Thursday, June 22, 2017

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings-A Book Review

I listened to this book on Audible, while on our trip to Georgia, earlier this month. It is narrated by Maya Angelou, the author. The story is the early years of Maya Angelou's life. From ages 3-16. These are childhood memories of living with her grandmother and later with her mother. She is quite happy during the years of living with her grandmother in Arkansas.  It is times of racial segregation and she writes of those times from a child's perspective which does not show any prejudice for either race. Nor any understanding. She was sexually molested while living with her mother in St. Louis at the age of 8. She was forced to testify in court of this abuse and the man who abused her was sent to prison. She lived with her father and an angry step-mother and spent a bit of time living in an abandoned salvage yard with a band of homeless kids. The last part of the story deals with Maya having sex with a neighborhood boy and becoming pregnant, thus becoming a very young mother.

Not a book for everyone. But a story told with her genuine flair for a story. It reads more like a novel than an autobiography. I understand there are 3-4 more of these books that fill out her years.

This book deserves **** stars. Definitely glad I heard it in her voice. This is the August book for my book club. So I'm ahead of the game. I am skipping Junes book because I have found another 'great' book to listen to.  

Monday, June 19, 2017

My Current Life List


Looking out my window..

We woke up to a cloudy day but the clouds have moved out and the sun is shining. It is 77* out and that is what we call a nice summer day in Kansas. Possibly may be some rain this afternoon. And that will be okay too!!


AS I PONDER....

My brother left on Saturday. That was two days earlier than he planned to leave. But I have found that he gets 'itchy' to get home. He got to visit everyone he wanted to see. And had some dinners out with his friends. He caught up with family. And we visited a lot too! Even had time for a couple of 'mild' political discussions. He is now back home in Louisiana! And I have the summer ahead of me to ponder......





WHAT I AM LEARNING...

I am still looking into Bullet journals. I think I would like to give it a try. And when I do I will share it here with all my friends.


WHAT I 'M CREATING...

I'm really not doing much in the way of creating. I am keeping busy with Harley and her job and her boyfriend. I am texting Darian daily. That is so nice after four months of only getting an occasional text and letter from him. Seeing him in Georgia helped with my missing him so much. He left Fort Benning at the end of last week and is now settling into his first duty station in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. (Or Tennessee. It straddles across both state lines). I haven't received an address yet so I am not sure which it will be called. He will finish a couple weeks of 'reception' and then be able to apply for a two week leave home. And you can bet we are looking forward to that!




WHAT I'M READING....


I have totally given up on reading for the moment. I do not know if I will go back to Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett. It wasn't a bad story. It just didn't hold my interest. I am currently listening to a couple of books on Audible. 1)The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k  by Mark Manson and 2) The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers. Both are good so far. 


WHAT I'M WATCHING...

I have spent a fair amount of time watching MSNBC and CNN. I am fascinated with all the Trump news. Maybe that is not a good thing. But I do love politics. And it is probably not a good idea to get into a rant here. Today, anyway!!




WHAT'S ON MY CAMERA...

skies over the city

skies over my house

over my house


Darian

From the Turning Blue Ceremony








WHAT I'M DRINKING....


I am once again drinking my favorite tea. Turkey Hill Peach Tea. But what I have discovered this year is it is way too sweet. I think that is because I have totally given up drinking pop and drink mostly water. So I 'water' the tea down with half peach tea and half straight cold brewed iced tea. Yum!!




WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE KITCHEN...


Monday...Ham and Cheese Sandwiches, Fruit

Tuesday...Chicken Noodles and Corn on the Cob

Wednesday..Salisbury Steak and Zucchini 

Thursday...Vegetable Stew (Thanks Wendy)

Friday...Salad

Saturday...Baked Sweet Potato and poached egg

Sunday...Millionaire Spaghetti





A QUOTE I WANT TO SHARE...




What I'm loving on You Tube...


I have been watching a lot of BoHo Berry. She has some really awesome videos on Bullet Journaling. 





A peek into my week...

Things are going to be busy this week. Harley starts swim lessons (she helps with the pre-school lessons at our local pool). She will have eveing sessions Monday-Thursday. So her work schedule at McDonald's will go to early mornings on those days. And, of course, she has to fit in the boyfriend in the middle of the days. They are currently at the zoo and a picnic in the park. Sweet! She will be leaving for South Florida on June 30 for a 10 day church mission trip. I will give you a run down of what her schedule looks like when that time draws closer.




