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

Thursday, June 21, 2018

summer, how do I love thee....?

1. Morning walks in a tank top, soaking in the sun.
2. Bare feet.
3. Taking a swim for a bit of exercise, just walking to the back yard and ahh.
4. Sitting here blogging with the window open, the neighbor across the road mowing his lawn, the tree branches waving in the breeze, the birds singing away...
5. The beach. duh, right?
6. Spontaneity. It's my favorite word, and it goes well with "summer".
7. Freshness....strawberries, blueberries, sweet corn, watermelon...and cherries.
8. Grilling. Yeah, I can grill in the spring and in the fall, and even in January if I can thaw the grill open after shoveling it off, but nothing beats barefoot grilling.
9. Flowers everywhere.
10. The deck. The huge new deck, filled with daughters who are on summer break, tanning and drinking iced coffee.

There are thorns among these roses, like mosquitoes and sunburns, and dentist appointments.

But summer, ahhh.

Tomorrow night, my eleventh child graduates from high school.
Tonight, Samuel and Grace and little Grant are arriving from Virginia.
Saturday, leaving for the cabin in the woods!

It's a different cabin this year, bigger...eight bedrooms! This fine morning, after doing some paperwork and some laundry, I am going to the store, again, for last minute cabin stuff.

Paul is so jet-lagged...he got home from Singapore on Saturday. The travel time to get there is stupendous - a short flight to NYC, then 5 - 6 hours to Cali, then 16 hours to Singapore. There are layovers in between, and the time change. It takes a toll on him. He comes home from work trips and goes straight back to work, and by the time he gets home in the evenings, he's exhausted. He's not ready for the cabin at all, but once he starts gathering up the fishing gear...:) I hope he gets good and relaxed, because he's going back to Singapore in a few weeks.

Incredibly, I have already lost the weight I gained on my last little vacation in Oregon. Maybe my body needed a huge reset, I don't know. Creme brulee, butter cake with vanilla ice cream, and watermelon margaritas...and the donut place. And a slice of pumpkin bread from Starbucks on the trip out there. Em said, "I won't tell anyone you spent that much on a piece of bread." It was too funny, because I thought she was going to say she wouldn't tell that I ate such a thing, so rich and yummy. It set the tone for the vacation, eating things I normally wouldn't. Homemade pasta, those rich mashed potatoes...oh dear.

I have mixed feelings about how I am going to navigate the cabin feasts. We have split into three dinner teams, and my team is: Margaret, Samuel, Mali Rose, Sonja K., and Charlotte Claire. We have to make dinner on Sunday and Wednesday. (also Saturday for me, but most of the kids are arriving on Sunday because they are going to a youth conference). On Wednesday, we are having grilled pork chops. I froze them in baggies of marinade- lemon and lime juice with rosemary, salt, and pepper, with olive oil. We are also having oven roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes, thin green beans, and apple sauce. Dessert is to be determined. Our Sunday dinner may be a huge cheat on my part, because my mother-in-law offered to get us some barbecued chicken from the Methodist church in her town. In that case, we would just set out a huge salad bar, and make salt potatoes.

On the one hand, I know there are certain phrases that should never be listened to by one who is trying to lose weight, they are:
It's a special occasion/It's vacation
I'll only have a little

So the battle wages, but life is certainly enjoyed either way.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

home again...ahhh.

And, the first thing is to get back to my routine..the morning walk.

We ate so much good food in Oregon. Getting on the scale was the dreaded turned out to be better than I had thought it would be, only gained two pounds. For the amount of yum, that's not too bad.

Today, we went bye-bye...

To the library!

(Sonja, Camille, Evelyn and Charlotte Claire, me with Kathryn, and Suzanne.)

After the library, we Target-ed, and found things we couldn't live without, like an outfit for baby Grant, my little grandson who lives in Virginia and is coming here tomorrow!!!

Then home, ahh, home. We ate a late lunch/early dinner of taco salad, with just seven of the kids and me. There's an activity club end of the year pool party, and out the door we go again, in a little while.

Paul is bringing home his brother's boat, we get to use it for the cabin, yay! He was just going to bring the kayaks, but the kids were like, "Boat! Boat!"

We have a dining table filled with bags of stuff for the cabin. Paper towels and real towels, and beach towels, and lemon juice and olive oil, pancake mix and syrup, granola bars, and and and. We are going in three days!!!!

