Sunday, July 30, 2006

Blue

Joycie and I braved the heat and humidity yesterday morning and picked blueberries. There's a U-Pick farm about a mile away. The berries are big and sweet and perfect. We spent less than an hour on just 2 bushes, not even finishing the 2nd bush, got dripping wet with sweat and filled both our buckets. Got about 15 pounds of berries, at just eighty-nine cents per pound. Love 'em. They taste soooo good and crisp and sweet. This farm is open only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, so Joycie and Sam are going to go this week and get more, and we'll keep going back for small picking trips until the season is over. Hopefully getting lots and lots of berries in the freezer. This Tuesday, though, it's supposed to get up to close to 100 degrees F., which will feel like a lot more with the high humidity... if that heat starts early in the day, the kids won't be picking.

When we got to the farm to pick, there was an older guy there with a big van. He had transported about 8 or 9 Amish women and girls. They were all dressed in long, dark dresses, with long sleeves, as is their way, with dark socks or tights and dark shoes and their white hats. I cannot imagine standing out in that heat and sun in that gear, picking berries for hours. When we left, they were still there, and I noticed one young girl, probably 14 or 15 years old, had taken off her socks and shoes. She looked adorable and old-fashioned picking blueberries off a bush taller than she was, standing there barefoot in a long dress about the same color as the berries... I wanted so badly to snap a quick photo with my cell, but... I couldn't bring myself to do it, and I know she wouldn't have agreed (or her mother wouldn't).

So now some catch up...

Kev is working midnights again. He's sleeping in the house this weekend, instead out in his "midnights bedroom" in the pole barn. It's not too hot in the pole barn, but it's warm, so it's more comfortable sleeping in the house. Which means, we are tip-toeing around this weekend... difficult to get much of anything done.

My sister, Janet, has her grandson, Rogan, and her soon-to-be step-grandson, Austin, up with her until Tuesday. Sammy went with them Friday, and I pretty much haven't seen him since. He came home to get clothes and some books to read to the boys (Rogan is 4 and Austin is 5), and the 3 of them slept out in Bob and Janet's camper (trailer), with the air on, and Sammy read books to Rogan and Austin. They stopped by yesterday early evening, after they went swimming, for Sammy to get more clothes and more books. He is having a blast, and he loves his little cousins. (Second-cousins, to be accurate.)

After blueberry picking yesterday, I talked Joycie into going into my office with me. I got her to do some filing, while I got more stuff done. I'm really kicking ass at a couple of projects lately, and it feels so good to get that crap done.

We picked up some DVD's and pizza on the way home, called Joycie's friend, Allison, and had a nice evening. Allison got back from her trip to Australia and New Zealand this past Wednesday, so it was nice to see her and talk with her about her trip.

We watched the movie, "She's the Man," and it's worth a watch. I thought it was going to be too silly to stand, but it was surprisingly enjoyable.

This past Wednesday, Joycie and I hosted a "lia sophia" jewelry party. One of my friends at work, Becky, is selling now, and we went to another friend's party. Joycie started picking out all these pieces... It's really worthwhile to host your own party with a list like hers. We invited over 30 women, and actually had 5 show up... whoo hoo! From this party, Joyce chose $425 worth of jewelry that we, I mean I... I paid a little less than $133 for it all. Very nice. It is nice jewelry, well made and with an outstanding guarantee. And... it was fun. Joycie is happy, and I just love making my girl happy.

My happy girl went out in this heat Thursday and worked on my rock garden for me, cleaning out leaves and weeding. Such a nice surprise. What a doll.

In other news... (what a long post, huh)

Last weekend, my nephew, James (aka Jimmy) was up. He was up helping to clean things up after the storm, and he worked on mowing trails with my folks’ brush mower. James is 16 years old, and the hardest working young man you could imagine. He’s all muscle, and knows how to use ‘em. He drove his brand-new-to-him silver pickup with his brand-new-to-him Honda 4-wheeler up, and he looked good with both!

