Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thankful Thursday

It’s Thursday … a day that seemingly gets forgotten between Hump Day and TGIF Friday … a day when I take a few moments to express how richly I’m blessed.

1. The freedoms we enjoy in this country.  While Independence Day (does anyone still call July 4 that any more?) coming, it’s time to look past the problems of budget deficits, budget cuts, political debates, etc. and focus instead of the freedoms we enjoy, the freedoms that came (and still come) at a price.

2. The weather.  It’s been absolutely gorgeous … warm and sunny and almost no humidity to speak of.  Granted, this will won’t last long … summer will return tomorrow with 90-degree weather and 100+ heat indices, but it’s nice to be able to enjoy having the windows open or sitting out on the deck with a good book.

3. The internet.  I’m so thankful for things like blogging and Facebook, where I can connect with old friends and make new ones.  I’m thankful for resources … like where I found a new recipe for tilapia that DH declared a winner.  I’m thankful for email that allows my sisters and me to stay in touch with our dad on a daily basis. 

4. A good haircut.  I got my hair trimmed Tuesday evening … I didn’t realize how long it’d gotten since the last trim.  This just feels so much better.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge



It’s Wednesday aka Hump Day, and as you know by now, that means it’s time for Joyce’s Hodgepodge!  Joyce slaves over her computer, toiling for hours coming up with totally random, totally fascinating questions for us … and then it’s our turn to toil for hours coming up with totally random, totally fascinating answers to her questions.  If you want to join in the fun, just click on the link above.  In the meantime, let’s get to this week’s questions:


1. What makes you stand to your feet and cheer?

If I’m at the game, I’ll usually stand up and cheer when my hockey team scores a goal or someone hits a home run for my baseball team.  Watching a game at home usually doesn’t seem to generate the same excitement level … although it did when the Cardinals won the World Series.   


2. What's your favorite patriotic song?

God Bless America … it gives me goose bumps.


3. Do you believe that opposites attract? If you have a significant other are you opposites?

Yes, I do believe that opposite attracts … one of the reasons I fell in love with DH is that he’s a good counterbalance to me.   


4. You're going to get a behind the scenes look someplace...where would you like that someplace to be?

Disney World.  How in the world can they pull ALL that off every day? 


5. How far would you have to travel to ride a carousel (merry-go-round)?

For myself?  Not very far.  I enjoy the carousel, but I’m just not much of a ride rider.  But if I’m with the Ts, that’s a whole ‘nother story!  I’m hoping to go with them to the zoo at some point this summer, and riding the carousel there is definitely on the list of things to do.


6. When was the last time you saw fireworks? What was the occasion? Do you enjoy fireworks?

The last time would have been last July 4th.  I enjoy watching fireworks, but I don’t enjoy hassling with the crowds for a good view. 


7. Of all the 'beauty products' you own, what item do you consider to be the most overpriced?

Not sure … I don’t use a whole lot of “beauty products” … I’m just a simple gal … a little lotion, a little powder, a little lip gloss … what you see is what you get.  Smile


8. Insert your own random thought here.

Ever have one of those days where you just feel out of sorts?  I had one yesterday.  I don’t like feeling like that … on the edge of crankiness for no apparent reason, unsettled, just not quite myself.  I’m praying that today will be a better day! 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Miscellany Monday


Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters


As you can see from the button above, this meme is designed to help make the mundane interesting.  I have to wonder if my mundaneness is beyond the help of this meme … but it can’t hurt … so welcome to today’s miscellany.


1.  Something (or someone?) had gotten to her nest.  There are broken egg shells around the nest … and as a result, mama duck has abandoned her nest.  That just makes me so sad. 


2.  We had another round of storms pass through last night.  This one had hail … several of the stones were nickel-sized or better.  Hopefully the hail didn’t do any damage … it was just a year ago when we had a storm with hail that damaged our roof and siding.  I don’t want to have to go through that again.


3.  I almost didn’t get out and plant those “freebie” plants yesterday … too sore from the digging up on Saturday, but I’m glad I got them in the ground.  It’s still raining this morning and is supposed to keep raining all day.  The weather here has been just plain weird here … for the past 7 months or so.


