"Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning." Psalm 30:5

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Quilt Retreat

Working away
This weekend was the quilt retreat put on by the local quilt shop, The Quilting Squares.   Kathy and Kay did a great job and we all had a wonderful time.   I met so many nice women!!  My goal for the weekend was to finish a quilt top that I bought as a kit way back when the family lived on Foster Creek - eight or nine years ago.  Success!!!  It was a pleasant surprise to find that at some point I had actually cut the pieces out and made a few blocks.  It took me most of the weekend but the top is finished.  I'll piece the backing tomorrow and Cathy is going to quilt it using her long-arm.

Finished except for the borders - I added them
after this picture was taken.

Lea and Cathy - Cathy spent the weekend knitting.

It wasn't all quilting:)  We had no wine before its time.
Patsy and the quilt she
is making her brother.
Besides quilting, there was lots of talking laughing and eating!  Eighteen women attended the retreat that was held in a facility about 1.5 hours from Nashville.  There were nine of us on each floor and we all had plenty of room to work and spread out our "stuff" as necessary.   After I finished piecing the top, I cut out a shirt from a Sewing Workshop pattern  (the Hibiscus) so hope to have another sewing project done soon.  We are all ready for a repeat of this great weekend next year.
Linda and her gorgeous quilt!

It was really inspiring seeing all the beautiful quilts and projects under construction.  I am way out of practice.  Taking some quilting classes is now on my agenda:)   This was the first time I had worked on any quilting in several years.

Peggy's Bed & Breakfast - Now Open!!!

Where's Sissy?
Reservations are now being accepted at Peggy's Bed & Breakfast!!!  My sister, Ardell, and friend, Ann, have made reservations to come in March.   My sister, Barbara, (with or without her family)  is coming to celebrate the end of her chemo treatments.  Bill and Amy are waiting for the weather to get warmer (wimps!!)  Betty and I are trying to coordinate a visit sometime before May.   I really hope to have lots of visitors.

As many of you know, Janet loves interior decorating and was "head honcho" on my townhouse project. She was here last weekend and did the final "touches" on my living area.  I had been working on accessories and Janet did a little fine-tuning.   I love how it turned out:)  Janet brought two of her friends, Melissa and Rachel, over to meet me, eat dessert, and see her work.    Rachel and her husband are in the process of buying a home and Janet is going to help them as well.  Makes me wonder why she didn't major in Interior Design in college:):)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Do you think I need a 12-step program?  Janet and Nick got me hooked on the app "Words with Friends" when we went camping last Thanksgiving.  No telling how many games I have played since then - with them and random opponents (I usually have several games going at once).     The big news - I finally beat Nick this week!!!!!  Yeah!!!!  One game out of dozens:)

Then I discovered "Doodle Jump".  Its another top-selling app and reminds me a little of the old "Mario" game.  Doug was about five or six when he got his first Nintendo and Mario was the big game at the time.  When he went to sleep at night, I would sit on the end of his bed and play Mario!  Sometimes I'd take a break and play Tetris.  There is also an app for Tetris!!  Yes, I have it!  PeggyW suggested I try "Cut the Rope" so it is now down-loaded to my iTouch!

In other news, I went to my first book club meeting.  This is a brand new group so I got in right at the beginning.  The first book we read was "Saving CeCe Honeycutt" by Beth Hoffman.  Excellent!!!  I have always been addicted to reading.  One of my favorite childhood memories is "library day".  Mother would take us to the Park Place Library every Monday during the summer.   In her tribute to Mother at the memorial service,  Ardell commented that Mother knew "reading children are quiet children".

A new friend and I met for lunch and fabric shopping last week.  We both are participating in the "mystery quilt" project with the quilt guild.  While at the shop, we were invited to a quilt retreat. It didn't take either one of long to say "yes"!    My project will be to finish the quilt kit I bought back when I lived on Foster Creek-maybe eight or ten years ago.    Doris and I met for lunch and discussed sewing projects among other things.  I guess that covers my sewing addiction.

Some addictions aren't so bad:)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I hate it when my friends/siblings are right!!!!

My older sister has taken great pleasure in warning the rest of us (I have 5 siblings) how we are going to "fall apart" as we get older and need to be patched up.   Yep!!!  It happened last week:)  I went to the dentist and need not one but two crowns ($$$$$$$$).  This event caused some funny emails among the siblings.  One brother even referred to his dental work as "the bridge over the River Kwai".  I hate it when she is right.

