Friends Visiting...

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.” I so believe it, especially since I'm being visited by some very valuable ornaments.

Since we're being cautious, I really can't leave the house (except for doctor's appointments). My friends are making plans and visiting often. Scott and Lynne brought a delicious lunch and we had the chance to catch up and dine, poolside.
Brady brought her sweet 10 month old. I'm telling you, there is no better cure for anything that ails you like a sweet, little girl.

Cindy spent Sunday night and we enjoyed hours of sipping tea and coffee outside in the glorious sunshine!

“A friend is someone who understands your past,
believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”

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Tahoe Snail Mail...

It has been some time since we've retrieved mail from our South Lake Tahoe P.O. Box. This is what was found with Steve's comments.

"The keep pile on the left. The junk pile on the right. We could save entire forests of trees if they'd just stop... Sheesh!" Agreed!

"Discourse is fleeting,
but junk mail is forever."
-Joe Bob Briggs

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Send a Birthday Card to a Veteran!

I don't know if you read about this man, but James South, a World War II veteran is turning 100-years-old early next month and he has one special wish for his birthday.

His sign reads, “Hello! My name is James South and I am a proud WWII veteran! I will be turning 100 on October 7th, 2019. I would like to receive 100 birthday cards. Please mail to: 5800 North Park Dr., Watauga, TX 76148. Thank you!”
You know how I feel about Snail Mail, birthdays AND veterans. Please help James exceed his goal. I know the Watauga Post Office has been put on alert! What fun.

"More than kisses letters mingle souls."
~John Donne

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National Key Lime Pie Day...

Happy Key Lime Pie Day to you! Though not my favorite pie (pumpkin is and its National Day isn't until Christmas, ironically).

Today's food trivia: Key Limes are uniquely sour because they have less moisture in their peel. This makes the juice much more acidic.

Here are today’s things to know about Key Lime Pie:
1. The dish is named for the small Key limes that are naturalized throughout the Florida Keys.
2. Unlike regular lime juice, Key lime juice is a pale yellow color which combined with the egg yolks results in the yellow pie filling.
3. On July 1st, 2006, both the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate passed legislation selecting the “Key lime pie” as the official pie of the state of Florida.
4. It is highly likely that the first Key lime pie was created by “Aunt Sally,” the cook of William Curry, a ship salvager and Key West’s first millionaire. Many of the men on board his ships would have had access to the basic and non-perishable ingredients required for the early recipe: canned milk, limes and eggs. Interestingly, during mixing, a chemical reaction between the proteins of the egg yolks and condensed milk with the acidic lime juice occurs that causes the filling to thicken on its own without requiring baking. Early recipes for Key lime pie did not require baking the pie, relying on this reaction (called thickening) to produce the proper consistency of the filling. Today, because consuming raw eggs can be dangerous, pies of this nature are usually baked for a short time. The baking also thickens the texture more than the reaction alone.
To celebrate this day in history, and in lieu of eating an actual Key Lime Pie, I'm reading a culinary mystery based on today's special dessert. "When life gives you limes, make Key Lime Pie."

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Living Vicariously...

Right now, had I not broken my neck, we would we in San Diego with friends, enjoying dining al fresco in Old Town. I just received this email...

Dear Denise & Steve,
We had Margaritas and lunch today with you, our flat friends.
Missed you.
Take care.

If you look closely, 'Steve and I' are nestled between the two salsas with a look of envy on our faces. So fun! We truly wish we were there.

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A Birthday Lunch in Temecula Wine Country Sans Wine...

Annie and Bob drove in the crazy traffic from Anaheim to join us for a celebratory luncheon (belated for Annie, early for Steve). We met at Leoness Cellars.

Since my non-medical outings are limited (in frequency and proximity) this was a much anticipated dining experience for me.
"The Restaurant provides an exceptional al fresco dining experience with a full service menu featuring items made 100% from scratch in our kitchen."

"Offering seasonal selections ranging from vibrant salads to entrees packed with an array of complimenting flavors, including seafood, pastas and unique flatbreads, to decadent desserts that will leave you craving more. The Restaurant’s success is fueled by a passion for serving savory dishes that are second to none."
And the setting was pretty delicious, too. What fun! Here's to good friends and having awesomeness close by!
"Eating, and hospitality in general, is a communion,
and any meal worth attending by yourself is improved
by the multiples of those with whom it is shared."
-Jesse Browner

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'Downton Abbey' as an Airbnb...

Our friend, Ian, sent us this newspaper article. I am so bummed we can't book this reservation!

