Sunday, August 31, 2008

recent pictures of the amazing girls

Breanne, who dressed up in her mom’s clothes and insisted on a photo shoot

Audrey, who insisted the cat bed was her bed

Cousins under the influence of Sesame Street on gramma's bed

Sweet, wee girl...

searching for gramma's voice

does this happen to them all?

We have a channel on the cable that airs concerts--some new bands, some bands who played when I was a teen, and most all of them are entertaining, perhaps not in the intended manner but entertaining just the same.

We watched and listened to a Moody Blues concert last week. Like many artists who performed in the 60s' and early 70s', (at least the ones who survived) the songs were in lower keys that occasionally still strained the vocal chords, but they brought back good memories.

I have to admit though, every time we saw a close up of their faces, I felt certain I was watching 60-year-old, doughy British women singing "Knights in White Satin."

they're back

Twice a year, these guys (in the masthead) come through the gardens--once in the spring and once in the late summer--and eat seeds from the sage. I think they're wild canaries. Their chests are bright yellow and they are tiny little birds. And they can sing.

There are usually six of them and unless I'm already out in the garden, sitting very still, the closest I can get is about ten feet away, through the window.

Winter must be on its way.

Friday, August 29, 2008

which of these things is not like the other?

Yes, you are in luck again--I have more than one image popping around in my brain, so I will attempt to keep the post short--oh jeez, who am I kidding. Get a drink and a snack and relax as you read.

1. Just now, Jr was trimming the collie, and for some reason I thought it funny when he asked me if he should keep the tufts. On the end of her tail. Like a sissy poodle. Please.

2. For dinner one night this week, I decided to serve Sugar's family's favorite meal that she cooks: fried chicken, mashed potatoes (she doesn't make gravy, but I did), and corn on the cob. Please note that I have never fried chicken for fear that it won't cook thoroughly, and I've never used shortening for anything other than baked goods although I did notice that my year's supply sized can of Crisco from Costco did have a picture of what appeared to be fried chicken. Anyway, I thought that if Sugar's family liked it and it was as easy as she said, then my family might love it and it might be as easy for me as it is for her. Result: the chicken did not cook all the way through and was slightly unseasoned, the mashed potatoes and gravy were fabulous, and the corn on the cob was crispy and sweet. The drummer is not a fan of corn, so when I asked him if he would like some corn on the cob, he replied, "Corn on the cob is the best kind of corn," and something about the way he said it and his facial expression and tone of voice reminded me, for just a moment, of his grandfather-- the man he was named after. Very cool and kinda mystical. ps Later, I told Jack I thought it would have gone better if I'd used boneless chicken, or if I'd used boneless, skinless chicken, but then I realized that if I'd cooked boneless, skinless chicken in canola or olive oil and seasoned it more, we could have had chicken parm. And we all know how I feel about that. It brings out the bad poetry in me.

3. Finally, have I ever mentioned political discussions between Jack and me? I think that for the first decade together we both leaned towards the left. Then something happened and knocked Jack towards the right. Apparently we were not in the same tornado or perhaps it was something exactly like a tornado where one house is dropped in Oz and the next door house is untouched, including even the flowers. Whatever it was, for the past few years, we have been unable to agree on much of anything about politics. I think that is because Jack insists that right is right, whereas I think right is wrong. er. Well anyway. Tonight we went out to eat and I told him I didn't think we could watch any tv this weekend because I wasn't going to spend a three-day weekend bickering (or rather, him discussing and me refusing to participate) about the wise move of John McCain to choose that woman to be his running mate. (Sorry, I tried to resist the urge to say that the use of 'running mate' in the same sentence as McCain is, if nothing else, seriously icky, but well, there you go, I couldn't do it.) Of course, politics was the topic we fell onto. As Jack started to get into the right, and it became obvious that it was my turn to comment, I looked at him, paused, and said, "In France." He gave me his usual, Woman- what - are- you- talking- about? look, and grinned (yes, kids, daddy grinned!) when he realized I was willing to talk as long as we kept it light. So talk we did, with an occasional "In France"--through the bread (honey wheat) and the salad (crispy and lots of stuff in it), and throughout the main course, (man do I love a good steak) and into the dessert, during which, he looked across the table at me and said, "Thank you for talking about this with me tonight. It means a lot to me." I had to admit it felt good and seriously, how could I have not done that for him and for me since earlier tonight, when we stopped to see my mom and dad (June and Mr. Cleaver), and my mom said, with a glimmer in her eye, "So, what do you think about the events?" And I said, "What events?" And she said, "The Vice President Woman." And I said, "What do you think about it?" And she said, "I think it's great" and before she could say anything more, Jack said, "Let's not get into that" to which June said, "What?" and he said, "Politics--Gilian seriously doesn't like to talk about it." How could I not love a man who has figured out when I need some help finding a way to gracefully leave the party?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

