Friday, November 30, 2012

Portrayed In Pictures

A trip to San Francisco, meeting a new friend, election reflection, book fair, sparkly vampires, wine, football, food, family, and fun! Just a few words that sum up the month of November.

Here is the month portrayed in pictures.

Join the fun in December! Click the list you see over on the right for all of the details. 

2012 is nearly finished!

On The Wall

Soothing glow above
my head lulling me to sleep.
Dancing candlelight.

by Cheri Marks

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Around Columbia, there are tigers everywhere. Especially on campus. This is the Mizzou Athletic Training Complex on Stadium.

I'd like my windows to look like that.

I also want to say what a BIG disappointment the football season was this year. Our 7 year bowl eligibility streak snapped! We were slammed with injuries and a new tough conference in the SEC. Hopefully we have learned something this year and can move forward to 2013. 

We still have basketball season to look forward to. So far, they've looked pretty good. Still have a lot of team building to do - working together on the court. We have time for that.

But through it all... I will still remain a BIG fan.  Go Tigers!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


One of the coolest vehicles I have ever seen was in the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee.... Webb Pierce's "Silver Dollar" convertible.

Webb Pierce was a famous honky-tonk singer back in the 1950's, and apparently he was a pretty flamboyant guy. He paid $20,000 to have this 1962 Pontiac Bonneville customized. There are horseshoes on the gas and brake pedals. Ornamental handguns are mounted as handle bars, hood ornaments, and elsewhere. The original custom job had more than 1,000 silver dollars inlaid in the upholstery. In 1978, he replaced most of the silver pieces with alloy coins.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

New Tunes Tuesday - Christmas Edition Week 1

Listening to Christmas music is the quickest way to get me into the spirit of the season. I absolutely love Christmas music. So from now until Christmas, I thought it would be fun to highlight some of my favorite Christmas albums for New Tunes Tuesday. I enjoyed reviewing Blake Shelton's CD a while back, so I will pick up where that left off and review five of my favorites. Who knows, you might discover some new tunes for yourself this year.

Y'all know I love country music, but it wasn't always like that. I grew up listening to it against my will, learned to love it, rejected it for a while, and then fell back in love. The Statler Brothers, however, remained a favorite group of mine throughout it all. Interestingly enough, only two are actually brothers and none have the surname of Statler. The group was named after a box of tissues (aren't you glad it wasn't Kleenex?) in the early 60's. Originally singing gospel, they stay true to those roots on Christmas Card.

Released in 1979, it's a great mix of traditional and original songs. One of my favorite original songs is "I Believe In Santa's Cause." They sing of the miracles and magic that light up at Christmas time. "There's a Santa world at Christmas / Turning to the world's applause / So hang a bell for ole Saint Nick / 'Cause I believe in Santa's cause." Another great original is "Carols Those Kids Used To Sing." I remember singing Christmas carols at the nursing home when I was a young Girl Scout. I always think of that when I hear this song. "Just a bunch of kids singing Christmas carols / to the hospital, and the old folks home. / Some times we'd go in and sing 'em all again / to a shut in who was living all alone."

Their famous vocal harmonies really shine on the traditional songs like White Christmas and Jingle Bells. The album ends very fittingly with each of the quartet singing a solo. Each song fits their voices so well. A Christmas Melody sums it all up with Silent Night, O Holy Night, The First Noel, and It Came Upon a Midnight Clear. They all come together at the end for a verse of Silent Night. Gorgeous. That ending note still gives me chills!

Every time I listen to this album I am transported back in time. Their sound is heartfelt, warm and homey yet still remains current. It was a tradition in my childhood home to play Christmas Card while decorating the tree, and that tradition continues in my home today.


This is the Magic Tree.

It's a simple cherry tree wrapped in thousands of lights. Close to 40,000 in fact. It's an act of kindness by Will Treelighter in Columbia, Missouri. It takes him about 40 hours to wrap all of the lights around the tree. It really is a thing of beauty to see. The photos don't do it justice. 

The tree is located in the Village of Cherry Hill on Corona Road. This year marks the 18th year of the Magic Tree.