This year we get to bring the doggies, so that's nice.

I will be sure to post lots of pics from there. Mali is planning family olympics for in the yard. This cabin has a pool table and two fooseball tables, and a park with a beach is right down the road. I don't think we'll get bored.

Monday, June 18, 2018

sunny california!!!

Who woulda thunk it? We're in Cali! Okay, so only for a four hour layover, but still. As we flew here from Portland, we wished we could leave the airport for a little beach trip, then we wished the airport would at LEAST have a courtyard...and guessy-whaty? Yup. A courtyard. Full of sunshine and palm trees. And yeah, four hours...

At either end of this open air courtyard are the concourses with arrival/departure gates, along with a few restaurants and coffee shops. We got some dinner, since we have barely eaten today. I got a burger with pickles, sauteed onions, tomato, and lettuce and ate only the bottom bun, but shh, I also got some fries. I get points for not eating them all, as it was clear I was going to keep picking at them as long as they sat here, because they were YUM. (Em was a good girl and got a taco salad, but I semi-corrupted her with my fries. So I threw the rest away because I love us)

Anyway. Here we are, in Cali! We can't leave the airport, but with the palms swaying in the breeze as the planes take off and land right in front of us behind the huge0 windows, I can't complain. Not a cloud in the sky, and warm! The only way you can tell you're in an airport is the intermittent announcements about not leaving baggage unattended. And, there are people walking by with luggage.

Our next stop is New York City, five a.m. tomorrow morning, then a quick flight to Syracuse, and home by nine-ish...hopefully.

The reason we are here is because JetBlue cancelled our flight, leaving us with not too many options to get home, so we took the scenic-see-the-country route. (And remember, if you see something suspicious, Em says, SAY something suspicious. ha.) But she has to get home by Wednesday, all rested up and with her head on straight, she has to take her New York state boards for being a Nurse Practitioner.

Here's a question: Why do some women travel in high heels?

There are so many cute little kids traveling, I like to wave and smile at them, their mommas and daddys don't always realize that I'm not just a garden variety weirdo.

And it's not like I can do anything about that. I can't just say, "Excuse me, your little boy is so cute, pulling his little tiny suitcase, can I pat him on the head?" With dogs, maybe. But kids, you had better leave them alone, in this world we live in. For instance, I had some fries with my dinner. I only wanted a few of them, and a family walked by, and no way no how could I offer those kids my fries, no sir. I had to throw them away.

I would rather be home than sitting here but hey, it's been a great trip so far, and hopefully I'll sleep on the way home. On the way here, I watched HDTV, and got too many good ideas...I am ready to go home and knock down some walls!!! I just need to win the lottery first.

My goodness, have I mentioned how beautiful it is here?

leaving Oregon...with pictures finally!

The view from the winery...

With Emily and Aaron at the Saturday Market in Eugene. Now THAT was interesting. The women here seem to embrace aging in a way that I loved. The long gray braids, the Birkenstocks, the flowing skirts. There were hippies and free spirits and snippets of conversations overheard were filled with words like organic, and pesticides, and pureness. We got some tacos from a vendor truck, and yeah, they were good, fresh cilantro, fresh everything.

We did not behave ourselves at this establishment, Aaron and I shared an apple fritter. There were too many choices. I also sampled Emily's glazed maple sour cream donut. I did restrain myself from taking a selfie with the giant ape statue inside the shop. (as it was, when I stepped over and asked Em to take this pic, she was like, "Really, Mom?" Who cares?

Relaxing back at the house...

Some decadent butter cake out on the deck...

At the beach! It was sunny and warm, in the high eighties, even hit 90, but the coast was cooler and foggy...and rather creepy.

We stopped for a picnic on the way home, along this river.

The trees here just tower, they are majestic. It's beautiful. The Adirondacks are breathtaking, but out here, wow.

And no travel post would be complete without the obligatory pic of me in a different grocery store, this was in Fred Meyer, which we shopped at four times.

I don't know why we didn't take one at Albertson's or BiLo. What were we thinking?

We are heading to the airport soon, I hate saying goodbye. We have had an awesome time here, lots of laughs and adventures. I do hate saying goodbye.

