Saturday, June 30, 2012

Catching Up On the Weekend (June Photos, Day 29&30)


I didn’t find time to post yesterday, as we had a rare evening out.  We met up with the sisters/brothers-in-law at a local karaoke spot.  Before you get too excited, I’ll say that I did not sing, but both BILs did and one sister.  You know, it was loud, and some of the crowd was getting a bit loose by the end of the evening, but no one was rowdy, it was a nice night on the patio, and a good time was had by all.

So, first, yesterday’s photo:  soft.  29.  Soft

This is my Snuggie, one of the best gifts Brian ever gave me.  Of course, I haven’t needed it in a while, what with triple digit temperatures and all, but even in the heat of summer I sometimes pull it over my feet, so it rarely leaves my couch.  And, it is very definitely soft.

Today, my sister and I went to see Magic Mike.  Of course, the guys were nice to look at for a couple of hours, but I can’t say I recommend it for its actual cinematic merits.  Still, as a die-hard White Collar fan, I have to support its cast.  And, again, Matt Bomer is certainly easy on the eyes.

When I got home, Brian presented me with my anniversary present a few days early.  I’m always trying to take pictures of the birds in our yard, so he got me a feeder to try and attract them to a closer location.  After that, he grilled some hot dogs, and we sat outside for a while having a little picnic.  Billy even joined us.

Brian and my new bird feeder are the subject of today’s photo entry, “friend”.  He’s my day in/day out friend, and I’m lucky to have him.

30.  Friend

Unfortunately, that’s about where the weekend fun came to a screeching halt.  Another phone call from Philadelphia let us know that Pop has taken a sudden turn for the much, much worse.  Brian is flying back out early tomorrow morning, but the hospital staff is not certain his dad will make it through the night.  As before, he’s railing against the airlines for not having any flights out tonight, but that’s not something we can change.  He feels so useless, hundreds and hundreds of miles away, and I completely understand.  After all, I’m right here in the same household with him, and there’s nothing I can do to help, either.  I definitely understand useless.  All I can do is pray he gets there in time.

So that’s a wrap on the weekend, and it’s a wrap on the month.  Tomorrow begins July, and I’ll again be trying to keep up with Fat Mum Slim’s daily photo challenge.  I have to say that I’m pretty impressed with myself for keeping it up for two months; gonna try for the triple.  Won’t you play along?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Questions for the Summertime


Another week, another Friday.  Time to take a peek and see what’s brewing in the mind of Mama M and her question-generating buddies. 

As for my mind, not a lot going on there—things are just kind of in a holding pattern at the moment.  Billy has a job interview this morning, so I guess that’s on my mind; hoping he has better luck than his mom.

Okay, let’s get down to it and see what kind of questions we’ve got in store this week . . .

five question friday

1. What's your favorite childhood snack that you still eat as an adult?

Hmm.  That’s a hard one.  I’m still awfully fond of banana pudding, though I rarely eat it, mainly because I never make it.  Same with custard pie.  But in terms of a snack, something to grab and just have a quick bite, I think I’d have to go with black olives.  I can still eat those by the handfuls.  But I have outgrown the tendency to stick them on all my fingertips before eating.  Mostly.

2. What food will you not eat the low fat version of?

Milk.  I’ve tried, and I just can’t do it.  I’ve switched to light versions of grated cheese, Miracle Whip, Cool Whip, refried beans, ice cream, salad dressing, and who knows what else, but I cannot break away from 100% whole (fattening) milk.

3. What's your favorite way to cool off during the summer?

My favorite way?  Sitting in an air-conditioned house with a fan blowing enjoying a chocolate chip milkshake.  Mostly I have to make do without the milkshake, though.

4. What's your favorite summer read?

Reading material doesn’t really have a season for me, but I guess if I were laying on a beach with no plans for the day, I’d enjoy having a good Stephen King book in my hand.  Of course, that would be true if I was laying anywhere, any day of the week, with a few hours to kill reading.

5. What are you doing to stay cool in this awful heat?

Making the electric company happy by running my AC, wearing as few clothes as possible, and spending a bit of time in the pool each day.

Do play along, won’t you?  Add your blog to the linky list, put your answers in the comments, or even create a note on Facebook.  Any old way you want to participate would be great.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

June Photos, Day 28—On the Shelf


As I may have mentioned in the past, I’m a life-long Star Trek fan.  And I’m not too proud to say that I sort of made a concerted effort to pass that interest on to my son.  First, I thought it would be fun for us to share something like that, and second, I think there’s a lot of positivity to be gleaned from something that’s “only” a TV show.  For a while, I thought I had succeeded.  He liked to watch The Next Generation with me—Data was his favorite character—and he even sort of enjoyed going to conventions.

But, somewhere along the line, a greater action quotient won out, and he was dragged over to the Star Wars side.  Now, I’m not one of those folks who’ll do battle over which franchise is better.  I enjoy them both, even though my heart will always belong to Trek.  Sure, I was a little disappointed that he wasn’t fully following in my fannish footsteps, but I was still glad he was excited by something futuristic and fanciful.  And, anyway, Star Wars has Yoda; hard to go wrong with that.

But, sadly, his interest in things “star” was not meant to last.  As he grew older, he found other pastimes, and other things that would fascinate him.  He didn’t move far enough away that he felt the need to dismantle a small spot of fandom that he’d put up in his room, but when he moved to his own place for the first time last year, he also didn’t feel connected enough to his old interests to pack them up and take them with him. 

So it is that his old room—my current exercise room—still has a couple of small shelves dedicated to some Star Wars items that he collected in his youth, including some movie tie-in cups that came from fast food restaurants.  Maybe someday he’ll want them in his own home, but for now, I’m happy to see them every day as a reminder of the little boy who shared his mom’s interests . . . if only tangentially, and only for a little while. 

28.  On the Shelf

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June Photos, Day 27—Bathroom


27.  Bathroom

 Earlier this month, over on Fat Mum Slim’s Facebook page, there was a brief discussion of daily photo prompts that cause moments of personal unease.  That day, it was the topic of “where you sleep” that was making some folks a little wary, thinking that was an awfully personal thing to be sharing with the world.

