Thursday, June 30, 2011

They Almost Always Come Home

No, I'm not trying to horn in on Brie's territory over at The Book Brieview, but I just read a most amazing story. Gotta tell you about it. :)  (By the way, if you haven't been to Brie's, you really need to check it out!)

I recently read a few good books all in a row and suddenly found it extremely difficult to really 'get into' anything else. I started 7 or 8 novels and got no further than the first few pages of each before moving on and trying something else.

Then I grabbed this little number on my Kindle.

Best move I've made in a long while. ; )

This is probably classified as Inspirational or Christian fiction.  I was completely unaware of that when I started reading it, but it also never felt preachy.  Even if you are not into this type of novel, I urge you to give it a shot.  Ruchti has taken some less than pleasant subjects (yes, more than one) that would have had some authors crafting a depressing tale of woe, and penned one of the most hopeful stories I've read in recent years.  Her conversational writing style is a thing to treasure...she writes the way I think.  Scary?  I'm sure The Hubster would think so.  ; )  But there are plenty of you out there who just might get it

This is the very realistic story of a marriage and what can happen when men communicate like men and women communicate like...well, women.  Lessons learned?  Neither is exclusively right or wrong and (as I've preached for years) perception is reality.

This is not a book of answers for troubled marriages and I certainly hope that none of you ever has to experience the things that Greg and Libby do on these pages. However, I do think you'll be better for having read their story.  More understanding; more willing to listen with not just your head but also your heart; better able to find some way to reach out when you know you should; more willing to accept a helpful hand, a shoulder to lean on, the support of someone who loves you. 

Yes, this story is about all that.  And then some.

*One word of warning to Kindle users though:  The formatting of this novel on the Kindle is definitely less than ideal.  I'm not sure why but the page breaks are in awkward places, the authors name and the title appear on nearly every page.  Some sentences are centered and others are not.  But it is certainly readable and definitely worth the minor aggravation.  

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Oswego Tea...Bergamot...Monarda

Or just simply BEE BALM.  When my friend Tonia gave these to me, that's what she called them. 

Obviously, with a name like bee balm, the bees love it.  But so do butterflies and hummingbirds!  How could they resist?  Those bright and beautiful blooms seem to draw you in and once you get close enough, the fragrance will do the same.  And you know what else?  Those blooms are EDIBLE!  Not that I've ever used them in my cooking, but I do like to read up on the plants I have to find out their history, uses, soil and water preferences, etc.  Bee balm happens to be related to mint.  The leaves can be used for tea or to add flavor to jellies and the flowers are good in salads, or so they say. 
I visited here and found this info regarding medicinal uses:

Bee Balm leaves and flowers and stems are used in alternative medicine as an antiseptic, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic and stimulant. An infusion is medicinal used internally in the treatment of colds, catarrh, headaches, and gastric disorders, to reduce low fevers and soothe sore throat, to relieve flatulence, nausea, menstrual pain, and insomnia. Steam inhalation of the plant can be used for sore throats, and bronchial catarrh (inflammation of the mucus membrane, causing an increased flow of mucus). Externally, it is a medicinal application for skin eruptions and infections. Bergamot's distinctive aroma, found in both the leaf and flower is wonderful for use in potpourri.

Are you a brave enough soul to try such things?  I mean, I know I use and eat plants (or portions of them) every day of my life.  We use vegetables and herbs all the time!  I just have trouble considering ingesting something out of my flower bed, ya know?  Something I planted for the sake of decoration.  Like pansies.  I've known for years that they're edible but that doesn't mean I've eaten a ton of them.  They're really pretty when you sugar them to decorate cakes and such, or even thrown into a salad, but I can't bring myself to actually eat them! 

So tell me, what do you grow and eat that is 
a little out of the ordinary? 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Miscellany Monday

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

1.  Another week has begun and I'm feeling like I'm running behind.  Again.  We've been so busy running here and there to watch our local Little League All Stars that there hasn't been a whole lot of downtime recently.  Oh well, that's what summer is for, right?  : )

2.  We spent Saturday visiting some of my family in Glasgow.  It's only an hour's drive but we don't make it down there often. It was good to have a semi-relaxed day of catching-up.  My Uncle George was telling me all sorts of family stories and I have politely requested  begged and pleaded for him to start writing these down!  I told him that if he would even just sit down with a tape recorder and record them, I would gladly transcribe them.  What a treasure to have!  He's among the last of my Daddy's few living siblings and he has a wealth of family history stored in that loveable head of his!   : )

3.  Okay, I confess.  My guilty conscience is eating away at me.  I smuggled illegal contraband into 4H Camp.  It consisted of this:
 and this:
What can I say.  Perri texted me (from her cell, which she's also not supposed to have at camp...) and she said 'please'.  But I also must admit that I'm not alone in this smuggling operation.  I happen to know another mom who carted in scads of McNuggets from the Golden Arches and 10 packs of tacos from Taco Bell.  (Don't worry, Lisa.  I won't tell. )   ; )

4.  I have much work to do today.  Bathrooms that need scrubbed, a refrigerator that needs cleaned out and a lawn that needs mowed.  And here I am.  Writing a blog post.  Kick me outta here, will ya?

