Friday, September 29, 2017

Dear Friday

The last Friday of September. Fall is here! We are on a countdown to the end of the year. And it will be here in the blink of an eye. It is so true what my mom once said to me: "Time will begin to fly when you get older. Stop wishing your life away." She was a wise woman. Much more than we give her credit for.

Dear Friday:

I don't know if I can say I am happy you are here. It seems like I just woke up yesterday morning and it was Sunday. Now you have arrived. But you did bring a beautiful day with you as you snuck through the door early, early this morning. I thank you for that. Fall is really the most wonderful time of the year. (Don't cry summer! You are still my favorite season).

Dear United States Postal Service:

Holy Crap postage is out of this world expensive!!! I took a package to the post office today for Harley. She is returning a dress she ordered. No return postage label. (Now I can see why) The dress didn't even weigh much. The label says a pound 7 ounces. I question that! And it cost $10.55 to ship it from Kansas to New Jersey. Plus they will deduct a handling fee from the amount they return to her for a dress that was really not at all what the picture showed. It is ridiculous how expensive shipping charges and postage are! But the guy at the post office was very nice.

Dear Driver's Education Instructor:

You must really have nerves of steel to ride with these kids. But I paid a lot of money for this course and I want her to get all of her driving times. Please stop telling her she is such a good driver that she doesn't need all 5 hours of instruction. I paid for it. She gets it! Enough said.

Dear Family and Friends:

Another weekend is upon us. I hope it is good for all of you! No plans here. Will do some cleaning and enjoying these beautiful fall days. Everyone be careful!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Railwayman's Wife-A Book Review

This story is beautifully written. The characters are well developed and the descriptions of the scenery are so wonderful that I often felt I was right there. Either on the beach or sitting in the car of the train. Well done.

The story is mostly about Annika who lives in Australia. The time is just short years after the end of World War 2. Annika has married the love of her life, Mac. They have an almost 10 year old daughter, Isabel. They live is a house that overlooks the beach and Mac works for the railway which runs along the coast of Australia. The other main characters of the book are Dr. Frank Draper and Roy McKinnon.

Both Dr. Draper and Roy saw the horror of the war. Roy, a poet, can no longer write the beautiful poetry he once wrote. And the doctor carries a huge amount of guilt from being unable to save the people in the death camps. Roy, Frank, and Annika's story become interwoven when Mac suddenly dies in a train wreck.

The story deals with a lot of grief. The lost love of Annika. The lost writing abilities of Roy. And the losses of life for Frank. They each are grieving in their own ways. 

I felt the ending was hurried and didn't end the way I would have wished. But that is what makes me continue to think about the book even after I have put it aside. The "what could have been." But isn't that true about life too? Don't we often dwell on "what would life have been like" if such and such had not happened? Or if only this would have happened? A sad, haunting story! I am giving it **** four stars!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Currently...the LAST week of September

Outside my window...

We are getting rain today! Lots and lots of rain. My backyard looked like a lake for a short time this morning. It has now all soaked into the ground. We really needed the rain. It is currently 63* From looking at the weather forecast we should be rainy through tomorrow. 


I'm pondering how things are going for the high school students. They have no power there. Harley notified me at 10:00 this morning. I have the lights on in the house because it is so dark outside. I wonder how they are fairing over there. This age of kids doesn't know too much about going without power. They are probably burning through cell phone batteries like crazy!


I finished watching all the previous seasons of Scandal on Netflix. I haven't watched this show from the beginning. It wasn't one that Richard wanted to watch. And we all know about men and their control over the remotes. Don't we? So I am all caught up and ready to watch the final season when it starts up in early October. I am also binging on Grey's Anatomy. There are (I think) 13 seasons. I didn't start watching this until the past couple of years either. It is interesting to go back and see where it all started. Do any of you watch these two shows?? And how about that finale of Big Brother, fellow Big Brother fans??? I was thrilled because I was NOT a 'Paul fan.'


I finished reading The Railwayman's Wife and will review it soon. I am still listening to Hillary's book, What Happened, and I have started reading Matterhorn, by Karl Marlantes. It is a (big) novel about the Viet Nam war.


This week, along with my friends from Do Not Depart, we have started memorizing and learning about Deuteronomy 30:11-20. As I have told you before I love to memorize. And doing it with friends makes it much more fun. 


We don't have many plans for this week. Harley is busy with her pre-clinical (getting ready to start clinical in the nursing home for the CNA class) and she starts driving with the driving instructor tomorrow night and does that for the next week plus one day next week. Thankfully, I am not driving her to any of these events!


Today I am enjoying my second cup of breakfast blend coffee with a splash of French Vanilla Cream. Doesn't get better than that. And I am loving my Keurig!

