Rose postal

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Recently I saw P. Allen Smith massacre some rose bushes.

I always dead headed and pruned them but never cut them back so drastically.
There were never many blooms. All I had were holes in leaves.

Even after setting Japanese Beetle traps, they still didn't produce.

I even gave them food. The rose bushes, or lack thereof, were planted by the previous home owners. I figured they should look a little better after 4 years but they didn't.

So I hacked them up. ALOT.

They looked like two sticks in the ground.The worst it could do was end their already miserable state, or best thing - which ever way you look at it.

We don't have a beetle problem this year so I was hoping for a rebound.
I waited and waited and then I saw P. Allen's segment
and felt better about going postal on them.

One lonely bloom was on the bush a week ago so I brought it in and gave it a spot on the windowsill. Today there were a few more so I set them where I'll see them while cooking dinner.

And after seeing so many buds in waiting, it looks like tomorrow there may be enough for a full blown centerpiece.

How far that little candle throws its beams

Monday, August 30, 2010

As I was coming inside the house from a morning walk, my husband met me outside and gave me a kiss good-bye. With his hand on my shoulder, he said, "Don't doubt yourself" like only someone who completely has your best interest at heart can do. I said with a smile, "No worries!" and I truly meant it. I had no worries at that moment. I have made some work decisions and for a brief moment in an earlier conversation with Jon, he saw a moment of self-doubt. Nothing that a nice walk couldn't fix and of course, his loving concern.

I came inside the house and my littlest ones were holding up pudding cups.
"Why not?" I said, "It's calcium." And we ate it for breakfast.

Then I sat down to the computer and in my in box was a forwarded message from my brother. It was titled "Carolina's testimony." I assumed it was another short story for me to review and edit. So, I was intrigued and opened it.

The message read:

Hi Mr. Dobson,

My name is Andrea. I lived in Logan, UT around the corner from your mother Carolina. I moved away in 2005 so I didn't know she had passed away. I recently found an old cassette tape with her testimony on it and I am sending you a copy. I truly loved your mother and when I heard her voice on the tape I knew that she would want you to have it so I found your name in an obituary for Carolina and looked up your address in a google telephone directory. Your wife gave me your email.

I hope you have a great day!

So, I clicked the mouse on the attachment and waited for the download. Reaching to turn on the speaker, I also adjusted the volume.

And then I heard her.

I haven't heard her voice in 2 and a half years. And instantly my eyes teared up as I listened and smiled at her inflections. Being so used to her voice, I could never hear her accent. But I heard it now and for the first time, I understood why all my friends would tell me how cute it was. On this audio, she was speaking in church about God, her children and our families and she sounded nice.

Although I have wished for a few years that I could chat with her again, to get her counsel, I've never really been sad. Just wishful but happy still.

And now I am so happy for many things. But right now for technology and that someone (Andrea) acted on her feeling to spread some kindness. She did it not knowing that someone, somewhere (me) was having a lack of faith in her decisions.
And maybe it would be good to hear from my mom right about now.

I think I'll celebrate by having some more pudding.
The kids are napping...they'll never know.


Dog Days

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The dog days of summer are over. Tomorrow the school bell will ring, pencils will be sharpened
and books will be opened.

It was a great summer, wasn't it?

And today, have a peaceful Sunday.


Round about antiquing

Friday, August 27, 2010

I was giddy yesterday despite having a migraine that has still not gone away. Every smell makes it worse and my dog smells bad. She even had a bath but then went and rolled in something and it wasn't roses.

I stopped at the antique store after a hair appt. The search has finally ended on finding a good stylist by the way! This is a big deal to me. To any woman with hair, really.

She was great and understood exactly what I wanted and actually paid attention. The shampoo slash scalp massage felt so good on my migraine pain. She even blew out the cut which I don't normally have them do. I could tell she was doing a good job so when she turned me around, I said, "No way, give me your card!"

So while I had some time and no kids in the car, I went to the antique shop to check and see if a certain booth was still having their sale. They were so at 50% off, I got a few things and only spent $10.80. Giddy.

I did have a mission. I have photo sessions scheduled for the weekend and I was in search of some vintage numbers. The closest thing I found was this number reader. I figured I would have to make my own. It will work, I think.