Since Kev and Sam were gone for the weekend on their Michigan Adventures and Whitecaps ballgame weekend, Joycie and I took Jimmy with us out to dinner on Saturday. We went to Damon’s and sat in the clubhouse. James gets out a lot... to the woods for hunting and fishing trips, but not so much to cities and towns. It was his first time at a Damon’s, and the huge TV’s and speaker at the table were quite the novelty. It was such a fun evening. Jimmy had lots of funny stories. I enjoyed his company so much. I hope he comes up again this summer, so Sammy can spend more time with him. Sam was torn... he was very excited about his weekend away with his dad, but knowing he was missing out on Jimmy’s company made him kinda wish he was home, too...

I’ve managed to drink a full pot of coffee while typing this post. So... guess it’s time to go use my beautiful coffee scoop again and make another pot...

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Arrivals and departures

Canada geese showed up at our pond yesterday. They stayed around even while Kev mowed the grass around the pond. They're still here this morning. Beautiful creatures. Seem to be getting along with the turkeys okay, because they were intermingling yesterday evening.





Wild beebalm (Monarda) is everywhere now, while the Queen Anne's Lace is fading a bit. I love the wild beebalm, and I love how it smells.





We did lose some trees during the storm the other night. One small oak right near the herb garden. Kev said there were at least 5 big ones that toppled out back in the woods. Got some cuttin' to do.

My folks lost some trees, too. And pieces of trees. Some are blocking trails... like the huge, old oak that was part of pair down on the bank of the river at the West 20. That tree falling down made me sad. I've known that tree most of my life. Now the other one will likely go sometime in the near future. Once one of a pair goes, the other one is weaker.



Sammy is close to five feet tall, so this gives a perspective of the size of the tree. **sniff, sniff**

With silver bells and cockleshells

Joycie's garden is really lovin' this weather. The corn has doubled in size in the past week. We have new potatoes.

Thankfully nothing was harmed in the storm the other night.



"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need."
— Cicero

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Turkey in the storm

Early yesterday evening, we had a big thunderstorm come on strong and stay with us for a while. The wind blew like crazy. Just the kids and I at home, as Kev is working afternoons this week. When it first started up, I dashed outside and took down the umbrella off from the patio table on the deck, and I brought my 2 flower pots up onto the porch, all the while keeping an eye on the trees. I kept waiting to hear the big CRACK when one of 'em went down... but it didn't happen. The power went out. No surprise there.

The kids and I spent a few minutes on the porch watching the storm. But, when I saw a single group of trees with some of them bending wildly to the north and some to the south, when the wind was coming out of the west... well, that was enough to scare the piss outta me. Truly freaky. Headed to the basement with candles, flashlights and board games, and with one unsettled 11-year-old and one grumpy teenager. No power = no TV, so no Closer episode = Grumpy. Me, I was all, take the power, just leave the house. Ugh.

Just couldn't get into the board game. Wind died down and we headed back upstairs. Joycie and Sam got various electronic hand-held games out, and I napped until bedtime. I laid on the bed watching the storm over the pond. The thunder was deafening at times. At one point it rained so hard that visibility across the pond ceased... it was just one huge white wall of falling water.

After the first wild winds died down, with the storm settling into just a major thunder and lightning storm, I saw a rafter of turkeys... just walking about, pecking and eating. Later just before the big rains hit, I saw a single tom walking around the pond. Major lightning going on, and he was just wandering around. I got my Sony and tried to take some pictures, but it was so dark out, the shots were pretty awful. I give them to you here anyway, to show this brave tom turkey, fearless in the face of nature's wrath. That's one tough bird.



Sunday, July 16, 2006

It's hot

My boys just got back from splitting wood. They're hot and tired.


And wet with sweat and dirty and stinky... but darn cute...


Well hydrated, though... that Budweiser cooler has only bottled water in it. And lots of it.

When I went outside to take these photos, it was like a furnace blast. Like walking into a sauna. Especially since we have the central air cranked up. I had to wait for my Sony to warm up a bit so the glass cleared up.

When I came back to the house through the garage, seeing these just seemed a bit strange...


How hot is it? It's hot.

