Monday, August 31, 2015

My Simple Woman's Daybook-August 31th Edition

For Today...

Today is August 31, 2015. The end of summer. Fall is upon us. Every single week I pause to ask myself where the time is going. End of August already. Doesn't it feel like we just put away the Christmas decorations. And we are soon heading back into the busy holiday season. Nooooooooooooooooooo!

Outside my window...

The sun is shining. It is 86* but not a hot 86*. There is a feeling of fall in the air. Plus the leaves are falling off the lotus tree out back.

Add caption

I am thinking...

I have been thinking about a friend who died on Saturday. He was the father-in-law to our 'adopted daughter'. The grandfather to our other 4 grandkids. He was a farmer in northern Kansas. 76 years old. He was checking on his cattle on a four-wheeler. His son found him dead under the four-wheeler. Very sad. They had just had their 13th grandchild a month ago. We are very close to their son. Richard and Jim were great friends. It makes my heart sad for the family. But I have a picture of these two "old angels sitting in rocking chairs on the porch of Heaven telling tall tales to each other." That warms my heart.  

I am thankful...

I am, as always, thankful for my family. Justin and Paige were here this weekend. Although she is a wild child I miss her and I am happy when she is here. There are so many good memories of her when she was little. She was the light in her Papa Richard's eye. She is growing into such a fine young lady.


I am creating...

I am creating my post today and my weekly menu. This is what I do on Monday's. Also, still looking at the mantle and deciding how to decorate for fall. When it is September I will be more in the mood.

I am going...

I am going to go put clothes in the dryer. Load up the laundry basket. And load the dishwasher. After I finish talking to you, my friends! What are you doing today?

I am praying...

I am praying for Justin. He is going to be moving from his apartment and I am praying he will find the "perfect place" to live. He has been the apartment complex's courtesy officer in exchange for free rent. They are doing away with his position so he is moving. They offered him a reduced rent rate but he doesn't want to pay that amount for the area he is living in. Everyone keep him in your prayers.

I am reading...

I am reading Small Mercies by Eddie Joyce. Just started it last night so I don't have a feel for the book yet.


I am memorizing....

Starting September 14, the Do Not Depart group is starting on Isaiah 12. Click on the picture if you would like to register and memorize along with us. This will be a short one. Only 6 verses this time.


In my garden...

In my garden (cough, cough) there are a few new blooms on the geraniums. Also, my lovely peacock, Alice, is watching over the falling leaves. Isn't she pretty?



In my kitchen...

Monday....leftover night

Tuesday...Goulash with garlic bread

Wednesday...Plans open. We will see if kids go to their youth group tonight

Thursday...(Darian is going to his Marine Babies) Tomato Soup, Grilled cheese sandwiches

Friday...Chili and crackers (Football game)

Saturday...(Paige's favorite) Green Bean Soup

Sunday...Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken


A favorite quote for today...



Why is this so hard to do? Do you ever stop to realize how much you have? Why are we sometimes so busy worrying that we forget to be happy? Take a moment right now to just be happy....right now! That is what I'm doing

A peek into one of my days...

This will be a pretty easy week. Debate practice today for Darian. Wednesday is up in the air yet. Can't decide how we feel about the changed youth group hours. Thursday Darian is going to "play with his Marine baby friends". Friday is the high school's first home football game and they are both going. Then the weekend again!! Wow that went fast, didn't it?

One of my favorite things...

I love these cups. They are actually cappuccino cups. I purchased them at Pier One several years ago. They are our soup bowls. I keep them on my kitchen counter all the time. They are so colorful and always bring a smile to my face. They will soon be getting a workout. (Note menu). I love fall and winter for soups and stews.


Post Script...

I found this beauty growing in my yard, on Friday while mowing the grass. The top was huge. The size of a dinner plate. I read here why mushrooms grow in your yard. But I like the story I created better. You see, under this giant mushroom lives Ella, a fairy, with her gnome husband, Fudwick. They are getting ready to increase the size of their little family because Ella is expecting her first baby. Soon tiny little fairies and gnomes will find their way into my backyard to celebrate this momentous occasion. I am hoping I can find them a cute little house to live in before the baby comes. And I cannot imagine having them outdoors once the winds turn cool and the snow starts to fly. What should I do?