If not, I'll use these alphabet cards.

But then I started looking around and I also found some more globes and a canvas hockey bag. I'm thinking of making it into a pillow for Reese or maybe just using it as a bag. He can throw all of those little toys in there that are strewn across the floor when he feels like "cleaning." As long as I don't have to do it, I don't care how they are picked up and stored. Is that bad?

My girls and I like to wear vintage jewelry so a necklace and some cameos rounded out the trip.

Then I stopped by Carrie's house and talked with her and she gifted me a bag of organic brown rice. 25 lbs of it! Giddy.

Reese met me at the door right when I got home to go to his "Meet the teacher" day. After seeing his desk and supplies, we toured the little environmental center on the school property where they get to learn about animal specimens and plants.

School starts on Monday and guess, what? GIDDY! Well, I am anyway, sort of. I hate to see summer end and miss the kids but then I also enjoy fall and some quieter time at the house. It'll be fun!

Oh, and my husband comes home tonight so I'm giddy about that too.


linking to A little Knick Knack

Copper pots and paste

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

On a trip to Washington D.C. way back in 2002, the Julia Child's kitchen exhibit at the Smithsonian was being carefully planned. I was able to peek through the curtains that were put on the exhibit while the curators, behind glass, catalogued each item to recreate her kitchen. I couldn't wait to get back to see the finished exhibit. So it was one of the first things I went to see on another trip.

Even though we have seen many of the same sites each time we visit, we're always reminded about what a great country we have and notice things we didn't notice before.

Again, last weekend I was able to see the Julia Child exhibit and saw that they had changed a few things. There is a t.v. showing all of her old programs and they highlight more of her items. I thought it was great that people of all ages were watching it and laughing at her great sense of humor. And my favorite, the famous french copper pots, were acquired in 2009, along with the original peg board that her husband made, which completed the whole exhibit.

So that you can look into her kitchen, the wall was removed and in its place is a glass wall with the outline of each of her pots and pans, which are displayed in the first picture above.

One of my favorite wedding presents was her book, "The Way to Cook." Sadly, it doesn't get much use but I was inspired again to crack it open. I may even try to use a recipe now.
I was also inspired to polish my own copper. I don't have as many as she did and they are not French but I wanted to shine them up. So, somewhere I read that making a paste of salt and vinegar will restore their shine. I don't know where I read that. It may have been on one of your blogs. I'll give proper credit as soon as I can remember. They say the mind is the first to go..or was it sight...I don't must be the mind...anyway...

So I tried it and after one try, it turned out like this.

And to think I almost bought some copper cleaner.
Home remedies really do work.
Now if I could just remember who gave me that tip.
It's going to bug me all day...

Winding down

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What better way to wind down my niece and nephew's visit than to spend the day riding roller coasters? A trip to Hershey wouldn't be a trip if we didn't go to the park so we spent the full day there with an intermission of grabbing a bite at home. We're not paying $6.50 for a piddly pizza slice and $4.25 for a Gatorade. So we went home where I made a homemade meat sauce, angel hair pasta and dinner rolls.

The evening proved to be a great time for rides since the cooler weather cleared out the park a bit. Blair and I didn't have to wait in line for rides. I was even able to meet up with the older kids and take Reese on two coasters at the end of the night.

Memories are made of this.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

I always thought that I would live close to my brothers and sister and that their kids would hang out with mine. I envisioned them just walking in my house, not worrying about knocking, just as comfortably as if they lived here. I thought they would sit at the kitchen table and eat and tell me about school, the same one that I attended when I was their age. And I would tell them funny stories of their fathers and mother when we were young.

Jon and I think it's interesting that we grew up in the same town, attended high school together but never lived as a married couple there. We moved a few days after we wed and have only been back a handful of times. Sometimes you just have to go where the job takes you.

For my mom it was the same way and I understand now, her excitement when one of her nieces or nephews would come visit us from Texas. Just as you can see yourself in your child, you see your sibling in theirs and it's comforting to know you are all connected.
Connected not only by bloodline but by the whole family experience with its good and bad times; a lifetime of memories.