Well, showing my unmade bed didn’t bother me in the least, but I knew I wasn’t going to be comfortable with a picture of my bathroom.  Actually, we have quite a few in our home, so I thought maybe I’d take a picture of one of the ones I never use—like the one upstairs where we’ve actually shut off the water since no one is ever up there.  But even that didn’t make me too happy. (Mostly because it’s sort of dusty up there, and I didn’t really want to have to clean an unused room on an unused floor just so I could take a silly photo!)  So, since son and I were out for lunch today, I snapped a pic of the facilities there.  And I’m so glad no one walked in while I was doing it, as that’s not something I would’ve wanted to explain!

Anyway, it’s sort of weird to me that I was modest about this.  I mean, I wouldn’t care if someone needed to use my bathroom, even if I didn’t really know them that well.  But, just to snap a random picture and post it on the Internet seemed like too far into my private life somehow, and I just couldn’t do it.  I’m sure that says something about me, though I’m not sure precisely what. 

Are there areas of your home that you think simply aren’t intended for public display?  And, if so, why do you think that is?

More Pear than Hourglass (June Photos, Day 26)


The swim suit saga continues.  Went shopping today (handy, since that was the basis of the photo prompt) ,and tried on more suits than I care to remember.  Too small.  Too big.  Too SI Swimsuit Edition.  All too something.  Now, I gave up on the idea of having a perfect body almost four decades ago, so I wasn’t surprised by this difficulty, but I was annoyed. 

Anyway, I finally found a suit I thought I could live with, though I can admit it may have been mostly that I was just getting worn down.  I knew it was a tiny bit too loose, but figured better that than the opposite.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take into consideration the fact that I was trying on while wearing my own undergarments, which were providing an extra layer.  Once I got home and didn’t have my bra on, too loose.  Not as potentially revealing as my old one, and in much better shape—and much cuter—, so I guess it’s still a win.  But I just can’t believe that after all of that rigmarole, I still may have to consider alterations.  Ugh.

Also (and this is a little bit of a complaint), I hate that so much of the weight I’ve lost had to come off the top.  I mean, seriously, as much butt as I have left, you’d think I could trade at least a little bit of that for just a tiny bit more boob!

On the other hand, at least the results of the shopping expedition made for a decent photo.

26.  Where You Shop

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Crazy Cat Lady in Training (June Photos, Day 25)


Many years ago (probably 10 or more), we were on our way out of town for the weekend.  When we stepped outside to load up in the car, we were surprised to find a couple of terrified kittens hunkering down on our porch.  Now, our property is about four acres in size, and other properties in our neighborhood also are multiple acres, so our nearest neighbors are not particularly near.  That increased our surprise that there were animal babies hanging out on our front step, as we had no idea where they might’ve come from.

Billy was maybe nine at the time, and—as you might expect—he was immediately in love with the little critters.  And, to be honest, I wasn’t far behind, as I’ve always been a sucker for cute little things.  He wanted to keep them.  (Actually, he wanted to take them with us, but we managed to talk him out of that!)  But, even if taking them along was out of the question, I couldn’t bring myself to just abandon them, when they might not have any way to fend for themselves.  So, we crunched up some dog food into smaller pieces, put out a bowl of milk and a bowl of water, and agreed that if they were still when we returned, we would keep them.  I found out later that Brian only agreed to that arrangement because he was convinced they’d wander back to wherever they came from and we’d never see them again.  Turns out he was wrong.

Those kittens were the beginning of a never-ending family of cats that have lived on our porch ever since.  They are, in fact, the direct ancestors of today’s photo entry, “something cute”. 

25.  Something Cute

These cuties represent half of the most recent generation of our fuzzy creatures.  The thing about our cats, though, is that while they are uniformly adorable, they are still mostly wild animals.  I usually refer to them as one step shy of feral.  We currently have one mama cat (both of our adults are mama cats, so clearly someone else comes to visit now and again) that is friendly and would actually fit the common idea of “pet”.  Throughout the years, I’d say we’ve had maybe a handful of cats that actually liked us.  The rest of them are the very definition of ‘fraidy cats—they run and hide whenever any of us come near. 

I can almost understand them being afraid of Brian; he’s always shooing them away from his truck, or out of the garage, or making a lot of racket with the lawnmower.  But me?  I’m the one who brings the food and water every day.  The one that says hello to them every single time I lay eyes on them, however briefly it may be.  I’m the one who stands as still as humanly possible for long minutes when they come out of hiding to eat, trying to make them understand I just want to be their friend.  But I don’t make much progress.  So far, I’ve had to content myself with one friendly every couple of generations or so.  But I keep trying, which I’d say definitely puts me in the running for a crazy cat lady label.

(Incidentally, as much as I love the little fuzzies, I would prefer to take the whole gang to the vet and have them all fixed so that our current crop would be our last, but there are problems.  First, Brian doesn’t want to spend the money—though I’d say over the long run, that would be cheaper than feeding descendants forever.  And, secondly, I truly can’t catch them.  The big ones never allow themselves to be cornered, and while the babies might be a little less savvy, they already know how to claw and bite.  I never get through a generation without a few injuries.  That’s probably a cat lady fail.)

Do you have pets?  How did they come to your family?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Only Downside (June Photos, Day 24)


Please understand, this is not a complaint.  But, there is one downside of the weight that I’ve lost recently: clothes don’t fit anymore.  Not that I exactly mind clothes shopping (though it’s true that I’ve never been in love with the process, either).  But, while we’re currently operating as a one-income household, I’ve tried to be more frugal than I have been in the past.  Last weekend I had to buy some crop jeans and a pair of shorts.  And, now, I fear I may need to break down and buy a swim suit.

A few weeks ago, when I had my suit on for the first time this year, I knew it was too big, but I figured it would get me through the summer, because those things are really too danged expensive.  (I thought that even as part of a two-income household!)  But yesterday, I got in the pool for the first time and realized there’s a problem: when I actually try to swim, my suit won’t stay put properly and I’m in danger of over exposing myself, if you get my drift.

