Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Peony Praise

Last week-end the peony bed was ready to pop.
We had to celebrate their beauty with a spur of the moment party. It started as wine and cheese, but I can't hold back.
I had a piece of salmon waiting to be cooked so I cured it.
Poached the chicken breasts for salad.
 Some colorful veggies and deviled eggs.
Bought some brownies...gotta have chocolate.
Berries were in  at the farmers market
Mini make your own strawberry shortcakes.
Set the table and ready to go.
Peony's Envy, a nursery and display garden in Bernardsville, New Jersey suggests prolonging the blooms over time by cutting the buds when they just show color and storing them in water in the fridge for six months! Or to keep for a few weeks, wrap in newsprint and lay in the fridge. They spring to life when put in water.

Click here to watch Peony's Envy on The Martha Stewart Show for a VIDEO on how to cut and store your herbaceous peonies.

Click on over to Today's Flowers #298 for more of what's in bloom.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Rock Star Son

Happy Birthday to my son. He rocks my world.
He's a grown up now but he'll always be our baby boy.
Happy Birthday

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


My blog/Facebook friend Nancy has asked me to join a group of bloggers talking about their writing process. I'll get to that.

First a funny story of how Nancy and I "met" on Facebook. I'm in groups about Long Branch and the Down the Shore and put up a link to a post about the house I lived.
Nancy asked what the address and it turned out she had lived in our house two owners after we had moved. After the fire it only had two floors. A loss of five rooms and two bathrooms.
 We also went to the same schools ...
and beach club, the late, lost and lamented Takanasee.

I'm still a Jersey beach girl, even if we do go the NC beaches now.
The old Tak Coast Guard Station destroyed by fire and then Sandy washed it away.
This building was moved across the street and restored as a pool house.
This is the empty beach before Sandy cut Lake Takanasee through to the sea. They plan to build townhouses and condos here. Where is the EPA? Seriously!
Anyway here are my answers about writing.

What am I working on now?
Well gee....I'm always trying to answer this question! Always juggling something. I may be a researcher, I may be a puzzle solver. To be truthful, I'm not a writer. I've got a bunch of ideas that will need drawings and old photos of a series of past houses we've lived in. Research in the basement photo boxes is needed to tell those stories and there aren't enough hours in my day. I need to do major photo organization. Someday I mean to take the best to put into a book for the family.

How does my writing differ from others of the genre?
A lot, I'm afraid. They are all soooo much better! I have written some history pieces about my hometown and about the six degrees of separation (see above!) I see around me. I can't begin to match some of my favorite bloggers. Joanie from Cote de Texas, her research skills on houses blows me away, as does John Foreman of Big Old Houses and Julia from Hooked on Houses. Sharon of My French Country Home is in the process writing a book. I highly recommend her guest house!
 My French Country Home cottage

Heather Robinson of Lost in Arles is a true writer/photographer and a recent post has her answers to these same four questions.

I'm more a visual than word person. My degree from Indiana University is in technical theatre/radio-tv. I've had a variety of careers: phone company rep, occupational therapy at a Pennsylvania state school for mental deficient girls, weaver, career and scholarship counselor, local tv producer/editor, theatre lighting/set designer.
 A Midsummer's Night Dream
And of course as a mom: homework and soccer coach, community volunteer, kid chauffeur, gardener, house painter, Ms. Fixit, cook, and laundress. Your basic jack of all household trades. I write from that experience, as do so many others.
Crazy for You
I'm not interested in making money with sponsorships or give a ways. I admire the bloggers like Marian from Miss Mustard Seed who turn their talent into a cottage industry, promoting their etsy or brick and mortar store sites. It takes time and energy that I just don't have. My DIY projects pale compared to some of the amazing thing out in blog land.

Why do I write?
In thinking this question over I realize I write for myself, to put something out front. Most of what I've done is very behind the scenes. Manager type things: stage manager, producer, director,
 Directing the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria Telethon
video editor tasks that do the work, but get little recognition.  This blog is mine, pictures and words.