What's in the kitchen...

Wednesday...Harley eats at church
Thursday...Chicken and dressing casserole
Friday...Green Bean soup
Saturday...Chicken Cordon Blue

A quote to share...

Photos to share...

Granny and Paige

Uncle Justin and Harley

Harley driving

My dad 1946
My mom 1946

A final thought...

Harley and I drove to Wichita yesterday evening to eat out with Justin and Paige. Justin has been very busy with being security at kids' football games (sad they have to have security in this day and age but parents are crazy) and Paige works on the weekends. So we have to struggle to find a day we can all get together. We ate at Texas Roadhouse and it was really good. I just finished the leftovers for my lunch today!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Outside my window...

Here I sit on a cool Sunday evening.It is dark, dark, dark outside. No stars, no moon, lots of clouds. It was a cloudy, cool, dreary day here in my little neck of the woods! Fall is in the air!


Sitting here pondering the arrival of fall. It is 90* right now. Not very fall-like! But it will come. And it will be brief, I'm sure. But the leaves will change. And fall from the trees. And need to be raked. Or not. Whichever camp you fall into. (I wrote this section on Tuesday. I wasn't pondering much on Sunday


I am watching the Emmy's right now. I just told Harley that I had never seen a year when so many of the stars looked spacey, drugged, drunk, or just plain blah! What in the heck is wrong with them?? Did you watch? Did you notice that too?


I'm still trying to make it to the end of The Railway Man's Wife. Maybe this week. I finished listening to The Prettiest One. Did you catch my review? It is down below. And I started Hillary Rodham Clinton's book What Happened on Audible. She is reading it. Very soothing to listen to at night. And I've fallen asleep the past three nights. She might have too much of a soothing voice. Or else I'm just wishing she was our President and that makes me sleep better. Sorry, I strayed there for a bit. So far I am enjoying her story. (And for all the naysayers out there.....SHE DOES TAKE RESPONSIBILITY)! But the other reasons she lost the election have a lot to do with other people!


I haven't been very creative lately. Unless you want to count the lines I mowed in the grass today as creative. Ha! Ha!


Listening to Hillary's book I am learning a lot of the 'behind the scenes' stuff that goes on in a campaign. WOW! Surprised anyone wants to run for any kind of office. 


I truly am planning on becoming more productive. I feel so lazy! And I don't know if it is even real laziness. Or just a general lack of caring if anything gets done. I, even at times, wonder about depression. But I usually shake that word off and instead blame myself by saying I'm lazy!


Found some Dunkin' Donuts K-cups for my new Keurig. And now I am loving my coffee again. I need to order me one of those re-usable cups and just buy my coffee by the pounds at the store again. Save the other cups for other times. 

What's in the kitchen...

Tuesday...Chicken and pasta
Thursday...Chicken Lime Tacos
Friday...Taco Crunch


Harley and me at the fair

picture I sent to Harley
while at the movie 'It'
with her boyfriend

Paige and date for homecoming

the fun I've had with this big guy
(yes, he is fake)

Final thought...

 I know I've said it before but where does the time go? I cannot believe we are already in the final days of September. What are your thoughts??

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Prettiest One-A book review

I listened to this book on Audible. This is the third book have read by this author. I very much like thrillers and mystery. 

Caitlin is the focus of the book. She has returned home, after a seven month absence. She is covered in blood and has a bag containing a gun and robotic hands. Her husband is astonished to see her. Where has she been?(edited to add Caitlin has had amnesia and doesn't remember where she has been) He has been under an umbrella of suspicion since her disappearance seven months ago. And now she has a different look. Almost like she is wanting to disguise who she is.

Instead of letting the police know she is back they embark on an adventure to find out where she has been. The first person they encounter is Bix, her boyfriend of the past seven months. Bix is very much in love with Caitlin. He decides to help husband, Josh, and Caitlin solve the mystery. 

Caitlin, Josh, and Bix find themselves immersed in guns, murder, child molesters, and the police before they get to the end of the story. 

It is a good story. Although I find most of it hard to believe. I am sure the first thing that should have happened is to clear Josh's name with the police. And then let the police do the searching. But in the name of a good story we'll have to let go of what in reality would really happen.

The characters were well developed. I almost could see the "bogeyman" and feel Caitlin's fear. The ending was satisfying! I like this guys books. A lot! This will get a very solid **** stars from me. Try it! You might like it too!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hodgepodge Wednesday

1. Is a picture worth a thousand words? Elaborate.

I do think a picture is worth a thousand words. A picture can tell an entire story (most of the time). Just give me a picture anytime.

2. Have you ever driven any part of the Pacific Coast Highway? If so what was your favorite stop? If not, is this sort of trip on your bucket list?