Ardell - the OLDEST of the Chance siblings:)
Stopping to "smell the roses"

Last night I exchanged emails with a long time friend and she asked "What are your plans next?".  She also mentioned that "job" word:)  Huh???  Honestly, when I first divorced the plan was to take a year off for an adventure, move closer to one of my children, and then find a job.

Adventure - Check!
Move - Check!
Job - Huh???

So, her comments made me think.  And think some more.   This morning I updated the address on the resume and sent it off to a part-time job posting on Craigslist!!!  What am I thinking???   Honestly, I would really like a temporary or part-time job with flexibility but have been nervous about applying.  Guess it is time to "plunge in".  Thanks PK, I think:)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Back to Franklin!

Ardell & Ben's Dogs!!  Need I say more?
I spent a week in Houston before driving back to Franklin.  The first couple of nights I was at Ardell and Ben's recuperating.  One of my brother's had some outpatient surgery so I played "Nurse Peggy" and stayed with Walter for a couple of days.  Barbara had a port put in and chemo one day so I went to MD Anderson with her - she's amazing!!!  She is now half-way through her first round of chemo.

Jan, Elizabeth, Me
Amy and Bill met Walter and I in Montgomery for dinner one night.  Lucky me they had been in Huntsville so it worked out perfectly for us to meet.  Several friends met me on short notice for lunch-always fun.  When I was in the Richmond area, Betty was out doing errands so we met for lunch and a trip to TG's To Go to stock up. (if you live near by you must go:)   Walter's surgery was near downtown so I was able to meet Linda at Treebeard's (best Italian Cream Cake ever).  After spending the night at Barbara's in Pearland, two of my high school friends met me for lunch.  Elizabeth, Janice and I met in 3rd grade and have been friends since (we added Nancy in high school but she was working that day).  Our third grade teacher sat us in alphabetical order - she doesn't know what she started (Billier, Bowman, Chance)

Noah and his snowman!!!
I went back to Ardell & Ben's Thursday night so I could hit the road early Friday morning - and early it was:)  I woke up about 4:00 and was on the road by 4:45.  No choice since I had parked behind Ben and he leaves for work about then:)  Not a bad drive and I was back in Franklin before dark.  Saturday morning I woke up to snow on the ground!  It was gone by noon to be followed by about 4 more inches that is still on the ground.  One day I went to the park with my neighbors and actually went sledding for the first time ever.  My next door neighbor, Noah, built a snowman with his mom.

Sissy was really happy to see me and was glued to my side for a few days.  She has a new favorite spot - right in front of the fireplace!

I've spent the week recuperating - three weeks was a long time to be gone.

Flight Home/Odds & Ends

The flight home was long, long, long!!!  We had to get up at 3:30 am to catch a flight to Amsterdam and then on to Houston.  All passengers in Amsterdam's airport went through the new screenings and pat down but that was the only time for me this whole trip.  Not a big deal.  The flight hit several turbulent spots and was really bumpy - not a good thing.  Poor Jeff got hit with the horrid virus I had on the way back and was miserable.  I think his comment was "worst flight ever".    Diana and Becki never got it - they are both teachers so maybe their immunity is higher!

Several people have asked about some of our travel arrangements so I'll try and answer here:

(at the time of our trip add about one third for American dollars)

1.  Jeff was our "travel agent" and booked this trip back in May.  Booking so early and for four people traveling together we got some great rates.

2.  We all took carry-ons and didn't check luggage with the exception of Ryan Air (required) and on the flight home.  You really can pack for 12 days in one small suitcase!!!

3.  Our hotel in Dublin (off season rates) was $70 euro a night and was centrally located so we walked most places.  The B&B in Cork was also centrally located and was $70 euro.  The B&B in Galway was a little further from town (had to take a cab) and was $50 euro.  (Diana and I shared a room and split the costs).

4.  We ate most of our meals in pubs.  The only really expensive meal was on Christmas Day.

5.  The Irish people are so friendly and helpful!!!  If you just looked like you needed help, they stopped and gave you directions, etc.

Dublin - famous for colorful doors.
6.  Bus tour we took in Galway was a great deal-  $20 euro for the whole day plus a tip for the driver.

