Friday, June 27, 2014

Thankful for Birthdays and Blueberries and Blog Guest Posts

Why, why, WHY does summer vacation go by so QUICKLY? June is almost over? NooooOOOO! I'm not at all thankful for that!

I shouldn't complain; folks who work REAL jobs don't get summer vacation, as my husband likes to point out. That is now my number 1.

Moving on.

2. My son turned 19 last weekend. He's still a man-boy, but starting to lean more towards man. Sometimes. Except when he's dancing with Ruby. Or messing with his sister. Or leaving a trail of clothes all over the house.

3. My daughter's school volleyball team (same characters as her travel volleyball team) has been playing in a league for the past four Monday nights in a town an hour away. We have gone to each of the games with several of the girls in our car. They really are a great group of girls and so much fun to watch play. And listen as they talk and giggle in the backseat. This week, the last night of the league, my daughter got to play all the way around instead of her customary position on the back row, and she totally rocked it.

4. I made reservations for a little trip to the beach. This is a BIG DEAL for those of us in the middle of the country, far away from a coast of any kind. In a few weeks, we shall head off to Galveston, Texas, which is the closest beach to us and a ten hour drive. In the meantime, we have to figure out which of our cars is most likely to make it there (and back) in one piece and decide what to do with the kitties while we're gone, but it'll all work out, because WE'RE GOING TO THE BEACH!

5. I had to have an ultrasound of my ovaries this week. Nothing wrong, just a precaution by my ob/gyn since I already have that pesky breast cancer issue. I won't go into the details here, other than to say my ovaries were quite healthy, because I want you to read about the whole story right here. I'll wait.

6. Did you read it? Don't cheat, READ IT. Because it leads me to a big ol' thing of thankful: I was asked to guest post at the Wakefield Doctrine. As Joy Christi noted, I may have brought Clark's series of guest posting to a crashing halt, but I do so appreciate that he asked me. It made me feel like one of the cool kids! Thank you, Clark!

7. The blueberries are ripe! The blueberries are ripe! There is a wonderful blueberry farm about 30 miles south of here. We have picked blueberries there for about 13 years, starting when my daughter was a toddler and strapped in a stroller. I would drop blueberries on the tray and she would stuff them in her mouth while my son and I picked. 

8. My son agreed to pick with me this year. It was a beautiful morning, not too hot, with a breeze. I enjoyed listening to other pickers chatting with each other (one was going to make blueberry pancakes, one had just returned from visiting her daughter in Utah, two discussed the best way to freeze the berries). It was a delightful morning, and we came home with six pounds of blueberries, or as I call it, a good start.

9. The blueberry farm does not weigh you before and after you pick to determine how many berries you consumed while picking, which is a good thing, because I am of the pick-two-eat-one school of blueberry picking. They actually encourage you to eat berries, so you know just how flavorful and sweet they are, and they use no sprays or toxins on them, so they are safe to eat on the spot.

10. I tried a new recipe for supper tonight, and the College Boy, Mr. Picky, ATE IT AND LIKED IT! Thank you to Lisa at The Meaning of Me for pinning it (and many others that I haven't gotten to yet) for the Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake recipe! It was a hit!

You've got plenty to be thankful for and you know it. Write your post. Link it below.

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Guest Posting For The First (and probably last) Time at The Wakefield Doctrine!

I sound like one of the cool kids who always get asked to guest post on different blogs now that I finally get to say:

Today, you'll find me over at the Wakefield Doctrine, talking
about stuff you wouldn't ordinarily EVER read there.

Honestly, I think I am a psychological experiment to Clark; go check it out and see for yourself. And while you're there, read all about the Wakefield Doctrine and see if you can figure out your personality type.

Click here. Go there. Read and comment. 