Moonin'

One more picture from the other night when the full moon was out... I played around a lot trying to get the heart picture from moving my Sony around while it was taking a night shot. To get a heart shape, I had to "draw it" upside-down with the camera. I was so focused on trying to get a heart shape, that I didn't notice this one right away, which was one of my first efforts. Enjoy.

Moonin' by the moonlight:

Forgotten, but not lost...

Got up early again and did some more work in my poor, old herb garden. Kev was getting his tractor out and getting ready to go out and split the wood from the trees that he & Sammy cut down yesterday. But then he heard me say, "I sure wish I had some help from someone big and strong..."

He helped me in that garden for about 2 hours. Kev can get more done in 2 hours than most people get done all day. So I totally forgive him for calling my herb garden "a fuckin' eyesore." We could have debated the degree of eyesoreness between my weedy herb garden and his huge pile of sand next to it... but I'd rather just take advantage of his big, strong muscles and keep my mouth shut, if y'know what I mean...

I found a Jacob's Ladder that I didn't know I still had, as well as a Horehound. My hands ache from pulling out tons of Silver King Artemisia. Ugh. Anyone want some oregano? I am fixin' to destroy a ton of that, too. I also found a well-established chive plant smack dab in the middle of my Yarrow. Grrr...

Haven't touched my rock garden yet... that'll have to wait until next weekend. I'm looking forward to eradicating most of the silly ajuga I planted. It was beautiful this spring when it all flowered purple... but all succumbs to the ajuga; it's a tyrant. Thankfully, it's pretty easy to pull out.

I should have taken "before" pictures, but I didn't. So you'll have to make do with these "after-so-far" pictures.













Saturday, July 15, 2006

That's the way I like it

This morning we were up and at 'em around 7am. Kev wanted to get going on cutting wood, and I wanted to do some weeding in my long-neglected herb garden. It is supposed to be another extremely hot & muggy day... too hot to work outside after, oh, about 10am.

We got the kids up, and Sammy is helping Kev while Joycie helped me. (Kev and Sammy are still out there working.)

Right next to my herb garden is my rock garden. Only it's so covered in ajuga, you can't really tell it's a rock garden. Also, years ago, a woman gave me a red clover that she said would bloom beautifully yellow and go real nice with the purple ajuga. I've been pulling out clover ever since.

The oregano, chives (3 varieties) and feverfew are prolific travelers. I'm pulling those out all over, too. One thing about working in the my herb garden... it smells so good when yanking all those runaway herbs out.

I also planted a wild black-eyed susan in one corner, and that sucker multiplied like crazy. I pulled it all out. I found 2 queen anne's lace plants growing, and I'm leaving those. They will expand their territory, too, so I plan to watch for babies and drastically cut short their life span.

My lady's bedstraw is going great guns. I've had that plant for years, and it never really amounted to much. This year, it's ten times the size it was last year, and it's choking out the lady's mantle and some lavender plants. I'm having mixed feelings about it, though... I really like lady's bedstraw. It's a beautiful shade of green, and it has lovely little yellow flower stems. It smells so good. It's also known as Our Lady's Bedstraw. Old lore is that Mary used it for Jesus' bed, which at that time, the plant flowered white, but after being used for Jesus' bed, it flowers golden. Magical lore is that lady's bedstraw will bring you love if you carry some of it with you, such as in a locket. Mostly it was used, in ye olden tymes, for mattress stuffing. When it's dried, it smells like sweet hay. I think I just talk myself into leaving it as is.

I have a split rail fence around my herb garden, and parts of it are starting to rot, so they're not something you'd like to lean against... A couple of years ago a large oak fell on part of it, taking some of the fence out. And last fall, we placed our outdoor wood stove unit out there, taking up a back corner. I was fine with this, because I don't mind having a smaller herb garden anyway... less to weed.

