Friday, July 31, 2009

Show and Tell Fridays - Baskets

I am always impressed with people’s crafting skill and have always admired the workmanship that goes into their products. Often such loving detail comes at a high price, putting such beautiful work out of my financial means. However, I am very lucky to have acquired a few pieces that I think are exquisite.

These baskets which hang on my living room wall and sit in my entertainment center are made from white pine needles wrapped in sinew with other embellishments such as beads and feathers added to. The artisan happens to be my birth mother. I am sure as I continue to post on Show & Tell Fridays, you will see much more of her work as her pieces are tucked here and there in my house. With such a birth mother, I can only hope that my genes carry a small portion of her talent.

Show and Tell

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Museum Learning

One of the great things about homeschooling is that you become aware and focus on learning as a part of living and not a part of schooling. I am always on the spy for little bits of information wherever I can find them. When we were at Higgins Armory, I found a little tidbit that I had not known before and which I found especially interesting due to one of my recent craft projects.
All of us are probably aware of chain mail, a cloth made of metal links to protect the wearer during battle; but, probably few of us know the artisanship that went into these creations. Apparently, in each of these links is an imprinted name of Muslim warriors or prophets. Of course, as they were not written in English but probably some form of Arabic, I would not have noticed this without the help of my handy-dandy museum phone. This idea of writing on each link, reminded me of the prayer shawl that I am crocheting, each link infused with a prayer for the future recipient. Certainly each is used for a vastly different end purpose, but both have a similar concept behind them – encircling their wearer with the protection and comfort of God they believe in.

And I was not the only one enthralled with my museum phone. My nephew, Rowan, would listen intently at age 5 and then inform us what he learned. For example in this Japanese warrior’s costume, Rowan informed us that the face was a mask and not the warrior’s real face.

Rowan was especially excited to be able to try on some of the replica armor.

It is never too young or too old to learn something new. What was the most interesting fact that you learned when visiting a museum?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"You're Fine,Don't Worry About It" - Famous Last Words

Whew, Haven’t sat down since Saturday except for meals ----It’s been a swirling dervish: Picked up my sister and her family at the airport, went to church, had a family picnic,

visited Old Sturbridge Village,

went to Higgins Armory, and now as my sister and her family went to Mystic to visit other family, I’m spending the day getting my poor son’s arm checked out after falling off his scooter on Sunday. Poor DS slid on a patch of grass on the drive way. He was a little scratched up and certainly sore, but we didn’t think too much of it. He was relatively calm. We cleaned him up and iced his arm. We actually had a nurse friend at the house that evaluated the situation and thought it was borderline case. She, like I, thought we could continue to monitor the situation. By that evening, his complaints were more of the wrist than the elbow. The next day, we wrapped the arm and iced it again that night. He seemed to be doing ok, but when it didn’t seem better Tuesday and he had limited left to right movement of the hand, I thought if it isn’t significantly better by tomorrow that I needed to make a doctor’s appointment. So this morning, I did so. One doctor’s visit and an x-ray later, we found out that he has an undisplaced fracture of the proximal radial metaphysic, otherwise known as a broken elbow. Of course the orthopedist at our hospital is on vacation, so I’m currently waiting for a call back from another orthopedist.

Of course, one of our friends on Facebook commented, "Go figure - He can go on numerous high adventure hikes/canoe trips, etc. with no injury, but breaks his elbow at home."

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I Want to Suck Your Blood

Yesterday, DD and I volunteered at a local Blood Drive. At the last blood drive we went to, frankly my first, I couldn’t give blood. I just don’t have enough iron. While the Red Cross says that I can keep trying, I have been borderline anemic my entire life and thus why I hadn’t given before and I think there is a reality of knowing that while I may be better than I’ve been my entire life, my blood is not strong enough to share. But to volunteer, no iron is necessary and so DD and I spent a few hours checking donors in and making sure that no one fainted.

