Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hodgepodge 87

87 was the year I graduated college. Oy! 



1. I'm joining my daughter1 in the 101 in 1001 challenge. Essentially you create a list of 101 things you hope to do or accomplish in the next 1001 days. What's one thing you'd put on your list?
I actually wrote a list of 101 of my own, thanks to Joyce and Shannon,.  (See previous post.)  One
thing  I put on there was to do something scary by facing one of my fears.  I did that once before by having an MRI (I was terribly claustrophobic) and came out victorious AND with a clear diagnosis that led to  a healing surgery.  Writing this one made me want to add "a scary thing I choose that I can change my  mind about."

2. How many remote controls do you have in your house? What's one item in your home you wish could be operated by remote control?
I think we have about 8.  I wish one  would unload the dishwasher.

3. What does having it all mean to you? Is it attainable?
Having is all means having peace with God through Jesus Christ. Absolutely it's attainable. Ask me how if you don't know.

4. What's your favorite movie soundtrack?
That's a toughie. It's a toss-up between Fiddler on the Roof and The Sound of Music.

5. Describe the best view you've seen from a rooftop.
There are no good views from  a rooftop. They all give me the major sweats, heart palpitations, and
verbal oaths to be a better person  if I make it down alive.

6. What's your least favorite thing about summer?
That I'm not a kid anymore.

7. Our weekly Hodgepodge falls on the first day of August. In ten words or less sum up your July.
Hot, emotionally difficult, artistically rewarding, thought-provoking, spiritually draining.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
It's lightning here, so bye bye!

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Sandy Cove Memory

One of my dear friends is Marilyn. Her husband ( a wonderful pastor) threw a birthday party yesterday in her honor. In guy terms, that means he waited till Thursday to make some phone calls send a mass email and say he was putting together a little dinner with a few of her closest friends.

I wanted to take her a special gift, something from my heart, so I thought I'd paint something.  I thought of a fruit still life with her favorite grapes, watermelon and 'lopes, plus adding a scripture, but that fell short of inspiring me.   I thought of doing a Zambezi River scene  since she loves the deep colors of her African heritage.  But the photo of the river did nothing but make me say, "Oh, that's pretty."  It wasn't like she'd been there or talked of the Zambezi River.  However, the photo I found did lead me to want to paint a seascape for her, and the first thing I thought of was  Sandy Cove.  It's a Christian camp/ retreat center on the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay where she and I went for an impromptu prayer retreat overnight a few years ago.  Marilyn is the "prayingest" woman I know.  A true intercessor. 

She is also in great shape, being a runner and loving the track and field events (and still competing at her age!).  So our prayer retreat of course included her idea of relaxing before midnight prayer: a 10-minute "burn session."  (This was not something she had discussed when were planning our getaway. She's a wise woman.) Picture doing a cardio workout in a hotel room with an Olympic trainer when you're really thinking some decaf coffee and a donut would be a good segue into the throne room of heaven. Marilyn took out a stretchy rope with handles and made me step on it and stretch muscles in my arms. Muscles I didn't have before I got to Sandy Cove.  She made me do knee lifts to my chin, which is all of seven inches. She made me run sprints in our hotel room, back and forth from window to door. I'm sure the people below were asking for their 99 bucks back. Actually, there was no "below." We were on the first floor, at sea level, with a beautiful view.  But someone, somewhere, must've been saying, "I feel the earth movin' under my feet."

When that was over, we caught our breath, got our showers, and resumed prayer. Marilyn kept moving; she paces when she prays. I, on the other hand, didn't want to make God nervous, so I sat on the foot of the bed. We prayed about everything we could think of, starting with me being able to walk the next day. Mercy! We prayed about everything from children to church to marriage to spiritual gifts to the purchase of a home for her family.  We cried. We laughed. We took potty breaks because we're women of a certain age.  We prayed some more, and then, at last, around 1:15 a.m., we finally fell asleep.

The next morning we slept till past the breakfast service so decided impromptu to fast till lunch.  (Not  a spiritual decision, mind you. Our choices were vending machine and McDonald's.)   We went outside to find a quiet place to sit and talk and pray while watching sailboats on the water and hear gulls overhead.  There was a lone, shiny green bench at the crest of a knoll just a few feet above the tiny beach, somewhat under a shade tree. The leaves were full and green, the grass was green, the water was blue-grey, and the sky at midmorning was yellow and pink.  We agreed to pray with our eyes open because it was just too magnificent a view to pray with closed eyes. God would hear us either way

Fast forward to Saturday night. I drew a quick sketch of the scene I best remembered--that of the morning view of  the bay at Sandy Cove from the bench.  (If you open the photo you'll see an aerial view of the campus. Look at the cluster of trees near the main walkway toward the water. Under one of those sprawling oak trees is a green bench where Marilyn and I sat for morning prayer.) 

Then I painted the scene with acrylics (Grumbacher brand). The only artistic license I took was to change the bench from green to red. A green bench under a green tree on green grass would not have drawn the eye in nearly as much. I learned from a seascape painter in Maine that he often puts red doors on seaside cottages in his paintings for that reason. Gathering tips from pros hither and yon has become a hobby all its own.  Gotta love getting knowledge for free.

Another tip I read Saturday was to combine all the colors from the painting into the sand--tiny hints of blue, green, grey, yellow, brown, orange, whatever. It's so subtle amidst the dominant sand color, but doing this trick brings all the colors together in the foreground.  The eye perceives a unified painting. 

Yet another painting tip is to ask for critique from a 10-year-old artist who happens to be your son. I asked,"Tell me what time of day this scene is."

He first said, "6 a.m." 
I told him it was supposed to be 9 or 10  a.m. 
He said, "Easy, then. Add more yellow." 
I did, and asked him 10 minutes later, "So...what time is it now?" 
He  said, "Turn around and look at the clock."
" No, no, smarty pants, what time is it in the painting?"
 "Oh....about 9:47."

Little squirt.

Now, you're probably wondering Marilyn's reaction to her birthday painting from me.  I was really hoping she'd instantly recognize the scene. If not, I'd never paint for another person again.

She opened my painting and said, "Hey! You know what this reminds me of?  Our prayer retreat at Sandy Cove! Remember? Just you and me? That was such a great memory!"

Aah. Satisfaction.