4.  Am I the only one who gets an interesting thought and thinks “I’ve got to share that on my blog” … only to forget the thought when I sit down to write.  Hence the need for a meme that makes the mundane interesting!  ha!


5.  Time to get caught up on cleaning up around the house.  I’ve been busy (and lazy) … and have let tidying up pass for housecleaning.  <oops>  Since it’s going to rain today, I may as well take advantage and get to work around the house. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Weekend Wrap-up



Whoa!  It was another one of those weekends with nothing planned (other than T#1’s baseball game Saturday morning) that turned out to be a BUSY one!  What a weekend! 


Friday evening, I got a phone call from DD to come get T#4.  Their whole family went to see Cars 2, and T#4 (who will sit and watch movies at home) wouldn’t sit still .  It was nice to have some time with her, just the 3 of us.  We’d all been so excited about their “movie night” since T#3 is a HUGE Cars fan.  They’d been planning this outing for months, but DD reported that the movie (and as a result their evening) just didn’t live up to the hype … it was just a little too violent and too adult for their little ones … even T#2 who knows no fear was a little frightened by the violence. 


Saturday morning, we had T#1’s baseball game.  It was an 11:30 game which gave us several hours to just chill out … I like getting up earlier in the mornings, but it takes me 2-3 hours to get myself going and ease into the day … so the late morning game was ideal for what I thought was going to be a lazy day. 


After lunch, I got out and mowed for DH … he’s taking an antibiotic for his sinus infection, and one of the warnings is to avoid sun exposure.  I rather enjoy mowing … it’s something that can be done almost mindlessly … just me and my thoughts … and I have to confess that I enjoy the immediate gratification of a freshly mown lawn … not to mention that it gives me a bit of a workout.


Within minutes of finishing the mowing, DD called and suggested I come by to get any of the plants they were digging up from their back yard.  Their new house is on a small lot and practically half of the back yard is a huge flower garden.  It’s beautiful but not very practical for a family with 4 kids.  I grabbed my shovel and head to collect a few plants.  3 hours later, I had my plants and some very sore muscles. 


Today we went to church and after lunch, I got to work planting my new plants.  I planted about half the Siberian irises.  I’m still pondering where to plant the butterfly bush and the bearded irises.  I’d hoped to do a little quilting this evening, but my hands are just too sore to do any quilting tonight.  I think I’ll do a little reading instead. 


Hope your weekend was a wonderful one.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thankful Thursday

It’s Thursday again!  And that means that it’s time for Thankful Thursday … when I take some time to stop and reflect on all my blessings … so many things for which I’m thankful.

I’m thankful for:

“hand-me-down” hostas … DD dug up some plants in her landscaping and can’t use them … so she’s given them to me.  I have a spot under our deck where grass just will not grow … a shady spot, so it’ll be perfect for these hostas.  Some day I’d like to put in some landscaping all along the back of our house … and these hostas will be a good start.

being able to avoid a “run-in” with some bees that my working in the yard (planting the hostas) stirred up.  I’m quite allergic to bee/wasp stings, so I was quite concerned about these bees.  DH will have to go out and see if there’s a nest … we have a garden storage chest next to where I planted the hostas … I wonder if they’re inside that chest.

lots of T-time this past week.  As I mentioned here, we had the Ts for a couple of days last week and had them here Monday and Tuesday this week.  Today I accompanied DD and the Ts on a shopping trip … I had so much fun!

lovely weather.  We’d been having some wacky weather lately … either 90-degree temperatures or storms.  Yesterday and today, the temperatures have been simply gorgeous … warm (but NOT hot), sunny and breezy.  And we have more of the same in the forecast for the next few days. 

Walgreens’ Take Care Clinic.  DH has been feeling under the weather for several days and hasn’t shown any sign of improvement, so he decided to go get checked out (sinus infection).  I’m thankful, too, that he hasn’t shared whatever he’s got.

having 8 days off (including a weekend).  It was so nice to have a whole rash of days where I could be retired again.  I am back to work today … and which is a blessing too (even though I will definitely be glad when I can return to a full-time retiree).

