Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mother-Daughter Caribbean Cruise Photos!!

Carnival Cruise Ship - The Elation
Izzy has a ticket to board ship!!
Cozumel, Mexico!!  Cha! Cha! Cha!
A very TALL drink at Senor Frog's in Cozumel!! I wonder if this will go in the dishwasher? Hmmm.....
A baby Palm Tree!!

 Izzy and a friend from the Carnival Ship - Imagination - which is in harbor right beside our ship, the Elation!!
Yikes!  Waves coming in while we look for seashells!!

Waiting for lunch at Senor Frog's in Cozumel, Mexico.  Our ship, The Elation, is in the harbor!
Friends are nice to have - all over the world!! We're going to become Pen Pals when we get back home!!

Beautiful Mommy and Isabel - but with a little too much sun!! Ouch!!
Izzy found a coconut tree!!!!  
Isn't the water beautiful?  In places it's literally a deep shade of purple!  The shadows you see are coral reefs!! 

Oh well, time to return home!  Adios!

Easter Egg Hunt!!

So very shy in front of the camera!!

Now where did we hide that egg? It was here a minute ago!

Gummy and Isabel - Ta Da!!

Mommy and Isabel!!  YEA!!!!

Izzy finds an egg!!

Hmmmm.....Is it a bug, or is it an egg?

Hope everyone had a lovely Easter!  May God Bless, Jan

Beautiful "Knock Out" Rose!

Hi Everyone!

Wanted to share this photo with you.  It's called a "Knockout Rose" and my friends Sherry and Drew planted it about a year ago.  Isn't it beautiful?  I love the way it's kind of "loose"; that is - not so structured.  I think our rose bush is the same kind, but don't quote me on that!  Remember - my "gardening green thumb" turns everything black and dead! Thanks to Sherry and Drew for letting me share it with you!

By the way, has anyone seen Honeysuckle for sale yet this season?  I know Home Depot sometimes carries it and I'm SO EAGER to have a pot of it outside my studio.  Nigel - on the other hand - does NOT want it.  He says it grows too wild and gets into everything, but I'm determined to have some.  My grandfather had a beautiful bush of it on their last property and I loved going over there and smelling it.  When I was a kid, we lived near some woods and it grew wild around there.  I remember one early summer day, before it started getting really hot outside, I went out and picked big bunches of the stuff.  Then I gathered up any type of bottle or glass that would hold water.  I remember using a coke bottle and a vase I'd found somewhere and - knowing me - probably some of our "drinking glasses" as well.  Anyway, I filled them with water and put the Honeysuckle in. Then I opened all the windows in the house and put the bottles and glasses of Honeysuckle on the windowsills.  Oh.....the scent that filled the house was absolutely Heavenly!!  I can still smell it all these years later, and the cool breezes coming in refreshed the whole house!

Isn't it neat - all the little things we remember?  So yes - I'm going to get some Honeysuckle - one way or another!!  But out of deference to Nigel -because he does know what he's talking about when it comes to gardening - I've decided to grow it in a large pot to keep it from spreading.  It may not work, but it's certainly worth a try!

That's it for now!  Take care and have a happy week! Jan

Thursday, April 21, 2011


I have to admit, it isn't often I get home from work, ready to collapse in a heap!!  But that was certainly the case today!  So this post is dedicated to the WORKING WOMAN!! 

NO -  I do not mean only those women who have a career or a paying job "outside the home" (which sounds stupid, if you ask me, but I guess it does convey what I'm referring to).  No....I'm dedicating this post to EVERY woman who WORKS - be it at the office, the home, the field, the studio, the gym, the war zone, the ship, the you name it and she's there - working, working, working!!!

We all do it of course!  We're great masters of it - taking care of everyone ELSE instead of ourselves.  And if not taking care of, then it's doing the work of, and if it isn't that, it's probably the two combined!!  And if not that, then we're worrying ourselves to death over why we're doing it, or not doing it, or both!!

Good Heavens Ladies!  Who wants a BREAK???!!! 