Monday, November 26, 2012

In the Cupboard

The china I received as a wedding gift was stored in a special cabinet. The plates, the platters, the cups, the saucers, the cute little sugar bowl and creamer. All of it - packed away for a special occasion.


Why did I save it for a special occasion? Who am I to determine what day of my life is a special occasion? What if that day is today? Have you ever thought about that? What if you woke up today and said "Today I'm going to cook a wonderful meal and serve it on my fancy china because today is Monday." Would that seem weird?

I don't think that seems weird at all. The past is done. The future is unknown. I choose to live for today because each day is a gift. That's why it's called the present. I know you've heard that before. It's said often, but how many people truly live that way?

A few months ago, the special cabinet where my china was stored was sold. I had to move my china. I fretted about it for a while. My kitchen is small without a lot of cabinet space. Where am I going to put my special occasion dishes? Then I decided the choice was obvious. I decided to store them right next to my "every day" dishes. I decided to give up saving things for a special occasion. The concept of saving them for a day that may never happen just seemed silly. 

What are you saving for a special occasion?

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Look up in the big blue sky
And you'll see shapes passing by
Look at the funny
white fluffy bunny
Who just turned into a fly

Or is that a cat that I see?
Or maybe a baby monkey?
Here's what I think
Make sure you don't blink
Now it's a dog who's run free.

By Cheri Marks

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Sound You Heard

On Thanksgiving night, we gathered around the table, ate some wonderful food, and drank a few beers. My brother in law, Sean, put the empty beer bottles to good use.

Disclaimer: Sean did not drink any of the beer. That was accomplished by my husband, his brother, and me. And they were good. 

Here he is "tuning" the bottles...

And here he is playing Joy To The World.

Pretty creative, don't you think?

Friday, November 23, 2012


I do NOT shop on black Friday. Never have and didn't plan on starting today. So I volunteered to watch six kids.... yes, volunteered... while others went shopping. I still think I got the better end of the deal. I put on my fuzzy black and gold and white socks (Mizzou, of course) and took a nap by the fire while the kids played.

It's not as difficult these days when the age range is 11 to 5 (Emily went shopping). They basically entertain themselves. The hardest part of my day was getting them lunch. And with all of the leftovers, that was easy.

Do you shop on black Friday?

Thursday, November 22, 2012


I have many things to be grateful and thankful for this Thanksgiving.

For starters, I am grateful for all of the family that sat around this table. I am grateful for the lake house where we all gathered. I am grateful for new family members and for family members who were not able to be with us. I am grateful for the next generation and the good times when we are all together.

I am grateful for memories made.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock

So this review is going to be short and sweet....

Do you like chocolate?

Do you like beer?

If you answered yes to both of those questions, then you owe it to yourself to try Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock. It has the best chocolate flavor I have ever tasted in a beer. The beer is brewed with a blend of cocoa nibs which is the primary ingredient in chocolate. It has a great malty flavor with the sweetness of chocolate. It's very light, smooth and doesn't weigh you down.

Now here's the bad news... it's a seasonal beer. And you can only find this beer in the Winter Classics pack. They include two beers of six varieties in this pack. This year the pack includes Old Fezziwig Ale, Winter Lager, White Christmas, and Holiday Porter. Oh, and they throw in a couple of Boston Lagers too. I must ask why they do this? I can get Boston Lager ANY TIME I WANT? That's my only complaint.

Still, Chocolate Bock is definitely worth buying the whole pack. Let me know if you don't agree.


What I Wore

I don't want to brag but.... I can still wear the earrings I wore on my wedding day.

They were a gift to me from my Mother-in-Law. That was almost 17 years ago. Hard to believe. Here is a moment in time from that day. This is us standing in the receiving line just moments after the ceremony.

Wow, we were young! We've changed a lot since then, but those earrings.... they still fit.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Work hard. Play hard. And I can do both from my laptop....

But when it's this close to a holiday.... this picture is a more accurate description of my day.

One more work day!!!

New Tunes Tuesday - Phillip Phillips

Yesterday the reigning "American Idol" Phillip Phillips released his highly anticipated album, The World From The Side Of The Moon. Please, do not let the reality show title influence you. It's clear after one listen that he's much more of a musician than a product of a reality show. I love this guy's sound.

