Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mugs of Tasty Delight

Another hot day. Perfect day for a frappe.

Or milkshake.

I found the vintage A&W mugs at a flea market last weekend. My parents used to take us to A&W restaurants when we were kids and lived in the South. I remember the servers bringing the food out to the car and hanging a tray on the side window. Now that was fast food.

We must have only done this in the summertime because I associate A&W mugs with summer. Or it could be because my dad used to make coffee frappes every summer.

At least once or twice.

He would serve them to us in the miniature A&W mugs that we brought home as souvenirs.

Good times.

~~~~~~~~~~

My {rather} pitiful attempt at coffee frappe haiku:

cold, frosted delight
summer balm for scorching days
mugs of melted drink




Friday, June 29, 2012

Hot, Hot, Hot. Not.


I dumped a bunch a photos from a small point and shoot I sometimes carry in my handbag. Photos from two years ago. 

Obviously I don't use that camera very much. So when J asked to take it hiking, I said,  You bet. Take lots of pics. And send them to me. That way I know you're alive.

Not that I'm obsessive about making sure my children young adults are alive, but I did help get them this far and would hate to see them muck that up by falling off a mountain. A very high mountain. Or get eaten by a bear. A very hungry bear.

So yes, J, you can take the camera. But first let me upload my old photos.

~~~~~~~~~~

Just what I needed to see today. 

Cold, snowy weather. Because it is NOT cold and snowy here.

It is hot, hot, hot.

And I am not, not, not complaining. Especially after that no-good, horrible, nasty, yucky take-the-power-away-from-us-for-eight-days snowstorm back in October.

Not that I'm holding a grudge or anything. 

It's just that I think this is a perfectly delightful way to see winter. 

In a picture.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Let's Get This Party Started

When I was planning K's graduation party, I was a wee bit worried about rain. We were inviting just a few people too many to be comfortable in the house should wet weather arrive.


I started investigating tent rentals. The investigation quickly went south. Do you know how much it cost to rent a tent that holds 40 people?


About the same amount it would take to buy a small island somewhere sunny and far away from graduation party stress.


It didn't take long for me to make the leap from renting to buying.


A-ha!


It was about the same amount of money to buy the tent as it was to rent the tent.


Sold. Literally.


We are now the proud owners of a fantastic two pointed big top tent. It has sides with pretty French windows and two zippered doorways to keep out the rain.


Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day, like after K's party.


Of course it didn't rain. A perfect sunny, slightly breezy day we had, with blue skies abounding.


Oh, thank you, God.
Because I'm a touch obsessive I wanted to make sure everyone was sitting in shade if we had a sunny day.


I borrowed three more tents.


The Man thought I was nuts. Until he saw them set up and how much shade they provided.


Then I was genius.


~~~~~~~~~~


I saw the idea for uber giant photos on Pinterest. They came out exactly right.


Giant K's.


You might think that would be pretty scary.


Naw, it was pretty sweet.


I love, love, love the photo of K with the arrow. You can't see it, but her name is spelled out under the arrow. We were driving down a back road one day, heading home from a photo session with a high school senior when I spotted this sign on the side of the road in an industrial area. I pulled the car over, made K get out and stand by the sign so I could shoot a bit.


I made her get behind the sign. And peek out from the side of the sign. She even posed like Vanna White turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune". A lot of fun we had that day.


And it turned out to be a perfect picture to greet her guests at the party.
M saw my pin for these giant origami stars.


They were used for party favors but she got the brilliant idea to use them as a garland.


Love it. Thanks, M. 


And she came over to help me make stars one night. She's a good friend.
M also gave me a tip about a local soda bottling company that makes all kinds of flavors. You get to mix and match whatever flavors you want.

There's nothing like drinking soda right from the bottle. Just ask E. 

She was loving that orange soda.
Another friend, T, came over the day before the party and helped me prep about a billion vegetables, and cheese slices, and dips, and salad fixings.

Honest to Pete, I think she chopped the whole day long. Except for when we went out for breakfast.

And she saved the day by bringing over a beverage dispenser. I bought two for the party and they both leaked.

Both of them. 

In the same spot.

Can you say defective design?

Not what you want to find out the morning of the party.