Join in on Miscellany Monday 
over at Carissa's.  

And have a 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mom + Perri = An 18' Reptile

Okay, not literally.  But we did use our time together yesterday to make this:

We went out in search of jungle related items 
to decorate her 4H Camp cabin.
The theme this year is 
Welcome to the Jungle
and I think he fits right in!

He really is 18' long, too!  And when I left them at camp, he was stretched out across several beds:

(that's one of Perri's cabin mates standing by the door)
He pretty much took over the cabin.  ; )

Perri's counselor, Michele,
had already done an awesome job of decorating!
She had hung streamers 
across the ceiling like vines 
and had clusters of 
leaves here and there around the cabin.
She had also brought in several blow-up 
jungle animals and had them scattered about.
Plus there were safari hats on each bed 
and other cute touches throughout.
Their room just has to win the decorating contest this year!

We did have a good afternoon together.
I hope she will treasure the memories we made today.
I know I will.
: )

Friday, June 24, 2011

She's a Little Busy This Summer

Perri's calendar looks something like this:

Softball clinics, volleyball clinics, marching band practices, softball scrimmages, Youth Leadership Academy, 4H camp...these are just a few of the things that are occupying her time this summer. 
(This is a shot from last night's scrimmage.  Wicked sky, huh?  
It was beautiful and frightening, all at the same time.)

I love that she's busy and involved and enjoying this time in her life.  Really I do.  At her age, the most I did in the summertime was hang out at the city pool with my friends and keep my nose buried in a good book.  (Yeah, I was kinda geeky...) 

That being said, there is also something I must admit. 


She leaves for 4H Camp this evening and won't be home until late Tuesday night.  And today, since Tucker is gone with Brie and her family to see Cars 2 and do some other fun stuff, I do believe that this will be a Perri and Mom day.  : )  Not gonna do anything special.  I just want to enjoy her.  She is fun and she is funny; she is smart and she keeps things interesting.  She makes me laugh and she makes me think.  She is part me, part The Hubster....the good parts.  She is my Perri.  

So for now I'm outta here.  Gonna go enjoy my girl for a few hours and hope that it will do until she can pencil me in again.  ; )

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Darn Near Perfect

That's the best way I can describe my day today. 
I spent it here:
Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Reds territory.

And I wore this:

(That's my Tucker Man, also wearing his Yankees garb.)

And you know what?
All was well because Cincy is a classy baseball city.
There were no rude remarks or gestures
and no dirty looks from the locals.
As a matter of fact, people were friendly,
polite and eager to be of assistance...
much like the last time we visited this city
for a Yankees game in 2003.
I gotta say, 
we have visited other baseball cities 
to watch my boys play 
and I can't say the experiences were quite as nice.

Thank you, Cincy, for being such a gracious host.
I know that most of you probably don't give a hoot about baseball,
but I just gotta share a few pics.  
Bear with me.  ; )

Stretchin' before the game.
Can you say 'flexible'? 
The men in black.
These dudes can make it or break it.

This man has struck fear into the hearts of many a batter.
It is always a thrill for a Yankees fan
to watch him take the mound.
Mariano Rivera
aka:  'Mo'
And this, my friends, was the final pitch of the game.
Yeah, we won!  : )

 And my boy gets to tell his kids and his grandkids
that he got to see,
live and in person,
all of baseball.

Darn near perfect, I tell ya.  : )

But I guess you're wondering
since the threatening rain held off
and we had decent weather
and we got to see Mo
and we won the game...
why wasn't it perfect?

Well, someone didn't give 
the powers that be at 
Great American Ballpark
the memo regarding Cracker Jack and baseball.
You know, they just go together!
It seems the folks in Cincy prefer this:
And that, my friends, is just not perfect.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Mama Jones always had a pocket.  Her house dresses all had at least one on the front and if she was dressed for bed, she wore a robe with pockets.  And no matter what she was wearing you could rest assured that in one of those pockets there would be a folded Kleenex tissue and one of these:
That little packet of gum is so many things to me.