7.  Seniors get discounts everywhere - so I finally admitted I was a "senior".

8.  The bus is the way to go in Ireland if you are not renting a car!!!  Really nice coaches and reasonably priced - and you can see the countryside.

9.  Taxis - we took taxis more than we thought we would.  Mainly because it was such a big time-saver and we had time constraints (we spent two days stuck in the airport in France).  Divided four ways made it affordable.

For Doug & LA - we have eaten at Ray's in NYC- this is the Dublin Location

Great trip!

Back to Dublin/Guinness Storehouse

We took the 7:30 express bus back to Dublin (a.m. that is!!!) the morning of New Year's Eve.   We had originally planned to take the train.   Lot of Irish people we spoke to said the bus was cheaper and faster - and it was!!!  The fare was 16 euro to go to Dublin Airport.  From there we took a taxi to our hotel and then on to the Guinness Storehouse.  The Guinness Storehouse is one of the top tourist attractions in Dublin and is listed in the book 1000 Places to See Before You Die.  Weird - I certainly wouldn't consider it a "must see".    I've also been to the Pilsner Brewery in the Czech Republic and it was much more impressive.  This was fun but was really just a tourist attraction - not a working brewery.  Guinness has redone their original building with information on every level about their history and the beer making process, several bars, a spot to learn to "draw" your own brew, and a bar at the top with magnificent views of Dublin.  The entrance fee includes one beer:)

Bartender lesson!

Drawing our own Guinness


Cheers - once again:)
After leaving Guinness, we headed over to the Dublin Gaol.  Unfortunately, all the tours were sold out for the day so we missed out on this one.    If you make it to Dublin, it is supposed to be very interesting.  Jeff decided we needed to celebrate the New Year with a nice dinner and had the taxi driver take us to a well-known restaurant in Dublin.  Once we found it - it was closed!!!  Maybe because it was only 4:00???  We had seen Burdock's (and the long line waiting for fish & chips) so walked over and indulged.  Burdock's claims to be the oldest fish & chip shop in Dublin!!  Take away only so we walked around the corner and sat on some steps to eat.
Burdock's Fish & Chips

Take away only - we found steps around the corner to enjoy
our fish & chips!
Following up on the "oldest" theme, we walked over to The Brazenhead, the oldest pub in Dublin for one last brew before we headed to the hotel.  We had another early morning and a long, long flight the next day.  So much for staying up to greet the new year!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Galway, Ireland

Wednesday morning we were up early and took the bus to Galway and stayed in another bed and breakfast.   B&B's are great places to stay - cheaper than hotels, you get to visit with the locals, and the owners are a great resource for things to see and do in the area - and breakfast is included!!!  As soon as we got to the B&B, I went to bed for the rest of the day.  Diana was a great nurse and brought me soup and tea that evening:)  We have been friends since we met on the bus (nerd-mobile or looser-cruiser as my kids would say)  in high school.  Many years ago:)

Ruins where part of the "The Quiet Man" was
Becki & Jeff - recreating "that kiss" from the movie.
Diana, Becki and Jeff went to see the sights of Galway city center and arranged for a bus tour for the next day.  While none of us usually go on bus tours, this was a great way to get out and see the countryside.   Our bus picked us up at the B&B and the driver was quite a character - well suited for his job.  It was great to see some of the coast and the Connemara area.  Remember the movie "The Quiet Man" with John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara?  It was filmed in this area.  We stopped at several locations during our day long tour - church ruins, a small town where the pub in "The Quiet Man" was located (and public toilets), to see a Connemara pony, and then spent the afternoon at Kylemore Abbey and grounds.

Super tourists!

Connemara pony/tour guide


Galway Oysters
The bus dropped us off in Galway around 6:00 p.m. so we headed to a local restaurant for dinner before taking a taxi back to the B&B.  Galway is famous for its oysters so Diana and Jeff ordered them.  I was still a bit green so raw oysters weren't too appealing but I had a couple just because it is one of those things you should do in Galway.  After walking around a little and a stop at the local bakery, we got a taxi back to the B&B.  We were catching a bus back to Dublin at dark thirty the next morning.