A final thought...

One of my big lessons this summer is I'M NOT AS YOUNG AS I USED TO BE.  You are probably saying, "no kidding." But that fast trip (over five days) to Georgia (more than 2,000 miles in the car) and a 10 day visit from my brother has me pretty worn out. I just can't seem to get enough sleep. Or enough naps. And that is where you will find me the remainder of this week. Napping. Taking life easy. Or driving Harley to and fro. (Unless I can get the boyfriend to do some of these trips). I hope you are all well. And I hope you are enjoying your summer. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Father's Day and What it Means to Me

I didn't really grow up with a father in my life. My dad died before I was 8 years old. And the years preceding this were not that great. I don't think we ever celebrated a Father's Day with my dad. My mom re-married when I was 10. He wasn't the best step-father for many, many years. So I don't really remember celebrating many Father's Days with him either.

While I was married, the first time, most of the first years my ex was in the Navy and away from home. And the next years were a bit on the traumatic side. So who wants to celebrate anything with a man who never got the entire concept of what being a father really meant.

Then along came Richard. He walked into our lives and instantly my kids were his kids. They weren't always the greatest years. Richard was strict. But he loved my boys. He was generous. Sometimes to a fault. He was caring. And it almost always showed. My sons knew and loved him as the only father they ever had. We miss him but we continue to honor his memory by thinking of him daily.


Monday, June 12, 2017

A Mid-June Life List

LOOKING OUT MY WINDOW....

Summer has come to Kansas. It is hot and the wind is blowing. Today was 94* with a good, gusty strong hot wind blowing. We might be whining for some rain pretty soon. For now I'm okay with the weather. 



AS I PONDER....

I have company here this week. My brother from Louisiana came on Tuesday. He'll be here another week. We have gotten caught up on a lot and he's out visiting other family and friends.




WHAT I AM LEARNING...

I learned all about how a A/C unit needs frequent cleaning when you live around a lot of big cottonwood trees. That was the reason for it not working last week. It had tripped the breaker a bit so the fan wouldn't come on. I watched closely as the workman cleaned it out and put it back together again. I think I can keep up with it myself and only need to have the workman come out once in awhile. Save a lot of money that way. And this old cooler works better than it has for a bit.

  
WHAT I'M READING....

I have done very little reading this week. I am still working my way to the end of Imagine Me Gone. I need to write up my review of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings. And then I want to start on The Second Mrs. Hockaday. What are you guys reading now. Any really good books you can recommend?



What's happening in the kitchen...

Monday...Steaks, Baked potatoes, broccoli

Tuesday...Chicken Cordon Blue, mashed taters

Wednesday...Eating Out!

Thursday...Biscuits and Gravy

Friday...Chicken

Saturday...time will tell

Sunday...Millionaire Spaghetti




A QUOTE I WANT TO SHARE...






My newest interest...

I have discovered bullet journals. So I'm learning all I can about them. I will see if I want to change from my Happy Planner to a Bullet Journal. I kind of like the simplicity of them. And they leave a little room for creativity.

A peek into my week...

Harley is getting a lot of hours at McDonald's right now so that means granny does a lot of to and from trips. On Monday she starts helping with the kids swimming lessons again. She is going to be working early mornings at McDonald's and evenings at the pool. Just two weeks away from the mission trip to Florida. Then we will be starting to think about back to school time. How can time be passing by so fast?

What I'm hoping for...

I am hoping to get the front grass mowed in the next day or so. Harley has already done the back. So I'd best hurry or hers will need done again.

What's going on in your lives? How are you spending the summer?






Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Story of a Pig

A few days ago I was visiting my friend Gram who writes at Goodnightgram's Blog. She was writing a letter to her grandpa, whom she never met. She shared a picture of a pig cutting board that was hand-made by this grandpa. I was shocked to see that it was the same pig I own.

Richard's pig
When Richard (my late husband) was in the 8th grade he took a woodwork class. At this time (around 1946 I think) he handcrafted a pig cutting board. He painted the edges red and gave it to his mother. His mother loved this cutting board. She proudly displayed it on her kitchen counter clear up to her death at the age of 93. I rescued Mr. Pig when the house was sold at auction. I love knowing that it was made with Richard's hands and lovingly used for many, many years by his mother. I don't use it any longer as a cutting board. But he rests on a bookshelf in my dining room. I think of her chopping vegetables when I see all the tiny cuts in the board. We have many prized possessions made and used by family members. What prizes do you have at your house?