I tied the straps up today to keep it more secure, but it’s clearly not a perfect solution.  I’m not overly concerned about the style aspect—though it does look a little tacky—because I don’t imagine I’ll be wearing it anywhere but at my own pool.  But, it still isn’t entirely, um, safe, and there’s not really anything I can do about the extra space in the bottoms to keep them from ballooning up.  Thankfully, though, the bottom is skirted and doesn’t show anything when it misbehaves, just makes me look like some sort of parade float!

So, anyway, that’s what was on my mind today: a new swimming suit that actually fits properly.  I have some errands to run tomorrow, so I may have to add another stop and see if I can find something decent that won’t break the bank.  Otherwise, I think I’ll have to resort to Amazon.  I’ve been browsing around there a bit, and they’ve got decent prices on some of their stuff, but I am a bit worried about sizing on a mail-order bathing suit, especially since I’m still not anywhere close to the typical swimsuit model body, so it’ll be hard to know what look is flattering for me.  So, wish me luck that I find something here in town.

24.  On Your Mind

What’s on your mind today?  And, do you have any tips on swim suit styles?

Summer Moves (June Photos, Day 23)


I wasn’t really sure what object I was going to use for the topic of “movement”, but then my sister and nephew came over today to swim.  If you can’t get some kind of movement with a teenager and a swimming pool, you’re not trying very hard.

Pool Fun

He was kind enough to jump off the board for me several times (like that was a big favor!) so I could try to find just the right look.  A couple of the attempts are included in the above collage, but I liked this one enough to edit it a bit; it was the first runner up for the daily entry.  (The whole thing cracks me up, but I’m especially fond of the way his hair is flying up.)

Taylor in Motion

But, it was after the water fun was over and we were just sitting around on the deck that I caught the shot that had to be the winner . . .

23.  Movement

This would be my nephew and one of his foam pool tubes.  And, as an added bonus, he’s a much more willing photographic subject if I don’t actually want to show his face!  Still, considering he really hates for me to take his picture, he was a good sport all afternoon long.

It’s always a good time when they come over—nothing fancy, just some people who enjoy each other’s company sitting around a pool visiting.  It’s the best kind of way to spend a few hours.  And, if I get to capture my daily photo along the way, well, that’s just icing on the cake.

Friday, June 22, 2012

June Photos, Day 22—From a High Angle


22.  From a High Angle

There’s not a whole lot to say about this photo, except that it’s a room in my house, taken from the staircase.  I used a fisheye lens, which is one of Brian’s favorites.  I’m not usually a big fan of the rounded look, but sometimes it’s fun to do something a little different.  And, as most of my pics, it was edited with PicMonkey.  I framed it with one of their new Sketchedy frames; I’m sort of liking those.  If you haven’t played with this free photo-editing site, I’d recommend taking a peek. 

Taking this photo did remind me that I need to give some serious thought to what additional lenses I might want/need for my collection.  When we purchased our DSLR camera last year, we chose the Sony because we could use the lenses from our old Minolta 35mm and save a bunch of money, but then we immediately had to buy this fisheye, because the 16mm we had no longer gave the effect Brian likes.  But now I just need to experiment with the lenses we have and see if there’s anything major missing that we should add.  Probably not; I think we’ve probably got most of the basics covered, which means I can just make a wish list of things that would be really fun toys.

Are there lenses and/or filter effects that you really enjoy in your photos?


Paper Towels, Ice Cream, and Those Giant Red Lips


Welcome to another Friday, folks, and another edition of 5QF!

five question friday


 I always think it’s interesting to see the questions Mama M and her cohorts come up with, and even more interesting to see others’ answers.  So, let’s see what’s in store this week . . .

1. What do you keep a stock pile of?

I don’t think I really stockpile anything, though there are certain things I never want to run out of:  bread, milk, Miracle Whip, toilet paper.  Oh, and paper towels.  I do sort of prefer to keep a couple rolls of those on hand, as I really, really do not like it when I don’t have any.  But I’m not sure two extra rolls makes a stockpile.  Hmm.  Well, now that I think about it, I sort of stockpile picture frames, but it’s not really intentional.  I mean, I don’t buy them intending to create a stock pile.  I buy them when I see a good sale, and I always think I’ll just go right home and find the perfect photo to print and display, but it rarely works out that way.  I’ve probably got a couple dozen still in their shopping bags.  So, yeah.  Picture frames.

2. If Ben & Jerry asked you to invent an ice cream, what would it be?

Nobody would ever ask me to invent any sort of food, ice cream or otherwise.  Why?  Because I’m just not that into food.  I like simple, “normal” food—nothing exotic or weird at all.  And, as far as I’m concerned, ice cream could’ve stopped with chocolate, vanilla, and chocolate chip.

3. How do you blow off steam?

I’m a pretty passive person by nature; my steam doesn’t usually have to be “blown off” as much as just allowed to dissipate slowly.  So what I mostly like to do is just be left alone.  I might turn up the music and dance around or turn on a favorite TV show and get lost in that for a while. If I’m really upset, I might need to cry in the shower.

4. What would you do if you had an hour to yourself anywhere within a ten mile radius of your kids, no hubby, just you?

This answer would be just about the same as above; those are the things I do to center myself.  But, if I wasn’t trying to calm down, I might also add reading or writing to the list (can’t do either one of those things when I’m totally ticked off).  Really, though, I’m pretty lucky, in that I usually have at least a little bit of alone time most every day.  I’m a fairly solitary person, so that works out well; I get a little cranky if I’m surrounded by people constantly.

5. When you were 16, what was your curfew in the summertime?

I think it was midnight, or maybe 12:30, though I honestly don’t remember for certain.  In truth, though, it was rare that I wanted to be out very late, anyway, having never been much of a social animal.  Grab some food, maybe see a movie, and then cruise through the Sonic parking lot a few times and I was ready to call it a night.  The one exception to that—and the exception to the curfew, though my mom never really understood it—was The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Ah, youth.  Stopping by the local convenience store to stock up on water pistols, lighters, and a bag of rice.  Fun times. 

