Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Wonder Doubled: Here’s Hoping

We have a new post up at the USCCB website For Your Marriage.

I was admittedly apprehensive the first time.  We both were.  Donna eased the tension by remarking: “Don’t worry, you’re married to brilliance!”  I laughed and relaxed, knowing she was right.

You can read the whole article here.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

TToT (7) - All Things Summer

- one -
The rain finally abated and we have had some beautiful, wonderful, gorgeous weather.  I'm loving all of it (can't you tell?), even the ninety degree days.

- two -
My flower garden is looking just how I had envisioned - abundant color and blooms throughout the season. 

- three -
I have been making sun tea frequently - good and good for you!

- four -
We are located partway up a hill with trees above us, so we don't often seen the sunset.  The other day, though, the sky was spectacular.  The picture doesn't do it justice.
- five -
Tomatoes are finally ripening.  The picture below was taken a couple of days ago.  That slightly red one is history. 

- six -
We started harvesting broccoli this week.  The four plants have produced nice heads.  I forgot just how good homegrown is until we had it for dinner the other night.  Yum!

- seven -
We had a great pumpkin patch last year, producing over two dozen fruit.  This year, the plants I started in the house aren't doing all that well - as in dead or almost dead.  I planted them a couple of weeks later than I would have liked.  But, I have been saved by the "volunteers" that are growing in the compost pile.  At last count we've seen at least ten pumpkins on the vines.

- eight -
A couple of years ago I tried growing acorn squash and had no luck.  One plant died and the other produced no squash.  Same with zucchini (and who can't grow that?). We have several volunteer plants that are growing quite well this year.  Apparently, I shouldn't even try, just let nature decide what squashes we'll have! 

- nine -
The neighbors had their annual summer shindig complete with fireworks last night.  The put on quite a show - it was spectacular!

- ten -
The weather finally cooperated for the Friday night concert this week.  It was a Bon Jovi cover band.  While I didn't know a single song they played while we were there, people watching was a hoot.  

Check out more goodness at  A Fly on Our (Chicken Coop) Wall.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Quick Takes (33) - Sand Pail Update

Since we're about midway through the summer, it seems like a good time to update the Sand Pail list.  We seem to be taking this summer at a different pace than previous ones, a little slower, a little more deliberate.  And, I'm lovin' it!  I don't feel stressed about doing, going, getting things done.  Everything is happening when and how it should.  

Every summer we like to visit a new-to-us county or state park.  This year was no different and we took a drive down to Salt Fork State Park in central Ohio.  It is a beautiful and large property with all sorts of activities.  We took advantage of one of the hiking trails.

The path was a little deceiving.  Once we got into the woods behind the trail sign, the hike quickly went downhill from there, literally.  That's not a bad thing; though, whatever goes down must come up.  It was a fairly hot day and the woods offered a cool respite from the sun.  It was beautiful and gloriously quiet, at least until the very large military helicopter flew overhead.

The park has a fairly large lake on which we saw quite a few boaters and fishermen.  The beach, however, was almost empty.  To say there were twenty people there would be a generous count.  We were actually rather surprised since it was just a few days before the Independence Day holiday and the weather was beautiful.

We enjoy going to some of the free Friday night concerts held at the nearby town, but many of those have been cancelled due to rain or threat of storms.  We finally made it to one of the concerts held on our township's circle.  A couple of weeks ago The Akron Big Band was featured and was excellent.  They played a selection of oldies but goodies including Rock Around the Clock, Moon River (my favorite), and their one "naughty" song, Makin' Whoopee.

Besides watching the band, we had a funny little dog to entertain us.  She seemed more intent on watching people walk by than watching the band perform.

When we looked around at the crowd, we determined, that even at our age, we were among the youngest ones there.  Most of the crowd had at least fifteen to twenty years on us, easily.  I'm not sure what that says about us, other than we like music that spans generations.

"Pride flings frail palaces at the sky,
As a man flings up sand,
But the firm feet of humility
Take hold of heavy land.

"Pride juggles with her toppling towers,
They strike the sun and cease,
But the firm feet of humility
They grip the ground like trees."

The Ballad of the White Horse - by G.K. Chesterton

Don't forget to check out more Quick Takes at This Ain't The Lyceum.
Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Funny Foto #16 - International Travel

A couple of weeks ago I placed two orders with Amazon vendors on the same day.  One arrived two days later.  The shampoo I ordered, however, took a bit longer.
Perhaps the detour to San Juan, Puerto Rico had something to do with that.  At least my toiletries get to travel internationally!


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Dollars and Sense

During my lunch break at work yesterday I wrote about half of my Quick Takes.   I started editing them this morning and, when I went to undo a change I made, Blogger ate the post, blanked everything out, and then auto-saved it.   Yikes!   I was a bit upset.

But then, I thought about how my morning went and what I had seen while running errands and thought perhaps I am supposed to be writing about something else.  The Quick Takes Sand Pail Update can wait until next week.