Our flight has been delayed, we get home SO late, and are leaving for the cabin on Saturday. Evelyn says the pool is turning slightly green (NO!!!), but she's on it, adding some shock and an extra chlorine tablet. Paul misses me too, and it'll be good to be home...

Saturday, June 16, 2018

walking and wining

Out the door, up a hill and down the road...this house is built into a hillside, and walking around the block is KILLER. I went up that hill yesterday, at a very slow pace, and couldn't finish a sentence, sucking wind. Emily and Aaron had the dogs, and were carrying on normal conversations. I did not like it one little bit. I want to be in good shape, I do not want to be afraid of hills and steps. The only good thing is that my heart rate went back to normal pretty quickly after cresting the hill. But still, I hate it.

We went to a winery yesterday...the view was breathtaking. We tasted five wines, and bought one bottle. We then wandered around outside enjoying the mountains and vineyards, and explored a small cemetery.

I did take a nice picture, but my new phone isn't all set up yet so I can't send the pic anywhere yet. See, I have an iPad, which has my apple ID account set up on it, and my girls are the prime user of that iPad, and have changed the password, and cannot remember it. So, I have to jump through hoops in order to get my original contacts and contents restored in the new phone.

(The new phone is really nice, iPhone8 in rosegold. It has been so strange to be without one for so long...)

Paul arrives back in New York today, I have two more days here. Today we are going to a farmers' market in the city (Eugene), then tomorrow to the beach...the ocean.

Friday, June 15, 2018

clearing my head...

Being on vacation isn't just resting up and eating desserts. A true vacation is getting away from all the little details in life that take up all of the brain space. While this is truly relaxing, I am starting to really and seriously miss being in the midst of all those details, namely my kids.

Every day there are things to do, things to take care of, that's life. But being on vacation, not so much. And it's nice.

Yesterday we met up with our friend Linda, and went on an adventure. We saw the west coast conference center for our church, we stopped at a candy/antiques store, and we went on a few relaxing walks at Silver Falls, where the trees tower and the flora and fauna are magical. We didn't actually see any fauna, the flying squirrels were hiding, but we did see a very nice chocolate lab.

We stopped at a local pie company that specializes in marionberry pies. Now, being a New Yorker, I had never heard of marionberries. When the girls behind the counter at this pie place heard this, they could scarcely believe it. I have since read that there are over 33 million pounds of them produced annually, and they don't ship well so fresh marionberries are only eaten in Oregon. Emily and I ate our little fresh turnovers in the car as we headed south from the Salem area back to Eugene, and oh my goodness. Phew. We brought back a frozen pie and baked it last night, but haven't cut into it yet. BTW, I am not getting on the scale when I get home.

A visit to Linda's coffee shop was amazing, if you're ever near Salem, stop at Tripp Dog Coffee. I was impressed, I had regular drip coffee and it was very good. I would make it part of my routine if I lived nearby.

We had homemade chicken pot pie for dinner, but couldn't bring ourselves to have pie afterward:)

Today we are getting my phone, tomorrow the central market and maybe a wine tour, Sunday the Pacific ocean...beach!

Then Monday, home. Ahh, home. It's nice to get away, but there's no place like it.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

dead blogs...

Where did they go? Why did they stop writing? Did they die, or did they find a better use of their time? Did the weight-loss bloggers just plain gain it all back and had nothing to write about besides how good last night's ice cream was? They leave us in the lurch, not knowing their real names, no way of finding out what happened to them...:(

My hope it to keep at it until I can't do it anymore, which would be when Jesus comes back to take me home, or perhaps when I die of natural causes at the age of 105. I would like to live until 105, because then I could share old age with my children. Even Camille would be 63. And think of this, if I lived that long, the kids would actually be relieved to see me go, as they would all be old and tired by then. (Emily would be 86!)

Anyway. The things I think of when I wake up so early here on the west coast. I was ready to go at 5:30, which would be like sleeping in 'til 8:30 back home! So I dozed some more, then decided to check the news, and write a little bit.

This fine morning, Emily and I are going to set out in our little rental car and visit some friends, visit a waterfalls, and maybe a winery. I haven't gotten my phone yet so Em will have to take the pics.

