Mean Girls

 A couple of Saturdays ago, Husband & I went to my 30th high school reunion.  At the suggestion of one of our classmates, we had an "open mike" for about 15-30 minutes.  Anyone who wanted could get up and relive a memory or say whatever was on their mind.  One of my classmates that I had known forever (I don't remember a time when I didn't know  her) got  up in front of everybody.  She said that she had been talking to a friend of hers a couple of days before, and they were talking about the reunion.  Her friend asked her who the mean girl of our class was.  My classmate  said she thought about it for a while,and then she realized it was her!  She apologized to everybody for being the "mean girl".
So, I started thinking about the whole "Mean Girl" thing.  I really don't think of her as being mean.  I told her that if she was mean to me, it went right over my head  and I had no idea she had been mean to me.  We had gone our different ways many years  before.  There was no animosity;  our lives just went on different tracks.  But, I still  counted her as one of my closest friends.  And, I stood up for her as if she was  my sister.
I could point out many girls  who said or did something mean to me during our jr. high and high school years; things that knocked the self-confidence out of me and made me feel inferior to everybody else.  Then, ashamed, I thought about the things I had said or had done to other people in my class.  Haven't we all been "mean girls" at some point in our life?  Isn't that just part of growing up?
When I was  in the latter  years of my high school, I didn't really hang out with the girls in my class.  I was never much of a drama queen:  I have no use  for it, which is why I'm pretty sure God just gave me boys!  I hung out with people older & younger than I.  By the time I was a senior, I was sooo over high school.  I was ready to move on  and get on with my life.
Yesterday a co-worker and I were talking about high school.  We both came to the conclusion that if we had to do one part  of our school life  over, we'd much rather do college than high school.  What would you choose and why?

How I Wish It Would Rain

How long has it been since we've had rain at my house?  My favorite meteorologist says we have a yearly deficit of over 6 inches.   You can hear the grass crunch when you walk on it.

Remember the clover field we had in our backyard that was a feast for the baby bunny?  Well, this is what it looks like now:
 Even the weeds are screaming:

Yep, everything around here is singing this song:

Oh, the summer pattern of hit or miss showers/thunderstorms.  It misses us more than it hits.  I can look over the field in front of our house and see it raining in the distance, but it always seems to blow right by us.
Before you get all excited, those flowers in the picture are our next door neighbors.  Who spends a lot of money on the upkeep of his yard.  (His grass isn't crunchy.)

Last night the wind blew, we saw lightning, and we heard thunder.  "This is it!" I thought, making plans in my head about what I was going to say about it in my post (since I had written the above yesterday afternoon).  Guess how much we got?  Nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  I absolutely couldn't believe it.  And, this morning, I woke up to the girls' water bowl hitting the side of the refrigerator.  My schnauzer was trying to get the very last drop from her water bowl.  At 5:30 a.m.  Waking me up.  So, being the good mom I am, I got up and filled up her bowl while she eagerly awaited to get the wet stuff to quench her thirst.  'Cause it's awfully dry here.  And hot.  The cool front that supposedly came through last night bringing with it less humidity and temps in the 80's?  I'll believe it when I see it, because right now, at 6:30 a.m., it's 72 degrees with 93% humidity.

I want to thank everybody for your kind comments, words of encouragement, and prayers for my back.  I had been going to the chiropractor but stopped going in April.  (Okay, just let me say this:  I know there are people out there who think they are complete quacks; I used to be one of them.  But, since I had been going, my instances of IBS have been practically none-except for a couple of very minor episodes- and I had been feeling great.  So, I really think there may be something to it.)  Well, I went back on Friday, and he said I definitely aggravated it.  (Thanks, Dr. Obvious!)  He adjusted me, and I went back for another adjustment yesterday.  It's so much better; I'm about 80% back to normal.

Meet Me on Monday #1

In addition to Follow Friday 40 and Over, my new friend Java at Never Growing Old has started a new meme for Mondays:

Every Monday we get the chance to answer 5 quick questions about ourselves and then link up on her blog.  Here are this week's questions:

1. Are you a collector of anything?
    Nope, nothing at all!  My MIL tried to get me started with spoons.  I've never been to most of the spoons I have, and they're collecting dust.  

2. Do you have any tattoos or piercings?
No tats, but I have my ears double pierced.  I got my ears pierced, then, when I was in high school, begged my mom to get my ears double pierced.  She said no.  That was one of the first things I did when I went to college.

3. What is your favorite salad dressing?
I  use Ranch most of the time, but there's nothing like honey mustard on a fried chicken salad, or with french fries!

4. What was the last thing that you ate?
DiGiorno Flat Bread.

5. What was the last movie that you saw?
In the theater:  "A  Team" last Sunday.  Loved it!
On DVD:  I watched "Fame" and then "It's Complicated". 
"A Team" & "It's Complicated" will definitely be added to my library!

