Wednesday, October 31

It's good to sit for a while in the peace of my kitchen this morning. My mother and aunt and uncle came down from Vermont on Sunday night to spend Monday with us. It was a whirlwind tour of lunches and antiquing, and driving and learning to play cribbage. I have wanted to learn that for years and even bought a cribbage board which sat around the house for about 5 years. I thought it came missing the pegs and directions and finally, since a teacher hadn't been in sight for so many years, threw it out or put it into the goodwill bag just weeks ago. Then my family arrives with a cribbage board and knowledge. Now, if I could find someone else who knew how to play, it could very well be my new addiction. (Oh, they laughed when I said my board hadn't come with pegs. Apparently, there's a slider on the bottom of all of them where the pegs are stored. Mine was all wood so I never noticed it.)
The girls came back from Harvey Cedars retreat on Sunday night, Annie was gone all day Monday for a volleyball tournament (they won!) Emma was gone to school all day, and they heard of Annie's adventure to Colorado this coming Wednsday. So it did appear to an outsider as if my family life was insane with juggling all these different places for different kids. And who got what car for what trip. But it was really just a burst of insanity not the norm. Actually writing it, it doesn't look at all nutty. Must have been the moment.
Anyway they were off back home yesterday. And I was exhausted last night. Not that they were problems, I loved every moment of it. It must just be my age:)
~So tomorrow Annie goes to Colorado with Anna Harr to visit Sarah Meadows. They took care of the details themselves, and booked the trip a bit too close for comfort for rush hour and Anna's accounting class, but all these things tend to work out don't they? I'm taking the girls, oh, today! I was thinking it was tomorrow. Lost a day in my sleep! So, I'm taking them today to BWI. They are dressing up as crayons for the trip. to be honest, I think they put more energy into their costumes than in the travel details. (sorry girls, but I think you both know it's true:) )
I'm excited for them, going off on this adventure. If they weren't the solid Christians that I know them to be, I might be concerned with sending my 16 yo off to visit a friend states away unaccompanied by an adult. But I think this is going to be such a great growing experience for them. Well and they are going to sweet Sarah's home.
Tim and Sue will pick them up Sunday night. If the girls should pop into your mind over these next days, please offer up a prayer on their behalf.

Friday, October 26

It is pouring rain outside, the wind is blowing and the temperature is a little bit on the cool side. It's lovely! The kind of day to stay inside and cook an all-day stew. I really hope the world doesn't do that though...or at least the population of Cambridge. I have to go open the shop at 10:30, and I would really like to have a bit of business. I'm whiling the days away for Halloween to come and go. I'm ready to turn the store into Christmas, but I refuse to do so before Oct. 31st. Oh there are some things out already which have been selling briskly, but they're just set around, I have wreaths and trees in back just waiting to do their job.

I have the news on while I watch this. They are talking about all the designers who are making affordable clothing for the everyday woman. Really!? I think a little, gold, bubble skirt for $89 dollars is very expensive. How many of those can they really sell? Maybe the question is how many should they sell. It takes a very specialized body to wear one and only a tiny portion of an age group. Unfortunately, there are some who don't have that internal monitor warning them against a look. For instance, when I was 14 or 15 my great aunt Nell came to visit. My parents decided we'd take her on the boat for a cruise. Aunt Nell was, I believe, 76 at the time, so it doesn't really matter if she was in relatively good shape, at that point things wrinkle and go south, don't they?

When Aunt Nell shed her beach cover-up there was an audible gasp and my brothers ran for cover below deck.

You see Aunt Nell was in a crocheted string bikini...

On that note, I'll end here.

Lord, please protect their thoughts from what may be pictured there at this moment....

