Monday, August 27, 2007

On the Porch....Praying

Meg and I are now in Lincoln Nebraska, and will be in Utah tomorrow night. (Monday) We are having loads of fun together, and had a great visit with Laurie, Jeremy and Aunt Chris in Columbus.
I thought it very cool that this praying mantis showed up the day before we left, and wouldn't move. He (or she?) was on the wall of the porch, right next to the front door. With all the activity in and out, he never moved. He finally turned around a little. I flipped this picture one quarter turn so you can see it better.
Praying mantises (manti?) were always a sign of good things when I was growing up. I was fascinated by them. I always felt as a kid that the praying mantis was really praying, and that you were very lucky to have one hang out near you.
Well, before taking off on a road trip of over 4200 miles, half of that alone, I'll appreciate all the praying anyone wants to do. Even, the creature kind.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Meggie and Randi

Meg's friend Randi came from Charlottesville yesterday to hang out and help Meg get ready for college. They have had a lot of fun. And, I think actually some things have been accomplished. Last night, we all had a very late dinner (I made spaghetti) and Randi started telling us about the movie ScaryMovie III. Ohmygosh. Randi kept laughing so hard she started crying. Seriously having to wipe her tears away. Megan, Josh, Kelly and I started cracking up too. It went on and on. Funny night. She spent the night and is helping Meg today. And...having more fun.

This is a picture of them at Girls' Camp this year where they were both leaders. Yep...Meg looks like she's ready to go to college, don't you think? ;)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Clothesline to the Sky

Came across this on my adventures on Saturday. Fascinating. Click on this and look at it bigger. I'll add more to this later and let you know how this worked.

Pop vs. Soda......Which are you?

Came across this in AOL Food....thought it was interesting. So...I copied and pasted. And, by the way....."pop" is the correct choice.

From AOL:
Pop -- Culturally

Q: A man sits down in a diner and orders a soda. What's getting poured in his glass?

A: Depends on where he's sitting -- regionally-speaking, that is.

My brother-in-law was born and raised in North Carolina, where asking for a "co-cola" will get you a bubbly cola drink -- probably a Pepsi. That same request once netted him a blank stare from a New York City waitress, until my husband translated, "He'd like a soda, please." Had my aunt from Ohio been at the table, she'd have requested a "pop", and my college pal from Boston would have put in her order for a "tonic".

While cola (defined as a beverage or a drink made with caramel, and carbonated water) has enjoyed nationwide popularity since its invention in the 1880s, we certainly haven't reached a consensus on what to call it. Growing up in Northern Kentucky, "soft-drink" would get me a Coke, Pepsi, or the occasional RC Cola, but later caused my East Coast college friends to roll their eyes with an apologetic, "She means soda." Back home, that would have meant I wanted a Sprite or 7UP, but I learned to adapt.

Now in my eleventh year of Brooklyn life, I'll ask for a Diet Coke at a local diner, half the time be asked if Diet Pepsi is OK (yeah, sure -- I need my caffeine either way), and the vast majority of the time will be presented with a cold can, an ice-filled glass and a slice of lemon. Goodness knows what I'd get if I ordered a glass of "dope", like my friend's grandfather in Southern Kentucky, but I just might try to find out.

Add your two cents to the great pop vs soda debate, or just see how your state's lingo stacks up at

What do you call cola?
Coke / Pepsi3173433%
Soft Drink27303%
Soda Pop15232%
Other7501%'s me again.
Make sure you also visit this site: (also shown above)

Last Day at Sharp Shopper

I am proud of Megan for lots of reasons. But one is how she has handled her job at Sharp Shopper. She worked there for a year and a half, and always took her responsibility seriously. She never wanted to let those in management down. She met lots of nice people there, and made good friends with some of her co-workers. Some of her friends from Church worked there, too, which was nice. She had customers that she just loved seeing whenever they would come in, and they would always wait in Megan's line to talk with her. One was an elderly man named Norman. They became fast friends.
Saturday was Megan's very last day at work there, so Josh and I went to visit her and took in a camera. This shot is cute, because I heard this man say to Megan, "You have a very pleasant smile." Yep...proud mama.