As an aside, I got the opportunity to visit London when I was 18, and a small group of us decided to take in a showing of the film there.  We should’ve known there was a problem when it was a matinee viewing, but we went anyway.  But we were disappointed to find that the folks over there simply watched the show like any other film.  I have to say, without all the craziness to make it an event, it’s not really a very good movie.  But I still think the music is cool.

All righty, that’s it for another installment.  As always, I’d like to hear from you, too.  So join up in the blog hop, leave your answers in the comments, or play along on Facebook. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

June Photos, Day 21—Where You Slept


You know the best part of today’s prompt?  I figured it didn’t matter if I hadn’t made my bed yet, and anything that lets me be my usual sloppy self is okay by me!

21.  Where You Slept


 Oh, and one other thing:  these sheets are really comfortable.  I’ve only had them a few weeks, but they’re nice and soft, and they come in other colors/sizes, if you happen to be in the market.

The Universally Understood Language (June Photos, Day 20)


Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language. ~ Walt Disney

Today’s photo theme was truly one of the hardest yet: fave photo you’ve ever taken.  Wow.  That’s a tall order.  I’ve been taking pictures since I was a kid, and taking the occasional half-way decent one for at least a couple of decades.  And, really, even some of those not so decent ones mean something to me, so they could be a favorite, even though they’re not very good art.  But, for the sake of locating something that wouldn’t require a major archeological dig, I decided to limit my choices to only pictures that are already digital.  Even that, though, would mean searching through thousands of files. 

Then I just looked around my home.  Because photos have been important to me for a long time, the ones I really like are in frames around my home.  Heck, that would narrow the choices down to a few dozen.  How much easier could it be than that? 

Well, still not easy, because I still can’t really pick one favorite; that would be like choosing your favorite child.  But, fortunately, I only have one child, and it’s probably no surprise that the picture I ultimately chose would be of him. 

20.  Fave Photo You've Ever Taken

I’ve always been fond of this picture for a lot of reasons.  First, because Billy looks so happy.  This was back in the days when he still liked being around us and still let me take his picture without a bunch of fuss.  Also, though it was taken while we were on a family vacation, it was in a spot that just he and I were exploring—a little out of the way path in a public park—so it’s a nice mother-son memory.  And, lastly, it’s a pretty decent image.  Good colors, nice focus, and a pretty natural expression on the subject . . . the picture every mom wants to capture.  It is one of the pictures in a frame in my living room, and definitely one of my all time favorites.

But, as you might guess, I had some others that competed for my attention today.  Not all of them are printed and framed, but they are all pictures that have always made me smile, so I’ll share some of them as well.



So those are some of my favorites.  Family and interesting things I’ve seen when I’ve been lucky enough
to travel—those are some of my favorite things to shoot. 

Really, now that I think about it, that’s probably the best thing about photography:  being able to capture those once in a lifetime moments, whether they happen thousands of miles from home or right in your own backyard.

What are your favorite photos to shoot?  Do you display them in frames, albums, or shoeboxes?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June Photos, Day 19—Imperfect


19.  Imperfect

This was one of the easier prompts.  I mean, there’s really nothing perfect in the world, so the idea of finding something imperfect to shoot didn’t seem too daunting.  There are things about me that would do—physical aspects that need work, behaviors that make folks crazy, personality traits that some would label downright annoying.  Things around my house, from my dusty shelves to the way I don’t quite make the bed, or the light switch that needs changing.   Lots and lots to choose from.

But all of that seems pretty blasé when you consider the fact that I have place set aside in my home specifically to honor imperfection, and how many people can say that?  It’s true.  In my scrapbook room—which I no longer use, incidentally, though I miss it—is a bulletin board to honor those imperfect moments.  You know, a picture that really wasn’t any good to begin with.  Or a photo you wanted to crop, but once it was done just didn’t look the way you’d envisioned.   Anyone who’s ever done any sort of craft type project knows the feeling.  It’s perfect in your mind, not so much in reality.  So, you can trash them and pretend they never existed, or you can stick them up on the board that recognizes that nothing is perfect and celebrates the shortcomings.  I choose the latter.  And if I ever get back to scrapbooking again, we’ll see just how quickly my board fills up.

Do you prefer to hide your imperfections in a corner?  Or be loud and proud about the little faults that make you unique?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June Photos, Day 18—Something We Don’t Know About You


This might sound a little strange for a blogger, seeing as how I sit here every day and tell my story to anyone passing by who might be interested enough to read it, but I’m sort of a private person.  There are lots of things most people don’t know about me.  And, really, that’s probably the way it will stay. 

I mean, I share a lot on my blog, or on Facebook, and—of course—with my family and friends in our relationships, but I certainly don’t share everything.  I’m mindful of my audience (or at least my potential audience) in all of those venues, even my personal relationships.  There are a few people who know me really well, but no one who knows me completely.  But I don’t think that’s any different than most people, regardless of whether or not they use today’s newfangled social media to keep in touch with the world; we’ve all still got our secrets.  And, honestly, I think that’s for the best.  Some things are best kept to oneself.

But, with a photo prompt encouraging sharing something unknown, there’s a lot to consider.  What can be shared that’s at least a little bit interesting, but not too personal?  What gives insight into your personality without revealing your deepest, darkest secrets?  And, on top of that, once you choose the piece of yourself to share, then you have to decide if you can you take a picture of it.  It’s a lot to consider, I tell you.

As is often the case, though, I ended up with a few ideas, so I’ll share them all here, starting with my official entry.

18.  Something We Don't Know About YouI’ve collected teddy bears as long as I can remember.  This one’s looking a bit raggedy these days, but I wouldn’t trade him for anything.  Also, I had to dust this shelf before I could take a picture, but since I already told you about the fan, that probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone.

                                                                       things not known--pictures 



One of my secrets is that I’m not really a very good photographer; I take a half-dozen bad shots for every decent one.  At least.  Film just about drove me to bankruptcy!


things not known- fanfic



  Probably something that’s not too surprising about a blogger is that I have always loved to write.  I have also always loved TV, so it seems natural that those two things would come together in the form of fanfiction.  The hobby gets a bad rap quite often, but I think it’s a lot of fun and a good way to exercise creative urges.  Sadly, I have been away from it for quite some time, and I’ve been thinking I need to get back to it.



