Friday, July 30, 2010

Welcoming summer again

All this week, I've had that, "okay, I'm tired of the heat, let's get this summer show over with" kind of feeling. This morning I had a talk with myself. I said, "Self, you know that Summer isn't even close to being over. Sure the kids go back to school in three weeks. But the calendar says Summer doesn't end until September 21st, and you know the hot weather will be here at least until then if not longer."

So, in fact, there's more summer to go, than we've gone through. Instead of being irritable about the heat, I've decided I should still be embracing the season, because before we know it the snow will be flying. While I was making the bed, I decided to lighten things up by leaving off the mounds of pillows, and just having the cool, white cotton bedspread, with our sleeping pillows. It is easier to make in the morning, and feels cooler at night.

I put together a grocery list, in preparation for a trip to the store tomorrow, and was sure to add lots of fruits and vegetables and more cold iced tea bags, and a bag of lemons, for iced tea and fresh lemonade.

Then I decided it would be a good day to work in the basement, where, even with the AC vents closed, is the coolest part of the house. Our rec room had definitely become a "wreck room", so I enlisted Emily to help me.

We began the way I always begin a big cleaning job, making places for keep, throw and put somewhere else. We sorted through all the games that have accumulated through the years. There's no longer a need for junior versions of games such as Scrabble or Pictionary (sadly, sniff), so those were piled up and will be given away to bless a younger family. We gathered up all of the markers, paints and craft stuff that tends to migrate downstairs, and put them in a cute little bin that had been destined for the giveaway pile, but no more.

The small wet bar area was arranged with a popcorn popper and toppings -- a forgotten Christmas gift -- so now we can really feel like we're at the movies when we watch the big screen t.v. that we inherited when we bought the house. We got out the carpet cleaner and I spruced up the carpet, while Em did her best to clean a nail polish stain (oops) off the sofa. Last, I rummaged through my pile of framed photos and we put together a little gallery of family vacation pictures. Eventually, I'd like to find some national parks posters of the all the parks we've visited, to frame and hang, but for now it's fun to look at what are now "old" family pics and "remember when."

Then, while I did some last minute touches, Em fixed us tomato sandwiches for lunch, using our priceless one and only tomato from our Topsy Turvy grower. It tasted sooo good and we wished that our crop had been larger, as there's nothing like a fresh tomato sandwich.

After lunch, we stopped for iced coffees and headed off to the library for a couple of hours, where I found a whole bunch more books I can't live without, and Emily read an entire book and put another on hold. Remember the days when you wouldn't dare bring a drink or food into the library? While I totally understand the reasoning for that, I love that our library has a coffee cart in the lobby. Books and coffee, my two favorite things.

I know that I'll welcome the cool fall weather and the changing colors when the time arrives. But, for now, I vow to appreciate the season that I'm in, whether it's the dog days of summer or the hustle bustle of a houseful of kids and a list that seems impossible. It will all be long gone before I know it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A trip to the Springs

Last week, the kids and I drove to Colorado Springs to spend a couple of days. There's so much to see and do there. We spent the night at a hotel with an outdoor pool -- not so easy to find these days, have you noticed? -- and went to a Sky Sox baseball game, a minor league team where some of our favorite Rockies players are temporarily assigned. It's a small ballpark, filled with enthusiastic fans, and the action is right up close.

My personal goal on our trip was to see Bernideen's Store in Old Colorado City. If you read Bernideen's Tea Time Blog (and if you don't, you really must! If you like tea, you will love it!) you would love her store! Walking into the store is Bernideen's Blog, come alive. The smells of tea and cookies and lavender fill the air. Beautiful teapots and teacups abound, along with gifts and linens and dried florals, gourmet tea foods and children's tea sets, and anything you can think of for a tea party.
Bernideen is perfectly lovely. She's been in business for over 20 years, the past 16 in Colorado City. Friends and customers alike frequent her store and are greeted warmly, and offered peach tea and lemon tarts, while browsing through the shop. I felt as though I was reacquainting with a friend, since Bernideen and I have visited one another's blogs and have mutual blogging friends as well. Blogging is a neighborly community unto itself and I continue to meet the nicest, loveliest people. Of course, I couldn't leave the store empty handed ;) When I walked in, I immediately spotted this little teacup stand. I have a collection of bone china teacups, and Bernideen's has an assortment of teacup racks -- either wall hanging or freestanding. I love this one, with the little birds on top. I filled it with my purple and lavender themed teacups. What do you think?

Won't you join me for a cuppa tea?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

This weekend, I . . .

* Organized galore! A necessity after being on the run since the first of June.

* Cleaned the pantry.

* Cleaned the fridge.

* Cleaned the freezer.

* Made two loaves of bread.

* Made a menu plan.

* Got caught up on paying bills.

* Sent my oldest son to the grocery store with a long list and was so happy to have someone else do the shopping.