It is a hug from my Mama Jones, and the sweet memory of her soft voice telling me stories of her childhood. 
It is remembering my little 7 year old legs climbing into her oh-so-high four-poster bed 
when we'd have sleepovers.  
It is the aroma that always enveloped her.
It is, in many ways, some of the best parts of my childhood.

For many years it was impossible to find Teaberry in our neck of the woods.  Then one day a few years ago, while visiting the Amish Country in Ohio, we happened into a little general store with a huge selection of candies and gums, and lo and behold...there sat a box of Teaberry Gum.  Right alongside the Black Jack (that strong licorice gum for which I could never develop a taste) and many other brands and flavors of long ago. 

And you know I bought some.  : )

Nowadays I see Teaberry here and there when we're out and about.  Like all good things, it is making its way back around for yet another generation to enjoy.  If you've never tasted it, give it a shot.  It has a unique flavor and I really can't compare it to anything else.  

What is it that brings back sweet childhood memories for you? 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I'm Feeling Quite Scentsible

I am walking through WalMart, attempting to remember the things written on the shopping list I left at home, when suddenly I am swept away. 

No, not by the nice looking young man stocking the shelves.  And not literally swept away.  It was more of a little mental vacation.

In reality I was here:
 In my mind I was here:
Not a bad trade, ya think?  

And now I'm sure you're wondering how I went from the torturous aisles of Wally World to this fantastically relaxing beach scene.  That's fine.  I'm more than willing to share my secret.

You need only two things, the first of which I'm pretty sure you have at home.  
Or wherever you might happen to be. 
The second thing you need is this particular aisle:
It also helps if some shopper before you has attempted to sniff
(or perhaps apply?) 
some of the potion inside of one of those bottles and just happens to have spilled a bit. 

I love it when a scent evokes a powerful memory or feeling.  Same thing with certain songs.  To this day I can't hear anything by Chicago (circa late 70s/early 80s) or The Commodores' Brick House without being at the Glasgow Pool of my childhood.

I say 'of my childhood' because I took my kids there last summer, for old times' sake, and it really just didn't feel the same way it did when I was growing up there.  Which is another lesson learned:  Our fondest memories are often glorified versions of the actual happenings.  Time tends to soften the rough edges and polish each to a gentle glow.  It also eliminates any unpleasant aspects that may tarnish the recollections of our good ol' days.

But that's a whole other blog post.  Back to the business at hand.  ; )

Another scent that will take me away is Downy softened towels
hanging on a clothesline in a gentle spring breeze. 

There I am, in the backyard of my childhood, grass tickling my bare feet as I weave my way through the damp towels, hoping Mom doesn't peek outside and catch me.  Touching the laundry on the lines was a no-no.  But what kid could resist that damp, sweet-smelling labyrinth, especially in those first barefoot warm days of springtime?

So tell me, what scents take you away?  Where do they take you?  What is it you'd love to smell right this minute, just so you could experience that memory/feeling?  Come on...spill it!  Inquiring minds want to know!  : )

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Bloomers

Not that kind of bloomers!

I'm referring to these:
 and these
 and these
 and these
 and these, too.
Then, of course, there are these...

I also have a question for you 
flower lovers out there...
What is this 
and what can I do to rid my flower bed of it?

A friend of mine gave me
many beautiful flowers 
and she also gave me 
great advice about what 
to plant in my beds and 
what to put elsewhere.
I didn't remember what was what.
You guessed it.
I planted in my beds 
a couple of things that really shouldn't
have gone there
and now they're taking over
I've been pulling things up
left and right 
only to find more growing 
the very next day.
So any advice?
Or better yet,
any volunteers to come
weed for me?  

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wanna See Happy?

This is happy.

Need a better view?

Maybe just a tad closer?
That's my Tucker Man
and he is a very happy camper today.

The reason?

Well, see this base?

And my Tucker Man had just reached that base
by running his little heart out.

And he ran his little heart out
shortly after swinging his
bat just as hard as his
little arms would allow.


And this triple, my friends,
came during an ALL STAR game!

Tucker's team went on to win
and we play again
on Tuesday.

Wish them luck!

Friday, June 10, 2011

5QF, just a little late in the day...

1. How close to your childhood dreams is your life now?
Ya know, when I think about it just a little, I have to say pretty doggone close. I wanted six kids...I have four. (Had two, ended up divorced, remarried and had two more. Just went a little too long between husbands... ; ) ) All I ever wanted was to be a mom, a wife, a writer. As a young girl I would dream of a house with a white picket fence (corny, I know) and I had names chosen for all of my children, including the twins I planned to have. ; )

2. What is one must have item for the summer?
A good book. Or two. Or maybe ten.

3. Do you have your kids stay up on school stuff during summer vacation? (Or, if you don't have kiddos, did your parents make you keep up on school stuff during summer?)
We are one of those families who enjoy learning all the time, and while the kids are young and still sponge-like, we teach them at every opportunity. So yeah, we even do some learning during the summer months. Especially when we get to travel. Lessons learned by seeing and doing are lessons well learned. So while we don't actually sit down and do worksheets or anything like that, we DO continue learning in fun ways. : )

4. Do you can or freeze fresh produce?
Of course I do! Doesn't everyone? The Hubster works the land and I put up the harvest. Bushels of potatoes go into the cellar, I fire up the canner and break out the Mason jars for the green beans, the peas...