Thursday, June 8, 2017

May's Favorite Things


May has come and gone and we are already almost one week  of June. Will be Christmas before you know it. Hahaha! 

Here are a few of my favorite things from May.

1) Have you ever heard of Fabulosa? I buy mine at the Dollar Tree. But you can buy it in many places. It is a cleaning product that comes in a variety of scents. Ocean Paradise is my favorite. And my favorite way to use it is to pour a couple cupfuls in the toilet every morning. Makes the whole bathroom smell like heaven! Really!!

2) I have become a You-Tube fanatic. I love watching You-Tube. Yep, just call me crazy. Some of my favorites are those who review candles, planner spreads, house cleaning, Dollar Tree hauls. In the month of May, though, I discovered Christopher Allen . I am not sure how I stumbled upon his channel but he has the best message of all You Tube, in my opinion. He loves to share about skin care, luxury items, planners, his trips, etc. But he has a message about kindness that is simply hard to resist. Go check out Christopher on You Tube!

3) One of my favorite flowers started blooming in May. This is my dendrobium which I was given several years ago for Mother's Day. When it blooms the flowers last for several weeks before the fall off. And it is not at all hard to take care of. Just water it occasionally (and I admit I'm not good with a regular schedule) and it sits in a sunny window. 





4) Another thing I discovered in the month of May is this wonderful dish brush called Bubble Up. I ordered it from Grove Collaborative. I use several of their products. This little ceramic dish has a spring-loaded base for the brush to sit on. You put some dish soap with a bit of water in the bottom and push down a time or two for a wonderful bunch of suds to clean up your dishes to get ready for the dishwasher. You can purchase just the brush if it wears out. I love how stylish it looks sitting next to my sink. 

5) Can't get enough of those .50 Corn Dogs at Sonic either. May 4th is always the day to stock up with these yummy corn dogs. I usually buy some to put in the freezer, but they never last there very long. 

6)My favorite new artist for this month has been Frances. And I love this song. Check her out. 






Monday, June 5, 2017

Thirteen Reasons Why-A Book Review

I don't know how I came to have this audio-book, but I am glad I listened. It opened up some good dialogue with my granddaughters about how cruel kids can be sometimes. And how, sometimes, things can pile up on someone when we don't know what is going on in their lives.

This book is about Hannah Baker. Hannah is a high school student who early in the book commits suicide. She leaves behind a box of 7 cassette tapes with recordings on each side. Each side is reserved for a person from her school who contributed to her death. The box is delivered to the first person in the story who is to listen to all the tapes and then is to deliver them to the next person in the story. And she left behind a box of identical tapes to be played for the entire school if her instructions are not carried out.

The story is told also through the eyes of Clay. Clay had a crush on Hannah and 'made out' with her once but she made him leave and then she died. He has to listen to the entire story to find out why he is part of the reason she killed herself.

A very compelling story. Scary! I liked the dual narrative of the story. It was well done. Both Harley and Paige (and Justin too) had already read the book. I just learned of it. There is also a Netflix series with 13 episodes that recently was released. Paige has binge-watched it too. We talked a lot about the book as we made our way to Georgia. Good conversation. 

I am giving this book **** stars. It was good to listen too. It's a book for young adults that should be read by all. Our world is far to unkind in this day and we need to be reminded to just be nicer. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

A Post Military Life List

LOOKING OUT MY WINDOW....

It's been a long day! We got home after 9 p.m. yesterday and found a very warm house with a non-working A/C. This is becoming a recurring problem in the summer it seems. I have lived in this house for nearly 30 years and the last 5 years it seems I need the repairman every summer. The unit is not even that old! But I was not going to call and pay the weekend fee so Harley and I toughed it out today with temps near 80* in the house. Right now the sun has set and it just rained so it is pretty muggy. I want to open a window but I would rather keep the dampness out. Anyway.......


AS I PONDER....

Most of you know we went last week to Georgia. Nearly 1,000 miles each way. We left on Tuesday morning after Justin had his PT for his knee which was scoped on Thursday the week before. He did amazingly well driving the entire way there and back. (Too much of a control freak to allow his mother to help)! Darian's Turning Blue Ceremony was on Thursday morning following a family briefing. This was held on the post at Fort Benning. A beautiful day. Except for the horrid humidity of Georgia. Turning Blue is when the new soldier receives the blue cord worn on his right shoulder to indicate he is an infantryman in the United States Army. This is when we got our first look (and a brief touch) of our new soldier. It was wonderful to see him.