Interestingly, the day tied into a sermon a few weeks ago at church about the “reasons” for death and pain. I learned that the woman who had announced the need for volunteers at church was organizing these blood drives in memory of a daughter that she lost to cancer. She shared this with me as she herself was on the table donating with her other three children nearby. She had taken her grief and turned it into a wonderful life giving gift to hundreds and thousands of other people in need. A pebble in the water leaving ripples that ring ever larger. One small pebble, one large impact.

If you can give, I encourage you to donate. If you can’t donate, then perhaps you too can volunteer. Call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or check out their website.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Show and Tell Friday - Keys

I found these keys when hunting at the Brimfield Antique Show. I absolutely loved them and they were only $2 a piece. My husband laughs at me because I didn’t even try to negotiate with the man, but when you are in love, you do strange things. And I did not have the heart to tell my husband that I had seen similar keys in decorating magazines and contemplated buying them for far more than $6 for the set. Of course, my only mistake in this purchase was to buy them right off the bat, but I have learned that if you truly love something, buy it on the spot or you will regret it. But those buggars are heavy. My arms were aching about half way through the market. All that pain dissipated though once I got them hung on the wall.

If you want to join the show & tell, visit:

Show and Tell

Generational Memories

Is there a place in your life that has been a constant for generation after generation?
In our family, it is Hawks Nest Beach in Old Lyme, CT. The beach has stretches from my daughter, through me, to my mother, past her mother to my great grandparents. Prior to 1938, our family had a cottage at this beach, but the ’38 hurricane took the cottage and flung it into the swamp. In fact, my great-uncle contracted yellow fever after trying to collect the items that survived the blow. My grandmother told of the dresser drawers that while they were pulled out of the dresser and flung into the swamp, the drawers were still packed full of clothes just like you had opened them on a normal day. Unfortunately, my great-uncle died from his illness and in an act of cowardice, his father actually committed suicide. He was frustrated that his son was dying and that he did not have insurance on the cottage, but I say it was cowardice because he actually committed suicide before his son died (the same day, but prior to his death) and left two other children and his wife to suffer through all loss themselves.

Anyway on a more positive note, my mother remembers hiding under the cottage stairs to watch her older cousin and her boyfriend as they sat at the beach. When she and her brother were caught, the cousin would give them a nickel to go get ice cream and leave them alone. My mother continued the tradition and rented cottages for us to stay at. My husband and I rented for a few years with our kids and while we don’t anymore, other family members do. So last weekend, we went back to the cottage for a good old fashioned family get together.

DD even got to go jet skiing. She is a girl of no fear and kept asking her cousin to go faster.

There is a part of me that hopes that this piece of family history will continue to climb down many more generations.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Hint, Hint

I hoping this post serves two purposes. One, your All can be inspired; Two, maybe DH will be inspired to make them again because he knows I appreciated them so much:

Reading Challenge 2009 - Faithful Ruslan

Have you ever read a book that makes you love, feel sorry for, empathize with a cold blooded killer? Your probably thinking - she is crazy, why would I ever feel such a way. Pity a brute - Never! Well, then you should read Faithful Ruslan. Ruslan is not a human, but a dog; a dog trained to keep prisoners in line in the old re-education camps of Siberia. The story opens after the fall of Stalin, as the camps are being emptied and their is no need for a guard dog anymore. The story continues to follow Ruslan as tries walk the wire between civilian life and Service work. The story is graphic, but is an excellent piece of work. It would also be a great novel to share with older high schoolers to begin a study of Russian history. It will bring up questions of political theory, duty, loyalty, free will, courage, and determination. It will allow you to enter the genre of allegory and perhaps lead you to a conversation about the blessings of our Constitution, specifically the 1st Amendment. Be sure to read the background on the author, Georgii Vladimov (real name: Georgii Nikolaevich Volosevich) as well.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Girl Scout Silver Award

Last night was a big night in our household, DD was awarded her Girl Scout Silver Award. We had a wonderful night at a local (to our old hometown) eatery which the owner let us use after hours.

