not superstitious, and I couldn't think of ONE . . . let alone ten . . . superstitions I believe in.  Really.  I even step on cracks without the least bit of guilt.


So.  Not superstitious. 

But borderline irritated; sort of . . . grumpy, I guess.

How about I list my grumps instead (just for fun)?

  • Last night, as I walked the dogs, I saw this very cool sundog as the sun was going down.  By the time I stopped, took out my camera, and tried to take a picture, the cloud cover had changed ever-so-slightly and I couldn't get a good shot.  (The photo above is NOT it, by the way.  It's just a regular old sunset.)
  • The simple- and straightforward-looking online "letter of intent" I was working on yesterday (with a deadline today) turned out to have "trapdoors."  Click an answer from a drop-down list (yes or no, for example) . . . and whole new sets of questions (requiring detailed answers) appear.  Man, that made me grumpy.
  • I stopped at the post office yesterday afternoon to mail a couple of packages -- and was surprised to find the line out the door.  Like it was Christmas -- without the jolly.  The line was so very long and so very slow that I left after 10 minutes.  (Now I get to try again today.)
  • Yesterday I got an estimate from a painter for removing the wallpaper (the last of it; my entire house was wallpapered when we bought it almost 14 years ago) and painting two rooms.  I was expecting one price range -- but was quoted more than double.  (Looks like I'll be doing that nasty job myself.)
  • Snow and ice is in the forecast.  (I can't even.)
  • And there were a few other things . . . that have no business on the blog.  (Y'know?)

Just one of those days.  Minor, silly grumps.  First world problems.  I'm feeling better today.  So far.  
(Until I hit that post office again.)


Be sure to check out what this week's Ten on Tuesday Gang has to say here.  (Bet they're not grumpy at all.)


Pure Comfort

When I'm feeling a bit stressed, or when life just seems overwhelming, nothing tastes quite as good as . . . 

Cookies and milk

Yeah.  Comfort food.  Nostalgic.  Simple.  Security -- wrapped in calories!

My favorites?

  1. Chocolate chip cookies.
  2. Grilled cheese sandwich.
  3. Tuna casserole.
  4. Chicken noodle soup.
  5. Cinnamon toast.
  6. Pancakes.
  7. Soft-boiled egg -- with plenty of butter.
  8. Risotto.
  9. Paella.
  10. Meatloaf.

How about YOU?  What's your favorite comfort food?


Be sure to check out what everyone else has to say here.  (Guaranteed to make your mouth water!)

Knock on Wood

This week, Carole has us out in the woods . . . 


listing our Ten Favorite Things Made of Wood.

Let's go . . . 


1 - The dock . . . up at our lake cottage.  Old now.  Splinter-y.  Silver with age.


2 - The interior walls of our cottage.  Knotty pine.  Cathedral ceiling.  Painstakingly finished by Tom and my Dad.


 3 - The firewood pile up north at our cottage.  Relaxing, cozy fires.  Always great way to wind down and kick back.


4 - The pergola in my backyard.  Probably my favorite place in the garden.  Lovingly crafted by my Dad, Brian, and Tom.


5 - My garden potting bench.  A long ago birthday present.  Rickety, but holding up.  My happy place.

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6 - My cork collection (which is actually much bigger than this).  Did you know corks are made from trees? Yep.

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7 - Awesome bookends.  Handmade by my brother-in-law.  They make me happy everytime I see them in my library.

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8 - Custom wood frames.  I have them everywhere!  My dad - and my brother-in-law, too - make beautiful, custom frames.  (I am very spoiled.)

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9 - My mezzaluna chopping board.  Along with the mezzaluna, it is one of my most-used kitchen gadgets.  A must-have for herb-chopping.  (Want one? Here's mine.)

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10 - A lovely, hand-carved wood bowl.  Technically, this is Tom's -- but I love it, too.  The photograph does NOT do it justice, so you'll just have to trust me that it's lovely.  (The photo in the background?  That's Jake -- the Wonderdog.)

How about YOU?  What are your favorite things made of wood?


Click here to see what everyone else has to say this week.