I miss Paul. I really miss him. He will be home from Singapore before I get home from here. I am not willing this vacation to go by any faster, but it will be nice to get home. We are leaving for our family vacation in the Adirondacks really soon after getting home from here, four days, ha, and of course I haven't packed a single thing, and I have to buy loads of food. There will be like 27 of us there for the week, but we have dinner three dinner teams, each making two meals. The first night will be only Paul and I and Camille probably, because the kids will be coming up on Sunday after the youth conference. Anyway, I also have to get snacks for lunches, and lots of eggs and bacon and pancake fixings for brekky. The kitchen in this place is huge, it's a place intended to host corporate get-aways, and there are three refrigerators and two ovens, a commercial six burner stove, and two dishwashers. We are all very excited to cook meals in this kitchen! The place sleeps 26, and five of our guests are grandchildren, three of whom are little babies, the others are 4 and two years old, so we will fit just fine.

Anyway, it's time to get moving...:)

here's what oregon is like...

Hills, mountains, the valley, the Pacific ocean...(which I haven't been to yet this trip!). We were planning to go to Mount Hood tomorrow, but it's four hours from here. So, a waterfalls and a vineyard...and a visit to an old friend will suffice:)

Today we hung around, went to the grocery store for good stuff for dinner, which was: fresh homemade pasta with a bacon and fresh tomato-basil sauce, and a grilled salad with asparagus and artichoke hearts...yummers. Last night we had steaks with butter and pine nuts, mashed golden potatoes with garlic and parmesan cheese, roasted brussel sprouts.

The pine trees here are huge, it's hilly and there are mountains towering in the distance. As much as I miss my kids back home, and Paul, who is in Singapore, I love it here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

I am in Oregon!!!

I have never been here before. I have heard of Mount Hood, and of the Willamette Valley, but now I've seen them too. We drove through Willamette, and did you know this: It's pronounced, "Will-AM-it. Huh. Learn something new every day.

We worked that amphitheater concert, went to bed at 1:00 am, then were up at five (I actually got up at 4:30 and showered), then headed to the airport...this morning. It seems like forever ago. We flew to Chicago, then across to Portland, got on a shuttle and rented a car, to drive the two+ hours to Eugene.

Flying over this great big country of ours is amazing on a clear day. The patchwork of fields and roads, the mountains and rivers and valleys and lakes, with the shadows of fair-weather

Flying itself, blah. We flew economy plus, no television on the first flight, which was less than 2 hours. Then the 4 hour flight, there were movies and shows playing if you paid, but we didn't choose to do that. I read my book until I felt like I was car sick, then snoozed, woke up and looked out the window, and snoozed a bit more. Every time I closed my eyes I was dreaming again.

Anyway. We are here, and it's gorgeous. Tomorrow I am getting a phone, so there will be pictures...:)

Monday, June 11, 2018

happy dance...

Anne is here today. She is a little sunshine, when she's not being stormy, ha. But when she's a sunshine, everything is right in her world. She does the happy dance when she sees the dogs, when she gets a cracker, when she sees Char and Cam. She just makes us smile. She loves to sing songs with me, and cuddle, and when I do, "This Little Piggy", she is just tickled pink.

Kathryn is watching her this week, because tomorrow morning at the b-crack of dawn, I am going to Oregon with Emily. I was planning to have today as a get-things-done day, last minute shopping for stuff for these guys while I'm gone, a stop at the bank for some money in case they run out of something important, and some chlorine tablets for the pool. I wanted to have the whole live-long day, but then I went and signed up to work the Imagine Dragons concert at the amphitheater this afternoon. That means getting home at midnight, if I'm lucky, and then getting up at five a.m. to get to the airport. ugh.

But. I cannot complain. I am very excited about this trip. I have never been to Oregon.

Last night I packed, and let's just say that I'm an over-packer. But in my defense, I have gone on trips where I have seriously UNDER packed, and wondered what I was thinking, not having enough clean outfits for each day. Em and I are sharing a large checked bag, taking the economy flight out there, where you cannot even bring a carry-on. My purse is going to weigh like fifty pounds, with my laptop and five nutrition bars, because you never know, bacon jerky, gum and tic-tacs and emergency M&M's. The peanut ones, healthy-ish, ha. But if you're going to get hungry on a six hour flight across the country, it's better to have your own snacks...this flight isn't giving anything away except beverages. I have two pairs of glasses, my sunglasses, the wallet, the medicine baggie with a few of everything you can think of, just in case of headaches or the dreaded traveler's trots. There are bandaids in there, and a sunscreen stick, and a few pens, some napkins.