But guess what? When you paint until midnight, your brain gets foggy.  I forgot to take a picture of
the painting I titled "A Sandy Cove Memory."   Nonetheless, I won't soon forget the power of prayer, friendship, and stretchy ropes applied to flabby arm muscles.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympic Jokes

My favorite pages of Reader's Digest are the humor pages. This month the issue features  "Olympic Jokes We Love," one of which I shared earlier. (A reporter walking through Olympic Village  asks a guy with an 8-ft  long metal stick if he's a pole vaulter.  "No, I'm German. But how did you know my name is Walter?")

There are 9 others on that page of jokes, and I want to post a few of them. 

You get to play judge. Choose the gold, silver, and bronze jokes from among the six I'm adding here. (If you think Pole Walter ranks up there, let me know where.)


1.  The final round of the hammer throw event comes down to a Russian soldier, a Bulgarian farmer, and Larry, who lives with his parents.   The Russian throws first: 85 meters. Interviewed later, he says, "I'm  from a military family, which gives me discipline. "  Then the Bulgarian throws 88 meters.  He tells reporters, "I'm from a farming family.  This gives me strength."  It's Larry's turn.  He slings the hammer 95 meters, winning gold!  Later, he explains, "I'm from a long line of lazy people, and I was taught, 'If anyone ever puts a hammer in your hand, throw it as far away as you can.'"

2.  How is playing the bagpipes like throwing a javelin blindfolded?  You don't have to be very good to get people's attention.

3.   Here's a good trick: Get a job as a judge at the Olympics.  Then, if some guy sets a world record, pretend that you didn't see it and go, "OK, is everybody ready to start now?"
                                                                                                                           Jack Handey

4.    I have a problem with that silver medal.  It's like, "Congratulations, you almost won.  Of all the losers, you're the number one loser.  No one lost ahead of you."
                                                                                                                                Jerry Seinfeld

5.    The Cuban boxer is taking a beating when the bell rings.   As he staggers to his corner, his coach whispers, "Let him hit you with the left. Your face is crooked."

6.   The French, German, and Hungarian fencers are arguing over who is the best in their sport.   The Frenchman pulls out his foil:  "I will show you all!"  He targets a fly buzzing around, and with one swipe of his blade, the fly falls to the ground, cut neatly in half.   The German smiles.  He locates another fly, and with two swipes, it falls to the ground, its wings neatly removed.  Now it's the Hungarian's turn.  Lifting his foil, he takes three swipes at a fly, which flutters off, undisturbed.  The others laugh, but the Hungarian holds up his hands.  "That fly," he says, "will never procreate again."


Time to judge. Which joke above wins bronze? Silver? Gold?  Before you vote, here's another thing for a chuckle.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Theeling Thabulouth on Thith Thurthday

What a happy surprise to be honored by this award not just once but twice in the same week.  Joyce and Carrie, thank you for enjoying my blog enough to give me my own little ribbon. It's purple, too--my favorite. It seems a perfect excuse to go out and buy a new dress, shoes, and handbag.  Gotta look good when I give my acceptance speech, don'tchaknow.

Too bad there ain't no speech opportunity.

Instead of giving a speech, the recipient of this award is supposed to do other things: play by the rules:

1. Thank the blogger who gave it to you and share the link back to the awarding blog.
2. Name 5 fabulous moments in your life.
3. Name 5 things that you love.
4. Name 5 things that you hate.
5. Pass the award to 5 deserving bloggers.

I am fine with rules #1-4,  but feel a little funny passing the award along because of the fifth string attached. Some folks don't feel so much honored as pressured to reciprocate. If that's you when I tag, don't worry about it. Just receive the compliment that I think your blog is fabulous, and don't worry about paying it forward.

But if you wish, go ahead and play along.

Again, thanks to Joyce and Carrie, whose blogs are warm, funny, honest, and well-written. These blogging friends write about daily life in middle age and claim to be the same person living on separate coasts. Does this mean I attract split personalities to my blog? Hmmm.

Okay, back to the rules, and cue the music...

Name 5 fabulous moments in your life:

- my wedding day
- carrying babies full-term, especially the last after losing babies and dealing with secondary infertility
- holding my newborns in my arms for the first time
- the day I became a Christian
- my first child's wedding day

Name 5 things that you love:

- having coffee with a friend 
- getting my hair done
-  riding in a convertible  with the top down on a sunny, breezy day, FAST
- anticipating grandmotherhood
- being forgiven

Name 5 things that you hate:

- repetitive noise
-dog crap
- having to put an animal to sleep
-hearing people talk about themselves all the time, dominating conversations, not coming up for air
-being interrupted when I'm talking about myself or dominating a conversation.  or asphixiating on my own drivel

Pass the award to 5 deserving bloggers.  Okay, taking a deep breath and hoping "honor" is not mistaken for "bother" by the following people.  If it is, I'm so sorry. You don't need to play along nor explain why. I'm only playing by the rules. I only like 80% of this award-giving thing myself (that is, the first 4/5 "rules"). Enough "threading the needle," here goes:

Kelly @ Wildlife and Home.   Kelly is my friend in real life, a talented seamstress and knitter, homeschooling mom of a big brood, a funny writer, a godly woman, and someone I can always count on to lift my spirits.  Or offer her laundry services when my washer breaks, or hem my outfit on graduation day,  or finds it equally hilarious to hear the name Stu Wu.

Bonnie @ Bonnie in Zambia .  Also a friend in my real life, Bonnie is a single missionary serving as a teacher in Zambia.  Her adventuresome spirit, passion for God, love of children, and hard work ethic make her a major blessing to everyone she knows.   I doubt she'll have time to participate in this (and I'm not even sure she has time to read my blog!) because she leads a full life without the luxury of surfing the net very often.  But I want others to know about her and what God is doing in her and through her. I also want HER to know I miss the way we'd spontaneously zip around town in my convertible or her dad's '62 Chevy and  find ourselves at the Double T diner at 11pm on  a Friday night.

Lea @ CiCi's Corner.  Lea is a true Southern belle and proud of it.  Her blog is upbeat, honest, funny, and chock full of southern expressions I can just hear her saying--and I don't even know her in real life. (Someday I hope to meet her.)  She makes me long for grandmotherhood (as do all good grandmothers at this stage of my life) and hope that I don't live many states away from my grandkids when the time comes.  Lea excels at organizing things and might just "clean your clock" if you put the wrong singer through on American Idol.