This award is the culmination of three years of work. If you are familiar with the Silver Award, check out the Girl Scout website that explains it. Interestingly, the girls were a little frustrated when their first project ideas were shot down and they ended up “only” planning a bag-a-badge day for younger scouts. However, I think that they learned more in this process than they anticipated. Usually / up until now, we moms really made sure that everything went ok. We reminded them about all deadlines, picked up any loose ends that they had left. This time they were on their own. There were struggles and difficulties, but they persevered. I think they learned a lot. DD ended up teaching an Art segment. Art is not her forte so she had to work extra hard to become an expert. She basically almost self created an art appreciate course for herself in order to be ready for teaching the class. Better than that, I did not have to force her to do it. She knew what had to be done and pushed herself. We did though have a night where they presented their course to the other girls in our troop and a few special guests before the actual program. This was a very worthwhile process as all of the girls were more open to the critique of each other and the guests as opposed to the same leaders again. The day went of wonderfully.

It was wonderful to pin my daughter with the same Silver Award that I received 25 odd years ago, but I hoping that she will go onto to earn the Gold, which I did not.

Two notes:
One I think that Scouts is a great addition to any homeschool curriculum. It reinforced the morals that most people strive to build in their children. It encourages them to explore their interests and is a great social outlet.

If you are interested to see what DD included in her Bronze Award, check out Bottles of Hope. This is a great service project for anyone that is looking for one and was extra special as one of our mothers was battling cancer at the time. The DD and one of the other girls in the troop taught other troops how to make the bottles and then gathered all those that were created, baked them, and delivered them to the cancer ward at St. Francis.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Drive-In Movies - Not what you remember

We had a crazy busy weekend . . . Saw Harry Potter, went to the Brimfield Antique Show, dropped of DS at Boy Scout Camp, went to family gathering at the beach, and brought DD to play rehearsal. Thank goodness it is Monday. Now maybe we can relax a little.

I should have known that it was going to be a crazy weekend based on our Friday movie trip. We have been looking forward to Harry Potter since the last one ended and so as a family we planned immediately to go when the new one hit the movie theater. DS had even refused payment for mowing the lawn in an effort to “pay” for the evening. So Friday night, we packed everything up – popcorn, drinks, pillows, chairs, and blankets to go to the drive-in.

We thought the kids would love this experience. We had taken them many years ago, but it was pretty faded in their memories. As soon as my husband pulled in from work, we threw everything in the truck and as we threw the last item in, I heard the rumble of thunder. I said, “Do you think we should change our plans and go to the regular theater?”

“We’ll be fine.” I should have recognized these famous last words. We did make it to the drive-in. We did set up our family friendly truck viewing area.

And we did eat dinner.

BUT - - -we only saw about 30 minutes of the movie. After sitting for the 2 ½ hours before the movie, it started to drizzle just as the movie started. With the drizzle came an onslaught of bugs. The rain, I think, we could have endured, but the bugs were truly a plague. We were getting eaten alive and no amount of bug spray seemed to deter them. After about a half an hour, we all agreed to give up. We turned the truck around and tried to watch from inside, but that was not very successful. If the windows were up, we fogged up the windows. If the windows were down, the bugs came back. Finally, we gave up which led to sighs from DS who had worked so hard for this evening. DH and myself looked at each other and said, “Do you want to go to the regular theater?” So we set off to closest regular theater and caught the 10:15 showing and ended up coming home at 2 in the morning.

While DS still says that it is the worst $20 he ever spent, I think his $20 which turned into ($20 drive in + $16 dinner + $42 regular theater +$16 popcorn and soda) a whole lot more, actually bought us all a memory that we will talk about for years to come.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Take Sanctuary at Craftworks, Martha's Vineyard

Have you ever seen a piece of artwork that just takes your breath away? This actually happened to me a few years ago when my husband and I visited Martha’s Vineyard with friends and was renewed when I went back this week. The furniture can be found in a small storefront in Oak Bluffs called Craftworks. The furniture itself is by Sticks, originally inspired by artist Sarah Grant but now has become so popular that it is done by a team of artisians. The pieces are not just beautiful, but also inspirational as many are wrapped with quotes.
As I can’t come close to affording these beautiful pieces, I have to settle for visiting them whenever we go to the island. I have set my mind that I am going to try to create a piece, but I am not sure that I can do Sticks work justice. Please note, craftworks also sells many other pieces by talented artists. This store is a must see if you ever go to the island.