So, that’s a few things about me that you probably didn’t know.  Maybe they’re sort of interesting and maybe they’re not, but they are little pieces of my personality, all coming together to make a whole.

How about you?  What not-so-deep secrets can you share about yourself to give us a little bit of a glimpse into who you are?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Another Father’s Day in the Bag (June Photos, Day 17)


17.  In Your Bag

I suppose, technically, this isn’t what’s in my bag, because this is my husband’s Father’s Day present, so I guess really it’s his bag.  But, I took the photo before I gave it to him, so I’m voting that’s close enough to count.

Anyway, Father’s Day is a pretty low-key affair around our house.  Especially this year, with Billy back home but still pretty distant, and Brian worried about his own dad.  It doesn’t seem that there’s really all that much to celebrate. 

But, as far as I’m concerned, being a parent is just about the most important thing a person is ever going to do, so it certainly needs to be commemorated.  So, Brian got a book and a new wallet that he’d been wanting.  He also got a bit of time to sit by the pool and read in peace, as well as take a relaxing swim.  And, he watched some golf and some basketball.  Like I said, low-key, but I think it was a decent day.

As for me, I took a few extra minutes to think about my own dad, and to be grateful that he was part of my life.  I miss him.




           My dad, with his own father, the man we called Grandpa Joe.206250_1061041896850_3327482_n





 My family: my mom, sister, me, my dad. Oh, and our wonderful dogs.

Is Father’s Day a big thing around your household? Either with the father of your children or your own dad?  How do you celebrate?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

June Photos, Day 16—Out and About


I’m married to a car guy.  You know the type:  fascinated and excited by the things that many—myself included—view only as a utility.  I mean, I like to drive a decent car, and I suppose I even have a dream car.  It looks like this: 

                                                  Dream Car
But, for the record, if I can ever afford one of these babies (this model is pushing $70K), I am definitely shelling out the extra cash for the leaping cat ornament on the hood.  I mean, what’s the point of driving a Jag if you don’t have the recognizable status symbol leading the way? 

Anyway, yes, I have a dream car, but even if I win the lottery and buy this car next week, it’s still going to be the thing that gets me to and from the grocery store.  I’m still going to keep a plastic trash bag inside to toss my empty cups from Sonic, and I’ll still probably keep an assortment of jackets in the back seat.  Because even a seventy thousand dollar dream car is still a utility vehicle; it’s a necessary tool in my life, not an awe-inspiring object of affection.

But not so with my hubby.  He likes the way cars look (at least some of them), the way they sound, the way they work.  He thinks their engines are interesting, and is impressed with some of the newfangled gadgetry that goes into them.  Not because he wants all those bells and whistles, but because he thinks it’s neat that someone could design and build such a thing.  And as much as he likes nifty new cars, he really likes old cars.  And as much as he likes old cars in general, he really likes old Corvettes.  Well, to be honest, he likes new Corvettes, too, though maybe not quite as much.  He just really, really likes Corvettes. 

So it is that our Saturday running around today included the annual Corvette car show at our local Chevy dealership.  Brian likes to go there and drool over the pretty cars and dream about the day he’ll be able to have his own, though the truth is, he doesn’t really believe that day will ever come to pass.  I don’t know.  I haven’t given up yet that he’ll have his very own ‘Vette someday, though we really might have to win the lottery to make it happen.  Or go into debt for the next several generations.  But, still, I’m not giving up yet.  I really want him to be able to have his dream car.  After all, he’s a car guy.

What’s your dream car?  And are you lucky enough to be driving it?

16.  Out and About

Saturday, June 16, 2012

How Does Yellow Feel? (June Photos, Day 15)


The photo prompt today was yellow.  Seems simple enough.  Really, I thought I’d just stroll around the neighborhood somewhere and find some sort of yellow flower or another—easy enough to do in Oklahoma summertime.  But, while I didn’t look too much at the earlier entries (I don’t like to browse around until I’ve done my own photo), I did see that lots of flowers were coming across the wire.   Seeing as how there are quite a few professional photographers playing along with the photo a day, I figured their flowers would be better than mine, anyway, so why  not find something else to shoot?

The thing about yellow, though, is that it has such a bright and happy feel to it, flowers just seemed so perfect. 

But, if I may digress for just a moment . . . As I just mentioned, I think yellow is a happy color.  I don’t think I’m alone in that thinking, either.  After all, it’s the color of the sun; what’s not happy about that?  But, in an episode of Big Bang Theory (I’m addicted to that show), Sheldon once stated yellow is frightened.  Now, if you’re not familiar with BBT, I’ll just tell you that Sheldon is just about crazy, but he’s usually not wrong about things.  Well, he’s not wrong about facts; he’s often wrong about things in general.  At any rate, frightened?  Yellow?  I just don’t see it.  Though I can no longer think about being lonely without thinking of being orange.  If that makes no sense to you, this will help you piece it together:


Anyway, back to the pictures and how to choose a yellow item . . . My mom was a big fan of yellow, because she believed it was an energetic and lively color.  Very positive.  I think that’s probably why I immediately thought of flowers—full of life and positive energy.  And while I’m on the subject, how about a quick pic of my mom?  And a flower.218719_1677487827613_7190423_o                                My mom, with me in the background.  Mendocino, CA, 1991

Okay, I’m done digressing now.  The end result is, I decided against flowers.  As I often do, I took several pics of yellow things throughout the day, before finally deciding on something from the produce section at Target.

15.  Yellow

 Now, I’m not a fan of peppers for eating, but these sure are colorful.  (They had some red and orange ones, too; I should’ve taken a pic of all of them together.)  I wanted to rearrange them a little bit into a better organization, especially the one with the sticker on it.  I really wanted to turn it around so it didn’t mar the beauty of the photo.  But, I was already getting some weird looks for taking pictures of the veggies; I figured it would be best not to start handling them all and putting the food into poses.

And, even though these aren’t flowers, they are growing things (or at least, they were), and I still think they’re full of energy, and very happy. 