Wednesday, October 24

There is a bit of red on the leaves of the tree outside my kitchen window this morning. I find this especially pleasing as I had resigned myself to the fact the leaves were just going to fall off without color this year due to lack of rain. Then last night we have a touch of rain and voila'! Color! Thanks God. It is black out this morning and breezy and very autumnal feeling. Though iwouldn't presume to try out the little nut brown cardigan yet; they say we're to get a high of 74 degrees. At least it looks like autumn now:)
I'm looking forward to this weekend. The church is having ladies outdoor movie night and showing Anne of Green gables...I'm packing up my popcorn, drinks and chair and definately heading down for that! The next night we're meant to be going to two parties at the same time. One a costume party and one a birthday party. I realized last night that I not only have us double booked...but our built in babysitters are going to be in Harvey cedars for the youth retreat. Jedd is fine home alone during the day but I can't leave him home alone at night! Could spell trouble. Thom and I are guilty of often blowing off parties...because we're (I) social cripples. But we blew off the costume party last year and then on top of that Linda (whose party it is) bought 3 lovely glass cake stands at the shop last week and was walking. So I told her I'd drop them off on my way home from work. She was leaving early the next morning for West Virginia so needed them. At 12:15 in the night, I sat bolt upright in bed. I forgot to deliver them! I pulled on clothes and put the leash on the dog and drove to the store. It's scary in that back parking lot in the middle of the night. Eli the wonder dog stayed right by my side. I don't know if he was scared too, or protecting me. We fetched the cake stands, drove to Linda's and put them on the front porch where she'd have to see them when she went out to her car. I just hope some of the folks that were walking the streets in those wee hours didn't also see them. I haven't spoken with Linda since then...but I sure can't blow off her party again! Thom and I may just have to do the parties in shifts. Boy do we take our girls for granted!
~The next night my aunt and uncle are coming in from Vermont for a visit. I'm very excited to see them. We've been cleaning and taking garbage bags full of clothing and such stuff to the Lutheran Mission. Nothing like out-of-town guests to get the house cleaned up...
~I suppose I should go wake the other kids (Emma has already been in school for an hour) Jedd has the new Peter and the Secret Of Rundoon book, so he stayed up late reading. I shut him down at 11:30. Which seems to be his new bedtime as he always has his nose in a book, in bed. I can't bring myself to make him close the book at 9:30 which seems a very reasonable time for an 11 y.o., because I remember reading till the flashlight died under the covers, and then taking my book to the bathroom and locking myself in there till I could barely keep my eyes open when I was his age. It seems silly to make him sneak-read when he can sleep in on the other side of the night. On the other hand he is definately re-setting his internal clock this way, I'm quite sure. That can't be good, can it?
Now I'm babbling so I'll end here...Have a good day dear friends who have taken the time to stop by and visit~

Tuesday, October 23

The Simple Life

It's Tuesday afternoon so obviously I've survived the boat trip. It was actually fun. The band was on the top deck and I stayed on the first deck for most of the trip, though I did wander upstairs for a while to look out over the river. I couldn't really watch the paddles much out the back window as they tended to make me feel a bit seasick in their movement, but it was okay after a while. The Hyatt Regency looked like a city from the water. Absolutely stunning. I just can't begin to imagine the electric bill monthly for that establishment. Thom has said that next year he'll go with me. I guess I made him feel guilty about my having to go alone....not that I said anything other than, "lucky". There were plenty of friends on board and some new people to meet, a silent auction that did bring in some big money. There were helicopter rides, plane rides, weekends and dinners being auctioned off as well as some pretty nice baskets of things. Food was plentiful, and cake with my favorite icing. You know the kind...basically lard and sugar. I LOVE that stuff. Forget the healthier whipped cream or some such nonsense the grocery stores tend to use now...give me old fashioned artery clogging badness and I'll call that a real treat!
I took a few of my kids to Annapolis yesterday. Emma called from school desperate to leave, since she'd finished her work for the day by 11: a.m. So I told her to come on home and we'd go to Trader Joe's. Anything to avoid the housework that needed to be tended to. Annie is a responsible child and stayed home to to schoolwork. Jedd blew everything off with glee and was in the car waiting for Emma and I to get out there and leave. It was fun just to get to the western shore for a change of scenery. We hadn't left the peninsula since summer together.
We went and looked a chairs for the room off the kitchen and then entered "the mall" so Emma could use a Delia's gift card from months ago. And there's always the joy of a chick-fil-a visit:)
A bad accident had traffic backed up for miles when we were trying to leave so we bought magazines and read in the car for a while waiting for things to clear up. Aside from a bit of an unexplained snarl of traffic at the Bay Bridge the trip was pretty uneventful for us. It's always nice to get back to the Eastern Shore where the worst traffic jam looks like simplicity after the Annapolis traffic. Honestly, I am so spoiled I'm upset by a line of 5 or 6 cars at a Cambridge traffic light!
I think I'm starting to hear some rumbles of thunder...can it really be? They were calling for possible rain off and on for today. Maybe this headache I've been carrying all day is from unremembered atmospheric pressure of a storm. My body has become so un-used to it due to the lack of any weather systems in months that maybe it's rebelling. Cheer up head, release the pain! We need the rain!