I received an email yesterday from one of my favorite garden centers.  On Saturday only, I could get five herbs for free with the enclosed coupon.  I’m all about free and I also had a five dollar off coupon so I decided to take a drive and check out what they had.   Though most of the herbs were fairly picked over I came away with three new ones and a new cone flower that cost me only three dollars after the discount. 

I needed to pick a few things from the grocery store so I took a slightly different route home.  As I drove down the road I passed a barn I have seen several times before.  The people that live there operate a small business selling farm produce, meat, and landscape services.  None of that is easy work, but it seems to me they are proud of what they do and are making a go of it.

I got my groceries and went out a different exit than I had entered. Sitting near the road was a man holding a sign – homeless – please help.   He was curled up, almost in a ball, with his head buried in his lap. 

Often on my way to and from work I see similar sights.  People with signs frequent the side of the road looking for money.  Most of the time they look well fed, decently clothed and just out and out bored.  There was something about this man that was different. 
I drove down the road and couldn’t get him out of my mind.  I turned around and headed back to him. As I drove back, I saw the local “political commentator’s” latest rant.  This man has a sign in his front yard that he posts frequently changing, often scathing, and usually obtuse views on current events and politics.  I found today’s interesting given the last couple of things I had just seen.
Unfortunately, I took a really lousy picture. What the sign says is Donald Trump is already increasing employment – new jobs for comedians.

I spoke with the man at sitting at the street.  I don't think I have ever seen such despair.  He was gaunt and dirty.  I could see the tear streaks on his face.  I can't continue to live like this, he told me.  He was homeless and needed to get his car repaired and gassed up. 

I gave him what I could.  But it's not enough.  It's never enough. 

I wonder if the political commentator knew of this man sitting just a half mile from his house.  Since he is so willing to mock Donald Trump's ability to create jobs, I imagine he might have a better plan.  No? 

I'm not sure I have a point to all this.  I am just trying to figure out what it means and how I live out my responsibility in caring and helping for others in need.  It's easy to mock what others are doing or not doing, but how do we help?  How do we do our share?

I'm just trying to make sense of it all.


Monday, July 13, 2015

Sew What? Skirts!

I mentioned back in April that I've been sewing more lately.  I'm not sure if before that I had gotten bored or burned out with it, probably a little bit of both.  But there's nothing like a few successful projects to get the juices flowing again.  It seems as though I have a three year old mini-muse that is helping make it fun again.

The oliver + s website has a number of free patterns.  The Lazy Days Skirt is a simple and quick project.  It's also a good starting point for a basic skirt that can be embellished in any number of ways.  I changed the hem a bit on two of the skirts, taking the lazy way out on the teal one and just serged it.

Sara now has a lovely collection of skirts for the summer.  I'm tempted to try making one for myself!


Saturday, July 11, 2015

TToT (6) - Two Weeks Worth

Christine heard my pleas for someone to relieve me of some Hostas and other plants that I wanted to remove from my gardens.  These plants now have a new home - Yeah!

What a wonderful visit we had when she came to pick up the plants!  Himself and I enjoyed chatting, discussing life and solving world issues with Christine. 

I took a week's vacation at the end of June, beginning of July.  It was one of those "stay-cations" with just a few day trips thrown in.  While I love where I work now, I need at least one of those weeks each summer.  Time to sleep in and futz around the house and yard is much needed.

We took the recommendation of Emily and tried a new-to-us local brewery, Hoppin' Frog.  What a find!  We enjoyed every beer we tried on our sampler flight.  We even made a second trip to pick up some for our brother-in-law.  If you live nearby or are visiting the area and like beer, it's a must try.

I spent a lot of time in the gardens over vacation.  All of the pots of perennials from Dad are now happily planted.  I think all totaled, he sent over two dozen splits from his garden.  I am glad to have that job done.

I spent Independence Day afternoon with my niece (and her parents).  Sara wanted her toenails painted and returned the favor by doing mine, and my toes as well.  We had happy feet!

Sara turned three this week.  She brings such joy to all our lives - she is the sun, moon and stars!

Usually on Saturday mornings we go to the park for a walk before breakfast.  Seeing the sun again was lovely.

What a glorious morning it has been!  After our hike and a little weeding in the flower garden, we enjoyed breakfast on the patio.

I tried a new dessert out on my sister and brother-in-law on Independence Day.  I had some peaches that were looking like they would be going bad soon, so I found a coffee cake online.  I added some cherries to it as well and it was a big hit.  Does anyone even use cookbooks with all that can be found on the net?

Check out more goodness at  A Fly on Our (Chicken Coop) Wall.


Friday, July 3, 2015

First Photo: July 2015

I didn't quite make the first of the month for this photo, it was taken on the second, barely.  And, it has taken until the third to get it posted.  That pretty much described June.  Things got done, just in different schedules than first planned.  The weather played a large part in that.  The omnipresent rain determined the timing of our activities.  Much like life, just roll with it, baby!

We'll see what July brings.  Perhaps more of the same?