a little of this, a little of that and an early picture of michael phelps

Things I've learned since I turned 50:

1. Do not attempt to self-diagnose by checking out your symptoms on google or wikipedia. See a doctor. Then check out her diagnosis on google or wikipedia. In French.
2. I thought I had finally learned how to swallow pills without gagging myself. As a kid, I was taught that the way to swallow pills was to push them as far back into the mouth as possible and then to swallow a bunch of water to wash them down--which is also a perfectly good way to wake up and highly sensitize the gag reflex. The other day, Jack explained once again the pill-popping method that involves tossing the pills under the tongue, swishing a mouthful of water, and swallowing the water with the pills. No gagging. I did it. Such a proud moment.
3. Swishing diet coke around the mouth with pills will not produce the same non-gagging experience. It will remind the gagging reflex of its lifelong job whenever pills enter the mouth--perhaps something to do with the carbonation, which, as everyone knows, has the lifelong job of fizzing when swished. After that experience, the gag reflex will be back, full speed ahead.

As a bonus, I'm posting a picture of Michael Phelps at an early age, that my friend, Sugar, sent to me that I'm certain she found on the internet. I would credit the author if I knew who it was, but I don't, so I won't except to say that because it was found on the internet, I know it's true. And you might have to click on it to see it clearly.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

mothers and daughters

The relationship between mothers and daughters can seem mighty complicated at times. When Jessie, my only daughter, was close to giving birth to her first child, a daughter, I bought this figurine. It's called "Chrysalis" and the image of that word to describe this figurine and the feelings I have for my daughter seem obvious.

As easy as our relationship seems to be, there are times when it gets complicated. Usually the complication involves my inability to let go, but occasionally, recently, it is more about my girl discovering that I have flaws.

Cracks and even holes.

I am so relieved to realize that our relationship can weather a storm, even a tornado or frighteningly severe thunderstorm, and eventually find the calm after the storm. See for yourself.

I love this girl.

the best 50th birthday in my life

Yesterday was my birthday. Not only was it the best 50th birthday I've ever had, it was also a day filled with friends, family, good food, good times and only a bit of melancholy. This is how I will remember the day:

1. Happy birthday greetings throughout the day from friends and family--some in person, some by phone, and some in tender feelings.
2. Yardsailing with Sugar--only four or five stops, but what amazing stops they were! The Annual Brighton (pronounced brite-un) High School Cheerleader sale, followed by stops at two homes that were selling mostly brand new, still with the tags, baby clothes, and mostly brand new, still with the store tags, 50- year- old- women- sized- clothes- for- women- who- probably- don't- dress- exactly- their- age- clothes. Sugar and I couldn't decide if we really believed the explanations from the still-tagged clothes' owners (too many baby clothes to use, and his mother-in-law buys so many clothes that she will never wear them so we're selling them) or if they were all hot and we just bought a bunch of stolen stuff. By nature I am a trusting soul, so I chose to believe the explanations. In between the two new/tagged clothes houses, we stopped at a place that was selling two sofas--a teal colored leather sofa, and an oxblood colored leather sofa with fabric cushions. Both in brand new condition, one with the tags still on. Only $300. For both. Delivered to my house. The only bummer was that the lime colored faux leather chaise was already sold.
3. Food and more conversation with Sugar at IHOP, using my buy one get one free card, with an excellent server who understood us for who we are and kept the diet coke coming.
4. Time for blogging and dog bathing during the middle of the day.
5. Present time--a new Schwinn pearl pink Roxy coaster from Jack that I rode around the store and parking lot before we took it home on Thursday. A powder blue helmet from Stu, Shi, Audrey, Herschel and Jr as well as a basket, a bell, and an ah-ooh-gah horn for the bike. Two kid-safe tea sets from Jessie, Cory, Breanne, and Janey for many years of tea parties at gramma's house. Funny cards from family, friends, and the cats.
6. Barbeque dinner with Jack, the kids, and the darling girls. I sat in the comfortable chair in the corner of the dining room and watched as they prepared everything. Steaks, salad that contained spinach, peanuts, shredded cheese, diced apples and poppyseed dressing, fresh fruit, chips, soda. All on the deck out back in the gardens. Lovely.
7. NASCAR racing at night on the high-banked track of Bristol in Tennessee. Lots of action, lots of emotion, lots of fun. True I would have preferred to see the 88 car take the checkered flag, but that's racin'.
8. Yummalicious warm birthday brownies baked by Jr in between the coats of paint he was applying to the walls of his new bedroom.
9. And now, three years later, I did not spend most of my birthday with the intense feeling of the loss of my gramma. Losing her on my birthday three years ago was hard, painful, devastating. But it wasn't as bad yesterday as then or as last year--more like a twinge every now and then, that after allowing myself to feel instead of trying to bury or dismiss it, seemed very much okay.

All-in-all, it was a good birthday. I recommend 50th birthdays to all of the people in my life. They are not as scary as I'd been told.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

birthday eve part 2

my cousin george and his wife zelda had a big party in their back yard to celebrate the marriage of one of their four girls. george is a woodworker by trade, but it appears to me that he is not just a woodworker, but a worker worker. their home is filled with his work--beautiful handmade doors, railings, molding, etc., but this summer when two of his girls announced they were getting married (to two boys), george decided it was time to put a bit more effort into the back yard because the girls wanted their weddings in the yard.

george and zelda have a huge lot that overlooks the jordan river as it enters the valley. the lot slopes steeply downhill towards the river, so george terraced the land and added rock walls, stairs, and a waterfall, as well as leveled areas with bits of lawn. together they planted numerous plants and all in all, created a lovely area.

my mom and dad rode to the party with us, which is always, well, you know, an adventure of sorts. i finally broke down and admitted to my mom that she weights five pounds less than me, which surprisingly, did not delight her. as we parked the car and walked into the party, we heard laughter, some definite partying noise, and a pretty reasonable 70s band who did a mean cover of 'walk this way'.

what i thought was delightful--the rockwork, the lawn paths, the music, the attendees--were less than delightful for my parents. i understood their concerns completely--the fear of falling on the bumpy lawn, hitting their heads on the rocks, being unable to summon help because of the loud volume of the band, and their fear that none of the tattooed, pierced, attendees could be trusted to assist them or even call 911 on a cell phone.

then jack came to the rescue. he escorted my parents back to the upper level, where the food was located and the ground was smoother, and the band was quieter. and he visited with them while my cousins, Charlene and Zelda and I rocked out to the 70s tunes and completely embarrassed the youngsters, who had no idea how to dance to the music of our youth.

birthday eve

what a day. it started at work where there are two rules about birthdays: no presents, and the birthday person brings the treats. did i mention that opwo and i share the same birthday, but five years apart. so that means two things: extra treats and she will bring me a present.