His first single, Home, has been hugely successful. It debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in June after his Idol victory, slipped a little for a few weeks, and then vaulted to new life during the Summer Olympics. You may have recognized it as it accompanied coverage of the United States women's gymnastics team. That certainly helped with his exposure.

And now the album picks right up where Home left off.  I was very pleased to learn he wrote or co-wrote all of the songs except two.  His cover of Chris Isaak's Wicked Game is nothing short of genius. The twists and turns will sound very familiar to you if you followed him on Idol. Gone, Gone, Gone will remind you of Mumford and Sons, from the guitar intro to the staccato drums, and get your feet tapping. So Easy is a beautiful love ballad with a catchy chorus "you make it so.. you make it so.. you make it so easy. / Just letting go.. so beautiful.. 'cause you make it so easy to fall so hard." Another stand out track that could easily be released as a single is Get Up Get Down. True to its title, it has a jumping chorus full of horns and hopping drums. In the powerful Tell Me A Story he pleads while singing... "Scared of what's behind you and scared of what's in front / Live with what you have now and make the best of what's to come." It's probably my favorite song by lyrics and melody. 

If Dave Matthews and Marcus Mumford could have a love child, it would be Phillip Phillips. He gives a young and fresh look to the jamming-blues-rock hybrid. This album really showcases his rich, raspy vocals and mad guitar skills. I think we'll be hearing Phillip Phillips on the air waves for many years to come.

Welcome home.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Something Awesome

Okay... I'm stumped. Awesome? What should my photo of the day be? So I do what every thinking person does these days. I turn to Google. I decide to look up the definition of awesome to maybe spark an idea. Here is what I found:
  1. Extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear.
  2. Extremely good; excellent.
And then I had one of those A-HA! moments. It really didn't take very long. I immediately thought of one thing that can satisfy both parts of the definition - something daunting that inspires fear yet extremely good and excellent....


If you are a parent, I think you will agree with me. The job certainly inspires great fear. The fear for me began when I found out I was carrying a tiny life inside of me. This little developing person was 100% dependent upon me for its own survival. That's pretty scary. You start second guessing every decision you make. And that fear and second guessing never goes away. I feel helpless when they are sick and paralyzed when they go missing (even for just a short while). I feel like I have superpowers one minute but feel completely incompetent the next. Parenting is tough!

But it is also inspiring. I am inspired by my parenting friends. We lean on each other for advice. We comfort one another when we are at our wit's end. And we understand when the other needs a break. Becoming a parent has also inspired in me a great admiration towards my own parents. I have an all new respect for them now.

Becoming a parent is the most difficult yet most rewarding thing any person could ever be. It is extremely good and excellent. To be called Mom is truly something awesome.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pumpkin Bread

My family loves quick breads. At this time of the year, our favorite is pumpkin. This is the best pumpkin bread recipe I have ever tried. The little loaves make great holiday gifts.

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup canola oil (or vegetable, I prefer canola)
2/3 cup water
2 1/2 cups white sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into prepared pans. Use three 7x3 loaf pans or it works great in a mini loaf pan like this... (Pampered Chef rocks).

Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

You could probably add nuts or raisins if you prefer. I think this bread is wonderful plain. Enjoy it warm with a little bit of butter. It's moist, spicy, and actually tastes better the day after it is baked. 

I know what I'll be having for breakfast tomorrow!

Happened This Weekend

That's the word (or phrase) of the day. It was a good weekend for the most part as most weekends are. The weather was perfect. The kids behaved. I got to relax and have a little fun. There were definitely some good parts, but there were also some not so good parts. First the good part.

This, my friends, was the highlight....The final movie of the Twilight Saga was released this weekend, and I went to see it today. I have one word to describe it... 

AMAZING! I loved it! Great way to end the series. I don't want to spoil it for any of the fans, so I'll just say go see it before you hear anything about it! Seriously.

OK, now for the not so good part. It was the black out game and Senior Night at The Zou against Syracuse on Saturday. Sounds like a perfect way to end the home football schedule with a non-conference win, right? 