This morning, Joycie was making comments about how weedy it was and how overgrown and how neglected... I explained to her the point was just basically to keep it going until I retire, when I can spend more time in it. I do want to keep my herb garden, even though Kevin has suggested wiping it out and planting grass. I enjoy it, even though it doesn't look like a well-tended plot with specimen plants. I like sitting out there and smelling all the wonderful smells. Anyway, I like disorganization in my gardens. So there.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Snippets

In the kitchen last night, while I was trying to make room in the frige for the leftovers from dinner:
Me: Joycie, here, put what's left of this macaroni salad into a small bowl.
Joycie, opening the large bowl: Oh my gosh, this stinks.
Me: Yes, it's the onions, the lovely onions.
Joycie: It stinks worse than that, it smells like bad plastic.
M: You're nuts.
J: Seriously, Mom, I don't think you should eat this.
M: It's fine, just put it in a bowl for me.
J: But Mom, I really don't think you should eat this. I'm not only worried about your health, I'm worried about your halitosis.

Later, still in the kitchen:
Me, in response to yet another smart crack: You have 3 zits on your forehead.
Joycie: There are only 2 there.
M: Yeah, but they're really big.
J: Thanks. What's that on your face?
J: Oh, that's your face. Sorry.

This evening, sitting in my folks' living room, visiting:
Sammy, interrupting our conversation & totally off topic: I think Mother Nature's name is Mona.
Me: WHAT?!
Sammy: I think Mother Nature's name is Mona.
Me: What the hell are you talking about?
Sammy: You know, Mo from Mother and na from Nature.
My Dad: Mother Nature gets blamed for a lot of things she doesn't really do.
Me: [nothing to say at this point]

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I think of you each morning...

When Sandy came to town for a quick visit recently, she gave me a gift. (That girl is always giving gifts!) This is my beautiful gift from Sandy, a wooden scoop that I use every morning for my coffee:


It is so pretty! Sandy has one, and on a trip down to her home in Texas, I noticed it. She, of course, remembered! I'm glad that she did. I like having it, and I especially like thinking about my best friend each morning when I make coffee. It's a wonderful way to start a day.

I also enjoyed the tag that came on it:


Quiet reflection and a hot cup o' joe. Oh yeah, baby.

Plus, anything that has the word 'nuts' followed by an exclamation point is A-OK in my book.

Wildflower night

Along our road, on the East side, the ditch is hardly a ditch at all; it's quite shallow. In it, every year at this time, Tiger Lilies bloom. They are one of my most favorite wild flowers. I love the orange, and also the velvety brown spots. I've never understood why it is called a Tiger Lily... it should be a Leopard Lily (but since one of those already exists, down in Florida & other southern states, I suppose we're stuck with Tiger).

I look for them every night now when I drive home from work.


I went out back on our property and saw a pretty clump of Joe-Pye-Weed. There was a butterfly on it, a Great Spangled Fritillary. You can just see his friend in the background.


I'm not sure what it is, a butterfly or moth or what...


but this photo shows him drinking deeply... cool!


The Black-eyed Susans are everywhere.


So are the Queen Anne's Lace, another of my favorites. When I was little, I loved to pick a huge blossom, one as big as my head, and carry it around. Queen Anne's Lace always makes me think of summertime and happiness, the school's-out kind of happiness.


The thing about wildflowers is that they have many friends.




Just off the edge of our back yard, there is growing a huge clump of crimson monarda (or bee balm). These are gone wild... they are from when I got some plants from my sister, Kathy (she of the tremendously impressive green thumb!), and I tried to grow them in my flower garden. I could not keep them alive there, but now there are at least 2 spots I know of on our property where the birds have planted some for me. And they flourish...


Beautifully.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Homage to the ambrosial onion

Yesterday evening after Kevin and I got home from work (at 8pm, because I rode in with him and worked a long day myself... ugh), I made dinner. Before I picked Kev up after work, though, I went to a local Meijer store. I bought a couple of those huge, 14-inch 4-cheese pizzas in the refrigerated deli section, the kind you bake yourself. I went there only to pick up the pizzas, but I ended up buying a few more grocery items. While the pizza was baking, I made a favorite recipe, tuna macacroni salad, only sans the tuna... and a few other little changes. It was basically seashell macaroni, hard-boiled eggs, chopped tomato, green pepper & celery, frozen peas, and... plenty of chopped, sweet onion. Mmmmm.... I made the dressing from milk, vinegar, sugar and Miracle Whip, plus some seasonings.