I need to do creative things. I always have some project going...in the garden, in the house,
 A little DIY
in the theatre,
Setting lights, a view from the genie lift 30' up
on the computer.

I started my blog to feed that need and as a place to use some of my many photos. I do like research and I've always been a history buff so it was a natural pursuit for me to look into the history of the homes we've lived in over the years.

My main topics are about my life, interests, family and projects just as a personal record. Small stuff (but a lot of pictures) in the big picture mostly. Blogging has become an outlet for so many folks in isolated situations. There's a blog to cover every interest from A to Z be it autos, DIYers, professional decorators, crafters, photographers, businesses or zoos.There are so many talented folks out in blog land. Many have turned a hobby into a viable business or even a book.

How does my writing process work?
I hated writing in college, even calling home for idea help. Pencil and paper are a chore for me. When I got an early Apple and discovered word processing (and spell check) I found writing much easier. I could let my imagination flow and cut and paste with ease. I love my iPad and use it for drawing as well as writing, email, lists and research.

iPad drawing
I can write while I wait at soccer practice or the school parking lot. This is a good thing since I spend big blocks of time in the car!

I start with photos of what is currently happening in my life, or something I see or hear about. I think over stories in my head for a while, often in the middle of the night. I love the internet if I need research. It can take you anywhere. I used to get lost browsing in little drawers of the library card catalogues (don't have those anymore). Now I'm getting lost following threads on the internet. I do keep a couple general post drafts on hand that I can put up any time. I go back for revision many times before hitting publish.

These are the others answering the questions on this blog around. They write in a totally different business oriented genre.

Another six degrees...Nancy and my Dad both worked for J&J.
nancy-336x270 Blackbird Learning Associates is a woman-owned small business located in central New Jersey. Created in 2009, our mission is to provide precise learning solutions to an individual or organization’s specific job search needs. As founder, Nancy Anderson has over 25 years of learning and development, human resources and organizational development experience in the pharmaceutical, finance and insurance industries. Our services include program design, development and facilitation. Nancy is also a skilled job search coach and resume writer. Nancy is the author of the job search handbook, Job Search for Moms. This compact, easy to follow book is packed with many of the tools, examples and exercises used in her highly acclaimed courses. Follow Nancy at Blackbirdlearningassociates.com

bob avsec Robert Avsec makes his home in Charleston, WV with his wife of 30+ years. He served with the men and women of the Chesterfield (VA) Fire & EMS (CFEMS) Department for 26 years. He earned a Master’s Degree in from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ, and a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Cincinnati, both via distance learning. Robert is also a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program. Today, he’s a freelance writer who creates content for several fire service on-line publications, and who has his own blog, Talking “Shop” 4 Fire and EMS where he writes to have a positive influence on the current and future leaders of Fire and EMS. Follow him at http://fireemsleaderpro.org and on Twitter @FireEMSLeader.

038 When not cycling or kayaking, Michael Brigati can be found at home in the woodlands of Virginia or the oceanfront of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. With only Alaska left to explore to complete his 50 state bucket list, this adventurer has travelled a long way from his birthplace in the Bronx, NYC. After receiving degrees in Psychology and Anthropology from Ricker College in Maine, he ventured south and pursued a graduate degree at Virginia State University in Counseling Psychology. After being introduced to the field of Emergency Services, he soon joined the Chesterfield County Fire and EMS Department. A decorated officer, Michael retired as a Senior Captain, nationally registered paramedic and master rescue diver. He also served as a Crisis counselor for emergency personnel and was selected as a seminar presenter at the World Congress for Incident Stress. Currently, Michael is a contributing writer to Emergency Scene Magazine and his novel, FIRE THIEVES, is set to debut in 2014. Follow him at Michaelbrigati.com and Twitter @MichaelBrigati.

Cindy Lopez, Blogger of The F-Mom on workingmother.com. She has culminated her twenty-plus years as a divorce paralegal, a business school instructor and a paralegal career consultant to support fellow women through her blog with straight-forward truth and humor. Before there were "blogs," she founded and created the first website and online magazine for paralegals, Paralegal Press in 2000. She is inspired by women of all ages and stages balancing it all every day.