Oh, I wish that's how the story ends. We started out looking really good. DGB had a big return for a touchdown, and Jimmie Hunt also scored in the first quarter. Our defense was looking pretty strong too. We were ahead at half-time 17-10. I wasn't completely comfortable with their performance, but I thought we could pull out a win. The second half though was a lot of punts, lackluster defense, and ended with a heartbreaking loss. Syracuse scored the winning touchdown with 20 seconds remaining. Final score was 31-27. We watched our bowl hopes slip through our fingers. Black Out now had a new meaning... mourning the end of the football season. 

But here's another good part to the weekend. Half-time was probably one of the coolest things I've ever seen. It was "Salute to Veterans" night, and we were in for a real treat. The United States Army Golden Knights Parachute Team made their first appearance at Faurot Field. A spark of golden fire lit the sky as they descended onto the field one by one. The cheers grew as each one tip-toed to a stop. Very cool.

It's been a tough first year in the SEC. We did win two conference games. I'll hold on to those shining moments, but I wish the season could have ended differently. I know we have one more game, but it's away at Texas A&M. We've seen what the Aggies have done so far this year. I really don't see us marching into College Station and pulling out an upset. It could happen but highly unlikely. 

So, those are some of the highlights and low lights of my weekend.  Not bad, overall, and it's still not over. How was your weekend?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Last Thing I Bought

A haircut for my boy....

Amanda has been cutting my husband's hair since college, and she's been cutting Brandon's hair since day one. She's almost like family. Once you find someone who cuts your hair exactly how you like it, you stick with them. 

I have had several people cut my hair over the years for a variety of reasons. The most recent change was because my hairdresser passed away from breast cancer. It's been almost a year. Very sad. Fortunately, I found a new hairdresser who does a very good job. She also cuts my daughter's hair. I think I'll stick with her for a while.

So this was the last thing I bought. The ironic thing is that it wasn't for me. But that's the life of being a parent, isn't it?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fair Enough

Today the kids have the day off from school. I had completely forgotten about this and scheduled a meeting for this morning. Oops. Plus, my daughter had been asking to go to the Scholastic Book Fair this week, and I was not going to deny her that request!

I still get chills when I see the cases of books. I mean... just look at all of the beautiful books! Crisp pages, binders unbroken, that new book smell... it's all there. The book fair is where I was introduced to Blubber and Superfudge, where I solved mysteries with Encyclopedia Brown, and where I asked... Are You There, God? I think I owned every single Judy Blume book ever written. I loved going to the book fair.

So we compromised. She went to my meeting with me, and afterwards we went to the book fair and had some lunch.

Fair enough.

We spent a good amount of time this morning thumbing through the books, reading some of the pages, and deciding which ones to take home. She's a strong reader and is interested in chapter books now. She chose "Whatever After #1: Fairest of All" by Sarah Mylnowski. It's a new series of books where this bossy sister and her little brother fall into fairy tales and get into mischief. This one happens to be about Snow White. They stop her from eating the apple, but that's how she meets Prince Charming! So they have to fix the story and then find their way home. It sounds very creative and witty. She's already started reading it.

My real hope is that she finds a series of books that will stick with her for a lifetime. Like "Little House" was for me. Of course, those books are timeless treasures and will be introduced to her very soon... along with every single Judy Blume book ever written.

The View From Your Window

At the car wash...

The riding car wash. One of the best inventions ever. I can sit in my temperature controlled car while the conveyor belt pulls us through station after station. And it's available any season! I'm warm (or cool) and dry. It's definitely worth the few extra bucks to ride through a car wash. My car gets clean, and I don't get wet. I'd much rather pay someone else to wash my car.

Did you ever have to work a car wash as a fundraiser growing up? Oh, I did several. I remember doing that for my dance squad for our trip to Nationals, as a class for Prom (I think), and even Marching Band for our trip to New Orleans. We would work all day, scrubbing multiple cars by hand, soaking each other "on accident" and only making a few bucks. I think it was more for the fun than the money. Good times.