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Our Laser Dog and Wild Hogs

Friday night, Megan was at work, and John was picking her up. They had plans to go out to eat. I'd been working so hard all week, and didn't want to cook. So Josh and I met Kelly at El Charro's....where you can eat for almost nothing, the service is great, and the food is yummy. We had a good time together. Josh asked Kelly where he could get a laser pointer and so the two of them took off.

They came home with a $2.00 laser pointer and the movie, Wild Hogs. We laughed our heads off watching crazy Sloopy with that laser. Seriously, belly pain laughing. He pounced and chased and jumped on things and did twisty moves and flipped around trying to catch that thing. But....if you pointed it on Shammie ....even right in front of her paws, Sloopy would just lay right in front of Shammie with his tongue hanging out, anticipating, but not daring to mess with Sham. I love it that he knows she is the queen. It's funny.

Then, we went downstairs and watched the movie. The cast of Wild Hogs is what makes the movie work at all. They were terrific. John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence and William H. Macy play four middle-aged men escaping on a cross-country road trip on their Harleys. They were totally convincing as long-time buddies. I have to admit, I was embarrassed a couple of times at things they could have left out, but overall it was a funny movie, with some great slapstick. A goodtime movie to top off the laser party earlier. Seriuosly, there were laughs all night. Good times with the guys. Awww....yes. (altho I prefer not to scratch and spit)

Crazy Band Olympics

working on the t-shirt.

First "performance" on the football field.

The percussion section tosses their chicken.
(See Josh?)
M. C. Escher

Last Thursday was the end of two weeks of band camp, longer for the new marchers. Families were invited to come and watch the marching band perform on the football field at 6pm. Kelly met me there, and Steph, Kimmi and Alli came too. It was fun having them be with us. It was hot, but really fun to see the progress the band has made in such a short time. Mr. Nash has three helpers this year from JMU, helping with the winds, the percussion and the flags. Their main halftime performance this year will be music influenced by the art of M.C. Escher. What a unique theme. They highlighted two of his most famous works, "House of Stairs" and "Drawing Hands". Josh is a great marcher, and seemed to know what to do all the time.

Then we all went inside for a big potluck dinner. I brought pasta salad, that I ran home and made after work. It is great having fresh veggies from the garden to add at the last minute. There were a few other pasta salads. Those people were smart enough to remember serving spoons. For mine, people had to use their little plastic spoons. So....I got to bring quite a bit home. It was eaten all up pretty fast here at home.

After the dinner, Steph and the girls went home. Kelly had appointments so he left, too. I stayed for the Parents Meeting. Then....I was told we are going outside for the Band Olympics. I guess it is quite the tradition. After several weeks of hard work in the hot sun, the kids look forward to this Band Olympics and just have a blast. So...Linda Miller and I went out and sat on a blanket I had in the car. The band all were on the practice field in their sections: Winds, percussion, brass, flags, etc. They started out the night with the popular "Frozen T-Shirt Contest". Now, I've heard of a Wet T-Shirt Contest, but wasn't familiar with the frozen variety. It was hysterical. I guess T-shirts are wadded in a ball and put in a bowl of water and then frozen solid. Then dumped from the bowl and given to each section. The section that broke their shirt free from the ice first and had their section leader put it on, would win. Wow...what determination. The brass section even had someone drive a car onto the field and tried to use the exhaust pipe to melt it a little. No luck. Someone in another section found a baseball bat and was beating the ice ball to death. Someone else found a hammer....same thing. One section was standing in a circle, each pulling a little part of the shirt once most the ice broke away, and yelling and grunting LOUDLY each time. No luck, though. So...then they would take the shirt and beat it against the ground mercilessly. I couldn't believe how long it took, and how seriously these groups wanted to win. Finally, the brass section broke through and Eliza Wright (their section leader) put on the shirt and yelled for victory.....that was, until someone reminded her that one of the guys put the shirt down his pants to try and melt it. She screamed and that shirt was off in less than two seconds. Hilarious.

