summer 2011

summer 2011

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Paul and I, all 16 kids and Ashley, Benjamin's wife...Christmas 2012

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

just a-strollin' back down that lane...

I used to be young, a fact that is lost on my kids. To them, I am simply old.
When I was 16, jr. brother Tom came with Kim, my bestie, they ended up married...for like 36 years now, with 12 kids.
Paul was young too, oh how I loved those curls...with my brother Tom.
Oh, we were just babies! Finding old pictures and photo albums is one of the perks of cleaning out your room, I guess, but oh dear it slows one down! Yesterday, I went to Lowe's to figure out the deck lumber situation. We placed the order in June, got the first delivery in July, and the rest of the decking/lumber has been a delivery is coming tomorrow, hopefully it'll all be there, so we can finish our pool deck. It's irrelevant now anyway, we might as well finish in the spring. They were SO nice there, in Lowe's, so very nice. They kept apologizing, even though it is not their fault. It's the perfect storm for running out of goods, with the lockdown and the factories closing or operating at low capacity, then trucking lumber from Canada, then the fact that EVERYONE and their NEIGHBOR is building and doing home improvements because of time on their hands, working from home, not going out and about, not spending on vacations, whatever. But, whatever the reason, they were so kind to give me a discount on the flooring I was purchasing! I was buying it anyway, but the manager gave me $10 off each box, so an $80 discount. I was pleased with that! I bought Urbanite Oak, water resistant laminate, for our bedroom. Now, I just have to go finish sorting and cleaning, so we can bring all the furniture and all the stuff out of the room...we will take apart the bed, then rip up the carpeting, paint the ceiling, the trim, the walls, the closet doors, the bathroom and bedroom Is it any wonder I'm sitting here blogging about it? I also picked up the paint yesterday, two gallons of Sherwin Williams Silver Strand. I am excited about this project, but also, wake me up when it's over. Charlotte Claire got up early this morning and went for a walk with me before she went to school. It was 39 degrees, brr, but happy autumn, so pretty out! Ah well...time to get moving, right?

Monday, September 21, 2020

hybrid school and frost on the pumpkins, and nursing school AGAIN!!!

The girls go to school only two days a week, and spend the other days doing online school. We had to buy another chromebook, because sharing doesn't work when they're in two different grades. They sort of like this new way of school, Camille especially. She likes being home more than being there, so it's a good balance. Charlotte Claire loves school, so she would like to attend in person more. She also thinks the work is harder online. Miss Sonja K. is also doing most of her classes, college classes, online, but has some labs to attend in person, and also has a part time job at the college, so she's gone sometimes too. We made some apple pies yesterday, big thick flaky butter crusts, mmm. I had nary a taste, I made my own pie...some fake sugar, and crust of almond and coconut flour. It was rather dry, but the tart Empire apples, and the cinnamon, mmm, it was good enough for me. I poured a little bit of heavy cream on top, and it was just right. The girls also made two pans of huge fluffy homemade cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting. I took the tiniest taste, and just as I suspected: good. Deee-licious. Dinner was beef brisket, in the oven all day, coming out for the pies to go in...a huge pan of mac and cheese, and a small pan of cauliflower and cheese for me, some chicken legs roasted with lime and seasoning, and Paul made a venison roast in the crock pot. The aromas in here, between the meats and the cinnamon, well, wow!
So Sonja K. is taking pre-reqs for nursing college. She's not sure what she'll end up doing, she wanted to be a physician's assistant, but a nurse practitioner is more doable, and there's a very very good nursing college close by. She just took an exam for her anatomy and physiology class, and aced it! She took the test last week, thought she bombed it, and waited, today found out...she did just fine! This is NOT my first rodeo, I've been through the ups and downs of college with lots of kids so far...phew. Today I am picking up some paint for my room, it's Emerald, Silver Strand, by Sherwin Williams. I am not getting one red cent for saying that I love their paint. It's pricey, but 40% off right now, and so worth it. It goes on and hides a multitude of sins. If I'm putting in that much effort, I want something nice. For me, any effort is "that much effort". I get my backordered deck finishing lumber order straightened out, and pick up the paint. I am going to measure my room, and see about getting some flooring today. The ceiling needs paint, the trim needs painting, we need new windows in there...see how this is going? If you give a mouse a cookie, home improvement edition. This is a huge-0 project. We're not the spiffy clean bedroom types. The floor is clean and vacuumed, but we both have too.much.stuff., and need a better system. Three guitars, a few rifles, a bow and lots of arrows...well, does it all have to be in our room? Can we at least hang the guitars on the wall? I'm thinking with a regular bed, we can at least put some bins under it, and maybe put that bow under there. As for me, well, I have clothes. Too many. I've already taken everything out of my side of the closet, rooted and sorted, washed everything I'm keeping, and hung it back up...back in April or so. My plan is to go through it again, and if I haven't worn it all summer, it goes. I am also getting more and more strict on what I keep. So what if someone will want it someday? Why do I have to keep it "just in case"? Less is more, less is more. Hoe it out, throw it out, donate to the thrift store. Ah well. It'll be fun, right?

