Infinity Dreams Award


I just learned that I was nominated for another award. I’m so honored and excited that my little blog has been noticed and appreciated. Thank you to the amazing incahootswithmuddyboots for the nomination and support. Sabine has a delightful blog encompassing travel, gardening, food and photography. Please check her out!

To accept this award I must:

1.Thank and follow the blog that nominated me – check!

2.Tell 11 facts about myself and answer the 11 questions set by the nominating blogger – check!

3.Nominate 11 bloggers, setting 11 questions for them – okay, I’m only doing 5 nominations because I’m on vacation and must get back to the beach!

So here goes, 11 facts about me……

  1. At my tallest, I was 6 ft 1/4 inches tall, growing the last inch and 1/4 at age 28.  Now 59, I’m 5 ft 10 1/2.  Go figure.
  2. I’ve had the same best friend since I was old enough to talk and we still haven’t run out of conversation.
  3. I love the Friskies “Dear Kitten” online videos.  Too cute.  Also “dog who wants a kitten” – if you haven’t seen it, Google it.
  4. My favorite pie is rhubarb custard.
  5. I am afraid of spiders, snakes and clowns.  Also, the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz creep me out.
  6. Spence makes a special comfort food for me when I’m under the weather – a fried egg sandwich with chili sauce.
  7. I live in the house that my grandparents built when my dad was a boy.
  8. I am a bit obsessed with Pinterest. Okay, more than a bit.
  9. I love movie musicals, cue Rodgers and Hammerstein.
  10. I love to sing karaoke, even though Spence wishes I wouldn’t. Kind of like he feels when I sing along with the radio on road trips….. 
  11. I have no children of the human variety but love my cats Tipper and Biscotti as if I’d given birth to them. 

Now for my nominees:

  1. –  Marc hosts a must see blog for those who love cats and kittens, informative, fun and great to brighten your day. Weekly Tummy Rub Tuesdays features reader submitted photos of beautiful cats posing for their Tummy Rubs. You can submit your photos; Tipper and Biscotti have been included in weeks past.
  2. –  Rachel is a fiction writer, assisted by her two darling dogs, Cricket and Butterfly.  Check her out!
  3. – Thirty-something Olivia writes about life and her adventures in this lovely and uplifting blog.  Always positive and enjoyable.
  4. – Stuart writes endearing, heartfelt short stories based on his life, that are a true treat.  A truly gifted storyteller, I can’t wait for each new post.  If he releases a book, I’m buying it.  Please have a look.
  5. – written by “Janey” (her alias) a self described weird blog, she is funny, clever and insightful.  I adore her blog and feel as though if we were to meet we’d be great friends.  And yes, that means I’m weird and proud of it.

11 questions for my nominees:

  1. What is your favorite comfort food?
  2. Do you have siblings?
  3. Live to eat or eat to live?
  4. Swim in a lake, ocean or a pool?
  5. Coffee or tea?
  6. What is your favorite time of day to blog?
  7. Name something from your “bucket list”
  8. What scares you?
  9. Cats or dogs?
  10. Best childhood memory?
  11. What or who makes you laugh?

Spence’s Girl Receives Liebster Award!

How exciting is this?

I just learned that I was nominated for the Liebster Award by the immensely talented http://incahootswithmuddyboots – thank you, Sabine!  This is especially exciting as I near the one year anniversary of launching this blog – on Halloween to be exact.  It has been gratifying to receive three awards now and from bloggers I so admire.

Please check out: http://incahootswithmuddyboots! Such a great blog including travel adventures, cooking, gardening and photography.

By accepting this award, I was asked to answer the following questions:

  • Your favorite book? Hard to choose one favorite but a truly remarkable book is “Memoirs of a Geisha”
  • Your favorite movie? Again, just one?  “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” – have watched it countless times and it never gets old
  • Your dream vacation?  After seeing all those commercials for the European River Boat Cruises while watching Downton Abbey, that is a dream vacation.
  • Your favorite flower? This is a hard question as I am such a garden geek, but I adore Hydrangeas (which I strangely have no success in getting to bloom)
  • IOS or Android?  I’m Apple all the way!!
  • Which languages do you speak? English, Spanglish and I can read what I call “menu French” as the five years of French I studied in high school escaped me eight years ago when I  traveled to France. (epic fail – ask Spence)
  • Coffee or tea? Tea
  • Favorite color?  Teal blue
  • If you were reincarnated as an animal, which one would you choose? I’d like to be a well-loved cat
  • Are you an early bird or a night owl?  Early bird
  • What is your favorite breakfast?  Everything Bagel toasted with Light Veggie Cream Cheese and a glass of cider (and the aforementioned tea of course)

Now for my nominations for the Liebster Award:

  1. http://lovingleisuretime
  3. http://bubblyBEE

These blogs are so well crafted. I’m always happy to see a new post and have featured their posts under my category “From Blogs I Follow”. I invite you to check them out. I promise it will be time well-spent.