They also had contests of putting together a fake Christmas tree the fastest. And....a local favorite.....the Raw Chicken Toss. Yeah, that's what I said.
Wow. We never got to do this stuff at West High. (Well, we did crazy things....but usually our parents weren't watching)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


...just sad and worried and unsettled tonight. For lots of reasons. I'm going to try and go to bed and concentrate on counting my blessings.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

So Much to Blog, So Little Time....

Well, I was planning on getting some thoughts down tonight. But, Drew came over for a bit, I trimmed Josh' hair, talked on the phone a few times, and took the dogs out for awhile. Now, John and Meg just came in. John is leaving for college in Pennsylvania in the morning, and he wanted to spend a little time with us. We are all going to play Apples to Apples for awhile. So......I am putting this on hold.

Stay tuned for more about Laser Dog and Wild Hogs, Pop vs. Soda, the Green Valley Book Fair, Silver Lake and the Swans, Canadian Geese, Crazy Band Olympics, Clotheslines in Space,, Cool Cows, Two Worlds Unite, Tomato-Time, my new shoes, Meg's last day at Sharp Shopper, and yes, even the goats. I promise.

But...Apples to Apples, here I come.

Beaches, Bridges and Bands

This past Wednesday morning, Megan left for Virginia Beach with her boyfriend, John, to go to a concert they have been excited about for a LONG time. It takes about 4-5 hours to get there. She called me while on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Traffic was very heavy, so they spent a little time on the bridge at either a standstill or a crawl. Megan could feel the vibrations in the bridge and could feel it "moving" a little (which is normal). She called me a little freaked out, especially with what happened a couple of weeks ago in Minneapolis, with the I-35W Bridge collapsing and people and cars falling into the Mississippi. It was devastating, watching the coverage. All we could do was pray. And Megan couldn't get it out of her mind while on the bridge.

But I told her this bridge was built much differently and is much newer. And that I actually love going over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. It's a party! There you are, tooling along, enjoying the scenery, watching the ships and the gulls and then...."Hey, where's the road???? It looks like it is going to disappear into nothing! Wait, it is going to go under the water???? WHAT???? Are you NUTS???"
It really does look crazy the first time, until you get right up on it. But then, you simply go into a tunnel, and with a slight downward slope, you are surrounded by water on all sides of the tunnel. The tunnel goes on for quite a while....and then, you see the light....and soon, you are out of the tunnel and again above the bay. Whew!

What innovation!! Ships can travel right over the traffic in the tunnel. I love it. I think Megan calmed down a little and I helped her feel like it was an adventure.

Well, the adventure continued. They met up with John's mom from North Carolina, went to the beach for just a little while, and then went to the concert. The headliner was the Dave Matthews Band. She sent me some messages on my phone a few times, and we had fun sharing bizzare things that happened at the concert. She even sent me a little video over the phone of some crazy guy dancing like a maniac to the opening band. Only guy dancing. And when I say dancing, I mean he was getting down with his bad self. I love it that she thought to share the good times with me. Meggie said Dave Matthews was incredible.

I'm glad Megan got the break. She's been working so much, and I was so happy she had a great time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Night of Love and Laughter

We had a celebration tonight for our graduating seniors from Young Women. Two of the four graduates came.... Megan (yay!) and her buddy, Katie Horne. We had the get-together at our house. About 20 people were here including the girls and leaders. We all sat around in the dining room, and we got to hear funny stories about both of them and see baby and childhood pictures. Megan and I had a great time reminiscing as we were going through pictures. It was so hard to choose pictures and memories without going on for three hours about that girl. But somehow I kept it to 5-7 minutes.
I made a Butterfinger cake.....YUM!!! (thanks, Michelle!) And Harriet made a great punch and brought pretzels. I made some dip and the spread was set. Easy.
We played a great game about "If you were Megan.....or If you were Katie". It was fun!
Then, we presented Harriet with the homemade cards and quilt. She was really touched, I could tell. (Tresa had worked so hard on the quilt, and then the girls helped tie it one night for our activity.) Harriet got good news today about the results of her latest MRI. I was so thrilled for her.
Oh....and I made these pots for the seniors. They got to pick their favorite, and I will paint their names on the rim and then glaze them. They will be nice and shiny and protected. I wanted to do them without Megan seeing me, so I finished them today at the office. THAT was interesting! They are filled with Hershey Kisses. It was kind of a "Bloom Where You're Planted" kind of thing.