Griffin's Bakery - oldest in Galway?
Diana will have to verify that

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Jameson Whiskey, Midleton, County Cork

Old truck on display.
Our second day in Cork started with a tour of Jameson Whiskey in nearby Midleton.  Jameson is the best selling Irish whiskey in the world and they are quite proud of their reputation.  The original distillery was remodeled several years ago and is now used to show tourists the whiskey making process.  The tour we took was really interesting and we all enjoyed it.   They really did a great job.   When the tour guide asked for volunteers to be in a "taste test", Diana, Jeff and I were all chosen to participate.  We were all awarded with "official certificates".  The three they had us taste were Jamesons from Ireland, Johnnie Walker from Scotland, and Jack Daniels from Tennessee.  I think they stacked the deck!!!

Cheers!  And no, I didn't drink all of that:)

Our group at the bar for a photo op!
We spent the afternoon back in Cork and walked around the city center, etc., saw the market which was really interesting, and generally played tourist.  Another great day - until about midnight.

I woke up in the middle of the night and was sick, sick, sick!!!  Remember those Irish children Diana and I played cards with?  The little girl had a virus that she so kindly shared with me.  Not good!  I was truly green:)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Cork, Ireland

Rainy Day!
Bus to Blarney
Monday, December 27th we had reservations to fly to Cork, Ireland  on Ryan Airways.   The Irish people we talked to didn't have nice things to say about the airline but we had no problems - and it was cheap.  It was $40 (dollars) for the flight and that included almost $25 to check our luggage.  Even though we all were traveling with carry-ons only the airline required it be checked.

Blarney Castle

 We stayed at the Avondale Bed & Breakfast in Cork.  The owners were so nice and it was within walking distance to most places in Cork.  After we left our luggage, we headed to Blarney on the bus to see the castle and kiss the famous Blarney Stone.  Surprise, surprise - it was a rainy day but we didn't let that stop us.  Sometimes I am a slow learner.  We got to the castle and walked all the way to the top on steep, winding stairs before I figured out the famous Blarney Stone was at the top of the castle!  Somehow I thought it was a big rock in a field.

I still didn't get it - even after seeing this sign:)

When I rounded the last corner, Jeff was on his back kissing the stone.  Nope - no way was I hanging my head over the side of the castle to kiss the stone.  I just blew it a kiss and called it "good".  This is definitely a tourist attraction.  There were two burly guys up there making sure you didn't fall and charging $10 euros for a picture.  Funny how they positioned themselves so you couldn't take a picture.  Sarah said I did the right thing not kissing the stone and getting everyone's germs.  Also, legend has it that the Irish go pee on it at night.  I was satisfied with my decision.

Blowing the Blarney Stone kiss would have to do!!!

Hot Toddy
After lunch in the local pub and shopping at the woolen mill, we waited in the rain at the bus stop for about an hour to get the bus back to Cork.  That long wait chilled us so we stopped at our new favorite pub, Preacher's, for a hot toddy.  Well deserved!!!  We had a great time talking to the bar tender.

Favorite Bartender of the day-Jeff tipped him
pretty well for his generous pouring of Jameson's

Diana enjoying some Bailey's Irish Cream

When we started our trip, we had a list of Irish drinks we wanted to try.  The usual beer, Jameson's Irish Whiskey, a hot toddy, Irish coffee and Bailey's Irish Cream were all on our list.  Research purposes only, of course!

St. Stephen's Day

Brrr - it was a cold, windy day!
Today was another Irish Holiday - St. Stephen's Day.  We had hoped to take local public transportation to the town of Howth but it wasn't running.  Howth wasn't  too far and with splitting the taxi fare four ways it wasn't too expensive so we were on our way.    Some people Jeff and Becki met at the wine bar had recommended this as a great place to spend a day, see the coast, and have lunch.  It was really a cold and windy day but we bundled up and walked to the end of the pier.  Jeff and Becki (surprise!) talked to a couple on the way who recommended a great restaurant/pub for lunch.

View from end of pier.
We walked gingerly to the historic district!  Ireland does not usually get the snow they had over the holidays so the roads were not cleared in Howth either.   Sometimes walking made me a little nervous - more that a car would slide and lose control than that I would fall.  I could have used those crampons I bought last January when I visited Sarah in Alaska:)

We ate most of our meals in pubs.

Jeff, Becki, me and Diana - one of our best meals!

Grilled Plaice (a fish similar to flounder)

Creme Brule
This was the best meal the four of us had together.  Delicious!!!  After our day in Howth, we headed back to a hotel near the Dublin airport.  We had an early flight to catch the next morning.