Just next door is one of my other favorite stores of the island, Sanctuary. As you have probably noticed, I love the written word. Sanctuary is a quote store. Quotes can be found on everything: rings, rocks, banners, statues, tiles, t-shirts, cards, posters, plaques, and mugs. I could easily buy this store out, but as we biked to town, I did limit myself. DD bought a beautiful sterling silver “faith” ring. I gave myself a good laugh when I considered buying one of the long thin quote boards and considered what I would look like bicycling with it in my basket.

If you cannot make it to the island both of these stores have wonderful online stores:


And if you go in person, be sure to check out the bakery nearby for their delicious apple fritter donughts. It is right next to the Oak Bluffs post office. We also enjoyed a delicious and reasonably priced lunch at Linda Jeans.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Back from the Vineyard

My life is longer now. They say laughter asks minutes to your life. If that is true then I added weeks if not whole months in the past couple of days. Martha's Vineyard was fantastic.

Some of the best lines from the week:

While reading Trivial Pursuit questions at a restaurant, "What is the name of a field purposely left unplanted for a year while the soil replenishes?"

Emphatically, one of the mom's responds, "Family Feud". We have no idea what she thinks she heard, but we all got a good laugh. The real answer, by the way, was "Fallow".

A poster we read, "Put on your Granny Panties and Get over it". I'm still not sure why the girls thought this was so funny, but it became their mantra for the weekend.

While looking at a beautiful pie plate with an Irish Soda Bread recipe in the center, I commented, "I wonder why they put this in a round plate?"

One of the mom's, "Because when you put the dough into and bake it, the bread will come out that way."

A look of wonder and a wave of laughter overtook me and one of the other moms, "I don't think that is quite what she meant."

I'll try to share some more of our wonderful trip tomorrow, including information about two of my favorite shops & one of the best artists I have ever seen.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Where's Waldo?

What state does this picture make you think of?

How about another? Another? I am going to guess that even if I gave you 20 guesses, you would not say Massachusetts unless you happen to be from here. I was completely surprised how much water is up here in “Western” Massachusetts (another strange MA realization – apparently Western MA starts at Worcester – pronounced Wooster - - - I would have called where we live central, but anything west of Boston is kind of secondary I guess). This bog like condition is not rare. It is everywhere. I cannot tell you the number of houses we ruled out for this kind of wetlands nearby – all I could think of was bugs, bugs, bugs.

What do you think people would be most surprised about in your state?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Prayer Shawls?

Have you ever heard of a Prayer Shawl? When DD and I went to church this morning, we unfortunately entered a congregation that was grieving. A two year old in their congregation died this week and the funeral was later today. They were all clearly affected by this death deeply. During this service, a prayer shawl was passed around for everyone to pray over that could be offered to the aunt of the child who had died. One had already been given to the mother. I was so touched by the idea; I have decided to try to create a few that the church can use in the future. If this idea appeals to you, here are a few websites to check out:

I happen to crochet better than I knit, so I will probably do that, but either is acceptable. The woman that I spoke to about this ministry afterward mentioned that it is helpful to pick colors and designs that are multi-aged, multi-gender so that they can be pulled as the need arises. You may however wish to check for a similar ministry near you or maybe you may want to start one.

