Champagne, Laughs and Manolos

I imagine most of us have heard a variation of Hunter S Thompson’s quote:

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, champagne in one hand and chocolate in another, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming ‘WooHoo! What a ride’.

Well, with these words in mind, a friend and I have spent the last couple of days in London after we decided to slide into our pensioner-status birthdays in a memorable way.

Me and Dee at Covent Garden

Covent Garden

We booked into a lovely little hotel near London’s West End and headed for Covent Garden with its lovely markets and quirky shops just made for browsing. Soon the late afternoon chill called for a glass of mulled wine around the Christmas tree, then it was off to see Beautiful, the Carole King musical. It was fabulous, as was the pre-theatre dinner we enjoyed at The Waldorf where we treated ourselves to a glass of champagne (or two).

Cheers! At The Waldorf

Living it up at The Waldorf

Next day, following a leisurely and rather late breakfast, we headed to the shops. First stop was Liberty, where we enjoyed morning coffee and some serious lusting after Manolo Blahnik shoes.

I'll have a pair in each colour, please

“I’ll take a pair in each size, please.”


Covent Garden

Then it was Fortnum and Mason and their Christmas shop and fabulous selection of seasonal fare. So tempting, but I (mostly) managed to keep a tight hold on the purse-strings. Since all that restraint was very tiring we soon needed sustenance again. All I will say is that afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason is an experience…and necessitated a deep dig into that hitherto tightly closed purse :)

But we had an amazing couple of days and created some fab memories. Can’t put a price on that, right?



I have been thinking about Friendship during my walks lately so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts with you. For me there are several types of friendships, close, long-term, social or based on common interests. Some people we … Continue reading

Still Alice

still_alice_cover_web1Still Alice was a book club selection. A friend had given it to me but it was collecting dust until a few days before the meeting. I picked it up with the intention to get a bit read before the meeting and ended up reading it in less then two days. Surprising, as I had a lot of running around and wasn’t home much. I may be a fast reader but this was quick for me.

The cover to the left is the one before the movie. I didn’t see it but talked with some of the women at the club meeting who had, They said the movie was different then the book with the biggest difference being that in the book it is told in Alice’s POV (point of view) while the movie was more in the other characters view. Lisa Genova did a really great job of letting us see this dreadful condition from the inside. Most books depict Alzheimer’s from the family and caregivers POV.

It’s fiction but I had to keep reminding myself as it was like stepping into Alice’s character. Scary. At one point I went out to do some things in the yard. When I got to the little shed and opened the door I had one of those moments. “What did I come out here for.” Surreal.

I can’t write a better synopsis then the one Ms. Genova had done so will instead include it for you.

Alice Howland is proud of the life she has worked so hard to build. A Harvard professor, she has a successful husband and three grown children. When Alice begins to grow forgetful at first she just dismisses it, but when she gets lost in her own neighborhood she realizes that something is terribly wrong. Alice finds herself in the rapid downward spiral of Alzheimer’s disease. She is only 50 years old.

While Alice once placed her worth and identity in her celebrated and respected academic life, now she must re-evaluate her relationship with her husband, her expectations of her children and her ideas about herself and her place in the world.

Losing her yesterdays, her short-term memory hanging on by a couple of frayed threads, she is living in the moment, living for each day. But she is still Alice.

This book was life changing for me and I hope those changes stay. I know people with Alzheimer’s and I found myself listening and interacting differently the other day. I like this in myself so may have to consider a re-read from time to time.

Thankful by Valerie J. Patterson

It’s that time of year when people everywhere seem to take more than a glance at their lives and count their blessings.  While I think that is important every day of our lives, I, too, find that I reflect more at this time of year.

Of course, I am thankful for the big things: my husband, my family, my job, a roof over my head, food on the table, and money in the bank.  But I am also thankful for the trees in our backyard and the beauty they add to my day.  I’m thankful that I have a garage to park my car in, and that it is always either warm or cool depending on the season.  I’m thankful for lunches with friends, warm hugs on Sundays after services, kind words from strangers, and the cool gel pillow top of our bed–I love a cold bed as opposed to a warm one!

I give thanks for slippers, robes, cold glasses of milk and homemade cookies.  Brilliant sunshine streaming into the living room, full moons in the evening sky, and salty, buttered popcorn.

I am incredibly thankful for each and every morning my feet hit the floor!

