Saturday, March 29, 2008


One of the dogwoods in bloom and my spirea just starting to put out blossoms. You can see the lilacs have really opened up too, and they smell heavenly. The birds know it's spring too, and these beauties visited the feeders this afternoon before the rain started. Of course, they're all showing up in pairs as they get ready to build nests and start new families. The cardinals, usually very shy of humans, sat in the tree; and every once in a while, the beautiful male would get a mouthful of sunflower seeds and take them to the female and gently feed her. It's quite touching to watch.

Of course the squirrels are always hanging out, hoping for a free meal. This little guy was so brave. He just REFUSED to run away, and I was really charmed by his boldness. He allowed me to get within three feet of him and take these wonderful snapshots. They can be a real nuisance, but I love watching their antics.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Here are the photos of my favorite boys dressed in their Easter outfits. I know I'm biased since I'm their Grammy, but I think they're adorable! These are my two oldest grandsons, 5 and 3.

And here's a picture of their youngest brother, 7 month-old Charlie Brown look-a-like. See why I'm going to miss them so much when I move to Virginia? I'm planning to come home at least once a month, but they do so much growing and changing from day to day that I know I'm going to miss things.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Favorite

Do you know what kind of bloom this is destined to be in the not too far future? I'll give you some hints. It blooms in the spring, usually north of the Mason Dixon because it normally needs cold weather to set blossoms. And it's a flower I never thought I'd see, let alone grow, in the south. Here's a closer photo.

These tiny little buds hold the promise of lilacs, those heavenly scented flowers of my youth. Their sweet scent can take me right back to the age of 6 or 7 when my aunt would cut hundreds of blooms from her two huge bushes and take them to the church where they would decorate the altar in their delicious fragrance. I can't wait to take that journey again. I planted six lilacs, different colors, slightly different bloom times but all beautiful and guaranteed to grow AND bloom in the south.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Winds of Change

I just returned from a week in Orlando where I attended a training seminar related to my government job. I had a wonderful time meeting my counterparts from all over the U.S. that I work with but have never met face to face. Here are just a few of them from the Navy's main office in DC, my friends from NCIS (yep,the real NCIS), and my Marine Corps counterpart from California. They're all great folks who do a great job.

I also had a chance to spend time with an old friend of 30-plus years who was kind enough to take me around Orlando and to some wonderful restaurants off the beaten path. We ate at a wonderful tapas restaurant called "Cafe Tu Tu Tango. There is artwork from local artists hanging on every square inch of available wall space, a Tarot card reader for those of us who love to explore a mystery, and we were also entertained by some talented and beautiful belly dancers!

The night before I left, we ate at a Cuban restaurant called the Columbia. The atmosphere with tiled floors and huge tiled portico was a great experience, not to mention the delicious food that included a huge salad made table side and the delicious sangria with fruit. The service was excellent, and we all walked out fairly stuffed on our last night in Orlando.

The big news is that I've been offered a job working in Arlington making more money than I could ever hope to make here in North Carolina; and I accepted the offer. I have four years until retirement, and I could never hope to make the amount of money I'll be making there. I know, I know, money isn't everything; but our retirement is based on our highest paid three consecutive years, so it's a move that will have an impact on my lifestyle for the rest of my life.

I'm not the kind of person who enjoys change in my work life but I've been really unhappy with my job over the last 5 years. One thing you can count on when working for the government is that they never seem to do the things that make the most sense. My job has changed drastically over the years and I have a lot of responsibility, without the benefit of advancement in my position or in my pay. I've basically worked for the same pay for the last nine years.

I have to admit that I'm scared about moving, having to deal with DC traffic after living in a rural community for the last 30 years, being away from my grandkids whom I adore, and having to learn to negotiate the ins and outs of public transportation after living in a community where it didn't exist. But on the other hand, I'm looking forward to meeting new people, experiencing new outlets for recreation, and snow in the winter! I'm planning to rent my home since the depressed real estate market would prevent me from getting what I paid for my great little house and yard. I'm hoping to be able to buy a small place near DC or rent a small place in the rural area. We'll see. Everything is open right now. On one hand, I feel like shouting, "I'm TOO OLD for all this change!" But then again, once I've dealt with the unknowns, I think I'll be okay!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Binks - My Smallest Friend

This is Binks, my smallest friend. She's funny and sweet and makes me laugh with her antics. She loves to hang upside down from her cage and play with her toys. She head bops the bells and sings the sweetest songs to me. This little blue parakeet has brought me more joy than I ever imagined. I thought she was a boy when I got her, but since she's matured, her cere has turned a soft pink. She loves to watch the other birds outside the window in front of her cage, and she sometimes mimics their songs. Isn't she sweet?