Monday, July 13, 2009

When Life Knocks You Down

As I am enjoying my trip to Martha’s Vineyard with my Girl Scout troop, I thought you would like to see this:

DD and I saw this when we were coming out of church. I think that it is saying, “When life knocks you down, start again.” The tree stump is cut off ontop and clearly dead, but the suckers and new growth abound at the bottom.
Do you have any pictures that you think have a lesson? Leave a comment and we’ll pop by and check them out.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Productive Weekend

I have had a very productive weekend thanks to Lowe’s sales. DH and I headed over to Lowe’s to get ant repellant and also found tables of discounts. I walked away that day, but the items called to me all night and so Saturday, DH and I headed back. I had seen curtains that would work perfectly in our living room. However, as any good sale buyer knows, I had committed the ultimate sin - leaving a sale item that you love behind may mean that it won’t be there if you go back and sure enough they were gone. I did however pick up: curtains and rods for my son’s room, bulbs for the kids’ bathroom, and a lampshade for my room.

I kicked myself for not getting the other curtains, so I begged DH to check to see if there was anything that would work at Wal-mart and there was. When we put them up, they really made the room looked finished.

I also picked up a $3.00 curtain rod so that I could hang my bathroom curtain.

And as a bonus, I don’t need to use the tiebacks because there is already hardware, so I think that I am going to make a coordinating pillow. Can you see it here?

They say the 1st part of recycling is reusing or in this case perhaps it is repurposing.

Also, from this trip, I was able to hang our wedding picture.

Now, if I can use that same energy to get myself packed for Martha’s Vineyard.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Pushing up Daisies

Everyone cherishes different things. I love flowers: wild ones, planted ones – it doesn’t matter. I’ve come to dread having them in the house because our mischievous cat gets after them and inevitably knocks them over (I’d love any hints if anyone has any on that), but I do love them outdoors. In the new house, I am very blessed because the house has been landscaped in such a way that flowers have continued to bloom since we moved in from the day we moved in at the end of April. There is also though a zone of free growing plants on a hillside that is very hard to mow. There is actually where some of the most beautiful flowers are and some of them have made their way down to our lower lawn and this is where the disagreements have ensued. When DS has been mowing, all things in his path have been mowed down. But the other day, when I mowed that section, I was more careful in my mowing and mind you I did not leave them all, but I was much more selective in my mowing leaving tufts of daisies here and a small patch of little purple flowers there. It may not be the traditional mowing pattern, but it brings a smile to my face.

Here are a couple of pictures of the flowers in my yard. I hope they bring you some joy today too.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Pen Twirling

You have to watch this all the way through. I just saw it on Regis and Kelly. It is a great way to start your day with a laugh.

Remember when your mother told you to unplug the toaster before you used a knife to get out your English muffin or some other stuck item. Apparently now a days, you need to add a warning about unplugging the light before you try to pull out your pen.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Short Changing Yourself

It is too often in life that you ARE short changed, so it is important that you don’t do it to yourself. This may seem so simple that it doesn’t need to be repeated, but I realized that I need to hear this myself. In our new town there is no mail service so we need to drive to the post office everyday and get our mail. As you drive up, there are usually some cars already there. As I try to assess where there are spots and, more importantly, if I can parallel park in the remaining spots, I inevitably short change myself and park far sooner than I need to. As I walk to the mailboxes, I see two or three parking spaces closer than where I chose. Mind you the exercise is a good thing, but I realized that the parking situation was indicative of my entire personality. I am a conservative person, who will if needed fight for her beliefs, but frankly would rather not have the confrontation. I am confident in my abilities, but often short change myself when I tell others about myself. As I have been looking for a job, I do it to myself in this genre too. Whereas, others I know strive past their true potential and try for things that are bigger, better, and beyond what one would expect their expectation would be. Certainly, in the parking situation, they would absolutely keep driving and expect that the spot in front of the post office would be just for them.

I am personally going to try and change this. I have first hand seen the “shoot for the stars and reach the moon” mentality work. Rarely have I seen someone achieve more than what they set out for.

What is your personality? Where would you be parking?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Helping your children fufil their dreams

Have you ever been blessed to see one of your child’s dreams come true in front of your eyes? DD and I were up at the horse rescue brushing one of the horses when the owner of the shelter asked DD if she would like to help bring in one of the new horses. Bringing in a new horse at a rescue is not as easy as it sounds. The poor things have been horribly abused and come with various different issues. Buckaroo has only been at the rescue for about a week. He is a beautifully mixed breed pony (FYI – pony does not mean young hours, but describes the height of a full grown horse. . . In case any of you are as horse illiterate as I am.), but is very skittish. Vicki, the owner of the shelter, has had a very difficult time getting his lead line on him so that she can bring him to his stall and believes that this is a tell for some of what this poor horse has experienced.