This morning both Kev and I took some of the salad into work for lunch. We drove in together again today, and after we were on our way, pleasantly talking and drinking our coffee, I mentioned the salad. I told Kev that when I opened that Tupperware bowl, the onion aroma just flew out at me. Kev was all like, yeah, I know, they were strong. "Hey," I said, "I wasn't complaining just then... I said that with joyful anticipation of lunchtime." I LOVE ONIONS. Love 'em, love 'em, love 'em.

Growing up, I never ate onions because my Dad hates onions. And I always thought my Mom hated onions, too, but she can tolerate them. All the cooking we did at home never included onions. I thought I was also a hater of onions... until I had them. I think I was about 16 or 17 years old (I know!), & I realized what I had been missing. (And garlic, too! I could do a whole 'nother chapter on garlic.) At family dinners, if I make a recipe that uses onions, I will either leave onions out or make 2 dishes, 1 with & 1 without onions. There are a few more people in our family that also don't care for onions. (Oh, the shame!)

So if you have the good sense to appreciate one of the finest edible plants God ever put on this Earth... I offer you the following recipe. Enjoy!

Onion Pie
2 cups shredded Jarlsburg cheese
2 cups chopped sweet onion
1 & 1/2 cups real mayo
Mix all 3 ingredients together and bake in a shallow dish at 350 degrees F. for about 1 hour. I usually use 2 quiche pans with this recipe, and I bake it until it's nice and dark brown on the edges. Goes well with crackers.
This is usually considered an appetizer, though I can make a meal out of it.
Must use Jarlsburg cheese, otherwise don't bother.
Also, must be mayonnaise, not Miracle Whip, & I usually use only about 1 cup.

Monday, July 10, 2006

On the night of the full moon...

Did you see the moon tonight? It's beautiful. I saw it peeking through the branches out the dining room window, so I got Joycie to go out with me and look at it. Then I got Kevin and Sammy... and my camera. And then I went back in the house and got a tripod. My Sony does a "processing" moment when taking nighttime photos, and if you move at all during that time, it's a blur or a blurry streak of light.

This is as close-up a shot as I can get... and you can see a branch from a huge oak across the pond in front of the moon.

I had to add more brightness and contrast to this photo. You can just see the shine of the moon on the pond. And you can really see the streaks of clouds around the moon.


This is a shot without the tripod, and both Kev and Sammy were trying to "help" me keep the camera steady...


So then I started playing with the moonlight tracking across a photo...
here's my moonlit heart...


Awww....
Guess the full moon brings out the corny in me.

A venue of vultures

Yesterday morning, I got up again with Kevin and had a cup of coffee with him before he left for work. Then I got the kiddos up shortly after he left... at about 7:15am. Oh, boy, were they happy about that!

We went over to my folks' place to do some weeding in the vegetable garden. It was looking pretty good. Some serious weed growth between the rows, but that'll have to wait until Kev has some time to get the tiller out. I could do it, but it can wait. The tiller is a lot easier to run when you have long legs, long arms and hardy, strong biceps. A description much more fitting of Kev than myself.

We weeded for a couple of hours. Some stuff isn't doing so well... like an entire row of beets has about 10 actual beet plants. Some critter made a meal out of part of the watermelon plants. The peppers are kind of smallish. But the tomatoes are doing well, as is the corn. And the volunteer potato plants are flourishing. A small group of about 3 plants was covered in potato beetles, so I doused 'em with Seven. (When I see "organic vegetables" in the grocery store, I think "vegetables with bugs in 'em". Yummy.)

Anyway, we're not trying to have a pristine, perfectly weed-free garden or to win any awards with our produce. Just wanna have fun and work together in our garden, and then eat some stuff out of it.

On the way home from weeding, we turned onto our road (Joyce was driving), and there was a big group of dark birds in the road. I thought they were crows because I have seen a few large crows often on our road. But they were Turkey Vultures... a venue of vultures! Big ones, several of them in group in the middle of the road. When we approached, the ones in the road took off in flight, and then more took off, flying up out of the side of the road, the ditches and the trees. There was about 20 vultures in the air... I had already gotten my cell phone up to snap a picture, but I was too late... I caught only the last of them...



