Thursday, July 31, 2014

I Wonder

It's the last day of July, and it's summer, and I got not a lotta deep today, so how about a list? In true Thursday fashion we'll make it a list of thirteen, with a throwback in there for good measure.

Some things I'm wondering about lately....

1.  Do those Direct TV ads featuring an insecure marionette wife make anybody actually want to switch their service to Direct TV? Creepy. Really creepy.

2. Why is swimwear so ding dang expensive?

3. And ridiculously unflattering?

4. Where will I buy cute hostess gifts now that my favorite shop in town is closing its doors?

5. Why is it so hard to figure out which smoke detector in your house is beeping?

6.  And why does it stop beeping when you stand under it, then start up again when you step away?

7. What's for dinner?

8. Will my kitchen floor see the vacuum today?

9. Isn't it time for The Bachelor/Bachelorette series to end?

10. Past time?

11. Will I ever be able to do pushups without feeling like I want to cry?

12. World chaos.


13. Determined little people who grow up to be amazing, who remind me God is good and also great.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Revving Up The Hodgepodge

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge, our last one for the month of July. If you've answered the questions this week, add your link at the end of my post and then run see what the neighbors are saying. If you didn't answer the questions, don't link. But do still go see what the neighbors are saying...here we go-


1. "Summer is like childhood. It's full of warm memories and gone too soon." Kellie Elmore  Agree or disagree? Share something you loved about the summers of your childhood.

In a funny coincidence I wrote an entire post on this topic Monday, which you can read by clicking here. Course since I like to follow the rules, I'll post an excerpt-

'Going to the neighborhood swim club with my sister. Sometimes my mom would drive us, but oftentimes we'd ride our bicycles the two miles there and the two miles back. Kids were supposed to leave the lounge chairs for the adults, so we'd spread our beach towels on the grassy hillside and spend hours in the pool. When the whistle sadly blew indicating adult swim, we'd run freezing to our towels and lay in the warm sun to dry off. We'd always bring money for the snack bar and figuring out what to buy was a big decision. One of our favorite treats was a frozen Milky Way bar, but other times we'd get french fries or some kind of candy.'

2. Are you a fan of auto racing-NASCAR, Indy, Stock, Grand Prix? Ever been to a race in person? Any desire to do this? Do you know a lot about cars? Do you notice particular makes and models when you're out and about?

I don't think I'd consider myself a true fan. I don't dislike racing, but I don't go out of my way to see it either. We usually watch some of the Indy, but that's about it. I do think it would be fun to see it in person. I like fast cars and I've heard it's super loud and there's a lot to see at the big races.  I notice certain cars.  If I see an old MG I take note for sure.  

3. What's something you think is too serious to be joked about? Or is anything and everything fair game?

The mentally handicapped and the mentally ill. There's probably more, but those are the two that make my stomach knot up. 

4. July 29th is National Lasagna Day. Are you a fan? Do you have a great recipe, and if so where did it come from? If given a choice would you choose a plate of lasagna or a plate of spaghetti?

I like lasagna, but it's not my go-to Italian food. Do you have a go-to Italian food? I'm not sure I do either, but if I did it would not be lasagna. I do have a good recipe though, courtesy of my mother.  If given a choice I'd choose a plate of spaghetti over a plate of lasagna. 

5. What's a simple pleasure you'd miss if it were not a regular part of your life?

My morning coffee. Without it, life is not complete. #firstworldproblems

6. If you could be the CEO of any company, which would you choose?

Hmmm...tough one. If we're pretending I'm qualified, then maybe World Vision or Samaritan's Purse. I appreciate their heart and would love to see how they operate behind the scenes. 

7. August is just around the bend...bid farewell to July in exactly seven words.

Loved your relaxed schedule and slower pace!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

What do you like to cook that requires hot hot peppers?


Because we've got us more than a few.





Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 184

Here are the questions to this week's Hodgepodge...answer on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to link up with the world wide webbers.  See you there!


1. "Summer is like childhood. It's full of warm memories and gone too soon."~Kellie Elmore  Agree or disagree? Share something you loved about the summers of your childhood.

2. Are you a fan of auto racing-NASCAR, Indy, Stock, Grand Prix, etc? Ever been to a race in person? Any desire to do this?  Do you know a lot about cars? Do you notice particular makes and models when you're out and about?

3. What's something you think is too serious to be joked about? Or do you think anything and everything is fair game?

4. July 29th is National Lasagna Day. Are you a fan? Do you have a great recipe, and if so where did it come from? If given a choice would you choose a plate of lasagna or a plate of spaghetti?

5. What's a simple pleasure you'd miss if it were not a regular part of your life?

6. If you could be the CEO of any company, which would you choose?

7. August is just around the bend...bid farewell to July in exactly seven words.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Another summer day...

