Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Week in Words and Pictures 7/12-7/18

Sunday - Great-grandson Sawyer's second birthday. He is such a handsome lad.
As all Grandmas say: "How do they grow so fast? Sawyer is my grandson Brock's second son.

Monday - Great-grandson Ridge's sixth birthday. Sixth! Ridge is the first of my great-grandchildren; Brock's first son.
This photo of Ridge and Sawyer was taken at last year's birthday party. Unfortunately we do not get to see Ridge too often. Ridge was being a good big brother and making sure Sawyer was looking at the camera.

This was in our yard when I got home from the Y & grocery this morning. The patio set I tried to buy from the neighbor's family a couple of years ago. It was priced too high then. Now that the house has sold and the daughter and son-in-law are clearing it out, they gave us the entire set.

Tuesday - Up way too early. The heat and humidity are already oppressive - but make for some pretty pictures:
I captioned this one "A pink pond morning in Creston" and sent it to WHO-TV. Megan used it on the noon weather. It always makes me feel so good when one of my shots is used on TV.

Three men and a truck. Bud volunteered to help load the truck this morning; payment of sorts for all the tools, patio furniture, etc. they gave us.
If I thought the heat and humidity were oppressive at six, by eight, with the sun up, it was awful out there. It was too much for me just standing in the shade watching these men work. I've been trying to think of a punch line: "Three guys - a cop, a counselor and a marine - are loading a moving van......"

Wednesday - So glad the rain waited until today. One and a quarter inch. More to come. This is what the 'new' patio set looked like after it was set up on the deck yesterday - a nice addition:

Thursday - Lots of rain, lightning and thunder during the night. Another two and a quarter inches for a two day total of 3.5"
The pond begins to escape its usual bounds when we get a big rain - as shown to the right of this photo.

Friday - Hot and humid again. Bud ran outside early. I went to the Y to walk. That was bad enough. Started doing some cleaning. Getting ready for company. No pics of that, so here are some taken earlier this week.
Medusa's hair is growing nicely. So much more attractive than snakes, don't you think?

I now have a couple orange zinnias among all the pinks and one little white one down underneath. These flowers, favorites of my grandmother Lynam's, make me so happy. Why did it take me so long to plant some?
Oh, and this bonus for going to the Y this morning. Someone brought in a basket of cucumbers: "Help yourself." And I have been wanting to make some cucumbers and onions. Mmmm.

Saturday - Our resident geese are back for a visit. They leave once the little ones get big enough but almost always come back a time or two.
They only hatched two little ones this year. I imagine the 'extras' are from last year. Boomerang kids?

The rain filled up the bird baths which got me to wondering if there is a way to make this gargoyle into a fountain? Instead of spouting fire, it could spot water.

And speaking of flowers that make me happy - I am getting so much enjoyment out of this 'volunteer' plant. To think I almost pulled it when it first came up!
Next year I am planting some of these beautiful sunflowers on purpose! I can remember Mom planting sunflowers around the chicken pen one year. Her's grew to ginormous heights.

This is the week that was.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Week in Words and Pictures 7/5-7/11

Sunday - I've never been a big soccer fan. I don't understand many of the rules.
But I really, really enjoyed watching the USA win the World Cup by defeating Japan 5-2.

Monday - Rained around 11 and again about 4 - just in time for a rainy trip to the Farmer's Market. 1.35" total.
Flower photos today included some of the Queen Anne's Lace draped across the walk on the north side of our house. (Growing in the flower bed of the empty house which is most likely the only reason they are there.) I know most people consider these a weed, but I love to see them along the country roads and in pastures.
They are one of the first wild flowers I learned to identify. My mother showed me the reason they are also known as wild carrot by pulling some and having me sniff the roots. What she didn't tell me - and may not have known - was that an infusion made from the seeds was a folk remedy to inhibit pregnancy. Bird's nest and bishop's lace are other names for this plant. The reddish black center is said to represent a drop of blood where Queen Anne pricked herself with a needle while making the lace.
There is no discernible fragrance to the flowers which, in my opinion, is the only thing that could make them any more lovely.