I don't see many car wash fundraisers these days. I wonder why that is? Maybe because people are in too much of a hurry to stop? It takes a while to hand wash and rinse a car. And you usually have to wash your car again because young people don't really pay much attention (definitely more for the fun than the money). Still, I think I'll stop at the next car wash fundraiser. Not just to help them out with a donation, but to help them build memories. I remember how much fun I had. Time to pay it forward.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

In My Bag

Today's photo is what's in my bag. Well... it's full.

Full of things I need: wallet, keys, sunglasses, gum, mints, lipstick, pen, PHONE!

Full of things I might need: nail file, penlight, chapstick, planner, mints, USB.

And then there's this packet of photos. I'm not sure why I still carry it around with me since most of my photos are now digital. I can just bring up the album on my phone (which is always on me). But I'll still carry it in my bag because I always have. Every good Mom carries a packet of photos of her kids, nieces and nephews.

I hate purse shopping. I never seem to be able to find one that's the perfect size. I have a larger black bag that I take with me when I travel because it can hold a LOT MORE stuff. I'll carry my make-up, glasses, contacts, and that quart size Ziplock full of liquids on the airplane in that bag. But it's too large for every day use. The one I have pictured is a nice size, but I can't zip it when everything I need (and might need) are inside. I'm also not a flashy person when it comes to design either. I like them plain. My bags are all about functionality. And I like one that will match many outfits so I'm not changing bags with my clothes. I might forget something I need (or might need).

So that's why I hate purse shopping. I'll use this one until it falls apart and I'm forced to buy another one.

What's in your bag?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Man Made

This is one of two steel sculptures by Albert Paley at the entrance of the Columbia Public Library. Collectively they are titled "Cypher." The south sculpture pictured here is over 30 feet tall and weighs 24,750 pounds.

In a statement sent to the library the day “Cypher” was installed, Paley wrote: “The sculptures function as sentinel guardians that herald the entering and exiting of the library. The seemingly irrational gestural nature of the sculptures function as a counterpoint to the formal elegance of the architecture. The title, ‘Cypher,’ references the signs, symbols and intricacies of the systematization of language. Although abstract and non-literal, the tall, tapered stylus-like elements, intertwined a midst the folded and scroll-like forms, have reference to writing implements. This provides a connotation to human communication and reflects the aspirations and assertions of the human condition through language. The sculptures aid in defining the cultural profile of this library complex.”

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

New Tunes Tuesday - P!nk

Released in mid-September, I've decided to review The Truth About Love this week. I've listened to it several times and keep coming back to it time and again. Probably because I can relate to a number of the songs. This is a grown-up P!nk. She's gone through a few challenges in her life since her last release, and it shows in her music. It's raw, human emotion wrapped up in a funky dance beat.

The highlights are plentiful including some guest spots (rare for P!ink) from fun.'s Nate Ruess, Eminem and Lily Rose Cooper (a.k.a. Lily Allen). The first single, "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)," is a great representation of the album as a whole. It's playful, occasionally foul-mouthed, and examines the possible end of a long and tumultuous relationship. "I think I've finally had enough, I think I maybe think too much / I think this might be it for us (blow me one last kiss)."  However, I feel True Love (featuring Lily Rose Cooper) defines the true spirit of the album. "You're an a**hole but I love you / And you make me so mad I ask myself  / Why I'm still here, or where could I go." It's a sure signature song for P!nk.

Another stand out tune for me is "Where Did The Beat Go." A song that wonders what happened to the once hot and steamy relationship. It offers some of the best lyrics on the album. "There's a cause and effect, although I took the steps / I dove off of the bridge 'cause I had nothing left / All I ever wanted was you / And in the absence of you / I fell through."  And I really enjoy Try, which is her second single. Because no matter how much love hurts, now matter how much it burns, love anyway... and keep trying. Do more, and don't give up. "Ever worried that it might be ruined / And does it make you wanna cry? / When you're out there doing what you're doing / Are you just getting by?"

Considering what's on pop radio today, this could be the shining beacon of light we've all been searching for in a sea of one hit wonders. So let there be light... and let it be P!nk.

Where You Slept

I can't seem to get enough sleep these days. Maybe it's the cold temps. Maybe it's my lazy bones. Maybe it's the fact my bed is so comfortable and I missed it while I was gone. Whatever the reason... I wish I was there.

