Monday, July 31, 2017

Currently-A life List

Outside my window...

The sky is gray and it is raining now. The temp is low 80's. Perfect day. For napping. 


Oh I am so over politics. I thought the promise from this President was it wasn't going to be politics as usual. That he was going to drain the swamp. That he was going to "Make America Great Again". Do you all remember those two years of campaigning. I am so embarrassed by him. It seems like everyday I wake up to more of his trash talking about people he doesn't agree with. I don't think his momma taught him any manners at all. How long with the Republican party continue to let him make them look bad. I remember when Republicans were respected. Like Ronald Reagen. Dwight Eisenhower. Abe Lincoln. Well I don't actually remember Abe but you know what I mean. So sad to see the most respected office is the world being treated this way. Okay, I've ended my rant.    


I am still watching Big Brother. And still waiting for them to get smart and get rid of Paul. This year seems so scripted. Of course they would bring back Paul. He makes for good TV. (I guess) And of course Cody would win the Battle Back. And then, of course, his girlfriend would win the next Head of Household. So predictable. What do all my fellow Big Brother fans think?


I am really been remiss on reading this summer. I have gotten hung up on other things. I am loving Audible for some books. But I am currently reading Brothers and Bones by James Hankins, Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist. And I am listening to Belong To Me by Marisa de los Santos. (This one I've been listening to for a long time. It's not that I don't like it. I just keep falling asleep).


I am loving my new Bullet Journal. I am a list maker and using a bullet journal really fits this obsession of mine. I will share some pictures in my July favorites post.


July was a hard month. Part of it was because of the anniversary of Richard's death, I'm sure. It seems to just bring all that back. (Like it ever really left). Part of it might have been Harley being gone through the first part. I enjoyed my time but it making me see that life without her here is going to be very different. My overall feelings for July seemed to be one of sadness. Hopefully that will all change in August. I am thinking maybe I will try to make my mood for August: Productive!



I am now enjoying my second cup of French Vanilla coffee. I have also really enjoyed Cherry Lime-aids this month. 

What's in the kitchen...

Monday...Chicken Pot Pie

Tuesday...Italian Sausage Frittata

Wednesday...BBQ Chicken quarters

Thursday...Chili Dogs

Friday...Fish sticks and Fries


Sunday...Easy Beef Stroganoff

A quote to share...

Pictures to share...

Harley showing me she wears gloves to clean at work!

Harley and Piper 

Watermelon sangria at Applebee's with Justin 

And tomorrow we start August.....

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Dry-A Book Review

Overview From Barnes and Noble

“A breathless page-turner, driven by the many revelations Ms. Harper dreams up…You’ll love [her] sleight of hand…A secret on every page.” —The New York Times

“One of the most stunning debuts I've ever read… Every word is near perfect.” —David Baldacci

A small town hides big secrets in The Dry, an atmospheric, page-turning debut mystery by award-winning author Jane Harper.After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke’s steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn’t tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets

I listened to this book on Audible. And I loved it. Each character was fully developed and fascinating. The book is mainly about solving the murder of Luke, Agent Aaron Falk's best friend from high school, and his wife and son, leaving only the infant daughter alive. But it delves into the back story from years ago when Falk and his father left town, under the suspicion of having something to do with the death of Falk's high school girlfriend. The story takes place in Kiewarra, Australia, a farming community that has been ravaged by the worst drought in years. This becomes very important at the end of the story.
The person who read the story on Audible had a thick (at times hard to understand) Australian accent. I love this kind of book. I LOVED this book. I am giving it 4 1/2 **** stars. It is that kind of book!  Thank you Allison for another great recommendation.   

Friday, July 28, 2017

Dear Friday

Dear Friday: 
I cannot believe it is already Friday. Seems like I opened my eyes yesterday on a bright Sunday morning and this morning it is Friday. The summer is flying by and I don't know what I have done all summer. But Friday, be good to us, and we will enjoy you before you leave us.

Dear Mother Nature:

Yes, it is summer. And hot. And humid. And I love you the most. But I am ready for a break. Looking forward to next week when our temps will be dipping into the upper 70's and low 80's. What?? Yep, that's what the weatherman is saying.