Turkey vultures are pretty common, in fact very common all over the U.S. (read all about it here). I have only seen them up close a couple of times in my life, and I think they are one truly ugly bird. Creepy ugly. It's also not uncommon to see 3 or 4 of them circling in the air (a kettle of vultures!). Probably the most I've seen in a group before yesterday was 6 or 7.

It was so strange to see that many of them together. And what was also strange was that there was nothing dead in the road nor along the road anywhere. I've never seen the like.

And then I discovered there is actually a Turkey Vulture Society. Hey, maybe that was a society meeting! Bunch of society vultures... cultured vultures!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

My something special from Kev

We have a corner at the back of our house, where it meets the back wall of the garage, that’s mostly shady. We’ve tried to grow grass there, and when that didn’t work, a small variety of other things. What does really well there is moss. No matter what we tried to plant, moss always took over.

When Kev was working outside Thursday, instead of sleeping, he made a moss garden for me. I love it! He transplanted some fern from out back of our property, and put some moss with a dead log piece and a piece of old, dead birch. When he went out West on a hunting trip a few years back, he brought home a couple of cattle skulls, and those have been sitting out there getting nice and mossy. Kev did such a wonderful job. When I got home and saw what he’d done, I was so surprised and so thrilled. I had thought about a moss garden because I saw an article in a magazine... but I don’t think I had ever mentioned it to Kevin. He did some research on the ‘net and decided what to put where. Now we just have to keep it well watered until the moss he brought in, also from out back on our property, is established.

Here’s the corner of the house and different views of our moss garden.














At the peak of our garage roof, there is a bird’s nest. Birds have frequently built nests in that spot. Kev said it was old and from last year, and that he’ll have to get up there and take it down.


But it’s occupied... and here’s the proof.


I hope those birds enjoy their new view of our moss garden!

Omelette du jour par Julie

On Thursday morning, Kev got home from work about 8:00am from the last of seven midnight-12s. Normally, upon arriving home from a 12-hour midnight shift, he'd have something to eat, watch a little TV then go to bed... but since it was his "day off" he decided not to waste it sleeping*. He worked outside all day, and including doing something really special for me, which will be the topic of another post later...

When I got home from work that evening, he was in the mode of "just keep moving" because if he stopped for too long, that would pretty much be it. He was hungry, but almost too tired to eat, I think. Since Kev loves breakfast-for-dinner, I went in the house and made an omelet for dinner. I enjoy making omelets, and I do a lot of experimenting with ingredients. This one turned out lovely, and Kev told me about 7 times how good it was. Falling asleep in the recliner later that evening, a couple of hours after dinner, he turned to me and told me again how good the omelet was. Could be the haze of tiredness, but for whatever reason, he really, really liked it. I share the details of the omelet with you now.

I cut up deli ham into small strips and a nice Vadalia onion into thin strips, sauted both in butter (the real stuff) just until the onions were softish. Out of the pan, a little more butter, pour in eggs that have been only gently stirred. Dumped the ham and onions onto half, topped with Kraft shredded "Mexican" cheeses and a little melty good American cheese. Lid on pan for just a bit, then flipped the other half over on top of the goodies. Then I covered the top of the omelet with very thinly sliced tomato, not overlapping, sprinkled on some Fines Herbs, just a bit, and just a little more shredded cheese. The secret to a good omelet is to not overcook it. I put the lid back on the pan just long enough to melt the cheese and soften up the tomato a bit. VoilĂ ! Some wheat toast and homemade strawberry jam and you got yourself a feast fit for a tired hubby.

*This is an example of one of the basic differences between myself and my hubby... whereas Kev would consider that day wasted, I, however, would never consider a day spent sleeping as a wasted day. Particularly after working 84 out of the previous 168 hours.

Old and poor

My poor hubby, who got home from work last night at midnight, had to get up at 6:00am this morning and head back into work for a day-12 shift. He won't be back home until 8:00pm. This is his first of seven day-12s.