Sunday, September 20, 2020

apples, peaches, pumpkin pie...

Who's not ready for fall, holler "I!"!
Apples galore! These are crisp and juicy, not too sweet, just right!
Yeah, we like Starbucks... Today, there is brisket in the oven on this chilly morning. Chicken wings will go in later, and some chicken legs too, then maybe it will all finish off on the grill, but who knows? Maybe it'll just brown up in the oven. Unless the oven needs room for the macaroni and cheese and apple pies we plan to make today... Ben and Ashley and their girls are coming over, and probably Margaret and Adrian and their little boys. Abigail and Evelyn might come, and maybe Molly and Josh and their girls, too. So for now, peace and quiet, then cleaning up and vacuuming and making food...then, happy chaos! Jonathan is having a nice time in Oregon, he is going to miss little Achilles like crazy when he gets home...
So I got a new bed frame, and can't wait to disassemble our bed and put this new one up! I bought it second hand, BUT, it's never been used, the lady accidentally bought California king, which is what we need! She decided to just sell it instead of returning it, don't blame her, it's rather large. It was for sale for two weeks, so I offered a lower price, she said sure, as long as it was picked up yesterday. So, yesterday it was! It fit nicely in the back of the truck, Sonja had to drive carefully over those back roads. Now the pieces are here, and will they stay here forever in just pieces, or will my bed be put together and look like a magazine bed? hmmm. I am going to get paint for my room, and new's nice to have projects, isn't it? (I have white chalk paint, some really nice stuff, and finally found more chalk paint wax, and am looking for a project...specifically, a coffee table to re-do. I don't like ours, it's a big huge cube, I want something more narrow, something old, something I can transform...)

Saturday, September 19, 2020

the simple joys in life...

This picture...I love it. Adrian had been reading a story to Wulf, who hopped down to ride on Sunny. Wulf is holding a toy pan with a handful of cereal in it. Sonja is on the couch holding Tennyson, who is awake and alert, and looking at her. Evelyn is helping Miss Char with her math homework. Paul is finding a Loonytunes video for Wulf...
Miss Charlotte Claire holding the beautiful Tennyson Paul...
This is a pic from Oregon, Jonathan with little Achilles.
Sonja and I...mmmm, iced coffee! A supreme court justice has died, there was a mass shooting in a city less than an hour away, and the coronavirus just won't stop. Unrest, violence, fear and hatred loom, and things that are just sinful are defended and paraded. I think God is pleading with us, to turn to Him. There, in His goodness, is peace and rest. The very hairs of our heads are numbered, whether we believe that or not, it is so. Yes, the world is in turmoil. But when you give your life entirely to God, then every single thing that happens to you, down the very smallest thing, will work for your very best. When you love righteousness and hate iniquity, as Jesus did, you will be annointed with the oil of gladness. The iniquity in your own self, of course, not in the others! So who knows what today will bring. I am still tempted to be anxious about so many things, but then I pray, and say NO to those thoughts, those thoughts that want to wreck peace, and ruin life. It's a good fight, the fight of faith!!!!

Friday, September 18, 2020

memory lane is my favorite road...

When I was growing up, I lived at 111 Ridge Rd. One eleven, Ridge Road. Our street had eleven houses on it, with houses neatly lined up behind ours, and so on, with proper little blocks to walk and ride bikes around. There was a steep hill, which was too much fun on bikes and rollerskates, once Casey went over the handlebars of his bike and split his chin open. We had a few vacant lots in the neighborhood, with scrawny trees growing, excellent for playing in the woods. One of the lots had a little creek, oh dear, that was a heavenly place to play. We learned how to start fires there, a useful skill for any child ha. I've driven through my old neighborhood, and wouldn't you know it? They've stuck houses in on those empty lots, the poor kids, where will they play "living in the woods"? Here's a recent pic of Baby Tennyson Paul:
And big brother Wulf:
I went for a walk with Camille the other day...
Sunny and Suri, Suri sort of blends in...they're good dogs.
Christmas, anyone? Already? Okay, so I know I said I love summer dearly, and don't want autumn to commence, which I still stand by, but. But. It's so refreshing and lovely, and I do love fall too. Maybe, just maybe, I love everything. ha. I love my warm furry slippers, and the blanket throws all around the living room, and lighting candles, and the girls making tea in the evenings. Last night, I finally made popcorn. I have been wanting it for WEEKS. Stovetop popped in coconut oil, with butter and salt, oh dear. The girls were having leftover homemade Chinese food, orange chicken and fried rice. I had one steak in the 'fridge, so instead of grilling it outside, I pan-seared it, poured a bit of lime juice on the uncooked side, with salt and pepper, flipped and seared more, then put a loose cover on the pan, and left it on low for a bit...then turned it off, and let it set...oh dear it was good. A $2.99 a pound sirloin, so tender and yummy. So I had steak and popcorn for dinner, like I'd died and gone to heaven. Jonathan made it to Oregon, all by himself, safe and sound. He is homeschooling, but I didn't have him fill his backpack with books. He has some simple assignments, but probably won't do them. He'll be fine though, he'll make it up. He's such a compentent kid. He fixed our minivan, trial and error and watching you-tube videos. He's so smart and motivated, he'll do fine. He's at that age, 16, where he pretty much knows everything. Yet, he posesses a rare treasure: humility. He forgets he has that humility sometimes, then he remembers and apologizes for being so strong and argumentive. He usually IS right, that's the thing. He's a smart cookie. He recreationally argues with his sisters sometimes, but they mostly get along fine. I'm heading off for another walk. I'm so lazy, I don't want to go, but I always enjoy it. I need to get into better shape, and one thing that's motivating me is going to Florida again next month, we're taking a three day island's a small island, and you can walk everywhere. So it'd be good if I could actually do that! I am just a comfy chair person. I like being more fit, I like being able to do things without getting out of breath, but I don't like actually doing anything. So I'll sit here and drink my coffee, then make myself put on the old sneakers...