No, I have never driven the Pacific Coast Highway. I have been on many highways in California and I am just not interested in returning. California was a nice place to visit but I've been and I haven't a desire to go back. It is not on my bucket list. There are many other places I would like to visit in what little bit of life I have left. 

3. How do the changing seasons affect you? As the seasons change do you find yourself looking more forward or backward? Which season-season transition bothers you most? Why do you suppose that is? 

I'm glad I live in a state where we see all four of the seasons. With that being said it never hurts my feelings when the winter season is short and warm. I am not a huge fan of snow or ice. I do like to see a bit of snow on Christmas Eve but that's it. My favorite season is summer. I like both spring and fall but I LOVE summer. 

4. It's your birthday and you get to pick the dinner menu. What are we having? Do you ever lie about your age?

Anything I get to eat with my family is what I pick for the dinner menu on my birthday. If they are here with me then it is the most special day. A little steak and lobster wouldn't hurt my feelings though. And since I turned 21 I have never again lied about my age. I am proud to be 66!!

5. What's a life lesson you've learned recently?

Over and over and over again I have to learn the lessons about why worrying doesn't do any damn good. My favorite book quote of all time comes from a book I read in November 2015, A Time to Love. In the book a grandmother told her granddaughter: "Worrying is arrogant because God knows what he is doing." I need to learn that lesson and quit being so arrogant. In the end it will be what it will be. The end of the story has already been written.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

Listening to all the news this past weeks about the horrendous effects of the hurricanes makes me realize how lucky and blessed I am in the life I am living. I need to stop and give thanks for the things I have. A roof over my head, enough food to eat, electricity, hot water, a car to drive, and all my family to love. We have everything one could want. Today I am grateful. What about you??

Monday, September 11, 2017


Outside my window...

It is a beautiful day in September here in Kansas. The temp is 84* The sky is a clear dazzling blue. No clouds. No expected rain!


I've been pondering Suicide Prevention Week. You can go here to learn more ways you can help in this endeavor. Change your FaceBook profile picture in support.  As many of you might know my dad committed suicide when I was a 7 year old child. It impacted my life every day for all these years. At this site you can learn ways to recognize the warning signs. There are almost always warning signs. Use this mnemonic to help you:

Is Path Warm?
I  ideation
S substance abuse

P Purposelessness
A Anxiety
T Trapped
H Hopelessness

W Withdrawal
A anger
R Recklessness
M Mood changes


I am still reading The Railway Man's Wife and I'm still listening to The Prettiest One.


I learned this week of a phone number you can use on your smart phone: 741741 ! If you need help just text the word 'help' and you will receive an immediate message from a trained therapist. I gave this number to my granddaughter to put into her phone should she ever need to talk with someone.It is a crisis hotline. Often times teens are more comfortable with texting than with talking. I plan to share this number with my other grandkids. Feel free to share it with your loved ones. Sadly, it is only available in the United States at this time. You can read more about it here


I am in the middle of a big de-cluttering project. So that is what my plan looks like. This week I will be working in the kitchen. Kitchens are often places where we have the most clutter. (and I won't even talk about my bedroom yet)


I bought myself a Keurig machine this week. It is the smallest one they have. I am in the process of trying some different brands of K-cups. I got a big box of them at Walmart (with different kinds of coffee) for a pretty good price. So far I like only brewing one cup at a time. I am probably going to buy me a permanent filter to fill with my own coffee each time. That will save a bundle of money. I use Dunkin' Donuts Original Blend coffee. Do you have a brand that you prefer?

What's in the kitchen...

Tuesday...Baked potato soup
Wednesday...Taco Salad
Thursday...Chicken Pasta salad
Friday...We are going to the fair
Sunday...Baked Chicken Lime Tacos

A quote to share...

A final thought...

America has been hit with some big weather catastrophes lately. It makes me ponder what is going on. Tornadoes are so scary. And they are plentiful, here in Kansas. Hurricanes get lots of notice because the damage can be so widespread and so severe. Luckily they get lots of notice to take precautions. I don't understand why someone would not leave the area if they can. But many chose to stay in Florida and Texas. I hope the damages will be minimal and the recovery swift. I offer my prayers to all those who are affected.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

It's been awhile....if you'd like to join visit Joyce and answer these questions.

From this Side of the Pond

1. When you think about your future what do you fear most? Hope for the most?

Most of my fears for the future center around my grandkids and what their lives will be like and what obstacles they face. I am pretty much not fearful for myself and my life. I hope for happiness, safety, and a better world for them!! That sounds cheesy, doesn't it?

2. September is National Chicken Month. How often is chicken on the menu at your house? What's a favorite dish made with chicken? What's something you're a 'chicken' about doing or trying?

