Friday, October 31, 2008

No Trick... All Treat!

Halloween evening and coming home is by Far the best treat I can imagine! Greeted by a lush, deep green lawn, brightly colored leaves and the Smell of autumn in the air. Heaven! 
Wonderhubby on the mower...
All done now and Looking better than ever!
In a few more Weeks the leaves will be Gone and I'll begin wishing for Snow
In the meantime, I plan to Enjoy the view!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I never Give up!

You probably don't Remember, (because you are Sane and un-obsessed) but I've been haunted for almost a Year by my Failure last November to produce Italian Pizzelle cookies. It was made worse last Weekend when I passed stacks of gift boxed Pizzelles at Costco because I swear I could hear those little Buggers mocking me!

So, on Monday, after I read Susan's Blog post at Food Blogga I decided there might be hope for me yet and set out to Find the exact same Pizzelle maker she has, vowing that when I find it I'll only use her dear father's recipe. Wouldn't you know it though... The Pizzelle maker Susan uses, with the most Fantastic design on it ever, is one that is Discontinued and no longer available. In her Blog post Susan tells us that she received it as a Gift from a fellow Food blogger, which is quite wonderful for her but, Hey! What about me?!

You know how much I enjoy a good shopping Challenge so for four days now I've been hunting this Pizzelle maker. On Monday I thought I found it and ordered one through AAW on-line (Above All Wholesale) which specializes in close-out and Discontinued items - and... Although the Pizzelle maker pictured on their site is the same model Susan has with the Scandinavia Tree (of life) design, and I spoke to the owner of the Business to confirm it was the same and he said it Was, and the manual that came with it is Indeed for the model I wanted, the Pizzelle maker in the box is Not the one!

Anyone need a new, but-Not-quite-the-right-one, Pizzelle maker out there?

Refusing to be defeated by this I called all the ACE hardware stores in this area because I learned they were the Primary retailer for this product (Walmart too but I knew I had zero chance of reaching Anyone there that would comprehend what I am talking about) but no Luck. Having exhausted all other on-line retail Options I finally broke down last night and checked back in at e-Bay. There are two of these Pizzelle makers currently being offered but neither looks Particularly well cared for; and again, knowing me like you do, you know I prefer only Perfect.

So this morning I posted an ad on Craigslist announcing that I'm looking for this Toastmaster Pizzelle/International Cookie maker, and to my surprise, I received 12 e-mails within an hour from the nicest people offering their Advice on where to Find similar Pizzelle makers. And, get this! One woman wrote me offering to let me Borrow her Pizzelle maker, which she explained belonged to her Grandmother, which is why she cannot sell it! All of this prompted me to add a PS to my Craigslist posting letting readers know that I must have that Exact model in the pictures I posted and that I wished to purchase, not Borrow it.

This afternoon I decided I might just have to Search all states on Craigslist but under the first one I picked, Arizona (because John McCain was on my mind) I found it! It's currently living in Phoenix, looks Perfect and seller says it's only been used ONCE! My Pizzelle maker will be shipped in its Original box with the user's guide included - Score! I am so excited I can barely stand it... I offered the seller $10 more than he's asking to compensate for his trouble to Ship it to me and he accepted - I do so enjoy a Good acceptance to my Proposals!

So in a few Days I should have my new Pizzelle cookie maker. I am very, very Excited and looking forward to the same Stellar results Susan got with it, using her Dad's recipe, of course.

Wish me Luck!

Monday, October 27, 2008

I got Mine! Pottery Barn loves Me...

I've been watching these Stretched canvas pieces at Pottery Barn on-line hoping they would Go on sale (like the three Scalloped umbrellas I ordered did just five Minutes after they Arrived) but when I saw that one of them in the series of three Sold out last week I decided to pull the Trigger and order the two I really wanted.

When I first saw them a few months ago, right after we Painted the bedroom this Gorgeous color, I knew they'd look as Amazing as they do Tonight hanging on the wall. Love, love, love them!

The Coliseum arrived with a Smudge on it that cannot be Removed so I've asked them to ship a Replacement - It'll be here Next week. The only other strange and Unexpected thing about them is that on-line these are Shown year-dated and they are not. The rep I Spoke with tonight promised to Check on that and call me back. He said the year on these Pieces in the photos on-line may just be part of the Props. Hum... OH! And, how great does the Thomasville lamp I picked up at their Labor Day sale look next to my Chair!? It looked Great on my desk too but when I brought it into the Bedroom tonight I realized it was Meant to sit next to my Chair! This weekend, the Thomasville Outlet is having another Sale. Now you know where I'll be this Saturday...