Now, in all seriousness, let me pour my heart out for a minute.  You know, it doesn't matter how old our babies get:  when something bad happens, you want to hold them close, and tell them to come home so you can fix it.  It's so incredibly difficult to sit back, do what you can when you're 2 hours away, and let them work it out themselves.  Husband did go up to help OS take care of some stuff yesterday, but I didn't think I could ride in a car for 2 hours with my back not being anywhere close to 100%.  That was so hard for me to do, and it broke my heart to not be able to go with him.  OS is okay, and I think he's learned a big lesson.  He's been working so hard this summer, working 2 part time jobs.  It just seems like with this kid young man 1) if anything bad happens, it's going to happen to him, and 2) he has to learn things the hard way.  I'm not going to go into the details of what happened, but, when you look at the spectrum of things, it could have been a lot worse.  He isn't hurt, and, like I said, I think he learned a good lesson out of this.  I just hate it when something bad happens to him.

Okay, enough of that!  Head over to Java's and link up to Meet Me on Monday!


Auburnchick tagged me in her blog, so I'm being a good sport answering the questions:

1- What’s your staple meal (ie. what meal do you cook most often when you can’t be bothered to be adventurous)?
Spaghetti with meatsauce.  Or, using the debit card.

2- What do you want to be when you grow up?

Retired.  Seriously.  I can't wait to start that phase of my life! 
3- What book are you reading at the moment (if any)?
I'm reading "Irish Gold" which is the 1st book in a series.  I've already read the 2nd book (the library didn't have the first one).
4- How do you relax?
I read blogs and watch trash tv.  The "Housewives" shows are my favorite right now, especially New Jersey.  Even with crazy Danielle.  And, since Husband bought my table and chairs for the porch, I enjoy sitting outside, reading a book, and listening to the birds, which supports #2!

5- What color are the interior walls of your home?

My kitchen is Daffodil Yellow, my great room/dining room is kind of a grayish neutral color, and the master bedroom is a kind of a sage color.  Oh, you want the boys' rooms, too?  MS' and OS' rooms are a gray, just a little grayer than the great room, and YS' room is orange.  Yes, in "Go Big Orange".  That color will probably be changed at some point since YS has decided to move to OS' room, since he'll  be the only one at home this school year.
6- What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Right now, in the cream.  Or milkshakes.  (Now everybody knows why I'm stuck at losing 8 pounds!)  I've only had 1 milkshake this summer:  peanut butter & fudge.  I had to, you see.  Sonic has BOGO milkshakes, and YS wanted one.  It was a deal!  :D
In the winter, it's Starbucks.  Mostly just on Fridays, though.
7- What time is bedtime and getting up time?
Bedtime is around 10:00 or 11:00, depending on when I fall asleep.  Getting up time is when my Jack Russell mix decides  it's time, which is usually around 6:30.
Once school starts, getting up will  be 5:30.

8- How long do you spend reading blogs (per day or per week)?

Gosh, I honestly don't know.  Probably way too much time, though!  I just love being nosy seeing what everybody else is doing!

Okay, that was pretty painless!  Now, I get to tag a couple of people.  So....I pick...
Joyce (whose life is so much more interesting than mine!) and Mrs. E. (who always has a funny story to tell!).
You know what?  I've gotta tag a couple more people.
Tina (my sister who is doing a great job with blogging!) and Karen (who has become a great blogging buddy!)

Friday's Fave Fives


1.  Hanging out with classmates from way back when:

 And reliving high school memories:

2.  Plants still blooming (you didn't think I wasn't going to get my plants in this week, did you?):
3.   This has become my best friend over the past couple of days:
  YS was my favorite yesterday:  he went to the grocery store with me so I wouldn't have to pick anything upHe's a good boy!

4.  Wimbledon.  And records being broken.  John Isner & Nicolas Mahut:  Longest match and most aces in the history of the tournament.  The match spanned 3 days, and rain wasn't to blame this time.  11 hours and 5 minutes.  Ridiculous!

5.  I'm not a Clinton fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I did think it was very cool that he spent so much time in the USA Soccer Team's locker room after their win over Algeria on Wednesday.  The article mentioned that this song (Represent by Weezer) was playing in the locker room:

I love watching Dempsey dancing about 30 seconds into the video.  Just makes you feel all patriotic, doesn't it?

I have to put in this blog I found this week:

Never Growing Old
Java has a section on her blog for over 40's, and it's called (oddly enough) Over 40 Bloggers.  If you fit into that category, stop by and see her, leave a comment, and get on board!  She also has Follow Friday 40 and Over.  Sorry, you young have to be 40 or over to participate!

TYVM: 1st (Official) Summer Edition


I'm back with Thank You Very Much...I need a therapy day.  I've been good for way too long!  If you need a therapy day, click on the above button and link up!

1.  To the local cable company:  Thank you for mixing up the line-up without telling anyone.  You didn't tell anyone at all.  And, to top it off, you did away with the TV Guide Channel.  How in the heck am I suppose to know what's on without surfing through every channel?  Don't you know what a pain in the rear it is to check yahoo to see what's on?  That's just wrong.

2.  To the lady at Big Lots:  I so love it when people crowd me in the check-out lane.  After seeing you come out of the store and walking to your Lexus that wasn't in a parking space (it was beside the the shade), I was glad that I had picked something up that didn't have a barcode on it.  I left wondering who in the heck you thought you were.

3.  To the referee calling the USA/Slovenia game:  SERIOUSLY?  I don't think anything else needs to be said about that.

4.  My weight.  I love seeing that I haven't lost any more weight.   Why won't the numbers go down on the scale?  I'm not about to give up, so you'd better just go ahead and move down, doggone it.