i brought the same treat i always bring: mini-eclairs from the bakery in The Store. always a big favorite. eileen, who, as the office assistant, feels responsible for successful outcomes in all things, brought veggies and dip as well as mini-cupcakes. the opwo brought fruit tarts from the Bakers de Normandie. i did my best to avoid the veggies and yet have a taste of everything else. i was successful and must say that it was all very satisfying.

while driving home from the bakery, i realized that once again, the opwo would show up with a gift for me--something small--but a gift just the same. and once again, i'd be the one who obeyed the rule and wished she had. i thought about possible small gifts i could give to the opwo, knowing her critical eye for fashion, makeup, acceptable body care products, and i knew i wasn't going to any of those places. then it hit me. what is the thing i have a lot of, the thing that brings me constant joy, the thing that would be as acceptable as anything i could buy? and of course, it is flowers from the gardens.

right now, the black-eyed susans and sunflowers are in full bloom and the russian sage, lavender, and salvia are peaking. of course, there are also many grasses in bloom, so i headed out to the gardens, cut some of each of those flowers and a couple of last-chance daisies, and headed into the house. i started with a mason jar and added some of this and some of that, and when i finished i was seriously proud of our efforts--mother nature and i--both the growing and the arranging. i was a bit concerned that opwo might be allergic to something in the bouquet, or might be averse to golden yellow flowers with blue/purple blossums, and nearly left my creation home, in favor of four pink gerber daisies that were part of a bouquet from jack last week.

But when i left the gardens for work yesterday, i was carrying the yellow and purple lovelies. I sat them on her desk before she arrived and waited. I heard her exclaim when she saw them and then she offered her gift to me, which was a book wrapped with a gold bow and a delightful tiny card that showed a cake with a jeweled candle. As she handed me the book, she said she had truly enjoyed reading the book and was sorry that she had just bent the corner of it in the car.

Next we set out the treats and opwo explained how she had been so busy all morning and had forgotten all about the birthdays and her responsibility to bring treats and all. and that's when i realized she had given me one of her own books. when she handed it to me, i thought it looked like it had been opened a few times, but didn't think anymore about it. But her comments started me wondering, and i thought, really, if someone is going to pass on one of her possessions, something she has truly enjoyed, what better thing than a book? or flowers.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

can't really explain it but...

for some reason, when the gyno told me today that i had great muscle tone, i didn't feel quite so close to 50.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

smarties magic

You know those little sugar tablets called "Smarties"? These are the facts of Smarties in my gardens.

1. I have never turned down an offer of Smarties.
2. I do not walk past a bowl of Smarties on a desk or counter without taking at least one roll.
3. Through the first four months of my last pregnancy, the one that brought jr into the gardens, I ate pretty much only Smarties and ice water.
4. The ranking of my favorite Smarties flavor to my least favorite flavor: yellow, white, pink, purple, and green and orange are tied for least favorite.
5. Seriously, all of my life, I have preferred the yellow Smarties. I eat them first, then the white, then the pink, and by then, have usually found another person or my dog to eat the purple, green and orange Smarties.
6. About a year ago, Jack insisted that I couldn't tell the difference from one Smarties color to another. Baloney is what I said to that. Then we did a taste test and in what was one of the biggest earth-shaking events of my life, he was right. That's when I realized those preferences were not flavor-related, they were an optical illusion that tricked my brain into preferring the yellow Smarties.
7. Just yesterday, I learned that if you close your eyes and eat Smarties, you can convince yourself that every Smarties is the color/flavor you like the best.
8. The magic of Smarties has happened again because now, all Smarties I eat are yellow.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