Quiet, you men!  It's not your turn!!  This is for WOMEN ONLY!!!!!  So how does it feel?  We have a CLUB of our own and you CAN'T join in!! Ha Ha Ha

Whoooo  hooooo!!!!  Oh!  Now THAT felt good!

Yes, it definitely was a "day to remember".  At one point, I felt like crying.  Again - a rarity, but there nonetheless.  I thought, "If one more issue walks through that door, I'm going to SCREAM!!"  Then I decided I should probably take my lunch and go sit in the truck outside and enjoy the peaceful weather....anything to get away from this stress and relax, if only for a little while. 

Wonderful thought.  Lousy execution.  When I got out to the truck, purse in hand, carrying lunch, sunglasses in place, ready to really relax, I realized I didn't have the truck key!  Nigel had called earlier and said he was switching the vehicles out, which normally wouldn't be a problem since the truck is primarily my vehicle.  But apparently in exchanging keys lately with Laura and Nigel, I had accidentally removed my truck key from my key chain without realizing it!  Talk about being PO'd (Okay. Okay.  PISSED OFF!!!  But PO'd  sounds so much better).

Honestly, I felt like I was doomed!  Surely there was a giant cloud hovering just above me (and only over me of course, in my own little pity party world!) Furthermore, if I knew what was good for me, I'd better get back in my office, close and lock the door and ZONE OUT!!!  Which is exactly what I did.  But.....think about those poor souls who have no private office to hide away in, not even for a few minutes?

I applaud YOU especially!

So here's to all the WORKING WOMEN in the UNIVERSE         (I don't want to exclude anyone).      Please commit the following to memory:

Know that you are LOVED,
                                                                                                 AWE INSPIRING,
                                     AND ABOUT A GAZILLION OTHER POSITIVE TRAITS!!!!!!!!

Get the picture?

Here's to YOU!!!

Long may we stand!


P.S.  And no, there aren't any pictures!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Another Beautiful Spring Day!!

Good Morning Everyone!  I've gotten so spoiled being off work these past few days! I'm afraid I'm going to have a rude awakening tomorrow morning when I return! Ha Ha

Just received a call from Laura; they've begun the boarding process!  Isabel was already getting bored (despite numerous precautions to keep her from doing just that!), so Laura thought it would be a great idea to call Gummy!!  The first thing Isabel said was, "We're in a HUGE line of people Gummy!"  When I asked what she thought of the ship, she said, "It's HUGE too Gummy, and it's white and red and blue!"  Her voice was so excited, I immediately felt myself grinning from ear to ear!  Before they left yesterday morning, I thought she was going to burst, she was so full of energy and excitement!  She should sleep good tonight, although getting to that point in time will certainly prove exhausting! Poor Laura!!  I hope she's rested up for this!

Here are a few more photos I took this morning.  It still amazes me that for someone who hates working with "technology" (i.e., computers and cameras) as much as I do, and hates having my picture taken, I've certainly wasted no time in thoroughly enjoying this blog, as well as learning to take much better photographs!  I look at everything now with "new and different eyes".  And despite what I thought to the contrary, I still keep another "personal" journal!  I was a little concerned that blogging might force my hand written journaling into the background.  In actuality, having this blog inspires me to more creativity, which leads me to more personal writings (in my hard copy journals) as well as here!  Of course, being off work certainly helps too! :)

Changing subjects on you now.  What do you think of this new and simpler blog template?  I think it looks a bit "cleaner"; less cluttered and perfect for the spring.  I'd love to hear your thoughts about it!

Nigel was so sweet to pot these for me!  The two in the terracotta pots in the front are a different kind of basil, with small leaves.  Still edible, with that same familiar and TERRIFIC basil scent!!  The red flowers in the back are geraniums!  I love them, although no scent at all.  It's just something about their "look" that attracts me!  Can't explain it any better than that!

 Ta Da!! Phase 2 of the Ladder Decoration Project!!  This is just a primer, so don't think it's going to look anything like this when we're through, cause it won't!  I promised Isabel I'd let her help, but I decided at least to get the primer and perhaps the base coat on before she returned.  This way, we can immediately start having fun with the actual decorating of it when she returns.  This is my plan to help keep her mind off the fact that her Mommy returns to Afghanistan within a few days of that.