Amy @ Choosing Hallelujah.  Amy and I have never met in person, but have one phone conversation which felt oh-so-natural after "meeting" online through blogging. We just kind of picked up where her last post left off. Her writing is insightful, creative, inspiring, and down-to-earth. It's almost always grammatically perfect, too, without losing "her voice," which I appreciate. Amy is a mom of two cute young guys, and wife to a cute 30-something fella who knows how to handle the business end of a hammer.  I hope we can meet in person someday. Maybe I should plan a trip through these United States to meet all my bloggy buds.

Laurie @ Tulip in the Thicket.  Laurie is one of two blogging friends I met after I started online journaling.  God arranged circumstances such that I was able to spend a day with her and another great friend who lives in Kansas.  Her blog combines a lot of her favorite music (old and new) with pictures of her adorable grandchildren (see a theme here??) and her gorgeous garden and splendid photos of Kansas countryside.  She is always encouraging me along this life's path, she makes me giggle a lot., she has a knack for putting together the most thoughtful gift basket, and she "makes my day" with snail mail from time to time.

Cue the music again...I'm getting off the stage. Oh, wait a minute, that's right. No speech. No speech. Just an award with 5 rules attached.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hodgepodge or Bust

According to Joyce, this is Hodgepodge Volume 86. Wow! I can think of plenty of things I would like to "86" at the moment, but the Hodgepodge is certainly not one of them. It's a keeper! 

I hope you're liking your front-row seat today as you experience the most entertaining and most valuable use of time you've spent all week: reading my Hodgepodge post.  Ahem.

1. The Summer Olympics officially begin this Friday night...will you be watching? If you could see just one event in person which one would you pick?
          Yes, I'll be watching,  but unfortunately I think I'll miss the opening ceremony because I have this little thing called a j-o-b I go to on many a Friday evening. Not that I'm heartbroken; I really don't see how anything could top the performance of the Beijing opening ceremony four years ago. That may well have been THE most spectacular show I've ever witnessed.  
          Let's see, if I had to pick just one Olympic event to see live, in person, I think it would be hurdles.  Why? Because 1) it doesn't involve heights which makes my palms sweat  2) it's fast  and 3) it would be like the metaphor of the Christian life being dramatized. A great cloud of witnesses from the heavenly stands, cheering us on as we run our race, overcoming obstacles, sometimes tripping, sometimes falling,  but getting back up and keeping our eyes on on the finish line, eager with hope and the thrill of victory, ready to receive the rewards which God has promised to every believer, not just the top three contenders!
        Metaphor aside, and if I could choose a second event,  I think I'd like to be there when Michael Phelps mines for gold in the swimming pool. He is, after all, a hometown boy from this great state of Maryland.

2.Do lazy days make you feel rested or unproductive?
          Usually unproductive. I like Sundays because it's specifically a day of rest, so I don't feel guilty at the lack of productivity; I celebrate it with a nap after church, almost religiously.

3. July 25th is 'officially' Threading the Needle Day...can you sew? On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being not at all and 10 being Betsy Ross-like, how would you rate your skill with a needle and thread?
            Yes, I can sew, but I only enjoy sewing for the home--curtains and pillows.  Not clothes at all. When I was in seventh grade, I had to take Home Ec.  The year was  1877   1977, and for those who remember, there was a dress style called the jumper (not sure why) that was all the rage. Someone must've thought it cute for every female from age 12-43 to look pregnant, because it was a maternity looking style on everyone. 
            In that year, I was attending a Christian school whose dress code required that girls wear only skirts or dresses to the knee (in the age when Marsha Brady wore them just past her hiney, remember?).  I bought bright, canary yellow corduroy to commit my sewing crime  make into a jumper.  The pattern called for gathering the bodice where the bust (or in my case, no bust) meets the waist (or in my case, no waist).  If you've ever had the privilege of gathering, you know the thrill of hearing threads break when you're six inches into your seam. And then again that familiar snap of threads when you're 11 inches in, and 18.... Long story short, my mom (who vowed against helping her children cheat  earn good grades the easy way) took pity on me and finished the gathering.  I had done the rest--from kinda/sorta matching notches, cutting out the pattern, sewing the straps, and so forth. And I had to do the final hemming and ironing myself.  I got a C on the project.  A real low blow to someone accustomed to getting A's. My teacher shook her head at the stitches and mumbled something about hoping I'd never choose plastic surgery as a career.The one compliment she gave it was, "Nice gathering, though."
            Ever the gal to repurpose something, I cut up the jumper after the teacher graded it and then I promptly  made book covers out of it. No one else in the whole school had bright canary-yellow corduroy book covers. I'm sure they envied mine.
4. 'Threading the Needle' can also mean to walk a fine line between two things or issues (think awkward social situation). When was the last time you had to 'thread the needle', figuratively speaking?
               There have been less significant ones, but the larger-looming time (no pun intended, honestly!) when I had to "thread the needle" was during our son's wedding rehearsal dinner back in March.  Living out of state and communicating almost exclusively by email with the restaurant owner, the menu I thought we'd be getting (and the quantity) was not the same as that presented when we arrived. Imagine threading a needle in a semi-dark English pub in New Jersey with 40 people filing in,  (33 of whom were the bride's guests) while one of your threading hands is stuffed with  big bucks for all the food and drinks, and the other is stuffed with printed emails the owner grabbed when we mentioned the discrepancy.  Can you say awk.ward?  I am one of those people who gets uptight when all eyes are on me and there are great expectations and lots of money changing hands.
               My husband, the one adept at clearheaded peace-making in business situations, talked the owner into a reasonable solution whilst simultaneously talking me down from the ledge. (I wasn't  th only one threading the needle, was I?)  The result? The food we ended up with (can you say "welsh rarebit"?) was even better than what we'd ordered by email,  and there was plenty of everything left over for local guests to take home or out-of-towners back to their hotels, so I  had worried without cause about the food running short.  In the end, it was like the wedding at Cana--the best was served first, and as long as you do what "the master" (in this case, my husband) says, all will go well for servers and guests alike. 