Dd went out to the coral with Vicki. Vicki explained about not squaring off to the horse and about stopping before he was spooked to “take off the pressure”. If he bolted, she explained they needed to shoo him so the horse thought that it was their idea and not the horses. Vicki worked with the horse first and then had DD try. It took quite awhile and several restarts, but they accomplished it. And then to what would seem crazy, Vicky released the horse again. She explained that she wanted him to feel safe and to that the lead line meant being caged. So then she let DD not just help her, but take the lead and try on her own. It was like watching magic. Souls coming together. Vicki encouraged DD to bed over and breathe into the horses nostrils in a replica of how horses greet each other. DD did a wonderful job and the horse was put to bed without issue. DD was easily able to lead the horse from the coral to her stable for the evening. I felt blessed to see this and can’t even imagine what it must have felt like to be her having her dream of not just caring for horses, but truly becoming one with them come true.

Right now I can hear her playing her keyboard upstairs . . .Life is good. . .I think she is starting to see some of the benefits of continuing to homeschool, which, by the way, is what she has chosen to do : )

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Wilderness: a Novel

My latest read, The Wilderness, was an interesting combination of enjoyment and frustration. To some degreee it reminded me of The Road by Cormac McCarthy. The writing was very good, but the subject matter was so disturbing that I did not end up feeling good about the overall book. The Wilderness is a look into Jacob Jameson's mind. Jake, an elderly man, is spiraling into Alzheimer's and, as the reader, you are going with him. As Jake struggles to decide what is fact and fiction, you are too. This book very clearly explains the difference between forgeting your keys and slipping into Alzheimer's. While I can't in good conscience recommend this book, I can tell you that it is a read that you will never forget.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Battle of Growing Older and Making Changes

In my travels back to Connecticut yesterday, I stopped at my father's. Poor Dad is still living in the family house but all by himself. He is a very gregarious person and known for his many, many stories. The house is far too big for him and he is too remote to interact with others. He has to purposely go out to meet people. I’ve been really making an effort to see him when ever I drive down to CT and try to get something done in the house in hopes that he will soon see the light and decide to:
  • Move in with us
  • Move in with another friend or family member
  • Move to a 55+ community

Anyway, in my visit yesterday, I really surprised him. He had splurged and bought himself a HDTV so he could really enjoy his one pleasure in life --- the Red Sox. He had also bought a tv stand and apparently had already tried to put it together but said that the pieces just didn’t fit. He was going to call a cabinet maker to put it together (If you know my Dad’s propensity for procrastinating, this probably would never happen and everything would sit where it was left). I told him that I would look at it when I got down there. I wondered what he could have bought that would be that difficult to put together. When I got there and found it was just a Sauder, which is meant for the consumer to put together, I knew it couldn’t be that hard. I had the whole thing build in about a half and hour. Then to further impress him. I unhooked his old tv, dvd, and cable box and hooked up the new. I think after almost 39 years, I really impressed him. He and I were always considered the inept ones when it came to tools. If something needed to be done, my brother or mom would take care of it. Unfortunately, my mother died in 2001 and my brother – well, he is a whole other story. He knows he should help, but (fill in the blank with some excuse or better yet just don’t show up). So Dad was thrilled that he would now have his Red Sox in High Definition. At almost 70, that is the least that I can do for him.

Moral: So if once you were not good at something, try, try again.
You’ll either learn how to do it or you’ll blow yourself up.