Lovely angel, keeping watch over us!  Someone asked me the other day if I collected angels, and my immediate response was "no".  I guess I don't think of myself as collecting one or two specific things.  It's more of having anything that particularly appeals to me.  Angels are just one of many things.  I aso love rabbits and birds, old glass bottles, pewter, blue and white china, toile fabric, and pretty much anything else that's beautiful.  I like what William Morris said, about not having anything around you that wasn't useful or beautiful.  I'm sure he said it much better than I just did, but you get the idea.

Lousy photo, but again - you get the idea!  Isabel and her friend Payton were over the other day and I finally thought of something to do with these wooden butterflies I purchased on deep discount about two years ago.

Voila'!  Of course Isabel wanted to know why I asked them to hang some of them upside down, to which I responded, "Do butterflies only fly upward? If so, they're going to get really bored!" 

Yes, I do love angels, and these "Pinks" (which really are called "Pinks" by the way).  Another name for them is Dianthus.  See!  Even the "hoity toity" gardeners use my naming methods sometimes! Ha Ha 

Such a sweet face!  She came from an old house on the side of the road in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, several years ago, when I was visiting my dear friend/companion/sister, Sherry Craig.  I remember seeing her outside in the yard, amid all kinds of "stuff" for sale, but her sweet face captivated me and I had to have her.  So up she went, into the car and back to Madison, Alabama, where she's resided ever since!

This photo is what I mean by "seeing things with different eyes".  I had no intention whatsoever of taking this photograph this morning.  But when I glanced back to see what had caught my attention, I thought how peaceful and serene it looked, so I immediately went back for my camera!  There is so much beauty all around us every day that we become immune to it, or perhaps desensitized would be a better word.  Then suddenly something catches our notice and we see things differently.  And here it is!

Last photo - and the FIRST rose of the season!! Well, at least it's the first one I've spotted in our garden. It's scent is absolutely wonderful! That typical "good rose smell" that always draws me over for a closer look!

Well, that's it for now.  It will more than likely be several days before I'm posting again, so have a lovely week and take good care of each other!  Love, Hugs and Blessings! Jan

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Laura and Izzy Heading South to the Caribbean!

Laura and Isabel left this morning, about 11:30, for the first part of their trip to the Caribbean - driving to Mobile, Alabama.  They arrived about 5:30pm (in Mobile) - safely and without incident!  Thanksgivings for a mother's/grandmother's prayers!!  There are so many horrific stories in the news these days, but I know we can't let fear rule our lives.  So I pray.  And pray, and pray, and pray. 

Their cruise ship, The Elation, leaves tomorrow afternoon; it's with the Carnival Cruise Line - the one Nigel and I first experienced back in 1998.  The trip was a gift from his Mom, Valerie, when he was home on his mid-tour leave from Korea (which was also the year he retired from the Army).  So much has happened in 13 years!

One thing I have to say - the house is much quieter!  Ha Ha  I spent the day sort of wandering around the rooms, picking up stray bits and pieces of our lives and putting them back into their rightful, if boring, places.  Keeping hands busy helps keep the mind from wandering!

I discovered another beautiful blog this afternoon, www.52flea.blogspot.com, which is featured in the latest Artful Blogging magazine by Stampington and Company.  I swear, I'm addicted to their magazines!  So much beauty and creativity; it's simply awe inspiring.  Does anyone else read these?  If not, I guarantee you won't be disappointed!  Problem is - you might get completely hooked on them, just like I have, so be careful!

That's it for now! Will post again soon! Love and Blessings to All, Jan

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Walk Through The Secret Gardens at Fursdon House!

Hi Everyone!  As I mentioned in my last post, my daughter, Laura, and I are trying to determine whose camera takes the better photos.  Here are the results, as we made our way through the gardens day before yesterday!

Come on in!