Teeny tiny picture from the Wakefield Doctrine.
Because I hafta have a picture.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wordless Wednesday 6.25

Sealed for freshness.*

*JUST KIDDING. We did not seal her into a plastic bag. Ruby is actually
playing underneath a Magic Bag on the living room floor.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Ten Things Of Thankful, All Rolled Up Into One

I cannot see the digital clock in our bedroom at night for two main reasons: 

(1) rather than putting them away, my husband piles his clean clothes on the cedar chest at the foot of the bed, which then blocks my view of the clock; and
(2) even when there is no pile of clothes, I would have to squint too hard to make out the time, and it's just not worth the effort.

Therefore, I pick up my cellphone in the night to check the time, rather than rely on the digital clock that I can't see.

I woke up about 5:45 as the room brightened with the morning sun and then dozed off again until about 6:30, when I heard my husband say, "There's no power."

"How do you know?" I asked.

"The clock is off." I can't see it. "And the fan isn't on anymore." It's pointed at him, not me.

"Well, that sucks," I said, reaching for my phone and reporting the outage on the electric company's website as Fletcher jumped on the bed and laid down on top of me, pressing against my very full bladder. My husband got up and looked out the window, trying to gauge whether our neighbors were out of power as well (impossible to tell, as it was broad daylight already). 

My bladder couldn't take it anymore, so I pushed the cat off and was availing myself of the facilities when the phone rang. Now, the handy thing about being married to a former funeral director is having a phone in the bathroom, and I went ahead and answered it, figuring it was the electric company. And it was. 

"Have you checked your main circuit breaker?" asked the perky voice on the other end of the line.

"Um, no," I answered.

"Because this is the first report we have had of an outage in your area. Could you go check it and the one outside? I'll wait on the line."

This put me in an awkward situation, as I was still, uh, relieving my bladder and couldn't leave the room at that very moment, and it wasn't until THIS VERY MINUTE that I realize I should have sent my HUSBAND to check the breaker, given my situation. But I set down the phone and quickly finished what I was doing. (PEEING. I WAS PEEING.) As I passed my husband, who, now that I think about it, was just sitting in the recliner in our bedroom, watching me scurry out of the bathroom and put on a pair of shoes, he started to hand me the cordless phone to take with me. Which doesn't work when the power is out. (This was his contribution to the entire debacle, I might add, other than to wake me up to tell me we had no power.) 

I walked down the hallway to the stairs and stopped short at the alarm pad. 

"Will I be able to turn this off with no power?" I called down the hall.

"I don't know," was the reply from the recliner.

I punched in the code. Instead of turning off, the alarm beeped rapidly. Loudly. I said a bad word (or three) and punched it in again, figuring I had nothing to lose at this point, and the beeping stopped. I went down the stairs and down the hallway to the top of the basement stairs and flipped on the light. 

No power. Duh.

We've had about 50 flashlights come and go from the cabinet just inside the kitchen over the years, so it was a crapshoot as to whether or not one would be there when I reached inside, but I was rewarded with a flashlight when I opened the cabinet door. The bad news was that it was the wind-up kind, so I had to wind it up before it would come on.

Wind it again before I got to the bottom of the stairs.

Wind it again as I picked my way through the laundry baskets that are only in the way when it's dark and you're trying to get to the breaker box.

Wind it again as I shone it on the breaker box, seeing nothing that looked like a flipped breaker.

Wind it one last time as I navigated through the laundry baskets again and up the stairs.

Next, I had to go outside IN MY PAJAMAS and check the box at the back of the house, which I didn't even know existed. Which I may or may not have checked, because I never really determined what it was, but I was able to rule out the cable box and the telephone box.

Inside the house again, I went up stairs, down the hall, across the bedroom, and into the bathroom, where the telephone receiver was dangling next to the toilet. Ms. Perky Voice was patiently waiting as I told her the breakers were FINE. She promised to send out a crew and that was that.

My husband took a shower and left for work, remarking it was going to be a FUN morning when the kids got up and found out there was not only no power, but there was no internet, as the router would not work without electricity. Swell.