~~~~~~~~~~

The straws had tiny flags on them that said "Congrats!"

Pinterest. Again.
M talking to our wonderful neighbors.


We have the best neighbors. Ever. They helped carry food, and cleaned up, and offered their driveway and yard for parking.


Love them.
E was looking up at a long line of photos that my son and his girlfriend picked out. Photos of K from way back when.

It's hard to believe she was ever E's size. It seems so long ago. 

And it seems like yesterday.
Party favors. 


And a prize.
Nana and K.


Two generations stand between them. 


I love that K has such good memories with Nana. Nana used to come and spend a week with me when J and K were babies. We almost set the house on fire one time.


But that's a story for another time.
One of the most precious photos of the day.

K's friend, T. 

They became friends when they were four years old. Way back in preschool.

A lot of time has passed since then. And a move. Yet, they've remained friends. You don't give up those kinds of friends. 

The forever kind. 
Almost all the people I loved were gathered in one place, with one purpose, for one special moment in time that day.


My heart was so full of love, it was bursting.
Pretty roses for a pretty girl.


Happy graduation party day, K.
P's brother, A, showing his tennis form while playing badminton.

If you put the net up, they will come.
More party favors.


We had some guests who traveled a great distance for this party. I wanted to send them home with some yummy snacks for the ride.


~~~~~~~~~~


My mother worked in the high school cafeteria when Other Sissy and I were in high school. Every day she would buy us a package of these cookies for our after school snack.


When I saw them, I knew I had to get them. I might have been the only one that day to know what they meant, but mean something they did.


Mom was on my mind throughout the day, as I watched K visit with people and act like the gracious young lady she is becoming. I wondered if my mom ever looked at me like that.


I hope so.
I found the big purple ball deflated and completely flat at the end of the day.

No one knew what happened to it.

I do.
Photographer extraordinaire.

P took a lot of these pictures for me. J took a few and my friend, D, grabbed my camera and shot some as well. I knew I wasn't going to have time to shoot that day so I had to rely on other people to do it for me.

And boy, did they do a great job. I am just. so. pleased. with the photos that came out of the day.

Thank you, P.

Thank you, J.

And thank you, D. As my dad kept saying to me, "You really have some terrific friends."

Indeed I do.

One of my favorites.

Nana holding hands with her "boys" -  my father and my uncle.

Isn't she too cute?

~~~~~~~~~~

The truth is I couldn't have done this party without lots and lots of help. Friends and sissies who came over and prepared food, and brought tables and chairs and tablecloths and water pitchers and beverage dispensers and coffee makers. They brought plates and desserts and helped set up tents.

They carried furniture out of the house and carried it back in. They climbed up ladders to hang tissue flowers, they packaged up the food and did dishes and they took pictures. They made utensil packets and tiny flags for straws. They decorated at the beginning of the day and they dismantled at the end of the day.

They kept me sane.

And they smiled throughout the whole thing.

Thank you isn't enough. But I'll say it anyway.

Thank you, dear ones. I love you all.
Father and daughter.

Quiet moment, alone in the grass at the end of the day.

At the end of the party.

Sigh.

~~~~~~~~~~

Went over to Sissy's tonight to see the girls celebrate their birthday with their friends.

A pretty, colorful, festive luau party.
My BIL playing ukelele in a grass skirt and with a flower lei around his neck.

What a good dad he is.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Going, Going, Gone



Hello.

Nice to see you again, blog.

Life has been crazy busy around here the past couple of weeks. But you probably noticed that, didn't you?

You're a smart blog.

~~~~~~~~~~

K graduated from high school.

We had a VERY BIG PARTY for her. 

That is for another day.

We had to get to the high school early, early, early to get the seat I wanted for photo opportunities.

I didn't tell the Man how early. He would have balked.

