Monday, August 29, 2016

Checking in

I've been AWOL from this blog for over a week.  It seems the past 10 days have flown by, and I even missed Friday Fave Five last week.  I always miss it when I don't join in with the FFF group, as it has become a great exercise in gratitude for me.  However early Friday morning I was happily driving up to the mountains for a few days to participate in a writer's seminar.

The seminar was hosted by Alissa Johnson (Writing Strides), a fabulous writing coach and lovely young woman.  I've participated in a couple of Alissa's webinars and, though we've spoken on the phone numerous times, this was my first opportunity to meet her in person.

Along with eight other women, we spent the day getting focused on our writing projects and sharing ideas.  Most of us were of the same generation, which made for immediate camaraderie.  While our projects are as different as each individual (from memoir to fiction to history to spiritual erotica), we shared so many common threads in the desire to express our creativity.  For the entire day, we were able to 'think out loud' without fear of judgement, and focus on how to get our projects started and keep them moving, and have some quiet moments to write.

I had the luxury of going up the day before and staying for two nights, which gave me lots of time to enjoy the beautiful mountains and the gorgeous cool weather.

Then, yesterday, I picked up a book that has been packed away along with so many of my books since we moved a couple of years ago.  It is Adriana Trigiani's Don't Sing at the Table; Life Lessons from My Grandmothers.  It's a quick read and I finished it this morning.  I've enjoyed several of Trigiani's novels, and this book, a memoir, was exceptional.  It's about her grandmothers, who both played a tremendous influence in her life and in her writing.  What I loved about the book is that one of her grandmothers was a seamstress.  The work ethic that she had in her sewing business influenced Ms. Trigiani's methods in writing.  Having been a seamstress and also loving to write, I really enjoyed the parallels that she drew between the two.

Don't Sing at the Table was a wonderful way to cap off the weekend.

So, I'm back and ready to take on a busy week, which will end with another little jaunt out of town for my nephew's wedding.

Hope your week is off to a wonderful start!


Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday Fave Five

Another week of good stuff to share with Susanne and the Friday Fave Five crowd. Link up here, if you would like to join in and celebrate the blessings in your week.

1.  Music, music, music!  First, I should say that I'm not the musician in the family, that Dan is and my sons both have an appreciation for and talent for it, too.  However, like most people, I have my favorite songs and genres, though I just don't have much of an ear for quality and tone.  Dan does! and so we finally bit the bullet and bought a sound system for our home.  I love that we can sit on the back porch and listen to our favorite playlists, or have it playing in different areas of the house. (Listening to Kenny Chesney right now;)

2.  A good, rockin' thunderstorm.  Earlier this week, a good downpour cooled everything off and we slept with the windows open for the first time in weeks.  It's cooler again today and our flowers and plants are very happy.

3. Not as bad as it could've been.  I went downstairs to throw in some laundry earlier this week, and as I stepped into the laundry room, stepped into a HUGE puddle of water.  We're still not positive what the source was -- which is hugely disconcerting -- but, it was clean water and nothing was damaged. Hard to see this as a blessing, but we have had worse!

4. Learning some stuff.  Classes started this week through an online learning program that our library is connected with.  As patrons, we can choose form over two thousand classes and take them for FREE!  I'm taking Intro to Microsoft Word -- I use Word all the time, but there are parts of it that are still a mystery to me -- and a Travel Writing class, because I just can't seem to get enough:)

5. Morning walks. My walking partner, Joan, and I are getting back to our normal routine, walking at the open space a couple mornings a week.  We go way back -- we were neighbors when Dan and I bought our first house right after we were married.  Joan was a stay-at-home-mom with five kids, and I was a workin' girl.  I wanted to be her and she wanted to be me, haha! Then, I was the SAHM and she went into Real Estate, and helped us find our next three homes.  Now, we're both grandmas and empty nesters, and good friends:)  I love how life happens.

How was your week?


Thursday, August 18, 2016

FaceTime: The next best thing to being there

One of the saving graces of having my son and his family 1,100 miles away in Wisconsin is that we both have FaceTime. By simply dialing one another’s number on our smart phones, we turn on the cameras and I can see my two-and-a-half year-old granddaughter and my 8-month-old grandson. My grandson is at the age and of the disposition that he smiles and chortles at anyone who smiles at him. I still like to think that his toothless grin is the result of seeing his Grandma on a two-by-three-and-a-half-inch screen, smiling like a maniac and cooing at him.