And here I sit...a million and one things to do, so off I go and hopefully I'll be blogging from Oregon!!!!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

the day stretched before us...

An empty Saturday. A blank day. It's going by too fast already. When I woke up and remembered it was Saturday, yay, I didn't have to get up! Is that not the best feeling, when you realize it's Saturday?

My little girls are in Connecticut with Abigail for the weekend, and Jonathan spent the night at Margaret and Adrian's. So this fine morning, Kathryn and Evelyn and Suzanne and Sonja and me, and Joseph, are here. Sonja made pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream, Suze made me an egg with sausage. Evelyn made coffee in her new French press, and now we're sitting here deciding what to do today. Margaret is coming over with baby Wulf soon.

Our company last night was nice. I admit to getting pre-company anxiety, but I don't listen to it, because I KNOW it's fun to have people over, and I never regret it. I do find myself regretting it when I'm getting ready to have them come, when they're almost here, and I still have a million things to do, and I drop or spill something. Last evening, I was out washing out a cooler to put drinks in, a cooler which had been under the deck for far too long, and was a bear to clean. blah. I wondered what the heck I was doing having company. Benjamin grilled burgers and helped clean the pool filter, he's great to have around:)

He will be closing on his house soon, pinch me, I still don't believe he is actually local now, and will be living ten miles down the road in a big old house. Over seven years away, and now I get to see him all the time. He is just a great son, I love him. And Ashley is the best daughter-in-law, too, she is part of the family, and it's gotten better and better...she's not company anymore, ha. In fact, she was sweeping the kitchen when I came in from washing out that cooler, and I was so thankful...

Anyway. It's sunny and warm and the birds are singing. The pool is clean, and we have no plans. We will probably end up going out and about later, the girls are talking about bathing suits and sandals...

Friday, June 8, 2018

surviving, and much much more!

Since I don't have a phone at all right now, I don't take any pictures, so I'll just have to describe things as well as I can. I'm here in my comfy bed, taking a slow start to the day because I worked at the amphitheater again last night. I know lots of people work, lots of people are on their feet for hours, and I applaud that. But for me, working that shift at the amp is killer, yet didn't kill me yet.

Last evening we arrived at five and worked until after eleven, so that's not even so long. I had one really quick break where I rested my arse on the edge of a cement casement, we were too busy for much more than that, and there is no place to sit down other than that. My knees are bad, not much left in between the bones for cushion, so standing for so long makes them ache. But, they're not as bad as I thought they were going to be, and it's nice to still be able to work.

We were busy last night. It turns out that close to 20 thousand people came to hear Kenny Chesney. Lines were perpetually long, and the fryers couldn't keep up with the demand for chicken tenders, and fries, so people got antsy. Having to tell customer after customer that they'll be a bit of a wait, and then they ask, "Well HOW LONG?" I have no idea, depends on how many other people are waiting for that same batch of fries....ugh. Most are okay, some are really snippy, and a few are downright rude. The prices are high (twelve bucks for 3 chicken tenders on a small bed of fries or ten bucks for a cheeseburger). No one likes missing the show while standing there waiting, and I got so I could barely remember who was waiting for what. I worked next to my son Benjamin, he made forty dollars in tips (he gave them to the people in the back, he's nice), and I only made seven. :(

Anyway. We make the most of it, and have fun in spite of the stress. One lady was rude to Ben, talking down to him, and he said he doesn't do this for a living, he's just volunteering. She asked him what he does in real life (HVAC (heating/AC)), and she just sniffed. I told him he should have told her, "Former Army Medic, served in Afganistan, Mam." He said it didn't matter, it gave him a good chance to humble himself.

Anyway. I came home and read my book and checked the news, and basically stayed up way too late. My bed is extra comfy because I bought a new mattress cover yesterday. Cam and I took a quick trip to the small city yesterday morning for bread and bananas and milk and salad stuff and burger. We stopped at Bed Bath and Beyond, and I found this king sized puffy quilted mattress cover, $24. I also bought an $80 dust-buster for twenty. What? I needed it!