5. Kidney, pinto, black, or navy...your favorite bean?
              My last memory of my grandfather was when we had navy bean soup together at a rest stop in Topeka, KS.  I don't remember what else we ate, but I had the distinct impression it would be our last meal together on this earth, even though he seemed to be in good health (except for his really red face which seemed more about poor circulation than a farmer's sunburn).  My husband and two young babies  and I were on our way to the airport back to Maryland, and stopped to have lunch with Grandpa.  I remember how he walked us out to the car and told us how good it was to see his great grandchildren for the first time.  He gave me a warm hug and then held on to my shoulders as he stepped back and looked at me tenderly with those warm brown eyes, his brow creased by years of squinting against the Kansas sun. A man of few words, he started his last words to me with, "Well," (more like "wail" in his midwestern drawl), and continued with something like "you certainly make this old man proud and happy."  I wish I could rememember exactly what he said, but that was the feeling I had, that of beign part of making him a proud, happy, old man.
             One month later he had a massive heart attack out in his field behind the cow barn.  I was able to fly back for his funeral, and although stunned by his death, I was grateful we'd had that last lunch together of navy bean soup together, and that last hug. 
6. Have you ever hosted a garage sale? Was it more success or bust?
           I've only hosted one successful garage sale, and that was a fundraiser for a mission trip to Russia when my daughter was a high school senior (2007).  My church care group rallied stuff--good stuff--from all over, and the sale was held at a great location.  We raised more than $850 in one day.  
           All other yard/garage sales I've hosted have been a bust.
           I don't usually use the word "bust" in my posts, and yet today I've used it three different ways. Fancy that.

7. What makes you roll your eyes?
           My youngest son's puns.  Every day, many times a day, he'll play on words and then look at me and ask, "Good one, huh? You know it is."

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Speaking of 2007, I found this picture from my 2007 blog entries.
Myrtle Beach, SC, with the four best children a mother could have.
Ah, glory days... I am having trouble this year wanting to vacation
without the whole family.  The oldest is married, the second has
planning meetings for school, the third has an internship without
vacation time, and the fourth gets lonely without his sibs. And guess
what? We have slated to take vacation next week. That's right.
No plans in sight. All I want is to go boating on a lake.   I think I could
enjoy that with just three of us.  (We always find great last-minute deals
on vacation rental homes, and I trust this year will be the same. It's my
frugal husband's way. While it appears he has no plan, he does.)


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

GratiTuesday, for the Riddance of Pet Peeves

I am thankful beyond words (though somehow I manage to find some) that my Brownie dog appears to have been healed.  (See yesterday's post for de"tails" if you want the full scoop.)

Some of you animal lovers will rejoice with me.
Some of you great housekeepers will rejoice even more.
Some of you might not give a dog's behind about my pet peeves.

Yet, I am happy to report that my old canine unit made it through the night without an accident or an incident. (Accident is #2, incident is #1, by my definition.)  I give God the thanks for the means He
gave to heal her:

-the nutritional wisdom via text from my animal-whisperer of a sister, Andrea, who advised me to boil chicken and rice, enough for three days' meals for Brownie.  I had forgotten this was the vet's advice when Reilly had distressed bowels from being kenneled during the wedding weekend.  She also said it was safe to give a Pepto pill . (Andrea used to be a vet tech so I trust her on all animal matters.)

-my daughter's recollection that the vet had prescribed an anti-diarrheal pill for Reilly, and there were two left over. I gave them to Brownie, one last night, one this morning.

-the rice I "just happened to have on hand" from Chinese carry-out on Sunday.  Rice is not liked well enough at my house to be kept as a pantry staple, but I had enough to combine for Brownie's first two chicken-and-rice meals to stabilize her bowels.  (The only Rice my kids get excited about is Ray Rice, the Raven.)

-my Facebook friends who care enough to pray for me, even the ones who dislike dogs or pets and can't fathom mothering one through the night or putting up with their literal crap

-prayers of other friends who texted their concerns

--immune systems and rest

Monday, July 23, 2012

You're Invited, but not Cordially

Today I'm having a pity party. You are invited.  From experience, however, I have noticed that pity parties are not well-attended, but the hosts and hostesses keep inviting anyway. It's been a while since I had a really big one. I mostly party alone or with immediate family in order to keep the friends I have.   But I am pulling out all the stops since I've already pulled out most of my hair.

This pity party has kind of been open-house since Saturday night.  We came home from a wonderful day in West Chester and Philly (the hubs, the boy, and I).  A very full, exhausting day of shopping, eating, and going to a singer-songwriters' circle.  I will blog about that in the very near future, but for now there's a party goin' on right here. 

It started when we walked in the door at 11 pm Saturday night.  There was dog mess all over the kitchen floor. (Some of you might want to click the X on your screen at this moment.)  Apparently Brownie, our soon-to-be 14-year old German shorthaired pointer (or "GPS" as my vet says, oddly enough, for a half-blind, half-mute dog) had taken leave of her bowels in our absence. I think it was the change in diet from dry to canned food because I had just run out of the dry.  It took me close to an hour to get it cleaned up (sort of a three-step process).  I use this stuff called Odo-Ban which thus far has worked wonders.  (Available at Home Depot, it is stuff that kennels use to clean with, but can also be used throughout the house and in laundry.) 

I went to bed at midnight Saturday and awoke Sunday morning to another mess.

Sunday night (last night) I decided to sleep on the sofa so that I could wake up and clean her messes as they happened. The smell works better than any alarm clock ever has, let me tell you. I cleaned up a  mess at 11:14 pm, 2:35 a.m., and 3:38 a.m., then went upstairs to get the smell out of my nostrils and try to get catch some Z's.  (In this house, Z's are not hard to catch. We have a bunch of them lying around-- at night especially.)   I was about to get online at 5 a.m. to invite ya'll to this party when  I was unable to fall asleep, but one last desperate prayer God heard, and I didn't wake up again till after 8:30. 

Lord knows I needed those 3 and a half hours of sleep because I would need them. Woke to find 5 messes--brown splotches--or should I say Brownie splotches?--decorating my kitchen floor.  I was running low on caffeine and patience at that moment, but I remained calm on the outside. I simply made coffee and went about the business of taking care of her business.  

For three hours.  Yes, it was a 3-hour tour, the likes of which Gilligan, the Professor, and Ginger were all screaming, "Get us off this stinkin' island!!!"   Napkins, Clorox Wipes, Odo-Ban, then finally bleach water because the Odo-Ban did not ban enough odo.