Dear Harley:

My gosh girl you are keeping me busy. We are getting ready for the Senior year. Senior pictures, clothes shopping, school supply shopping, enrollment, practicing for the written driving test. Whew! I am exhausted just reading about it. And then there is making time for the boyfriend! (hers, not mine). Let's let time slow down a bit and schedule a movie night together. What do you say?

Dear Blog family and friends:

I have been neglecting this place. I need to get a broom and sweep out the cobwebs and make it sparkle again. I will get back on schedule soon and keep you up to date with what is going on in our lives. What have all of you been doing this summer? I miss you all.



Thursday, July 20, 2017

Three Years of Missing Richard

I had no idea that grief hurts? It hurts all the way to the bones. And the ache is not relieved by ibuprofen or aspirin. There is no medicine for the ache. The heart is full of pain that is heavy and hard to bear.

It is the third anniversary of Richard's death. Tomorrow!  Three years. 1095 days! A very long time that isn't really that long at all. With every passing day I hope for less pain. I don't know if that has happened but I'm able to bear the pain a bit now. 

I still replay the memories of our life together. We had many, many good memories. And they sustain me each day in a way I did not think possible. I've mostly forgotten the bad times. We had them, believe me. But they just don't seem that important anymore. I can close my eyes and see his smile as he looks at me. I can see the scar on his hand.
How he says my name. Then I open my eyes and I understand. He is gone. 

In these past three years I have stumbled upon things that bring me joy. A hand-written card for my birthday. A list he wrote for a vacation we were taking. A handkerchief in my coat pocket that belonged to him. (Do any men still carry a cloth hanky?)His recipe for Taco Salad written in his very precise printing! All precious memories to me.  

I think the continued pain comes from 'letting go'. I hold on tight but I can't feel him anymore. I can't touch him. I can't smell him. That special smell that says to all of us who loved him dearly....this is Papa. I've had to let go of the idea that he will be with me all the way through my old age. We always knew that would never happen. But I don't think we ever formed a real thought to what it would be like for one of us to be gone. 

Losing Richard has made me vulnerable. It has helped me be more honest. Honest in my love for those close to me. Tomorrow is NOT promised. Losing him has made me stronger. Not in ways that I want to be stronger but in ways that have been necessary for me to survive. Losing him has made me over-look things that just aren't that important. Losing him has made me see life through hidden tears. 

What I've learned from losing him is that I couldn't save him. No matter how hard I hung on. No matter how perfect my care for him was. I couldn't save him. 

But I can save myself. 

Here is a piece I have written to mark the 3rd anniversary! I love you Richard. I always will.

Disney World 2011


What do I miss now that you are gone?
I miss the way you looked at me.
The way you folded your arms across your chest.
The way you pushed your glasses up your nose.
Those tiny wisps of hair in your ears.
I miss your snoring at night. Yes, really!
I miss that sweet way you called me 'honey'.
I miss rubbing my fingers across that callus on your right thumb.
What else do I miss?
I miss hearing you sing God Bless The USA
I miss the tear that slips down your cheek as the flag passes by.
I miss hearing you yearn for Colorado.
And I also miss...
I miss your smile, your sound, your touch, your smell.
I miss your friendship, your companionship, your love.
I miss...

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Woman in Cabin 10-A Book Review

It probably doesn't come as a surprise to you that I spent this holiday from Harley (if that is what it was) reading. One of my favorite past times. And I haven't gotten to do much of it. For one reason or another. So here is my review on another book. Sorry if you don't like these kinds of blog posts!

The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware, came very highly recommended  by my friend Christopher Alan at You Tube. And I was not disappointed. This author also wrote In a Dark, Dark Wood which I read earlier this year. I did like Cabin 10 better.

The story starts out with Lo Blacklock, the main character, being inside her London apartment when someone breaks in while she is in the apartment. The horror of this follows her as she boards a luxury, small cruise ship on its maiden voyage. She hears what she thinks is a woman being thrown over board, from the cabin next door. Cabin 10. She had earlier knocked on that door and borrowed a mascara from the woman inside the cabin. (Who does that?? I would never borrow mascara. Would you?) She tries to find out who the woman is but no one believes there was a woman in the cabin, as it is now empty. The remainder of the book deals with her trying to uncover the crime. A good mystery. I enjoyed it very much. This is my kind of book. 