They are really quite shy but I quietly snuck on them and found them fishing is a little dip filled with water.
So precious, don't you think?

I will be joining the others at The Simple Woman's Blog. She is now posting one link-up for a month. And today begins the month of September for our Daybook entries. Won't you join us?




Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Girls From Ames, A book Review and Memories

Overview From Barnes and Nobel:

They formed a special bond growing up in the small town of Ames, Iowa. As young women, they moved to eight different states yet managed to maintain an extraordinary friendship that would carry them through college and careers, marriage and motherhood, dating and divorce, the death of a child, and the mysterious death of the eleventh member of the group. Their remarkable story, which captures what it was like to go from girlhood in the sixties to middle age in the millennium, is a testament to the deep, enduring bonds of women.

I finally finished this book. I am not really sure why it took me so long to read it. It was interesting enough. Not what I would call a great book. Probably won't become one of my favorite books. But it did give me many things to think about while I read it. And there were portions where I laughed out loud. And portions where I read with the tears streaming down my face.

The reason I liked this book is it made me think of my own friendships from over the years. I did NOT remain close to any of my childhood friends, like the girls in this book did. I thought about girls I hadn't thought about in forever.

Like Linda Sue. She was a friend I had when we lived in the housing projects called Victory Heights. We played dolls together. I remember her ripping the pants off my cloth doll 'Helen'. I don't remember why she did it. But I remember the day she did it I lost a bit of my feelings for her. Then we moved away. I see Linda Sue's mom now and then. She always catches me up with is going on in Linda Sue's life. But I haven't talked with Linda Sue since we were kids.

I had several friends who later became girlfriends or wives of my brothers. I can remember Janice, Cris, Susan, Patty and Patty. All became either a girlfriend or a wife of one brother or another. And that tends to ruin friendships.  Except for Crazy Patty. She is still a very good friend.( I named by baby daughter after her) However I don't see or talk to her that often.

Jean and Palmer
last time she was at my house
Before I went to nursing school my best friend was Jean. We lived on the same street when my oldest son was born. She lived in a house half-way between my apartment and my mom's house. When Danny and I went to see grandma (him seated in the little red wagon and me pulling) Jean and her kids would be on their porch. We smiled and waved and that was about it. It wasn't until my ex returned from the Navy and we moved into our first home that Jean and I became close friends. She was there for me as I went through a divorce. She was there when Richard and I became a couple. And then she moved to Florida. I felt like my world had come to an end. She was my go-to. My sounding board. My strength. My best friend. After she left is when I decided I needed to fill my days with something. So I went to nursing school. We stayed in contact over the years. But the letters and phone calls slowly petered out. As often in the case of long distance friendships. After I graduated from nursing school we went to Florida for a visit. Jean had three kids and I had two. We would talk at Christmas. And see each other when she came home for visits. But we, sadly, didn't remain close.

Gary, Nanne, me in New Mexico
I had several other good friends during my nursing years. There was Marsha, Susan, Karla, and others. But I also met Nanne at this time of my life. She was a traveling nurse who worked a short time at the same hospital where I worked. Nanne and I didn't hit it off right from the start. But one night, while talking with her, I learned of her struggles with prescription pain medications and how it had affected her life. This was after we had learned our oldest son was a drug addict. Nanne helped me understand drug  
addiction in ways no one else had been able to. After Nanne left Hutchinson and moved on in her career we stayed in close contact through telephone calls and visits. Richard and I visited almost every town she had an assignment in. In fact, it was during one of these visits, in Kalispell, Montana, I broke my leg! We were planning another trip to see Nanne and Gary. They were living in Gallup, New Mexico. Richard had always wanted to take a train trip. We were going in February, 2008 to see them. Nanne called me on New Year's Eve. They were in Mississipi seeing her dad. We talked about our pending visit. Both of us were excited. On the evening of January 7, I was at work and received a call from Nanne's son, Josh. Nanne had suffered a massive heart attack and had been taken to the hospital. She was in serious condition on a ventilator. Before I could make the arrangments to go to her, she died. A piece of my heart died with her that night. I felt I had lost more than a best friend.