Saturday, October 20

dog, coffee press and dry land

There's no hope of a lie-in on a Saturday morning when your 136 lb. beast-dog needs an outing and food. For some reason Eli thinks that I am the only one qualified to let him out in the morning. Even if everyone else is awake and I'm not. At first i found this sweet and endearing. Not so much anymore. Oh well, the older I get, the more it hurts my bones to laze the day away anyway.

Last week these wonderful ceramic french presses came into the shop. In three colors. I'm pressing my coffee now and it is so easy. No waiting while I pour it over my Melitta filter; in fact no filters. I've rotated to the pyrex version of these over the years, but these are much prettier. I don't have room on my counter to leave a traditional coffee maker out since my cupboards are so low. I now have a ridiculous amount of options. The melitta filters that sit atop your mug (which Damien Howard got me hooked on about 16 years ago) which make a great cup of joe! but sometimes I'm impatient with the pouring. I'll bring out my percolator if I'm having a few people over, but that is way to much hassle for everyday.. Somewhere in the recesses of a storage closet I keep an electric auto-drip. Couldn't find it the last time I actually needed it. In fact if you're ever over and a party starts and we need it, remind me I think it's over the microwave right now. Maybe it'll still be there then. So now, the french press. Pour the water in, wait a minute or two, press, drink. Rinse out pot and press filter when done and store in corner till next coffee break.
~Jedd is off to Hershey Park with family friends today. Annie and Emma are going to a scavenger hunt at church with the youth group later this afternoon and evening. Thom is playing music in Easton somewhere today. ( I am a caring wife, I just don't always hear the "where's" of his music locations when it's a private gig and doesn't involve my attending.)
~I'm off to open the store this morning and then tonite to a 4 hour cruise down the choptank with a blues band playing for a fund-raiser which benefits the Patch Adams Gesundheit clinic. (think Robin Williams movie) Doesn't that sound horrible...( not the clinic, the boat trip)trapped on a boat for 4 hours with a band that has the potential to get very loud with no possible escape!? Thom has bought a ticket in support, but won't step foot on the boat. (can't blame him) I feel I must go since it's my friend who's organizing the event and I sold tickets for her through the store. How can I encourage others to go and not go myself? Really! How? If you come up with a valid way I'm staying on land!
~Lord, please be with my family as they go their separate ways today in travel. Please help Kathleen's fundraiser be a success in everyway. And thankyou for all your mercies and kindnesses you show us.

