Sunday, January 30, 2022

A Little Bit of This and That

 So Long January

Here we are already at the end of January and it's time for a little bit of this and that where I share random bits of what's been happening around my world with you. We had more snow Friday night into Saturday and although the main roads in Asheville are now clear, our road continues to have snowy and icy patches. I truly don't like driving when there is ANY snow or ice but I did get out for a little bit this afternoon with The Mr. driving our trusty Subaru. I still didn't like our road, though. 

Every time it snows I seem to feel like I need to make soup. Saturday was no exception as you can see here. I combined zucchini, onion, celery, potato, chicken broth and orzo together and let it all simmer until tender and delicious. 

And, of course, since I made soup, I had to make a cake of cornbread to go with it! I can never get my first piece to come out cleanly though!

And as the British would say, it all went down a treat together especially with some added carrots! Soup is always so comforting on a snowy and cold day. 

Last week, before the snow flew again, The Mr. and I took some hike/walks together. This pic was taken next to UNC-Asheville next to the stream. This was the most rugged part of our walk for sure. We strolled on the Reed Creek Greenway prior to this and enjoyed experiencing a new walk on sidewalks the whole way. This pic was next to the Botanical Gardens at UNCA and feels more like a trail. 

We also hiked a few days later to the dam at Lake Powhatan near the NC Arboretum. 

There was still some snow on the ground from the previous weekend's snow, although it was mostly avoidable. This was a pretty little bridge along the trail.

And Lake Powhatan was really pretty. Parts of it had thin ice on top. It was a nice hour long hike which was definitely Debbie approved!

And, finally, these two goofballs have been keeping me on my toes with their crazy antics. They love to watch the birds, chipmunks and squirrels out the back door. They sleep most of the day and then decide to go racing through the house around 9:30 at night chasing each other! (Cassie would like for me to amend that last statement and let you know that she most certainly does not sleep most of the day, however Garden does!) And both girls are excited that there is a cat in the White House now and are anxious to see what Willow will accomplish during her time there! 

What's going on in your part of the world? 

Until Next Time,

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Layering Gray on Black

 Favorite Colors Layered Together

Hello everyone!  Don't you love it when you put two colors you love together and the outfit just works? Me too. And that's what happened today when I layered various shades of gray with black. 

I find that I wear these dark gray jeans quite frequently. The black and white animal print zippered fleece is so cozy and warm over a black turtleneck. And since I was still just a little cold, I added my loose and slouchy gray sweater that I purchased last winter. The final touch were my gray booties over black socks. I'm as cozy as can be for the day and so very comfortable, as well. This is the time of year for layering. Pick colors you love and see how you can layer them together for a cozy and warm look. I'll bet the colors will work well together!

I was reading that the color gray can represent neutrality and balance, intellect and compromise. Gray is definitely a neutral color and can look great with so many colors and hues. What I read cautioned against wearing too much gray in the same outfit. But, I love wearing ALL gray to achieve a wonderful monochromatic style. 

What colors do you like to layer? Be sure to let me know in the comments. 

Until Next Time,

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Matters of the Heart

 What Warms Your Heart?

Above all else, guard your heart
for everything you do flows from it. 
Proverbs 4:23

Hello everyone!  We're getting close to the time where we think about hearts, love, friendship, Valentines and even heart health.  So, today I'm thinking about what warms our hearts. Those things that make our hearts happy, nourish us and cause us to smile. Of course when we mention our "heart" it can have all sorts of meanings including our soul, our thinking, the love we feel and our actual biological heart. I thought I would share some things that warm my heart and I hope you will share as well in the comments. And I'll say up front that The Mr. my fur babies and family warm my heart, but I'm focusing on other things in this post.