Then in May, 2008, I received word that Jean had gone into the hospital for gallbladder surgery and had died! Talk about a double whammy in 2008. Devastating losses of two of the best friends I have ever had. I miss them both. I talk to them on occasion. I know they are both my guardian angels.

I still have good friends. One of the best is Rozann. I hold her close to my heart. I know how friendships can slip away in the blink of an eye. That is what this book reminded me of. My past good friends. My present good friends. And how sometimes friendships slip away for reason that are not always in our control. People come and people go through out lives for a variety of reasons.

How about your good friends? What kinds of memories do you have? Are you still in touch with those from your childhood?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Letters

The last Friday Letters of August. August was a busy month! Now I am hoping things will quiet down and I will fall into a good schedule. I will need to monitor myself to make sure I get things done and not just become a couch potato! So here we go:
Dear Next Door Neighbors:
I'm sad to see you starting to pack things up. I know you told me this summer you would be putting your house on the market in the fall and moving. But, seeing you load up a trailer with all of your outdoor things today made me feel a bit sad. We have seen several families in that house since we have lived here. But you were the best of all of them!! I will miss you guys. I wish you well! I won't say good-bye Crooks just yet! (we loved having Crooks live next to us. Their name always gave us a smile when we said it).
Dear High School:

First Day of School

Darian's last first day!!!
see below


Hope your day was good with all 675 students as it was for my two high school kids. They are excited. Harley loved her classes and was happy to find out that some of her friends were in each class. She was so worried she wouldn't know anyone in her classes. (DUH!) She came home happy and exhausted. She said she
didn't sleep well Wednesday night because she was so nervous about the first day. Darian, too, enjoyed his first day and it was a long one. After school they had a 3 1/2 hour debate practice. (I'll talk more about that in upcoming posts). Then he came home and hooked up on Skype, with another debate partner, and studied until 10 p.m. He has a fun Senior year ahead of him. Shouldn't be too hard. If he stays on task in his classes. (go ahead and laugh at the old lady who decided to photo bomb their back to school selfie. She didn't have time to comb her hair or put on some make-up for the photo! So she just snuck into the background. Ha! Ha! And it was 6:30 in the morning for goodness sake) 
Dear Car:
Okay I finally caught you! Yes, you are leaking coolant. I filled it and after driving to the grocery store I came home, parked in the driveway, and watched for the drip. There it was. Coming right from the cracks in the plastic ends of the aluminum radiator. I checked out O'Reilly's and the part is around $98.00. The repair shop shows that it takes about 2 hours and they charge around $80.00 at hour so I am guessing it will be around $400+ to get it all fixed up.(have to figure in hoses and coolant). Damn, damn, and double damn! Always something isn't it? 
Dear Lawn Mower:
I'm going to grab my sun glasses, my water bottle, my music and earphones. Then you and I are going to rumble around the yard later. Is it a date? I'll leave the weed eating to the kids when they get out of school later. That things kills my back when I use it!! Besides they are younger. And I'm the boss. See you later my little green tractor.
Dear God:
Thank you for protecting us. Keeping us safe from harm. I know I don't talk to you as often as I should but you are always there watching over us. I have a special friend I want you to be kind to this week. Ellie is struggling and she needs your arms around her to get her through this difficult time! In this house you are KING! Amen.
Hope everyone is getting ready for another wonderful weekend. And I will see you again on Monday! Rock on!!!! 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

First Day of School

I make no apologies. I jumped for joy when they got on the bus this morning!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Today is the last Wednesday of August. Tomorrow will be the kids first day of school. Today I am joining Joyce at From This Side of the Pond for the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Care to join us?
She provides the prompts; we give our answers!!

Ready, set, Go!