I am a big chicken when it comes to flying. I don't like to fly at all! I haven't had the need to fly since Richard died. I don't know if I could do it without him to talk me down. We love chicken at our house. It is one the menu one or two times a week. I have many favorite recipes. See here for a recent favorite one. This is really good!! And makes a lot!

3. What are three things you don't own but wish you did?

I don't own hard wood floors but wished I did. I wish I could dump all the carpet in this house. But it is so expensive (even for the laminates) that I will probably never have hardwoods. I do have that on my must have list for my next house. I don't own a Keurig but wish I did. It's on my Christmas list if anyone is interested. LOL! I'm thinking of getting one of the compact ones to see if I would like it. I am the only coffee drinker here and making an entire pot isn't cost effective. And I don't like to make a partial pot. Just doesn't taste the same. Do any of you have a Keurig? What are your thoughts? I also wish I had a deep, claw foot bathtub. One I could sink down into and soak. And that I'd be able to get out of by myself. Now that would be luxury!!

4. Would you rather be a jack of all trades or a master of one? Elaborate.  If you answered one, which one?

I'd rather be a jack of all trades. I need to be able to do it all since I've become a single woman. I am learning so many new 'trades' It takes a bit to run a home. You have to be a plumber, electrician, appliance repairman, janitor, cleaner, yardman...or have a lot of money to pay all of those people to do things for you. No, I'm not doing any real plumbing or electrical work. But I am learning the simple things. Like fixing a lamp. Or stopping a drip. 

5. Ketchup or mustard? On what?

I don't use ketchup on much of anything. I'm not a fan. I do like mustard on my burgers and dogs. I might on a rare instant dip a French fry in ketchup. But not usually!

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

I cannot believe there is another hurricane headed towards the USA. I think God is speaking to us!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

August Favorites and a Book review

Wow, can anyone else believe that August is already over? The summer just flew by at this house. And we are happily anticipating fall. Are you?

Some of my favorite things for August included books, pictures, music, flowers and food!

I have been using the Bible Gateway app for 8 months now. I have it downloaded on my iPhone. It sends me reminders everyday and provides me with my daily Bible verse. I downloaded my reading plan and I like to listen to the audio everyday as I follow along. And it's free!! If you are reading the Bible do you use any kind of app?

I think I have a new favorite author too. James Hankins! I have now read two of his books and I really enjoyed both of them. Drawn is a paranormal type book. There are four people who are connected to the story by four very different, powerful sources. A New York artist is painting a mysterious little boy in all her paintings without knowing she is doing it. And he seems to be wanting her to follow him. There is a man who suffers with agoraphobia, following a horrific accident that leaves him almost blind. He is forced out of his apartment by a possible poltergeist. Third is a lonely widow who starts to dream about his missing son. Finally a young boy who has fled his home, after years of abuse at the hands of his father, is fooled into believing the man he is with is going to save him. They all end up in a mountain castle in New Hampshire in a fight for their lives. Very good! Very satisfying ending. Out of my comfort zone. And I loved it. **** stars from me.

In the month of August who can't fall in love with sunflowers? In Kansas this is when the sunflowers bloom. And we have several large fields without driving distance. Since Harley wanted some of her senior pictures taken with the sunflowers we visited several times. What a breathtaking and beautiful site. I even bought some for my dining table this month. And the sunflower is the Kansas state flower. Let's hear it for sunflowers.

I'm still loving my bullet journal. And I'm finding it relaxing and therapeutic to write in it. I keep track of everything here. What needs to be done daily. My gratitude. My moods. Books I'm reading. Schedules, appointments, time lines. Everything! These are a couple of my favorite pages. You might recognize one of them in last months favorites before it was filled out!

My gratitude page

tracking week day happenings

 I made a new recipe this month that both of us fell in love with. Very easy to make and gave us a few days of lunches to boot. It is called Hawaiian Chicken and it is yummy!
Click on the link and it will take you to one of my favorite food blogger sites. I have not made one of her recipes that has left me anything but happy, happy, happy. Of course mine doesn't look like that. But I'm not a food photographer so I'm using her picture. And I'm having some for lunch as soon as I post this!

Lastly, I received a picture in an email this month. And it is my favorite "throwback" picture for the month. This is taken at my youngest brother's house for some holiday or other. Date would have been sometime in the 1980's. Front row is my brother Fred (who passed away in April, my mom, youngest brother Rich, me! Back row is oldest brother Chuck, sister Claudia (twin to Fred) and our step-dad John. The little blond boy behind Fred is his grandson. Little boy off to the side is Chuck's grandson, I think! What a crew!!

So that's it. A few of my favorite things from August. What were you digging in August?