5.  And lastly, to my body.  Yet again you're reminding me that I'm not as young as I once was.   I'm still trying to figure out what I did to make my back hurt like it is.  Surely it wasn't picking up the recycle bin yesterday morning.

Need a free therapy day?  Go visit KMama at The Daily Dribbles and link up.  You'll feel so much better!

Tuesdays Unwrapped

This post is going to be purely selfish.  This is the time of year when the temperature gauge is getting close to the century mark, and the humidity is close to matching the temperature.  It's hot down here, y'all.  And humid.  Unless you're in a pool, you're in the house.  With the air conditioner.  And the ceiling fans going.

I'm so very thankful for air conditioning.  You see, when I was growing up in this same small town, we didn't have air conditioning.  We had window & table  fans.  Did I mention it was hot?  Yep, during the summer most of my days growing up were spent at the pool.  On the weekends when daddy wasn't working, we headed up to the mountains to splash in the mountain stream.  It was so cold it would take your breath away.

After Husband & I got married, I kept the apartment cool.  I told him that as long as we had a penny in the bank, I was going to be comfortable.  (Yes, that's the princess in me coming out!)  So, not only am I thankful for air conditioning, I'm also thankful that we have a penny in the bank, and electricity to make the air conditioning work.

What small thing are you thankful for today?  Emily at chatting at the sky  is doing her weekly link-up.

Weekend Snapshot

*I have to start with this:
I attended my 30th class reunion on Saturday night.  We had a good turnout:  a little over half of the class was there!  It was absolutely wonderful to see a lot of people I haven't seen since we graduated.  Even our FES (Foreign Exchange Student) from Sri Lanka came; he's living in Canada now, but he made it down!  Here's a picture of me & a childhood friend:
I've known her ever since I can remember.  Her family lived up the street from us, and we were always back and forth between houses when we were little.  We fought like sisters, but always managed to make up.  We went to parochial school together in 1st grade and then started public school together.  I think I kind of tagged along with her at first; she was a lot more "worldly" than I.  I had stayed at home with my mom until 1st grade; both of her parents worked, and she went to Kindergarten, so she knew how to survive alone!  Toward the end of elementary school, we started to go our separate ways.  It was so good to see her again!  We picked up right where we left off!

* Husband had a nice, quiet Father's Day yesterday.  We watched some World Cup, saw a movie, and then went out to dinner.  He had already gotten his present 2 weeks ago (remember we thought the 6th was Father's day?), but he did get a phone call from Oldest Son.

* We saw "The A-Team" yesterday.  Being in a house with all boys, I have to bear through am lucky enough to have the opportunity to see a lot of action movies.  Some I like, some...not so much.  In the early days of our marriage, Husband and I were big fans of the A-Team when it was on tv.  We liked it so much that we named one of our dogs Murdock, for the crazy character who was the pilot.  (Murdock the dog went to live with my sister.  We lived in an apartment and he was chewing everything up.  He lived a happy life with her and her family and was very much loved.)  I really enjoyed the movie...there was action, but there were a lot of funny lines.  I loved Liam Neeson as Hannibal, and Bradley Cooper as Face.  Quinton "Rampage" Jackson as "BA" was a very nice replacement for Mr. T; he's a much better actor, for sure!  And, Murdock:  Sharlto Copley.  There were times when he was on screen I could've sworn he was the original actor, Dwight Schultz.  No nudity, some cussing, but it wasn't every other word, and it wasn't put in just for the sake of doing it.  A lot of things blowing up, a lot of action...perfect Father's Day movie! 

Army Wives:  I could've sworn when I watched it on 23 May they said it was the season finale.  (Guess it's kind of like the Father's Day mix up, huh?!)  But, I realized yesterday that they are still running new shows.  Thank goodness for all of the episodes being online! I got caught up and watched the new episode last night.  I watched "The Next Food Network Star" (Bye-Bye my opinion you were there a week too long!)and played "Catch-up" with Army Wives during the commercials.   Then, when the "real" episode came on, I watched it, while watching last week's episode during commercialsAnd now I'm all caught up!  WHEW!

All in all, we had a pretty relaxing weekend.  I'm looking forward to a wonderful week!

My Daddy

Since tomorrow really is Father's Day, I'm foregoing Then Sings My Soul Saturday to tell y'all about my daddy.  Feel free to go over to Amy's (after reading my post, of course!) to link up or see what uplifting songs are being posted today!