I used up nearly all my battery power on both my phone and Nook playing Candy Crush (worth it - finally beat level 374) before it was time for me to brave it and take a tepid shower before leaving to get a haircut. 

With only the light coming in the bathroom window, I put my hair up in a messy bun, ignored the wanky bangs that I would have rectified had I had POWER and could have used my straightener, and applied make up that looked pretty fine from the bathroom but later found made me look more like a raccoon than I would care to admit when I got outside and saw it in the daylight in the rearview mirror. 

Naturally, just as I finished getting myself as presentable as I possibly could and was leaving the house with just enough time to get to the salon, the power came on. Too little, too late.

Because I'd sucked up most of the battery playing the ever important games of Candy Crush, the first thing I did when I got in the car (AFTER checking my clown make up) was plug my phone into the charger. Or I WOULD have, if the charger had been there. I checked my purse. No charger. Checked inside the console. No charger. Checked the other car. No charger. Unlocked the door and went back in the house. No charger. Locked the door and returned to the car. Checked the trunk. No charger. Opened the backdoor. The charger was in the backseat, under a shopping bag, and I have no explanation for that.

Finally on the road to the hair appointment, I suddenly realized I forgot to get some cash from my little stash (it's very small, so don't even CONSIDER robbing me for it; it would not be worth the jail time). I dug through my purse, knowing I had dropped some cash in there the day before when I took my daughter for a haircut, hoping I hadn't used it all. Naturally, when you WANT a traffic light to turn red, you get green lights all the way, but eventually, I caught a red light and was able to stop and rummage through my purse, coming up exactly $10 short. No problem, though, because my bank has an ATM that isn't too terribly far out of the way, so I swung the car around and headed there. But as I approached the drive-up ATM, my way was blocked by a Brinks armored truck and two men servicing the machine. For real. The next closest ATM was over a mile past the hair salon, which would make it a sure thing I would be late for my appointment. I took one last-ditch effort to look for money and pulled out some one dollar bills. Ten of them, as a matter of fact, and now I could proceed to the hairdresser's. 

I was on time, skinning into the parking lot at 9:14 for my 9:15 appointment.

My hairdresser said the picture I found depicting a haircut I wanted was one that actually would work on my hair. (A nice change of pace, since the cuts I find are usually met with words to the effect of, "I could CUT it that way, but it would never look like that because your hair is thick and curly and the model's hair is thin and straight.")

And that, my friends, is worth TEN things of thankful right there.

The End.

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Ten Things of Thankful: Separated At Birth

If there were ever a Ten Things of Thankful that was easy to write, it would be this one, because I GOT TO MEET CHRISTINE FROM IN THE COOP! So many, many things about this made my list of Ten Things of Thankful:

1. I was delighted when Christine messaged me that her daughter's soccer team made it to regional competition and would be in Kansas City for a few days, which is only a two and a half hour drive from Joplin. The only reason she was excited to drive 8 hours each way and stay in a hotel for three days was because she was going to get to see me.

Getting closer!
2. It felt a little bit as though I were going on a blind date, especially when I shopped at Kohl's for a new shirt to wear when I met her. How dorky is that? I finally picked one out (in olive green, which matches my eyes), but Friday morning, I changed my mind at the last possible minute about wearing it and put on something else. I did take the shirt along with me in case I changed my mind yet again, because, yeah. I went to my monthly oncologist appointment, and as soon as it was over, I was off.

3. My car is having some digestive issues, so my parents let me drive one of their cars to see Christine. As if that weren't sweet enough, they gave me the one with Sirius radio in it, and I jammed all the way there.

4. It is a straight shot from here to Kansas City; the car could practically drive itself, if necessary. I did take one detour in the little town of Butler to visit the Mennonite bakery there. I needed to pick up a package of their fabulous sour cream sugar cookies to make up for the usually delicious but this time crappy caramel popcorn that I made for Christine that morning. I knew it was a mistake to try to make it in humid weather, and I was not disappointed; as soon as it cooled off, it became sticky. I should have just mailed her some at Christmas, but at the time, I was afraid it would be bounced around so much traveling to Indiana that it would arrive as little caramel-covered crumbs. In hindsight, that would have been better than the sticky pieces I gave her on Friday. 

