Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sissies in the Sun

Sissy love.

At their age, it's nothing but fun and fighting. Agreeing and disagreeing. Dissing each other and sticking up for each other. Wearing each other's clothes and not sharing sometimes.

It's going to get more complicated as they grow up. Life will get between them. 

But for now, it's pretty sweet.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Nana Banana

Nan at {almost} ninety-nine.

Still getting her hair done. Still going out to lunch. Still shopping with us girls.

She is simply amazing.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Upside Down

This clothespin gave me such a hard time.

I put it on the clothesline and it kept flipping upside down. I must have tried about twenty times to get the thing to stand up and sit straight, to no avail.

It just kept flipping upside down.



I started thinking about people. And how sometimes I want them to do something they just can't do. It's not their nature. Or within their ability. 

Just like this clothespin. 

I think my life will be much simpler, and less painful, if I just let them flip upside down.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Celebration for a Fine Young Man

A day full of love and laughter.

The Man, K, and I got to celebrate with some friends today as their son N heads off to college soon. Friends and family gathered to share in this celebration - good food (pulled pork! and I don't even like pulled pork!), good drink (especially the creamy pina coladas!) and good conversation. I spent most of the afternoon talking to this young man's momma and grandmomma.

They are such wonderful friends and we always have a good time when we get together. As I wrote to N in his graduation card, it has been our pleasure to watch him and his brother grow from the cute little guys we knew many years ago to the fine young men they are today. Honest, dependable, fun-loving, uber-talented in everything they do, and the best manners around - they are the whole package, these boys.

Good job, momma and poppa.  And best wishes, N. Can't wait to see what God has in store for you!


Photo above was one from his senior photo shoot. Doesn't he look like a GQ model?

One of my faves from the whole season last year.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Meatballs and Laughs

My dear friend M and I had dinner together tonight. It's been a long time since our last girls night out but it was worth the wait.

We ate some delicious Italian food in a neighboring town, tried some fancy-schmancy cocktails, and talked and laughed for four hours. It's nice to have someone to commiserate with on this journey through middle-age. Parents, kids, jobs, husbands - we are facing the same changes and trying to find the humor in all of it.

M is one of my nearest and dearest and I can't imagine life without her.


She suggested an absolutely delightful new dish to try. We ordered a wedge salad with blue cheese dressing and a side of meatballs with sauce and cheese.

We cut up the salad into bite size pieces, put a little dressing on it,  and then sliced a meatball on top of the salad. We spooned sauce and cheese over all of it and dug in. 


*Found this photo on my iPhone - clearing off the old ones, making way for the new.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Pretty in Pink

Some shots from a shoot last week.

K is a great help. She keeps an eye on hair, posing, smiles, and all the other tedious little things that can ruin a good picture.

In the photo above, K was showing M how to pose her legs to get the shot we were looking for. And it came out great. M is a natural in front of the camera.

All the teens in this generation are good in front of the camera. Probably because they spend so much time taking selfies.

We were shooting against those gorgeous bricks and M was crossing the road to get there. 

Love the tone of these photos. The pink is sweet and feminine and I just love how it wrestles with the masculinity of the cowboy boots.


Reading a good book right now - "Midnight in Siberia" by David Greene. He's an American journalist for NPR and this book documents his travel across Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway. He writes about the Russian people he meets along the way, discussing the things that shape them and their lives. Very interesting.

Plant Whisperer

J showing my dad the garden he planted this year. He's become quite the plant whisperer. His kale is picture perfect and he's been harvesting it every morning for smoothies. I love, love, love that he's such a health nut.

The Man grows traditional produce and J grows the quirkier stuff. K and I reap the benefits of both gardeners. And do none of the work.

I think J should have been a teacher. He's always using his hands to demonstrate something.

His gorgeous beet. Yum.


While J was walking the garden with his grandpa, the girls were busy eating blackberries. My nieces and K had wandered over to the back of the barn and found the blackberry bushes and started nibbling. We sent one of the twins behind the bushes to get some rather large bunches of berries. Of course she immediately got grabbed by all the briars and couldn't get out. 

Before her mother figured out what we had done, I stuck my arm through all the prickly branches to extricate my niece from the briars hanging on to her. I had to hold them back so she could escape without bloodshed. 

I'll demonstrate the outcome in two equations:

If E=1 and briars=0 and Briars=1 and Auntie=0, then Ouch for Auntie.

And blackberry stains on E. 


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Eye Spy

My niece D.

Her and her twin sissy are growing up too fast.
No idea what she's looking at. Looks shocking though.


