Monday, September 28, 2015

Green Thumbs

We visited Katie's house this weekend, and every time we go there, we are wowed by her gardens.  This year she and Teri were a part of a garden tour, so they changed a few things around. The ponds have been relocated, new plants were introduced, a lot of water (both from the sky and from the ground) was used, and even in September, the yard looked wonderful.  I wish I had the green thumb these women have!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

It's Not a Coincidence . . . or is it?

I am not a believer in coincidence, or at least not most coincidences. Occurrences that could be construed as coincidence happen too often to me to always be that.  One such oddity occurred just this week.

Earlier this summer I began researching authors for our author dinner.  I had picked a few to check with, and when one had to decline I went back to the drawing board.  One of the authors looked promising, and I began to research his credentials.  Sounded really good.  Then I heard about another author, one with whom I had taught.  After reviewing his books, ultimately I decided the second fit better with our program.  I called him a week ago, and he accepted.  I decided that I would take the next year to get to know the other author in hopes that he could be a part of our 2017 group.

The Monday after I filled the position, our neighbor across the street came over to tell us that he had sold his house and he was moving.  We knew he had wanted to move back to the west side of town, so we were happy for him, but it is always scary when new neighbors move in.  We held our breath.

On Wednesday, the moving truck arrived.  It wasn't long before the wife met Don while he was waxing the rv, and I came out to meet her.  As we began to talk, she mentioned her husband, who is a history teacher at a local high school and who is an author.  When she told me their last name, I just said, "That is hilarious."  I am certainly going to have an opportunity to meet the other author, as he now lives across the street from us!  Coincidence or not?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Mad as a Hornet

As we headed to Denver for an NFH convention and to see Katie, we stopped for lunch in Colby.  Just before Don started the RV we spied a wasp flying around my seat.  Yikes!  It landed on the front windshield where Don hit it with the flyswatter.  Unfortunately, we couldn't find it, and Don surmised that it fell into the defrost hole on the dash.  We could only hope it had died.

About an hour later, guess who surfaced?  Yep, straight out of the defrost vent near Don.  It rather surprised the driver, who was not real happy to have a wasp flying around his face.  At the time we were in the middle of road construction, so he couldn't even pull off, but gratefully we were toward the end of the construction and he was able to stop the rv.  He took aim, and . . . no luck.  Although it surprised the wasp, he just landed on the seat, undead.  Don hit him again.  No luck.  Took five or six more swats to make it so he couldn't fly, but he was still kicking when we grabbed him with a paper towel.  One tough wasp, for sure, but once dispatched we had no more!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Superman Is At It Again

Several years ago, we had a string of events occur where Don was in the right place at the right time. I don't think I was blogging then, but in short, he was instrumental in saving a man's life, he kept a hotel shuttle bus from rolling into a lake, and there was one other thing that I don't remember right now!  So I dubbed him Superman.

So yesterday at the tailgate, I noticed a large conflagration about four parking spots east of us.  The flames were about five feet high and growing.  Cars parked nearby were bailing quickly . . . it was not looking good.  I showed it to Don and asked him to go get one of our fire extinguishers.  He was a little hesitant to interfere, but I wasn't.  Someone needed to do something!  He got the extinguisher and was moving rather slowly, but with a little urging (ok, a lot of urging), he and his brother, Kevin, (a fire chief, by the way) ran up there and within about a minute, they had dispatched the fire.

The people had a turkey fryer, and the grease caught fire.  No wonder it was burning so badly.  Kevin said all they needed to do was put a lid on the fire, but I understand why they didn't.  I am sure they were only a little concerned about burning themselves up!  Anyway, when Don arrived and put it out, they were pretty relieved.  The fire department arrived about 5 minutes later with nothing to do but check it out.

Anyway, though in two of the instances I was the one who spotted the trouble but didn't have the presence of mind to do something myself, Don did . . . and once again he saved the day!

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Pressures of Parenting

I have been thinking the last few days about parenting and its challenges.  I always preached not overscheduling children, yet I was bad at it.  There were so many things to do and learn, I wanted them to experience it all.  So they played soccer and baseball and basketball, and they took piano lessons, and they did Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and 4-H, and they took a ceramics class . . . . and then they did school activities out the eyeballs, church activities, and once they were old enough KSU football.

When we were home, we always had laundry to do, a house to clean up, practicing and homework, and of course the family dinner, even if it was just Applebee's take-out.  It was always a relief to have a day off - such as MLK day, or even better, a snow day!

And now I find myself asking if I put too much pressure on them, if I didn't give them enough time to play and dream . . . High achievement, though very rewarding, also comes with a price.  I hope my kids will forgive me if I was too demanding, too strict, too intense.  A mother's love knows no bounds, and neither do their good intentions.  

Sunday, September 6, 2015

East of Eden

I must have led a literarily deprived childhood.  Both of my parents were readers, though for Dad it was mostly newspapers and magazines, and for Mom the same and the popular book of the week.  I did read a lot, though I found myself thinking reading was a luxury I could not afford because there was always something I "had" to do.  So the older I got, the less I read.

In high school, I read the usual books - To Kill a Mockingbird, A Separate Peace, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations . .  you know the books.  And then I tried to read a lot of those I "should" read - Wuthering Heights, Ivanhoe, Emma - but I didn't really understand them.  

Once I retired, I joined a book club, and as a result, began to read more.  And as I read more, I decided to begin to try to pick up a few classics along the way.  And it has been wonderful. 

Sometimes I think one needs to be older to enjoy many of the classics, though I know Diana would disagree.  The second time through on To Kill A Mockingbird was far more enriching.  And Jane Eyre?  I loved it, though when I began it as a teen, I was so scared at the ghost scene I did not go on.  Our book club reads one classic per year (this year we will do Anna Karenina, which is rather scary to me!), and I have tried to add one or two more per year.  East of Eden was a last-minute addition.

I think I know what turned me off to Steinbeck.  Travels with Charley.  I was so offended by his realism when I was a very naive eighth-grader that I put it up and never read anything else of his.  So when Kathy Dunlavy suggested I read East of Eden, I balked; but her recommendations have always been so spot-on, I decided to read it.  And I have to admit, I loved it.  I am glad I took the time to read it.  If you haven't, I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


The last night we were at the cabin, I took the pups for a walk.  Dusk was approaching, and the light was rapidly dimming.  As we walked up the road near the cabin, I looked up just in time to see a large bird leave the tree above me.  I wish I had been looking up, as if I had seen it, I would have stopped.  As it was, I watched to see where it landed, and although it took a few minutes for me to find it, I did.    Unfortunately, I couldn't just whip out my cell phone to call Don and had to go back to the cabin to get him.  He quickly put his telephoto lens on his camera, and we took the trek back up the road.

I was able to see him really well with the binoculars, and we decided that he is a juvenile Great Horned Owl.  Don got some really good pictures of him, but this one is one of our favorites!