5. We met at the zoo, because Cuckoo (who is four AND A HALF) had been a good sport since they got there and needed a break. This also was a safe and public place in case either of us had used an elaborate scheme to convince everyone we were a woman/mom blogger, when in reality we were an ax murdering man. 

6. We texted each other with countdowns and updates all morning, right up until we met up inside the zoo. I spied Cuckoo first, in the distance, sticking his head in the mouth of a lion statue. As I drew closer, I heard my name called, and there she was! We hugged and hugged and hugged (but did not cause a scene). Then I stepped back and looked at her and said, "I have that exact same shirt!" Yes, folks, she was wearing the shirt I had bought to wear for our "date" and that was currently in my car. She had just purchased the shirt, in blue, that matched her eyes, a week or two earlier. HOW WEIRD IS THAT? GREAT SCOTTS THINK ALIKE, DON'T THEY, CLARK?

Matching shirts. On accident.

7. We walked through the zoo and talked and talked and talked. Our two years of blog friendship meant we already knew quite a bit about each other, saving us from wasting our precious time together laying a foundation of information. We just visited as though we did this every day. (How I wish we could!) We trailed along wherever Cuckoo wanted to go, looking at animals. Best quote of the day from Cuckoo (who was everything I expected him to be and more): 

Two new friends.
"Hey, the gorilla is picking his nose and eating it just like I do!"

8.The Kansas City Zoo is very spread out. When we were in the Africa section, it pretty much felt like we had hiked all the way to the actual continent. That's where we were when the zoo closed at 4:00, and we got to see the zookeepers letting the animals into their nighttime quarters. And the fact that the zookeepers were around leads to this big thing of thankful: Christine didn't get thrown into zoo jail when she reached over the edge of a bridge and said she was going to touch the antler of some antelope-type creature (he was sticking it up there, taunting her), and out of nowhere, one of the zookeepers said, very snippily, "Don't touch the antlers!" 

Then they should have made
 the fence higher
9. I tripped over my shoe three different times and didn't fall down. That's another big thankful.

10. We trudged to the parking lot after our long trek from Africa to head to Christine's hotel on the other side of town. She left shortly before I did, we took slightly different routes out of the area, and pulled into the hotel parking lot at the exact same moment thirty minutes later. Another Scott thing, I'm sure.

11. We picked up Christine's daughter from the hotel, got in Christine's car, and headed out for dinner. The only one who had any real preference about where we went was Cuckoo, who wanted pasta. He would also settle for eating at Chuck E. Cheez-its.  We meandered around for about twenty minutes before we (in truth, Buttercup spied it and laid out all the reasons why it would be the best choice for dinner) found an outstanding Italian restaurant that was a buffet. The pasta dishes and salads were made fresh in front of you, and it was all delightfully garlicky. The hostess gave us a tour of the buffet area before she seated us, which we needed, since there were many yummy items from which to choose, and they were about as spread out as the animals at the Kansas City Zoo. Cuckoo ate pizza instead of pasta. Buttercup proved again and again what a peach she is.

12. Back to the hotel, and after getting Cuckoo into his pajamas and settled into bed, watching tv, I put on my Bobbsey Twins shirt and we fired up my laptop in order to join the Friday Video Chat, joining Lizzi, Clark, Denise, Zoe and a few others. There was much laughter and taking of screen shots (something neither of us knew you could do in the first place). Because of the goofy way we were sharing a pair of earphones, Lizzi started referring to us as Siamese twins.

Video chat. Joined at the headphone.

13 (because it was Friday the 13th, even though I'm not superstitious). Too soon, it was time for me to hit the road for home. We stood at the car, once again hugging and hugging and hugging. Laid the groundwork for spending an entire weekend together, hopefully SOON. 