I also tried again to encourage him to take little bites out of the clean up of the house. It is very hard for him to get rid of things and the whole house just seems so overwhelming to him. I try to do bits when I’m down there, but now that we’ve moved I’m not so close anymore and the visits are less frequent. So for example, I explained on the phone the other day. Go through your old records and get rid of some of them. Of course he came back with his pat, “But they could be valuable” line. I assured him that my scratched Disco Duck from 1970 something held little or no value and could certainly be tossed. He had yes’ed me on the phone, but I knew he wasn’t really going to work on it. So when I was down there, I showed him the records I meant. “Oh, I didn’t realize we had those” (that was kind of my point – thus it would be safe to get rid of them). Then, though, I saw exactly what I was talking about tucked in behind the records – four JCPenney catalogs from circa 1988. Hello – not really useful, but will save us about 20 lbs when he finally gets really serious about moving. Little steps. Little steps. When you finally put them together, you can accomplish a marathon. Truthfully, I expect little to be done until I get down there again. If he could mentally get ready for a change, I would so happily physically get him ready, but the one thing I have learned is that you cannot push.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Silence has been Broken

The quiet week has ended. I pick up dd in just a few more hours. My father and I have a bet going whether the chatter will begin as soon as I pick her up or if she will be so tired that she will just konk-off in the car. I’m betting she chats most of the way, but she has already surprised me by calling me multiple times this week. I figured that she would wave goodbye and I would hear from her again when she needed to be picked up. The calls were all good ones (not like the notes I once sent from camp begging to be picked up). She sounded like she was having fun and just wanted to share.

Last night she surprised us with a third call for the day to tell us that our minister’s eldest daughter’s boyfriend had proposed during dinner. While proposing in a restaurant with 75 of your future father-in-law’s congregation after a week of working in the hot sticky state of KY may seem odd to some, it holds special meaning to them as this trip several years ago is where they started dating. The extra special part of this match is the closeness of the in-laws. Both his and her parents have been friends since our minister first came to town 20 years ago.
I can’t wait to hear what other stories DD has to share. Silence while appreciated occasionally is very lonely. DD brings a life to our family that feels lost when she is gone. We all have our blessings and hers is a palpable life that fills the house energy. I’m going to try to remember this blessing the next time she is driving me absolutely crazy.

Speaking of blessings, here are a few more that I thought of yesterday as I raked the yard:
  1. The fact that the lawn mower was fixed and that maybe the neighbors no longer wondered what low lifes moved in next to them.
  2. The wheelbarrow, a left over when my brother-in-law down sized, was a great time saver. It may have a little rust showing, but it still carried all the grass.
  3. A blue sky (although I have to admit that about half way through I did make a small prayer for rain to give me an excuse to stop)
  4. A cool breeze
  5. A strong and capable son, who mowed and thereby cut my work in half
  6. A DH who, despite his bad back, got the mower working

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Palin's Resignation Leaves Questions of Why?

Have you seen the news? I logged on to send an email for my daughter and the story hit me in the face “Palin Resignation Leaves Questions about at 2012 Run”.
As a Palin fan, I quickly scoured the article. It frankly did not have a lot of facts, but instead a lot of speculation of why. The only fact for sure is that Sarah Palin has resigned as Alaska’s governor effective July 26th. Frankly, two things cross my mind: one, that there is something wrong with her or the family and I truly hope that this is not true or two, there is some sort of scandal about to blow-up (this would disappoint me greatly). The article though implies that this may be part of a larger plan to run for President in 2012. To that all I can say is “Are you %^$%* mad???” If this is her plan, she must have the worst political advisors out there. Even Palin supporters, such as me, cannot support someone who quits such a high political office. If she feels that she is leaving the state in better hands by passing the position onto Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell who can give the position better attention than, I think she better reconsider the message she is sending. If he’s better to run the state, then why shouldn’t he be the nominee? If people chastised her for not having enough experience during the last race, imagine what is going to be said now – not only hasn’t she appreciably increased her experience, she quit. She left her state hanging. I guess the only thing that I can hope and pray for Sarah is that maybe she just decided her family had to come first. . . that I can respect.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Encouragement Encourages Play

Have you ever started a wonderful family game night and watched it go up in smoke? DH actually came up with the idea. When we finished dinner, he suggested we play. DS, who is relishing in his sister being away, brought down Planet Earth first, an environmentally themed Monopoly, but DH nixed that choice. DS went back up and came down with Dominoes, Set, and Skipo. DH opted for Dominoes, my least favorite game, especially when we use all of the dominoes.

