Monday, January 31, 2011

Manic Monday?

Or will it be a Mundane Monday? For me, I hope that it's the latter. It's the last day of January which means that my last full month here in England starts tomorrow.

The DV's that came to our base were wonderful! Anyone who thinks that officers wives are stuffy and stuck up have not met the right ones! Mrs. W was so personable and endearing. She made it a point to engage everyone of our party in conversation. She was a blast in the antique store! Mrs. W and Mrs. C had me smiling constantly with their child like enthusiasm for the place. They were like a couple of kids in a toy store and anyone who saw them could not help but to smile.

Burns Night- who knew that Scottish Whiskey can make an awesome sauce for meat? Certainly not me that's for sure! But I tried it and liked it. I did bypass the haggis (there was no way that stuff was getting anywhere near my plate). I got to dance, had fun and the best compliment of the night was..."You're just like a real person". Well for the young woman who gave me that compliment...I certainly hope so! Sometimes it's good to be seen letting your hair down and just having fun.

Slide Show- going through the pictures for this slide show brought with it a wave of emotions and a flood of memories. I'm half way through the pictures and hope to make better headway this week with the digital pictures.

Now for more coffee, to get through this ocean of laundry and of course to read more some more of the latest spin off romance novel about Mr. Darcy and his passionate feelings for Elizabeth Bennett...Life is good!

quote of the day

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul.
And sings the tune
Without the words,
and never stops at all.
-Emily Dickinson
US poet (1830 - 1886)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I dream of a life...

...beyond these four walls.

quote of the day

Love and magic have a great deal in common.
They enrich the soul, delight the heart.
And they both take practice.

-Nora Roberts

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Busy is as busy does

It's a full week for me as there seems to be something going on every day.

Yesterday I got to spend some time with another moving company rep- she was estimating the load that her company will pack and put into storage for us. All I can say is that you know it's going to be a smooth move when the company rep says "I wish that more clients were as organized as your and your husband are". Now I did give a snort of a laugh when she said that because I felt like we were anything but organized. But apparently a lot of people say that about my house. Maybe it's just me feeling out of sorts or maybe it was that huge stack of pottery I had in the middle of the formal dining room table that I had yet to put away, LOL!

Today- well I've got to make something for the dorm dinner that's tomorrow. NO matter what I decide to make, I will have to leave the house to get things like eggs and some other miscellaneous dairy products (we certainly do go through the cheese at our house).

Tomorrow- I will be spending the day with the Dv's who have come to check out our little base, and go on the tours that the base has set up for them. There's also the dorm dinner that evening hence me making those cheesecakes today since I will be VERY busy all day tomorrow.

Thursday- I will be going through all of the pictures that I brought with me for the slide show (this is for my husbands retirement ceremony). There are thousands upon thousands for me to wade through- this is no small task in the least!

Friday- take kitty to the Vet and that nights is the Burns Night function- should be interesting. I have no intentions of letting Haggis get anywhere near me- just say NO applies here!

quote of the day

Love isn't a decision. It's a feeling.
If we could decide who we loved,
it would be much simpler,
but much less magical.

-Trey Parker and Matt Stone

Monday, January 24, 2011

"Sandie's Fantabulous Pottery Tour (w/lunch)- The Sequel".

What can I say, it was an amazing trip! It doesn't get any better than going out to Stoke-on-Trent with ones girlfriends! I can't begin to tell you how much we laughed. The places we went, the thing we saw and ooooh the things we bought!

For me, it was magical! I'm all about the girly stuff, you all know that. The colors, textures and various patterns of the pottery was intoxicating! To describe the euphoria I felt ...for me the analogy would be as if I was an alcoholic and I was swimming in wine. Yes, it was THAT good. You've got to be there when the doors open at the Wedgwood outlet- I learned this from my very first trip out there. If you go in the afternoon the shelves will be picked bare! We arrived at 9 am (just as I planned) and I set my girlfriends loose in the Wedgwood outlet! The selections were fantastic and extra discounts were being given to us- life is good! We were all dizzy when we left, we were all swimming in the wine so to speak. But a few minutes back out in the cold British air and we were on our way to the next place!