did you ever wonder

Twice lately I've seen one of those bright violet-colored PT cruisers. As Jack and I pulled up alongside one of the PTs, I had the feeling that it probably contained a female librarian, someone with short hair and glasses--I know, totally stereotypical. Guess what? I was right. Well at least about the short hair and glasses. I could totally see her as a librarian who was headed home from another long, fulfilling day of recommending reading and straightening up shelves and restocking books and never making complete eye contact with the patrons, to her messy apartment, to spend the evening singing and dancing to her 'Prince--the early years' mix tape--Purple Rain is her favorite--around her piles of clothing and dishes and food and junk mail strewn about the floor. She has removed her glasses and her pearl necklace and her white blouse with the lace collar and her beige-colored polyester suit, and instead is wearing her favorite jammies--a buttercup yellow cami with matching boy shorts that both have little bows and bits of lace here and there. She steams some veggies and toasts some whole grain bread to eat with her orange juice. She debates with herself--steak tonight or not?--and instead steams an ear of freshly picked corn on the cob. She follows her light meal with a lovely slice of cheesecake that she shares with her visitor who will not stay late because she will not allow it.

Up close, she is lovely and unique and self-assured, but she sees no reason to share that with any of the strangers she meets daily at the library. She smiles briefly and feels very content with the distance of her day life, which is so different than her night life.

I didn't catch a glimpse of the driver of the other PT cruiser. For some reason, I didn't have the same feeling about that driver. Couldn't feel anything. Odd, huh.

Monday, August 18, 2008

how could i forget?

tyler, former basement dweller, competed in his first cage fight on saturday night. jack and herschel went to the bar where it was held. in addition to fighting, there was a shake your bottom contest that unfortunately tyler didn't get to see any of--and while tyler did get the crap beat out of him (his ear was swelling up with blood that the cage doctor drained three times and tyler said it hurt like crap) so while he did get pummeled, jack said that tyler got in his share of beating the crap out of the 40ish guy who was his opponent.

i had hoped he'd do it one time and come to his senses, but apparently the 40ish guy knocked out some of his senses and he's going back when his ear returns to its normal size. while i am not in favor of anybody fighting, i do admire him for making a decision, doing all he could to prepare for the match, and following through--at least until he couldn't get up by himself. he said his fight will be on tv a week from sunday. when i'm 50 plus one week.

so many directions to go

life here in the gardens has been swirly lately. so many thoughts, so many large and small events, so many emotions. i can't decide where to start and decided instead to do what i always do when feeling swirly--make a list. a mind-clearing, slow-down-the-swirly list.