Right. Now.

Until tonight, sweet bed... I will miss you.

Monday, November 12, 2012


I may not be ready for Christmas yet... not even close... but Christmas Ale?

Fill 'er up!

Tonight I'm trying Deschutes Jubelale. Sweet malts with Christmas spices of cinnamon and nutmeg. I taste toffee and caramel too. Would be an excellent beer snuggled in a blanket next to a fire on a cold night.

Almost gets me in the holiday spirit.  

Sunday, November 11, 2012


The night has a thousand eyes
The day has but one.
Out goes the light,
day turns to night
with the setting sun.

A peaceful quiet falls over town
another day is done.
Hush, my sweet,
it's time to sleep.
Soon your dreams will come.

By Cheri Marks

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Can't (Won't) Live Without

Coffee. Gotta have my morning cup of coffee. And my Keurig makes it very easy.

Best. Thing. Ever.

I also love my Tiger travel mug. I carry it to work every morning.

Good thing I had my coffee this morning! My Mizzou Tigers just pulled out a victory against Tennessee. At Rocky Top. In Quadruple overtime!!! What? Are you kidding me? Total nail biter. And I now have no voice. I love college football.

Now I'm getting ready to watch the basketball team season opener. Fun day for Mizzou Sports!


Friday, November 9, 2012


Today's photo prompt is "small," so I decided to photograph my tiny tiger earring. I'm a very proud Mizzou alum and wrote this poem as a tribute to alums across the globe....

Mizzou Pride

Small tiger but with a big roar
Show your pride forever more.

Black and Gold from coast to coast
We proudly wear our stripes and boast.

A spirit so deep, sons are true
All together we're One Mizzou

Doesn't matter how far we roam
We'll always call Columbia home.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

International Stout Day

Got Milk?

Milk Stout, that is. And not just any Milk Stout... Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro! When a beer, typically a stout, is dispensed with nitrogen, it pours creamy and contains less carbonation. Most draught beer is dispensed with either pure carbon dioxide or a blend that contains nitrogen. Some canned beer, like Guinness, are packaged with nitrogen and a ball like widget floating in the can that creates the creamy head. Left Hand's special bottle creates this creamy head without the widget... as long as you pour it hard.

So, poured it hard I did!

The beer cascades into the glass starting tan and gradually turning black in about 30 seconds. When it is through cascading, a tan head settles on top - milky and lumpy. Chocolate and coffee overtones come through on the aroma and taste. It has a wonderful milky mouthfeel. It really is an outstanding beer.

I have had the pleasure of enjoying this beer both as draught and bottle. I really couldn't tell much difference. So it's the FIRST beer I thought of for International Stout Day. Stout beers are my ultimate favorite - one of the few perks of cold weather (there aren't many). If you love stout beer, I highly recommend you give this one a try.

Cheers to the dark side!

Something You Do Everyday

I brush my teeth. Every day, twice a day!  And so should you.

My kids, on the other hand, are not as diligent about brushing their teeth as I would like them to be. Anyone else have that issue with their kids? Maybe it's a power trip. I really hope they want nice clean teeth and fresh breath! My daughter is much better about it than my son. So maybe it's a gender thing. I've tried behavior charts, rewards, incentives... I think you just arrive at a point in your life when cleanliness becomes a priority. 

I'm willing to bet that the first time a girl tells him he has bad breath... he'll be a regular teethbrusher. Until then... Mom will be supervising.

And I don't mind supervising for a while.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

San Francisco

I had a wonderful week in San Francisco. The work conference was great. I learned a lot, met some great people, reconnected with friends, and started my term as a national chair. Whew! Jammed packed week.

But I also had some time for fun... the weather was so perfect! I took a long walk up to Coit Tower. The views from there are just magnificent!

My photo a day pal, Nina, and her friend, Cathy, took me to the dry creek valley for some wine tasting. We visited two wineries... Amista and Murphy-Goode tasting room in Healdsburg. Lovely scenery and even better wine.

And then I took some photos while crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. Look at that blue sky!! It really was a fantastic week.