Next stop Burleigh- it's my own personal little slice of heaven! One of the things on my list- and yes I had made a list of things that I wanted to buy was a lamp. Not any old lamp would do either, I wanted a blue and white lamp as I'm trying to put together a "look" for my formal living room in my next house. I had dreamed about buying a Portmeirion Botanical Blue lamp until I saw the one at Burleigh. Bluebird is the patterns name and it's a rare pattern at that! Once I saw it I knew that it was the lamp for me! There were a few other items that I picked up while at Burleigh, some really cool items at that! They had these beautiful Christmas themed 8" plates for a whopping 50p each- I bought 12. They will go great with my Spode Christmas Tree dinnerware! There were tons of great deals to be had!

Now on to Cauldon Ceramics, home of the Original Brown Betty Teapot! Sure it's a small business, but inside that blue door was a magical place full of brown earthenware pottery! All 4 of us bought teapots galore, and ordered more to be delivered to us this week. Me? Well, I've got a covered sugar bowl and a creamer coming to me this week ;-) There's something about the Brown Betty that I simply LOVE! It's simple everyday look makes me feel as if I've come.

Now over to Portmeirion- This place (for me) is like walking into a British Flower Garden in full bloom! It's overwhelming in the sense of the selections and intoxicating! Since I already own quite a bit of Botanic Garden tableware, I was looking to get a few more serving pieces. I found that my pattern was on sale for an extra 30% off- yeah momma! I came out with bowls and platters and was very pleased that I didn't spend as much as I thought I would.

Now for those that don't know- Portmeirion also owns Spode- Oh yeah! Life IS indeed GOOD! Tons of Spode products in stock and I was looking around with big eyes. It finally happened...I found the pieces that I've been wanting for years for my Christmas Tree service. The last pieces to fall into my lap are the Teapot and the Sauce Boat with stand. The store had them on sale at an extra 50% off, I could not resist! For years I refused to buy those pieces because they were so costly and suddenly they were in front of me saying "look at me". I was like a kid in a candy store! I even bought some of the cutlery items. I came out of there one happy woman!

Last Stop, Ainsley China- I came here because I wanted to get a couple more Belleek China pieces. Belleek is made in Ireland and I blame my addiction to it on my mother-in-law as it all started with a cup and saucer. I now have a handful of pieces and I cherish them all!

I know that I will never be able to buy any kind of British or Irish made pottery at these wonderfully low bargain prices like I've been able to while living here in England. I'm going to have such wonderful memories wash over me every time I use any of my place settings and serving pieces. At times I feel as if I've been on a treasure hunt and found the most exquisite gem stones and pearls.

So the best part was being on a treasure hunt with my girlfriends and seeing them find treasures of their own. We all came away happy and content. Okay so that gourmet picnic lunch that I made for all of us helped too.

quote of the day

The universe is full of magical things,
patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
-Eden Phillpotts

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Oh do be Serious!

I'm beginning to think that some of the folks that have Portmeirion items listed for sale on e-Bay USA are either delusional or are on crack. I'm hoping the former and not the latter. Are people actually willing to spend $150 on a retired Portmeirion rolling pin? $350 or more on a soup tureen? IN this economy? Oh do be serious! I keep telling our US military folks to buy the British pottery here, now while you can and while it's CHEAP! I love going to Stoke on Trent! I've been able to buy things here that I know I wouldn't be able to get back is the USA- not for the prices I've paid for here!

I'm getting excited about my trip on Saturday! It's not as if I "need" any more pottery, but I would like to pick up a few more pieces of Portmeirion Botanic Garden and maybe even some more Burleigh Pottery...who knows what I'll come home with ;-)

quote of the day

The pain of making the necessary sacrifices always hurts more than you think it's going to. I know. It sucks. That being said, doing something seriously creative is one of the most amazing experiences one can have, in this or any other lifetime. If you can pull it off, it's worth it. Even if you don't end up pulling it off, you'll learn many incredible, magical, valuable things. It's NOT doing it when you know you full well you HAD the opportunity- that hurts FAR more than any failure.