Fingers in Training

He'll keep working on it until he gets it.

Sticks and Strings

This is the second week of band camp for Turner Ashby's Marching Knights. There are four bass drums in the band. Josh plays the second biggest.
This has been the hottest band camp anyone can remember. But one cool Friday evening soon, I'll be sitting in the bleachers enjoying their show, and I can hardly wait.

After Josh got home from Boy Scouts tonight, he couldn't wait to get back to music. You can see a bit of a sunburn, because he forgot to put on sunscreen today and yesterday before marching in the sun. I have a feeling he will remember tomorrow.
Josh has been teaching himself how to play guitar. This is Megan's guitar. He's been working on "Icky Thump", "Electric Eye", "Seven Nation Army", as well as learning the basics. He wants to buy an electric acoustic soon.
I'm looking forward to all the music that is going to come from this guy!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Doggie Delights

Our pups had a great surprise tonight. Megan brought home huge bones from Sharp Shopper, the store where she is a cashier. Sloopy and Shammie were sooo happy. They chomped right down on them in the front yard while Kelly was out there pulling some weeds. Sloopy thought Shammie got the better one for awhile, and he kept leaving his and sneaking hers right from under her nose. Now, just a year ago that wouldn't have flown, ...but the poor girl is just too old to fight too much now. She just looked at me like "Did you SEE what he just did????" So, I was her hero and got her bone back from Sloopy and gave his "nasty" one back to him (even though they were EXACTLY alike) Finally, Sloopy decided he liked his after all and quit trying to steal Shammie's.

See Shammie's protective paw???? I heard her say very quietly, "Just let him TRY and get this from me now".

Sloopy going to town.

Awwww....and Megan gets a big thank-you kiss from Shammie.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Lucky Charms and Good Friends...

Monday evening, Deb F. came over to help Megan order her new laptop for college. Deb is our very own computer geek and we are glad to be on the receiving end of her geeky knowledge. She has helped us a ton.
Well, I came out on the porch while she was walking up the driveway, and she stopped and just looked down at the edge of our lawn. I waited a few moments and there she stood....totally still. So I went out to her and she pointed down, and said what do you see? I have to admit, I saw grass, clover and a couple patches of crabgrass. I was just hoping it wasn't dog poo, but with our two dogs, you can never be sure.
But no, she pointed at something with her toe, and I saw it. A Four Leaf Clover!!! There it was, among a bunch of ordinary three-leaf clovers. I picked it and went to give it to her. And she said, was MY four leaf clover because it was in MY yard and therefore it will be MY good luck. I think it applies to her because she found it. But, whatever, it got lovingly put into one of my fancy little glasses and put right in the middle of our big table. We can share the good luck. That would be fine with me.
Thanks, Deb!

Dog days even too hot for the dog....

What a day! It is now 99 degrees here with a "real-feel temp" of 110!

According to, some other places (of course where my kids are) are also burning up:

Griffin GA - 99 degrees, feels like 103
Mt. Airy, NC - 98 degrees, feels like 102
Columbus, OH - 91 degrees feels like 95

I almost burnt my hand opening my car door when I left the office for an errand this afternoon. And I felt sorry for Josh when I dropped him off for marching band practice thinking of him being out in it for hours carrying a bass drum. I dropped him off before 9am and it was already disgusting.
Megan called me this afternoon and told me she was sopping wet because she had to walk to the Daily Grind after work to wait for John. Not a long walk, but in the heat.....unbearable. I'm telling is wicked hot!

It's been like this for awhile now. It's getting to the point where anything lower than 90 degrees feels downright nippy!