Sheldon can just suck it.

What emotions go with colors for you?

Friday, June 15, 2012

The End of Another Week


five question friday


It’s Friday, so you know what that means.  Well, okay.  Usually it means I’m busy doing something and forgetting about Five Question Friday.  But not today, peeps, not today.  Nope, today I’m getting a jump on things and posting this topic while it’s still timely. 

If you want to play along, there’s a linky at the bottom so you can join the blog hop.  As always, thanks to Mama M over at My Little Life for providing the prompts.  Just click the picture icon above if you’d like to visit (which I recommend). 

Now, here we go . . .

1. Would you grow your hair out to donate it?

I’ve got nothing against the idea of donating my hair, or even growing it out for the express purpose of having it cut for a cause.  Sadly, though, I do have something against actually growing out my hair.  When I was young, I wore my hair long.  Looking back, I’m not sure how I put up with that.  These days, I just don’t have the patience.

2. What song makes you think of summer?

Gosh, there are a lot, though I think they might show my age.  Just about anything from the Beach Boys, probably.  “Beach Baby”, by some people called The First Class. (If they had other hits, I don’t know them.)  “Under the Boardwalk”, by The Drifters.  And, more recently, “Summer Nights”, by Rascal Flatts and “Summertime”, by Kenny Chesney. 

But, John Fogerty holds the top spot, with “Centerfield”.  A peppy tune, all about America’s pastime . . . does it get any more summer than that?


3. Are you a flip flops or sandals kind of person?

If I had to pick, I’d say that I prefer sandals, as long as they slide over my toes.  But of the two, it’s a single pair of flip flops that I wear most often during the summer; they sit right by my door, ready for when I need to hop outside for something.  However, the truth is, I don’t really like either of them, and I’d rather be in my sneakers.

4. Favorite summer treat (ie ice cream, snow cones, etc)?

I’m not picky.  I like milkshakes, snow cones, hot fudge sundaes, slushes from Sonic.  I really like homemade ice cream, but rarely get to have any.  And, as I said just yesterday, I do love some summertime melon.

5. Do you do something special for the father of your children on Fathers day?

I get him a gift, and try to make sure the day is hassle free.

So, that’s it for 5QF this week.  Go ahead and leave your responses in the comments, or, if you’re playing along on your own blog, do be sure to add to the hop below.  Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

June Photos, Day 14-- Time


14.  Time

 One of my favorite parts of summertime is yummy fruit.  For the most part, my eating habits are not all that great; it’s the main reason losing weight is so hard for me.  Between the basic meat/potatoes/bread meals that are my absolute faves, and the junk food I really can’t live without, it’s amazing I’m not the size of five people.  Like today, for lunch, I really wanted something from Taco Bueno.  Taco, mexi-dip & chips, quesadilla, something.  But, thankfully, come summer, it gets a little easier to eat at least a little healthier. 

Of course, even with fruit, I’m still a picky eater; there are more that I don’t like than I do.  But these are my favorites right here: green grapes, watermelon, and cantaloupe.  Maybe it’s because these are the ones that are really only good in the summer time.  I mean, I can get apples, oranges, or bananas any time of the year, and they aren’t much different than the warmer months, in either quality or price.  But these three—especially the melons—that’s not the case.  Grapes are usually pretty easy to come by all year, but they’re not nearly as good during the winter.  And melon, especially watermelon, becomes scarce around these parts once things cool off for the year, and when you can get it, you pay a steep price.  So it is that these are mostly a food of the summer months for me.  And like just about anything, limited availability makes it all the more attractive, right?

So, for today, fruit serves as lunch, and lunch time serves as the photo entry.  Not a bad deal at all.

But, for the record, though the fruit was really good, I’m still craving something from Taco Bueno.  But those last twenty pounds aren’t going to lose themselves, are they?

Are there seasonal foods that you enjoy?  What are they, and what time of year do you eat them?

The Art of Friendship (June Photos, Day 13)


A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

13.  Art

I’ve talked before about my friend, Kim.  As I said then, we’ve been friends for what seems a lifetime.  In actual time, it’s been about thirty years.  Wow.  When I actually put it into words, it seems even longer.  I guess that’s because I’m reaching the age where I don’t really like thinking about my age, though I still like thinking about all the time I’ve been blessed to spend with my friend.

So it’s not surprising that one of my favorite pieces of art in my home is this decoupage creation she made for me more than a decade ago.  It’s covered in all sorts of mementos, bringing to mind many of the experiences that we’ve shared.  It speaks of trips we’ve taken, shows we’ve seen, food we’ve eaten, fun we’ve had.  Among other things, we’ve got representations of gambling (who doesn’t love a good slot machine?), the place we used to work (where we met), the affinity we developed for Bert and Ernie after dressing up as them one Halloween, and even—as proof that some things never change—Barry Manilow.  The memories of the lifetime we’ve shared.

Mostly, though, it speaks of love.  And I think love and memories make the very best art.

What piece of art is important to you?  Why?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

June Photos, Day 12—From a Low Angle


12.  From a Low Angle

Confession time:  until I was on the floor underneath my fan, I had no idea how badly it needed cleaning.  No one would ever mistake me for a housecleaner.  Even worse, I probably would’ve left it dirty, but the dust (or, more likely, light bugs) in the globe showed up in the photos! 

Who says these internet memes aren’t good for anything useful?

Are you the tidy sort?  Or more . . . shall we say, relaxed, about your cleaning duties?


Door to Better Health (June Photos, Day 11)

11.  Door


Door was an easy prompt.  I mean, who doesn’t pass through at least half a dozen different doors a day?  But, of course, some are more important than others.

For the past eighteen months, as I’ve worked to get control of my weight, this particular door has become one of the most important in my life. 

This used to be my son’s room, but when he moved to his own apartment last year, I did what all the stereo-typical empty-nesters do; I took over the space and it became my work-out room.  My newest addition is the stationary bike you see in the corner, and it accompanies the exer-glider, mini-trampoline, and ab roller, along with the Wii console and a variety of games to keep me moving. 