I'm an avid tea drinker and look forward to that first cup of the day as my time to wake up, have devotions and greet the new day. I continue to drink iced or cold tea throughout the day, Over the years, I have made the change to drinking mostly decaf tea as cold tea but my hot tea in the morning is definitely caff! I have read that tea is healthy for the heart. If so, I should have a very healthy heart!
I was thinking the other day about the number of times each day I am involved in reading. And it's a lot! Whether I am reading a book, blogs I follow, emails, texts or some type of directions, I am an avid reader. I have a habit of re-reading favorite books over and over again and I will continue to do that, I'm sure. But, I am pleased that since Christmas I have read three totally new books and enjoyed them very much. I fell in love with books as a baby, memorizing nursery rhymes. And from the time I encountered Dick, Jane and Sally in first grade I have been a reader and hope to always be. My sweet mother was also an avid reader and even when she was suffering from dementia and really couldn't read anymore, she kept a "favorite" book in the bed with her. The pages were all crumpled and worn but it was her book. I wish my sisters and I had kept that book. Readers keep a good book by their side no matter what!
For as long as I can remember, the Holy Scriptures have been a part of my life. As a small child, I learned about scriptures through stories of Jesus at my mother's knee, as well as in Sunday School. When I was in third grade, and considered able to read the scriptures on my own, my church presented me and the other third graders with a Bible. I still have that Bible. I try to read the Bible on a daily basis although I sometimes fail. But the scriptures always warm my heart, help me to grow as a Christian and keep me steady in my faith. And for that I am always grateful.
I am told that, as a baby, there were certain songs that I loved and would sing along with. As a youngster, I enjoyed singing hymns in church and can remember trying to learn how to sing harmony with the hymns. In third grade, I began taking violin lessons and continued lessons and playing all through public school and into college. After college, I taught music and played in a symphony here in Asheville. As a retiree, I began directing handbells at my church and also began taking flute lessons, something I have always wanted to do. I married a trumpet player and have supported him throughout our marriage as he has continuously played solos and in various brass groups and, along the way, I have become quite the lover of brass music. Throughout the day, I enjoy music playing on the radio. How could I ever not be a lover of music? It warms my heart. 
I had to chuckle just typing this. To say that I have a "sweet tooth" is putting it mildly. And in some ways that is really too bad. I lived all the way through my forties being able to eat pretty much whatever I wanted without gaining weight. And sweets figured prominently in what I wanted! But, oh my, when the fifties came along how times changed my friends! I had to rein in my love for sweets and that is just not fair at all! I love chocolate and that's a health food, right?! I typically have a little something every day. I try not to, but it's really hard. Sigh. 
Are you surprised by this? I have always enjoyed shopping and getting something new, or at least new-to-me, in terms of clothing and items for the house. It's always fun to think about how to style a new article of clothing or an accessory or what vignette I would like to create in what room of the house. Learning how to be a thifter has helped with the budget in terms of being a shopper. Years ago I had a friend, who has since moved away, and we would go to the mall most Tuesday evenings while our husbands were at band practice and eat pie (there's that sweet tooth again) and then go shopping. I didn't buy something every Tuesday, but it was fun to window shop. And eat pie. Sigh.
One of the things I wanted to do in retirement was find new ways to be creative. And I think, for the most part, I have. I have tried a lot of ways of being creative and I don't think I am the typical creative person meaning that I'm not an artist or a quilter or someone who crochets or knits. I do things like writing my blog, journaling in various ways, decorating cards, making music and doing other little crafts from time to time. And, yes, coming up with vignettes is being creative. Styling outfits is creative. Just trying to do things in a "Debbie Way" is being creative. 
And warms my heart.
Well, you knew I had to add this to the list of what warms my heart, right?! It's funny. I go through phases with blogging where I just don't feel like I have a thing to say or I feel like I don't know what direction I'm going in with the blog or I feel like I look silly styling outfits. And then, I catch a second wind and start blogging away and it's just like new! And here I am still at it six years into this blogging adventure. This blog is something that is All Mine. I love being able to decide what goes into it. My dear friend, Sharon, noticed that I had changed the header and the background color recently. I like being in charge of making those changes. It keeps the blog fresh and helps me to feel that there is that "something new" to the blog. This has been the only time in my life that I have gotten to be the CEO of my own organization!
And now it's your turn!
What warms your hearts?
Until Next Time,

*Thank you to Carol at for the use of the heart with tree inside. 

Sunday, January 16, 2022

A Snowy Day

 Snowy Day In My Backyard

Hi everyone! It's a snowy day in my backyard today. Overnight Snowstorm Izzy came through and the white stuff has continued to fall throughout the day. We probably have around 7 inches on the ground right now. We've also had some sleet throughout the day. This was our backyard early this morning. 

And this was our front yard earlier today. It is all so very pretty. Days like this can make me feel kind of antsy. I don't like the feeling of being "snowed in" although I'm sure we could get out if we really had to. But, these type days are also great reminders to just hunker down and enjoy doing nothing. Read a good book, watch Hallmark and write a blog post! So far, we have been lucky in that we have kept power. Here's hoping we continue to keep power!