Oh, who am I kidding? We don't even have a cellar and I'm not even sure I still have a canner. What's more than that...I DON'T HAVE THE TIME OR THE ENERGY FOR IT AT THIS POINT IN MY LIFE! So here's the truth of the matter:

I used to do more than I do now, but I still try to put up some fresh things for the winter months. We love fresh corn so I always try to freeze several quart bags. We also grow bell peppers and I blanch, stuff and freeze those. Wrap them individually and I just pull out as many as I need, mix up some sauce, and throw them in the oven. Quick, easy, fresh tasting meal on a cold winter's day. : ) And I put up freezer jam in the spring when strawberries are in season for us. YUMMY!

5. Do you get ready for the day first thing in the morning?
Usually, but right now the kids are out of school and on the days we have nowhere to be and nothing important to do, you just might catch me in my pj's a little later in the morning than is typical. Or maybe even a lot later. Maybe. In other words, you might wanna call first. ; )

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I'm SO Excited to Share This With You!

Well folks, there's an NBOTB.

No, that's NKOTB.

And though I still love these guys,
that's not what I'm here to talk about.

Not today, anyway. ; )

I'm referring to a New BLOG on the Block!

And here's the link:
The Book Brieview

If you live to read, this is the blog for you.

If you like honest reviews from a passionate reader,
you're gonna love the place.

If you'd really like to find a new author to enjoy
but don't want to waste your precious time
trying book after mediocre book,
this blog will be your new best friend.

You see, Brie, the author of this new blog, is an avid reader.
Her appetite for books is positively insatiable.
She devours an average of a half dozen books each week.
Yes, each week.
And another plus is that she has really good taste in books.
I should know.
I read to her most every night
of the first 12 years or so of her life.
: )

Yes, this is my daughter Brie,
so I am just a tad biased.

But don't worry about that.
Go take a look for yourself
and see if you don't think
she gives a pretty good book review.
Or Brieview.
'Cause that sounds SO much cooler.
And leave her a note to tell her
Mom sent ya.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Some Shots I Forgot

The Hubster reads my blog from time to time and after reading my post about Vandalia (you know, the one where I told you how my camera died shortly after we got there?) he reminded me that I had snapped a few shots with my phone. I had totally forgotten! And while some of them aren't that great, I do want to share these four with you. They were taken inside the Science and Cultural Center.

There is Celtic dancing going on all during Vandalia.
A couple of Perri's friends have participated in this tradition for many years.

But the biggest reason I enjoy visiting the Great Hall
is to see all the beautiful quilts on display.
Each year quilts are judged and put up for public viewing.
Aren't they breathtaking?

I'm sure I'll be in Charleston again soon
and I plan to take a few minutes to
visit there again and take some better photos to share with you.
Quilting was once thought to be a dying art
but I believe the talented folks in my neck of the woods
are bound to keep it alive and well. : )

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bustin' Out All Over!

Thought I'd share a few shots from my garden.
We had such a cool, wet spring and now it seems
we've moved straight into dead-of-summer heat,
so things are really popping open right now!

My Stella D'Oro daylily.
She's always so bright and pretty!
I have a few different daylilies
but Stella is my most prolific bloomer.

The one tiny bloom on my rosebush right now.
It isn't looking particularly healthy. :(

Once again, I can't remember what this stuff is called, but I love it!
It is a low profile plant, sort of a ground cover,
and blooms profusely all summer long.
Sorry this shot is blurry.
It looked good on my camera screen.

My clematis. : )
This plant always makes me smile!
So many big, beautiful purple blooms.
Just keep her feet cool and out of direct sunlight
and she'll perform beautifully.

I wish I had snapped some photos of my irises while they were blooming.
But time slipped away from me and alas,
they are all spent. :(

*Important Note*
You're getting only close-ups today for a very good reason.

Let's just say I'm a tad behind on weeding.
Just a tad.

I will welcome any and all volunteer weeders.
I will make it worth your while.
I will feed you.
Homemade stuff.
And plenty of it.
Oh, and fresh squeezed lemonade.
Or sweet tea.
Whichever you prefer.

Any takers?