 1. It's hard to believe, but next week's Hodgepodge will find us in the month of September. What's one thing you want, need, or hope to do still before summer officially ends?

At our house, summer officially ends tomorrow. The first day of school is the beginning of fall. I know that is not what the calendar says. But it is what I say. And at my house what I say goes! I don't have anything I want to do before summer is over. All the plans I have will still work next week. What about you? Anything you are wanting to do yet this summer?

 2. When were you last at 'your wit's end'?

Oh my! This is hard. I am at my wit's end all the time. I am going to say Saturday night. I was trying to talk to Darian about why it is not a great idea to leave his 'cords' (lap top charger, phone charger, etc.) stretched across his bedroom floor and then walk on them. He wants to 'argue' with me. (Damn that debate class). The more I tried to rationalize the outcome of doing this, the more he argued that he wasn't walking on the cords. After the battle was over (if battles like this are ever really over) I wondered why I was arguing with him. Let him learn the lesson the hard way. If the cords become unable to work then HE buys new cords. Save the arguments for things that really matter. Why is that so hard for parents (grand or otherwise) to learn. I come from a generation of 'do as I say because I said so!

 3. Describe a time you were figuratively thrown into 'the deep end'?

I don't know if I would call this 'figuratively'....when 2 little kids, ages 8 and 10, showed up on my doorstep, needing a home, I felt as if I was being thrown in the deep end. Thrown to the wolves. Asked to do something I'd already done. Taking on a task I really didn't want to do. And to make it work for all of us. For several months after that day I walked through a fog. I did what I had to do! Would I do it again? Absolutely. But I would be better prepared. Wouldn't I?

 4. Does the end always, ever, or never justify the means? Explain.

Well....I think this depends! I know, I know! That wasn't one of the possibilities. But it should have been. Because there just isn't any one answer to this question. I think it depends on the end. And what it takes you to get there. Is it legal? Is it honest? Is it good? If one is trying out for a certain position in a company and you lie about other candidates to make yourself look best then the end is NOT justified by the means. To me! Others may think that all is fair in love and war. I don't happen to be one those people. All is not fair if it hurts someone else. Right? I fall into the belief that it is never justified to do something bad in order to gain something good. So I guess I am going to stick with that. If it is illegal, immoral, dishonest, or bad then the end never justifies the means. Are you thoroughly confused yet????

 5. What makes your hair stand on end?

This expression means, to me, what scares me so badly that my hair would 'figuratively' stand on it's end. Only one thing comes to mind. And that is mice. Mice scare me to death. (just an expression, friends). But I do feel as if I am going to die when I see, hear, or think about mice. I am terrified! Hope I don't see any mice anytime soon. 

 6. I read an article on the website 
Eat This! Health, that listed 11 foods we can eat to help end bad moods. Basically it's a feed your brain so you're less anxious, grouchy and lethargic. The foods are-mussels, swiss chard, blue potatoes, grass fed beef, dark chocolate, greek yogurt, asparagus, honey, cherry tomatoes, eggs, and coconut. Which of those do you think would most help end your own bad mood? Which do you fear, if forced to eat, would put you into a bad mood?

Some grass-fed beef, along with steamed asparagus, would end my bad mood right now. I also love honey, cherry tomatoes, eggs, Greek yogurt,  and coconut. Not a fan, at all, of dark chocolate. Don't know why anyone would chose to eat that when milk chocolate is available. I do not like mussels at all!! Not a fan of Swiss chard! And I have never heard of blue potatoes. So I am pretty sure, if someone is forcing me to eat any of those things, I would be in a bad mood.

 7. What project around your home, office, or life in general feels like there is 'no end in sight'?

This one is easy for me. It has to be Darian's bedroom. Before Richard died last year I was making Darian's bedroom more his! It had been Richard's office. The walls were painted and wallpapered in a golf theme. Darian is not into golf. So I stripped the wallpaper and spackled the blemishes. And then Richard took a turn for the worse and I never got the paint on the walls. That was a year ago. I don't know why I am having such a hard time finishing this project. But I am. I have to buy the paint, open it, give it a stir, and dip in a brush. How hard can that be???