Now for 11 questions for my nominees:

  1. What is your favorite birthday cake or pie?
  2. Peanut butter – smooth or crunchy?
  3. What is your least favorite household chore?
  4. Curly, wavy or straight hair?
  5. If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?
  6. Left-handed or right-handed?
  7. What is your favorite adult beverage?
  8. What talent do you wish you had?
  9. What made you decide to blog?
  10. Best decision you ever made?
  11. Person you admire most?

Here are the rules for accepting the Leibster Award:

  1. Make a post thanking and linking the person who nominated you.
  2. Include the Liebster Award sticker in the post too.
  3. Nominate 5 -10 other bloggers who you feel are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can also nominate the person who nominated you.
  4. Ensure all of these bloggers have fewer than 200 followers.
  5. Answer the eleven questions asked to you by the person who nominated you, and make eleven  questions of your own for your nominees or you may use the same questions.
  6. Lastly, COPY these rules in your post.

Passionate about Food

A gift from my life-long BFF that adorns my kitchen!
A gift from my life-long BFF that adorns my kitchen!

I’m a foodie and proud of it.  There are those who live to eat or eat to live. I’m in that first group.  There’s something that nourishes my soul when I’m preparing a meal, the creative process, the aromas.  Then savoring that meal – bliss. There’s a joy that I get from reading cookbooks, food magazines and an obsession for the Food Network that hasn’t diminished over time. I’ve always photographed food that I’ve prepared. I do the same at restaurants and have filled many travel journals with detailed descriptions of what Spence and I’ve eaten as we’ve traversed the globe.  When still working (ironically I worked with foodies) time between customers was filled with talk of food, recipes exchanged, restaurants recommended, what we wanted to have for lunch that day.  It was through a co-worker that I learned of Pinterest which further fuels my passion; I have no less than 10 specific food boards. Since retiring, I’m making more things from scratch as I have that luxury of time.  And though my first from-scratch batch of gnocchi wasn’t perfect (but darn good) with my potato ricer spewing potatoes all over the kitchen, I won’t be deterred.  And I’ll learn to make crepes and tamales within this first year of retirement, my to-do list knows no bounds. Stay tuned for more recipes and stories of my foodie ways…..


High Five! Another Award – Encouraging Thunder

High Five from Biscotti!
High Five from Biscotti!  He just happened to be nearby when I screamed “woo hoo!” and did my “happy dance” after receiving this award!

Today I was delighted to learn that I’d received an award for Spence’s Girl from Janey at Cupids or Cats, a blogger that I truly admire for her humor, candor and creativity! It means so much to be nominated by someone whose talent I regard and who I’ve come to think of as a friend though we’ve never met. Janey, I thank you for this award; you honor and inspire me.

I encourage everyone who doesn’t know of her blog to check it out at:

Here’s my bright, shiny new award!

It's so awesome!
It’s so awesome!

What you can do with the award?

Post it on your blog – √
Grant other bloggers with the award – read on, I’ll get to that

What you can’t do with the award?

Abuse or misuse the logo  – I solemnly swear – no abuse or misuse
Claim that it’s your own handmade logo – no one would believe me if I tried to claim that (haha)

What you should do after receiving award:

Enjoy the award – I’m thinking about pouring a glass of wine right now!
At least give thanks via comments and likes and/or mentioning the blog who gave the award – first thing I did (see above to refresh your memory)

Mention your purpose in blogging – 

For the last several years, I told people that I wanted to write a book. I ping-ponged around with what kind of book – a cookbook? humorous novel based on comical anecdotes from my real life? travel tales (culled from my voluminous journaling)? a children’s story about the colony of feral cats (all of whom Spence and I have named) and their adventures in our garden? You see the problem? No clear focus.  On October 31, 2014 I quit talking about writing and started this blog.

I was attracted to blogging because it felt like a safe place to talk about my life and adventures with Spence, Tipper and Biscotti, post favorite recipes, share my best photos, interests and passions while doing some creative writing.

I’ve been bowled over by the kind comments, feedback and acceptance from those who visit Spence’s Girl, most of whom I’ve never met – and from so many places around the planet. It boggles my mind that you’ve discovered my little blog; your support brings me incredible happiness. 