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Once again it’s Wednesday – Hump Day!  And once again Joyce has come up with 8 unique and interesting questions for this week’s HodgePodge.  If you’d like to play along or just see how everyone else answered the questions, just click on the button below.

1. Summer's here-whoohoo! What's your favorite sight, sound, AND smell associated with summer?
My favorite sight of summer would be red, ripe tomatoes on the vine; sound would be kids laughing while splashing in the pool; smell would be meat (chicken or pork particularly) cooking on the grill.
2. Fireflies or lightning bugs...what are they called in your neck of the woods?
Lightning bugs.  I remember staying outside until dusk and collecting lightning bugs, putting them in an old glass jar (with holes poked in the lid), and keeping the jar in my bedroom. 

3. What is something from the past week that reminded you of your childhood?
I have to be honest and admit that there wasn’t much of anything this week that reminded me of my childhood.   
4. Define 'the good life'.
My life … although I suppose that it could be just a wee bit better if we were living on the beach, with DD & her family no more than a couple of blocks away.   
5. Tell us what we'd see if you took a snapshot of your desk/work space?
Since I’m only back at work temporarily, my work space (cubicle) is sparse … a computer in the center, a phone and an inbox to the left, an adding machine to the right.  At home, I don’t have a desk … I have a laptop, and it’s usually on the kitchen island.
6. Peaches or watermelon...yes, you have to choose.
I LOVE both, but I guess I’d choose watermelon, the quintessential summer fruit IMHO. 

7. Ever been skinny dippin'? Is that too much for the Wednesday Hodgepodge? Rest assured we won't need details...unless of course you feel you must but remember, this is a family friendly blog so keep it G rated.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
Two MV 22 Osprey flew over our house late yesterday afternoon.  I heard what sounded like a HUGE helicopter … it got my curiosity up, so I went out the door to take a look.  Turns out, it was no helicopter … but it wasn’t a plane either … I’d never seen anything like it before!  When DH turned on the ballgame, we learned that there was a flyover by two MV 22 Osprey at Busch Stadium prior to the start of the ball game to commemorate Marine Week in St. Louis … and these were the planes that flew over our house … evidently they were making their way to St. Louis for the pregame flyover, prior to performing the flyover at the ballpark.  It was certainly a spectacular sight to see them fly over our house!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters


Today I will get out and mow our yard. I actually enjoy mowing … and it’s exercise … although not as much as it used to be now that DH bought a personal-pace lawn mower … still walking all over the yard with the mower, including up the slopes, is exercise, right?  Right! It’s going to be hot today, so I’ll get out early before it gets unbearable. 


I brushed our dogs last night and got enough hair to make another couple of dogs. Ha!  I should have taken a picture of all the hair out in the back yard.


Something’s been digging 2-3” little “holes” in the mulch in the landscaping in front. No other damage from what I can see … just displaced mulch … it’s not even always down to the weed paper, even, which is really strange. There must be 15-20 little “holes”. Last week, I went around the rearranged the mulch to fill back in the “holes” … and the next day they were back.  I left them undisturbed for 4-5 days now … I wonder if I can go fill them back in without having to do it again tomorrow? I wonder what’s doing it? 


Did I mention that I went back to sneak up on mama duck to ensure that she’s still on her nest?  She is … I was worried that our visit last week might have startled her so much that she wouldn’t return to her nest.  Whew!  I will check in periodically (from a good distance away) … I’d like to see the babies when they hatch.  I googled to see how long it takes for mama ducks to hatch their eggs … 28 day.  That information doesn’t really help me because we don’t know how long mama duck was on her nest before we discovered it … her nest is really hidden well. 