Anyway. This fine morning I am planning our snack list for tonight, we are having an all-out bash! The sisters and youth girls are invited over! The pool is open, there will be a fire on the deck, and we are going to have fun! The deck is strung with fairy lights, they were all on when we got home last night, and oh my heart, I love my deck. I know it's just an earthly thing, but we have so much fun out there.

And since I haven't had my first coffee yet, I am done here for now. I leave for Oregon on Tuesday morning, and will be getting a phone soon after that, so pictures will return to the blog!!!!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

a quiet day at home....

Yesterday was a good day. I was sore after working at the concert, so I didn't go on my walk. I tried to sleep in, because we had gotten home at 12:30, then I needed a shower, so it was almost 1:30 when I settled into bed. Evelyn had to go to school yesterday after being up so late, so she slept in a bit and I drove her. First I dropped off the blue minivan for inspection.

Home...ah, home. I like days at home. I puttered around, took care of the pool, swept the cottonwood fuzzies up from the deck. The cottonwoods are crazy this year, they are the trial of the moment, concerning the pool. The filter basket gets filled up at least every hour with that cotton. The pool itself is nice and clear, I can't wait for warmer days.

The kids did some school work, then Margaret and baby Wulf came for a visit. Little Wulf is smiling a lot these days, and he lights up our lives. Ashley came over with Elise and Anya later, I built a house with Anya with Duplo blocks.

There were some nice London broil for dinner, I was going to put them in the crock-pot, but Jonathan insisted the grill is better, so I put that meat in some lemon juice/rosemary/salt and pepper to marinate, and Jon grilled it. I also made salt potatoes (tiny potatoes boiled in salt water, a Syracuse area favorite), fresh asparagus, and I sliced up a cantaloupe.

When the deck was stained, I had to take down the strings of solar fairy lights, tangles of them. Yesterday Jonathan got out the drill and put up little screws so I could hang those lights easier. Some of them turned on and twinkled last night, some didn't, I am hoping that it's because I put them up late in the day and they didn't charge up enough, and not that they got broken.

After dinner, Suzanne decided to make chocolate chip cookies for her art class. We didn't have much butter, so we made the original recipe instead of tripling it. I managed to not have a single taste of cookie dough, or a cookie.

I did eat most of a container of Halo ice cream later though, Ben had tried it, but there was a good bit left. It's the low cal stuff, so the whole thing is 320 chocolate chip. I didn't mean to eat it all. :)

Anyway. The concert was rough-ish. It's a lot of walking, then a lot of standing/walking, then more walking to get back to the car. The customers were mostly nice, some a bit drunk, some complain-y about the high prices. I don't like our prices either, but it's totally not my decision to charge six bucks for a hot dog and ten for a cheeseburger. A bag of popcorn is six, and a bottle of Pepsi is $5.50, water is five. It's not fun seeing people's expressions as they hear their totals, but what can I do? I just work there. I did get eleven dollars in tips, Benjamin got $26! He is more charming than I am.

So I was sore, and achy, but not unbearably so, which meant I signed up to work again today, at the Kenny Chesney concert. :)

But first this fine morning, I am heading really quickly to get some butter and some milk and bananas and yogurt...

And. I talked to Paul yesterday on the phone, from Singapore. He's working hard, doing all right. I'm super thankful that I miss him, that's a good thing.

Kathryn has wisdom tooth problems, I have to call the dental surgeon to see if they can get her in. I made eye dr. appointments for Jonathan and I, some of the other kids need to get in too. Our truck is still in the shop, there is a leak somewhere, I know so much about cars ha. Never a dull moment, but when there is, oh I am all over that, enjoying the heck out of it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

it must be yell at your kids day...

Harrumph. The poor kids.

I haven't been the perfect parent. Patience is only attained through suffering, and there were plenty of times that I wasn't awake to my own irritation. I know this. So I therefore don't mean to be all judge-y wudgey. But. Is this something that's just acceptable, and okay? To yell at kids and berate them in the grocery store?

Knock it off or I'm gonna take your birthday money.

Just shut up.

Sit down in that cart! (SMACK!)

Put that back, I said NO!

That lady's gonna run you over if you don't get out of her way. (referring to me, and I assured the young child that I would never do that, much to her mad mama's chagrin)

And the classic:

I ain't playin' soccer with you kids no more!