Instead I just said, "Tra-la-la! We have to be at the high school for 4:30 pm!"

And it worked. We all got dressed and piled in the cars and got to the high school for 4:30 pm.

We were the second ones in line.

The Man looked at me and said, "Where are all the other people?"

I looked up at the sunny, bright blue skies. I looked down at the lush, green grass. I looked over at the {lonely} empty chairs waiting for people to fill them. I didn't look at the Man.

The Man kept looking at me, now with a bit of a stink eye and said more firmly, "WHAT TIME DOES THIS START?"

Gulp.

"Six o'clock." I muttered. And took a step away.

"SIX O'CLOCK?" the Man might have yelled. "I'm going home."

But he didn't. I pleaded, and cajoled, and gave him a stink eye, and he stayed.

Just so I could get the seat I wanted for pictures. He's a good Man.
K and her friend H were whispering in the first photo and K's friends L and E were whispering in the second photo.

I wonder what they were saying.

~~~~~~~~~~

All those sunglasses made me think of the song, "The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades!"
Instead of tossing their caps, they sprayed silly string.

It looked like a war zone.
She really isn't as surprised as she looks. We were fairly confident they were going to graduate her.


I made her pose for this shot. 
K and her dad. 


The Man loves her to pieces.
K and her cousin, MR.

MR and Other Sissy and my brother in law came for the graduation. It was so good to have them there. They live a bit far away and made a great effort to come for the ceremony.

I am so thankful for my family. I love them so.
E practicing for her graduation.


In about nine years.
Remnants of the silly string moment.

I can't even imagine how that got cleaned up.

Yuck. But a very colorful, pretty yuck.
K walking away.


Something tells me I better get used to that sight.


Sniffle. 





Monday, June 11, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy

Not much blogging going on around here.


Prepping for graduation and the big party this coming weekend. All of which leaves me with no.extra.time.


~~~~~~~~~~


The Man and I had to take a rather long drive to pick up a vehicle and we decided to stop in a little town with a bridge of flowers - a walking bridge. So we walked over it.


So pretty. Many flowers were in full bloom and it was a gorgeously sunny afternoon. Perfect day for a walk over a bridge of flowers.
We didn't have oodles of time. We had to go watch my nieces in their piano recital. And then K and I had a graduation party to attend. All this was happening after the Man and I drove for most of the afternoon.


Whew. I'm tired just writing all that.
This little interlude walking across such a quiet, peaceful spot was just right.


As an aside, does anyone know the name of this large purple ball shaped flower? I love it, but have no idea what it is.
My view out the back window of the car.


We stopped at a garden center and picked out some plants for the gardens.


Especially the south garden.


That's what Mom calls it.


And it needs some help. The Man has been in this garden ripping out plants he shouldn't be. And leaving ones in that I don't like. Like pachysandra. Blech.
I love splops of color in monochrome settings.
K and P and I had a pompon making session, trying to get party decorations finished.


Let's just say these were much harder to make than Martha Stewart let on.


We had to make up our own way of plumping them. For a while, they were looking like flattened yo-yos.


In other words, they didn't look like round pompons. Aaargh, that Martha. She always makes things look so simple.
Lots of color.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Standing Firm

Setting: high school auditorium, during Academic Awards night


Time: early evening, when people just want to be in their comfortable homes, nestled in their comfortable chairs, watching an old movie
~~~~~~~~~~


I watched a man struggle to his feet tonight to sing the national anthem.


He was using a walker and had gotten settled in his seat when the principal asked us to stand for the singing of the national anthem. He could have remained seated. Others in the audience that were physically challenged stayed in their seat. 


But this gentleman wrestled with his walker, trying to get it opened up quickly so he could stand with the rest of us.


After getting the walker set up, he slowly got to his feet, none too steadily, and rocked back and forth a bit catching his balance. Somehow, he remained standing. And he sang. Looking at the American flag the entire time.


~~~~~~~~~~


God, thank you for two good legs to stand on.