Now, I’ve never been one of those folks who truly enjoys exercise—I’d be much happier sitting on the couch watching some TV—but I have at least reached the point where I don’t really dislike it.  That doesn’t mean I don’t still have to sort of talk myself into walking into this room, but I can usually convince myself pretty easily. 

Of course, usually is not always.  I’ve been in a bit of a slump for the past couple of months.  Ongoing unemployment, then Billy moving away, and most recently, the situation with Brian’s dad . . . it’s all combined to sort of weigh me down.  Or, more accurately, weigh me up.  I’ve put back on almost five pounds since I’ve been off work.  But that can’t continue.  I have committed to myself that I am done with the yo-yo weight thing.  I’ve done that for too much of my life.  Plus, I’ve also committed to myself that this is The Year of Me:  I am going to rid myself of stress and drama and get myself to the point where I’m truly content with my life. Reaching my goal weight is one of the keystone pieces of that plan, and I don’t intend to let that piece of the puzzle get lost.

So, I’ve been continuing my Couch to 5K program, though I did move it indoors to my glider due to some developing knee problems (apparently concrete and I do not mix well).  I began week 5 today, and I’m glad I have kept that going.  I also rode the bike, and used my stability ball.  And, most important at the moment, when I stepped on the scale today, two of those pesky pounds had come back off.  I’m glad to be moving back in the right direction. 

I’m not giving up on my health, and walking through this door every day leads me where I want to go.

What doorway leads to your success?


Monday, June 11, 2012

Simple Pleasures (June Photos, Day 10)


10.  Best bit of your weekend

The best bit of your weekend, that was the prompt for today.  I thought for a photo challenge that prefers the picture entry actually be taken on the same date, this topic was a little presumptuous.  I mean, what if the best part of your weekend was sleeping in on Saturday morning?  Or a really hot party on Friday night?  I thought people playing along with the challenge ought to be trying to make darn sure the best part of their weekend happened sometime on Sunday, and that’s a lot of pressure.

And, as it turns out, I’ve had a pretty cool weekend, which, for a middle-aged woman like myself, is certainly not always the case.  But there was a concert on Friday night, lunch and one-on-one time with my best friend on Saturday, and then picking up my husband on Saturday evening.  I figured Sunday better get its act in gear if it wanted to compare. 

But fate was on my side.

As it turns out, my son had returned from California late Thursday night, and is back at home until he can get his own place again.  I am truly sorry that things did not work out for him as he’d hoped, but as I said before, I was sorry to see him go, so I’m also glad he’s home.  Anyway, he’s home, hubby is home, and I’m home.  Put it all together, and it could only mean family dinner.  

It’s not particularly exciting, I know—a family gathering around a dining table.  And I also know there’s nothing particularly spectacular about the photo, especially since we were dressed for eating, not photographing.  Plus, we were all hot.  Brian had been manning the grill, and Billy and I had to do some impromptu furniture moving out on the porch (where his big stuff is currently stored) because one of the kittens had gotten a claw stuck into the lining of his couch and I couldn’t get it unstuck without moving everything around.   It’s always something. 

But, so what if it’s just some grilled steaks eaten inside to avoid the heat?  And so what if we look like a family comfortable at home instead of a group of models at a photo shoot?  This was our first family meal in a month, and it was definitely the best part of my weekend.

I hope you had a weekend as fun-filled as mine.  Anything really memorable happen for you?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Shortest Streak Ever


Happy Sunday, everyone.  Yes.  It is officially Sunday, even though I haven’t gone to bed on Saturday yet.  And, yes, I’m about to answer the Five Question Friday prompts.  Which officially puts my streak for posting this topic on the correct day at . . . one week.  I guess that wouldn’t be horrible if it was actually something I had to do for an entire week, so I would’ve accomplished on-time posting seven whole times.  But when it’s a weekly task, and you do it in a timely manner for one week, well . . . let’s face it, that means once.  Like I said, Shortest. Streak. Ever.

But, it is what it is.  I still want to play.  And, if it matters at all, I actually did jot down the answers to all but Q5 on Friday; I just never had the time to put it into a post.  Did I mention that I got to see Barry Manilow on Friday?  And to do that, had to make a couple hour drive out of town?  And that on Saturday, hubby returned from a week away and then we had to make the couple hour drive back home?  Anyway, point being, I was kind of busy the past couple of days.  I bet Mama M won’t mind that I’m a little late to the party.

But, let’s do get the party started.

five question friday

1.  Did you do anything special for your kids on the last day of school? Or did your parents do anything special for you?

No traditions as a kid or for my kid that I recall. I think maybe dinner out, though, honestly, for both me and my mom, I think that would fall under the heading of “any excuse”.

2. What's your favorite summer tradition with your children?

My child is grown now, (and not currently quite as much fun to be around as he used to be!), but when he was younger our traditions were pretty simple. We’ve been fortunate enough to have a pool in the yard of both houses he’s lived in, so afternoons in the sun were pretty standard.

3. What was your favorite thing to do during the summer as a kid?

We almost always got to take a vacation somewhere, which is surely what started my love of travel. Also, sometimes, when my dad would get home from work in the evening, we’d pack a cooler of sandwiches and Cokes and head out to the lake for a picnic dinner and a short swim. I always loved that.

4. How old were you when you were married? Were you a Bridezilla?

I was just shy of 23 (which seemed old at the time, but, oh so young now!). And, no, not a Bridezilla. I’m a pretty laid back person, generally speaking, though weddings do present some challenges to that mindset. I remember being stressed, and obsessing about some things that others thought inconsequential, but I think that goes with the territory. I’m pretty sure my family and friends would agree with my assessment, and have no lingering resentment for anything I put them through.

5. What is your favorite girl name? (I'm needing suggestions.

This is the hardest one this week . . . so many to choose from.  When I was a girl, I always wished my name was Candy.  I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be happy with that choice now, though, but as a kid . . . oh, yeah; it would’ve been great.