I give this book ****. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Currently in July

Outside my window...

We have a beautiful summer day here in Kansas. The sun is shining and the sky is clear and blue. I love summer skies! Don't you. Our current temp is 93* at 2:00 p.m.


Oh there is much to ponder this week. But since so much of what I'm thinking about is political I think I'll pass. And just sit here at my computer shaking my head. Can it get worse? Will it get worse?


I've been watching Big Brother. I know I have some fellow fans here. What do you guys think? I'm not at all a Paul fan but if he can get rid of Cody then I'll be happy. Then it will be time for the house to get rid of Paul. Sadly, I think Paul will win. I think that is what CBS wants. Do you think production pulls more strings than we like to believe.


I'm currently reading Brothers and Bones by James Hankins. I think my friend Wendy recommended this book some time ago. I just finished The Woman in Cabin 10 and will review it soon. I am, also, listening to The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe on audible. It is on my list of 100 Books everyone should read. I haven't read it or seen the movie. (There was a movie wasn't there). So far I am enjoying it. 


Today I am creating this blog post and working on my weekly menu. It is hard to plan meals with Harley gone so much but I still need to eat. And I am trying to work on eating more healthy type foods so I need to plan. What are your favorite foods to eat in the summer? I love salads!!


Well after Harley being gone for 10 days I learned that living by myself is not going to be all that bad. For three straight days I never ever left the house. That was wonderful. I also read a lot which will probably not be something I do so much when being alone is my real life. I just felt that I was on a vacation, of sorts. 


I'm planning in my mini Happy Planner for this week. Harley is back and will be working just at McDonald's this week. McDonald's scheduled her during her swimming lesson classes so she will do McDonald's because that is where she makes the most money. She knows she isn't going to be able to work as much during the school year so she wants to build up the bank account. Wise young lady!


Not much is growing here. I took my ficus tree (I've owned it for more than 25 years) and really cut it back and put it on the patio. It is so lopsided now. So many dead branches after two years of being inside. When fall comes I will see if it has filled out. If not, then, it might be time to let it go.



I'm enjoying my peach tea. While Harley was gone I enjoyed a couple of bottles of wine. Well half of each bottle.

What's in the kitchen...

Monday...Crunchy Taco Casserole

Tuesday..Grilled Chicken Salad

Wednesday..Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

Thursday..Grilled hamburger and fruit salad

Friday..(might eat out this night)

Saturday...up in the air
Sunday....will depend on Paige and Justin

A quote to share...


The first three pictures were from Harley's mission trip! The first two are of them in the van on their way to Florida. Pastor Josh and his wife are in the front seat. They are the youth pastor/wife. They have no kids of their own and do not plan to have kids. He said that is why he is a youth pastor. He can love and teach our kids and go home to a quiet house. I think he might be on to something there. 

Beautiful! Taken on the beach on July 4th
A SnapChat from my Pvt

A SnapChat from Paige

A final thought...

I still have not heard from a plumber. Sure am glad this wasn't an emergency. They have promised me this afternoon or tomorrow at the latest. Time will tell.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**K-A book Review

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Mansons  In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be "positive" all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people. For decades, we've been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. "F**k positivity," Mark Manson says. "Let’s be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it." In his wildly popular Internet blog, Mason doesn't sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected American society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up. Manson makes the argument, backed both by academic research and well-timed poop jokes, that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better. Human beings are flawed and limited—"not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault." Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek. There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

I listened to this book on Audible. I don't even know why I bought it. Probably the title grabbed my attention. And I would like to learn how not give a f**k more often.

I liked this book. It wasn't a book about how to see everything in such a positive way. I come from the group of believers who see the cup 'half empty' instead of 'half full'. All the sunshine and roses type of people kind of turn me off. Everything can't be so wildly great all the time. And blaming the person for not thinking positive when bad crap is happening to them is just wrong.