And thank You for men like this gentleman, who haven't forgotten what our servicemen and women are fighting for around the world and for what that national anthem means to them.













Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Love My Library

Sissy and I stopped at a tag sale that a local historical society was running. We found it two years ago and came home with lots of treasures during that visit so I had high hopes this time around.


I didn't find much this year. A few small bud vases, a miniature milk bottle, an old Listerine vial, an old wooden badminton racket.


And an old library card catalog drawer.


Jackpot.


I have been waiting patiently for one of these to come around for a long time. Especially since I work in a library. These are near and dear to my heart. I don't particularly like typing catalog cards but I sure do like the wooden drawers they live in.


I have no idea what I'm going to do with it. Once upon a time, I thought I would use one as a recipe card holder but I found a different box for that purpose.


When I opened it up, I found lots of divider cards in it.


Alphabetical cards.


Monthly cards.


Daily cards.


Any suggestions?
I'm reading a wonderful book right now, Expressive Photography : the Shutter Sisters Guide to Shooting from the Heart


So many little pieces of treasure in this book.


"What we are really looking for when we take portraits is a connection. We are looking for an expression, a mood, a certain something that reveals the spirit of the person we are photographing."

"Something in that scene calls out to a special place in your heart, and you know that you have to capture this image for posterity. You may not fully understand why at the moment, but you'll be thankful you listened to our intuition and clicked the shutter." 

"We insist that everyone crowd in, put their faces together and smile for the camera, so we will have some record that we were all there in the same moment at the same time....These portraits of togetherness nourish our souls long after the moment fades. They are our record of how we loved, keeping us together in spirit - even as life sometimes demands that we be apart."


Lots of eye candy in this book to look at. So many talented photographers submitted their work and it is sheer joy to look at all the photos. Treat yourself and borrow it from your local library.


Shameless plug for my colleagues across the world.
My favorite bookmark.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Turning Twenty One

Celebrated J's birthday this past week.

Twenty-one.

Oy vey. I'm not old enough to have a twenty-one year old.

~~~~~~~~~~

The Man and I each wrote a letter to J, telling him how much we love him and how proud we are of him. We spoke to him of what it means to be a man. But that we would always be behind him, supporting and loving him every step of the way. And leaving him to make his own decisions, unless he asked us for input.

Sounds so easy on paper.

We shall see.
He was gracious enough to pose for me for a few minutes. And I mean a few. Like three.

Only because I reminded him that we were taking him out to dinner wherever he wanted and he darn.well.better pose for me if he knew what was good for him. 

He doesn't take me seriously.

I don't know what happened. I used to be able to communicate my displeasure with a "look". But that doesn't work anymore. Now they give me a "look". Harrumph.

~~~~~~~~~~

So much for letting him make his own decisions. I decided he needed some input from me if I was going to get a few shots of him.
He wanted to do hibachi since P had never done that before. We went to one of our favorite places and he got to order his first beer.

He couldn't get that license out fast enough when the waitress asked him for i.d.

I had to hide my smile behind my camera.
Just a few shots from the back porch.


I found a tall wire basket a few months ago and knew right away what I wanted to do with it. The top rung of the basket is painted the same red as the seam of a baseball.


So what was going in the basket? Baseballs, of course! And since we had a few gloves lying around and an old wooden Louisville Slugger bat, they had to go in the basket too.


Are you ready for some baseball?


~~~~~~~~~~


I stepped out on the back porch one day and found a vase filled with wild roses on one of the little tables.


I questioned everyone. Kind of like Nancy Drew without a crime.


I must be good at this because I got a confession right away. It was the Man.


Of course I only got the confession because I gave J the credit, thinking he had done it for P that day. As soon as the Man heard me complimenting questioning J, he jumped right in and confessed.


A-ha! Nancy Drew wins again.
Fresh strawberries from the garden.

Fresh no-pesticides, no-fertilizers, 100% organic strawberries.

They're kind of small.

But they're clean.
Love this picture. I might have to frame it for the kitchen.