This week all of my envisioning has come true and it has been delightful. I wish it could stay this way but I'll take what I can have and be thankful for it always. We are loving it.

A sightseeing trip in pictures

My niece, Blaise, at The Washington Monument.
My nephew, Bryson, on the steps of The Lincoln Memorial

Jon and Belen at the Smithsonian - Museum of American History

Cousins on the monument steps


One of my favorite sights in DC - The Vietnam Veteran's Memorial

Blaise's reflection on the wall

Reese pointing out the Washington Monument just in case you missed it.

Visiting the Amish

Friday, August 20, 2010

With my niece and nephew visiting from Washington state, it gives us the opportunity to be "tourists in our own town." Yesterday we drove a bit farther into Amish country to take a buggy ride.
The kids were able to pose with a buggy driver.
Trae was too busy chasing animals to get in the group shot.

I love seeing the roadside signs for the Amish. This was a buggy repair shop and a place to give your horse a drink.

Blair enjoyed the view from sitting up front.

Taking hay to the animals.

Belen said she would love to mow the lawn this way and would do it all the time.

Reese enjoyed being up front too.

Traffic jam PA style.

A one room school house, K-8th grade. The Amish only go up to the 8th grade. When the driver, Aaron, told my nephew Bryson that, he asked if he could convert! The gentleman said yes, they need another stable boy on his farm.

We drove through miles of beautiful pasture and between corn fields. The corn is mainly used for the animals while tobacco is their cash crop. They also have other businesses and have proven to be quite business savvy. While on the ride, our driver yelled over to two of his grandkids, speaking Pennsylvania Dutch.
The kids whined back, "Oh all right!" in English.
We all laughed. I guess kids are the same everywhere.
Along the way home we bought some homemade peanut butter cookies - yum
and some homemade root beer - not so yum.
My mom's was really good. I may have to find her recipe and try it myself.
If you have a good one, let me know.

Up next for our town tourism:

Knoebels amusement park - the largest free-admission park in the United States.
It's also our favorite.

The scenic hour or so drive makes for a great time to talk with my husband.

The kids excitedly talk with each other in the back of the car and decide their plan of attack for the rides...and when they'll have an ice cream cone and a potato pierogi.

You gotta love summer
and Pennsylvania.

Have a great day.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Looking up at cloud formations

is one of the simple pleasures in life.

Enjoy your Wednesday!

To market, to market

Monday, August 16, 2010

As each Saturday is filled with family activities taking us all over the county, I haven't been able to take a trip to the flea and farmer's market this season. With a few hour break in the early morning, I took the opportunity to go.

Aside from purchasing fresh local produce for the upcoming week's meals, there were also some other deals waiting for me.

One person just had everything in boxes so it was a treasure hunt. I only looked at two boxes because there were only two things that caught my attention: Fireking jadeite and an owl (of course). It set me back only pennies.

Lotus prep bowls - 4 for a dollar.

As I was paying for the plates, I spotted this typewriter.
I nearly reached muscle failure taking it to the car. The kids are so intrigued by this.

I also bought some picture props, a cool, old oil painting of a bullfighter, vintage army men and this die cast truck and trailer. The boys like little toys and I like it when they are not plastic.

So for under $30.00 which included fruits, vegetables and maybe a Philly style pretzel twist, hold-the-salt, I came in under budget...and got some exercise.

linking to Apron Thrift Girl

Southern Hospitality

The Thrifty Home

Just enough for Four

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The little girl could barely touch the ground with her big toe while sitting on the edge of the merry-go-round. She stretched her foot as far as she could and was able to gently push herself around. The ride crept along at a snail's pace.

She hopped off and with her hands securely on the bars, she leaned into the metal structure and pushed. She pushed and ran as fast as she could, trying not to let her legs fall under. In one motion, she jumped back onto the bar and in a cradle position, leaned back and looked up at the trees. Spinning on the merry-go-round while looking up made her dizzy and caused her to giggle. She did this over and over until she realized that the park had gone quiet.

Remembering that her shoes were placed next to her mom on the bleachers, she back to see if they were there. The shoes were gone and so was everyone else.