Wednesday, October 17

tormented parenting

Parenting is hard and it is exhausting. Lately I''ve been trying to get the point across to the twins that college is not the end all and be all of life. There are so many other options out there. There are apprenticeships, travel and plain old work. Please don't misunderstand-I'm not trying to talk them out of college. I just feel like our society has pushed across such an importance on taught education as contrasted to self-taught education. Not attending college hardly makes one un-educated. Thom and I look at all our friends and question how many of them needed the degree they possess to do what they're doing? Some definately do...doctors, lawyers, engineers. Some could have gone to a cooking school and been better off and happier. Or started a business and learned trial by error.
I always hear that kids need the life experience of college. I don't see college as life experience. I see life as life experience. I see college for many ( not all! ) as opting out of real life and staying in school a bit longer to avoid life. Before you get your knickers in a twist reading this...I am not anti-college! I think holding down a job and going to classes as well is great. I do not want to put a second mortgage on my house to send my kids there under the guise of parental responsibility. Since when!?
I graduated from a very good boarding school and went off to Florida to work on a scallop boat. I experienced life! It was hard and exhilarating. I'm not saying I want my kids to do that...but I don't want them to feel forced into debt either. I'm not against high school graduates flying over to europe and seeing the world. I prefer it done on a mission field than free fall.
I'm really just thinking out loud...I don't like the pressure I see my girls under right now thinking they need to have a clue at 16 y.o. what they want to do with their makes me sad. They haven't experienced enough actual life to make a decision like that. I want them to be learning things now because it excites them. Not because some official somewhere said they need to know it to graduate. What sense does that make? I'm very frustrated and any feedback in any way for either side of this college thought would be appreciated. Set me straight with your logic please if you disagree because I'm at a loss here. I'm all at sea on this one. I want happy productive kids who'll be happy productive adults. My kids at this point probably believe I don't want them to go to school and I know it is coming across that way. That's not it at all...I just don't want them to feel forced to go to school .....I should probably delete this, I'm fairly certain it's going to get me into trouble...

Thursday, October 11

sleepless musings

It's now 5:07, at 3:38 this morning (thank you digital clocks) I got up for that to familiar walk down the hallway to the bathroom. I was actually smiling as I could feel the temperature had dropped and the wind was blowing in small gusts. " Ah, good sleeping weather", I thought to myself. I moseyed back to bed with that sweet thought of sleep in mind. I slid in gently so not to disturb Thom. He's rolled over to my half of the middle of the bed, thereby taking up all the good window space that I claim as mine, and he claims to dislike because its a.) too uncomfortable in the dip of the middle and b.) directly in front of the open window that he claims makes him stuffed up in the morning. Well, all claims aside, I try and nudge him over a bit as the sky is doing interesting things and I want to see!
First, small white clouds are floating swiftly by in front of a starfilled atmosphere, but wait, let me put my glasses back on because I'm sure I just saw something light up. I did! How is it possible that there is lightning filling the sky, while its clear with stars and just a few wispy clouds? It is lightning, but it can't be heat lightning at this temp can it? There isn't any thunder. There's a dog barking wildly annnnnnd, a man telling him to be quiet. But that guy is whispering very loudly. He doesn't say the dog's name so what if he's a burglar or something worse and not the owner? I'll just push Thom over a little more so I can put my ear against the screen. Nothing. Ooooh...I'm awake now aren't I? This isn't good. Why am I so itchy? I think spiders are biting me in my sleep every night. I need to find a copy of Charlotte's Web and see what season she had all her babies cause I've been seeing an abundance of them lately.
More Lightning. Still no thunder.
Why is that Thom's arm feel like lead weight when he drapes it over my waist at night? Oh, it would be like lead weight then wouldn't it? I move it off. I'm not going to get back to sleep:( I want to get back to sleep. What is that rattling on the far window? This breeze is wonderful. Maybe I should just get up. I think I hear squirrels in the attic. What if they climb down the walls and in through the hole in the kitchen ceiling where we changed light fixtures around!? Thom needs to close that tomorrow. But how? I don't want a scrap of wood on my ceiling. Maybe I could nail a framed picture on the ceiling. That would be ridiculous!That's night terrors speaking. Don't some people get their best ideas in the middle of the night...that couldn't have been one.
There's the garbage truck. I know Jedd didn't put out the kitchen trash. Should I get up and run for it? No, I'd probably step in one of Eli's lawn ornaments. That would be sad.
I'll get up, but not for the trash. I've passed the point of no return for sleep. Decaf coffee would be good. then there's a chance for a late morning nap. I'll blog...I'll share my sleeplessness with my friends. Maybe Marianna and /or Jeanne are awake in the Ukraine and we can talk through comments. I miss them. I miss sleep....