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

growing up in the seventies...

Life was more local when I was a kid. Different regions were truly different, not united by the pop culture of today, the social media. I had cousins who lived an hour away, but they called soda "pop", and their tv didn't come in properly, so they barely knew what I was talking about when I spoke of Fonzie or Bobby Brady. Communication was vastly different. You called someone on your rotary dial phone, the one with the two foot cord, which afforded no privacy for calling boys and hanging up, if I were to guess, ha. My older brother installed an illegal phone in our basement, back when Ma Bell had the monopoly, and you had to pay for each line. That phone was the glory of my teenage years. We liked to make prank calls, and we would look up cute boys' phone numbers...oh dear, things were different. If someone was long distance, you waited until evening or the weekend to talk to them, my mother talked to her sister on Saturday mornings, and not every week, either. It was a big production, she would announce, "I am going to call my sister." We kids would position ourselves within hearing, so we could hear her "uh-huh", and brag about us. When one brother was in the Navy, we would get a collect call every once in a blue moon, and just wonder and imagine where he actually was most of the time. My other brother was in the Air Force, and he and his wife once surprised us by coming into town, getting dropped off at the corner, and walking into the house unnanounced. After school, we changed into our play clothes, and went outside. It wasn't snack and tv time, not for us, unless it was terrible weather, much more terrible than my own kids' definition of terrible, mind you. Or, if we were sick, we could watch Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, I still associate that with being allowed to have a candycane from the tree for my sore throat. A red and white striped one, none of those sweet tart or Hershey's mint flavors back then. We would go outside, and find our friends. No phone calls to arrange play dates, there was not such a thing. In the winter, we stayed outside until our mittens or boots or both, were soaking wet, then went in and sat in front of the heat duct while our stuff dried in the dryer, and back out we went. My mother made those awful mittens with the idiot strings, but they were warm and plentiful. I would have rather had storebought, back then, because I remember that fitting in was important. Our dinners were simple, my mother was no cook. She'd make pancakes and fried sliced Spam (sometimes she put canned corn in those pancakes, to make them more healthy. Eeeeew. I did not like corn as a kid, maybe this is why.). I still remember the taste of her pancakes, she made huge-0 ones in the iron frying pan. Sometimes we had scrambled eggs, sometimes tomato soup and grilled cheese (Velveeta!), sometimes tomato soup with pasta in it. We also had the detested tuna fish in mushroom soup over toast. I hated both mushroom soup AND tuna, so blah. But I ate it. somehow. We didn't complain, and we didn't waste food. We had our own individual piece of chicken or pork chop on pay day, or the day after, then it was back to casseroles. We did have boxed mac and cheese, and fish sticks, and frozen pizzas, and goulash, which I loved. Goulash: pasta, meatsauce, beans, all mixed up. I just picked around the beans, and sneaked them into the garbage. One dinner I loved was oatmeal and toast. Slow cooked old fashioned oats, from the stove top. Once I was playing with my friend from across the street, and she asked if I could stay for dinner. I could! I ran home and asked through the screen door if I could, my father answered that he didn't care, so I skipped back across the street, and oh my goodness, they were having grilled steak, and corn on the cob. They only had two kids, two little girls, and I was the sixth of seven...when WE had steak, it was ONE steak, fried up, cut into little pieces, and we got a few tastes, then dipped bread in the pan drippings. So this was amazing, we got our own steak and had to cut it ourselves. hmmm. It was the seventies, with double digit inflation, and things like orange juice and bacon were prized in our house, rare and doled out. We had enough to eat, we weren't dirt poor, but we weren't rich. My dad worked for the county, my mom had a few part time jobs (Kmart! Tops grocery store! When I was really little, General Electric on the assembly line.). My mom saved all of her money, and we got a new camper when I was four. They also saved up and we bought a camp on Lake Ontario when I was ten. We lived in a decent little Cape Cod house in a decent neighborhood, and had a decent station wagon, that fit nine. But we appreciated things. We really did. I remember wanting a new warm-up suit, one like Nadia Comaneci. I had to clean the car and sweep the driveway, to earn it. We didn't get spoiled with things through out the year, but Christmas at our house was splendid. Santa gave us each a good stack of gifts. This is getting boring, I'm starting to bore myself. Oh, one more thing: I went on a field trip in 4th grade, to the planetarium in Rochester, NY. No school buses, no sir, we drove in the back of some kid's mom's station wagon, in the WAY back, not even buckled in! Ah well. Sonja is off to college for an Anatomy and Physiology exam, cross your fingers and say a prayer, she's so nervous! Jonathan is leaving today for a two week trip to Oregon to visit Kathryn, Darius, and Achilles. We're hoping for a safe trip for him (all by himself! He IS 16, but still...). Wildfires and riots in Portland, ugh.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