How do you spend snow days at your house? Would love to hear all about it!

Until Next Time,

Sunday, January 9, 2022

What's In My Reading Basket

 Books I've Been Reading Lately

Hello everyone! I have been trying to widen my horizons lately with reading and have chosen some books that are new reads to me. After spending time re-reading my old favorite books these past months, it has been fun to branch out and try a couple new authors as well as a new book in a series I have followed in the past. I thought you might enjoy hearing what's in my reading basket. Perhaps you will get some ideas for a book you might enjoy.

1. "The Private Patient" by PD James 
This author was new-to-me and although it took me a few pages to get into the book, once I was in I was hooked!  This is a mystery about a woman who goes to a private clinic to have plastic surgery done and is then murdered. Everyone who is in service at the clinic is suspect and it is up to Commander Dalgliesh and his team to figure out who committed the murder. Along the way, the reader learns about the fascinating back stories of the inhabitants of the clinic as well as of Commander Dalgliesh. I believe that many of the books by PD James have been made into movies and some were shown on PBS. I would like to read more of the Commander Dalgliesh murder mysteries and will be looking for more in the series.

2. "Mr. Churchill's Secretary" by Susan Elia Macneal
This was another new-to-me author and the fact that the book was set in WWII with a strong female heroin reminiscent of Maisie Dobbs caused me to choose this book to read. The heroin is Maggie Hope who is hired to be a typist for Winston Churchill after Neville Chamberlain resigns as Prime Minister of England. Raised by her aunt in the US and a graduate of Wellesley, Maggie has forgone working on a graduate program in mathematics at M.I.T. in order to return to England, the land of her birth, and sell her grandmother's house. Instead, Maggie ends up remaining in England as the war is starting and shares the house with several female housemates. As the story unfolds, Maggie becomes embroiled in state secrets and espionage as she proves her worth, not just as a typist, but as a mathematician. 

I enjoyed this book to a point. The story kept my interest and I rooted for Maggie as she fought to be recognized for her intelligence in the "mans's world" that existed in the 1940's. However, some of the four letter words used throughout the book disturbed me as well as the true-to -life depictions and descriptions of torture, bombings and how Jewish people were treated in Germany and elsewhere during WWII. That was upsetting to read about. So, I found myself putting the book down during these sections. This is the first book in the "Maggie Hope" series. I will say that the next book in the series sounds interesting as it involves Maggie Hope working for MI5 in the Royal Palace while undercover as a math tutor for Princess Elizabeth. I may be looking for that one to read. 

3. "The Quiet Side of Passion" by Alexander McCall Smith
This is the book I am currently reading and is part of the Isabel Dalhousie series. I have enjoyed this series in the past but have not read the last few books. When I saw this one at the used book store I picked it up as a Christmas gift to myself and I am enjoying it immensely. 

Isabel Dalhousie is first introduced in the book, "The Sunday Philosophy Club." She is a philosopher who edits a magazine called, The Review of Applied Ethics. Now, she is also a wife and mother of two little boys and enjoys music, assisting her niece, Cat, at the delicatessen and solving issues and mild mysteries that involve the use of her philosophical skills. 

To me, all of the books in this series are what I consider a "gentle read" and I am happy to have this after the more intense read of the Maggie Hope book. I see there is another book in the series after this one so I hope to pick it up, as well. 

Hope this gives you some ideas for books you might enjoy reading! Let me know what books are in your reading basket in the comment section. I love hearing from you!

Until Next Time,

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Featuring Purple In My Clothing

 When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple

So, are you familiar with the poem written by Jenny Joseph? If not, here is a portion. 

by Jenny Joseph
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
 With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves

I hope you will look up this poem and read it in its entirety. (You might want to read it before you read my post). It's such a fun piece. I'm not certain why wearing purple is presented as such a scandalous thing in this poem. Or, why wearing red with purple should be even more so. The truth is, I love purple (and any shades derived from it) and have quite a few clothing items in my closet that are in the purple hues. Today, I'm going to share a few of those looks with you. 

Just because I want to. 

And because I love purple. 

And because you might like to add a little purple to your life. Maybe even mixed with a little red, who knows? 

But, I wouldn't spend your pension on brandy if I were you. That might not be such a good idea. 😉

You know, it's funny how things work out. One of my sisters gifted me with this lovely handbag for Christmas. It came with a scarf that matches the pattern on the pocket flap and a necklace that matches the color of the handbag. I love this bag! It's roomy and has helpful pockets and I wish I had it when I flew back in November. But, I digress. The handbag colors are also purple (you might call it mauve or plum) and I already had this purple jacket and the multi-color purple Skechers shoes and the outfit just kind of created itself!