1. what would we do at work without fellow workers who screw up and need legal help?
2. i still have two loads of wash to complete.
3. time to get out in the gardens and do some taming of the jungle.
4. what shall i do about dolly and her incontinence?
5. what would dolly do about me if i were incontinent?
6. only 4 days to 1/2 a century.
7. i am so wise.
8. i am so ditzy.
9. where did i lose all of those thoughts?
10. where did i gain all of this weight?
11. wonder if jack will buy us both bikes for my birthday like i told him to?
12. i really like the powder blue one that's just like my friend, lisab's bike.
13. did i wish my mom hadn't given jessie a hard time for putting coconut on the german chocolate bars?
14. could i have laughed any harder when jack said he was cuckoo for coconut and we'd better all watch out because he's a big guy and jessie's house is an adorable little house that might not be able to hold all of his cuckooness?
15. need to go put away the year's supply of certain foods from costco.
16. need to have another glass of that chocolate milk from costco.
17. what a great time we had, sugar, colleen, and me, on saturday--yardsailing, laughing, talking, squishing each other in colleen's little tiny truck, eating at del taco--a first for me--seeing all the progress colleen has made on her seriously fixer-upper house.
18. wonder if i should have bought that 22 caliber rifle barrel for $10 since colleen didn't want it.
19. why did i think that 22 caliber rifle barrel for $10 was so funny?
20. when i read amelia's blog, i think she must live in an amazing, wonderful world--not just because it's scotland, but seriously, who gets to see puffins live and in person with the adorable evie and miriam?
21. how amazing was it that when audrey showed up at breanne's house last night and i asked breanne if she would let audrey play with some of her toys, she said yes, and i didn't hear MINE even one time.
22. what about those great, brand-new dresses i got at a yard sail for just $4 each. not to mention the fisherprice house that will entertain audrey for many visits to come.
23. does janey look like her mom or what?
24. how satisfying is it that everybody can call out to janey to get her to smile for a picture and i quietly call her name and she turns and looks across the room at me and smiles for the picture and then squeals immediately after.
25. is that teensy tiny anti-anxiety pill simply a jackpot bonus when it's visit the family time or what?
26. how long will it take for all of the little slivers in my hands (from weeding yesterday morning) to stop hurting whenever i see them or think of them or touch them.
27. did i mention the bikes?
28. how happy am i that i got the bathroom clean on saturday?
29. wow, about time i unloaded the suitcase from our trip to indiana.
30. michael phelps.
31. jr's so glad when herschel comes home; glad as he can be;
32. herschel almost had to chase jr around the yard to give him a hug and cheer him up last night.
33. it's almost payday again.
34. not so sure about the beach volleyball. girls in bikinis jumping in sand? hm.
35. i may have to become a fan of kyle busch since he seems so much like the young #3 driver.
36. still need to pick up bagels, bananas, bam, and yogurt--the b things at albertsons, the y thing at smiths.
37. i am so very lucky to have great girlfriends.
38. yardsailing caused me to miss out on the cement pouring at stu's. shucks.
39. did i mention that the opwo and i share a birthday but of course she is five years younger than me.
40. did i mention that i am 40 years wiser than the opwo?
41. it's decided-i am going to stick the little hula dancer i picked up yard sailing on the dash in my scion.
42. i'm over and done with using 'should'.
43. i cut back the neighbor's grapevine that was growing all over my rose of sharon and attaching itself so tightly that i had to use my BIG lopers and i feel no guilt.
44. it is so good to see friends.
45. i just saw my film class teacher in a zions bank commercial.
46. gotta check out the film class website and see if my film is still there. or was ever there. or if there's a film class website yet.
47. i'm 40 years kinder too.
48. it sounds like miss abbey is totally growing into herself.
49. i'm much calmer now.

you probably thought i was headed all of the way to fifty, but i'm not going there until i have to. and that will be early early on saturday morning when my phone rings and my mom sings 'happy birthday' to me. and i will smile because she thinks it is exactly the thing that everybody she know wants for their birthday.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

that's cats for you

This is the way things are between Oscar and Weez.

Two of them are in the same room.

She stretches and pretends to not notice as he stalks her.

Before I can click again, the attackee has become the attacker.

Until this morning. The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was this:

Friday, August 15, 2008

here it is

This is the original post wherein the opwo was identified as "only possible woman in the office who knows anything about fashion", aka opwowkaaf, or opwo for short. I'm thinking I'll use a more familiar term for her in the future--fashionista bitch. or fb for short.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

she's up to her old tricks again

The opwo is back with a vengeance. This time, her curious form of cruelty was directed at another person in the office--a person who deserves the rudeness least of everyone, but, really, what could anybody do to deserve her forked tongue uttering worddarts that seem so sweet and well-intentioned, but are in reality nothing but poison.

After a series of conversations, it became clear that ms opwo meanypants was trying to figure out how to use a certain service that one of the officemates performs, without actually including the officemate in the proceedings related to the service (like oh, document notarization, say, or something like that). Today she came into the office and told the officemate that she had found someone else to handle the service and then proceeded to say these words (or something very similar to them):

"Listen, fellow officemate, it turns out I won't need your help on this proceeding because I've found somebody else who can take care of it for me. It isn't really any reflection on you, but, well, because of the people who are participating, it was important that we convey a very professional appearance and, well, I'm not saying there is anything wrong with your clothing, but I'm not sure when the bigwigs will be in town to sign and I want the person in your position to look exceptionally professional, not that there is anything wrong with the way you dress, but this other person is typically dressed more professionally, so, please don't take it personally, but I won't need your help on this one."