Panic struck and she quickly moved her head around to see if anyone was in view. The only people were those that were closing up the concession stand so she ran over and timidly asked if she could use the phone. 834-3149 was a number that she could remember easily, even at 5 years old.

Her heart sank as she listened to all of the rings. No one was home and no one was here, she thought. How could they have forgotten her?

She did not like to cry in front of people. So she waited until she got back to the playground before shedding a tear. Her mom would come back but it was getting a little dark under the shady trees and cloud cover. Waiting seemed to take forever. Her feet were dusty but the powdery dirt felt good so she drew pictures with the big toe that barely touched the ground. She sang, "Lambert, the sheepish lion" to herself to pass the time and gently pushed herself again. Finally she folded her arms on the bar in front of her and rested her head, letting her legs dangle through the bars.

The people from the concession stand came by to tell her they were leaving and asked if she'd be all right. That almost got her crying again but she said, "My mom should be here any minute."

Now she was really all alone.

Just then she looked up and saw the familiar family car pull to a stop in front of her. The windows of the car were rolled down and everyone was calling her name. Happily, she jumped off of the merry-go-round and bounded for the car. Her happiness was short-lived when she saw that everyone had a famous Top-Burger Blackberry shake in hand as well as burgers and french fries with special seasonings.

Teasing older brothers were waving shakes in front of her. She assumed that they would stop to get her something but she watched the Top Burger restaurant fade in the distance as they headed for home.

Turning toward her mother she asked how she could forget her. Her mom said, "Sorry, I counted heads and there were four." Every one giggled. Her sister's friend, Sheila, was the fourth that day. "Sheila? You counted Sheila? She has blond hair. You didn't notice that it wasn't me?" she asked.

"Sorry" her mother said. "I was in a hurry and forgot."

"And I don't get any Top Burger?"

"Sorry, I don't have any money left. I had just enough for four."

All the way home she had to endure the noises of her siblings sucking the last bit of shake through their straws and the "Ahhh.." her brothers said along with an exaggerated, "that was good." Her jaw dropped in amazement not believing this cruelty. Lisa, her sister, and Sheila gobbled up their french fries. She stoically ignored them and went into the house still in disbelief that she had been forgotten.

So do you think I am still scarred by this event??

My mom and I laughed about this for years.

I remember thinking then that I would never forget my kids and I haven't. Lost them in a store maybe, but forgetting them and DRIVING ALL THE WAY HOME? That hasn't happened yet, sheesh!

Do you believe in miracles?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

If so, which is it?

Rush marrying a beautiful, young woman for a fourth time?

Or Elton performing at their wedding?

Is hell freezing right now??

A night teen-age style

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer concert with friends. My girls are on the right.

Hands up for one of the opening bands.

Paramore and lead singer, Haley Williams. The girl can sing.

I had the opportunity to go with my daughters to a concert last weekend. It was a good time.
We saw the band Paramore but unless you have a teenager or a tween, you might not know who they are.

The crowd was young and it was pushing to the stage. I lost my kids in the crowd but I was content with not getting right up to the stage. I wanted a little breathing room. I figured that Charley would be disappointed if I didn't get a picture of her favorite band so I stood in the middle of hundreds of teens and early 20 somethings to wait for them. We had to listen to 3 so-so bands to get to the good stuff.

It was a bit of torture. The kids around me kept saying, "come on!" when those bands would start another song. I felt the same way.

Everyone around me was actually pretty nice. The girl in front of me had pretty, long blond hair but she kept tousle-ing it every 2 seconds which would hit me right in my face. The girls next to me would look at me and roll their eyes with sympathy. I was so happy when she moved a little to the left. And then the poor girl to my left winced when she got it. The blond girl finally put it up in a ponytail.

After a few songs I motioned to some girls next to me to take my spot and ducked to wind my way back out of the crowd. It was about 20 degrees cooler outside of it and the view was much better. I sat on the hill, ate Twizzlers and enjoyed the band.

My ears rang all night which was always a sign that I had a good time when I was a teen-age concert-goer.

Oh the things you do for your kids.

And the things they do for me, like inviting me to hang out with them at a concert and not even being embarrassed.
They're young, fun and happy.
And I loved every minute. (Except for the hair tousle thing... but at least it was clean.)