As Christine declared on numerous occasions throughout the day, we were definitely separated at birth. And I'm thankful that we were reunited IN REAL LIFE. Finally! 

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Little Of This, Little Of That, Nothing Important

I spent an entire week away from my sweet baby Ruby, the longest I've ever been away from her. She repaid me by shunning me when I got home. The boy kitties were happy to see me, at least, but it took Ruby an entire day of getting even with me before she was back to her old self. Girls!

Finally over it.

All three cats are currently in the same room with me, all within three feet of each other, and there is no hissing. Shhhh! Don't jinx it!

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Last night, I sat in a bubble bath with a huge bowl of popcorn and a diet coke and watched the first four episodes of "Orange Is The New Black" on my laptop. The only hitch in my plan was the screen timing out periodically, but since I also had my phone with me, I would call my son and have him come in for tech support. After about the fifth time, he got a little surly about it. Actually, after the second time, he was surly, but he continued to come to my aid.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

I don't watch much television. I enjoy "Modern Family" and "The Middle," but other than that, there's no show I watch with any consistency. I just can't sit and watch tv or movies without doing something else, like reading or blogging or cleaning (hah!) or cooking, and then I have no idea what the show is about, and others in the room who are actually paying attention get a little perturbed with me for continually asking questions. That I am hooked on "Orange Is The New Black" and watched four episodes in a row is unheard of. 

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

I was given some bedding plants a few weeks ago (which is always a mistake, as I am not a gardener; in fact, I abhor gardening), but I planned to stick them in a planter in the front of the house and hope for the best. In the meantime, they sat on the dining room table, on a cookie sheet, and I kept them watered. When I left to spend the week with my person and her kids, I told my husband to stick them in the planter while I was gone. He did not. And while I was gone, Ruby decided the plants were her own personal salad bar, and not only ate on them, but she also laid the front half of her furry self right down on them. As a result, they are not looking well. My son sent me these while I was gone:

She is INSIDE the basket of flowers.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The nurse practitioner in my ob/gyn's office gave me a prescription (and two months of free samples - yay) of a medicine that is supposed to help with hot flashes without the use of hormones. Because when you have estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, part of the treatment (after all that bilateral mastectomy stuff) is to strip you of all estrogen, thereby throwing you into menopause. And by stripping me of estrogen, that means the monthly injections of Zoladex I receive in my tummy, right above my tram flap incision. ANYWAY, my hot flashes haven't been horrible, but they are annoying and are worse in the hot, humid summer months (or at least FEEL worse), so I gave the medicine a try. And I thought, "Meh, it's okay, but I don't know if it's going to be worth the money once the samples run out." Then I didn't take it for two days, and I came to the conclusion that it most certainly is worth the money, every penny of it.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

We are having unseasonably cool temperatures today, and the humidity seems to be lower, but that is probably just an illusion, due to the cooler temperature. It has rained every day for the past week. And is expected to do so several more days this week. Other than the storm we experienced last week in Branson, where the power went out for an hour and a half, the lake was pitching like the ocean, and a motel lost its roof, none of our weather has been severe. 

Creepy clouds. Just rain, thankfully.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The countdown is ON to see my blog friend Christine this weekend when she travels to Kansas City with her daughter for a soccer tournament. I. CAN'T. WAIT!

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

It's getting darker this morning, rather than lighter, which means more rain. I'm not complaining about that (1) because we need the rain desperately and (2) it makes it better for watching "Orange Is The New Black."  Which I'm going to do right now, sans popcorn. Ciao, baby.

Friday, June 6, 2014

An Eating, Talking, Laughing, Thankful Week

I don't mean to brag or anything, but I'm writing my Ten Things of Thankful post an entire day early. Okay, totally bragging.