Where do I even start talking about my Daddy?  He was one of eight children.  He was a farmboy, and they didn't have a whole lot.  He spoke German at home growing up, and, if you listen very closely, you can still hear a trace of it every now and then.  He told husband that he didn't care very much for Christmas; when he was growing up they were lucky if they got a pair of socks.
My daddy went into the Navy at the end of WWII; he was an airplane mechanic on an aircraft carrier.  When he got out of the Navy, he was considering being a pig farmer in Iowa, but his brother talked him into going to college instead.  After he graduated, he met my mom at his sister's wedding.  Mom said he made some brazen comment to her; but then she agreed to go out with him. He whisked his bride away from family and friends, and they started a family.  They bought a house within spittin' distance (well, almost!) of the house I now live.  They proceeded to have 8  kids in that little house, then moved to a bigger house the next street over, then had a couple  more kids.
My daddy was the disciplinarian of our family.  Nobody wanted to sit next to him at supper because he made us eat everything on our plate.  There were times when things got too loud and he would smack his hand against the wall, making everybody jump!
My daddy is incredibly intelligent.  So intelligent that I had trouble understanding what the heck he was talking about when he tried to help me with Chemistry or math. 
My daddy can do anything.  From fixing a car, to making furniture, to drawing up blueprints for a house.  When husband & I bought our house, it had some standing water in the basement.  My daddy figured out what was happening, then went out and dug ditches to lay pipe in so that the water would be routed from the roof to away from the house.  He also built the window wells for the house plus redid our hardwood floors. He did this when he was 80 years old. 
My daddy is a really good judge of character.  I realized this when we had some horrendous neighbors in SC.  My daddy knew right away that they were trouble.  It took me a little longer to realize just how horrible they were.  I saw my daddy  in a different light when I figured them out.
My daddy taught me the love of watching sports.  We only had 1 tv when I was growing up, so we either had to watch what he wanted or nothing at all.  His favorite response when I asked who was playing was "They are".  I'm pretty sure he was telling me to be quiet and let him enjoy his game!
My daddy can grow anything.  He has a garden every year which saves me trips to the grocery store for tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and kohlrabi.  He also has some pretty flowers in his yard.
My daddy had names for all of us girls (The names have been _____ to protect the innocent...or not so innocent!):  Skunk, ____-Pie, _____ Baby, _____ Bomb, Bitsy Pie, and Possum.  Yes, I was Possum.  Not a whole lot of people know that, so don't spread it around, 'kay?  All of the boys were "schlockas".    Not sure exactly what that means, but that's what they were.
My daddy, being a farm boy and all, never would allow animals in the house.  That being said, we have a picture somewhere of my dad, on the couch, petting my sister's cat a long, long time ago.  And, when he & mama babysit my sister's dog and my dogs, they are allowed in the house.  At least my sister's dog is.  I think they play favorites, but I'm not going to go there!  :-)  I know deep down daddy loves my Jack Russell mix.  I don't think he's too fond of my schnauzer, though, since she doesn't act too much like a dog.
I'm very fortunate that I still have my daddy.  His mind is still sharp and his body is in good shape.  I'm so very glad that God saw me worthy enough to have him as my Daddy!  Happy Father's Day, Daddy!

Happy Father's Day also to my Father-in-Law.  He watched both husband and me grow up; he has always been there for us.  He is the reason husband is such a wonderful husband and father.


It's been a couple of weeks since I participated in FFF, so I thought I'd join in at Susanne's this week.
This is actually from the past 2 or 3 weeks, so bear with me!

1.  Check out this bowl that we got from Husband's uncle and lady friend (LF)  from Denmark:
       The designer is Georg Jensen, who is a very popular Danish designer.  He has the coolest stuff, but most of  it's  a little out of my price range!

2.  Sharing my mountains with Husband's uncle and LF:

3.  Discovering a series of books:  Andrew Greeley is a priest (I had no  idea until I finished the 1st book and read the bio on the back!), sociologist, and author.  He is the author of a series of books that begin with the word "Irish".  I read the 2nd book and am currently reading the 1st.   (The library didn't have the 1st one when I found the books.)   The main characters are an Irish young lady and an Irish-American young man.  She is from a poor  family out in the country, he is from an upper class from Chicago.  In the first book, she is an accountant student, singer, and actress working her way through school.   He does nothing.  He went to Notre Dame to play football, but quit the team halfway through the year.  He then went to Marquette, but didn't finish.  So, he worked with stocks.  Apparently he wasn't very good at it, until one day (quite by accident), he accidentally bought a lot more stock than he should have.  The next work day, he went in, and the stocks ended up making him millions of dollars, which he invested.  I should have such luck!
Anyway, (and this is the kind of strange part) she has visions that she has to have explained.  In the second book (which I read first), she sees what turns out to be people from a civil war prisoner of war camp.  They research (or rather, he  does because he doesn't have a job and she does!) and find out what really happened.  In the first book (which I'm currently reading), his grandparents were involved in the IRA, but they had to leave Ireland and were told if they came back they would be shot.  So, he is trying to figure out why.  Of course the books are fiction, but they do have some history and even a little bit of romance mixed in.

4.  Nice Metro workers in DC.  Anytime I had a question, YS' farecard didn't work, and LF's farecard not having enough exit fare, the workers were courteous and most helpful.

5.  A  short, spur of the moment  vacation.

To participate, link up at Susanne's Living to Tell the Story.


This is one view that, if I lived in the area, I don't think I'd ever get tired of seeing:

Yep, that's right!  Our mini vaca was to Washington D.C.!  It was pretty hazy when we were there, so I didn't get the clearest pictures of the views.  It was a great 2 1/2 days!  I went to some places I had been before:

 And saw some things for the first time:

We stayed near the Iwo Jima Memorial.  The last 2 times we went to D.C., somehow we had missed it.  Husband, YS, and I walked over Sunday evening, right at dusk.  It amazes me how much bigger everything really is!  And, what an amazing site to see when we looked over to  the District:
And, on our way over to the memorial, we saw a stealth bomber (lower collage:  lower  right corner).  It was looked like a kite flying in the sky.