-Hugh Macleod

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Count down to MORE fun!

I did this trip back in April and I'm about to do it again. It's time for...
"Sandie's Fantabulous Pottery Tour (with lunch)- The Sequel".
I chose 3 girlfriends who would never do this on their own and now I've got the whole thing planned. Where we'll go and what we'll see. I'm going to make us a yummy lunch. I gave them menu choices and they voted...they want the same menu that I made for the last trip (that's good for me as I can make those things with one hand tied behind my back and blindfolded). I want to treat them to a great day! Each of these ladies is special to me. This is My last hurrah and I want to go out with a BANG! So a trip to Stoke on Trent it is! I've been talking about doing this for MONTHS and now it's going to happen in a matter of days.

This week is a very busy week for me, so I've got to pace myself.
Monday- hunt up pictures for slide show (this is for my husbands retirement ceremony)
Tuesday- lunch with girls to celebrate Alisha's b-day
Wednesday- Retirement benefits seminar (yawn city)
Thursday- dorm dinner
Friday- quick trip to antique shop, prepare foods for trip
Saturday- Road Trip to Stoke on Trent!

quote of the day

"Treat people as if they were what they ought to be,
and you help them to become what they are capable of being."
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Ones life is not truly complete without friends. I'm lucky enough to have met some amazing women along the way! Yesterday I had some friends over for lunch and it was great! I wish that I did that more often (note to self do this from now on until you move- have friends over for lunch at least twice a month).
So now I'm planning a little road trip with said girlfriends. We'll spend a Saturday together just simply having fun! Now for me to figure out the menu as I had given them a choice of going out to eat or me make us a lunch. I'm very flattered that they voted for me to make a yummy gourmet lunch for them. None of them was on the last trip so this will be fun. I could make the same things OR I could make something entirely new. I want to make this delicious cold salmon salad on a bed of butter leaf lettuce, it's a dish that I once ate at a snooty restaurant and it was to die for! I'm been itching to recreate it for quite some time now!

Now for me to enjoy my coffee, read some more of my latest FAB novel and plan some some stuff for my husbands retirement ceremony.

My one word for 2011


quote of the day

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 - 1832)

Friday, January 14, 2011

a day in the life...

Thursday was my cortisone injection day. I took the medical shuttle because I knew that I would not be able to drive myself home. I'll say it, I hate needles but deal with injections the best I can. Long story short, it hurt like hell, I fainted while getting the last injection and the shuttle driver had to help me out of the hospital- nice huh? Who knew I could possibly be such a wuss when it came to getting painful injections in my joints? Oh wait, I did.

While I was in a lot of pain yesterday I woke up feeling MUCH better. I didn't think that my wrists and elbow would be feeling better quite this soon, certainly not me.

Now for the fun stuff, I'm having friends over for lunch. I love doing this kind of thing (luncheons in my home) and especially with this terrific group of ladies! Three different ladies all with different backgrounds and views- each one of them as precious to me as sisters ever could be! So for me being able to treat them to something yummy is also a treat to myself. If you ask me, Friendship should always be treated as something special and magical!

quote of the day

Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air.

John Quincy Adams (1767 - 1848)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It's the little things...

Have you ever had a friend who is simply for the lack of a better term- Having a Bad Day? I'm pretty sure that most everyone has experienced a bad or off day. Heck, I've experienced them from time to time.

But what do you do for a friend who is having a bad day? Me, I decide to do something about it, to take matters into my own hands! You can't take away what has happened BUT you can take a step to let them know that they are special, that they are loved. It could be something as little as bringing them a card to let them know that they are loved or baking them a special treat (brownies and cheesecakes are my speciality) or giving them something that you made with your own two hands. Whatever it is, never miss an opportunity to let your friends know that you care about them.