I had a hair appointment today. Time to wash those grays right outta my hair. 

Who remembers that song from the commercial? Eeks, I think I'm dating myself.

My friend T put the color on my hair and decided to wax all my various facial areas while the color was percolating. She prepped the waxing chair carefully so I wouldn't get color on it and I laid back, readying myself for the torture about to start. T turned around, reaching for something, and looked back with a puzzled expression.

She started walking around, muttering to herself, looking for something. 

I heard her say a blurb about getting her husband's reading glasses from her handbag and off she went. She came back with the masculine glasses on (by the way, it's always a good thing to make sure the person applying HOT WAX to your face can see properly), went over to the counter, and started to laugh. 

Her own glasses were on the counter right where the melting wax was located. Right where she had just been looking. "Bwah-ha! I needed glasses to find my own glasses!"

We had a good laugh about the perils of aging. Then she got to work torturing me all for the sake of beauty.

Bwah-ha, indeed.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

On Being Right

This bloom looks like fireworks to me - exploding into red trails of pretty color. It's a little bit on the spent side of the bloom, but still looks gorgeous.

Mid-August is not the best time for our yard. Patches of brown dot the landscape where the sun has scorched the grass. Most of the flowers have gone by - just a few bits of color remain, surrounded by a sea of green.

And the bees. They are all over when we're trying to eat outside, buzzing around and landing on the food. 

More heat. Glistening {not sweating, never sweating} all over.

Yup, we're  in the throes of August.
Is there anything better than corn on the cob, dripping in butter, with salt all over?

I think not.


A young man approached the desk a few mornings ago. Handing me his library card, he said "Can I ask you a question? My wife and I are having an argument."

As an aside, he didn't look old enough to be out of high school, never mind have a wife.

"Sure," I said and smiled at him. I wasn't sure I could settle their disagreement but I'll give any question a go.

"If I drop a movie into the box outside on the day it's due, it's not late, right?" he asked, looking at me rather hopefully.

"Well, if you drop it in AFTER we close, then yes, it's late. But if you get it in BEFORE we close, it's on time," I answered, not knowing which way he was going to go. Although watching his face fall, I could make an educated guess.

"Oh, man! I can't believe she was right!" he moaned. "She was right."

I looked at him and smiled, "You know that's going to be a pattern in your life, right?"

Laughing, he handed me the money he owed for the fine. 

Another satisfied customer.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Tiny Pieces of Sunshine

Hot summer day. 

These Black Eyed Susans looked like tiny little suns, throwing off rays of bright sunshine.
I want to savor these scorching summer days and hold them close when the long, dark winter sets in and the snow is swirling about, covering the flower beds in a thick, white blanket.

When that happens, I'll come back here and visit these tiny, bright little pieces of sunshine.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

{Shooting} Stars

My rather unsuccessful attempt at {shooting} some shooting stars. 

There were meteor showers forecast for several nights last week, starting after midnight. 

Oy. That's when I start to turn into a pumpkin. I was resigned to missing out on them, again. I've tried to see them before but always forgot, or fell asleep, or just got lazy and didn't want to get out of bed that late at night.

But I happened to be awake at 12:05AM one night and remembered the meteor showers so I jumped out of bed before I could think twice and ran outside. Within five minutes I had seen four shooting stars. I couldn't keep it to myself.

I ran back inside and went upstairs to get K. The Man and J were sound asleep and I know how much they hate being woken up so I didn't check with them at all. But K was a trooper and came outside with me.

We saw several more over the course of the next ten minutes or so and I thought I'd try to capture some on {film}. No such luck.

But K and I had fun sitting out in the dark, looking up at the sky, and trying to see the same shooting stars. One of us would spot one but the other would miss it and vice versa. We both saw a couple large ones skate across the atmosphere and ooh'd and aah'd appropriately.

Then we started cracking jokes about all the alien attack movies we've watched and how a meteor shower would be the perfect opportunity for aliens to attack the Earth. They could zip in to the atmosphere and no one would be the wiser because the Earthlings would assume they were meteors.

Sounds fanciful and fun, doesn't it?

No. It actually started to terrify us. We managed to scare ourselves silly. I packed up the camera, lifted my nightgown and skedaddled inside so I wouldn't be left behind when the aliens showed up. K was already inside and upstairs before the back door closed behind me. I locked up, making sure to shut all the windows, and quickly got into bed.

The shooting star adventure was over and all was safe in Gotham City.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Senior Silhouette

One of my favorites from a photo shoot I did tonight. 