We had a wonderful Father’s Day.  We went to DD’s after church … DSIL’s dad prepared a feast of ribs, fried chicken, all the fixin’s, chocolate dream cake, and cheesecake “cupcakes”.  Yummy.  After the two littles took their naps, we went outside to watch the Ts play on their slip n slide.  We wrapped up our evening with a visit to Tropical Sno.  Mmmm mmmm mmmmmm!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday’s Fave Five

Susanne over at Living to Tell the Story hosts a weekly look back at the blessings of the previous week.  I like the idea of being intentional … I’ve reached an age a time in my life where I am determined to live more intentionally … including acknowledging how much I’ve been blessed, so I'm joining this week’s Friday Fave Five.


1. Time with the Ts … if you’ve read my blog (or even just my profile), you know that I’m madly in love with my Ts.  This week, we got to have them here for an overnighter.  When I got ready to leave after dropping them off yesterday morning, T#3 told me that he didn’t want me to leave, that he wanted to “keep me”.  Oh. My. Goodness … my heart just melted at that.  Red heart


2. Time with DD … after I dropped off the Ts yesterday morning, DD mentioned that she and the 2 older Ts were going to work on a project in the yard as their Father’s Day gift to DSIL … and since I love working in the yard and getting a bonus of time with DD, I volunteered to help. 


3. More gorgeous weather … the rain in the forecast has been moved back about 24 hours, so it looks like we’re in store for another nice day here.


4. Resolution of health insurance quandary … 4 days before the end of the open enrollment period, a Springfield judge declared that the State of Illinois couldn’t offer certain types of health insurance plans, including the one that we’ve had for the last ten years.  The remaining options for us were either too expensive or didn’t include the doctors we currently see.  Thankfully the State was able to enter into 90-day contracts with the companies offering the existing companies so our health coverage … hopefully something can be worked out so that the State can continue to offer those plans for the rest of the upcoming fiscal year. 


5. Duck nest … when DH was mowing Wednesday, he discovered a duck nest a few feet from our lot, in the empty lot behind us.  I wish I could share a photo, but I didn’t think to take my camera with me when I took T#2 and T#3 out to see the nest … and since we kept our distance and since the nest is almost hidden in some taller grass, I don’t know how good the photos would have turned out.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thankful Thursday

It’s Thursday again, and as you know, I like to take some time to be intentionally thankful … to help develop/maintain an attitude of gratitude.

I’m thankful for:
Being able to help out DD by watching the Ts so she could get some painting done at their new house.  We had a long full day here … but we had a good time.  We even had a sleepover … trying to get all 4 to bed at the same time (especially when T#4 should have gone to bed a half hour earlier) can be crazy, but there’s just something wonderful about tucking them in with a story and a prayer.  This morning DH went on a donut run (we like to treat them with donuts when they spend the night here … our little “tradition”).     

Lovely weather.  The highs have been in the mid to upper 80’s and the lows have been in the lower 60s, with the sun shining.  Of course, we have rain in the forecast for the next couple of days, but I’m enjoying this gorgeous weather while it lasts.  I think that a bike ride just might be on the agenda for later today.

Good books.  I’m in the middle of reading another Dorothea Benton Frank’s Sullivan Island (a story set in the Low Country of South Carolina, my favorite part of the country!).  I’ve got a stack of 4 books waiting to be read when I’m done with this book, and a list of books that I want to check out of the library when I’m done with those. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Whew!  I was worried that Joyce was going to be too busy to have time to post this week’s questions, but once again, she comes through!  Yay for Joyce!  If you want to play along (please do!), then click on the link above. 
1. What is one thing on your bucket list? If you don't have a bucket list let's pretend you do.
I don’t have a bucket list, but I do have a list of places I’d like to visit some time: baseball hall of fame, Gettysburg, Boston, Maine, Outer Banks (we’re going this fall).  I’d also like to take the Rocky Mountaineer through the Canadian Rockies and then the Denali Star train in Alaska.

2. What makes a good dad?
Love … because love covers over a multitude of sins - 1st Peter 4:8

3. Are you afraid of insects? Which ones?
I don’t know that I’m afraid of insects, but I definitely do not like them … and they definitely do NOT belong in the house!  But if there were any insects of which I would be afraid, it would be bees and wasps, since I’ve developed an allergic reaction to over the years (not a life-threatening reaction … although each time I got stung, the reaction was more severe … thankfully I haven’t been stung in 30+ years).

