Official Start to Summer

Today I got to reenact one of my favorite memories from my childhood–the annual trek to the local berry farm and strawberry picking with family.  I’ve gotten older, the berry farm has changed locations, and it’s my family-by-choice instead of my family-by-birth, but the feeling is the same.  Go early, ride the hayride, watch the younguns have a blast, and eat strawberries straight off the vine warmed by the sun.  Feed the rabbits, bounce in the bouncy house, play in the giant corn pit.

This year it was B and her boys (NoMH opted out), and C and her girls.  The girls thought it was a riot, and the boys–once they got the concept of ‘pick the red ones only’–loved it.  Little J-bug especially, at 2, who was my companion for most of the morning.  He’d make a beeline for a berry, grab it in his fist and yank it off the vine, drop it in my bucket.  Stare at it a minute, then pick it back up, pluck off the green tops, and shove it in his mouth whole.  B loved it too–got his own box, and picked about a dozen before he became more interested in ‘helping’ others and eating his own.  Well, that, and playing in the dirt.

I kept thinking of all the times I used to go to the Ashland Berry Farm with my Papa.  Always in May, no earlier than Mother’s Day weekend and no later than Memorial Day, and picking until my tongue was puckered and my fingers were stained bright red.  And what a lovely memory that was for us.  I just hope these boys and girls grow up remember the same.  That they don’t remember the very windy morning, the long ride, the crankiness, the eighty-leven trips to a latrine, but instead remember that they got to ride a tractor, went on a hayride, and enjoy the experience. Continue reading

Spring Forgot To Arrive On Time This Year

The calendar may say it’s spring, but Mother Nature hasn’t gotten the memo.  My sinuses, however, seem to have looked at the calendar and now are waiting for Mother Nature to arrive to finish the job.  I’m going on two weeks of this sinus garbage and I’m not enjoying this continual pounding in my head.  So much so that I’ve spent every waking moment not at work on the couch practicing my mouth-breathing.  Ugh.

On the other hand, the arrival of spring also brings the Lenten season and Holy Week.  I was at rehearsal today for the Palm Sunday service at church, and the music is Ah. Maze. Ing.  So excited to hear the performance Sunday morning.

Sunday Social

1. What is your favorite thing about Spring?
All the new growth.  Flowers trying to make their way in the world after the chill of winter.  The riot of color before it gives in to the green of summer.

2. Favorite kind of flowers to grow or receive?
Does basil count as a flower to grow?  I love it.  It’s also the only thing I haven’t killed other than a jade plant on the kitchen windowsill.  As much as I love the aforementioned riot of color I am horribly allergic to just about all of it.  So favorites to receive?  Probably tulips and daffodils, as they don’t aggravate as much.  Plus they are oh so pretty.

3. What is your favorite nail polish color?
The ones I like never look that great on my fingers.  I love bold pastel pinks and deep burgundy or wine tones.  I just painted them a soft opal shimmer, actually, but I know it won’t last any longer than my shower tomorrow morning.  I just cannot get polish to stick to my fingernails longer than a few hours.  I’ve tried every base coat out there, and no luck.  Any recommendations on how to get the polish to stick??? 

4. What is your favorite outdoor activity?
See the above statements regarding my allergies.  I can’t spend but so long out there without breaking into hives.  But when it’s good, the favorites include spending a great spring day out on the kite flying field, a balmy summer day hammock sitting with a good book, and fall afternoons at college football games.

5. Do you have any fun Spring plans?
Right now, to get healthy!  My birthday is coming soon, as is the new niece, so plans are all involved around that big event!

I’m building an ark

Yep, it’s that time of  year again.  No matter what you do, the house smells like wet dog.  Appealing, isn’t it?

To top it off, I’m also dogsitting, so I’ve spent lots of time two doors down–with three more dogs.  And thus the reason for a small posting tonight.  I am just not inspired by this weather.

Oh, the joys of home ownership!

My house

Taken during the December 2009 snowstorm, where about 9-12 inches fell overnight

I own my own home.  Well, I guess to be technical, the bank owns my home and I routinely make payments to them in order to keep my possessions under the roof.  I bought it about six years ago; it’s not that big but it’s great for just me.  It’s about sixty years old, which I love because it has personality.  All the new houses that are built nowadays crack me up–the one tree, artfully placed three feet to the right of the front door and four feet from the curb, the same for every house on the street.  Blah. Boring.  Give me a house that has character, one that has settled into its foundation and is a comfy place to call home.   That’s what I love.

Well, most of the time. Continue reading

Please Pass the Painkillers

Don’t know what happened to the first version of this posting, so here is the rewrite!

Waiting for Community Cleanup Day....

Waiting for Community Cleanup Day….