I got up with Kev and started to make him an omelet, but he didn't want one... just coffee, lots and lots of coffee. We got some stuff around for his lunch (and dinner...), and off he went to work.

Kev is a good-lookin' 45-year-old man... this morning, though he's still the major hottie of my life, he sure looked older than 45! His hair is going gray* both on his skull and his face, and his laugh wrinkles are numerous (since this is my story, I'm going with laugh, even though that isn't Kev's forte... ok, honestly, they're more like squint wrinkles... there, satisfied?). His face this morning showed how utterly tired he's feeling. He said he was still awake at about 4:00am. Should be a happy, happy day for him. My poor hubby. My poor, old hubby.

*This story may be a re-run. Deal with it. (I'm old, too.) Shortly after Kev started working in the building he's in now, he had a problem with a piece of equipment. He called the equipment guy to fix it, but the guy took a long time to appear so meantime, Kev fixed it himself. The equipment guy arrived and asked another guy in the building if "that tall guy with the gray hair and goatee ever got the pump running"... So this other guy told Kev about this description. Kev told me and was all, "when did I become the guy with the gray hair???" Ummm... I told him... about a year ago.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Mother is the necessity of invention

I left the kiddos a nice list of housework to accomplish today while I was at work. Unfortunately, I think my lovely daughter has done killed my Kirby. Words cannot express my emotions at this hour... a word easily can though: SHIT!

Joycie last vacuumed this past Tuesday morning, on the 4th of July. The Kirby kept shutting itself off, though, as she later explained. I discovered what I thought was the problem with it much later...

But first I have to explain that while on our way over to my sister's house for our 4th of July family barbecue, I glanced down at my left hand on the steering wheel and I noticed the diamond was missing from my engagement ring. Only Joycie was with me in the LaSabre, as Kev drove separately since he had to leave from the BBQ to head into work, so Sammy was with him. Thankfully, Joycie helped to keep the car on the road for the next half mile. Truly, I was instantly so upset, I should probably have just stopped the car. I can develop a strong sentimental attachment to a chunk of cement... so imagine my feelings for the diamond of my engagement ring that I've been wearing nearly non-stop since Christmas of 1982...

I ended up leaving the family party a bit earlier than originally planned because I wanted to get back home and look for my diamond. File that one under Fat Chance. I didn't even know when I last saw it on my finger... I could have lost it at work the day before.

But since Joycie had done some vacuuming, I decided to take a look through the yukky contents of the bag. That's when I discovered the Kirby bag was so totally over-full that the whole vacuum was clogged up. There was also a major snag where a 2" bolt had somehow been sucked up. I cleaned and cleaned, put in a new bag and turned it on. It ran nicely, but then it cut out again. And we're back... SHIT!

I also went through the bag's contents. First of all, how can it be that Reilly is not totally bald?! The amount of dog hair in that bag was amazing. I did manage to find 2 small beads... leftover from when Joycie and her friends were beading at the dining room table last November. (Every time we vacuum in the dining room, we hear another bead or 2 get sucked up... a never-ending source of misplaced beads, that carpet.) However, no diamond.

My engagement ring's diamond is not very large. But it is beautiful. Kevin chose the diamond, and then he chose the setting, and it was a total surprise to me. I am not the type to ever wear a large diamond or a ring with several diamonds, such as the gorgeous ring my niece now has on her finger. I love the simple solitaire setting that Kev chose, not only because it suits my taste perfectly, but also because Kev chose it for me. And I'm mushy that way.

Everywhere I am now, while I am doing whatever... putting on my shoes, working at my desk, making dinner, taking a pee, whatever... I am also looking for my diamond. Constantly.

My sister, Kathy, who was very sympathetic and consoling, tried to make me smile by saying maybe I could take this opportunity to upgrade to a bigger stone. But... I find I do not want a replacement diamond. I think if I don't find my diamond within the next month or so, I will ask Kev to take my engagement ring and get an emerald put in it. Then, if I ever do find my diamond, I can put it back in the setting.