Just for the record, I don't fancy myself as the store police, but some days it is just appalling how these parents talk to their kids. The mom in the store last evening wasn't just getting in the kid's face and yelling at him, she was bullying him. Baiting him and arguing and using the I'm The Mom So I Win card. Humiliating him in the cash register line.

I especially hate when the kids is like a twelve or thirteen year old boy, and gets so embarrassed. It hurts my heart.

I just want to start a campaign, "Be Nice To Your Kids!". It could be on billboards. The small print, "Chill Before You Yell! A Little Bit Of Kindness Goes A Long Way!"

I know about being frazzled, and about a kid being on "your last nerve". I do. But this seems to be the standard operating mode for some parents, to just treat the kids like burdens.

And not all parents. Have you ever seen a mom or dad or big sibling in the store, being kind and gentle or giving a kid a hug, and it warmed your heart?

Anyway. Evelyn and I did some grocery shopping last evening. Since she was so helpful, and such good company, we stopped and got Chipotle for dinner. I am not getting a nickel to say that I love their food. It seems healthy-ish, and is super yummers. I only eat half of mine, and bring the rest home to Sonja. :)

We also went to Target, where I got a few things for grandkids. I love being able to look at the clothes for small children again, ha.

Benjamin came over yesterday and fixed and installed a switch on our pool pump. (Thank you SO MUCH Ben!!!)

The pool is looking so nice, but the weather is chilly. I want those hot days back!

This afternoon, some of us are working the Dave Matthews concert. I am just hoping my knee co-operates. It's a lot of walking and standing and no place to sit for your break. If you sneak away for a bathroom break, you'll end up standing in a long line. It's not for the faint-hearted, ha.

If I do okay, I'll work the Kenny Chesney concert on Thursday, too.

Paul called me from Singapore yesterday. He went to the park that President Trump will be visiting when he goes there next week. I think it's really random that Paul is going to be there when Trump goes there. Paul said it's nice and warm, but he's really busy.

And he misses me. He forgot to say that, but I could tell, ha.

Okay, here's the real truth this fine morning, I skipped my walk. I am working at the amphitheater today, and my poor knee, I cannot overwork it. This makes me sad at how happy it makes me to just snuggle up with the coffee and enjoy the quiet. I love the walk, but hate going out the door, so today I am enjoying myself.

Ah well. I think I have just about covered everything....

Sunday, June 3, 2018

summer, please come back!

We had a few days of almost ninety degrees (32.2c), and the pool was almost clear...and it was warm. Now, it's spring again. And after the long long winter, I can hardly complain, but this next week with cool nights and highs in the fifties and sixties, there won't be swimming. A backyard pool in central New York state = a lot of work for not enough use.

But when it's hot out and that pool is clear and working, oh my.

The hot tub...oh let's not go there. In this cool weather it would be golden to use it, but it won't even turn on. hmmm.

Anyway. Yesterday I had to take Suzanne to her SAT's, in the small city at the huge high school. I dropped her off at 7:30 in the morning, then thought she would be finished around eleven, so I told kids at home I wouldn't be driving back home then back to get her. Bases were covered, Joseph was going to the dump, girls would be there for the younger kids, ect. Then Suze said she wouldn't be done until noon. Hmm, what on earth would I do all by myself in the city for four+ hours?

ha. First I drove over to the cemetery and visited baby Robert's grave. I was all by myself, no one else was even in the entire cemetery, except those who were laid to rest. So I let the tears come, and I let myself wish I could change the past. I apologized to baby Robert for not spending more time with him before I let him go. When he was "born", I was still in denial, and when he was all floppy and so small, I just couldn't process it. The nurse, bless her heart, swaddled him so lovingly, she was crying too, and handed him to me...I never even took a picture of him, and when they took him back to be weighed and measured, which made no sense to me, I didn't see him again. They kept offering that I could spend more time with him, but I didn't want to. I wanted to remember him how I thought he should look, how he would have looked with rosy cheeks...alive. I'm sorry. It's still extremely hard. But standing there on his little grave, I just felt like I could have loved him more. And I realized that the passing of years means nothing, I still feel hollowed out in one area of my heart for that little baby boy.

Crying and sobbing all by yourself is a good way to start the day, I guess.