4. We're barbecuing...what's on the grill at your house?
Pork steaks are the “go-to” meat for our grill (although we do enjoy brats, ribs and chicken on the grill).

5. Do you believe that playing is more important than winning?
Yes.  The goal is playing as well as you can, having a good time, learning a lesson or two, and being a good winner AND a good loser (note:  I’m definitely not talking about the “everyone’s a winner” philosophy).

6. Do you tan? Use self tanners? Visit tanning salons? See your dermatologist at least once a year?
I don’t deliberately tan (although I did lay out in the sun as a teen), but I do get one each summer from working out in the yard.  I have occasionally used Jergens Natural Glow when I want to add a little color to my legs.  I did visit a tanning salon the summer before DD got married so I’d have a nice tan for the wedding pictures.  And I have never seen a dermatologist (although my doctor does do a skin check during my “well-woman exam”) … but within the last couple of months, a couple of people I know have been diagnosed with melanoma, and I have to admit that I’ve been giving serious consideration to visiting a dermatologist for a more in-depth skin check (once our health insurance “crisis” is over, I’ll ask for a referral).

7. Five years ago I would never imagine that today I would_______________.
Be retired. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.
After working the last 5 (working) days straight, I have the next 6 (working) days off.  Those days are filling up fast with fun things to do … I can’t wait!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Meet Me on Monday



This week’s questions:

1.  What is your favorite yogurt flavor?

I like the Blue Bunny Key Lime Pie and Coconut Creme Pie flavors.  (Yes, I know that I’ve listed two flavors. Winking smile)  I like to crumble a graham cracker into a bowl, add the yogurt and a dollop of whipped cream on top … voila! instant pie!  Or close enough, especially when watching what I eat.

2.  Ankle or knee socks? and on the same theme, white socks or coloured??

Lower-cut ankle socks (had enough of the knee socks when I was growing up, thankyouverymuch) … and the color I choose matches the shoes I’m wearing … white socks with white sneakers, black socks with black shoes. 

3.  How is the weather right now?

Pretty close to perfect here in southwestern Illinois.  The high over the weekend was right around 80, with a nice breeze blowing in the open windows.  What a welcome relief from the 90+ temperatures we had last week!


4.  Are you a fast typer?

Yes, I think I am … and my co-workers’ (unsolicited) comments  would bear that out.

5.  Red or White Wine?

Neither … I cannot acquire a taste for wine.  My sister L is a wine aficionado, and when we were in Oregon, she ordered a glass of some especially good wine, offered me a sip, assuring me that I’d like it … nope.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Well, it WAS going to be Friday’s Fave Five

Susanne over at Living to Tell the Story hosts a weekly look back at the blessings of the previous week.  And I do like the idea of taking the time to intentionally look back to see how I was blessed … but I ran out of time to write my FFF post before heading to work … I fully intended to finish up in the evening (after all, it was still Friday, right?).  By the time I got done baking a pie for today’s subdivision block party after we got home from dinner out with friends (aka next door neighbors), I was exhausted and went straight to bed. 

It’s not Friday, so this isn’t technically Friday’s Fave Five.  But I’m still going to take some time to look back and share some of the ways I was blessed this past week.

1.  Air conditioning.  We’ve had a good week and a half of 90+ degree weather (with heat indices of 100+), so it was not the ideal time for our air conditioner to quit (seriously, is there ever a good time for it to quit?).  Thankfully our repair guy came bright and early and got it running again … for under $100! 

2.  Getting to help behind the scenes when the two older Ts had their lemonade stand.  I held down the fort so the two littler Ts could get their naps and baked cookies (for the lemonade stand) assembly-line style.  I’m just so proud of those two … they have such compassionate hearts. Red heart

3.  Watching the two littler Ts on Tuesday when DD and the two older Ts went to the water park.  I just love the toddler years … and always enjoy my time with those two little ones.  Red heart

4.  Kisses from T#4.  I was talking to DD on the phone on Wednesday.  She’s got a smart phone that displays a small photo of the person on the other end.  DD put the phone down to T#4 so she could “talk” to me.  Instead of talking, she leaned over and kissed my picture on DD’s phone … I could hear the “mwah” of her kiss.  I’m still riding the high from that!

