Monday, June 30, 2014

Fishing and Minigolf

Blog traffic appears slow lately, but life goes on...

Since all NY state residents could fish NY state waters without a fishing license this past weekend, Hannah found some friends and they took off on a fishing trip. She caught the most fish, ten, and poor Ben caught nothing, but I think they all had a fun day. I only saw one photo from the excursion and subsequently stole it from Noah's Facebook account. (Ain't that a beauty?)

While the young'uns were off fishing, James and I took to the golf course. I didn't take my camera out of the van, but Parkside Whispering Pines is apparently the oldest miniature golf course in the USA. (This is where I encountered the carnivorous squirrel... )We had so much fun with the first game, in spite of the squirrel, that we played a second round. I won't tell you who won because I don't like to gloat.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Taking Pictures

There was a wedding at church this afternoon and the bride asked me if I would be willing to take pictures at the reception. There was a regular paid photographer to take all the formal and "important" pictures which freed me up to take random photos. Since I had been given the "job" of taking photos, I did, and I had fun. I got some nice people pictures, some of the children in attendance, which I don't feel free to show. Too bad. But I have some good "foody photos" and guess what? The only thing I ate was fruit. Aren't I a good girl? Well, I was today anyway.

It was really, really hard to resist that cake. I should get a prize for not eating any. Maybe an ice cream cone or something. :0)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Throwing Rocks

It was a bright and sunny morning, the perfect kind of morning for rock tossing. We popped three small children into the vehicle and headed off down the road and around the corner to the park. The little ones were excited to do something different and very happy to throw rocks into the water. I was very happy to watch, so long as the rocks went into the water and not in the space of sky directly above their heads. So far, so good.

One of the added benefits today was the fact that they were actually sleepy after lunch. Aunt Hannah told the boys there was a prize for whoever was the quietest when she had them rest on the couches. They were out cold in no time. And the girl got a reward for staying dry all during her nap. When they woke up, everyone was happy.

It was a good day.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Yia Yia's Ice Cream Shoppe

It was a grandkid kind of day. We brought Josh and Jake here early this morning and Lucas, Simon, and Aubrey showed up a little after nine. After a crazy morning of noise and raucous laughter, we all went outside to play for a while.

Our favorite ice cream shoppe, Yia Yia's, is not too very far away. I thought it might be fun to take the kids out for a cone and since it was a beautiful day, with plenty of sunshine, and Leta was done cleaning early, we decided to go. All the little ones pick "Superman" ice cream; strawberry, banana, and blue moon. (I'm not sure what blue moon tastes like, but I do know strawberry and banana.) I think the kids love both the name and the bright colors.

Jacob fell asleep on the way to get ice cream and slept right through all the fun even though Aunt Hannah had taken out him of the van. He slept soundly on her lap all the while she ate her cone, all the while she put him back in the van, and woke up as soon as we pulled out of the parking lot. I bought a box of ice cream sandwiches on the way home so he wouldn't miss out on all the fun. Aren't I just the best grammy ever?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Wild Flower Garden

There has been some discussion of turning the corner flower garden into a patio. If we actually entertained company on a regular basis, it would be a fine idea. I envision patio stones on the ground and one of those fancy outdoor fireplaces to gather around on summer and early autumn evenings... However, there are a few plants out there that I couldn't bear to part with completely. One is my very lovely Jack-in-the-Pulpit.

Last year this magnificent monster produced some very exotic looking fruits. The "berries" which start out green and looking very much like a miniature ear of corn, will turn bright red by the end of summer. I'd seen plenty of Jack-in-the-Pulpit plants in the woods when I was a little girl, but I'd never seen the berries until last year. Since Jack stands in the "pulpit" I like to think of this as his "pulpit committee".

The leaves (no, that's not poison ivy) look so green and lush right now. They remind of long ago days when I would come home from school and head off to the little strip of woods that ran along the edge of the old playground. It was full of wonderful treasures in the spring; Jack-in-the-Pulpits , trillium, and May-apples. Kind of makes me think it's time to go for a walk.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

It All Counts

Sometimes I feel like this poor flower... Thankfully, it rarely lasts very long. I think it's time for me to start counting gifts again. There are so many blessings in life that I either forget or overlook when I lose my focus and a Thankful Journal helps me keep focus. My husband is irritated by the loud and often repetitious songs of the mockingbird, and that's okay, lots of people are, but I have been finding them rather amusing. To me they are a gift if only because I find myself smiling as I listen.