I have seen what giving participation medals to all the kids have done to a generation. No one ever tells them they are not good at something. Or that there isn't anything they can't do. Some people just can't play baseball. So why encourage a kid to do it and then insist they get a medal if they suck at it?  Kids are usually smart enough to know they aren't any good.Heck I have sat through my share of sporting events where they don't even keep score. Because we don't want to damage any little psyches if they lose the game. I don't feel we are helping kids become better adults by teaching them that kind of BS. I can remember getting a note from a teacher stating they would no longer grade a paper with red ink because it did not send out positive vibes. What the heck?? Since when has the color red had anything to do with negativity??

So I enjoyed this book! The stories are funny. Some of them are sad. All of them are REAL!

I give this book ***!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Friday Letters

It has been a long time since I have written some Friday Letters. I was reminded last week when Myra wrote some on her blog. I need to re-instate this because I have so much to say!

Dear God:

I don't talk to you as often as I used to. I am so sorry. I know that you know what I am thinking and what I am feeling. But I am sure you miss me talking with you. I promise to try to do better with this. As crazy as things have been this year I have needed you even more than ever. Can you see what I've been going through? Are you still holding my hand? Let's get together soon!

Dear Crazy Neighbor:

Yes, I saw you lurking behind my pampas grass the other day. With your little dog who was pooping on the lawn. I really don't care where he poops but I care when I step in it. Or Harley does and then comes into the house. If you need a doggy bag to pick it up I have several rolls in the house. And I don't even own a dog. Also, when I don't answer the door when you are knocking it probably means I'm either not home or I don't want company at the moment. Just saying. Now we need to schedule a time for a glass of ice tea. How's Saturday for you?

My sweet Harley:

Yes, I miss you! But it isn't the end of the world. I have had lots of time to read. And to cook all those things that you don't like. I haven't managed to make a crockpot of stew yet. But maybe tomorrow. I will be okay when you are gone (for good) Really, I will be. It's sweet that you worry. But I don't believe you at all.......Love, Granny

Dear Soldier:

Hello PVT! I miss you, too! I can't wait for you to come home. You have turned into such a man. Well, a man-boy! Of course I will cook all your favorites. And as soon as you send me an address I will ship you a box of homemade cookies. Even if I never made you cookies when you lived at home. You can share them with your friends and pretend I was one of those kinds of grannys. And I'll get some Hamburger Helper stocked up too. Bawha! Love you boy!

Dear Plumber:

Does no one want to do business anymore. I called you everyday for 3 straight days and never got a return call.(And we have used you for years). So I called your competitor. And they didn't call back either. Really??? Are plumbers that in demand? Or just not interested in making any money. Never mind. I have another one who is supposed to come Monday! I guess when you start charging $60+ an hour you can be selective of what jobs you want to take on. Really I don't think fixing a drip under the sink is that hard, is it? 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A Jodi Picoult Review

Where There's Smoke

Bestselling author Jodi Picoult is a masterful storyteller, who “writes with a fine touch, a sharp eye for detail, and a firm grasp of the delicacy and complexity of human relationships” (The Boston Globe). Now, in this original short story, available exclusively as an eBook, Picoult introduces Serenity Jones, one of the fascinating characters from her eagerly awaited new novel, Leaving Time.

Even as a child, Serenity Jones knew she possessed unusual psychic gifts. Now, decades later, she’s an acclaimed medium and host of her own widely viewed TV show, where she delivers messages to the living from loved ones who have passed. Lately, though, her efforts to boost ratings and garner fame have compromised her clairvoyant instincts. When Serenity books a young war widow to appear as a guest, the episode quickly unravels, stirring up a troubling controversy. And as she tries to undo the damage—to both her reputation and her show—Serenity finds that pride comes at a high price.

From Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Storyteller and My Sister’s Keeper, comes a gripping and beautifully written novella, now available exclusively as an eBook. Set in the wilds of Africa, Larger Than Life introduces Alice, the unforgettable character at the center of Picoult’s anticipated new novel, Leaving Time

A researcher studying memory in elephants, Alice is fascinated by the bonds between mother and calf—the mother’s powerful protective instincts and her newborn’s unwavering loyalty. Living on a game reserve in Botswana, Alice is able to view the animals in their natural habitat—while following an important rule: She must only observe and never interfere. Then she finds an orphaned young elephant in the bush and cannot bear to leave the helpless baby behind. Thinking back on her own childhood, and on her shifting relationship with her mother, Alice risks her career to care for the calf. Yet what she comes to understand is the depth of a parent’s love. 