During the cleaning phase, Brownie--who has seldom even tried to get away from house and home--bolted somehow through the fence--and a neighbor came ringing our bell to tell us that Brownie was all the way down the street. Running! That old girl takes ten whole minutes to get her legs under her in the morning, so I was shocked to hear it was her who went dashing down the hill like a puppy.

Was it the fresh air? Maybe it was because she was 10 pounds lighter since Saturday and she could practically fly.   I know I'd fly out if I could right now.

My husband has threatened to take her back to the lady we got her from . Trial period, he reminded me.  I have been at my wit's end over the happenings out my dog's rear end, but not to the point of returning her. I think it was just the change of food.  The love I feel for her compels me to clean up after her. She must feel miserable. I know the rest of the family is miserable from the smell.  But it won't last forever.

This 2 shall pass.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Resting on my Laurels for Today's Hodgepodge

I'm up early with the athletes of the world, but since our internet KEEPS going in and out, publishing is late, so who knows what traffic will come through my personal Olympic Village this late in the day (1:00 PM).  Seems if you don't get in the queue by 2 a.m. , no one throws flowers--er, comments--into your arena.

I participated in my own version of the triathlon in this morning: lifting (the coffee cup to the my mouth), javelin throwing (okay, so it was just the mayonnaise knife I threw into the sink after making the mens' breakfast sandwiches), and a 50 meter dash (to quickly move one car so my son could get another out of the driveway).   

Now, for the 400 meter relay, take a lap around my Hodgepodge track and then pass the baton by way of leaving a comment, will you? Thanks. I'll do the same.

1. The Summer Olympics begin next week and London is playing host. If you had the chance to go in person which (non-Olympic) London site would you most like to visit?
Probably Westminster Abbey.
 Or Buckingham Palace for the touristy thing. But honestly, what I'd rather do is lay on a green hillside watching sheep graze.

2. What is something in your life right now that feels like an Olympic event?
            It's not something I'm ready to share on my blog, but suffice it to say that in the central part of our family's life, a huge change is taking place that affects every other area of our lives. Don't worry, our marriage is not dissolving!

3. What's your favorite supper to prepare and serve when it's too hot to cook?

           Cereal.  Does that count? I mean, I have to pull the Life (capital L) out of the pantry, the bowls out of the cabinet, the milk out of the fridge,the spoons out of the drawer.  If that doesn't count, as "prepare and serve,"  then  how about this? I head out for rotisserie chicken and some salad bar fixings (veggies and fruit) from the local grocery store.  I might pop some baking potatoes in the microwave for a starchy side dish.  But if it's truly too hot to cook, I usually prepare for dinner service by talking my hubby into taking us all to our favorite Mexican restaurant.

4. July 18th is National Get Out of the Doghouse Day...when was the last time you were 'in the doghouse'?

           I feel like I live in the doghouse most of the time.  But maybe I'm confusing the term "doghouse" with being the object of people's complaints around here. ("Who used the last of the toilet paper?  Where is that library book you read that was on my card and now I can't find? Are we out of dog food again? How long has the van been making THAT noise?)  But the last time I made a major blunder of the super "uh-oh" type? I can't remember. I have probably repressed it.  

5. What television advertisement do you find particularly irritating or inappropriate? You may not answer with 'all of them'. I know some of you were thinking about it.

          The ones for the--how shall I put this?--the male performance enhancing drugs.   Two years ago, my then 8-year-old son stopped me from using the remote when that commercial blared during prime time.  "Don't worry, Mom. I know what E.D. is.  It's Explosive Diarrhea!"    

6. Share one piece of interesting news from the year you were born.

          The US entered the Vietnam War.  Not that I'd label it "interesting." I'd call it bad news. The good news?  My birth took my parents' minds off it for several hours a day and several more at night.
That IS good news, right? Being so stinkin' cute they can't take their eyes off me? Being such a babbling socialite that they just love to hear every "word" from the mouth of their own curly-headed babe?   Truth be told, the first six weeks of my life were touch-and-go for my mom, who had to be hospitalized  with thrombophlebitis. My Grandma Dauber came from Kansas to
take care of me  (and my 14-month old sister!) for those six long weeks.  I am sure the bond I always felt with that Grandma (and I only felt bonded to one of my three grandmas) began in August of '65.
7. What's the best part of your average day?

Great question. I've given it much thought.  I have concluded that I have many "best parts" in the course of my average day.  I love my morning coffee (recently made even better by  a Keurig purchased by my usually-NON-coffee-drinking hubby, of his own volition). I love the way the upstairs smells after everyone's showers.  I love breakfast chats with my youngest child who still has  a preadolescent musical voice and a sense of humor that keeps me laughing.  I love rubbing my dogs' ears and seeing their eagerness to be fed and listening to them fall asleep.  I love my daughter's laugh
and my second son's temperament--always pleasant.  I love a good nap (not that it's daily).  I love readng all my blogging friends' blogs.  I love the occasions when, reading my Bible, I sense God's voice speaking to me, especially lately, after a long, long, LONG spiritual drought.

But what I enjoy the most is  knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that--feeling or not not feeling God's presence--KNOWING that God is with me and he hears me and He is holding me in the palm of his hand, and that there is no such thing as an Olympic feat for Him. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Being German by birth and Polish by marriage, this joke from Reader's Digest cracked me up.

             A news reporter wanders through Olympic Village and happens upon a man carrying an 8-foot metal stick.
             "Are you a pole vaulter?" asks the reporter.
             "No, I'm German, but how did you know my name is Walter?"

Monday, July 16, 2012

Photo Prompt Monday:Church Picnic

For the very first time, I am joining in with a few other bloggers in PhotoPrompt Monday,
hosted by mybabyjohn/Delores.  The idea is to look at the photo which one of the participants
(this week, Susan, at the contemplativecat) found to inspire others.  Then write something--a poem, a memory, fiction, whatever, on your own blog...and of course, link up. 

Since this photo prompts a memory that is as close to me as my teeth,  the thing I chose to write could be aptly titled, "Some Days Life is the Pits."

                                                 Source: Photobucket (can't get link to work; sorry)

You see a church picnic.
I see a root canal.

Back up the truck and let me explain.

Church picnics are supposed to be events of
pleasure and honesty.
Most are.
But the one I attended in 2007, at my parents' invitation,
was an event of
pain and dishonesty.

I went through the line
And everything was fine...
Knife, fork, spoon, napkin
Watermelon, hamburger, macaroni salad
Veggies and chips and dips

And olives. 