Wednesday, October 10

marshmallows and beer

The inside of our home smells like a forest fire this morning. We had our second night of manmade "autumn" last night, and there was a windshift which blew the smoke from our firepit directly into the north windows and filled our house with it. But that's okay because the wind also blew in a slight cold front. It got down to 60 last night. Also, the little trick of having the girls wash the car yesterday? It rained a bit and we had a tiny thunderstorm.
~ It was really lovely to watch the lightning last night. It started out slow. Just heat lightning really, which is fine, but it's not the same feeling of excitement without the thunder crashing in after it. Rather like watching a movie without a soundtrack. Tends to get a bit boring . But in the end there were a few rumbles. It was also another night without a moon to observe. Very confusing...

In the midst of all this we had a bit of excitement. Annie came out and said she was off to pick up Emma from her volleyball game. Very kind. She'd been having dinner and laid her clear plastic temporary retainers for her teeth on the plate while eating when Em called and asked to be picked up. So Annie dashed out the door. Eli the horse-dog came by and saw the plate at his eye level and you already know the rest... He ate them. Poor Annie! She was devastated. She doesn't care for Eli at the best of times, so this didn't endear him to her. And she also understands that he truly isn't at fault here. She is so responsible that I don't think this was ever a thought that crossed her mind when she rushed off to do us the favor of getting her sister. (I think she knew we'd each had a beer around the fire and didn't want us driving:) .

I must say that my eyes are still stinging a little from last night's autumnal adventure...I love my life:)

Tuesday, October 9

Pull up a chair

Jedd and I have decided to move on with the season change, despite the lack of actual "seasonal change". Although it reached a high of 90 yesterday, Jedd put together a copper firepit for me. Then last night as the temps dropped to a chilly 80 degrees or so, we lit a fire and pulled chairs around it. Just Jedd and I. Thom and Annie were away at different functions. Emma walked to the door and looked out at us every once in a while. Without saying it I believe she thinks we may have lost a bit of brain function due to the heat. It was lovely. The stars were sparkling and though we haven't been able to locate the moon for days, we knew it was out there somewhere. (an aside... we've been trying to look at the moon each night to mark it's progression and cycle change for Jedd's science. But we haven't been able to find it since we began looking about a week ago. We've even walked down to the river, but alas, no luck. I think we're going to have to go out at midnight, but really, shouldn't an 11 y.o. be in bed by then?)
~ I plan on being out there again tonight if anyone would like to join me.
~Oh... I also had Annie and Becca wash the car yesterday in hopes that it would bring on rain.
I might turn the air conditioning to very, very cold today at work and wear the little nut brown cardigan too!
Happy Leif Erickson Day to you all, Celebrate it wildly and wonderfully!

Monday, October 8

flawed pay-day

I find I have nothing to say I go visit Damien's blog to see his quote of the day. It is;
"Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it". I took that as meaning, " GO!" and so here I sit and write. Of course, it is Monday which means the sink is full of dirty dishes and heaven knows I'll do anything to avoid the big clean up.
~ It is approximately 752 days since our last rainfall ( give or take several hundred either way), I miss so deeply the sound of it. And still I've not been able to wear my cute little nut brown cardigan from Anthropology. :( The news just said yesterday's high was a record breaking 92. Huh... ( I have noticed a burst of moths about the house in the past few days though...please oh please don't be feasting on the afore-mentioned sweater...)
Kind of thinking about going into work today. I'm usually closed Monday, but it is a holiday...maybe people are visiting town. I know many schools are closed (not Emma's, she went flying out the door this morning with seconds to spare) and banks etc. I imagine all government buildings are as well. Which always seems ridiculous to me. We are paying how much money out in tax dollars today for a day of remembrance to good ol Christopher Columbus? Half the country thinks he should have no credit at all for discovering America, the other half can be rabid in their defense of him. But...I hazard a guess that few people will even discuss him today. They'll sleep in, do chores and errands and my store. I think his name will be omitted from most conversations. Sad. What we pay out would probably send a few new helicopters to our troops. But I'm just babbling.~