Monday YS & I hopped on the metro and met the rest of  Husband's family at Union Station.  (Husband had to work out of their DC office.)  We went by the Capitol, Botanical Gardens (upper right corner of lower collage), Air & Space Museum, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial (complete with the obligatory yelling for Jenny!), Vietnam Memorial, Korean Memorial, WWII Memorial, Smithsonian Art Museum, and, of course, the Washington Memorial was in view everywhere we went.  SIL & I thought we stayed way too long in the Air & Space  Museum,  but the guys were having a lot of fun.  They could've stayed in there all day; the girls were ready to get out of there!  Husband met us for dinner after work at BIL & SIL's house.  Then, we hopped back on the metro to go back and rest up for the next day.

Tuesday YS & I hopped back on the metro to meet everybody so we could go to Mt. Vernon.  We stayed there all morning. We saw a good-sized Tom Turkey (who made his presence known with his gobbles!), and, we saw an osprey in her nest:
At one point we saw her come  back to her nest with a fish for her babies.  No  picture, though. I figured it would take me too long to get the camera to the right setting, so we  just sat back and enjoyed the view.  We also saw a bald eagle. Nothing says freedom or USA better than seeing bald eagles & turkeys at the home of our first President!

After lunch, we went by the Pentagon to the Pentagon Memorial.  I have to be  perfectly honest with you: I didn't even know it existed, but my MIL recommended it.  I didn't take any pictures of it, because my SIL scared me to of the Pentagon aren't allowed, but I  wasn't sure if it was  okay to take pictures of the memorial, so I didn't even get my camera out.  Go here to see a picture of it.  I was a little surprised that there wasn't a plaque explaining it, and I didn't see anything online  explaining it.  And, you need a little bit of an explanation.  Each of the little benches represents each person who was killed.  The name is inscribed on the bench, and they are organized youngest to oldest.  There is a plaque on the wall of each column of benches with the year each person was born.  If the person had relatives who also perished,  their names are inscribed in the reflecting pool under each bench.  The part of the bench that is off of the ground:  If it faces the Pentagon, they were on the plane; if it  faces away from the Pentagon, they were  in the building.  The reason for that is that it was the last view the person had before they died.  I had chills when my SIL was telling me about was very surreal walking through the memorial.  The benches looked like the tail wing of an airplane  to me. I didn't see any mention of that, so I'm wondering if that's what the architects intended. 

Next up was Arlington.  We got to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers just as the Changing of the Guard was ending, but we did get to see the wreath laying ceremony.  Incredible. What a view with the tomb looking out toward DC, and then to hear Taps being played.  I might have had to wipe a tear or two from my eyes.
I don't know why, but I was amazed at the disrespect shown by groups of kids when we were there.  They were running, laughing, being very loud.  I thought my BIL was going to have a fit. you would think that the adults would have had a hold on it.  And, these weren't elementary school kids; they appeared to be middle to high school age.  When we were at the Eternal Flame, 2 girls came  up to the graves and were practically yelling.  I  shushed them;  one apologized.  I know, I'm such a witch, but I had  run out of my Black Cohosh!

We had dinner at an Eastern European restaurant near BIL & SIL's house.  Husband rode the metro out after work.  Dinner was quite an experience!  First, they didn't have a table for all 9 of  us to sit, so they ended up putting us in 2 booths.  25 minutes after we were seated, the waitress (who I think is one of the co-owners) came by to get our drink order.  SIL started to order her dinner, but was stopped and told to just tell her what she wanted to drink.  We were tired; we were  hungry...Nothing else needs to be said.  And, I was out of Black Cohosh.  So, no, we were not happy!  We got our food about an hour after that, and, I'll be the first to admit, it was excellent.

After dinner, Husband, YS, and I said our goodbyes to everybody and went back  to where we were staying.  Husband had a meeting Wed. so we had planned on leaving as soon as he was finished.  YS & I headed out to the National Cathedral Wed. morning.  YS was great as long as we were on the subway, but when we had to switch to a bus, it was a different story.  In typical 15-year old fashion, I heard, "Why are we even going to this?  I'd rather go to Aunt's house and play Wii Fit."  Aunt had had 4 extra people in her house since Sat. night...she was ready for some peace &  quiet.  So, I went through the Cathedral myself.  You know, it really isn't very fun to see something of that magnitude by yourself...and to be in a hurry knowing that there's somebody waiting for you.  But oh, was it magnificent!

So, that's the wrap-up of the mini-vacation.  On the schedule for the next visit to DC:  A tour of the Capitol and an actual tour of the Cathedral.

If anyone doesn't know about Black Cohosh:  It's wonderful!  It's an all natural herb that the Indians used during childbirth. Now it's used to minimize menopause symptoms.  My gyno in SC (who was Indian but grew up in Montgomery, Al.) recommended it.  It works so well that Husband wants to get a black cohosh lick installed in our house!  Definitely helps with the moodiness.

Thanks for stopping by so I could share the vaca with you!

Where Am I?