Spanish olives which I adore.

I took five or six from a jar labeled "pitted olives"
meaning they are supposed to have no pits.
Truth in advertising and all that.
My mom had brought the olives
because she also loves them.
Sitting across from her, I enjoyed my burger
and  macaroni salad,  veggies, and then,
saving he best for last just before the watermelon,
I ate an olive.
A second olive.
Double yum.
A third, and then 
I popped the fourth into my mouth
and bit down.

CRACK! ZING! POW! STARS! and maybe an unChristian
word that has four letters and is not "love" stopped just
short of  jumping from my brain to my tongue.

My tooth! My tooth! I was in too much pain to talk.
I jumped up with my napkin and scurried off
spit it all out--olive, pit and and tooth pieces where no one
would be grossed out.  Or if they were, too bad.

But of course Mama followed me and asked
what was wrong.
"Ah bwoke ma toof!" I said, holding my lower jaw with my left hand,
 lips making that walleye fish expression, no doubt. A walleye with furrowed brows.

"You broke your tooth? How?" Mama asked.
"On an ahwive."
"But they were pitted! There shouldn't have been any pits."
"Dere wunt in de fust free or four," I muttered. "Ah need a ibwupwofen or sumpin."

My mom, ever  the nurse, carries a veritable pharmacy on her.
Her motto has always been, "Better to have it and not need it
than to need it and not have it."

Well, I needed an endodontist. Did she have one of those in her purse?

She produced a little red Advil pill and I asked for four.
"Four! Zoanna Marie! That's 800 milligrams!"
"Oh, den give me eight.  1600's a  toxic lebbel and  ah'm dyin' anyway."

She gave me four and wasn't laughing. I was...sort of.  Either that or start bawling.

In the ensuing days, I had more dental work done that I'd had in "40 some-odd years."

I blogged about it after the deed was done.  

My root canal went fine. I got really worked up over nothing, especially that morning .I called so many people but all I got were answering machines except for my friend Barb in KS. The funny thing is, while waiting for her cell to connect , I got to listen to her music. The song? Lean on Me! Cracked me up. (Thought of Briana!) The other funny thing is what I read in Psalms that morning, somewhere around Psalm 128. Remembering that I broke my tooth on an olive pit, and vowing to never eat one again unless I cut into 12 pieces first (cuz I DO love olives and don't want to give them up) here's what I read when I opened to my "scheduled" passage.

"And your children shall be like olive vines around your table..." It made me laugh, which did good like medicine.I said, "Lord, it's true, my children are a pain at times....but I still love them!"

Maybe God wanted to make me laugh, or maybe I am supposed to treat my children with more care. Or both. Either way, it was a perfectly funny thing to read the day of a scary root canal.


So that's my chuch picnic memory.
To this day,  when someone says the words
"church picnic" or "olive,"
my tongue finds the hole in my mouth where that root canal was.
That's right, Was.
It lasted less than four years, that crown, and then cracked again, and no root canal could be done again. I need a bridge or an implant. 

From olive pit to money pit.

 All because of a church picnic. Or would that be a church "pit-nic"?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Weary and Thirsty

I am weary
been carrying burdens far too long
that were never meant to be carried
by anyone but Jesus

My soul thirsts for you in a dry and weary land
the psalmist said
and I repeat
my soul thirsts for You in a dry and weary land.

Wash me 
Rinse me
Refill me
My cup hasn't run over since
I can't remember when

I used to love  You
with much more of my heart
soul, mind, and strength
But my heart has been broken over and over
my soul, barren, sits like  dryrotted driftwood upon a salty sea
my mind swirls with what-ifs and remember-whens
my strength has vanished like yesterday's sunset
and I need
oh how I need

Take the burdens
Saturate my soul
Slake my thirst
Satisfy my hunger
Mend my broken heart
Train my thoughts, lasso them
Renew my strength from the inside
With Your love
Oh how I need
Your love to pour into me
over me
around me
so that I have
to pour out.

Your promises never fail
You say what You will do
and  You will do what You say.
Renew a right spirit within me.
Forgive my iniquities.
Fill me with Your Spirit.
Prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
Show me Your path.
Lead me in Your truth.
I am hungry
Come to me, sweet Jesus. Come to me or take me to You.
I need You.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dragonboats, Kindness, and Bad Dreams


A creative way to express one's thoughts is through this little ditty called Friday's Letters, hosted  by a young newlywed named Ashley. I first saw this meme over at my friend Lea's blog (Cici's Corner) and thought, "I'm gonna do that some day."  Well, today is that someday.

Dear Dragon Boats at Baltimore's Inner Harbor,

Inner Harbor Dragon BoatsI hear you took my husband and many of his co-workers for a ride as a "team-building" outing after their quarterly meetings.  From the looks of him half-hunched over the next day, and the sounds of his groans as he reached for more ibuprofen, it was quite a workout for a 51-year old. He said he rowed and rowed and rowed the boat till his back and shoulders and arms and abs were painful mush. Well, he didn't put it that way exactly. He didn't have enough energy to be that wordy. He said, "Oh, man, my back!" and I filled in the rest for dramatic effect. I asked if it truly was a team effort or if he was the lone rower (judging from the moans, he was) but he said everyone helped. It was mostly all women, which says probably it was a lot more work for him than if he'd been rowing with some extra testosterone aboard.

Dear Older Woman at Michaels,

Thanks so much for the coupons! Wow, you were a Godsend. I was just going to price brushes and paints and see where I could save money for my art camp kids. You waltzed into the aisle and asked me and the other lady, "Could one of you use a couple coupons? 50% off one item, and 40%  off your entire purchase of  stuff I'm not buying--paints and brushes. They expire today and I hate to see them go to waste."  Well, the other lady said she had her coupon, thank you, so I jumped at your offer. So instead of spending $100+, it was only $68.  Bless your socks off  for your thoughtfulness.

Dear Other Older Lady in the Same Aisle,

You and I had such a lovely conversation for well over 20 minutes, didn't we? I never caught your name, but I found out you have three children ages "30, 40, and 50 some" and you have six grandchildren which you said "is the best thing in the world. It's better than having kids.  If your granddaughter says, "Nana, I want some ice cream," and it's 5:30, you say, "Okay, let's have some ice cream'  When your kids said that at 5:30, you said, "No, it'll ruin your dinner.' I'm tellin' ya, tehre's nothing like it the world, grandkids." I said I can't wait. You were looking for a certain paint brush for oil painting and said you're not very good at painting, but you love it and got hooked after one class at the senior center.  I said I understand completely.  You said your grandkids love to come over and paint with you, and I said I missed out on that. My younger sister got to spend Tuesdays after morning kindergarten with Grandma, painting.