These two stories came together in one Nook Book from Barnes and Nobel. The first one, Where There's Smoke is a short story. It deals with a medium who reads her audiences and delivers messages from the grave. I'm not sure how I feel about these kinds of people. I don't know if they are 'hucksters' or they might be getting a bit of messages from beyond and make up the rest. I cannot totally deny that our loved ones don't communicate with us. It was a good short story.

The second was a novella...which just means a short book. I really enjoyed this book for the setting. Most of it takes place in Botswana. Among the elephants. And the girl learns an important lesson about parenting. I really enjoyed both.

I will give the book ***

Monday, July 3, 2017

Early July Life List


As I sit at my computer desk I can feel the sun shining in the window behind me. But it comes and goes. It is partly cloudy today. It is, also, already 83* at noon. I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess it will be a hot day! LOL! But it is summer so that is what it is supposed to be. I love summer. And I love sunshine!

What I'm hearing....Currently the tornado siren is blowing. Nope, I'm not running for shelter. Because it is Monday at noon and the siren always blows on Mondays at noon. That is how they test the sirens to know that everything is up and running. Thank you to the city for keeping us safe!


So much to ponder today. Harley left on Friday for the South Florida missions trip with her church. I was trying to think when the last time I was home ALL alone and I honestly can't remember. It has been years and years. This is a practice run for what life will be like once she graduates from high school and leaves home. (that's her plan anyway) I had Ally (the dog I was sitting) on Friday night and he was picked up on Saturday. So Friday didn't feel "so alone". Saturday night I went to dinner at a friend's house and didn't come home until 3:00 in the morning. I know! Gasp! But we had a good time catching up with each other and sharing our feelings on raising teenage girls. Yesterday I spent sleeping or sitting in front of the TV. I'm certainly not young anymore and can't handle late nights. Even without the booze! LOL. Yesterday afternoon I got a phone call from one of the adults on the trip with Harley. Harley's throat is still sore and red and apparently she is whining about it. Did I think they needed to take her to the doctor?? I think she has sinus drainage and will live. But I gave permission if they wanted to take her. So far, on Monday at noon, they haven't. I'm one of those parents that believe you get colds, you get backaches, you get headaches, suck it up and go on with life. What do you think?? 

What Harley is doing....

Here I will give you a bit of a run-down on what her trip is looking like. They left on Friday and drove until 3:30 a.m. to Nashville, Tennessee. They caught a few hours of sleep in the pews of a local church. On Saturday they got up and drove to their destination of Pompano Beach, Florida. There are 24 kids and 7 adults along for the trip. It was after 10 when they arrived in Florida and they had a shower trailer for the kids to shower in and then bed down in the church. Sunday, after attending church, they headed to their Miami Project; where they helped with feeding the homeless at a park. After that they went to Key Biscayne and grilled and swam in the ocean. Now I will just list what their plans on for the remainder of the week.
Monday...painting, landscaping, clean up at the church who is hosting them. Then snorkeling for fun at Key Largo.
Tuesday...Church projects in the morning and afternoon then heading to Deerfield Beach to eat and watch fireworks that night. they break into small groups and go to different places: St. Lawrence Chapel, Broward County Salvation Army, Lifenet for Families. Then dinner and a boat ride at the house of friends of one of the youth pastors
Thursday...All Day they will work with Feeding South Florida project (they will work in a food bank and help serve food to homeless) and get to see how the organization reaches out with food and shower trailers for the homeless of Florida.
Friday..spending all day at beach and an outlet mall
Saturday..head to Nashville, shower at YMCA and sleep at the church
Sunday...arrive back home late evenig....

What I'm Reading...I started a new book, The Woman in Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware. I am almost through with The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k. So far, I haven't learned anything about how to do that!!


Tell me what you think.....

The fourth of July will soon be behind us. I have my mantle decorated in a patriotic theme. What should I change it to for the rest of the summer?? Any and all ideas will be accepted!! I just have no creative juices right now. Does that happen to you too!!

Here's hoping everyone will have a happy and safe Independence Day.