Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Naughty or Nice?

I suppose the title of this post is more suited to Christmas instead of New Year's Day. But I've been paying more attention to my behavior and/or reaction to things lately. I recently made more of a commitment to start living for God everyday. This came from a sudden realization that I've been way into my own head and thoughts of late. So I've set out on a mission. My mission involves my mind in a big way.

When my mind starts to wander into territory it shouldn't, and as soon as I realize this is happening, I try to reel it back in (an old fishing technique). I tell myself to "live for God," and automatically start to focus on being present. Sometimes my mind goes to a conversation that hasn't taken place yet, such as, what I'm going to tell someone at work if she does something I don't like. Maybe I'm re-hashing a conversation to include something I should have said in the past. Naughty. Maybe I'm thinking ill of somebody. Naughtier. Hence, the need to think differently.

The last couple of days, I've been a lot less stressed due to this improved way of thinking. Nice. It all boils down to a choice I've made. In living for God, I seek God everywhere. In conversations, interruptions, disagreements, snowflakes, thoughts and even dog hair on my carpet. Nice again.

I do long for the day when I won't have to try to live for God, when I don't have to refocus so often and it all comes naturally. Nice. But will it ever really come? Will I have to fight so hard for it everyday for the rest of my life just because I'm human?

My mission everyday, before ever walking out my front door, includes telling myself to live for God so I don't focus so much on myself. So I remember Him. So I appreciate Him. So I can love and know Him more - so I can be more nice than naughty.

Since making this commitment:

I've changed my attitude towards someone at work with whom I have conflicts. Nice.

I still don't like her. Naughty. But that's okay, she's acting more professional towards me.

I stop what I'm doing more often to help people at work or anywhere else. Nice.

I give my dog even more loves than I used to. Nice.

I pay more attention to my husband's needs. Nice - or maybe that one's naughty ;-) We won't go there.

I changed the background on this blog without any regard to my husband's tastes this time. Naughty, but it feels good.

Seek ye first... Matthew 6:33

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Tis the season to be grumpy and tired! We went out yesterday to get a new Christmas tree and decorations, this after having gone to 5 different stores the night before! We started with breakfast out at 8 am and did not get back home until 6 PM! It wasn't all Christmas shopping we did get Cheryl a bunch of new winter clothes. That part I didn't mind I like shopping for clothes for her.
Needless to say the tree didn't get put up last night.

The saga continued today! Again we went to breakfast at 8 am and came home and started on the tree. It is now 4:30 and we are finally finished! I must admit it did turn out beautiful and then I went an got a blow up Santa that waves and talks. You decide here is the finished products.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Great Concert, But I hate Philly!

Went to Philadelphia to see the Trans Siberia Orchestra. The concert was great! Getting there was another matter! We had decided to make a day of it in Philly. We did the Duck tour which was nice and then went to the Franklin museum.

Now for those of you that don't live in the east let me explain to you what an incredible screwed up mess Philly is. First if you hesitate for a second at any light or God forbid try to be a a defensive driver you will get honked at. If you are at a four way stop and don't jeopardize your car or your life you will never get across the street!

Then there is parking! We parked in four different places yesterday for a sum of $100! You have no choice, the places we went to were not close enough for walking. I have two new big time blemishes on my car, as out of frustration I tried to park too close to a concrete post, and yes I did have to listen to "I tried to tell you"!

But I digress, we went to a Mexican restaurant before the concert and had a great meal. Then proceeded to get lost in Philadelphia for the next 45 minutes, which included stupidity on my part. I ran a red light into not one, not two, not even three, but six lanes of traffic! Suffice it to say God had his angels watching out for us! Other then idiots driving around us because heaven forbid they may have to wait a few more seconds, and the accompanying horn honking, we made it to the concert unscathed other then nerves!

The concert itself was absolutely worth it. The music, the lights and special effects were all outstanding. It was a typically loud concert, but since my hearing isn't what it used to be it was just fine for me.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Memory Photo

This is a photo taken about 25 years ago. It's one of my favorites. Although I need to fix the eyes where the camera flashed.

Our blond haired, blue-eyed boy and our dog, Chesai. She was a poodle/terrier mix. She loved being herself. I thought I was smart back then. Looking back, I think she was the wise one.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

John Deere Green

Believe it or not, for the first time in a couple of months, I finally feel like I have a few minutes to sit down and post. It's been kind of a rough few months for me. I think I'm getting old! It has never taken me this long to get used to a job. But I think I'm almost there. Things have calmed down at work quite a bit. Now I have two full days off a week. For a while there, I was beginning to think I might not have what it takes anymore. It's still and always will be a really busy office, but I now see light at the end of the tunnel. Thank goodness for Don's encouragement. "You're new. It will get easier," he said. He was right.