I continued to engage you, a good listener. " My son declared when he was about five, "I love going to Pappaw's and Ima's." I asked why and he said, "Because they have time for me."   I confessed to you, Older Lady, that I had been defensive when my son first said that. After all, I had chosen to be a stay-at-home mom and I homeschooled for 17 years. I gave my children SO much time!" She said, "Yes, you did, but the difference  is,grandparents don't care about all the other things that take time when the grandkids are there. They don't worry about the cleaning and cooking and homework. That child has Grandmom and Grandpop's lap, their eyes on them, their listening ears,  everything. That is something that's hard for a mom to do day in and day out when she's got a husband and a house and other kids to take care of. Totally different. "

Dear Kind Younger Man at 7-Eleven,

I needed coffee in the worst way today, and having no creamer left at home, I went to 7-Eleven for a quick fix.  I grabbed a five out of my purse and left the heavy purse in the car. Once inside, I  realized I could use another gallon of milk and there were two glazed donuts for a dollar, so I got one for Joel and one for me. Then I went to the register with the coffee, donuts,  milk, and the five. But I had no coffee yet in my brain to help with my already limited math skills, and the total came to $5.33.  I told the cashier to take the milk off, which he did. You were in line behind me and held out a bill and said, "Here, ma'am, I have an extra dollar if you want it."  I kindly refused it and said, "Thanks, anyway, but that's all right." As I got into the van, I thought, "Zoanna, you should have let him help you. You know how good it feels to help others out in a pinch. It was 33 cents you turned down, for Pete's sake. It was like robbing him of a blessing."   I turned it down, supposedly, because the milk had already been deducted and I was getting change back from the coffee as he made his offer. But really it was stubborn pride.  If I had really been thinking,  I would have had the cashier take the donuts off, but without coffee it's nearly impossible  to prioritize.

Dear Bad Dreams,

You were not welcome last night in my head. You disturbed my sleep something terrible. One of you was Rattlesnake Dream, in which I had gone down to a dark, dank, doorless dungeon to wash laundry. I lifted a pile to find a six-foot diamondback snake coiled up, rattling and hissing at me. I screamed and my two dogs bolted down the stairs to save me. Reilly pinned himself between me and the snake.  Brownie took on the life of a puppy 12 years her junior and pounced on you, sinking a mouthful of sharp teeth into your neck. All the while I kept screaming, "Don't kill my Brownie! You killed my mom's dog Brownie on the farm, remember?!" 

Another of you Bad Dreams was the Stranded and Scantily Clad dream.  I had taken the van out with my older sister, but paid no mind to the gas gauge or the trip miles.  Knowing from real live experience the van only goes 347 miles on a tank of gas, I should have known better.  Rachel drove down a lonely country road, or lane, we didn't know which. Narry a house in sight, just trees and fields and rocks.  Near the bottom of the lane, just ten feet from a creek, the engine sputtered to a halt atop a pile of gravel. I glaced up at the trip miles.  365.  What? OH, LORD, WHY?  Rather than being thankful for 18 spare miles, I gasped, "Nooo! It can't be!"  I looked around for anyone out there to help. Suddenly a middle aged man in overalls emerged from a rickety old white shed and headed our way. I started to get out my side when I glanced down to see that I had not only run out of gas, I had run out of clothes, apparently, while getting dressed. Only things on me were a lime green T-shirt and a pair of red cheerleading socks, circa 1980.  

I am not sure how the Bad Dreams ended, but I'm glad they did. I woke up exhausted from fending off killer snakes and driving half naked on fumes.  No wonder I stumbled into 7-Eleven looking like I could use a big gulp of caffeine and a handout.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hot Hodgepodge

 Hello, Hodgepodgers. Joyce provided some questions again. Here go my answers:

1. . How often do you check the weather? How do you check the weather?

I usually just step outside and look at the sky if I'm simply curious about the heat, humidity, and chance of rain. If, however, I need to plan around weather, I look it up online (when my server is working, which it hasn't for three days). Funny how weather keeps coming atcha, no matter whether you're checking on it or whether you have internet or TV service. It just doesn't give a darn, doesn't it?

Like one weatherman reported a few weeks ago on the radio, "what you see is what you get."  He delivered the line so deadpan, he might've lost his job. I mean, he sounded like he'd just lost a six-figure income and was stuck doing weather at the local station and all that was required was a voice and the ability to read. Or at the very least, common sense. Enthusiasm was not in the job description, or if it was, he left it at home in his pajama pants.

Okay, so what's a weather question without a report from the homefront?  A bit hot here in the northern Maryland area. And by hot I mean don't forget your deodorant, your talcum powder, your AC, your ponytailer, your personal fan, your flip flops, your tank tops. You get the point. Sadly, some of our region was so hard hit by wild thunderstrorms last week that ONE MILLION people lost power!!! As of 5 days later, "ONLY" 30,000 were without. ONLY??? Would you want to be part of the "ONLY" ? Not me, and thank God we lost NOTHING. Except power THIS week to our PHONE and INTERNET. DID I MENTION that somewhere, sometime????

2. Since this is volume 84 of the Wednesday Hodgepodge, and since I got married in 1984, and since I'm attending a wedding this weekend it only seems right to post something related here.

"Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life."

Agree or Disagree. Why?
AGREE!  If  my man had known more of my defects and vice versa, our felicity would surely not have  advanced us to the altar.   In fact, the decision to join in holy matrimony at the altar most assuredly might  have been "altered" by the knowledge of what personally vexes each of us now.  A quarter of a century hath 
wrought a certain preponderance of change in our perspectives of the other's dispositions.  Covenant keeps the perspective from altering our commitment, and it hurteth not to toss a liberal bouquet of kindness, forgiveness, laughter, service, and either a planned or spontaneous  gesture of the romantic sort as often as the world turns turns upon her axis.

Thankfully, a sovereign God who knew our dispositions and vexations from before the foundation of the great earth, united us and hath preserved us since Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Six.