M was so much fun to shoot with and was such a good sport the whole evening. We put on some miles searching for good back drops for her sweet personality. She was a great sport, even when I had her jumping up and down in the middle of the street, or sitting in the road with her cowboy boots beside her, or climbing up on a stool so I could get a fantastic silhouette of a girl and her boots.

We laughed. We ran back and forth into the road and off. Good thing K was with me to keep an eye on traffic. 

We climbed old rickety metal fire stairs. We found some cool graffiti near a pretty sketchy abandoned building.

We found lots of good back drops and at the end of the evening, we were all smiles. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

An Honest Mistake

We had company for dinner this weekend and I was trying out a new recipe I found on Pinterest. A most delicious new recipe - It's Not Summer Yet Greek Pasta Salad.

The recipe calls for fresh basil and we have some growing in the garden. It's nice to go out in the backyard and harvest what you need. I love the whole farm to table movement even if I don't have a farm and I am only harvesting vegetables. So I guess I'm not really doing farm to table, just garden to table.

I went out to the garden to get some basil and found it growing along the edge of the garden where we always plant it. I started picking leaves and had a good handful when I heard someone coming up behind me.

"What are you doing?" asked the Man. "You're not allowed out here unsupervised." And yes, he actually said that to me.

"I'm picking basil leaves for the orzo salad," I replied, thinking it was fairly obvious what I was doing.

"No, you're not. You're plucking leaves off J's pepper plant," he retorted, smirking at me. "Don't  touch any more plants. They'll die. I'll get the basil leaves for you."

I looked at the leaves in my hand. What? Pepper leaves?

Tossing the leaves into the grass, I followed the Man over to the basil plants, which were in an entirely new location than previous years. How was I supposed to know?

FYI, in the photos above, the pepper plant is on the left and the basil plant is on the right. They look the same, don't they?


This story reminds me of an issue involving gas cans from a long time ago. 

But that's for another day.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Some more pics from my MIL's big birthday bash.

It was all about the hugging. And hugging is so very good for you.

It lowers blood pressure. Something to do with Pacinian corpuscles and the vagus nerve. Two things that I have absolutely no knowledge of so I'll give you a link to read about them. Bottom line? Hug someone and your health can improve.

It relieves stress.

It helps your heart rate.

Judging by all the hugging in this family, I'd say we're a pretty healthy bunch.
This guy, the Man's younger brother, came from way, way far away to see Mom. He brought his two lovely daughters with him. We don't get to see them enough. We wanted to hug them all day long.

Looking at all the photos as I sit here and edit them, I'm overwhelmed by all the love I feel in these pictures.

And the smiles. Miles and miles of smiles. All day long. On every face.

Amazing amount of love in this family.
He wouldn't let go of those two balloons - not even when his {great} auntie was pushing him in the swing.

Made it oh-so-easy to find him throughout the day. We looked for the balloons bobbing through the crowd.
Surprise photo of the lot so far. I'm loving this photo.

Three sisters doing their thing in the kitchen. All in pretty dresses and all in colors that complement each other.

Such a lovely moment in time.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Emerald Isle, end of day four

After all that hiking through field after field, and meadow after meadow, we finally made it to Newtown Castle in Ballyvaughan.

Amazing stonework. 

But oh-so-many stairs. I can't imagine being a servant and having to run up and down those narrow circular stairs all day. 

I think I may know why their life spans were much shorter than ours. They tuckered themselves out.
T climbing up and up and up.

I also can't imagine how they kept anything clean in the 16th century, when this castle was built. Lots of green moss or mould growing on these walls since it was so damp and cool.

Germophobes beware. There's not enough Clorox wipes to clean these walls.
A lone light source in one of the rooms.

I'm very glad to live in days of electricity and indoor plumbing.


On our hike back to the car, we were walking along a narrow country road looking for the entrance to the meadow with the electric fence. We came upon a farmhouse with a fresh coat of white paint. There were lovely flowers growing in the yard along a gorgeously old and shabby iron fence, and a sleeping mutt by the edge of the road.

A wonderfully peaceful scene.

The dog raised its head as we approached and it watched us through sleepy eyes. The Man loves dogs so he went over to it, talking softly as he approached.

The Man slowly held his hand out, giving the dog a chance to smell him before patting the dog. The dog leaned his head forward, as if to smell the Man's hand, and SNAP!

He bared his teeth, snapped his jaw, hair raised on its back, and growled as fierce as any dog I've ever seen.

The Man jumped back, preserving his hand from getting bitten.