I bought Don an I-Phone for his birthday. He wasn't sure about it at first, but loves it now. He took it with him to Minnesota to visit our children and grandchildren. I couldn't go - I was working :-( Anyway, he surprised them all by showing up unannounced. No one knew except for our daughter-in-law, Stephanie. Apparently, she's pretty good at keeping secrets. Many a tear was shed when he arrived, and the grandkids were thrilled.

Our two year old grandson, Michael, had a birthday party. It was a John Deere tractor theme party. Don got lucky and found a few John Deere gifts at a local department store. No one else was quite as fortunate. The cake turned out great thanks to the wonderful effort Stephanie put into it. Way to go Stephanie! You can go to "The Brandt Blog" under our blog list and view her August 24th post to see pictures.

Frodo and I missed Don a lot while he was gone. We're glad he's back now, and we're looking forward to Labor Day weekend. (It's an extra day off! Although, the work only piles up when I'm not there). Still, it's nice to be together.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

My wife brought to my attention that I have not posted for awhile. It has been very busy since the first of July. I started school the 6th and it has been keeping me busy. It is going well but this is a very basic class. I'm sure it will get harder before it gets easier.
Then I have been working a lot of hours. Why I don't know, because obviously its not been appreciated by anyone outside my work group. We have a new contract that starts the 1st of August and although I have been doing the same job for 30 years, the FAA in their infinite wisdom has decided that since I don't have a 4 year degree I obviously don't know what I am doing. Therefore through the wording of the contract, my new company was forced to decrease my salary by a substantial amount. I am now making what I was making 10 years ago! I am very bummed out about this, but there is not much I can do. The funny thing is I will still be doing the same job that I have been doing! That's our government in action at its finest! Well enough venting. I hope everyone is having a great summer. I need to get back to blogging about Frodo he is a lot more interesting!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Nine to Five Grind

I'm going on my second week now. This job is definitely not boring. There is something to do every minute of every day. As a matter of fact, there are so many things to learn, I'm almost afraid for the resigning secretary to leave her position. She's a great trainer, but the job can be overwhelming to learn. I think I'm doing okay though. I'm just having to take a lot of notes. Hey, I'm older now and my memory isn't as good as it once was. But I can't really blame it on that. There would be a lot to learn even for someone a lot younger.

I miss Frodo. I think he misses me in the daytime hours too. He's snuggled at my feet as I write this. He was snoring a few minutes ago. Dog snores are so cute.

I think Don is happy that I'm working again. I sort of like the routine of it all. Although, I do miss all the hours of doing whatever I felt like when I felt like it. Now I have to schedule everything. Even my off time. I have to make a "to do" list just to pay bills or mop the floor. Everything has to be more organized or I won't have enough daylight hours to get it done.

Well, maybe that part will feel better over time. I'm still glad I got hired. I really like the job.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Travel and Family

I've been quite busy with a trip to Tennessee and then a new job. So I sort of neglected my computer for a while. Even my email started growing cobwebs.

Our Tennessee trip was wonderful. We visited with our son, Tim (although he will always be "Timmy" to me), his wife and our grandson. We met our new granddaughter for the first time - even though she is sixteen years old now. That's a whole other story. It was like one of those knocks on the door a man might receive, and when he opens it, a pretty young girl says, "Hi, I'm your daughter." Sort of like that. And oh, there's more. She's pregnant. That will make me a great-grandmother at fifty-two. Joy. God does have a sense of humor, doesn't He? She was nice though, pretty and well-mannered, but did not express much consideration for what lies ahead of her. I don't think she understands. The poor thing. Her childhood will soon be gone.

We had much to eat over the weekend, and being in Nashville, you know it was all SCRUMPTIOUS! Friday night, we had beautiful fireworks and a wonderful finale at my son's home. He barbecued, and the food was the best. Saturday, it poured rain during the city of Nashville's fireworks, and we all got soaked, but what fun! Sadly and prior to fireworks, the news of Tennessee Titan, Steve McNair, hit the streets like wildfire. We were eating at a restaurant/brewery about two blocks from where he was killed when we heard the news. Very sad.

It's always hard to end a vacation with family and say goodbye until next time. I keep thinking of the beautiful home my son built for his family with his own two hands, and I feel very blessed to have such a talented son. It makes me so happy to know he takes such good care of his family.

Frodo made the trip just fine. Although, I think he likes hotel rooms better than the car. He's such a good travel dog.