My granddaughter, on the other hand, is harder to impress. The first few times she FaceTimed with us she was eager to take the phone and parade around the apartment, showing us her room (mostly the ceiling), the bathroom (again the ceiling) and when instructed to ‘let Grandma and Grandpa see you,’ we proceeded to try to interpret most of what she was saying while looking at just her eyebrows.

We’ve been at this for several months now, and despite the fact that my granddaughter has almost completely lost interest in our nightly calls (even the night I decided to liven things up by using a little hand puppet to ‘talk’ with us – she looked at me like I’d lost my mind), my son still dutifully calls every other night or so to check in and so we can ‘see’ the kids. Or at least the ceiling.

Yesterday was a long, exhausting day and when he phoned at 8:30, I was in the middle of brushing my teeth, having already put my pajamas on. I answered the phone and propped it on the bathroom counter and proceeded with my nightly rituals.

“What are you doing?”

“Bwushin’my teef.”

“It’s so early.”

“It’s been a wong day.”

 As I rinsed and spit, I saw my granddaughter’s eyebrows at the bottom of the screen.

My son and I chatted as I proceeded to get out my face wipes and take off my makeup. By this time, my granddaughter was full screen.

“What’s she doing?” she asked my son.

“Grandma’s washing her face.”

I finished my face washing and might have plucked an eyebrow or two. Then I picked up the phone and carried it to bed, where I proceeded to get under the covers. As my son continued talking, my granddaughter’s face appeared on one side of the screen and then the other.

This I saw through half-closed eyelids, until my son finally said, “Well. We’re going to let you go.”


 “Say ‘goodnight’ to Grandma.”

 “G’night . . . . .?”


Monday, August 15, 2016

It's not over yet

This week marks the first day of school for most of the kids in our town.  At least once a day I hear the words, "The summer went so fast."

Since it's just me and Dan these days, and our jobs are on the same schedule year round, the beginning of school doesn't mean much of a change for us.  Except that our street gets kind of busy in the mornings and mid afternoon, given that we live a block from the high school.

So when I hear, "the summer went so fast," I'm inclined to think to myself -- but it's not over yet!  

I haven't grown tired of watering the garden.  Water aerobics classes will be held outdoors for another couple of weeks.  I haven't made it through my summer reading list yet.  And as bad as I feel for the kids who have to go back to school so ridiculously early -- my summer is still going!

Over the weekend, I gathered up some cucumbers from a friend's garden (mine got pushed out by the zucchini) and whipped up some refrigerator pickles.

I cut some in slices and some in spears.

I love the colors purple and green together.

I'm not crazy about pickles, but Dan is. And I'm glad he is, because it was a lot of fun throwing these together.

 And they turned out kind of pretty.

Are you still having fun with summer?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Random thoughts

My flower photos aren't the best, but I want to document what's taking off in the garden, so I know what to plant for next year.  And, yes, I'm just a wee bit proud of the fact that the perennial garden is doing so well.

Today, is a rare day in that I have nothing on the calendar.  It's just me and Lilly and a to-do list for the day that includes cleaning out a closet, going to the grocery store and some reading time this afternoon.

Dan and I took another jaunt to the mountains this weekend with my Aunt Ann.  We went to Grand Lake where my brother and his wife have a home.  It was lovely and cool up there.  We all had a nice dinner on Friday, then us girls went to see Titanic; The Musical at the local playhouse.

It's going to be another hot week, and while I'm not fond of the heat, I'm just not ready for summer to be over.  All around me, moms and kids are shopping for school supplies and counting the days until school starts.  It begins so early, in the middle of August.  That's just not right.

However, I don't mind shopping the aisle with all the school supplies.  Colored pencils and fresh, new spiral notebooks just seem to jump into my cart.

"It makes me wanna buy school supplies.  I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address."

(Name that movie;)

Friday, August 5, 2016

Morning blessings

This week has been very trying, to say the least.  It has made me all the more grateful for my quiet mornings, when I can sit on my back porch with my dog and start the day with some coffee and reading.  And then a walk with said dog.  Here are some photos from one such morning.

As always, grateful to Susanne for hostessing our Friday Fave Five link up party and for all my FFF friends!

A beautiful morning sky over my backyard fence.

Lilly.  Bird watching.  This is not a form that her uncle, the hunting dog trainer would be proud of, but sometimes a girl just likes to sit and bird watch. Forget all the pointing stuff.

 A good read.

Scene from our walk this morning.

Neighborhood treasure, on our morning walk.

Happy weekend to all,

Thursday, August 4, 2016

August Daybook

For Today, August 4, 2016

"Every day is a blank page."