So with that said, I've already got my wheels in motion!

quote of the day

All of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon - instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.
-Dale Carnegie

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Making my own kind of Magic

Today is about my girlfriends- the ones that listen to me when I'm going off the wall about something that's just not right or when I'm bubbling full of excitement about my latest pottery purchase. They're the ones that love me for me...not who my husband is or who I can influence. They love me for who I am and how I make them feel. They are true Angels come to life. Indeed I am truly blessed!

quote of the day

What's coming will come and we'll just have to meet it when it does.
-J. K. Rowling

Monday, January 10, 2011

quote of the day

Most people would like to be delivered from temptation
but would like it to keep in touch.
- Robert Orben

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Taking a "Me" day

What is a "Me" day you wonder? It can be anything you want really as long as you are taking time out to do something that YOU enjoy, that you are relaxed and not not stressed by the burdens on the day. For my "Me" day, I decided to spend it in my jammies reading all day long. Seriously, I read and entire novel and started on a second one-talk about bliss!

With my husbands retirement in a few weeks, another international move in the same time period and all of the other lovely stress factors that currently make up my life. I like to make lists, it keeps me focused for the tasks at hand. I made sure to put having some "me" time on that list and I did it more than once. I admit that I can let myself get overwhelmed, even the most organized of people like myself can get overwhelmed. I know that the movers will do a great job packing up our household items and on that note, I've never heard of anyone having a crap move from here. It's all of the other little things that I tend to stress about. I've got my lists and they will keep me on track.

Now a stress reliever- I've been asked to teach a card making class- I LOVE doing this, but I've put it on the back burner. I've got ideas bubbling and swirling around in my head and I hope to bring them up to the surface soon. This will be my last Hurrah at the Croughton Spouses Club and I want to go out with a bang! Or at least have everyone smiling and enjoying themselves.

But for me, this weekend is meant to be spent not stressing about all of the stuff on my plate, to relax and not worry about the things I have no control over. Easier said than done but I am giving it a good try!

Now for my commercial...I ♥ my Kindle! Oh my gosh it's never been easier to pick up a book and read it. To be able to finish reading one book and go on to the next one in a series is as easy as pushing a button. The cost of e-books are a fraction of hard-copy books. And for those of us who move house on a regular basis and have weight allowances... Well things like Kindle and e-readers in general are a blessing! As you know books can be rather weighty. Not to mention how much space is required to store them. I have stacks of books in my closet and my nightstand looks more like a librarians cart than a piece of furniture, LOL!

I'm off to grab another cuppa and to sink into my recliner and read some more, aaahh, this is Bliss!

quote of the day

This art of resting the mind and the power of dismissing from it all care and worry is probably one of the secrets of energy in our great men.
-Captain J. A. Hadfield

personally speaking I think this quote can be applied to both sexes and it's part of my female empowerment series

Friday, January 07, 2011

I'm not angry- I'm frustrated

That's been my saying to myself ever since I arrived here in England. It's funny how somethings (meaning people and situations) have this tendency to be harder than they should be, at least in my book they do. I do my best to not harbour resentments nor have I ever wished anyone ill will. It's not easy being the wife of the deputy commander, not that it's bad it's just different is all. Sure there are times I look at people and think that they're nuts- just as people think that about me (of which I'm sure they do). I know that I have a voice and when I use it people do listen to me. I've never put on airs or made an issue about being the wife of... it's just that I want to be seen as me, myself and be recognized for my own merits.

I look at the crazy things that have gone on with this house since we've moved into it and try not to get angry. The real fault lays with construction company who cut corners when they did the remodel. The folks here are only trying to help correct the situation as best they can whenever something goes wrong- which is more frequent than I ever really write about.