My grandchildren no longer spend three or four overnight visits per week at my house. Instead they arrive bright and early Thursday and Friday mornings, stay while their mommy works cleaning houses, and go home to their own apartment at night. In the early part of the year my five year old grandson prayed that they could "be a family again". I have to be honest and admit that Lucas had more faith than me, but he has had his prayers (and mine) answered. There is still a long way to go, we are still praying for complete healing and restoration of my son's marriage, but the process is underway. This is no small gift, it is huge.

Next Wednesday morning my sisters and I will meet at the cemetery to commit our mother's remains to the ground. I've written the letter, enclosed the payment and required certificate and soon another chapter will close. Perhaps it will also bring the closure my heart and mind so desperately need. The cemetery plots my grandpa bought so many years ago are a gift too. He couldn't have known what a blessing this would be to me 65 years later.

I'm not sure if I mentioned my brother's trip to the hospital a week and a half ago. He was having trouble with incontinence and was unable to walk. They thought he might have a UTI but so far all the tests have shown nothing. Rachel and I visited him last Wednesday and brought him a Frosty from Wendy's. He was eating lunch when we arrived and not only ate all of that but his Frosty too. He looked almost ready to hurl... We attempted to interest him in some written communication on Rachel's tablet, but he wanted nothing to do with it. Tired and stuffed, he instead said, "Goodbye to you." We were more amused than insulted. It's always a gift when our nonverbal brother actually talks.

#1 mockingbird songs
#2 healing and restoration
#3 Grandpa's gift
#4 words from Tim

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Little Bit Random

Writing has been hard lately. I'm not sure whether I'm at a loss for words or at a loss for sharable stories... I should be sitting on the back porch. Maybe I could think better out there, but I haven't invested in that laptop yet, so I'm in the house.

Perhaps some randomness for today.

1. Outside is a mocking- bird that likes to sit on top of Barn 2 and sing. Some- times he pretends to be a barn swallow. Some people hate them, but I find him rather fascinating.

2. My daughter, Hannah, will be traveling to Grenada in about 2½ weeks. The group from church
she's with will be conducting a Vacation Bible School for children there. She will turn 19 in Grenada like she turned 18 there last year. Last year she didn't want to come home, but perhaps it will be different this year...

3. The last day of school is tomorrow. One more day of putting kids on and off the bus, and then I will have just grandchildren and one small girl 2-3 times/week through the summer.

4. I am home alone. No one is here to mess up the house if I clean it, but that fails to motivate me at the moment.

5. Our vegetable garden is growing. It has tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, green and yellow beans, summer squash, cucumbers and radishes, and maybe some corn, if it decides to grow. I've also got some flowers down there; marigolds, zinnias, lobelia, and nasturtiums. Maybe one day I'll toss some nasturtiums in my salad.

6. I'm seriously considering carving out time to go back to Wednesday night service at Calvary Chapel.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Birthday and Stuff

It was a gorgeous weekend. I can't recall if I did anything of great significance, but I do know it was gorgeous.

Our son Nathan celebrated his 24th birthday this past Thursday, June 19. I love having a child with a birthday
in June because it makes for a great excuse for a family straw- berry social, though we've never called it that. U-Pick strawberries are getting scarce, but there is a nice little farm market around the corner where I can buy a flat (8 quarts) of berries for $24 and I think that's a pretty good deal. While my grandkids played on Thursday afternoon, I washed, hulled, and chopped berries. By the time our guests arrived after dinner, I had the biscuits baked and we were ready for a party.

After our dessert we took the boys across the street to see the power shovel parked in Mr. Conner's driveway. (We made a party of that too. I only wanted to take pictures...) :0)

"Grandpa Bob" has been part of our lives for over twenty years and our neighbor since we moved here 13 years ago. In July he and his wife will be moving. They aren't going too far and we will still see them at church on Sundays, but they won't be just across the street anymore. We're going to miss having them here. I wonder what it will be like getting new neighbors?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Thirty-three Years

Where has the time gone? I can scarcely believe I am over 33 years old much less married for that long. Could that warm June day really have been so many years ago? Could it really be I have slept by his side for 33 years? It seems just a short time ago we were looking forward to our 17th anniversary, the one that marked us being married for half our lives, and now we have almost doubled that time. Was our 25th anniversary really 8 years ago already? The one where our kids threw us a surprise party down at the park and invited so many friends and family members?

(Do you know what? A beautiful flower arrangement was just delivered to my door. How sweet is that? And an extra yellow carnation from the florist/farm market too.)