Bridge Over the River Koi! (Sorry; couldn't help that one!)
Everything you see that's "man made" is "Nigel made", from the gates and fencing, to the paver walkways, the bridge, steps, ponds, gazebo, studio, arbor, . . . . a very gifted man, who insists he hasn't any talent!! 

Purple Salvia - One of my favorites!

Studio Sighted from the Bridge!  The bridge spans the upper pond, and the fountain (which I don't think is inlcuded in this post) is in the lower pond on the left size of this photo, and much lower down, which allows for a water fall!

Purple Petunias!  Another favorite!!

Looking back over the bridge; a lovely Japanese Maple given to us from Nigel's Mum, Valerie, as you look to the right.  Nigel planted bamboo on the left, which will eventually be much taller and be home to the pirates, Blackbeard and Precious (an earlier post around Christmastime explains their presence in the Fursdon Household!)

Whites!(I don't know their real name, but they're quite lovel)!

And these are Pinks and Purple-Whites!  More beauties, despite my lack of gardening knowledge!

The truck is loaded after Nigel's return from Home Depot!!  A ritual every Spring!

Isabel's and my first attempt at making a decorative stepping stone! About 3 years ago!

Our next attempt was with lovely little polished rocks (AKA: Dinosaur Eggs!!......it's a long story for another post!)  Isabel and I found these rocks where Nigel had them placed under the swing he built me about two years ago.  Earlier posts have a photo, if you care to look it up.

Mom bought me this wire angel from Packard's Antique Mall in Huntsville.  I painted her white, which looks much better than its original "wire grey" color!

Another Dinosaur Egg Plaque!  By the way, these are GREAT fun to make!

I think these are Azaleas.  Nigel's definitely the gardener of the family; not me!!

I've had this for years; it was originally stark white, so I put antiquing stain on it.  Much better!  I stopped putting bird seed in it because it hangs too low and it's a great temptation for the Feline Fursdons when birds stop by for a snack!!

Lillies of the Valley?  Snow Drops?  Oh dear, I really should make more of an effort, at least to learn the names of plants in our own gardens!  Anyway, this was a gift from our wonderful neighbor, Susan.  So sweet! Both the flower and Susan!!

Nigel's Chinese Lantern.  He loves many of the Asian pieces of art.

More Azaleas.  I remember only because I don't care for them because they're only in bloom here in Alabama for such a short period of time.  Otherwise, I love the flowers.  Are they in bloom any longer in cooler climates?   I found the porcelain "mushrooms" at Home Depot several years back.  Lovely colors!

My lovely rabbit, Welsh! (Mom helped me name him! She's a great "namer"!)
  Mom got him for me two Christmas's ago, only because I BEGGED for him and PLEADED and WHINED for him.
Hey, it worked!!

Another stepping stone! Judging by the size of these little hands, Isabel was probably about 4 years old.

The other gate, with a view of the Studio and my newly situated bench!  Wait till I show you what I plan to do with the back of the studio!  There's a little area behind the building and I'm going to......whoops!  Not yet! 
From the Snowball Bush!  No scent, but making up for it in beauty!
The front garden and the end of our tour!
Hope you enjoyed your visit!  Take care and have a lovely spring day!  May God Bless! Jan

Friday, April 15, 2011

My First Born is Home!!

Hi Everyone!  Yes, my oldest girl child, Laura, is home for a visit from Afghanistan, where she's stationed with the Army Corps of Engineers.  Laura is Isabel's Mommy and you can just imagine how happy Isabel is right now!  They leave Sunday for a Mother-Daughter cruise to the Caribbean!!

Isn't she lovely?  The hard part is admitting she turns 30 in May!  Where has the time gone? 

Here she is, taking photos of Dad Nigel's latest Spring Splurge on flowers and plants yesterday. We're trying to see which camera takes better photos - her top of the line, super duper, whammy mammy phone that does everything from photography to e-mail to pressing your clothes,.........
or my digital camera that.....well, takes photos!  And considering the fact it already has a great disadvantage (i.e., that would be ME as the photographer), I think it does a darn good job!! 
May God Bless, Jan