I’m partial to traditional, though . . . Victoria, Catherine, maybe Elizabeth.  I’m also fond of the variations of Alex—Alexandra, Alexis, Alexandria.  I have never been a fan of “trendy” names, as I think it’s hard enough being a kid without having a weirdo name that no one has ever heard of, or that is more commonly associated with a weather pattern.  Also, speaking as someone who has a fairly common name with a fairly uncommon spelling, don’t set your kid up for spending their entire life either correcting people or getting name tags/certificates/invitations/whatever with an incorrect spelling. 

And that brings us to a close of another week’s questions.  Tell me in the comments your thoughts on these, or, better yet, put them in your own blog and add to the linky list.  Even if it is Sunday, I’m a big believer in the idea of “the more the merrier”. 

Homecoming (June Photos, Day 9)


9.  Your View Today


  Today’s photo theme: your view today.  This is what I could see waiting in the cell phone lot for Brian’s plane to arrive this afternoon.  And, if I may digress a minute, I have to say that I love the convenience of a “cell phone lot”.  In the post-9/11 days, there’s no longer any short-term parking near the airport terminals, so picking up/dropping off passengers has become almost as much of a hassle as actually flying.  But, these little lots where you can sit and wait—without a parking fee—for your loved one to actually get off the plane and make it through the airport and out to the pick-up spot, they’re great.  I didn’t have to pay to park, didn’t have to circle the lot countless times, and didn’t have to risk loitering and being considered some sort of terrorist threat.  These lots are a wonderful invention.  Our airport in OKC doesn’t have one yet, at least not that I’m aware of.  But since I was up in Tulsa for the Barry concert anyway, Brian flew in there and we drove home together.  So kudos to Tulsa for having a lot for the drivers to await their incoming passengers.

Anyway, the point is, yes, I was picking Brian up from the airport.  He returned home from his visit back east to see his dad.  It was a stressful week for him, as the uncertainty surrounding most medical issues makes everyone a little crazy.  I wish there were better news to report on Pop’s condition, but at least he is hanging in.  He survived the surgery, and is battling down the pneumonia, but it just seems to be one complication after another.  Sadly, he is also so exhausted that he is rarely alert, and often totally non-responsive.  It’s hard for Brian (and his sisters) to see their father like that.  Thankfully, Pop had one really good day while Brian was home.  He was awake, and focused, and they got to have a father-son talk about the Phillies, and hospital food—but mostly the Phillies.  I pray that it won’t be the last time they can chat about pitching rosters and on-base percentages, but whether it is or isn’t, I think it made the whole trip worthwhile.

I’m glad Brian’s home (though I encouraged him to stay longer, maybe until his dad was at least a bit more recovered), but I am even more glad that he will have that memory of talking baseball with his dad. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Six O'clock and Beyond (June Photos, Day 8)

I have a confession to make:  I’m a huge Barry Manilow fan.  I’ve been listening to his music as long as I can remember.  Some would say that makes me old, some would say it makes me boring, and some might even call it crazy.  That’s okay; probably all of those things are at least a little bit true.  But if old, boring, and crazy is what makes me who I am, so be it.

Anyway, Barry is currently on tour, and has two stops in our fair state this time around.  My BFF, Kim, and I have seen him in concert several times; it’s almost a tradition.  This time around, though, the prices seemed extravagant, and it didn’t seem like it would happen.  But, one of her other friends presented her with tickets for her birthday, so she was going to get to go.  Then I happened upon a chance for a reasonably priced ticket, and asked if I could crash the party.  That’s one of the best things about friends; you can invite yourself along and almost always be welcome.  So, while it was not our traditional way of doing things, we were still going to get to see Barry live.  Life is good.

Which brings us to the photo prompt of the day, 6:00.  I wasn’t even conscious at 6:00am, so, by default, the picture needed to be taken this evening.  One of the other good things about friends is that if you ask them if they could all pose for a picture at a precise moment, they’re more than willing to oblige.   So it is that girls’ night became today’s photo entry.
8.  6 o'clock
Friends, sitting around chatting, waiting to go see Barry Manilow.  I’m pretty sure there aren’t too many better ways to spend a Friday evening.
And, for the record, the show was excellent. (As always.)  Barry sang most of my favorites, and, even though I’ve seen him perform probably half a dozen times, he still had some new stories to tell. 

One of the semi-downsides of reasonably priced tickets is that the view isn’t all that great, but in today’s arenas, that doesn’t impact the sound at all.  Here are a few shots from my view.
Barry Collage
Looks like fun, doesn’t it?  Well, as they say, pictures don’t lie.  Oh, and the red lights you see everywhere?  Glow sticks.  I have to tell you, watching the three ladies sitting in front of me—who I’m guessing were at least 65, and probably older—waving their glow sticks in the air, and dancing and applauding like giddy schoolgirls, was more than worth the price of admission.  I told Kim if Barry can keep performing for another couple of decades, that’ll be us some day.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed on that; I’d like to spend a bunch more 6 o’clocks like this one.

What about you?  Any performers you’ve loved forever and always want to see?  And have you been lucky enough to see them live?

Friday, June 8, 2012

June Photos, Day 7—Drink


A week into this month’s monthly photo challenge, and I’m still hanging in there.  Yay me.  Today’s theme sent me in search of drinks.  I started the day trying to photograph the drink the trees were getting this morning—otherwise known as rain.  That didn’t turn out too well.

Like the trees, my most common drink is water, which is healthy and all that, but not all that photogenic.  I had dinner with some of my favorite people (hello, sister and family!) but I forgot to snap a pic of my iced tea until it was almost gone.  That was ugly, too.

But, on my way home from my very favorite restaurant, I made a quick stop at my very favorite drink stop:  Sonic.  The best thing there is a plain old Coca Cola, but I had one of those just last week, and I try not to drink so much of that any more.  But Sonic has a bunch of drinks (though none of them are particularly healthy), including one that’s a lovely shade of red, so that’s what I chose.  Besides, it’s icy cold and the perfect summer drink.

For those of you not fortunate enough to have a Sonic in your neighborhood, I feel bad for you.  But trust me when I say their cherry slushes are delightful.

7.  Drink

  Do you have a favorite drink spot in your neighborhood?  What summertime beverage do you enjoy every year?