So now the little Reading area I created for myself in our Bedroom is complete. My only regret is that I didn't buy two of these Thomasville Felicity slipcover chair and Ottoman sets when they were Still available. And, I can't say I don't regret not buying the other matching (and last) Felicity end Table they had because I do. Of course, I was reminded, Yet again, that I'm running out of Space for new Furniture so maybe it's a Good thing I stopped buying when I did! Maybe.

Cannot wait to curl up with a Good book!

I Voted!

Not early and Often... just Early! 

It took us two Hours to get through the line this Evening but it was well Worth it. And, no Chad was left hanging!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tiny pinecones and a Big fireside snack

Could not wait to get Outside this morning to take in this Beautiful day! After the Gloom and drizzle of yesterday I was Trilled to wake to warm Sunlight. 

My tiny pinecones on the Canadian Hemlock are SO cute! Come  See... 
This Fern is still going strong... I think Ferns are among the most Amazing plants
in the garden - My favorite is the Japanese painted fern we have near the Pond
Look at all the Leaves in the creek!
Truly a Beautiful fall day!
I didn't want to Leave the house today but since we didn't make it to Whole Foods
yesterday we had to venture out. On the way we stopped at the Briar Patch garden
shop to see what sleeping Plants might be on sale. While he picked out a load
of Azaleas and Japanese beautyberry, I wandered through the Gift shop
What a Terrific place to be a Cat!
After our Garden shopping and a Quick stop at Whole Foods we headed
back home to Enjoy more Warm sunshine and a Big snack by the firepit!
Raspberries, strawberries, avocado, organic Bosque pears... 
My Humus I made last week, warm pita bread, boiled egg and Fontal
Italian cheese and an English cheese called Seaside Cheddar - Yum!

Black Walnut Festival in Bethania

From Wikipedia:

Bethania is the oldest municipality in Forsyth County, North Carolina, United States, and was most recently incorporated in 1995, upon the reactivation of the original 1838/1839 town charter. In 2009, Bethania will celebrate the 250th anniversary of its establishment in 1759.

The first planned Moravian settlement in North Carolina, Bethania exists as the only remaining independent, continuously active Moravian village in the southern United States, and is the only known existing Germanic-type Linear Agricultural village in the South. The 500-acre Bethania National Historic Landmark district is the largest National Landmark in Forsyth County. Bethania and its 18th and 19th century properties are listed on the National and North Carolina State Historic Registers of Places.

Bethania was founded 12 June 1759 by the Moravian Brethren of Wachovia as a congregational, agricultural, and trades community. Bethania was the first planned Moravian settlement in Wachovia, and members of a Society, under the care of the Bethania congregation were permitted to reside in the village, as well, after July 1759. Today, Bethania’s eighteenth century German-type linear agricultural village design remains visible and intact, and most town lots and roadways have remained in continuous use since 1759. The town was named after Bethany, a village near Jerusalem recorded in the New Testament as the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus, as well as that of Simon the Leper.

In March 2007, The Town of Bethania opened a visitor center and museum, Historic Bethania, to welcome friends and guests, and to promote education and cultural resource preservation in the community. The Historic Bethania Visitor Center facilities include a relocated and restored Moravian farmstead home, the Wolff-Moser House, dating to ca. 1792, one of the earliest known surviving rural Moravian farmstead homes in North America. The Wolff-Moser House can be visited by the public, during the center’s open hours. The Historic Bethania Visitor Center, located at 5393 Ham Horton Lane, at the intersection of Main Street and Bethania Road, also serves as an orientation center for those wishing to explore the Bethania National Historic Landmark District. Visitors to the c. 1759 Bethania Historic District can obtain a tour map and additional information at the visitor center.

Now that you know all about Bethania, NC... It's just five minutes from our Home and today the town held the Black Walnut festival, which was on our list!

I watched her Pour him coffee from the pot hanging over their Fire
I would have loved to bring this little Shed home with me - Add a few of my
Stained glass windows and a Sleeping loft and call it a Garden house in the Woods!
The Moravian Gift and Book shop at Bethania
Inside the Wolff-Moser house
The loom in the Wolff-Moser house
more Beautiful trees
Quaint, historical little homes line the streets of Bethania
Inside the old Mill in Bethania is a pretty Cool candy and Wine shop
At the Moravian Gift and Book shop I picked up these Prints of some of the
buildings at Old Salem... I got the last print they had of the Old Salem Tavern
And, I couldn't pass up these German clip-on tree ornaments for our Christmas tree. They are
very heavy and at $11.00 each, a bit pricey too but the ladies there told me Proceeds from
the shop benefit Moravian Church mission trips - And that's a Very good thing!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Find of the Day!