Last Saturday afternoon, my daughter and I drove to Branson to meet my person and her kids at my parents' lake house. We hadn't seen each other since March, so we've been counting the days until this trip! Our drive was two hours; their drive was 8 hours. Guess who almost let her friends arrive at her house before she was there herself? It was a close one, and only the beginning of a week chock-full of thankfuls:

1. Terri used to live in Branson and performed in several different shows in town. This means she has CONNECTIONS and was not afraid to use them. End result was that we got to reap the benefits of her connections and attend a myriad of shows and events, either for free or at greatly reduced prices. 

2. While Branson is a huge tourist destination, our family uses it as a place to be complete sloths. Not this time. We hit the ground running from the time our friends arrived and didn't stop the entire time. Saturday night, we attended the Haygoods Show. Five brothers and one sister, all talented musicians, singers and dancers. I am always in awe of talent that runs through a family like that (think Osmonds, if you will). 

The girls with Matthew and Michael Haygood.
They are each scheming to marry Michael.

3. Monday morning, armed with a pocketful of quarters for the food dispensers, I took the kids (all 15 and 16 years old) to the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery. I failed at getting a video of them, which saddens me a little, because I wanted to record their giggles as the fish lunged at the food pellets they dropped into the pools. 

4. Tuesday morning, I took three of the kids to the Ralph Foster Museum at College of the Ozarks. This place is a gem: admission is free for kids under 18 and only $6 for adults, and it's filled with local artifacts, from furniture and dolls to stuffed animals (the real kind, not the toys) and weapons and more. 

The pièce de résistance of the Ralph Foster Museum is this:

Yes, kiddies, it's the REAL Clampett car from
The Beverly Hillbillies.

5. Terri's son was in seventh heaven at the sight of all the guns on display. I don't know nuthin' about guns, but I do know there were old pistols and rifles and such. At one point, after staring intently into a huge display case of weapons, he turned to me and said excitedly, "If this place ever gets attacked by zombies, THIS is where you go!" I think he was only partially kidding.

6. Wednesday, we packed a picnic lunch and headed to Moonshine Beach on Table Rock Lake. In spite of the following, it was a fun time:

I got bitten by a housefly on my ankle and the little bastard drew blood.
The sand was not that ultra-fine beach sand you might be used to, but rather hauled-in sand that was coarse and rough and made it feel as though you were scuffing your feet on coarse-grade sandpaper. Which you kind of were.
There were rocks in the sand. Sharp ones.
It was windy. And sand being sand, it blew onto you and stuck in your sunscreen.
The water was pretty cold. Which didn't matter to me, because I had no plans to get in it, but it mattered to at least two of the little angels who were with us.

7. The amazing Terri also scored us tickets to see Jonah, which is, you guessed it, the story of the guy who was swallowed by the whale, told as a musical. I know, I know, but it was really good! The scenery and special effects were spectacular. The cast was talented. I would not have believed I would enjoy the production, but I was wrong and stand corrected. She also arranged for us to go to the Dixie Stampede, another show that I wasn't too sure I was going to like, but I did. Plus, they feed you so much, you sometimes were so busy eating, you forgot to watch the show.

8. Thursday, we went to Silver Dollar City, an 1880s theme park, which is my happy place. After a morning of severe thunderstorms, a power outage that lasted about an hour and a half and caused four teenagers to huddle in the living room with us, because they were varying degrees of scared, we ended up with a delightfully cool, non-humid afternoon at the park. I made it my mission to eat my way through the park and did a pretty fair job of it. The kids rode rides and ate THEIR way through the park. I stopped to listen to the Homestead Pickers, people watched, rode the steam engine train, as Terri had never done it before, got cheese in my hair, and enjoyed sitting in a shady spot and talking and laughing with my person.

9. We visited a lot of folks. Like Freddy (as in Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers), Billy Bob (as in Billy Bob's Dairyland), Danna (as in Danna's BBQ), Andy (that would be Andy's Frozen Custard). We had lunch with Terri's former boss, Buck Trent (that was a hoot). We sat up late and talked. And talked. And talked.