 8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Speaking of my beloved Richard. It has now been 13 months since he left us. I still miss him everyday. Just the other day I saw someone at the store that I hadn't seen in quite awhile and my first thought was "wait until I tell Richard." Whoa! That took me by surprise. I miss him. But the grief is not as horrifying as it once was. I am making it through full days without crying once. I am healing. I am moving forward. (Maybe there is hope yet to get that room painted.)

Monday, August 24, 2015

My Simple Woman's Daybook-August 24th Edition

For Today...

It's Monday, August 24, 2015. One week left in the month. Then we pass into the fall months of the year. I like fall! I like the changing color of the trees. I like fall plants. I like the cooler temperatures.  What do you like about fall? I will link with Peggy at The Simple Woman's Blog. It is an "August Link-up". Let's be sure to see what the other ladies are up to this week.

Outside my window...

The sun is shining through the window, onto my back,as I sit here at my desk, typing. The air is cool. Only 68*. Unbelievably, temps are getting into the upper 50's at night the past couple of nights. The weather forecast for this week shows temps only into the mid 80's. All sunshine. Until Thursday. Predicting thunderstorms that day.

I am thinking...

I am thinking about this past week and all the things that went right and all the things that went wrong. Isn't that a bit how our lives are? We have good days and we have bad days. In the end all the days make us who we are. I am not going to take this moment to focus on the bad things. But to focus on the good things. I will go back and deal with the bad things later. Maybe.

A couple more pictures of our picnic. We played Mad Gab laying on a blanket in the shade of a big, old cottonwood tree. Have you ever played Mad Gab? This game is a hoot. We laughed and laughed. See the phrase on the card: House Sweet This Hound! You say that phrase and your opponents try to guess what it is. (How sweet the sound)! So funny at times. And laughter is good for the soul. At least it is for this old lady's soul.

I am thankful...

I am thankful we had a beautiful day on Friday for a picnic. I am thankful for the beautiful day Sunday. Whenever I get up in the mornings and think about turning the furnace on "just to take the chill off the house" then you know the weather is Kansas is changing. My budget will be thankful for the lower electric bills.

I am wearing...

I am wearing a soft, blue tee shirt with tan shorts. Not that cool tonight in the house. So the shorts feel good. (I am writing this on Sunday night and will finish on Monday). 

I am creating...

My goal this week is to create some space in Darian's closet and drawers. He has so many tee shirts. Some can be pitched because they became so 'yucky' from his summer job. Some he has outgrown. Same with a big pile of jeans. And then I will be able to see what he needs for the winter ahead. Might be the last time I get to shop for his clothes. I am turning him over to the United States Marine Corps after graduation. They can dress him! Hip, hip ,horray. But, of course, we will miss him. I am also creating our weekly menu. It's back to school week here. And I am pondering what to do for a fall mantle project.

I am going...

I am going to start thinking about what I want to accomplish this fall. I have some outside paint touch ups. I need to get my back door scraped and painted. I am ready to once again tackle Darian's bedroom. I need to finish it for him before he leaves home. He is such a great kid that he hasn't at all minded having it 'un-done' this whole past year while his granny grieved. And speaking of grieving, it has been 13 months now. Darian and I were talking last night and he became very pensive and thoughtful while I was talking about Papa. I have worried about Darian. He doesn't show his emotions. He admitted to me that he has bottled them up. That he doesn't want to believe that Papa is gone and NEVER coming back. Broke my heart. But I think it will be good for him. We are going to talk more in coming days. I will take it slowly and let him decide how much he wants to share. He's been so strong. And so brave. I keep telling him that his Papa would be so proud of him.

I am wondering...

I am wondering what I will do today. Usually I need Monday's to recover from the family over the weekend. All the hub-bub. The noises. The activity. But this weekend, even with Justin and Paige here, was rather quiet. I need to start some laundry. And clean the kitchen. Wipe down the cabinets. How on earth do cabinets get so dirty? Beyond me!