And then she walked out of the door and into the hallway towards the bathroom. Where I can only hope she realized the error of her ways and washed out her mouth with soap and beat her head against the mirror. But, no, she did no such thing. She went on about her business leaving us to wonder who her next victim would be.

Which prompted me to say, "Fellow officemate? What the hell was that?" To which she replied, "Sometimes I just have to ignore what she says."

Since then, all I can think is that it is far past time for somebody to report this woman to the committee that is in charge of appropriate workplace behavior so that somebody on that committee can straighten out her attitude and then wash out her mouth with soap.


Sunday, August 10, 2008

seein' the drummer perform

Jack, Jr and I spent the last few days in Indiana, Bloomington--which is just outside of Indianapolis--with Jack's mom and brother, driving through the countryside on the way to Indiana University to cheer for the drummer and the other 149 or so performers he's lived with for the past 2 & 1/2 months as members of the Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps.

These are ten thoughts from our trip that would be much better in pictures:

1. Indiana is lush and green and beautiful--think North Carolina. It looked like people bought some property, cleared out an area, built a home and then mowed down the part that they wanted to call grass. Nothing like it in Utah. Anywhere.
2. You can drive for miles and miles and not see a single place to buy a diet coke and some tylenol.
3. Also, you can drive immediately out of your hotel parking area and find a Speedway gas/store and find pretty much whatever you need, including diet coke and tylenol. And Oreos. Doublestuff.
4. Five adults may not fit comfortably in a Lincoln Towne Car, but they can fit in a Ford Explorer if it has the extra seat in the back.
5. A Lincoln Towne Car gets the same mileage as a Ford Explorer, approximately 20 mpg, which is not exceptional, but satisfactory for a family of five large people on vacation.
6. For quite a while, I've thought I was a slow walker, but I was wrong. Turns out I'm a very speedy walker.
7. Just south of Indianapolis there is an amazing little town, Columbus, that is so very not like most little towns. When the original townsfolk began building a town, they decided to make sure that the town would have its own style. The buildings were designed with style, and over the years, many famous architects designed buildings and additions to existing buildings to preserve that style. In addition to building after building to look at and admire, the town also decided to encourage the display of art, so everywhere you look, you see sculpture--large pieces and smaller pieces, but all interesting and well suited to Columbus. Sadly, we didn't make it to the gardens of Columbus, but I'm sure they were as delightful as the rest of the town.
8. Any time you find a marching drum & bugle corps field show that includes the music from La Vie En Rose, count me in.
9. Even though global positioning costs only $5 per day, Jack can get us where we need to be safely and on time without it.
10. If you are willing to make a little effort, you can find a Starbucks, visit a 2 1/2 mile race track that is famous for its finish line made of bricks and its high speed racing (well over 200 mph and 180 in the turns), and for $3, you can even take a 15-minute tour bus ride around the track, driving where the racers drive, going all of 35 mph, but still staying up on the banking.

There's lots more to say about the vacation and Indiana, but let's just say that I didn't have to take even one anti-anxiety pill, and we were all still speaking to each other when we dropped off Jack's mom and brother. And the drummer is home for now.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

the almost never ending green jar

I rested assured that the get-well-soon vibes you all sent my way played a major part in my recovery, just in time for our trip to watch the drummer perform and then return home with him until his next far off gig.

And this is the other secret I remembered in my misery--Mentholatum.

The large faded-label jar is one that I've had for over 30 years. Before I married, it comforted me through the stuffy noses and watery eyes of my teens. And a couple of days ago, when I wondered if I would be able to live through flights to Indiana this week if I was still clogged or leaking, I remembered my jar of Mentholatum. I asked Jr to try to find some for me and he returned to my side a few moments later with my trusty jar. He was amazed and a bit worried when I told him I had used it for almost all of my life. But I opened it and the familiar scent wafted up into my nose and I knew it was still viable.