Wednesday, October 3

Word for Word Fun

Words are wonderful~ It's a simple truth. I anticipate each day my turn at a fun little game that Damien Howard has running on his Fingerpost Blog. (Not to mention his his witty and pithy quotes of the day which he aligns with the perfect photo or illustration for our enjoyment)
If you haven't found it or tried it yet this is a call to you to try it and repeat it. (It does make it more fun for the rest of us if it is visited daily by numerous people. Then we can even go back to our little secret addiction and perhaps play twice a day)
Once you're at his blog look for the word for word game on the right.
See you there!

Monday, October 1

Stars, Crabs and Parsnips

Ah Monday... again. A weekend of excitement has passed... again. The dishes from yesterday are piled high...again. I could wash them now; or I could take a photo. I did wash a cup so I could drink coffee as I write:) Perhaps it's time to let Thom install a dishwasher. Though I don't really believe all of this would fit in one. Maybe we should do as all the newer home remodeling mags do, and install two dishwashers, then we could be really gross and noone would be the wiser (unless I uploaded more evidence).

We had a wonderful meal at Bob and Janna's last night. It was served family style and as the bowl of green veggies came by I passed it on; declaring my freedom from cooked greens at age 46. (I like them fine raw, I just truly strongly dislike them cooked) The roasted parsnips came by. Uh Oh! Really? Can I declare two veggies, at one meal, unedible; as a guest? I started to, but then Janna said they're sweet, like sweet potatoes. Oh? I ask..not turnipy? Oh no, she insists.
I tentatively put a long strip on my plate (which is very bland with its roasted pork loin , roasted potato, and spot of orange with the carrots (2)). Everyone else's plate beams proudly with their greens.
I cut off a very tiny piece of parsnip. I determine to try it while it's still warm so I go with it first. -Doesn't this sound like the actions of a 4 year old? I am very aware of this the entire time-
Have you ever had parsnips? They are fabulous! I'm converted! I know my mother never reads this blog so I'm safe from her I told you so's!!! Gosh all the years of missed parsnips. 46. Just because I thought they would taste like turnips.

~ The night before was Fred and Lex's annual crab feast.
We're delighted to be asked to attend. Thom had to play music in Easton so couldn't accompany me. I go with Beth and Maryanne. Familiar faces are everywhere. A blues band strikes up, and Fred is wandering with bushels of crabs which he harvested that morning. Children are running in and out of tables. You can truly see folks faces and shoulders easing and letting go of the stresses of the previous week.
Inside this home whose walls are covered with books, books and more books (yippee!) are tables which
bring to mind the old term "groaning board".
They look as though they should be swaying under all the weight of the food. There is much to choose from. I avoid all greens and go for many different pasta and grain salads. I grab a giant chocolate cookie now to avoid the loss later (you know they won't last!). We sit at one of the many long picnic tables set before the river and dig in. There's talk, laughter and song. The sun has started setting over the water. How good can life get?
~Before we depart I pull a notebook out of my bag and sit in front of a shelf of books and start writing down titles from bookspines that look like further investigation into them is warranted. My kids have taught me that sometimes you can judge a book by its cover.
~When we leave we walk down a pitch black lane by the light of the stars and moon to our car. Maryanne points out the Big Dipper. I love the deep country, where you can clearly see constellations. I can never find them in our backyard sky.
Whenever I see stars that abundant I am instantly awed and thankful to God, that in the immensity of our galaxy ,when I witness such a sight, I no longer have the feelings of insignifigance that I did in my youth. I don't wonder about my place or my size in scale to the universe. I'm His child. He knows right where I am and what I need at all times. I can glorify Him with the thrill in my heart at such a sight!