This is from the actual listing...

Highclere Castle - the home of Downton Abbey - is now available for a once-in-a-lifetime stay. For one night only, you can sleep in one of the Castle’s iconic bedrooms on November 26th 2019 and get the opportunity to live like the Lord or Lady of a stately home.

For the first time, two guests are cordially invited to immerse themselves in life at Highclere Castle and will be treated like royalty during their stay. Booking for the stay on November 26th goes live on October 1st at 12PM BST.

“Nothing succeeds like excess.”
-The Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith)

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Me a Character in a Murder Mystery?

My friend, author Dr. Peter Mires, got me rather excited when he wrote, "I'm currently reading Todd Borg's latest (have read all the others), and one of the characters works at the South Lake Tahoe Library and lives in your neighborhood. Funny!" Being as I know Todd, it would not be totally unheard of that I could be in the newest Owen McKenna mystery (oh man, how vain is that?).

When I pursued it further and asked if it could be me, Peter replied, "That was my first thought. Are you a swimmer interested in shipwrecks in Lake Tahoe?" Hmmm. Maybe it's not me after all. But what fun, right? Now I have to read this novel, the 17th in the series. Wow.

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My Broken Neck Follow Up #2...

It has been two weeks since I first met with my orthopedic specialist. This was an important appointment to confirm that his treatment plan was indeed the right one for me.

I went into the appointment thinking I would learn that I was healing. Maybe it was wishful thinking because after almost three weeks in the brace, it is still too early to tell.
But the appointment was still a success. Dr. Z informed me that nothing bad had happened over the last 14 days. No bones have shifted. All is as best as can be expected. Any injury to the spine is a serious matter. The most serious concern is damage to the spinal cord. I happen to have suffered the rarest of breaks, but since my C1 vertebra fracture occurred without any neurological problems, I should be able to achieve a full recovery over the next few months. I just need to be cautious, careful and continue doing what I'm doing.
I return for a follow up in a month. Please keep sending those healing wishes. They are working!

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Clearing My Calendar...

One of the difficult parts of my neck fracture event is having to clear my calendar. For those who know me, I thrive on busy and prior to this unfortunate happening, life was getting fantastically over scheduled, much to my great delight.

This is an open apology to those of you whose amazing plans have had to be canceled postponed because of me. Parties planned, family reunions orchestrated, weekend getaways long booked, concerts awaiting our fine dance moves, visits with friends highly anticipated, babies to be cuddled upon and wasted chances for big bear hugs... all lost for now. While my mind knows this is just a minor set back in the big picture that is my life, my heart aches for all those I have disappointed, the opportunities I have missed and the hard work I'm making Steve do. He, too, is missing out on all our fun and he is dealing with it with tenderness, patience and such love. Know that I am so sorry. My hope is for a healthy me, one day in the not too distant future.

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Cadenza String Orchestra

Since my traveling radius is a limited one, we ventured out to the Temecula Public Library to marvel at the Cadenza String Orchestra, presented by the Friends of the Library.

Fresh from a first place win with Excellent Success in the Special Group Category at the Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival in Vienna, Cadenza String Orchestra returned to play folk music from different countries as well as works by classical composers such as Mendelssohn, Sibelius, Grieg, Copland, Elgar, Bach and Mozart.

Steve and I agreed that we haven't been in a room with this much talent in a very long time, if ever! We are totally fans now.

This is a video of one of my favorite performances of this incredibly talent group- Horse Herd's Mountain Song. Wow. Bravi!
“I think music in itself is healing.
It’s an explosive expression of humanity.
It’s something we are all touched by.
No matter what culture we’re from,
everyone loves music.”
― Billy Joel

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Friends & Full Moons...

Since I'm staying close to home, I've had the delightful company (in the form of sleepovers) of two of my dear friends, Cindy and Julie. Old friends who were content to just sit and visit... no bells and whistles just each other's presence. Fun stuff.

Cindy and I have been friends since being room moms together in 1998.
College was made more memorable by meeting Julie during my freshman year (1980).
I am a fan of moons. Full moons I tend to favor most. Last night's was extra special as it occurred on Friday, the 13th. Interestingly, the next Friday the 13th Full Moon is set for Aug. 13, 2049. Yes folks, that was the last such moon, on that special day, for the next three decades. We were all so glad we took the time to marvel at the lunar loveliness. I'm not sure where we'll be the next time it happens again!

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In Praise of Airbnb...

I have been a huge fan of airbnb since I discovered it years ago! Today, they have increased my fandom immensely.