I know everybody is wondering where I am and worried sick that I'm okay!  I haven't missed more than 1 day blogging since I started posting, but just didn't have the time to post the past couple of days, and didn't have the means to connect my camera to the husband's laptop. 
We're going home today from a last minute short vacation.  "Where did I go" you ask?   You'll have to check back with me tomorrow for pictures and a synopsis of my travel!  I will tell you this:  It was within a day's drive from our small town!  I've been to this place a couple of times before, but never get tired of seeing the views!
So, come on, take your best guess!

TSMSS: On My Knees

This is a beautiful song by a beautiful young woman, Jaci Velasquez.  It's a great reminder to be humble and that there's a greater power than earthly beings.  It also reminds us to get on our knees in thanksgiving as well as in need.  Hope you enjoy it!

Extended Family Flashback

I was going to do Fridays' Five Favorite today, but then I saw the prompt for Flashback Friday.  This is a continuation from last week, and, well, I'm OCD I hate to leave things half-finished!
This week's Flashback Friday is all about extended family.  Since my parents are from Texas, we didn't have any extended family living near us.  There was no going to Grandma's for Sunday dinner, running around with cousins, etc.  We went down to Tx. every other year, with the other year a group from my mother's side coming up.  You wouldn't believe how I looked forward to those couple of weeks every year!  It got a little sad when my uncle (who headed up the road trip) and cousins got older and couldn't make the trip.  That uncle was my favorite.  He was a priest, and he had such a way with kids.  I absolutely adored him.  When we were in Tx., he would take the older kids on a canoe trip in the Rio Grande.  When they came to Tn., I always wanted to ride with him because he made everything so fun.  He sang; he made us laugh, he could sound just like Tarzan.  When I was very little, I told him that he was big and fat (although I'm sure he wasn't!).  My mom turned to him and asked what I said.  He told her, and she scolded me and told me not to say that again.  Next thing you know, I got him to bend down and told him that I wanted to tell him something.  He fell for it, asked what, and I said "you're big and fat"!  Pretty sure a spanking happened after that!  Even though he passed away in January of 2009, I can still hear him telling me that story.  And, to this day, every time I smell a cigar, I think of him.  He was my mom's big brother; of the siblings, they were the closest in age.

When we went to Tx., we always stayed with my mom's  sister, C.  This woman was a saint.  I loved her with all my heart.  She took Grandma into her house and cared for her when Grandma could no longer live by herself.  (Grandma made her kids promise that they would never put her in a nursing home.)  My grandmother was bedridden for many, many years.  Aunt C. fed her, changed her, and kept her company.  When her son died at the age of 19, my grandma said that it should've been her; she was ready to go.  About 3 years later, my grandma passed away.  Then, if that wasn't enough, a few years later Aunt C.'s husband  was diagnosed with cancer.  She nursed him until his death.  In my eyes, Aunt C. is a saint.

I had to chuckle at the prompt about whether the paternal and maternal sides know each other:  There are a few instances when someone from my mother's side married someone from my father's  side.  In fact, my dad said that it even happened before both sides immigrated to the U.S.!  I think I may have mentioned this before, but the closest would be one of  my mom's 1st cousin marrying one of my dad's sisters.   Family reunions are extremely confusing, believe me!
We didn't see a lot of my dad's side of the family.  We would spend a few days with some of his sisters (his brothers  lived in different states), but it was  pretty low-key, especially compared to my mom's side.  I am getting to know a couple of his sisters through e-mails.  One of his sisters is my godmother, and we share a birthday.  The other sister that I'm in touch with has a daughter that is exactly one year older than I.  Both of them are quite the characters!  I never know what I'm going to get when I open up an e-mail from them!

To participate in either Flashback Friday or Fridays' Fave Five, click on the links and link up!

Mountain time!

Usually on Thursdays I participate in Thank You Very Much with Kmama at The Daily Dribbles, but this Thursday I've got nothing for you in that department!  Guess that's a good thing, huh?

Tuesday night my in-laws came in, bringing with them my husband's uncle and lady friend (LF)  from Copenhagen.  We spent a week with them last year in Denmark and had the time of our lives!  They were such good tour guides, and we hit the town running when we got there.  Husband's family had lost contact with uncle, but, if I'm not mistaken, someone got back in touch with him through Facebook.  BIL & his wife went to Cph for a couple of days a few weeks before we went.  Now they're here!  They landed in Atlanta, then went to my in-laws for a few days.  They stopped by on their way to see more of the Southeastern U.S.  The bad news is that we only had 1 day to show them the highlights of our area.  Not enough time at all.  It was hard deciding where to take them in just 1 day.  I knew uncle enjoys history, and there is something very secretive about a town not too far away from us. So, we spent the morning in the museum there, went to lunch, and then hit Party City!  LF was in awe!  I think she could've spent hours in there if we let her!  But, we had a big decision to make:  downtown in the big city, or the mountains.  LF made a decision and said mountains.  A lot of riding in the car, but I think it was worth it to them.  We saw over 20 deer, wild turkeys, and, to top it off,  they got to see their first black bear in its natural habitat!  (And, no, we did not get out of the car!)  As we were driving out, they also got to see a coyote.
Here's a picture of us in Denmark last year:
And in the U.S.A. yesterday:
It was so great to see them and to be able to spend the day with them!   I only wish we had had more time; there are so many other things I wanted to show them about our area, but they are on their way to DC to visit with BIL & SIL for a few days.  Guess it will have to wait for another time.  We hope to get back to Denmark soon....very soon!