I'm sure I looked lovely in Walmart. I browsed around there like I had all the time in the world, and chose some plants for Evelyn, and another bag of potting soil. I picked out a cheap watch, because without my phone, I don't even know what time it is. I bought a $4 shirt for myself, and a new nightgown, and a plug-in wax warmer, which is not a NEED, but my old one from the thrift store broke, so...

Anyway, I puttered around, then went to the thrift store. I got a really nice NorthFace jacket for one of the girls, and a few other things, but there was a lonely lady in there following me around. She would not stop talking to me, and she used the word, "psychopath" at least three times. She told me she cries when squirrels get run over, and that her daddy was the police chief. I was polite, but maybe too polite. She thought I was her new bestie...I had to get out of there, and I wasn't even finished browsing.

I took a quick trip to McDonalds for a one dollar coffee and a breakfast biscuit, which I ate the egg and bacon out of, then the bottom biscuit...and I read a book for a while in the van.

Then a quick trip to the grocery store for some lemon seltzer water and a package of burger.

It was one o'clock by the time we got home...

But I had a nice day.

We grilled burgers, and had a nice visit with Margaret and baby Wulf.

Then I ordered some chicken wings in the evening...Emily and Mirielle were visiting. is busy. Add in washing dishes and sweeping floors and figuring out what's wrong with the was in the shop all week, and the check engine light is back on, so back to the drawing won't pass inspection in NY state with that on.

I am sitting in my room, in the quiet, with the fan blowing on me, in my comfy bed, which I have hogged all to myself for the last few days, as Paul is in Singapore. I need to move it and get going, there is church this morning...

Friday, June 1, 2018

mom!!!! answer your phone!!!!

Okay, so I don't have little ones anymore, life should be smoooooth sailing. And cell phones make life easier, right? Well, try this: not having one.

My phone is broken. It will not turn on, no way, no how. It's been glitching terribly for a while now, has minimum storage space, and my teenagers have been on my case to replace it. But now it's dead.

Sam didn't know my phone had died. He called the home phone, and was a bit exasperated at me, asked why I didn't answer any texts. Mali tried to get a hold of me too. Home phone, I said. For now.

Being temporarily phone free is hard. I can't use my Dunkin ap, and I'll be darned if I'm going to get a coffee without getting points for it. I have other coupons on it, and then there is the Target ap...and when I'm driving by myself, I wonder how I lived the first forty+ years of my life without a cell phone.

But I'll be truthful. It's also rather carefree. I can't get texts asking for me to get lemon juice or cream cheese when I have just gone through the register, or those little messages from a few certain school girls, asking to be picked up early. I don't have to keep track of a phone, don't have to remember to bring it with me everywhere.

I try to distance myself from my phone during regular daily life to an extent, anyway, and live in the moments. But now, I'm really distant.

The good news is that Aaron and Riley are giving me a phone when I go visit them. Yes, I am going on another trip! Next week, Oregon, here I come!

Until then, leave me alone, or call the home phone, ha.

So what has been happening in life? Well, yesterday I went to the dentist for my 6 month cleaning, and my blood pressure was 110/72, which made me happy. I've been doing that morning walk for a month now, and being good about cutting the carbs and sugar, for the most part. A little bit of chocolate here and there, but mostly good.

Our pool is getting cleaner by the day. It's wonderful and refreshing.

The kids are almost done with school for the year. The younger kids are taking their end-of-the-year pre-tests to see if they are all set for the real tests. Today, however, they are on a huge trip with big sister Emily: she took them to Niagara Falls! Jonathan, Char, and Cam. I really wanted to go too, but today I am bringing Paul to the airport. He is going to Singapore for 16 days. I will still be in Oregon when he gets back, so I won't be seeing him for a while:(

It's happened so many times that he and I are traveling at the same time to different places.

Anyway. Life is busy. Lydia was here for a bit, we watch her a few days a week. Ashley comes over a few times a week with Anya and Elise. Margaret came over with baby Wulf yesterday. There are duplos and dollhouses all over my living room, ha.

It's been so nice out, ain't nobody got time to clean the house.

Tomorrow morning I have to take Suzanne to her S.A.T. test.

Some of the kids will be working the first concert of the year at the amphitheater.

Grandma is back from Florida, she came to visit the other night. She is almost 89, and I want to be like her when I grow up. She still has her wits about her, and she can get out of a chair better than I can.

Life isn't boring, that's for sure.