3. Do you like to dance? Have you ever taken dance lessons? 
I love to dance. In 3rd and 4th grade, I took ballet lessons from a beautiful woman named Mrs. Trudeau. I have a picture of us somewhere.  In my fantasy world, I would grow up to become the next Anna Pavlova. 
In college, I took tap and jazz  dance. I went to all the formal and informal dances that I could.  I wish my husband loved to dance. It would be a lot more fun than watching each other play on our separate laptops. 
I love to watch "So You Think You Can Dance."  The people who jump and twirl and stretch their beautiful limbs simply makes me picture heaven when every glorified body will be dancing.

4. Fresh from the oven peach pie or home made peach ice cream? Pick one. 
How about one topped with the other? Yes, please!

5. Should people accept unfairness and learn to make the best of it?

Both. I would expound, but the computer at the library is about to shut down and then I have to take the Jeep to the shop. It's not fair that I don't have a smart phone to play on while sitting at the shop, but I'll make the best of it by reading free magazines about hair, food, and decorating, or ammo and guns, depending. It is an auto shop, after all.

6. The top five all time summer movie blockbusters (released between May and August and grossing at least 100 million dollars) are-Jaws, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars (the original), Ghostbusters, and ET. Which one's your favorite? 

7. If given the chance, would you like to visit the moon? 
Nope. Scared of heights. Although feeling weightless would be out of this world. 

8. Insert your own random thought here. 
I held my first art camp yesterday with two 6-year-olds. When the girl started, she said, "I am so bad at painting," but when she left, she said, "Look! We're real artisses! It really looks like a starry night!"  (We were painting Van Gogh. 
Sorry, no time to proofread. I hope I didn't misspell "public" or something, 

Friday, July 06, 2012

Not Exactly Back in the Saddle

A long hiatus from blogging (long for me, that is) was not intended to be this long.  But my laptop crashed big time. I blame it on the cheap battery we bought (against my better judgment).  Our IT son has tried to fix it and can't. We're going to take it somewhere for one more try.  I can't begin to think how much has been lost. I'm really only concerned about the pictures.  I think I'm numb in my optimism that the computer can be fixed. Not ready to grieve the loss of whatever wasn't backed up in the last three months or whenever it was that Steve backed it up.

I think we'll be getting a Mac this time. I've heard nothing but good things about it, and the service from Apple.  It's just that I can think of oodles and scads of other ways to spend a thousand bucks right now.

I am using a slow desktop for now. I hate it. Words with Friends is my favorite game, and PAINFULLY frustrating at snail-like speed.

Oh, well, my family got a lot accomplished this past week. My husband took the whole week off work and made a to-do list for around the house and yard.  A list that rivals a child's Christmas list to Santa, except that everything on this list gets paid for with sweat.

How about a rundown of life since the last time I blogged?  I promise bullet points.  If I break my promise, you can use the bullets against me in the comment box.  In random order...

  • We put the Saab convertible up for sale, which has been emotional for me. I love that little car,
  • It was a combined gift to me for turning 40 (although we bought it when I was a bit older than that!) and as a commuter car for our daughter three years ago.  It was a well-spent $3300.
  • Daughter has since bought a car with half the miles, 4 doors for taking adults and kids in car seats around in, and doesn't leak when it rains.  But her "new" car doesn't compare to the Saab for driving fun.
  • A guy came to look at it after asking --sight unseen--if we'd take $1200 (down from $1875).
  • He took it for a test drive with my hubby, and then offered $700. Are you kidding me? NO WAY, JOSE'!!
  • I took it to the tire shop yesterday for a wheel balance and rotation. They showed me that two rims need to be replaced, as one of them caused a bruise and some other trauma had caused a bulge in the tire which wasn't safe to drive with. Great. So he put a donut on it and  I drove it home at top speed of 50 mph.  It's got turbo, people, and I feel SO restrained by donuts and speed limit signs.
  • Saab parts are not easy to find, so we may be calling Mr. 700 back.

  • Am I the only person of sound mind, body, and patriotic spirit who attended neither a parade nor a fireworks display in my hometown where there's been no ban on pyrotechnics due to weather?
  • I'm not really disappointed about missing the parade. Haven't gone in years since they're so political and the bands are ho-hum. Remember the days when high school bands actually competed ? Do they still? I haven't seen crisp, clean lines being marched, nor  crisp, clean notes being played for a long time. It's not worth staking out lawn chairs for, nor enduring 100 degree heat that we've been having.
  • How many times can I use the word "nor" in one post? 
  • For the past few years, the older kids did their thing on the 4th and I took Joel to the fireworks. My hubby is not one for crowds and  fireworks don't thrill him. But our little mother-children tradition of stopping for candy and soda and then finding a parking place near downtown was rendered defunct this year by the boy who said, "Last year's fireworks were lame.  They lasted like 10 minutes."  No, they actually lasted a lot longer, but for most of the time I was trying to find parking.  My bad.


  • I had a goal to complete 12 pages in a scrapbook this month. Well, I broke my arm patting myself on the back yesterday.  Why? Because I completed 14 pages in 2 days.  I simply took out a box of photos marked "2006" and got out all my tools and paper,  and "went to town."
  • When I have a new computer and can upload photos, I will be blogging some "memory lane" posts, so saddle up your reading horse and hang on for dear life. I can be wordy.
  • Do I even have to say that?  
  • Two moms approached me in the past month and asked if I would consider teaching their kids some art this summer. Well, it sounded great, and so I advertised "art camps" on Facebook and by word of mouth. Lo and behold, I have 8 students betweent the ages of 6 and 11 signed up for Tuesday art camp beginning July 10th. I am so excited to share my passion for art with young'uns whose moms don't find the whole "art thing" at all enticing. The mess, the ideas, the skills, the clean up. So for some cash, I will take the "burden" (my joy) and it's a win-win.


Time to return to the infamous list.  I believe a couple of hall closets need to be organized, a  dining room squared away,  some laundry finished, a bedroom pared down.  My hubby is out getting a haircut and running to the library on a father-son outing. Because we all know that watching dad get his hair cut is far more exciting than watching "bombs bursting in air" with mom.  But I'm okay with that. That same dad  has power washed the deck, shampooed carpets, cleared brush, mowed grass, made fruit salad, said no to Mr. 700, and done  a zillion other things this week.

So much to blog about. I really should  ride the blogging more frequently and on shorter ventures.

Happy 6th of July, everyone.