Tuesday - A day of exploration. When I left the Y I drove north on the Green Valley Park road until I passed Prairie Lawn Cemetery when I turned east. After several miles I turned back south on Ivy intending to hit the REA Road back to Wallace Road thence back to town. On the corner of Ivy and REA Road was this sign:
I had heard of this cemetery but did not know its location. A lovely day to explore.
Most of the grave stones are broken off. These two are the best preserved. They are the markers for William McKnight (1807-1875) and his wife, Jane A. Garriott McKnight (1814-1892). I find an abundance of peace in cemeteries. I like walking them and reading grave stones. It tempts me to join the Find A Grave organization.

This afternoon's photo of apricot lilies goes perfectly with ...
This evening's setting sun and apricot sky.

Wednesday - The day's have been unusually cool so far this week. Did some laundry and straightening in the office, including shredding. Trying to not let it get so built up like I usually do. Started the day feeling good and then got depressed. The only pictures today were of a lone deer at the edge of the field across the pond. First one I've seen in quite a while.
So here is a picture from yesterday's adventure:
I tend to think of bottle trees as a southern tradition, most likely because I first encountered bottle trees in books or movies set in the south. I always wanted to make my own bottle tree and thought I would when we moved back home to the family farm. Alas, I never did. They still fascinate me though. There are several bottle trees on this property - as well as several no trespassing signs.

Thursday - Talked to Dougie to learn that he is still doing okay with his treatments - some 'burning' from the radiation and loss of hearing from the chemo, but still able to eat, talk, work and josh with the personnel at the cancer center. Maybe that is why I was down yesterday - just needed to talk to my son.

It also helped to see this picture on Facebook:
Greyson is ten days old. He looks so much older in this photo. I think he is blowing a raspberry at great grandma R. Can't wait to see him in person and hold him.

Friday - A lovely surprise to start the day - the volunteer sunflower has bloomed:
"Bring me the Sunflower crazed with the love of light." (Eugenio Montale) Was it planted by a bird or did a raiding squirrel hide a seed in my flower bed?

Not to be upstaged - the Lemon Lilies are also in their prime.

Had to stop at the bank. Went through the drive-up so I could see my lovely niece. Wanted to remind her of the upcoming family get-together. It was a good thing I did because I hadn't yet told her about it! Looking forward to having her, her daughter, and her dad (pictured here with Kristi) with us in two weeks.
She told me they have moved to their property in the country, living in 'the shed' until/if the house is built. She also said they had thousands of dollars in damage from a hail storm last month which surprised me as they are only about four miles south of us and we haven't had any hail. Luckily.

Saturday - Woke up to rain and some lightning and thunder. Another 1.35" here. Very humid.

I've been a fan of Charlaine Harris' Aurora Teagarden mysteries for some time. A Bone to Pick is the second book in the series which I read years ago, but it is the first to be made into a movie for the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. I recorded it a couple weeks ago but just watched it today. It wasn't bad. In fact I think I'll set the next one to record.

A final flower photo....I have been 'going to' plant zinnias for years and finally did this year. They were a favorite stand-by of my Grandma Bessie's. I imagine she saved the seeds each year. Hers were always in mixed colors.
Mine, so far are all in shades of pink. Such happy little unprepossessing flowers.

This is the week that was.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Unmade Bed

My mother never understood
Her daughter's unmade bed.
She only saw the spread thrown up
Hiding lumps and furrowed pillows.

My mother never understood
Her daughter governed by the clock.
The morning rush to leave in time
Babies to the sitter; in the office by nine.

With title of wife and stay-at-home Mom
And long disciplined to each day
'Do up the work', her bed was tidy
The chenille straightened; pillows plumped.

Years gone by, no longer ruled by time
Each morning my bed is made
Covers carefully evened on each side
Spread and pillows placed just so.

Now I'm the one to understand a
Mother's chagrin of an unmade bed.
I straighten first one side then the other
No hint of a messy, crooked cover.

(Thoughts as I make the bed each morning.) [ril, July, 2015]

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Fun With Dick and Jane

It was the first book I learned to read from; how many years ago? Almost 66. Sixty-six years since "See Jane. See Jane run." etc. etc. It seemed like slow progress at the time, but I know I really learned very quickly.
I've loved reading ever since and have read hundreds of books. The only kind of books I've never been overly fond of are short story collections. I never thought about why, just that I wasn't a fan.