I am reading...

Still working my way through The Girls From Ames. Getting closer to the end. It has been an interesting read. Not fascinating. But interesting. Made me think a lot about friendships from my own life. I am going to write a blog post about it in the future. Do you think about the friends you have had over a life time? Where are they? What happened that you didn't stay in touch? Who touched you the deepest? Who do you miss the most? Who is the ones that are still there when you need them?


I am praying...

I have always loved The Lord's Prayer. Don't you. I am not a super religious person. I have that proverbial 'potty mouth' at times. I have been known to sin! LOL! I don't attend church all that much. But I do trust in God.  When I am anxious I repeat The Lord's Prayer to myself. This was my go-to prayer whenever we were flying. Richard used to tease me about it. But that's okay. It's gotten me through some rough times.

There are so many ways to say the Lord's Prayer. This is the one I learned. This is how I say it. Is this the same way you say the Lord's Prayer? What is your version?


I am learning...

I am reviewing all of James 1. Verses 1-27. I know it pretty well. Starting September 14 we will be memorizing Isaiah 12. It is a shorter verse. Only 6 verses. We will work on it until October 25th. Then the holiday break. So the last memorization of 2015 will be Isaiah 12. Want to join? I memorize with The Do Not Depart Group. I use Scripture Typer. There are many ways to memorize. They are a helpful group.


I am stressing about...

Why oh why do I need to stress. I stress about everything. Are the kids okay? Has the beginnings of their lives messed them up? Will they seek out their parents, one day, and fall back into that trap? Will they be able to deal with a good strong psyche? Will we have enough money to live on? What if something major happens that I need to fix. How will we manage? Will my car hold out? Can I help the kids become good enough drivers to get their licenses? Can I afford more insurance? Who can help me with all of this worrying? I say my prayers and ask for God to help me. But I just won't leave my problems with him. I hope he is listening.  


In my kitchen...

Monday...Breakfast for dinner

Tuesday...Pork Chops with Stuffing

Wednesday...Kids will eat at church

Thursday...Harley cooks Hamburger Helper!

Friday...Spaghetti and garlic bread

Saturday...Hamburgers on the grill

Sunday...Roast Beef and fixings


I am celebrating....

I am celebrating the return to school! Darian's senior year. Harley is a sophomore. Paige has already returned and has finished her first week.

A favorite quote for today...

This is such a true statement. I love Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. She has so much to say on the subject of death. I studied some of her books when I was a nursing student. Such a wise woman!

A peek into one of my weeks...

This is back to school week at our house. On Monday Darian has debate practice at the school from 4-8 p.m. So I will be driving him and picking him up. About a 30 mile round trip. Wednesday will be their first mid-week church youth group at the new time. Dinner at 7:30 with teen time from 8-9 p.m. We will see how that goes. Then Thursday is the big day!! School starts!! Haven't yet heard from the bus driver as to what time they will be picked up but I imagine it will be close to the same time from last year. 6:57 a.m. Darian will either stay after school that day for debate or go work out with the Marine babies (my name for the group of guys that have enlisted or will be enlisting in the next year). We'll wrap up the week on Friday. And wait to hear if Justin and Paige are coming back again for next weekend. I am looking forward to some alone time! Some me time! Some 'do what I want' time. Do you look forward to that?


One of my favorite things...

I have a new (to me anyway) favorite way to cook chicken. I can't believe I have never been into whole chickens up until now. On Sunday I cooked a whole chicken in the crock pot... 6 hours on high. (First I marinated it all night in the refrigerator in a whole bottle of Teriyaki Ginger marinade.) I took it out of the crock pot and put it into a hot oven for about 10 minutes; crisped the skin. Oh my gosh. This chicken was amazing! Can't wait to make another one. Mashed potatoes, gravy, steamed carrots, corn and Brussels sprouts finished out the meal. (The corn and Brussels sprouts were leftovers that needed to leave the fridge)

On The Corner of my desk this week...

I'm planning with Willie and Mickey this week!