War Dawgs Platoon 3
Darian is 2nd from the left on front row

Uncle Justin putting on the blue cord

Uncle Justin and Darian
Harley, Darian, and Paige
Screaming out the Soldier's Creed


Darian and Mikaela, his girlfriend
Darian and his favorite grandma



After the Turning Blue Ceremony was over the platoons marched off the field (no hugs yet) and returned to the barracks to change into their camo uniforms and returned to us with an 8 hour pass. And strict orders to not go any further than 35 miles from post, no tattoos, no alcohol or tobacco products, no prostitutes. We headed to the PX where he picked up a little gift he had gotten for his Uncle Justin and then to the Army supply store to pick up his "woobie" I had ordered for him with his name embroidered on it. After that we were off to the National Infantry Museum to spend the day. That is quite a place. If you ever get a chance to visit please do. We ate a late lunch there in the Drum and Fife restaurant and the food was excellent. At the end of our time in the museum we headed to a local Mexican place for an early dinner. Darian was nervous and anxious to not be late returning to post. While we were in the restaurant an elderly gentleman loudly (I think there might have been a few beers on board) proclaimed he wanted to buy "that young soldier the best dessert you have in this place". He made a statement to how important these young men are to the United States. Darian was embarrassed but grateful to the old guy who shook his hand for a long, long time. While were were at the NIM an elderly lady stopped to thank him for his service and asked if she could hug him. He will need to get used to all the attention, I think.    




WHAT I AM LEARNING...

It is a different world for our soldiers now. And I am glad. I remember the times following the Viet Nam war when America wasn't very nice to soldiers. They deserve much better. On Friday morning we got up early and headed over to the NIM for the graduation ceremony. It was a very nice ceremony. Following this we got to spend about 30 minutes with him before he had to return to post. Most of the company left on buses for their FDS (first duty station). Darian is headed to Fort Campbell but is being held back at Fort Benning until he gets clearance from the doctor for the infected spider bite he obtained during his final field exercise. It looks nasty but he said it is much better. They have already done one I&D (incision and drainage) and he's on prednisone and antibiotics. When he left to return to the post Justin, Harley, Paige and I headed to Atlanta to put Paige on an airplane to Salt Lake City to see her other grandparents. This was her first solo flight. Then we headed home. Long, long, fast trip. But well worth it!!


  

WHAT I'M READING....


I didn't read much while on the trip but I finished two audio books which I will review soon. Both good books.  




WHAT'S ON MY CAMERA...
eating lunch at a rest stop along the road to Georgia
Darian, Mikaela, and her grandpa who made
the trip with her
Praying at the start of graduation
Darian first on the far left

The girls

going back up the hill to the barracks after his
day with us! Boo Hoo!

Following graduation

Darian with my cousins

Darian and Harley

Darian and granny at the Mexican place
(I can't remember the name of it)

Harley at a rest stop on the way home

Harley trying her first fried pickle 


What's happening in the kitchen...

I have no idea what I'm cooking this week. Need to get the A/C fixed first. My brother is coming on Tuesday to stay for two weeks so we will figure it out soon.





A QUOTE I WANT TO SHARE...







Sharing....


If you would like to view the entire graduation ceremony it appears on the National Infantry Museum's Facebook page. I am going to try to like it here. The video is a ways down the page and is labeled 'was live.' Enjoy. I am very, very proud of this boy. We sent him to basic training 14 weeks ago as a mere 19 year old boy. He is now a fully-grown man. A soldier. An infantryman! He's made me happy! 




Monday, May 29, 2017

We are Turning Blue


I'm taking a little break. And we are taking a little drive! (About 1000 miles) Darian's Turning Blue Ceremony and Graduation are right around the corner. I'll be back with pictures and all the details.

Take Care friends!!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Listless Life List

LOOKING OUT MY WINDOW....

Our weather is continuing in the roller coaster mode. Temps are high enough on some days to require turning on the A/C and then back to the furnace the next day. That is highly unusual for us here in Kansas. By this time of the year we are usually over needing the furnace. We have had more than our share of rain. See pictures below!

AS I PONDER....