Random & 100th Post

Wow!  I can't believe it's already my 100th post!  Apparently, when you hit 100, you are suppose to do a list of 100 things about yourself.  You can find mine here if you really want to read it.
When I started my blog in February, I wasn't too sure about writing one.  I thought my life was pretty boring; I knew it wasn't nearly as exciting as someone else's I  started reading when her hubs posted her link.  One thing that I've learned in just the few months I've been blogging is that my life isn't as boring as I thought.  I'm enjoying writing and sharing parts of my life.

Okay, remember Linda's on vacation from the Random Dozen.  I'm being totally random with just a half-dozen things that have happened over the past week.

1.  Husband & I thought this past Sunday was Father's Day.  He found something he wanted:
And, it was on sale + he had a 20% off coupon.  ('re rubbing off on us!)  Apparently this will help him with working on his motorcycles.  (yes,  that is plural)  So, I went to a part of the big city that I'm not familiar  with (but it was  incredibly easy to find) and picked it up.  For Father's Day.  Which we thought was on the 6th.  But it's not.  It's on the 20th, in case you're wondering.

2.  I know you can't believe I'm going on and on and on  you're not tired of hearing about my plants, so look at this:
Can you see the new growth on the plant?  I haven't killed anything yet!  In fact, they're actually growing!  My sister, the master gardener, came by on Sunday, and I showed off my plants.  She knows me so well;  she was very excited for me!

3.  Check out the amaryllis blooming in our front yard (completely husband's doing):
 And, the plant on my front porch:

4.  Walking around the yard, I found this nest in the crook of the gutter:
But then I found this one, too:
I wish I had seen the gutter nest earlier;  I would have liked to have kept an eye on the babies.

5.  Husband bought this for us over the weekend:
Not only is YS a blog hog, but  husband is becoming quite the blog hog as well.  He's been asking every day if I'd blogged about the table & chairs, and why I haven't  yet.  He threatened to take them back.  Hey, if blogging gets me stuff, I'll blog all day long!

6.  Another tough decision this week on the tv:  Kate Plus 8 or The Next Food Network Star.  Let me say:  Kate grates on my nerves.  The way she talks and over-enunciates everything, the way she used to talk  to Jon, and the way she talks to the kids at times.  The kids are just too dad-gum cute.  The little ones, anyway.  The twins are cute, but one of them badly needs an attitude adjustment.  But,  I'm sure that's one of the  drawbacks of having your life video-taped:  you have to be especially careful with how you discipline your child, or else you'll have Dept. of Children's Services on your butt.  The Next Food Network Star:  I didn't care for the winner of last year's show.  I knew I would never watch her show, and I haven't.  I have been watching since the first season, and I think it's  one of the best "reality" shows out there.  That Bobby Flay is just too cute.  So, The Next Food Network Star won out on Sunday.  I felt really sorry for Aarti & Das,  who didn't have time to cook their chicken all the way through, but I wondered if someone would tell the judges before they bit into it.  I also felt bad for Alexis:  his Beignets weren't cooked all the way through, and he received some harsh criticism from Wolfgang Puck.  I mean, if a world-class chef says that his wife would divorce him if he served that to her, that's gotta be bad.  So long, Alexis!

Tuesdays Unwrapped

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under 
    trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water,
    or watching the clouds float across the sky is by no means
    a waste of time.  

- J. Lubbuck

Yesterday, I heard the silence.    I heard the birds, and I listened to the wind blowing softly.  The humidity was down, and the temperature was a very nice 83 degrees.  I sat outside for a good part of the day, enjoying the weather and the sounds, reading a book, and dozing off every now and then.  I heard kids playing in the distance, taking me back to that same neighborhood, many years ago.  Some things never change!
Over the weekend, I spent time on the back porch watching a mama robin with her two young offspring.  She grabbed a worm, then took it to the chirping offspring.  Then, mama hopped around the yard, with her 2 offspring hopping behind her.  I had never witnessed such a sight before.  I could tell the other 2 robins were young, because they still had some white downy feathers on their chests.  Husband said that maybe one of those offspring was the bird that I almost stepped on.     
 I would like to think so, but it's highly doubtful.  Most likely they were siblings.  
Even with traffic going by, Air Force jets in the sky, and the hum of the air conditioner, I was able to just enjoy the sounds of nature.  My flowers are still blooming (I haven't killed off any of them yet!) giving the butterflies and bees a table on which to dine.  A butterfly landed on my shirt and stayed there for a couple of minutes, right next to my heart.  By the time Youngest Son went in to get my camera, its rest was over and it flew away.  I may have had a butterfly land on me before, but never for that period of time.
Although I'm not real sure why God created weeds (except maybe for us to learn patience!), I'm amazed at this wonderful earth he gave us.

Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”
-Ashley Smith

Another Award? For ME?

Jewel at Down in My Little Valley gave me an award!  This is the "I Love Your Blog" award!  Thanks, Jewel!  I love your blog, too! 