I’m sure my list could go on…and I hope while you read you are compiling a list of your own list.  It’s important that we give thanks for large and small blessings, not just now, but always.  We have so many good things in our lives, don’t we?


The following is my very favorite fruit dip.  I promised to share it this summer, but only just remembered I had not done that.  It is very simple and so very good!  Enjoy!

8 ounces of Cool Whip

one 7 ounce jar of Marshmallow Creme

one 3 ounce package of Philadelphia Cream Cheese

Blend all ingredients in a bowl until smooth and silky.  Chill an hour and serve with fresh fruit of your choice.

This dip is incredibly easy, and so very delicious!  The perfect light appetizer, evening snack, or treat for work.


I have been absent from Over the Backyard Fence for a little while, and I apologize for not being here to read and comment the past month.  I hope to return in a more regular way very soon.

Until next time, may your turkey be moist, your pies spicy, and your family gathered around you!  Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!


Happy Thanksgiving

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Yes, my Thanksgiving wishes are a little early.  But I wanted to wish everyone a happy one.  Enjoy yourself no matter how you celebrate. The month of October flew by and November is right behind it.  Before I know it … Continue reading

Another Day Trip

image-35I have always enjoyed day trips, and here in Western Washington we have a wide range of options. A few hours either way and we can be at the mountains or the coast. Mount Rainier is practically in our back yard.

A couple of weeks ago I finally made it to a place that had been on my to-see list for a few years. The mill that I’d seen featured on Northwest Backroads was our destination, but a friend and I picked a beautiful day, sunny, with the fall colors in their full glory that would have been an outing in the drive alone.

The mill sets a ways off the interstate and even with the navigation system we managed to get lost but it was a good lost. The road to get there is a rural country one. The mill itself isn’t a commercial type place. No gift shop but with handmade recipe books that are available with a suggested donation. Even the flour they ground by water power wasn’t for sale. Instead they bag it and suggest a donation. image-32

There isn’t a lot of parking, we had to park on the shoulder of the road. But like the website says it’s like stepping back in time and we weren’t worried about getting any ticket by being there. We took some pictures but even though we did walk up on the trail aways we didn’t get the pictures that are on the website at

The covered bridge is another visual experience. The mill is only open on weekends but it wasn’t crowded and people tended to stop and visit as they joined in a look and feel of yesteryear.

Spring Cleaning…in the Fall?

Lately, I’ve been into cleaning cupboards. Maybe it’s the change in the weather, but I’m Spring cleaning in Autumn. And since we’ve lived here for 26 years and I’ve gone through these cupboards and closets before, it always amazes me that I find more STUFF to get rid of. Especially since we’ve been working harder to not buy a bunch of stuff that we just won’t use. We’ve all done this, right? Bought something just knowing we’d use it, only to have it molder away in a cupboard or closet? Please tell me I’m not the only one. Lol.

Anyhow, I started with the kitchen. And apparently there were a couple cupboards there I ignored for a year or two…or ten. Like the spice and baking cabinets. I found powdered milk that had turned orange. Cornmeal that had turned rancid and white. A vanilla pudding box that didn’t even have a use by date on it, it was so old.

I’m a pretty clean person, so I was astonished at the amount of ancient stuff I found. Thankfully, going through the rest of the kitchen was less eventful, with nothing that pre-dated me. :)

Next was our clothes closet. That’s not too bad, since I go through it twice a year to move the summer or winter clothes to the front or back. But tucked in the back are several formal outfits from various events (cruises, weddings, etc.). We’ve become such an informal society here in the Pacific Nortwest (is it that way everywhere?) that I’m not sure I’ll ever wear any of them again. But I keep them anyhow, because each time I open the clothing bags to see what’s in them, I remember. My daughter’s wedding…that cruise dinner where we stayed past our welcome because we were having such fun with our tablemates…the Christmas or New Year’s dances spent with my husband. Honestly, I don’t care if I ever get rid of them. Sometimes, the memories of worth that little bit of space they take up.

How about you? Are you hunkering down for winter or cleaning out closets? Is it fun to open a door and glimpse the memories? Or do you have orange powdered milk in your kitchen cupboard?

As I close and head out to clean yet another closet or drawer, I’d like to wish every person out there who’s protected our way of life a very Happy Veteran’s Day on Wednesday. Thank you for serving.