To all of you who visit Spence’s Girl, I send out my heartfelt gratitude.

In turn, I’d like to nominate the following blogs for this award: a blog that brings me endless enjoyment

mangoestomutts.coma blog that truly represents the beautiful heart & mind of this blogger

59 Candles, 59 Things – Part Twenty One


Twenty-ninth thing: I can’t write about the 59 things that make me happy without unabashedly giving a shout-out to the best hotdogs in the world. Right here in Genesee County, Michigan, the family owned Koegel Meats produces Koegel Viennas which are famous and deservedly so.  They are unlike any other hotdogs, just ask anyone who’s lived here and moved away. People weep, realizing after they’ve moved away that they can no longer acquire them. In the past, I’ve been known to freeze them and transport them to family and friends when I go to visit them. It may well be the reason that I’ve lived in the same county my whole life. In fact, come to think of it, it is the reason!

Yesterday, for the 4th of July, we invited Mom for a cookout with Koegels on the grill. OMG! Can I just say, Spence hit a home run with his grilling skills. He grilled extra dogs so that Mom could take a few “to go”.  You make recall from the “Moving Mom” and “Settling Mom” series in the blog, that Mom recently moved back to Michigan from Florida. She may tell others that she wanted to be closer to my sister and I, but I know that Koegel Viennas factored heavily into her decision.

Koegel Viennas are equally delicious steamed if the weather isn’t right for grilling. In a natural casing, there is a distinct “pop” when you bite into them. I can’t describe the joy they bring – it’s foodie nirvana.

If you are in search of that perfect hotdog, now you know where to find them!


If you’d like to read more of my series, “59 Candles, 59 Things”, click on the “59 Things” category or search box.  This series was started to commemorate my 59th birthday (in May) and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy writing about these things that make me happy! 

2015 Mid-Year Assessment

The BUGS (Blogging University Graduates) bi-weekly prompt is to track our 2015 New Year’s Resolutions at mid-year.

  • FILING: Starting after the New Year, I combed and sorted through countless boxes, piles and bags of paperwork that have accumulated for more years than I’m willing to admit. A supposed “priority” upon retiring in 2014 – until I committed to “just do it” in 2015, it seemed overwhelming. Once started I nearly burned up our shredder, found things that were important (and ridiculous) even discovering a little black velvet drawstring bag of quarters ($20).  For someone who is a control freak, this felt out of control but once completed, I felt euphoric.
It's liberating!
It’s liberating!
  • MOVING MOM: Not a resolution per se, but a significant commitment for three weeks in March was flying to Florida, helping Mom pack up her home of 26 years and share the drive north to her new home in Michigan. Having my MacBook in tow and the blog established, I chronicled this in my 20 part series called “Moving Mom” (I’d be honored if you wish to check it out).  It was a once-in-a- lifetime experience and I’m glad I documented it since in the moment, it was a blur of activity. What could have been contentious and stressful was in fact exhausting but a bonding experience unlike anything I can imagine. I’m so glad we took that journey together.


  • NEW BED AT LAST: I bought a bed after at least six years of bitching about my too soft bed. Procrastination and misconceptions had kept me from even starting the process, prolonging my insomnia, aches and pains. In my series “59 Candles, 59 Things – Part Twenty” I wrote about this experience. What I learned is “you don’t know what you don’t know”. I’m grateful I took a rainy day with nothing on the agenda and DID IT ALREADY.
With a good night's sleep, I now awake with pretty thoughts in my head.
With a good night’s sleep, I now awake with pretty thoughts like this in my head.
  • FIND ALTERNATIVE HEALTH SOLUTIONS:  I finally sought out alternative treatments for my aches and pains after realizing that pain meds were simply a bandaid. Besides my yoga and meditation practice, I recently found a doctor who is an osteopath, acupuncturist and physical therapist. At 59, a lot of my “structural” issues can’t be fixed but can and do seem to be responding with better flexibility, toning and some improvement with pain. At 59, I’ve accepted that “we’ve all got something” and feel blessed that any and all health challenges I’ve had are just part of living this long. And given the alternative, I’ll take living any day.


  • GARDEN – DONE AND SCALED BACK (well sort of) Completed my garden for 2015, and scaled back on my typical annual expenditure. Yes, I’ve given myself tennis elbow (which incidentally is very painful), strained my back and both shoulders from what I called “extreme gardening” pushing to the point of “feeling the burn” then usually 30-60 minutes more to finish up. But hey, the garden looks fabulous and from here out it’s just weeding and dead-heading.
Good for the soul.