I look at situations and relationships I've had with various people and wonder how I could have done things differently. I know for some I did the best that I could and always wishing that I could do more. As for others, I became so frustrated that I simply threw in the towel and walked away before I said anything that I would regret. Now that didn't stop the other person or persons from totally trashing me in front of others though. Even with all of that, I do think of myself as being the better person- and I don't regret the decision of walking away. I am a self proclaimed a romanticist. In my own way I wish that life was like Who-ville, the tall and the small all gathering around a table giving thanks for the people in their lives.

I have a dear friend who is currently going through the beginnings of a what could become an ugly divorce. The whole thing has me thinking a great deal about love, forgiveness, loyalty and the bonds of friendship. She's someone I truly respect and admire and it's breaking my heart that she's had such a rough time of it here in England.

For the most part, I've enjoyed living here in England but at the same time I'm also ready to go home. I'm ready to start the third part of my life. All I can really say is that it's been a nice ride but I'm also glad that it's coming to an end. Just the very thought of retirement seems like total bliss to me. It's not being in England that I didn't like, I love it here! It was dealing with those that are selfish and those that are self important that I didn't like.

So there it is, Sandie's thoughts out here on the internet for everyone to read and read into it what they will. As another of my dear friends would say to me "girlfriend, it is what it is".

quote of the day

Anger is the feeling that makes your mouth work faster than your mind.
- Evan Esar

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Do it, do it, get it done!

So there I was, me and what seemed to be an ocean of 18 gallon Rubber-maid Tote Boxes. It was iffy for a while there who would win- me or the Tote Boxes, but I persevered and was victorious in my battle. Now to get the unwanted stuff off to the Charity Shops.

quote of the day

If history repeats itself,
and the unexpected always happens,
how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.
- George Bernard Shaw

Monday, January 03, 2011


My nerves are frazzled, it's to do with all of my thinking about the future and what it has to hold...for me and for us as a couple and a family. Retirement from the Air Force is a big step, it's all I've known with my husband for the past twenty plus years. The continuous cycle of making new friends when we move and my jumping right in and getting involved the various military spouse social groups is about to come to a close and it makes me a little sad. All of this is a new adventure I tell myself and moving is an adventure all unto it's self.

Now for me to look at the calendar and choose dates for the movers to come pack up our stuff, when to ship out our cars, making travel arrangements for our family and guests to attend my husbands retirement ceremony. Then there's the ceremony it's self. As you know this kind of thing always puts a huge lump in my throat, they're my favorite kind of ceremony to attend and now I'm planning one for my husband...for us. All this I am preparing to do while my heart is pounding away in my chest like a freight train and tears stream down my cheeks.

There are still so many things I want to do while we're here and well I have a feeling that they are not going to come to fruition. Silly things like a trip to Stoke on Trent with my girlfriends for one last shopping spree (yes my thing is pottery and not clothing, weird right?). I wanted for the the 3 of us (me, my husband and daughter) to be able to spend a 4 day weekend in Paris- not sure if that will be possible with the time crunch now upon us. I wanted to take Hannah to see Phantom of the Opera in London, still waiting on that one- although she did see it in New York in October, I still haven't seen it. I want to host a luncheon/afternoon tea at my house for a select handful of friends- I hope I can wing that one! As I said, it's silly things really.

I suppose that I should get back to things...back to organizing and rearranging my china cabinet. Usually mindless little things like that give me pleasure- today it just makes me feel, well rather melancholy.

quote of the day

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times,
always with the same person.
-Mignon McLaughlin

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Goals vs Resolutions

I go through this every year...setting goals versus making resolutions.One can make goals and set them at various levels/stages where one can make a resolution to do something and easily break it. Goals I find are easier to stick with and achieve the outcome that I desire.

My goals for 2011;
  • to do MORE creative work not less!
  • to write meaningful from the heart letters to friends and family at least twice a month
  • to get back into doing design team work in the paper crafting industry
  • to read more books
  • to start scrapbooking again
  • to work seriously on my cookbook
  • add more recipes to my cooking blog
  • to tell those that I love that I love them with all my heart
  • to find a house in New England
  • to not harbor resentments

quote of the day

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.
- Miss Piggy