I'm not sure why I haven't been attending to my blog lately. I had the 'candy post' ready for a while now so I decided since I haven't been very active here it was a good time to post it. I feel blue. Don't really know why. I miss the boy! We will soon get to see him and maybe that will help. We aren't hearing from him at all and that might also have something to do with feeling blue. Who knows. I just hope it passes soon. 



WHAT I AM LEARNING...

What I am learning about the Army....nothing happens very fast. No news is supposed to be good news. They keep these kids really, really busy. Which is a good thing. But communication with the home is another really, really good thing. And communication is sketchy. Darian is either falling down on the job with letter writing or he's out in the field and not writing letters. Either way it is trying this granny's patience. And the patience of a lot of mommies and wives of other soilders.  

WHAT I'M READING....


I haven't been reading much either. Now, that is crazy, for me. I am still reading Imagine Me Gone. Will be happy to start another book soon. 


WHAT I'M WATCHING...


We have going to finish up with Dancing With The Stars and Survivor this week. Wonder what my next shows will be. 


WHAT'S ON MY CAMERA...



Backyard
front yard

shopping with a diva

Happy 17th

Eating out for Paige's birthday





WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE KITCHEN...


Monday...Salisbury steaks

Tuesday...Chili dogs

Wednesday..Harley eats at church

Thursday...Popcorn Chicken & Fries

Friday...Pizza

Saturday...Baked Chicken

Sunday...Omelets & hash browns


A QUOTE I WANT TO SHARE...




A peek into my week...

I have no idea what this week brings. Harley's job is at best wishy-washy. They don't like to make schedules. They like to call at the last moment and say they need her. Or at the last moment and tell her to stay home today. So I guess this week we are playing it by ear. And hopefully, once we return from Georgia, she can find a new job. She will be starting to help again with swim lessons like she did last summer. Yikes!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Remembering Candies and Goodies from my Childhood


One of the fondest memories of my childhood years (1950's-1960's)are memories of the sweet treats. We used to spend an entire day picking up pop bottles in ditches around our town. We then made our way to the corner grocery store, Jordan's, to turn them in for money. Not a lot of money. We are talking about pennies. But those pennies were then turned into CANDY! Mr. Jordon had a large counter filled with penny candy. I walked in with a huge bag filled with glass pop bottles and walked out with a small bag packed with candy.

One of my favorites was a Sugar Daddy!! Probably why I have horrible teeth today. But I would suck on that thing until it was beyond soft and then chew it right off the paper stick. Yum!!


A second love was Fire Stix! I think they are called Jolly Ranchers now. But this was a flat shaped piece of fire hot cinnamon candy. And it was super hot. And I loved them.

We also loved cinnamon toothpicks. Did you ever buy any? They came in a little wax envelope. Or the little bottle of cinnamon to make your own? We had a local place that sold 'cinnamon cokes' and it was a real treat to get one of those.


Jawbreakers! Yeah man! Loved me a big fat jawbreaker. I never chomped on them. I sucked on them. They would make my cheeks puff out like a squirrel until they shrank in size. Pure sugar, I'm sure.


My favorite candy bar, still to this day, is a Bit-O-Honey. I don't eat it anymore because of my teeth. But I loved those things. And probably ate more than my share!! Did you have a favorite candy bar when you were a kid?

Speaking of favorite candy bars, my mom loved the Cherry Mash. Me, not so much. But whenever I see a Cherry Mash I think of my mom.


Another favorite was Necco Wafers. I especially loved the black ones. Scoring these candies meant you could stretch out the joy for much longer because you got an entire roll of them for pennies. 

Whenever we would go to the ballpark we would beg and beg until mom would give us each a nickel and I would race to the concession stand to buy a Chick-O-Stick. Crunchy peanut butter and toasted coconut! Loved these! Or if they didn't have those on hand I would get a Big Hunk. Nougat filled with nuts. Can you think of anything better?

Always when we visited the local five and dime I would make sure I got some wax lips. I remember wearing them for a bit of time. And pretending I had on the most beautiful colored lipstick. But eventually they got chewed into a huge ball of wax. Ha! Ha! What a sales gimmick.

I don't know if they make these any longer (probably not) but the most sophisticated candy of the time was a box of candy cigarettes. And we all pretended to smoke. Yep, no one talked about cancer back in those days. And EVERYONE smoked!! I liked to get the Lucky Strike ones. Don't know why!! Did you pretend with candy cigarettes? (edited to say, yes, you can still buy these).


What about you guys....any favorite candies from your childhood? Please share with us!!