I still have the following things to complete be they resolutions, goals or simply my to-do list:

  • Lose weight
  • Perfect my gnocchi recipe
  • Learn to make crepes
  • Learn to make tamales
  • Learn to make “bath bombs”

I’d love to hear how you’re doing with your resolutions…….leave me a comment!

Ten Things about Me

This is the first writing challenge from BUGS (Blogging U Grads) and the challenge is to simply introduce myself by sharing ten things about me.  Considering that I’ve shared quite a bit about myself in the last seven months, the challenge for me is to come up with things previously not revealed……

  1. I’m left-handed.  Proud of it and believe that my creativity springs from my left-handedness.
  2. Though my husband and I are the only human occupants of my home (my two sons are cats – just to clarify), my pantries (yes plural), refrigerator, freezer, spice and wine racks might lead one to believe that I’m secretly running a personal chef service, opening a gourmet food shop or preparing for the zombie apocalypse.
  3. I have extremely flat feet.
  4. I love The Gilmore Girls!  Have the whole series on DVD, watch it beginning to end once a year.  It makes me happy.
  5. My first job was as a cashier in a donut shop.  Yes, I was a donut slinger, at age 16.  Couldn’t eat donuts for many years after I left that job.
  6. I live in the same home that my grandparents built, where my Dad was raised, in the same neighborhood I grew up in.
  7. All my life I’ve been told I looked like both Grandmothers and my Dad.
  8. My hair is naturally very curly, like Shirley Temple curly.
  9. I am of 100% Swedish descent (to the best of our family knowledge).
  10. I didn’t learn to text until I was 57 years old.

Tada! I did it. And I’m quite sure that I’ve not previously shared these captivating facts about myself on this blog.

So, that’s me.  Nice to meet you.

Just a bonus thing about me! And because it's hard for me to make a blog entry without a picture.
Just a bonus thing about me! And because it’s hard for me to make a blog entry without a picture.

BUGS is a writing group that was formed by those participants in the Blogging University Writing 101 workshop from earlier this year.  This is the first of bi-weekly challenges they will assign us through year end.  I hope you’ll find them interesting.  

59 Candles, 59 Things – Part Sixteen

Twenty Fourth thing – Before retiring last year, I worked for a major bank in a small community. I kept noticing the local women had great manicures. Whenever I asked who their nail tech was, the answer was always “Dawn” and I became a client. As an additional benefit, Dawn has become a friend whose company I enjoy. While she pretty-fies (is this a word?) my nails, many laughs are shared and world problems are solved. Here’s just a sample of a few of my favorite manicures:

This is an ongoing series of 59 Things that make me happy to commemorate my 59th birthday and happy life!

My First Award!


It is with both humility and appreciation that I accept my first award!  One of my most favorite bloggers, Cupid or Cats, just nominated me and it’s pretty exciting stuff let me tell you!

As part of the process I must:

Thank the person who nominated me and include a link to their blog – nominated by one of my personal favorite bloggers, check her out at Her blog is full of humor and heart, it’s an absolute pleasure to see each new post on her blog. Thank you for your gracious nomination! – check!

Display the award on my blogcheck!

Write seven facts about myself – check!

1. I bruise like an overripe peach. I kid you not. I can focus my eyes on a body part with enough intensity to make a bruise appear. Been doin’ it for years, no idea why – just do. I used to work in an environment where I wore skirts and would wear black tights all the time. I wouldn’t make this up.

Courtesy of an image search for
Courtesy of an image search for “bruised peach”. You’d be surprised what I had to choose from. Trust me.

2. My shoe size is Ladies 11. As a young woman at 6 feet and 1/4 inches tall and size 11 feet, my Mom used to say “a girl as tall as you would fall over with smaller feet”.  Which was comforting except that I was also well-known for falling all the time . So big feet, very tall and a klutz. Attractive – not so much, endearing – perhaps to my friends. When someone of my height falls, it’s like a tree going down and rather spectacular (so I’ve been told).

Back in my 20’s and 30’s, (no internet in those days folks) I would dare you to find a ladies size 11 shoe unless you drove an hour north to a “specialty” store.  As a result, I crammed my feet into size 10’s for years. Then someone alerted me to a size 11 section at a Payless Shoe Store! I drove there immediately in spite of the sketchy neighborhood – next to strip clubs and known for well…..hookers.  Undeterred, I was on a mission, found the 11’s and began trying them on with glee. The lady next to me, sensing my delight asked “isn’t it amazing to find your size?” I looked at her, noticing she was a good 3-4 inches taller than I, was in the size 12 section and sounded like Bea Arthur from Maude. “Yes” I agreed, admiring her flamboyant dress and wig.  And yes, she was a drag queen.