So Saturday was it.  No more excuses, no more procrastinating, no more dilly dallying, it was time.  I raked leaves.

I recruited help in the form of B and NoMH.  Told them I’d be starting right at 8am, they said there was no way they’d be able to get there that early (shocker!) but they’d be there no later than 9.  They got here at 10:15.  (Yes, I was irritated and annoyed, even though I knew better.)

From 8 to 4 I/we worked pretty much non-stop.  Rules were simple: get all leaves up, don’t fill the bags more than halfway because the county won’t take more than three a week and as they get water-laden they’ll break, and keep working.  B has an issue with these rules, seeing as how she can ‘fit even more’ in the bags, regardless of me begging her to stop because I didn’t want to have to redo them all in three weeks or three months or whenever that particular bag makes it into the supercan.  So B was reassigned to do the gutters.  Disagreed vehemently with the gutter rule (leaves must go in a bag, not just thrown on the grown to be dealt with later) but we had a bit better luck.  Didn’t have much success in getting her to stop fiddling with my siding or other things but that is just her way.  I love them both for helping, but I think that by the time the day was over, they both hated me. Continue reading

Pluto Rocks!

With full apologies to Jason Kotkke, as I found this on his website.  I thought it was a riot, and yes, he did the right thing!  I have copied in its entirety:

Bringing Pluto back to the solar system

Meg bought Ollie this ball a couple of weeks ago. It’s got all the planets of the solar system on it, plus the Sun. But no Pluto. That’s right, it’s barely been two years since Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet status and the toy manufacturers have already made the adjustment.

It saddens me that Ollie has to grow up in a world where Pluto isn’t considered a planet, although I take comfort that his textbooks probably won’t be updated by the time he’s in school. In the meantime, I’ve Sharpied Pluto onto his ball.

Pluto, back where it belongs

One ball at a time people, that’s how we win.

The one time I don’t have my camera with me . . . .

So today I was out running errands.  [Since I am unemployed, it’s become a task in efficiency for me–see how many places I can get to with the shortest amount of driving to accomplish the maximum amount of things on my list.  I even made it 3 1/2 weeks without filling my gas tank–a new record!] 85% of the time, I have my digital camera floating around in the bottom of my bag.  I try hard to take photos whenever I can, and when I’m out and about I love especially love taking photos in natural settings.  I’ve knocked on doors so people don’t freak out when I’m in the yard zooming in on a tree blossom or stopped to get the mother goose and seven goslings crossing a six lane thoroughfare, or what have you.  One of the views I love is the juxtaposition of having a tree cluster and a lone bare tree in the mix.  A result of lightning, it’s dead, it’s been stripped bare, whatever–in the right lighting or setting it can be a beautiful combination.

So today I’m driving down the road at 55mph, getting ready to take the exit to get on the interstate, and there is such a scene coming up on the other side of the road.  Beautiful green foliage with some wildflowers underneath at roadside, and this one tree that–while not completely bare–extended far above the canopy with it’s wispy, barren branches.  There was an odd growth on it, and I was trying to figure out what it was while at a stoplight.  When I was able to drive closer I realized it wasn’t a growth, it was a nest, or maybe even a bird.  It wasn’t until I was right up on it (and remember it’s about 30 feet higher than I and on the opposite side of a four lane divided road) that I realized it was a bird.

Not just any bird, but a big fat owl.

We don’t have owls around here.  Or not many of them anyway, and not big ones or ones that appear in the daytime. It was truly a spectacular sight.

And here I am without my camera.

::sigh::

Anything for the kids!

So it was 102 degrees outside today, with a heat index of another seven degrees I think.  So what did I do?

Worked outside all day.

Today was a fund raising golf tournament for Prevent Blindness.  I have worked it for six or seven years now, and it’s a fantastic cause.  I would have gone regardless.  But still, all told, it was hot.  Very hot.  Hot enough that it makes you wonder if you forgot to ask for forgiveness for something.

Over the years, we’ve had days that were horribly cold around 40 degrees, last year the tournament was called because of violent thunderstorms, evidently one year before I started there was a tornado that came through . . . and this year it was just dang hot.  No breeze, no clouds, just sun and lots of heat.

But all told, the auction went well and there were several auction items.  It was a fun event, and I’ll see them next year!

Special Olympics and Best Friends

So today was the hottest day of the year. I don’t do hot weather, that’s a given, yet for some reason a few weeks ago I decided to sign myself and B up to cheer at the Special Olympics for the tennis matches. The AC must have been off at work that day and caused my brain to malfunction.

So 100 degrees outside, and we went to watch the SOs. We had fun! We got lost, even on campus, and only got to watch two games between two girls that were actually roommates for the event. Given that one of them had never played singles before–she was supposed to play doubles and instead they messed up and put her in singles–she did a great job. And B, bless her, didn’t quite get tennis etiquette. “Ssshhh!” became my favorite word. But the girls did a great job, we had fun, and we even got out a bit early.