It is very apropos that this word should be the photo of the day after the US election. I have been doing much reflection today about the results, what this means for our country, and where we go from here. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

I also had a very busy week in San Francisco at a work conference. I have been reflecting on what I heard, learned and aim to do when I return to my office tomorrow. Much reflection indeed.

This morning I boarded the plane and sat down in my seat on the first leg home. I reached for my iPod as I always do, and then I noticed my reflection. And the photo today presented itself to me.

Some days the photo is planned and other days it just surfaces in a way I never would have thought. That's the really cool thing about this challenge. I look at the world through the lens of the challenge! If the word prompt is red, that color jumps out at me wherever I am. If the prompt is angle, I see angles in places I never noticed angles before. You get the idea.

I really encourage you to give the challenge a try. It's OK if you don't make it through the month. Just pick up again when you can. There are no hard and fast rules. It's all for fun. I always post the list in my menu to the right. If you click on the picture, it will take you to Fat Mum Slim's blog. She has a list of suggestions for each day.

So... will you join me in the challenge?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Favorite Thing

One of my most favorite things is definitely my iPod. It goes everywhere I go. I have playlists for every mood, occasion, or genre.

I remember decorating for Christmas last year and wanting to listen to my Christmas playlist. I plugged in my iPod into the docking station, and it wouldn't play. 

I panicked. 

I unplugged it. Rebooted it. Shook it. Screamed at it! Then slowly and regretfully decided I had to reset it. My playlists were gone. I hadn't backed them up in iTunes. I also had to move all of my music back onto my iPod. When you reset an iPod, it deletes everything. It was quite painful for me to see my precious iPod blank. Dead actually. But I nursed it back to life and all was right with the world. I could then decorate my tree with my music playing. 

So let this be a lesson to you all! It takes a long while to build and perfect those playlists. Protect them and back them up. And not just your music. Your photos, your documents, all of your favorite things... Back. Them. Up!

Speaking of music... I normally review a new CD on Tuesdays called New Tunes Tuesday. That is not going to happen this week because I was in meetings all day and traveling. So, instead I will post a playlist that I made using another favorite thing... Spotify. I call this playlist "Just Relax." And by the way, not one single country song is on the list either (that's rare for me). Just push play if you want to listen.


Monday, November 5, 2012

5 O'Clock

Time for a beer!

I went to the 39th floor of my hotel to the lounge aptly named The View. It had spectacular views of San Francisco! Gorgeous sunset. I was not able to capture the scene adequately with my phone camera, so you get a picture of what I was DOING at 5 o'clock...

After my beer, I had a wonderful seafood dinner of mussels and shrimp. Since I live in land-locked Missouri, I MUST eat seafood when I travel to the coast. Nothing better than fresh seafood. 

After that... bowling! I found out that I still suck at bowling, but the beer was good and my team won. So that was cool. Late night, but it was totally worth it. Incredible fun.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Interesting word of the day today. It seems a little ordinary and not very exciting... but that's part of the challenge! How to make something ordinary extraordinary?

I think this turned out quite well...

This is the TV in my hotel room here in San Francisco. It is typically off. I don't watch much television. I turn it on in the morning for the news. And yesterday I watched several college football games... including Mizzou. I took a long walk to Coit Tower after that game (I'll post some of those pics later). So frustrating! We've had so many opportunities to win but keep making mistakes this year.

Enough about that.

I ordered room service last night and watched Alabama vs. LSU. Now that was an excellent game! I really thought LSU was going to give Alabama a loss, but great teams find a way to win. The emotion that Alabama quarterback A J McCarron showed was very touching. I love college football.

Today is going to be an exciting day. I'm going to Healdsburg to visit a few wineries with a friend. Should be a wonderful day. Photos will be posted later!

Saturday, November 3, 2012


My favorite meal of the day! Today I had an early meeting, so I stopped at Starbucks located in the hotel lobby for my breakfast. Their perfect oatmeal really is perfect. It's the right consistency, plus you can add brown sugar, mixed nuts and dried fruit. DELISH! It's so filling and incredibly good.

To wash it all down... I had a Gingerbread Latte (no whip). I'm not even ready to think about Christmas yet, but I will enjoy the taste of gingerbread.

Perfect start to the day!


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