I really didn't plan to wear mostly ALL purple shades that day but, somehow, it just happened without planning. When you have certain dominant colors in your closet they can show up at the same time for a party! As you can see, I even wore my purple sweater on this day. 

And can you see that I am wearing my amethyst ring, as well? 

Now, I didn't do any sitting on pavement or pressing alarm bells, but The Mr. and I did eat outside at a table on the pavement. This particular day was our anniversary and, because it was New Year's Day, many places weren't open. So, we ended up at a local sandwich shop. Really fancy way to celebrate 39 years, right?! But notice how the red in his shirt goes so nicely with the purple in my coat. See? Jenny Joseph knew what she was talking about!

I guess I could have run my stick along the fence railings seen in this picture. But, they were kind of covered in snow and I didn't want to mess up all that prettiness. I do like the effect of the lavender scarf against the purple coat, though. And the gray popping out looks good, too. Have you tried pairing gray with purple? 

Does wearing purple make up for the sobriety of my youth? Hmm...I doubt it. But, it does make me happy. Purple, in my opinion, is a very happy color. So, I enjoy wearing it often. 

I looked up meanings for the color purple and found that it denotes creativity and spirituality and, of course, is tied to royalty. It can have the effect of being uplifting and encouraging. And I have found that this color does uplift my mood when wearing it. 

If we remember our elementary school art classes, we know that mixing red and blue creates purple. So this color is tied closely and blends well with the other two. I do have a love for blue as you well know. And red has been calling my name a bit more lately. Perhaps that is because I'm becoming old?? Nah!!!!'

In my opinion, the "Warning" poem by Jenny Joseph reminds us, no matter what our ages, to have fun. Try new things, be bold, play with color. After all, if you are wearing purple and red, you definitely will be seen!

 So look in your own closet and see if there is a dominant color or two in there that YOU love to wear. What do those colors mean to you? Do they make you happy when you wear them? Have fun with color. And be sure to tell me about what you find in your closet in the comments section. 

But, for goodness sake, don't learn how to spit! Yuck!! (wink)

Until Next Time,

*All writing in this post, with the exception of the brief poem excerpt by Jenny Joseph, is my own writing and my own opinions. 
*Photography by William Ross

Monday, January 3, 2022

Winter Decor and More

 Happy Winter

Hello everyone!  Sure hope you enjoyed your New Years Day and that 2022 is off to a great start for you!  Today, I'm sharing the winter decor/vignettes I have put out around the house. And why not share the winter decor right outside my window, as well?! We woke up to snow this morning and it is so very pretty. It's the kind of snow that coats the tree branches and fence posts but didn't stay long on the roads. We did have winds that brought down a tree and left us without power for several hours but that is all resolved now. I'll be sharing a few more snow pics as well as some more purple clothing in my next post this Friday so be sure to stop by for that. For now, let's look at some snowmen!

I've actually drastically reduced the number of snowmen I have, but I kept a few favorites to display in January and February. These are two of my favorites. I also brought out my little white light tree to give a little extra light in the living room during the dreary Winter months. It really helps to make the room more cheerful to have a little extra light. Especially since the Christmas trees have been put away until next year! 

And my Mitford Snowman is gracing the little table in the dining room, along with some bottle brush trees and wooden mittens. If I could go back in time, I would have gotten the other two Mitford snowmen, but I just went with this one. Oh well. I could look on Etsy if I am really interested in more "things." I pretty much have all I can keep up with now!

I decided to go with all sparkly and snowy on the foyer table. You have seen my "Let it snow" sign before and I added the sparkly stems in a vase and an icy looking snowflake. Of course, I had to have my polar bear snowglobe as part of this vignette. And please notice the lovely mat underneath this vignette. This was fashioned and quilted by my dear friend, Sharon, and given to me for Christmas. Isn't it beautiful?! It is actually a "mug and snack mat" and is meant to hold a mug and small snack. Hope you don't mind my using it on the foyer table, Sharon. I just love it!

For now, those are the items I have used for Winter decor. I hope to create a new winter wreath and, if I do, I will share that with you. I do hope that you are enjoying these first days of 2022. Take good care and let me know how you are doing. I love to read your comments!

Until Next Time,