So today, big ticket item on the kids' To Do List was vacuuming. Joycie called me at work and told me that the Kirby, once again, would not stay running. We have another vacuum, so I told her to use that. She explained that it didn't have all the attachments that the Kirby has (um, yeah, I know, since I paid for all those Kirby pieces!). I told her that Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention and to figure it out.

She called me later to tell me the other vacuum also would not stay running, and that it had gotten really hot. I asked her if she had emptied the container (it has no bag), and she said something about it didn't need it. Yeah, it did. Over-full.

Lately, and I'm not really sure why, I've been questioning things that Joycie and Sammy have been telling me... like I get the sense that I'm either the recipient of a flat out fib or a half-truth. For example, another thing on the list was doing the dishes, both sinks full from the evening before. (I'm a great one for leaving dishes until the light of day.) I told Joycie she did a good job on the dishes. Then I said, "there were so many to do, how long did it take you?" What Joycie did not know is that I had already talked to her daddy, who admitted he had done the dishes while Joycie and Sammy were gone this morning over to their aunt's house helping her with some gardening chores. Joycie kind of hemmed and hawed... and I finally put her out of her misery by telling her that her dad had already told me he did the dishes. "Oh," she said, "Dad had them done when I got home, and I didn't want to say coz I thought you'd get ticked at me."
So... that would be Mother Is The Necessity Of Invention.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

100 past serious

Family BBQ

This is my great-nephew, Rogan; he’s four years old. And as you can see, a little doll! We had a family barbeque this past Saturday, and his momma told me a story about him. She didn’t remember what exactly Rogan was talking about at the time, but he informed her he was “100 past serious.” Which seems way more seriously important to me than being simply 100% serious. I’m not just completely serious, I’m way past that... listen to me NOW, because I’m 100 past serious!

The Big News at the family BBQ was the engagement announcement of Rogan’s mom, my niece, Susan.
This is Susan with her fiance, Stewart.


And just in case you missed it, and how could you???...

What a beauty!

A Texan Visits

My best friend, Sandy, is up from Texas visiting with her folks who are all the way up here in the North country for the summer weather. The kiddos and I got to have a little bit of her time on Sunday, and we had lunch with her. [Note to Sandy: I never listen when someone says they’d better not see those photos on my blog... you should know that about me!] Sandy flew up from DFW on Friday, and got one of the last rental cars available at Detroit Metro. Using a free upgrade coupon she had, she was able to lease a scrumptiously comfortable car. Really, it is... it only looks like a miniature cartoon car with teensy-tiny tires on it... it only looks like a wee little thing that a strong breeze can whisk it around from one side of the road to the other. If this is an upgrade, holy heck... guess they were all out of unicycles. Isn’t it just the cutest little thing?

p.s. Sandy’s car that she drives in Texas is a Crown Vic. This little white Chevy could fit in its trunk. Ugh.

Virginians Visit

We also got to see our friends who are visiting Michigan from their home in Virginia Beach. This is Kathy and Troy, and aren’t they just the cutest couple ever!


And they made 2 adorable daughters, Rylee and Kelsey. We’re hoping to get to see them before they head back home. But it was wonderful to get to visit with Troy and Kathy. I took a bunch of photos, and I just have to share this one. This is a perfect capture of Kathy’s smirk, as only this gorgeous creature can smirk... She’s a hoot.


The Future is New... and Old...

Sunday evening, I sat down on the sofa at about the same time Joycie settled into the recliner & then took the movie we were watching together off pause. Then, in what has apparently become quite the routine, I said, "oh, crap, I left my glasses on the [insert 'table' or 'counter' or 'desk']" at which point I expect my child-of-younger-legs-and-greater-energy to re-pause the movie and jump up and go get them for me. Joycie re-paused the movie, looked at me and said something like, “YOU ARE SO OLD." Not those exact words, but I know that's what she meant.

The next morning at work, while eating my cereal at my desk, I checked out one of the blogs I like to read sometimes... I don’t usually link to other blogs here, but what her son said to her totally cracked me up... and made me feel strangely serious at the same time. A glimpse of the future. If you have a child, particularly an older teen, go read this.

Feel it yet? Oh, yeah. Inevitable.