If time allows, in another 33 years we could be celebrating our 66th wedding anniversary Wouldn't that be special?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Yesterday was an ab- solutely, in- credibly gorgeous kind of day. I normally go to Ladies' Prayer and Bible Study on Tuesday mornings, but yesterday I took a drive instead and returned my boy to Auburn. I'd thought to go Monday night, but Hannah was watching the USA vs Ghana World Cup soccer game at a friend's house and James was tired from working all day. Besides that, Joe had spent the afternoon with a friend he doesn't normally see now that he's living in Auburn, and I didn't want to rush off tired myself either. Instead we took a "somewhat" leisurely drive, stopped at Wegmans so Joe could pick up a few groceries, and took a quick peek at Owasco Lake. (I have to go back there. We didn't even get out of the car...) On the way home Hannah was a captive audience and I jabbered at her the whole time. (I won't have her forever and so now is my chance.)

Yesterday afternoon brought some torrential down- pours and spiked the humidity levels. The rain came on so fast we scarcely had time to run upstairs and close the windows.

Later in the evening, when the storms had temporarily abated, we cooked a few burgers on the back porch and enjoyed leftovers from Sunday's family picnic for dinner. Hannah typically plays Frisbee on Tuesday nights, but she was home instead and declared it a Roy Rogers movie night so we holed up in the living room to watch "Silver Spurs" while the thunder storms closed in once again.

I've been reading a missionary blog lately. Finding myself inspired by Lydia and her adventure in Guatamala.

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Weekend

It was a busy weekend, a good kind of busy weekend. Hannah and I drove to Auburn to fetch Joe and bring him home for the weekend. He doesn't have to work until Tuesday evening and I decided to seize the moment while I had opportunity. I did not go grocery shopping, neither did I go to the bank. Maybe I'll do that tomorrow... My cupboards look pretty full, but I could use a new box of trash bags and maybe some French vanilla coffee creamer... maybe.

Saturday dawned cold and gloomy. The weather forecast promised sunshine and warmer temperatures but I began to doubt its validity and cooked up a pot of chili for the church picnic rather than a cold salad. The picnic started a five o'clock and, whadda'ya know?, right about 4:30 pm the clouds dissipated, the sun came out, and the temperatures became tolerable. I kept my sweatshirt on, cause I'm a doubter, but it stayed nice.

Sunday afternoon our kids brought over a Father's Day picnic lunch and we had some family time. (Two picnics in two days!!!) We had chicken, bacon cheese burgers, salt potatoes, corn on the cob, baked beans, and watermelon. It was a good day.

Nothing quite like a family picnic, except maybe one where there are friends too.

Grandpa even got a little help down in his garden.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Words, Big Words

Persnickety and rambunctious. Words of the week. One word to describe my vehicle, the other for my grandchildren. It looks nice outside, but here we are in the house instead...

First my van... Five times it has refused to turn over. Twice at Target, then before church Sunday morning, again Monday afternoon at Panera Bread, and then again (after having a new battery installed) last night at home when we were headed out to play mini golf. I don't regret the purchases of either the jumper cables or the new battery. They've helped narrow down the real issue, which is apparently a switch of some kind. This morning, at my husband's suggestion, I put the van in neutral and turned the key. It started up like nothing. I switched it back into park and once again she started right up. Persnickety. Yup. Our mechanic is ordering a new part.

The grandchildren... They're bouncing off the walls today. First they got out every toy on the shelf. (They move faster than I can see and there are three of them.) Of course it took them over an hour to get it all cleaned up again and in the midst of that there was plenty of squabbling, name calling, and generally forgetting they were supposed to be picking up anything at all. Lucas dropped his muffin midway through lunch and a small dog quickly gobbled it up. Loud wailing commenced but failed to produce another muffin. Then there was the biting. The middle child discovered biting effective before his first birthday and now that he is four I think that habit needs to stop, and fast. (They always say to bite them back...) Three children have been banished to the couches for a time of quiet rest which so far has produced neither rest nor quiet. I'd kind of hoped to take them outside long ago but between their rambunctiousness and the rain, it hasn't happened.

and later on....

We got outside, finally, in the rain. It was the "scoop" that showed up to dig a hole in Mr. Conner's yard across the street. Simon was so excited he couldn't stand it and came running into the living room shouting "Yuke, Yuke!" (Which translates, "Luke! Luke!") He didn't want his brother to sleep though all the fun. He just had to wake him up to watch.

And then, since they were already wet, we went out into the back yard where one discovered the barn downspout and thought it made a good drinking fountain. Blech! I think he spit out everything he sucked in. At least I hope so. By the time their mommy showed up they were in need of dry clothes. I was just glad we got out of the house for a little while. It was gettin' stuffy in there.

Another weekend has arrived. I'm planning a drive down to Auburn again to find my middle son and bring him home for the weekend. I think it will be nice to have him around for Father's Day. Besides, I don't want him to be lonely or feel forgotten. I kind of like the kid. (Twenty-six is still a kid, right?)