After the Black Walnut Festival we set out to explore Bethania on our own. Not far from the Visitors Center we found Antiques of Bethania... As soon as we arrived inside I knew I would find something I would take home!
And, in the Kitchenware section I found...
This Rooster decanter! It was filthy but Cleaned up so Great...
It's perfect for my Peppercorns too - I can fill it by removing the large
stopper and then Remove the Rooster stopper to fill my grinders - Love it!
It's in Perfect condition and was a Steal too - Exactly my Kind of find!
Couldn't be Cuter! I need more Peppercorns to Fill it...

Autumn in North Carolina!

Although it was raining this Morning I had to rush outside to walk the Property and take these photographs of the Autumn loveliness that's all around me - Come see...

The bottom Leaves on my favorite branch are on Fire!
And look at the Japanese maple by the pond... she's Glowing
There are tiny Pine cones on the Canadian Hemlock
This is where you'll Find me tomorrow afternoon
Won't be long before we'll have our Own broccoli!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fall has Flung...

We didn't have to Travel very far to see beautiful Fall colors... These are photos of our Backyard that I took standing in the driveway this morning! Fall has definitely flung itself on us... Just last Thursday it reached 87 degrees; however, today I don't believe it got above 60. In fact, in Galax, where we ended up today it was only 53 degrees and I was freezing!

Fall and Spring are my Favorite seasons here... And, winter if it snows
And, summer when I'm floating around in my Pool!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

European Antiques in Galax Virginia - Who knew?

Being the Leaf-peepers that we are, we Decided to take a little ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway today to check out the Fall foliage colors... We ended up in Galax, Virginia where we took a Stroll along Main street to stretch our legs... The ride was Gorgeous but what we found in Galax was the highlight of the day! Golden Gallery of Galax is AMAZING! Owned and operated by Erwin and Angelika Klee, a German couple from Wiesbaden, the store has the finest Collection of antiques and collectibles from Germany (Belgium, Holland) I've ever seen. The same baskets, Sewing kits, bread slicers, walking sticks, Coin banks and housewares I remember growing up.  It was truly like being transported right back to Germany and into some of the wonderful Shops there I remember. Love, love, love!

To see photos of the Store, which is a treasure in itself, go here - There was so much I wanted to take Home today but I settled on a wall-mounted Coffee grinder, which is an 70's advertising piece for a German coffee brand, and a porcelain Lion head bowl stamped Bavaria in Perfect condition, which Mrs. Klee says dates back to the 1880's. 

We have a trip to Germany planned in a couple of years and I'm putting the Store the Klee's have there on the list. Do not miss Exploring their website! 

Half the fun is Wondering about who might have Owned this fabulous bowl
Matches the Lionhead bowls I picked up at Williams-Sonoma too!
It was meant to Be in my Kitchen!

Just like at the Doubletree!

The Doubletree has a whole line of Bedding they call Sweet Dreams... I could not pass up this accent Pillow! We really enjoyed our Stay at the Doubletree in Washington, DC. The staff couldn't have been more Polite or accommodating of our Needs. And the warm Chocolate chip cookies... Yum!

A little Doubletree at home for Me!
After we visited Family graves in Manassas we popped over to Ikea where I fell in Love
with a farm sink and found the perfect down pillow Insert for the Lighthouse 
photoreal Pillow cover I ordered from Pottery Barn a few months ago
Also at Ikea I found these Fun posable wooden Figures
Someone is gonna Sleep good tonight!

Monday, October 13, 2008

The last time I saw it...

The last time I saw my Beautiful 1980, black, Limited Edition MGB it
was parked in this Very parking space you see below, next to my Truck
Located in the ShadowWood Condominium complex at
2220 CastleRock Square in Reston, Virginia
This is the View of my parking Spot from the direction of our 3rd floor Condo. I remember the day like it happened just This morning. It was beginning to Storm around 5AM so I climbed out of bed to close the window and as I looked down I noticed my parking Spot was empty. I screamed at him, the MG is Gone!! and then I flew down three flights of stairs wearing only a T-shirt and panties to get outside to the Space to see if I had somehow overlooked it in the Parking lot. But I didn't overlook it; my sweet MGB had in fact been stolen. A police officer would Later tell me that there was a known drug and Stolen car ring that ran between where we lived and New York City. Funny how our new Landlord never mentioned it!