* Went for two long walks with my daughter and a very energetic puppy.

* Ate a cherry chocolate chip ice cream cone.

* Spent Sunday morning at a park with girlfriends, discussing a fabulous book, Tattoos on the Heart, by Gregory Boyle.

* Spent Sunday afternoon at a baseball field (I know, I said it was over, but it's never over) while my middle child was at a clinic, and read half of a book.

* Made reservations for a short out-of-town getaway for me and the kids.

I'm hooking up with Becky at Keys to the Cottage. How was your weekend? I'd love to hear about it!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer break

I seem to be taking summer" break" very seriously, as I've taken a break from doing anything that isn't absolutely vital to our breathing and staying alive for the past seven weeks. Almost all of my good intentions for the summer have gone by the wayside. I haven't played a single game of golf with my sister-in-law, haven't gone for a single bike ride with my girlfriend, and aside from a simple project or two, home improvement has consisted of doing the laundry and managing to eke out a meal at the end of the day.

Part of the reason is that we've had 47 -- yes, I counted -- baseball and softball games on our calendar since June 1st. Both seasons ended this week. (Although it never really ends, since fall baseball is right around the corner.) For those of you who don't like baseball, you're thinking it sounds like as much fun as sitting and watching paint dry. But, it was actually quite enjoyable, save a few 98 degree days, to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, spending time with family and new friends, and driving to the far reaches of the state, searching for fields and stadium lights looming over the horizon.

For me personally, the summer has meant getting up early in the morning and spending an hour or two on the back porch, while it's still cool, reading and writing and keeping company with Lilly, who is the only other early riser in the household, except of course DH who is long gone for work. It's the only quiet time I get all day, so I don't feel that it's self-indulgent, but simply self-preservation.

If I were to make a word cloud for this summer it would include baseball, softball, fencing (for older son), job hunting (older son), my DH's fabulous gin & tonics, writing, garage sales, hot, Pamplona purple pedicures, topsy-turvy strawberry planters, cooler, lawn chair, Gatorade, sunflower seeds, and horses.

Notice I didn't put blogging. I haven't given up on it, but it has definitely taken a back seat for the past few weeks:( I hope you're all having a good summer and that it is just the kind of break you need!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

This weekend, I . . .

* Went to H*me Depot and bought chicken wire to keep a certain dog out of the rose bushes.

* Cleaned the house from top to bottom.

* Weeded the garden.

* Took a dog for a walk and watched her chase butterflies.

* Started embroidering a set of shams.

* Watched baseball on t.v.

* Played around with a new design for my blog, didn't like it, tried to change it back and couldn't. ARgh! This is as close as I got.

* Made cupcakes with white frosting and decorated them with little flags on toothpicks.

* Didn't get to see fireworks because it poured just as they were supposed to start.

* Wondered why the rain didn't stop all the people who set off their own fireworks, making my old dog a nervous wreck.

* Am looking forward to an extra day of weekend on Monday:)

This Weekend, I . . . is hosted by Becky at Keys to the Cottage. Try it! It's fun!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Finding Africa

Yesterday, I took a drive out to northeastern Colorado for the day, visiting some friends who live in Greeley. On the way home, my car mysteriously ended up driving to a fun little store that I visited once and have always wanted to go back and browse. It is filled with lots of cottage-style decor, but a lot more expensive than I remember. Still, it was fun to poke around and get some ideas.

As I was leaving the shopping center, I discovered a lovely spot nearby called The Chapunga Sculpture Park. I couldn't resist stopping to explore, and I'm so glad that I did. Nestled on the prairie of eastern Colorado is a collection of 80 stone sculptures, the creations of artists from Zimbabwe, Africa. The sculptures celebrate universal human themes and range from three to eleven feet tall and weigh 600 to 6,000 pounds. They are formed from rocks of the Zimbabwe area, including serpentine, verdite, opal, cobalt springstone and granite.

Strolling along the path that winds through the tall grasses of the Colorado prairie, taking in the massive pieces of art, created by artists from the plains of Africa, I was struck by how we all share the same story. My favorite part of the exhibit is called the Role of Woman.

The Lullaby

Me Too, Mama (Artist's note: He does not realize that he has become too heavy -- and that I cannot carry them both!)

Rural Mother (Artist's note:Tending the fields and caring for the family is hard and demanding work, but it brings much satisfaction.) I love the detail in this one. . .

From a section of the exhibit called "The Elders" is Keeping the History. (Artist's note: She keeps us proud of our history and of our culture.

I love this one --Teenage Secrets

And this one -- I'm Good At This.

I didn't get the title of this one, but it reminded me of a group of children, playing on the hill right beside it. Just kids being kids.

It was a nice detour in my day, finding this little oasis along the interstate. I often tell my kids, that you just never know what your day will bring. This was a lovely surprise.