I started a new job this past Monday. It's the reason I haven't been on the computer much. I'm not used to working. I think it has taken me most the week just to get used to rising earlier in the morning. I'm a secretary for a group of psychologists at a local hospital/rehabilitation center. Very interesting work. Very busy office. At least the days will go by fast.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Dog Walk?

I found this picture on the internet. If my leg were broken, I'd hire someone to walk the dog. I'd be too embarrassed to do it like this picture. Besides, I wouldn't want to risk running over the dog with the car. Lazy, lazy, lazy.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Merry Trip to Maryland

We packed up our suitcases, grabbed the dog and jumped into our SUV for a trip to Maryland over this past weekend. Spending Friday night in Herndon, VA was exciting for Frodo, our beagle. He loves hotel rooms so long as we physically stay in the room with him. Otherwise, he makes lots of noise unless in his crate. We spent the night there so we could pick up our son, daughter-in-law and grandson, Michael, very early the next morning from Dulles airport.

We drove to Maryland where we stayed the next two nights in a wonderful cottage right on the Patuxent River. The weather was beautiful even when a ferocious, but wonderful storm passed through. It was all so refreshing spiritually and mentally.

I have to say Don out-fished his son. It was, after all, Father's Day. The fish were all cleaned for us by the gracious owners of the cottage. How wonderful! We packed the fish on ice and took it home. It's in our freezer waiting to be devoured. The best part of the trip (besides seeing family) was sleeping next to open windows. The breeze from the river served as the best fan ever, and the waves lapping against the rocks lulled me to sleep.

It was the first time Don and I went crab-picking. It's certainly not like ordering them in a restaurant. There's a lot of work to eating a crab! By the time I was done, I don't know how many I ate, but they sure tasted good.

After about 10 or 15 minutes into traveling back home, we received a phone call to check our luggage. Apparently, Don had packed the diaper bag in with our suitcase, fish and doggie bowls. A diaper bag is certainly not something we will be using, but they needed it in a great way. So we returned it to them, and it was a good thing too because we noticed we had forgotten Frodo's bear. Oh my! We couldn't leave that behind. It's a toy black bear that used to be stuffed with cotton. Frodo sleeps with it every night. Before going to bed, he fetches it from wherever it is and brings it to bed with him. It's adorable. But we would have had to buy him another one if we left it.

Life is back to normal now, and Don is out walking the dog. It's good to be alive and able to enjoy the life God has given us - even, or especially, all the small things.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Old Dogs

Who says you can't teach old dogs new tricks? I've decided to go back to school and get my BS degree in Computer Science. I will be doing it through on-line studies at DeVry. I have been boning up on my math, since I have to take a math, reading and essay placement test. It is truly amazing how much your brain can retain. I have not taken any math courses since high school and it amazed me how much I have retained! Knock on wood! I am hoping that with credit for classes I took while in the air force It will only take about a year and a half to get my degree. I am looking forward to as well as dreading this. Its been a long time since I have had to regiment myself to a study schedule.

On a happier note, I am looking forward to this weekend as we will be spending it with my son and his family from Vegas. They are going to Maryland and we will be meeting them there for some fishing, crabing and all around good eating (within weight watchers constraints, naturally). I am looking forward to seeing my grandson, who will be two in August. That trip will be followed up in two weeks with a trip to Tennessee. So look for new adventures for Frodo and family in the near future.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

It's My Birthday!!!

Hello. My name is Frodo. I'm a pure bred beagle and TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY! Usually I don't write on this blog, but today is a special day. You see, I'm five years old today. What makes it more special is that I was rescued from a hunter in Tennessee when I was just a puppy. I don't think I remember it though. I came from a litter of eight to ten other puppies. All of them males.

What makes this day every year (and actually, every day of the year) so special is knowing that I survived. Out of all those cute little puppies, I was the only one who lived. My present Mommy and Daddy got me out of that hunter's care just in time. Right after I arrived in New Jersey, parvo, a deadly disease, struck the young pups. The hunter tried to "doctor" the sick puppies, but each one of them died a horrible death. When my vet technician was asked about it, he said that there was no sense in it. Had they been taken care of correctly and seen by a veterinarian from birth, they would have lived. So you see, I am very fortunate and blessed.

I love where I am living now, and I live life to the fullest. I love long walks in the park, wading through water, smelling flowers, playing "belly belly" with Daddy, snuggling on cool evenings and sunning on the deck. What a life!

I do encourage people, though, to rescue a dog if you can open your home and your heart to others like me. We all appreciate it and need someone to love and love us back.