...has come and gone away...


I've really enjoyed the month of July. We've spent most of the month at home, lingering over our weekend morning coffee, watching the hummingbirds who dine at our feeder and the family of deer who play on our back hillside, savoring the beauty of our big blooming hostas and hydrangeas, sharing a casual BBQ with the neighbors, sitting around the firepit and relishing weather that permits a fire in the middle of summer, indulging in good books or an afternoon nap....


This got me to thinking about what it was I loved about summers as a child.  Here's a few-

Going to the neighborhood swim club with my sister. Sometimes my mom would drive us, but oftentimes we'd ride our bicycles the two miles there and the two miles back. Kids were supposed to leave the lounge chairs for the adults, so we'd spread our beach towels out on the grassy hillside and spend hours in the pool. When the whistle sadly blew indicating adult swim we'd run freezing to our towels and lay in the warm sun to dry off. We'd always bring money for the snack bar and figuring out what to buy was a big decision. One of our favorite treats was a frozen Milky Way bar, but other times we'd get french fries or some kind of candy.

Making homemade ice cream in the garage. I can picture so clearly my dad setting up the freezer. He would cover the floor underneath with newspaper, then add ice and salt and begin churning. My brother always had to help with the churning, and when it would begin to get thick my sister and I were recruited to sit on top of the freezer to keep it from 'walking'. I loved getting that first look into the container. My dad would lift the lid and slowly pull the paddle from inside. He'd let us have a swipe of the just churned ice cream from the paddle, and we'd look forward to dessert all through dinner.

The hours between dinner and dark. The air wouldn't be quite so hot, and we would play outside until my mom called us in. Sometimes we'd meet up with a bunch of the neighborhood kids for giant games of hide and seek or kick the can or ghost in the graveyard. We'd divide up into teams and each team would have some big and some little. When we played kick the can I remember each team would come up with code words to shout out and let someone else on your team know when it was safe to run in for the kick. Straaaaaaawberry meant stay in your hiding place.

Going barefoot. If we weren't playing with the neighbors we might ask my mom for an old mayonnaise jar so we could catch lightning bugs. She'd poke holes in the lid with the ice pick and we'd run around the backyard trying to capture one.  I loved running barefoot in the grass.  I still like going barefoot. Our feet would get filthy though, and even if we didn't have a full fledged bath, my mom would insist we put our feet in the tub before bed.

The Good Humor Truck. Oh how we'd beg. If it was too close to suppertime we couldn't get ice cream,  but sometimes he'd come while we were having dinner and I remember that feeling of wanting to hurry outside so we wouldn't miss him. There was nothing sadder to a ten year old than missing the ice cream truck.

The smell of charcoal burning. That was the scent of summer back in 1960-something. Everyone had a charcoal grill and there was something so comforting about the idea of families all throughout the neighborhood cooking dinner on their backyard grills. I feel like kids miss that today. In the year 20-something a neighborhood full of charcoal grills is sort of rare.

In the July summers of my childhood there was great value placed on doing nothing. No lists, no 'should bes', no guilt. Instead there were blank time blocks and empty space.

Space where I could lay on the grass and watch the clouds. Space to laugh with my sister. Space to not worry. Space to daydream, imagine, pretend and wonder.


Space to sit on the neighbor's glider and let the juice of a ruby red plum run down my chin. Space for a moment,  to not have a care in the world.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Fragments

It's Friday, so why not?

Half-Past Kissin' Time

It's been a pretty quiet week round here.  I've been catching up on some at-home projects that I'll share at some point, but not today. It's hard to blog when you're keeping most of the wedding details hush hush.

On Wednesday hubs worked from home and we met his sister and her family for lunch. They were passing through and we were a convenient stop. It was fun to catch up in person.

My neighborhood book club met last night and that's always a nice way to spend an evening. We read a  book called Alex: The Commandant Camille Verhoeven Trilogy. The author is French so this is a translation, and the second in a series. It's dark and some of it was hard to read, but the writing is excellent and the characters intriguing. If you liked The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, then you would probably like this one too. It's written with that same combination of tension, subtle wit, and melancholy as the Stieg Larsson series. Except the names are easier to pronounce-ha!

Normally in the summer we read a little lighter fare, but not this summer.  We've read Slave: My True Story by Mende Nazer set in Sudan, recounting the horrific tale of a 12 year old girl sold as a slave into an Arab family. Not light. Or easy to read. But real. Then in July we read Jodi Picoult's The Storyteller, which in typical Jodi Picoult fashion is full of twists and turns and shades of gray. It's a modern story intermingled with a story set in Nazi Germany so yeah, also not really light.