The rest of us jumped back, thinking we were next on the dog's list of things to eat for lunch.

We wasted no time in high tailing it out of there, keeping a good stink eye on that deceiving mutt.

So much for the peaceful scene.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

*must see TV

I'm obsessed with Doc Martin.

I can't stop watching this show. I've even got the Man watching it. Fabulous acting, smart and witty writing, great story lines, gorgeous scenery. It's the complete package.

A big-city surgeon develops an aversion to blood, can't practice as a surgeon anymore, and moves to a small village to become the GP.

Hilarity ensues.


I was previously obsessed with Call the Midwife. For all the same reasons - fabulous acting, smart and witty writing, great story lines. Although since it's set in the east end of London the scenery is not quite as gorgeous.

Set in a convent, lay midwives work with the nuns to manage childbirth in this poor and destitute part of the city. Getting themselves caught up in all kinds of local drama, the midwives are absolute heroines.

I love the music, too. Fifties music. Crooners. Dancing music. Makes you want to put on a fancy dress and heels, some pearls and perfume, and head out to a dance hall.


The BBC is putting out some terrific television. Even if they keep recycling the same six actors and actresses.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Bubble Obsession

I'm obsessed with my bubble glasses.

They're plastic.

They're big.

They make pretty pictures.



Hair Color, or a mad scientist at work in a small town

Spent today at the beauty parlor with Nan. We take her every three weeks for any combination of color, cut, or set depending on the week. My friend T is very patient with her and chats her up for the two or three hours she's in the chair.

I was watching T mix color today, pulling this bottle and that bottle - looking like a mad scientist the entire time. She's got some mad skills, that one, knowing how much of which color to blend to get just the right shade.

And she better get the right shade or Nan will let her know about it. If there's one thing I've learned about the elderly - they have no filter. They say what they want.


Conversation one:

"I like you better in curls," Nana said quietly, looking at my straightened hair. "You always had such nice curls. They looked good."

"I know, Nan, but my curls don't want to curl anymore. They want to be straight so I'm straightening them for a bit," I explained gently.

"But I liked your curls. You were pretty. The straight hair I don't like - it's not pretty," she said firmly. A little too firmly if you ask me.

"Well, I can't have curls if the hair won't curl, Nan," I said. And smiled at her stubbornness. I think if she could have ordered my hair to curl, she would have.


A short while later.

Conversation two:

"I like your curls," Nan said, looking at me with a sad, droopy face. "I don't know you anymore."

I laughed. "I'm still me, Nan."

"But I don't know you. I look at you and I say, 'Who is that woman?' when you come to the door," she insisted. "I don't know you in this hair."

All I can do is laugh.

The drama.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Support the Little Guys

Found a great diner during our travels last weekend. No more fast food stops for us. We look for local mom-and-pop places to eat when traveling.

Have to support the little guys.



Monday, August 3, 2015

A Grand Celebration, part one

Mom is turning ninety.

Family came from near and far to gather for the grand celebration. And a grand celebration it was. This weekend was all about the love. 

Grandparents, parents, grandchildren, siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews, sons and daughters, aunts and uncles, great grandchildren. All gathered together to pay honor to a simply wonderful woman.
On the trip out west, I was thinking about all the photos I wanted to take. I decided I was going to get a photo of every single person with Mom. By themselves, no one else. Just them and Mom.

My sissy-in-law, B, was a great help getting everyone to come get their picture taken. When she snagged J to come over, he said, "Okay, where do you want me? Do I sit on Grandma's lap?"

His grandmother burst into laughter. She loves J and enjoys his sense of humor so much. I've seen this face many times over the years as she laughed at something or other he would say. Especially when it came to the wooden snake.


A few years ago Grandma got an articulated wooden snake from somewhere. J found it one afternoon. He hid the snake so she would find it at some unsuspecting time. She eventually found it and let out a blood curdling yell when she did. Once she saw that it was not real, she and J had a good laugh over it and the game commenced. 

They take turns hiding it on one another. 

Periodically, we hear a random scream and know that one of them has found the snake. They love this game. It never gets old.

Except one of them has hidden the snake so well that it hasn't turned up in several months. I'm just waiting for a scream.
Auntie J and this little bit had so. much. fun.

Little bit was thrown up into the air over and over and over. Giggles and chortles the entire time. Little bit is absolutely precious and I think I took 212,453 photos of her.

Seriously cute.
I asked Mom and sissy in law B to hold hands. 

Just because.

There's something about holding hands that brings out the love.
The whole bunch of us.

Love these people. Mean it.