Due to the nature and fragility of my neck fracture, I had to cancel three various airbnb bookings (I need to limit my riding in cars and stay close to home). Normally these reservations have a strict no cancellation policy, but all of the hosts were so understanding and my support team member, Puja, couldn't have been more amazing. She wrote, "I wish I was a magician so I could make you fit and healthy with the wave of a wand!"

My blog posts won't be nearly as exciting as I hoped they would be but this is a minor setback in my wonderful life. When healed, watch out world... I'm going to make up for lost time... big time.

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The Downton Abbey Movie: Advance Screening

We’ve been counting down the days until the new Downton Abbey movie will premiere, ever since it was officially announced last July. And even though the release date is finally within sight (Sept. 20th), we could hardly wait to reunite with our favorite British family, the Crawleys.

What perfect timing that this sneak peek occurred on our 32nd anniversary. I am a huge cinephile and an enormous fan of this television series.
The film was primarily shot in London and at Highclere Castle in Hampshire (which was the main filming location for the television series, too). Filming began in September 2018 and was finished by the end of November. Woo hoo!
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the upcoming Downton Abbey film has sold more advanced tickets than any other drama this year.
I wll tell you that this film surprassed any/all of our expectations. Wow. If it's on your list of movies to watch, make certain you arrive early. The recap is amazing (and helpful). I won't say anymore! But oh my gosh, so worth the wait!
And if you need more Downton Abbey, before the movie's release, I highly recommend you read the blog written by the actual (current) Lady of the House, Countess Carnarvon.

“Nothing succeeds like excess.”
-The Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith)

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Our #32 Anniversary...

Tomorrow, we celebrate our anniversary with a 'night on the town'. While it will be only dinner and a movie, it will be wonderful to be out and about together!

Honeymoon Cruise 1987
I am so glad Steve said yes when I asked him to dance all those years ago. It has been an amazing love affair.

“Love does not consist of gazing at each other,
but in looking outward together in the same direction.”
―Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry

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1st Hair Wash in 14 Days...

My neck fracture event has involved a series of errors, some extremely dangerous (my misdiagnosis), some ill-advised (prescribing Advil which hampers bone growth) and some just inconvenient (not receiving a showering collar and replacement pads for my current brace). Maybe when this is all over, I'll write about all of this more thoroughly. In the meantime, let's celebrate the good!
This is me and my Philadelphia waterproof collar in the ER. Where art thou now?
Yesterday, my replacement pads arrived which meant I needed to remove my brace in order to exchange them. Since the showering collar we ordered hasn't come, we decided to take hair washing into our own hands (note the protective trash bag covering my not waterproof collar in the last photo). I have never gone this long without having clean hair. It has been disgusting.
This is my hair at almost two weeks dirty!
I read a great blog entitled "13 Weird Things that Happen When You Don't Wash Your Hair for Two Days." Besides me feeling ooky about it, I do have the only plus from the list, "For some lucky folks, going a day or two without shampoo results in gloriously thick and voluminous hair." Still, I feel so much better clean. It really is the simple things that make life wonderful.

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More Summer Reading...

If books were candy, I'd have a serious weight problem at the rate I'm eating/ reading. I have to agree with Colleen Hoover, who wrote in Hopeless, “I'm pretty sure my addiction to reading has just reached a whole new level.”

I've had the goal to read To Kill a Mockingbird for as long as I can remember. Wow... what was I waiting for? Seriously, this is one of the best novels I have ever devoured. There is so much about this story I would love to discuss. If this book has sat on your bookstand too long, pick it up, savor this amazing literary treasure and let's get together with a cup of coffee and talk about.

What's cool about my actual copy is the fact that I purchased this obviously unread book at our South Lake Tahoe Friends of the Library Book Sale. This is a special 50th Anniverary Edition (published in 2010). This 9 year old novel still had its original receipt, hidden within. On June 17th, 2010, the previous owner bought it at the Salt Lake City Airport for $13.88. Interesting right?
No one can say my reading selection is not diverse! Believe it our not, this book was a real page-turner. Since no one here will play my favorite game with me, I had the opportunity to live vicariously over 213 interesting pages. Word Nerd: Dispatches from the Games, Grammar, and Geek Underground is accurately described, "In this zany, one-of-a-kind memoir, former executive director of the National SCRABBLE Association John D. Williams Jr. brings to life the obsessions, madness, and glory of the SCRABBLE® culture―from living-room players to world champions." What great guilt free reading!!!

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