No matter how well written the stories are, or how much I might enjoy them, I rarely pick up a collection of short stories purposely. Which is why I wasn't thrilled when I checked out Eighteen by Jan Burke - a new author I've learned to appreciate - and discovered that rather than a stand alone novel as I thought (as opposed to her Irene Kelly mystery series), it was a book of short stories. I was a bit hesitant to even read it. But what the heck, she is a good author.
I discovered that each of the eighteen stories is very good. They are quite diverse, set in different eras, with different types of characters; some mysteries, some romances, some with a thoughtful moral. I've enjoyed the book.
It was while reading it I had an epiphany: I suddenly (suddenly - after 66 years of reading) understood why I don't like to read short story collections.
I get so involved while reading that I'm 'in' the story, especially with good writing. I suffer from book hangover when I finish a novel. It takes me awhile to recover from living in one book before I can start another.
I get just as involved with short stories, but when I am reading an entire book of short stories, it is too jarring to finish one and immediately begin another. I feel disoriented.
That is why I don't like short story collections! And it only took me years and years and years to understand the reason!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Week in Words and Pictures 6/28-7/4

Sunday - Twas a quiet Sunday morning all through the house when out on the deck there arose such a clatter. The blue jays were shrieking; such a noise they made. I jumped to the window and what did appear?
 But this young owl, itself full of fear. And that was the most exciting thing to happen on this lovely June day.

I did spend some time on the deck in the afternoon reading and watching some turkey buzzards riding the thermals. The wind was blowing. I was reminded of Edna St. Vincent Millay's Afternoon on a Hill.

Monday - Answered 'Clarence's' siren call on the way home from the Y - bought more flowers at Wally. (I have long referred to the clearance section in any store as 'Clarence'; as in, "I'm going to see my friend Clarence".)
Some of the plants - impatiens planted on the north side of the deck.  This afternoon got kohlrabi, tomatoes (early girl) and zucchini at the Farmers' Market.

Tuesday - The birth of my seventh great-grandchild and sixth great-grandson. Lily is still the only little girl.
Greyson Edward was born this morning at 8:08; 8 lbs, 14 ozs; 21 and 3/4 inches long. This was the happy news I was awaiting.

It would be early evening before I heard from this guy for the more anxiously awaited news of the day:

Doug had his first chemo and radiation today. Shelly took this photo of him on the phone with his mommy. Yes, we were laughing during the call. We have both found our sense of humor after all the dark what ifs of the first weeks of diagnosis and surgery. There are still uncertainties and the side effects of treatment to go through but a positive attitude helps. I hope my little boy knows his mommy would gladly change places with him so he did not have to go through it all.

Wednesday - 80/100's inch of rain overnight and about another 05/100's after I swept the deck the first time so I got to sweep it twice this morning!

Hoping the rain will take some of the smoke out of the air. This picture of the sun yesterday morning shows what the smoke from the Canadian wild fires is doing here.

Great-grandson Ayden is one year old today. He became a big brother when Greyson was born yesterday. He visited his mommy at the hospital before going to Grandpa & Grandma's for a few days. I predict little brother is going to be just as cute and sweet as is Ayden.

Thursday - Very sick to my stomach all day. Think it was something I ate yesterday. Certainly couldn't eat today. Yuck. Did manage a load of laundry this morning before I started feeling too bad. Also a few shots of some flowers.
The purple cone flower fascinates me the way it first opens as a pinwheel
...before completely opening with the petals drooping down around the seedy center.

The Stella de Oro day lilies I moved here from the farm are blooming - these among Mom's coral bells and some lambs ear.

Friday - Feeling much better. Talked to Dougie. (I have reverted to my mommy role - calling my son by his toddler age nick name.) Told him I was having sympathy nausea.

Found this tiny little feather on the patio this morning. See its iridescence on the upper edge? I wonder what bird it was that left me this beautiful gift? "Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul - and sings the tunes without the words - and never stops at all." (Emily Dickinson)

Saturday - A quiet 4th of July for us. Well, except for some guests of a neighbor who decided to shoot fireworks off on the lawn in back after the legal ones at the lake were over. This photo is one I took from our deck of the fireworks at the park.

I am not a big fan of fireworks - they're kind'a like mountains - seen one, seen 'em all. But if I have a favorite - just like Christmas lights - the clear ones are the ones I choose over any colored ones.

This is my idea of fireworks - the different lilies blooming around the house:

Also these firecrackers from the neighbor's:

This is the week that was.