For three days afterward I cried, threw up, prayed and Begged God to let her come back to me. Finally, I had to call my Dad to tell him that not only had the MG been stolen, but we had no Insurance on it at the time... Oh yeah! The Insurance company we insured it with after my parents went to the effort to Ship my MGB to us all the way from California cancelled our new Policy after they ran a DMV check and the Three speeding tickets someone got (not me!) in Kansas popped up. There I was... I was nineteen, just married a few Months to a man I only knew two days before accepting his Proposal, living 3,318 miles from my parents in a Big city I didn't understand. That was some phone call to my Dad, let me tell you!

Upon hearing my news, Dad immediately demanded that I get my butt on the next Flight to CA, and that I bring my New husband with me. Dad said we all needed to Have a little Face-to-Face chat about how irresponsible he thought we were and about just where I thought my Life was headed. Hearing me sob, Dad said I could call it a Honeymoon if it made me feel any better but no matter what, I better be on a flight and Fast... It was a rough home-coming but the Week we spent with my Mom and dad turned out better than I think either of us Feared it would. By the time we Flew back to Virginia, I had my dad's full support and Sympathy for having Lost the MGB he knew meant so much to me.

When we got back home I found a message on our answering machine from Dick Vaughn of the Horace Mann Insurance company asking me to ring him ASAP. The next day when I phoned him from my office in Herndon, Mr. Vaughn very kindly apologized for what he said was a Mistake made by his office. He explained that according to a recent audit there, it was Revealed that we had been given Only 30-days notice of policy cancellation when in fact, Virginia state Law required them to provide us with Notice of at least 45-days.

What this meant, Mr. Vaughn said, is that his GTI and my MGB could either be Insured for an additional 45 days or we were entitled to a refund of our last Premium we paid, which was about $80.00.

Without missing a beat I said, "That's great, Dick..., because the MG was stolen more than a week ago." I believe I heard Mr. Vaughn's heart beating during the long Pause before he finally said, "What did you just say, Mrs. Bridge?" After I repeated myself Mr. Vaughn settled down, took a long, Deep breath and then began to Explain exactly how to go about filing my Claim. In total, I was paid more than $3,000 above what I originally paid for the MGB in Kansas because I hired a Classic car dealer in Arlington to document my MGB's condition based on photographs I had and to provide a Rather detailed account of its total value since it was Indeed a registered Limited Edition.

Horace Mann not only paid me Top dollar for my MGB, they also compensated me for the AC unit my dad had installed, my Stan Smith Adidas and the Tennis racket I had in the Trunk when it was stolen. When he called me a few weeks Later to say my check was ready, I told Mr. Vaughn not to mail it because I wanted to come Pick it up. I remember Mr. Vaughn telling me that his office was not at all close to Arlington (his office was in Maryland) but I told him, "I'll find you!" The next day I picked up my check and Cashed it. Then I took the money home and announced that he could have Half and stay in Virginia or move (Run) away with me to Monterey... Either way, I told him I was going home. With or without him.

I adored him, but I'd had enough of Northern Virginia! I missed my parents and couldn't Stand his crappy (and very creepy) Foster family who all seemed to delight in running me Down, and who couldn't even say hello when they Saw me at the Market. And, add to that Fun family Drama the DC traffic, mosquitos, Humidity, and the fact that Some dickless-mother-so-and-so just stole my Car, and Monterey and my Family was looking pretty darn Good! Fortunately for me, he trusted me enough to leave what he Knew behind and took me back to Monterey where we lived near my parents and Raised two sons for seventeen very Happy years. So you could say we Loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly because we traded his GTI off for a brand new Truck, had almost $9,000 cash in the glove box and took a week to See the country before landing in Pacific Grove. Along the way We stopped at every little Gift shop and tourist Trap between Virginia and California and aside from a Nasty little argument that included throwing chicken McNuggets at each other somewhere in Oklahoma, it was a Fantastic journey!

So yesterday on our Way out of DC, we stopped by CastleRock Square and I've been thinking a lot today about my MGB and our Beginning there. Looking back on all of it today, I wouldn't Change one darn thing. After all, I can afford to buy ten MGB's today... But as that Nineteen year-old who woke up one Morning to find her car missing, I can tell you it was a Painful experience!
Interesting that the parking Space was empty yesterday when I arrived... Huh?
The window on the left side on the third Floor was our bedroom