The problem with blanket statements.
No, tell me, what do they say? Go ahead, take your best shot.
No, tell me, what do they say? Go ahead, take your best shot.

3. I have diverse yet specific tastes. I like my wines dry, my beers dark. I watch Downton Abbey, Walking Dead, Gilmore Girls and Justified with the same unbridled enthusiasm.

I find it impossible not to dance to Love Shack, Uptown Funk, Blurred Lines, I’ve Gotta Feeling and every Fallout Boy song but have nearly broken my wrist turning the channel if a Bruce Springsteen song comes on (sorry, I know he’s The Boss – just not my boss).


I find the idea of frog legs to be gross (yes, I’ve tried them, they taste like chicken but they’re frogs – green, slimy frogs with legs big enough to eat) yet I thoroughly enjoy escargot, crawfish, octopus, calamari and raw oysters. Go figure.

Disturbing, right?
Disturbing, right?

4. Not a fan of driving over big bridges. Being tall, people assume I don’t have a problem with heights. They’d be wrong. For instance, if I were still single and on the Bachelor, I would leave the show if asked to go in a hot air balloon, repel down the side of a skyscraper or into a cavern, go up in a helicopter or bungee jump.  I’ve tried to live by “never say never” but these are things that would be deal breakers. Lucky for me, I’ve been with Spence for 24+ years and he doesn’t make me do scary stuff to prove my love and devotion. And on road trips – he drives over the big bridges.

I'm right there with you Claudia. Don't look down.
I’m right there with you Claudia. Don’t look down.

5. Golf and me. When I was 12, my Dad took me for a golf lesson. The pro took one look at me, a tall, skinny, long-legged (probably bruised, see #1) girl with glasses who was terrified. The lesson was painful (I’m pretty sure he doesn’t remember me) and at the end, I heard him tell my Dad “save your money man, she’s hopeless – and left-handed“.  Well that was just plain unnecessary.  Dad got in the car, I burst into tears. I think we went for ice cream.

Years later, I love driving golf carts. During my first marriage I did so at an accelerated speed, going airborne as the cart crested a hill. Upon landing, my husband’s golf clubs flew helter-skelter as he screamed obscenities at me. Every time he almost caught up to me, I sped off.  Good times.

I do enjoy watching golf on TV and one of my favorite movies ever is Tin Cup with Kevin Costner.

Excellent movie about golf!
Excellent movie about golf!

Here is the lesson: you can enjoy something that you have no talent for and save yourself years of therapy induced by mean golf pros.

6. Love food – live to eat. Not a surprise to those who know me. I’m always thinking about my next meal with anticipation. My travel journals include vivid descriptions of scrumptious meals I’ve enjoyed and I frequently whip out a camera at restaurants and at home to photograph culinary masterpieces. I subscribe to countless food magazines, watch the Food Network as though I’m being paid and created special built-in shelving for my cookbooks when I re-did my kitchen a few years back. And if you go to @spencesgirlblog on Pinterest, you’ll see my love of food represented in multiple boards.  With the exception of only a few things (frog legs being one, see #3) I enjoy all food. Obsessed? Maybe just a bit.

Bring on the chow!
Bring on the chow!

7. My favorite nickname.  I’ve been given a few nicknames in my life, many by Spence who is known for assigning nicknames to those he loves. My favorite is when he called me “Private Snuffy of the Flying Monkey Brigade”.


Though lengthy and a bit odd, it has stuck.  After he first said it, I proclaimed “I just want 5 minutes inside your brain to see where you come up with this stuff“!  He cracks me up.


Nominate fifteen people for the award – not quite 15 but here are 8 of my favorite blogs, check!

  • creekview carol
  • mangoes to mutts
  • story shucker
  • in cahoots with muddy boots
  • the lodge on Haydon
  • 4wallsnaroof/the view from the porch
  • rachelmankowitz
  • the migrant chef

59 Candles, 59 Things – Part Four

On our wedding day.
On our wedding day.

Seventh thing: As I said when I started this series, my 59 things are in random order.  Just wanted to be clear since the reality is that I put my marriage at the top of the list of things that make me happy.

It took a long time to find the right man and longer still to marry him. I was so afraid that things would change. And guess what – they did.  After eighteen years together, our wedding day created a shift in our world. I felt more nurturing and protective of our relationship and this life we’ve made. I’ve never regretted it for one day.

Marriage is work, love, compromise, passion, more work, silliness, health crisis’, exploration, love, discovery and knowing you belong to someone else.

Simply the best decision of my life.