These are a few of my favorite things...

This is my Dad. He's my favorite.

Last week it was his birthday. That's why he's blowing out a candle in a cocktail glass full of ice cream.

When Mom asked Dad what he wanted to do for his birthday, he said to her "Do you remember those paintings? With that man? The ones we saw 15 years ago?

She said "yes, I think so."

And he said, "I want to go see those again."

And she agreed.

It turns out that 15 years ago, Dad saw Thomas Cole's  "The Voyage of Life" paintings and he thought a great way to spend his birthday would be to gaze on them once again and try to figure out where in the series he now falls.

I was thrilled. Because Thomas Cole's paintings now reside in the National Gallery. And the National Gallery is my favorite.

FACT: About a year ago, Madison and I visited the National Gallery and stumbled on Cole's paintings.

"Wow!" I said, "These are really neat landscapes!"

"Mom... these are allegorical paintings. See? They represent the four stages of a man's life: childhood, youth, adulthood and old age," she replied.

"Huh. Look at that. I guess you're right. But the flowers are pretty too."

That's me! Art Teacher Extraordinaire.

So last week the whole fambly met up in DC. We ran from room to room while I pointed out all of my favorite paintings, until we stumbled on the four Dad wanted to see most.

Then we paused.

We took pictures.

We pondered the symbolism.

Then we left and had ice cream.

{To see zoomable and high quality photos of Cole's Voyage series, check out this site dedicated to Thomas Cole. To view the images, just click on the thumbnails at the top of the page and then zoom in to see every brush stroke.}

Random Thought

Last night I dreamt that a deep voice was narrating all of my dreams. Now I can't stop narrating everything I do. "Julie looked at her coffee suspiciously. Was the smell coming from there? Just then her dog grunted. Brandy was perched, sphynx like on the floor, making nervous glances at her tail. Then the dog got up and wandered into the other room. Julie regretted feeding her that egg for breakfast. Ew."

I LOVE this place!

A lot of you have noticed that I've been changing things around on the site lately. All of that was preparation for THIS! The new site is a Wordpress theme created by Anton Shevchuk. I absolutely love this clean design! Thanks for your patience, everybody, while I made the switch. And many thanks to Anton for all of his hard work.



BrandyChristmasSM We decorated our Christmas tree! I know it's early. I AM the reason why the stores had their decorations out at Halloween. So not sorry.

Anyway, look at me puppers! This is Brandy-whine. She helped me decorate the tree by holding the garlands.

Don't let those sad eyes fool you. She got TWO peanut filled pretzel treats for this photo.

here birdie, birdie, birdie...

Would you take a look at these photos, please. First, this one.

that's a nice tomato!

First, note the out of focus black blob in the bottom right corner. This would be a big old gas grill that's sitting on our back deck. In a fit of fury, the Hunk set it on fire last summer. It works just fine. mostly. It needs gas. And the inside, "heat resistant" paint turned out to be not so heat resistant. If you would like to have my burned out grill, please come over to my house and take it.

that's a nice tomato!

Secondly, I would like you to take note of the slightly less out of focus red blob round abouts the middle of this photo. That's my first ripe tomato of the season! It accidentally got picked a few moments early, so it's sunning itself on my deck railing. I love tomatoes.

that's a nice tomato!

Thirdly, just above my out of focus tomato, I would like you to take note of the HUGE HAWK sitting on the tree stump in my back yard.

bird feeder's looking kinda lonely...

In this photo, you'll see the bird feeder we filled at the start of spring. We had a swarm of the most colorful birds you could hope for. Blue jays, robins, cardinals, these black and yellow thingies... it was fun to watch from my kitchen window. You might also notice, just above the bendy part of the hanging bird feeder, the same said HUGE HAWK, swooping down on some unsuspecting, colorful birdie in our back yard.


We don't have any little colorful birdies swarming our feeder any more. We do have TWO of these things in our yard, though.