It may be easy to read 4 or 6 dots; it is almost impossible for me to read the 11 and 15 dominoes, let alone add them to other dominoes that I am also having difficulty reading. None the less, I agreed to play. It had been so long since I played that I needed a little update on the rules and away we went. Sure enough it wasn’t too long and I started hesitating as I was adding. It was very embarrassing. I consider myself very good at math, but I was struggling to figure out the number on the domino, add it to the others. This was only compounded by DH telling me how easy it was if I added his way. Numbers were flying everywhere and I was getting so frustrated. After a game and a half of being laughed at, I folded and said that this was my last hand. DH asked why. He often plays word games with me and is frustrated. I couldn’t hold my tongue. . . I remained calm but flatly explained that I did not insult him when he played. I didn’t try to confuse him or point out his errors. He had nothing to say back. The game was over and I went into the kitchen to wash the dishes. I know it is hard for him. He was raised in a very critical environment, but it had seemed like he had gotten over his insulting ways. Every once in a while thought, they still rear their head and ruin a perfectly good evening.

Fortunately, DS came in later and asked to play another game with me and we played SET. He and I laughed through the whole thing. We tied one game and I lost one game, but I had fun the whole time.

Encouraging one another is the best way for everyone to have a good time.

If one of you is struggling, the other should lend a hand.

Individually, we may be weak; Together, we are strong.

Remember your words can strengthen or destroy. Think before you speak.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Rain Rain Go Away - Let me Grill Another Day

The showers left after a couple hours and I was ready for the grill. I don’t know about you but I love to grill. Tonight’s menu actually came from Real Simple magazine. I am not a subscriber but was drawn to it as we waited at my immunologist for his bee venom shots. The “20 Minute Meal” headline with a beautifully shot meal on the cover grabbed my attention. The recipe that sounded particularly appealing was the Grilled pork chops with maple syrup sweet potatoes. I thought of the sweet potatoes sitting in my pantry. This would be a perfect meal. Unlike the magazines that include recipes that would require me to go to ten different specialty shops before I had all the ingredients, The Real Simple recipe was just that real simple. I had everything I needed right in my cabinet.

I do admit that I jazzed up the pork chops with barbecue sauce DH made the other day and added a can of B&M Maple flavor baked beans. This part of the meal had mixed reviews. The good part was the barbecue sauce. One, in an effort to be more frugal I have really been trying to use food items up, to buy less / just what we need, and to cook less (no leftovers unless I have a plan for them). Two, I used my marinade holder for the first time. I received it several years ago but have never used it. I have been really missing out. The silicone bulb baster with measured container worked wonderfully.

It was a great place to store the extra barbecue sauce that DH had made and it bathed the pork chops just right with the sauce on the grill. The bad part was the beans which were a letdown. I had chosen them because they were relatively low in carbohydrates compared to the other beans on sale, but the maple flavor was overwhelming and fake. All and all though, another great meal from conception to ingestion.

Thunderstorms on the horizon

Another thunderstorm is percolating. The sky is dimming and the air is rumbling. It would not seem possible that there could be any more rain to be had, but here it is again. I think it has now been raining on and off for at least three weeks. The Northeast is not known for its rainy season and it isn’t hot enough to cause the normal summer storms. This is just plain crazy weather.

DS is rooting for the power to go off, but I frankly am not voting for that. Lightning storms can cause havoc with electronics. I am only continuing to type on this computer because I have unplugged it. The tv is still on because DS is enjoying Robin Williams’ Flubber (a mini bribe for getting through his homework – we work for paychecks – kids have slightly different inspiration). I hoping that won’t be damaged, as I really can’t afford a new one.

On the positive side, this crazy weather is covering well for our broken lawn mower. Who can blame us for not mowing the lawn if there is never enough sun to do it?