Looking out my window .  .  . A cool, breezy, cloud-covered day.  A welcome reprieve from the 90 plus degree heat wave of the past weeks.

I am thinking. . . that taking a quick walk with Lilly this morning was a good way for both of us to start the day.

I am thankful . . . for my friend Pam.  We talked on the phone yesterday for over an hour.  She is someone who hears my heart and -- how does that go? -- reminds me of what it's feeling and thinking when I've forgotten or can't hear it myself.

One of my favorite things . . . toasted English muffin with almond butter.

I am creating . . . organization in the china hutch and dish pantry.  I have so many pretty dishes, but rarely use them because I have to weed through all of my holiday knick knacks to get to them.  So, the other day, I emptied the china hutch and filled it back up with just my special sets of china.  Next, I'll organize the pantry Dan put in for me downstairs and store all those 'special things' that I forget I have (after purging a few things.)

I am reading. . . The Seasons of God by Richard Blackaby.  It's helping me understand and embrace this new season in my life.

I am listening to . . .  Pandora Radio (Jim Croce's Time in a Bottle -- hello 1970s!)

I am hoping . . . that someone I've reached out to will hear my heart.

I am learning. . . names for plants and flowers.  I'm terrible about remembering these things, so making an effort to pay more attention.

In my kitchen. . . there's not a lot going on today.  I'm working late, so we'll have grilled cheese sandwiches for supper.

In my garden . . . zucchini, patty pan squash, jalapeno peppers galore. Purple cone flowers, black-eyed Susans and daylillies in bloom,

Post Script. . . a blogging friend is featuring a new blog to explore each day in August. I've found some fun new blogs to read and met the nicest people.  She was kind enough to feature my blog, too:)

Shared quote. . . "At first glance it may be too hard.  Look again. Always look again." 
(Mary Anne Radmacher)

A moment from my day. . . this dragonfly was in the garden yesterday, with lots of her? friends.  They literally looked like leaves of gold darting among the flowers.  From what I can tell (according to the Boulder Audubon's dragonflies of Boulder County website - ahem)  she's a Band-winged Meadowhawk.  Apparently there are over 40 different species of dragonflies in our area.  Who knew? 

I am linking up with Peggy for the August Daybook.  The Simple Woman's Daybooks are a welcome opportunity to celebrate the joys of the ordinary and simple things in life.  Thank you, Peggy!

Happy Thursday to all,


Monday, August 1, 2016

Spring cleaning

Spring Cleaning has become somewhat of a generic term for me.  Sometimes, no matter what time of year, I find myself attacking closets and cupboards with a vengeance, discarding what I no longer need or want and tidying up what remains.  Perhaps it's because lately it has been so dang hot, that I'm looking for things to do indoors and have the luxury of spending a few hours in the morning on such projects, that my house is getting a thorough going over.

Last week I cleaned out the guest room closet, which is where I keep my sewing and crafting supplies.  I learned to sew when I was in grade school and it was always a big part of my life and who I was.  I made all of my own clothes in junior high and high school (not uncommon in those days of Home Ec classes and fabric stores in every mall), and later became proficient enough to teach sewing classes and have a sewing business where I made everything from swimwear to bridal gowns.

It's been years since I've done that kind of sewing.  When we moved into this house, I set up a sewing corner in the guest room, feeling drawn to creating something again.  I even bought a load of fabric, a few patterns, and started a little quilt for my first granddaughter.

And there it stopped.  Every time I would walk into the room, the machine would seem to beckon to me -- "remember me? I'm still here?" -- and I'd look away.  I would open the closet and the boxes of old and new fabric had become hidden under linens and extra clothes and my gift stash.

Finally, I did some soul searching and decided that as much as I loved to sew in the past, that perhaps I prefer finding new ways to create.  Writing, photography, art journaling on occasion.  I can't imagine ever not having a sewing machine and few scraps of fabric to play with when the spirit moves me, but it was time to clear out the closet and make room for new.

Now, I have a small section of shelf dedicated to my gift stash, a few extra blankets and pillows for guests, books, a small box containing fabric I just could.not.part.with and plenty of room to hang my collection of table linens, which are now organized according to size and marked as such, eliminating the last minute struggle I have at every holiday dinner of which tablecloth fits the table with one leaf in, two leaves, no leaves?  These are the things that cause me stress at holidays, not cooking the 20-plus pound turkey and all the sides.  It's the tablecloth!

It's a small thing, but I feel as though I've accomplished something huge with this new system.  And perhaps my sewing machine and I just might start spending a little time together once again.

P.S. I'm linking up with Grammie Time's Party At My Place.  Check it out!