10. Sadly, Friday morning arrived and they departed, but not without one last meal at Freddy's before they left. We spent a long time saying goodbye in the parking lot, and Terri, who is not good at such things, tried to take a selfie of us. 

Her daughter, either feeling sorry for her or disgusted by her failure to take a decent selfie (or some combination thereof), took command of her mom's phone. We were just posing for the picture when Terri made some rather unladylike sound (a burp, maybe, or possibly a throat growl), and we fell apart. Because that's what best friends do.

Sometimes, they nearly wet their pants. NEARLY.

Who wouldn't be thankful after a week like that? 

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wordless Wednesday 6.4

Come and listen to my story 'bout a man named Jed, poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed....

Ralph Foster Museum, College of the Ozarks, Point Lookout, Missouri

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Happy Birthday, TToT!

Ten Things of Thankful has gone from Lizzi's conception of a blog hop where the participants look to find joy and thankfulness in every day life to the hop's birth, through its infancy, and into a walking, talking toddler celebrating its first birthday this weekend. The co-hosts all contributed five thankfuls for this creation, and you can read them right here at Considerings.  THERE'S CAKE!

Now, on with the show.

1. Last weekend, my brother, sister in law and niece joined us at my parents' lake house for the long Memorial Day weekend, and we also celebrated my mom's 82nd birthday. There was a little excitement when the switch on the sump pump in the basement broke, meaning no bathroom facilities, but my Daddy was able to fix it himself (without dropping anything important down any drain holes and yes, it has happened before - don't ask), and we were all able to carry on without resorting to frequent visits to the nearest gas station.

No, Ruby, you don't have to get in the suitcase.
We're taking you with us to the lake house.

Watching the lake. And the birds. And the
squirrels. And the leaves. And ....

 2. My daughter had her last day of school this week. She is now really and truly an offical sophomore in high school, and now it really and truly is officially SUMMER.

3. We've been in some kind of weird weather pattern that has caused little pop-up rain showers that have moved from east to west, instead of the usual west to east. It's kept everything good and steamy, but on the plus side, it has created a plethora of rainbows. Most of them are just little snippets, but they're still such a wonder of beauty.

4. Pretzels dipped in roasted red pepper hummus.

5. It is no secret that Pete hates Ruby with a fiery passion. He can hardly stay in the same room with her, and when he sees her, either face to face or across the room, he is reduced to a snarling, hissing mess. This week, I caught him in a (now) rare, unguarded moment, looking and acting like the old Pete B.R. (Before Ruby)

6. I've spent much of the past week eagerly anticipating a girl (plus one boy) trip to Branson to spend the week with my person and her kids. She lived here for a number of years and sang in several different shows (if you don't know anything about Branson, you can get an idea from looking here), so she is eager to watch some shows while they are here. We will also fit in some just plain touristy stuff for the kids (three 16 year olds and one 15 year old). 

7. My husband is completely self-sufficient. That is a very good thing, because that means I can leave for five days and know that he can cook for himself and do laundry if necessary (which shouldn't BE necessary, since I did six loads before I left) and usually knows where to find anything in the house he might need. He can even take care of the kitties, although when I'm home, he feigns ignorance on matters of the cats.

8. Sonic Happy Hour.

9. On last week's TToT, Robbie at Fractured Family Tales listed Triscuit Brown Rice Thin Crisps (wasabi and soy sauce flavored). I passed down the cracker aisle at Walmart earlier this week and remembered her glowing review, so I picked up a box. And ate half of them on the way home from the store. Two thumbs up from me and Robbie for those, although I would have liked just a wee bit more wasabi kick.

Nom nom nom

10. This is how I started my very first TToT.

1. I am thankful that I'm not Rafael Nadal's wife mom housekeeper and have to wash these socks he wore to the French Open.

This is how I shall end today's:

And I'm thankful I don't have to wash Roger Federer's shirt.

Happy Birthday, TToT!

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