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Happy Anniversary!

It almost didn't happen. Six months ago it looked helpless, two months ago highly unlikely, but today my son and his beautiful wife are celebrating ten years of marriage. God is good. Miracles still happen.

(Last summer's photo)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


I did something different today. I volunteered a few hours to a local elementary school, the one where my sister has been long term substitute librarian for the past year.  For a few hours I sorted books on the shelves, making sure they were in the proper order and fixing them if they weren't. It wasn't hard aside from my feeble brain wanting to forget what number I had just read from the spine of each book... (582.34 GER, 577 SCH, 599.8 WEX,...) After a time a break is imperative simply because one begins to go cross-eyed and the number blur together. In all honesty, it was kind of fun, and I think perhaps I might need to find a semi-regular volunteer position somewhere.

This afternoon I took a walk about the yard. I went round in circles, back and forth, up and down. Yesterday I took photos of Indian Paintbrushes, today I mowed them down. Well, they weren't actually the same ones I took pictures of, those are still standing, but they looked the same. One should never let the lawn get out of control (not that it was) or it will become necessary to run down and destroy something almost beautiful. I tried to pretend I didn't see them.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Assault and Battery

Today I bought a brand spankin' new battery for my van. I'd gone to lunch with a few friends and afterward found my van to be a bit uncooperative. When I turned the key it didn't even go click. I called My Darling but he was 45 minutes away. I called Hannah who came to my rescue, but we found that even with the two vehicles attached to my shiny new jumper cables, still my van did not make so much as a click. (sigh) I called James back. With no way to help me, Hannah went back home and I wandered about the Dress Barn while waiting for my night in shining armor to arrive. He was able to get the van going and I followed him up the road, around the corner, and into the Auto Zone parking lot where a  pretty new battery was installed in my vehicle.

Not much going on at home. Hannah went out to play Frisbee tonight and came home with the announcement that "girls are dumb". She didn't elaborate. Maybe I'll have to go pry it out of her. :0)

Monday, June 09, 2014

Garden Guy

Monday, Monday... I put two girls on the bus this morning and then set out to fight off the headache I'd forgotten to medicate earlier. A little ibuprofen, a little more coffee, and I was set to go, but go where? Instead of going out I stayed in. Did a little laundry, a little kitchen cleanup, and cooked up a little breakfast for Hannah and me. (Eggs over-easy and corn tortillas) It was a quiet day, aside from the vacuum cleaner. I even fell into a deep sleep before the bus returned on its afternoon run.

Evening found James checking out the vegetable garden. I sneaked out with my camera to see if anything interesting was happening.

The beans sprouted overnight! That's pretty cool. I watered them just the other day and the only sign of them were two long cracks in the ground where the seeds were expanding. I think perhaps there are green and yellow beans in our future. One day soon I'll be sitting out on the back porch snipping a big pan of beans and sipping a big iced tea. Yeah, that sounds like a plan...

And then there are the chives. Someone with a lawnmower ran down the bunch up by the house, so these are the prize chives now. I love their blooms and can't resist taking photos. Just so pretty (in spite of their onion-y odor). Maybe we should have a garden row of plants that come up every year; chives, asparagus, rhubarb... I wonder if all those plants like each other? They would make a cool looking row while waiting for everything else to grow, but I ramble....

Sunday, June 08, 2014


Ben planned it, Hannah helped send out the invitations, and I have to say they really had a great group of friends out there. We really do have the perfect spot for hosting bonfires and yesterday brought the perfect weather for one. Friends had been invited, food prepared, and firewood stacked. We couldn't have asked for a better day. Our guests were young, I can't at the moment think of one who was over the age of 24, but they didn't appear to mind me wandering about among them, attempting to be inconspicuous.

Pickup trucks are perfect for parking around the perimeter of our backyard bonfires. It's a little bit country, I think.

We served chili and hotdogs, and filled a box with fixings for s'mores. There was way more food than these kids attempted to eat. I think they mostly enjoyed hanging out around the fire. There was a lot of friendly conversation, a little bit of Frisbee, and ample amounts of laughter. I didn't really count, but there must have been close to 25 or 30 people out there. Enough to make it a party, but not so many that it got out of control.

One of the girls at church thanked me this morning for hosting the bonfire. She's home from college for the summer and hopes maybe we'll do it again. Could this turn out to be the Summer of the Bonfire?

Things finally wound down around midnight when the last of the guests pulled out of the driveway and we finally made our way upstairs to bed. It was a nice night. I'm hoping we do it again too.