We're home again this weekend which makes two in a row, so whoohoo! We're having three couples over on Saturday for a barbecue and so far the weather looks like it will cooperate. It's gorgeous out there today.  Everyone is bringing something which is my favorite kind of party, but I'm doing the main, an appetizer, and dessert. I think this party may be the excuse I need to make a peach cobbler.  The peaches are so good this year, unlike the tomatoes which have had too much rain. Jersey tomatoes are late.

And finally there's this...


Just taking care of his weekend banking.


He walked right in front of my car early this morning, across a main street in our little town. I was on my way home from boot camp, so it was early and not a lot of traffic, but still...we don't normally see them in the middle of town.  I followed him into the bank, but he was on to me and slipped through the hedges to the Burger King next door.


Judging from the size of him, I'd say this was not his first trip to the BK. They really are beautiful creatures and amazing to see up close. It pays to get up early and exercise...if I'd slept in I'd have missed it.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sky Blue Hodgepodge

Welcome to the Wednesday Hodgepodge! Grab your coffee or your tea or your ice water with a slice of lemon and settle in for a chat.  Be sure to add the link to your own answers at the end of my post.  Here we go-


1. When I look at the sky I feel ______________________________________.


...anything is possible. 

I'm completely enamored of the sky. A soft summer blue, a deeply royal cloudless October, a pale hopeful white it's gonna snow in January...they all make me feel quite a lot. 

2. If you had to run for political office, which one would you run for? Do you have any real desire to actually do this?

Sometimes I feel so frustrated with our government I think I'd like to get in there and do something, but isn't that how most politicians begin? Then somewhere along the road from idealism to accidentally-making-it-a-career they lose sight of why they ran in the first place. Not all, but most. I'm for term limits.  If there were term limits, then maybe.

When I think of which office I'd run for, I'm stumped. School board? No. City council? Even at the local local local level of government politics seems to rule the day, so no. Mayor? Maybe I'd start there. If I were starting anywhere. Which I'm not. Next question.

3. What scent makes you think of home?

freshly mown grass, laundry right out of the dryer, a turkey roasting in the oven  

4. How often do you take a step back to think about where you're headed in life? Do you need more or less self-reflection?

I think in this empty nest stage of life a bit of self-reflection is warranted. Too much is never a good thing, but I do like setting goals, knowing my purpose, and figuring out new ways to use my gifts, no matter what season of life I'm in. 

5. July is National Ice Cream Month...besides a cone, what's your favorite food item to top with ice cream?

I'm going with a brownie. A scoop of vanilla ice cream atop a warm brownie is one of the best things I know. I haven't had a brownie in eons, but when I do it will be topped with a scoop of vanilla.  

6. What might your autobiography be called?

If I tell you now, you won't be surprised when I write it. 

You think I'm kidding. 

I have a title, I just need the story, and it wouldn't be so much an autobiography, as a memoir. That's as far as I've gotten. 

7. Your least favorite mode of transportation? Why?

Ferries. 

Why? I don't know what it is about ferries, but I cannot ride one without wanting to lose my lunch.  I'm always pretty susceptible to motion sickness, but ferries really do me in. 


Here I am on the ferry from Capri to Amalfi. It was chilly up top, but I'd ridden over down below and (barely) lived to regret it. I told hubs I didn't care what the weather was doing, I was making the trip back to Amalfi up top. He thought he was hilarious taking my picture, and I look a little mad, but I'm not. It was blowing a gale and water was pelting my face. My stomach was a-okay though, and that's all I cared about in that moment. 


Here I am (barely) recovering from a ferry ride to an island off the coast of Hong Kong. I'm the one nursing a Sprite. We rode a ferry over to a fishing village. 

That smelled like fish. 

Which is not what you want to smell when your stomach is rebelling against a ferry ride.  

So yeah, ferries. 

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

So it's that time. Time to begin the great mother-of-the-bride dress hunt, and I'd like you to weigh in on something. If the bridesmaids are in long gowns should the mothers be as well? Or can we wear short without breaking some kind of unspoken law of etiquette? The only request my daughter has is that we both wear the same length. She doesn't want me in short and his mom in long or vice versa.  






Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hodgepodge Questions-Volume 183

Here are the questions to this week's Hodgepodge...answer on your own blog, then hop back here tomorrow to join the linky party.  See you there-


1. When I look at the sky I feel________________________________________.

2. If you had to run for political office, which one would you run for? Do you have any real desire to actually do this?

3. What scent makes you think of home?

4. How often do you take a step back to think about where you're headed in life? Do you need more or less self-reflection?

5. July is National Ice Cream Month...besides a cone, what's your favorite food item to top with ice cream?

6. What might your autobiography be called?

7. Your least favorite mode of transportation? Why?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.