The rules are pretty simple on this one:  Just list 10 things you love, then pass the award to 10 blogging friends whose blogs you love to read.  
Okay, things I :
1) God (that should be obvious, right?)
2)  My husband
3) My boys
4)  My dogs
5)  My parents
6) My siblings & their families
7)  Autumn
8) Reading
9) The smell of goodies in the oven
10) Thanksgiving

Now to pass this on to 10 other people.  This is hard, because I'm becoming quite obsessive there are so many good blogs out there to read!  And, I'm trying not to give the same people awards over and over so they don't get irritated with me!  There are going to be some 'repeats', so just bear with me!

I'm really feeling lazy today...posted much later than usual.  Enjoyed daily mass, then coffee at Chick-Fil-A with my parents and some of their friends,  quick trip to WalMart, walked, and now...I  think a summer afternoon nap is in order!
Enjoy the day!

TSMSS: How He Loves Us

I hear this song quite a bit while in the car, running errands around town. Always a pick-me-up!

Go over to Amy's at Signs, Miracles, and Wonders to link up with a favorite song this week!

Family Flashback Friday

This week's Flashback Friday is all about families.  I am the 8th child of 10 (6 girls, 4 boys); the youngest girl.  There are 9 years between myself and the oldest;  there are 4 years between myself and the older of my younger brothers.  My parents' house has 6 bedrooms, so we all double-upped with the sleeping arrangements.  The goal was to get to sleep downstairs, although by the time I was old enough to sleep down there, I was too much of a chicken to do it!  Growing up was tough...everybody telling you what to do, jumping out of corners and hitting you (one brother in particular), and of course the incessantly being picked on.  I consider the brother who bothered me the most one of my best friends.  Our boys are very close in age, so we share that bond, too.
When we all get together, there's a lot of laughing and kidding around.  All of us live in the area, except for  the oldest and the youngest, who live in different states.  Another sister lives a couple of hours away, but she's still in the same state...barely!  I think we all get along pretty well.  I do think that being the 8th child has shaped my ability to get along well with other people, no matter what their background.  I don't like confrontations, and have a hard time telling people "no".  My sisters & sisters-in-law are my absolute best friends.  If I ever need anybody to talk to, they're the ones I go to.  Blood is definitely thicker than water, and I know that they'll be there no matter what.
The only thing that one of my siblings did that I really wanted to do was being an exchange Belgium.  I wanted to live in a different country ever since I can remember.  Well, my sister went, came back, and made some choices that my parents weren't crazy about (understatement of the year!), so that pretty much cut me out of being able to do anything like that.  To this day, I'm still harboring a little bit of resentment about that.
I do think that the older kids were more independent than the youngest 4 of us, especially me.  Maybe it was being the youngest girl, but I really didn't become that independent until I was in college.  I was perfectly content to stay at home and not go running around, especially my senior year in high school.  I was always afraid of getting in trouble, which may be because, with fewer kids at home, more attention would be on me.
It wasn't until my junior year in high school that I went to school alone.  I was all by myself at the high school for my junior & senior years.  It was hard to try to fill some of my sisters' shoes...I really didn't have to worry about filling my brothers'...they were both quite the handful!  I don't think my  younger brothers had any trouble filling mine.  When I was in first grade, the nuns would threaten to tell one of my older siblings if I didn't behave; I really don't think they could have cared less what their bratty little sister was into this time!
When I was growing up I wished I had been born into a smaller family, but, looking back at all of the memories and the love that are there, I wouldn't have my life be any different than it was.  Well, maybe being an exchange student would've been nice, but other than that...!  (I know, I know...I really need to let that go!)

I'm off to see everybody else's response!  Go link up at Mocha with Linda for Flashback Friday!


Here's how Kmama at The Daily Dribbles describes today's meme:

"It's Free Therapy Day!! That's right, it's Thursday, which means it's the Thank You Very Much day. The way it works is that you take out all your frustrations on people/things that peeved you off during the week and thank them in a very sarcastic way, for being who or what they are/doing what they did."

1.  To my body...once again you remind me that I'm not as young or fit as I used to be.  I appreciate the massive headache I got after working in the yard just a little too long.  I really wanted to go to that wedding Saturday evening, but couldn't even think about getting back in the sun with my head feeling like it's about to burst.

2.  Thanks to me for drinking so much water on Monday!  I drank 4 of these all day, including one after dinner!
And, since I drank a whole one after dinner, I was up twice during the night, which I never do.  It kept  me from eating, though.

3.  To my wonderful husband:  You were such a big help Saturday morning when I was digging holes for the plants.  What a great suggestion you had for buying a new post hole digger when I was done.
(Disclaimer:  My husband told me I could say anything about him, and yes, he does read my posts!)
(Another disclaimer:  I was PMSing like crazy, so I think he thought he'd best  just stay out of my way and let me do it my way.)

4.  To my girls:  It was such a delight to be waken up this morning at 5:30 when I have my alarm set for 6:30.  Not that I need an alarm since you both seem to be so excited for me to start my day earlier than I really want to.  I guess when nature calls, you've gotta listen.

Go visit KMama, link up, visit some people, and get ready to laugh at others' expense!  It really is great therapy for a Thursday!  

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