I'm posting a few pictures of me. I know pictures of me have been posted before, so I'll just post a few. One of my favorites is the picture of me on a boat. I call it, "King of the World." Well, I'm off. Gotta live that life I was telling you about. There's just not enough time to curl up and sleep on the bed!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


We went to Bushkill Falls in PA this weekend. They call it the Niagra of PA. Having seen Niagra Falls it's not close in comparison. Having said that it was still worth the trip! They have a number of trails that you can walk and most are on wood with rails similar to a deck. They do have some very steep stairs though.
We decided to take the longest trail first while we still had our energy. We got to the end of the wood walkway and there was a warning that the remainder of the trail was for hikers only. We said what the heck, we have lost weight, how hard can it be! Famous last words. For the most part it was a gentle up hill walk over boulders and tree roots next to the stream that helped to create the falls, but then it got serious. There was a section of the hill that was very steep, we made it with a few stops.

We had our beagle with us and he had a ball. The hill didn't even phase him. After that hill, it got a little flat again and then came the stairs! It was almost like climbing a ladder in spots! Again we made it with numerous rest stops. We made it all the way around and enjoyed the views and scenery. We even continued on some of the other trails. Doggy loved walking by the stream and went wading every chance he got.

We hiked around for 3 hours. The amazing part is 2 months ago before we started our diets we would never have made it. It's amazing what losing 20 pounds can do for you.

On the way home, doggy slept like a rock. We never heard one peep from him. He came home, ate and slept the rest of the night.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Longwood Gardens

Don and I visited Longwood Gardens this past Memorial Day and celebrated our twenty-third wedding anniversary. It was a beautiful day to go and not too hot. Many flowers were blooming, and the trees and shrubs were a bold green and trimmed with special care. We took some pictures with the new camera. I'll put some up here. I had a little trouble lining them up on this page. Got flustered, so I left some pictures out, but these are enough...

Friday, May 22, 2009


We won't be at home Sunday for me to post this so I thought that I would take this opportunity to tell the world how happy and thankful to God I am for my wife! We will have been married 23 years this Sunday. It has not always been happy years, but then again thats part of life. We have had our share of sorrows, both my parents, her mom and last but by far not least our first dog that we had for 18 years (only pet lovers will understand that one). We have also had our share of joys, the birth of our first grandson (my step-grandson but I hope that I don't show any favoritism) and three grand kids from my sons. We love them all and wish we could spend more time with them, but the distances that come with life doesn't always make that possible (Thank God for skype).

But having said all that the remainder of this blog will be extolling the virtures of my wife. She is a beautiful woman with a gentle spirit. She may not always do the things that I would like her to, but 9 out of 10 times she is right and I know it when I stop and think about it. She is a great cook, which probably explains why we are both on the weight watcher diet right now. I know that I spend way too much time on the computer, but she puts up with it and doesn't complain too much. She loves to write, and I think she is very good at it. I hope she keeps plugging away at it and someday that book with come. We do everything together as our interests are very simular. For a long time we even worked at the same job together. Most peole could not understand how we could do that, but when you are best friends and well as life mates it makes it very easy.

She is always there when I am sick or down in the dumps about something. She listens to me complain and rant and then calmly tells me everything will be alright, and she's right! With her by my side everything is right!

We watched the video of our wedding the other night and I was amazed at how young we were and how beautiful she was then and still is. I know I don't always say it enough, but I want you to know Cheryl I have and will always love you! Happy Anniverary!

Total Randomness

I am a firm believer in blogs having a theme. "Our Adventures" is supposed to be about all the activities and events that happen in the lives of my husband and me. But sometimes that is difficult. Sometimes we don't do very much that justifies putting in a blog. But then sometimes, simple things like relishing the heat of the sun on my face or watching my dog's reaction to a deer feeding at the side of our yard or the fulfillment of gardening or completed housework all might just be worth an entry into the blog. Mundane, routine things we often take for granted.

So I decided to post some pictures I took while trying to figure out my camera. I'm having trouble adjusting the focus because I wear bifocals, and there's so much to the camera I don't understand. But I'll never get it right if I don't start "pointing and clicking." So here goes...

This is the deer Frodo spied. Don puts down corn for the squirrels, but the deer love it. This one is a bit blurry.

Frodo looking at the deer through the front porch vinyl posts

One of my hibiscus flowers

I don't know what these are? Do you?

The tag from this plant says it's a Carolyn Whorton "Caladium."

Our four year old baby

These easy wave petunias are just starting out. They're a deep purple, really, but the picture turned out kind of blue. Weird.

Sunscape Daisy Seaside
"Osteospermum ecklonis" --
Like I'd know that without the tag!

A cool laminate floor is just the ticket after sunning on the deck!

Hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dogs Who Don't Swim

"Do you want to go for a walk?" That's the usual question we ask our dog, Frodo, when it's time to get the leash. He then runs a straight shot to the door, tail wagging all the way. The little guy doesn't ask for much - food, water, a little attention now and then, and of course, daily walks. Yesterday was beautiful outside, so we decided to visit our quaint city park for a few laps around the small pond.

Frodo will stop and smell a blooming flower on occasion. He always looks so cute when he does that. Most of the time though he keeps his nose to the ground. I suppose there are more smells there to capture a beagle's sensitive olfactory system.

We try to encourage him to swim in the pond on warm sunny days. You see, our beagle doesn't much appreciate any form of water unless it's in a bowl or puddle. He once jumped into the Tennessee River and swam when trying to get to Don, so I know he can (but that's another story, and I can't say he liked it). We didn't have to lead him to the water and coax him yesterday. Don and I were walking a steady pace on the paved path when Frodo darted down the hill toward the pond. Don held the leash and followed him. We were both excited to see Frodo step into the water since he rarely does on his own. He walked in up to his belly inciting even more excitement in us. He continued a little further, and our hopes grew even more.

And then it happened - whatever "it" was. Don thinks there may have been slippery moss causing Frodo to lose his footing. In an instant, Frodo took a nose dive into the water. Just his head got covered with one quick motion, but that was enough for him to back out of the water. Well, shucks, we thought he was going all the way this time. It was nice to see him run through the edge of the water though after his little mishap. I think he enjoyed himself even though it scared him.

He can swim. Not all dogs can, but he simply chooses not to so far. Maybe with a little time and some more encouragement. It will be a happy day when he goes into the water on his own to conquer his fear. Hopefully, it will be sometime this summer.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Il Divo

Cheryl and I went to Fairfax, VA yesterday for an Il Divo concert. If you do not know who they are, you can find them on you tube. The show was great! I would go again, but would try for different seats. We were high up and off to a side. But it was still worth the trip.

The most impressive part was that Cheryl and I stayed with in our points for weight watchers! In the past we would have just forgotten the diet for the day and pigged out. But we are both very serious about this and we stuck with it. I'm very proud of her and I don't want to be the one that gets us off the straight and narrow path!

Now back to the show. They performed most of the songs from their newest CD The Promise. I have that CD and love all the songs on it. Their version of Amazing Grace and Mama bring tears to my eyes everytime. They performed for 2 hours and 2 costume changes (Tux). The show was at the basketball facility at George Mason University. The campus and facility was pretty impressive. Click here to watch "Mama." Watch it with your mother or on Mothers Day, if you aren't in tears then you have a very hard heart!

We spent the night at a hotel and got up this morning to drive home. It was about a 4 hour ride, and being the glutton for punishment that I am, I decided to mow the yard just after we got back. Needless to say I am beat tonight.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Walking at the Gym

"I am pushing sixty. That is enough exercise for me." ~Mark Twain

Don and I went to the gym today. It had been a very long time since we went together - or at all for that matter. We walked on treadmills for 30 minutes. Well, I walked. Don walked and ran. Maybe this will be the start of something good. However, I do feel like Mark Twain.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Spring Day at the Zoo

We had a wonderful time at the Cape May County Zoo this past Monday. Don decided to take a day off, and the weather was so sunny and nice. We couldn't just stay indoors.

The ride to the zoo was exceptional too. Driving over the bridge toward Ocean City was breathtaking. A big, beautiful blue sky smiled down on us while the bay glistened from the sun. What topped the whole thing off was riding next to Don. We always have fun together. Not bad after almost twenty three years together.

We even stuck with our diet while we were there. Oops, I shouldn't say the "D" word since we're not really "dieting." It's a lifestyle change. Everyone likes it though except the dog. He doesn't get many table scraps these days. At least I stayed away from the shaved lemon ice - my favorite every time I visit a zoo!

I took pictures with our new camera only to find out I needed a better zoom lens. Our Kodak store at the mall is going out of business, so I was able to buy one there at a good discount.

These turtles were cute. If you can see the baby, it's really cute too. I was zoomed in as much as possible with what I had to work with. The baby turtle is at the end of the vertical row at the bottom. Looks sort of like a rock. I don't know if you can click on the picture to make it bigger if you want to see it. (Edit: I have since found out you can). The first picture is Don about to walk through the entrance to the part of the zoo where the buffalo, giraffe, zebra, etc. congregate.

This was the best I could zoom in on the giraffes. Got the bigger, better lens now though. Can't wait to use it. Zoom, zoom, zoom!