However, it was almost gone, as you may be able to see in this photo:

Yep, that's all that remains of my favorite cold remedy. Wondering if it was really the right thing to do, I sent Jr to the local market to pick up a new supply of Mentholatum. He returned with not one, but two smaller jars of Mentholatum. While that seemed a bit excessive to me, I was pleased to note that I would likely not require another purchase in my lifetime. And now, I have the big, old, friendly jar by my bed, one of the smaller new jars in my purse, and the other new jar hanging around, sometimes on the bar, sometimes on the desk, and sometimes next to me on the sofa, in case I need it during a movie or favorite tv show, or heaven forbid, during the news. Because I'd certainly hate to miss a moment of that.

This is a view into one of the newly purchased and opened jars. While my old favorite friend jar will remain by my bedside until no menthol scent remains inside of it, there is something lovely, soothing, and even a bit hopeful about a new jar of Mentholatum.

Monday, August 4, 2008

so many thoughts

so little energy. lousy stinkin' summer colds. yes, that is plural as in more than one cold.

but there are all kinds of things goin' on in the gardens.

all of these are from one seed dropped by a bird into the gardens two years ago, that grew into one sunflower plant, that spread its seeds, that grew into a massive sunflower garden. isn't nature amazing?

these two came to visit today--with their mom and dad, of course. the older has learned to say, 'cuse me' to her toys when they are in her path, to pens and markers on my desk when they are in the way of her coloring, the dog when she's in the middle of the dining room floor blocking the way to the swingset.

the younger one tosses in adorable raspberries from time to time to ensure that nobody forgets she is around. and she is totally enthralled with her older sister.

the one in the black shirt is gone from the basement. the one in glasses will be home on sunday after performing his last drum corps stuff as a bass drummer.

the lone dog is happier than i've ever seen her--apparently she was meant to be a lone dog in the gardens. let this be an example of what the shy little puppy in the litter can become when finally she is the dog receiving all of the love and attention.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

hold the presses--

Turns out there is a way to hear Breanne singing the abc song. Check this out--

That perked me up. But I am not over the virus yet...gotta go, sneeze comin' on...

Friday, August 1, 2008

i was mistaken

i thought i was better. i felt like i was on the way to better. and yesterday, in the morning, i was definitely better.

then last night, i started sneezing. my eyes started crying for no good emotional reason. my breathing equipment (nose, nasal passages, throat, lungs) got all messed up. all of my parts in those last sentences did their best to wake me up during the night.

i rose slowly from my warm nest of sheets and comforter and dragged my sorry self into the shower, with both nozzles drilling my face and head with hot, steamy water, and eventually dressed and went to work, my sneezing growing in frequency and intensity, my cute little nose beginning to show red from those harsh scrubbies we call tissues, my eyes leaking, so that by lunchtime, i knew.

i am so not better at all. i feel lower than crappy. stuffy, sneezy, achy, swollen in that way that makes you say things like, excuse be, i need to blow by nose again. sheesh.

just in time for another weekend. the weeds are rejoicing every bit as much as if a sprinkler broke and sprayed continuously onto them for 20 minutes. for this new (or extended) virus will keep me from donning my gloves and heading into the gardens to remove as many weeds and snails as i can find.

but only for a day or two. because really, three colds in three weeks? so not likely.

# of tissues since 5:00--26
% effectiveness of dimetapp since 5:00--2% (did somebody take the active ingredient out of my dimetapp? I should have been cleared up and dozing in my cozy bed hours ago)
food and drinks since 5:00--kashi cereal with milk (thanks jack), cold diet coke (nod to jack again), venti iced chai (sweet jr)
ratio of me whining to anybody else in the house speaking: 10:1 (sorry, but wah, i'm, sigh, ailing)
days to well again: 2-5 (and then watch out snails)