now to answer that question....

...first though, this is how I grill burgers...I put them on the grill, turn it down low, then sit and drink my coffee and look at the flowers, and hope they don't flare up and burn. Marilyn, you were wondering how my kids out west are doing. They're okay so far, but it's been smoky for them. In Oregon, Kathryn reports better conditions today, but there has been soot on their vehicles, and the skies are spookily weird.
Those are from Kathryn in Oregon...
The one above is from Aaron, where he works (Stanford), in California, at THREE O'CLOCK in the AFTERNOON!!!
Suzanne took the above, also in California. It's hard for me not to just say, well, there are not wildfires here in New York. Come back HOME, duh. But to them, these other states ARE home, which is hard to believe, ha. We had a nice chuck roast in the crockpot, with carrots, potatoes, gravy. The weather has turned slightly autumn-ish, and shh, I like it! Yesterday I got the sewing machine out, and made covers for three throw pillows, with Buffalo plaid fleece. I also made myself a new mask. I left the machine out, because I want to do some more sewing...I rather like it. I do have to go out and about on Tuesday, Adrian is having dental surgery and has to have a ride home, because of anesthesia. Margaret cannot bring a newborn and a two year old, so I volunteered. Jonathan needs a haircut on Monday, and a ride to the airport on Wednesday, as he is going to visit Kathryn (and her husband Darius, and baby Achilles), in Oregon. Ah well. The pool is all done for the year. All of my fretting and fussing to get it all crystal clear, and blah, summer wizzes by, and ugh, it doesn't even matter now. Don't get me wrong, I am super thankful for the brilliantly beautiful summer we had! The pool was an absolute blessing. It's just that is so momentary, such a short season, here in the northeast. We'll get more warm weather, but the pool water will be so cold! Hunting season is starting soon, so Paul and Jonathan will go bow hunting, then rifle hunting...they're pretty excited. My next project: to renovate our bedroom. I'm pretty excited about it. There is GREEN carpet in there, which seemed like a pretty good idea when we built this place, back when I was, what? 27? We moved in here in 1992, so we started building in 91. So I was 26 when we started building, and 27 when we moved in. And heck, lots of people thought green carpeting was nice back then! Our bed was a waterbed, but we got rid of that several years ago, but the mattress (a sleep number bed) is on the base of the waterbed, with no headboard, and you can't clean underneath it. I am ready to take it apart and get a bed frame, and put in laminate floors, and paint the room again. I asked Paul to please Marie Kondo all of his stuff, and I'll go through mine, again. There is a lot of sorting and cleaning to do, and I kind of can't wait. I love RESULTS. I already took everything from my side of the closet, washed all the clothes I wanted to keep, and hung them back up. Now, I need to go through them again, and weed out more. If I haven't worn the summer stuff all summer, then...well, I don't need it! Our room just ends up being the place to put things I don't know where to put, like the Birkenstocks that don't fit me but maybe I'll sell on eBay, and the sewing machine that doesn't work anymore. Paul has his bow, and all of his hunting gear, and his guitars. We have a few suitcases in there, and my beach bag, and his gym bag, and and and. I'll put some hooks up behind the door, and get rid of more things, and it'll be so nice to have a brand new bedroom. We're going to have to take the bed apart, and it all out of the room, to put in the floors...I'll need Jon's help when he gets home from Oregon, but hunting season is starting, so Paul will be too busy, ha. Maybe it's not a smart time for a project... Oh well...the kids are all in here talking, so off I go.