So...wherever you are, sip some lemonade, take it easy, and remember.....don't walk on the cement in your bare feet!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Why? you possibly remember my post of July 27th??? It was after a big storm, and I took a picture of this tree along our office driveway. I love this tree, and wrote about how much I've learned from this tree about adapting when a chunk of us is torn off. It was a beautiful I enjoyed watching through the seasons each time I drove into work. I say "was" a beautiful tree, because, well, it isn't anything anymore. I heard the chainsaw, I saw the truck, but I thought they were just cutting up the downed branch and hauling it away. I came out of the office to go home yesterday, and this is what I saw. I just don't get it.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Just because....

Just because I love this picture of Kimmi....taken at Megan's graduation party.

Kimmi and cuties

I thought I'd put up these pictures of the girls from yesterday. I love to watch Kimmi play the piano. She plays by ear and patiently figures songs out by trying to find the right notes....over and over. So smart. And she loves music so much. While Kimmi was doing this, Alli was petting Shammi (our old and lovable dog) so softly and singing lullabies to her. It melted my heart. So....I just had to hug them. They climbed up on my lap and Steph took a picture. Then....because they are them...and I am me....we had to get a silly shot in. If you look closely at the bottom left of the silly picture, you'll see that Shammi also decided to get in on the fun!

Happy Birthday Josh!!!

Josh turned 14 on Saturday! We had lots of fun. Kimmi and Alli had spent the night, because Drew and Steph drove up to New York to watch a Yankees game and do a little sightseeing. So...Saturday morning, I made Josh a big breakfast, and then Kelly stayed with the girls while Josh and I ran around town. We went to the theater to see the new Harry Potter movie (our tradition to watch them together) but we got there late because my watch was 15 minutes slow. So....we bought tickets for the next showing and then took off exploring.
We went to the music store (of course) and bought a flimsy plastic ring for one of his drums to dampen the sound (I don't understand, but the drummer does). Then we went to the mall....had a lot of fun. We bought a Volcom T-shirt (skateboard brand?) that he thought was cool. Looked around. Bought pretzels at Auntie Anne's and sat and! Then...we ended up at Plan 9 music. He got a new CD and then to Wal-Mart for a new CD case. We finally got back to the theater and REALLY enjoyed the movie.
Then, when we got home, I got the girls ready to go back to their house. When Megan got off work, she took Josh running around again. I think they ended up buying some Chinese food and coming home and watching some episodes of The Office. They both told me they had lots of fun. The girls and I went back to their house, for baths, books and bedtime. It was so fun being with them. I love to listen to them pray. Precious. Then, I sat in Drew's recliner and watched TV. Drew and Steph got held up and didn't get home until 3:30 am.....but that was fine....I was comfortable and dozed a little bit.
Sunday, we had a big dinner. Josh's choice. Grilled chicken breasts, grilled corn on the cob, my oriental salad, and instead of cake, he wanted ice cream sundaes for dessert. When Drew's family came for dinner, the girls brought in pink cupcakes they had made for Josh' birthday. How fun...and how perfect....Josh thought the fact they were pink and girly was great! I looked and looked, but didn't have any candles. So...we improvised. One big candle in the middle.
We invited Dale Richards to dinner, too. It was great fun. We all played Apples to Apples after...and had a good laugh about coconuts. (tee-hee)
My little guy is growing up, and I think I'll be OK. Really.

News to bite into....

During a hot game of Apples to Apples last evening, I received a phone call from Michelle....who was visiting her in-laws in northwest Ohio for the weekend with Toby and Andrew. She said Toby has "been a bear" for a couple of days...and then yesterday....Pop...Pop....two little teeth popped through his gums. This is really big news....Toby has kept those little tooth'ns hidden for almost 14 months. We are glad to see them start showing themselves! These pics are "pre-teeth", but they are the latest I have.
Toby, Nana can't wait to see your pearly whites! (and I know you weren't really a bear...cause you are too darn sweet, huh?) Even your mom said you were only upset for little bits at a time. Yay, Toby!!!

(don't know why I can't make these pictures bigger)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Good to remember these days....

"If 50 million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing."
~ Anatole France