5.  Dinner out with friends.  Our dining out budget is pretty small, so when we do go out to eat, we try to make it special by including/joining friends or family to make it even more enjoyable.

6.  Rain.  We got rain overnight.  While it wasn’t the long, gentle rains that would have been best for our lawn and garden, it was rain nonetheless (a little over an inch!) … and it ushered in some cooler temperatures.

Hope you all have an absolutely wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. ~ William Arthur Ward

It’s Thursday again, and while it’s much later than I usually post, it’s certainly not too late to take a few moments to be intentionally thankful.

I’m thankful for:
My hubby who usually fixes dinner on the day when I work so I can come home and have some “down time” … without worrying about trying to get dinner on the table.  Red heart

T#1 and T#2 who, with DD’s help, organized a lemonade stand Monday afternoon to benefit a local family who lost everything in a fire, including their precious 6 year old.  They were able to raise $250, in spite of the 100-degree weather and short notice.

Rain and cooler temperatures in the forecast for the next several days.  Ok, the chances for rain are fairly low (30%) and the rain will primarily be thunderstorms … but the cooler temperatures will definitely be a welcome relief after almost 2 weeks of temperatures of 90 or more (and heat indices of 100 or more).

The weekend … it’s been a busy week, and while the weekend looks to be pretty busy, too, it’s still the weekend, and I’m looking forward to it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wednesday Hodgepodge


Once again, Joyce has come up with some fun and interesting questions for this week’s Hodgepodge.  If you’d like to join in the fun (and you know you would), just click on the button above.


1. Do you and your family enjoy camping? What do you enjoy most/like the least when it comes to family camping? When was the last time you camped?

I don’t camp.  I don’t rough it.  I like to joke that roughing it, for me, is a hotel without room service (ok, maybe it’s not really a joke?).  Seriously though, sleeping out on the hard, lumpy ground with no air conditioning, with the possibility of critters joining us just does not appeal to me.


2. Did you attend a summer camp when you were a kid? Is that a happy or not so happy memory?

I attended a one-week camp in southern Illinois.  My only distinct memory of that camp was that I went swimming with my ring on (a birthstone ring, which I’d wanted for forever and was SO proud of) … and of course, the ring fell off while I was swimming.  Lost.  Forever.  Sad smile


3. Over the course of your life, what have you probably spent more time pondering than anything else?

My relationship with God.


4. Which of the seven natural wonders of the world would you most like to see? There are many lists of 'wonders' but this is the standard natural wonder list-Mount Everest, The Great Barrier Reef, The Grand Canyon, Victoria Falls, The Harbor of Rio de Janerio, Paricutan Volcano and The Northern Lights.

I’d love to see them all, but given my aversion to flying, I suppose that narrows it down to the Grand Canyon.


5. What was your first real job?

As in getting paid to do the job?  My first paid job was working as a car hop at the A & W Root Beer stand in my home town.  1968.  I made 60 cents/hour … and when payday came, I thought I was rich.  ha!  And no, thankfully, I wasn’t on roller skates.


6. Lemonade or Sweet tea...which do you prefer on a hot summer day?

Neither one.  I’m a Diet Coke kind of gal.  I’ve never been a big lemonade fan, and while I do like iced tea, I prefer mine plain … no sugar.


7. What is something that always brings a smile to your face?

Hearing one of the Ts say “I love you, Nana”.


8. Insert your own random thought here.

Why is it that the air conditioner decides to die in the middle of the hot weather?  We’ve had several days of 95+ degree weather/heat indices of 100+, and our air conditioner stopped cooling Monday night.  Thankfully, our air conditioner repair guy was able to get here before 9:00 Tueday morning … and we were “only” $95 poorer when he left 30 minutes later.  Although to be honest, I would have paid 3x that much just to be able to stay cool in this hot weather!  ha!