When we got home, my next door neighbor was finishing up her yard sale, so we joined her out there for awhile. Hot as hades, but in the shade with the fan blowing on us it wasn’t that bad. We had a visit, then realized that our slumber-party-that-isn’t was starting in two hours. So run home we did.

The it was off to C’s, where her husband, bless his heart, was conned into cooking burgers for the six of us with the understanding that he could then play poker all night. Made him happy. C, A, V, H, and B showed up too, and the six of us ate a ton, watched Juno, and just had a blast. How sad is it, though, that I then am home by 12 because I’m too tired to stay up?

Still, it was a fun day. Tomorrow I’m looking forward to church and then chilling out at home for awhile. Might catch a movie, might not, but it should be fun!!

Hope everyone else had a great weekend, and stay cool!

Waiting for the rain

So I have this thing . . . I love thunderstorms.  Good, old fashioned thunderstorms, especially if they’re during the day.  I could spend the day on the porch in a rocking chair enjoying the weather.  Well, I could if I had a porch.  Or a rocking chair for that matter.

Tonight I’m enjoying the twilight and the lightning instead of doing what I should be doing (dishes, paying bells, scrub the tub, etc.).  In the meantime I’m watching a minute on TV in three second jerks because it’s a digital feed–and we all know how digital feed loves atmospheric disturbances.  Ironically enough it’s the movie The Day After Tomorrow, about the world’s worst weather storm.  Yes, I’ll change the channel shortly.

Then, of course, I think of the things to do after the rain.  Pick up debris in the yard, seal the deck/chairs once it is dry but before it rains, make sure the tomatoes aren’t killed, make sure that the weed killer finally worked its way down in the rest of the yard, make sure that the grill cover didn’t blow off.

Totally worth it.  Bring it on.  In the words of the great Amanda Marshall, “Let it Rain”!

Busy Saturday!

Finally! A Saturday with absolutely gorgeous weather, light breeze, no clouds, and not too hot. So this morning, after I had breakfast, I picked up B and NoMH for a trip “to the middle of nowhere” according to NoMH. Actually, we just went to the other side of the river and west a bit to get to the Berry Farm. Neither B nor NoMH had ever been berry picking before. Since I starting going with my Papa when I was knee high to a grasshopper, that came as a complete shock to me. It’s just one of those things, you know? We always went, every May, got a ton of fruit, put a bunch in the freezer, quite a bit in the fridge, and then lots of bread, jam, and freezings. Continue reading

Thunder, Lightning, and no Rain

I’m sitting in my recliner, typing away, and there is the most fantastic thunderstorm going on outside.  Only there is no rain.  Lightning, rumbling, heavy claps of thunder, and not a drop of water anywhere.  Still kind of cool, though!  Plus it made the temperature drop by several degrees, which I always like!  The thunder and lightning got heavy enough that I even had to get out of the hammock and come inside for the night.

So today I had to work up north at one of our satellite locations and lord almighty I was tired by 1pm.  Getting up at 6 just doesn’t agree with me.  Plus, I haven’t waited tables in about 3 years, and I have lost my legs!  I ran my rear off, trying to make sure that I was able to help as much as possible without getting in the way.  When things slowed down for a few minutes I realized exactly how much I hurt.  We had a good time, though, and L and I yapped the whole way home so that I wouldn’t fall asleep we were so tired!  I got home at 3, and thought I was going to pass out from exhaustion but I knew I was meeting H and the kids for dinner at that gastronomic delight, Cici’s Pizza.

We actually had a great time.  We were there for almost 2 hours, and each of the kids gave me a plant for my birthday.  I can’t wait to plant the lily in the front yard, but have no idea where to plant S’s zinnia that I won’t kill it.  And H gave me Othello, that great game from our childhood (and one I surprisingly don’t have).  The kids wanted to play, so I sat at the restaurant and played a game with each of them, to teach them the game.  Like I said, we had a great time.  Plus, hey, cheap date!

And if I don’t eat pizza for another six months, I think that would be just fine by me.

Rainy Day Sunday

Around 2am, we heard thunder. I had to stop and think about it because, well, we haven’t had a decent rainstorm in quite awhile much less a thunderstorm. It is now 8pm and it’s still raining. It’s the kind of day that makes you want to stay in, lounge around in sweatpants, and eat soup. I did make it to church this morning, but that’s about it. The afternoon has been a dreary, damp, gray afternoon. And I’ve loved every minute of it.

Here are some photos that I took around 4 this afternoon, when it should have been completely bright outside. It looks like it should have been 8pm then! Continue reading