Okay, I know this is a polarizing topic. Generally people feel strongly one way or the other. Very little "middle of the road" on this one. They either love it or hate it. The topic is: Leftovers.
You know, you make a meal and when you are done eating, some of the food remains uneaten. Some people throw that uneaten portion away. Other people carefully pack it up and tuck it into the fridge and eat it another day. Leftovers. Literally the food that is left over.
Now that I think about it, there is a third category. There are folks who carefully package up the remaining food, put it in the refrigerator and then never eat it. At some future, unspecified date, when the food has turned from an appetizing treat into a science experiment gone wrong, they throw it away. But I think that is just another version of the 1st sort of person. So I've changed my mind again, there really are only two sorts of attitudes.
I am strongly in the pro leftover camp. If you are anti-leftover, quite frankly, you will go hungry in my house. I enjoying cooking and baking (as most of you know) but there is an efficiency to leftovers that appeals to my frugal little heart. When you really break it down, for the same cost, we can eat better quality for less money by buying one large, more expensive thing that can be multiple meals than having something different every day but of less quality.
For example: If I roast a chicken one night and serve it with mashed potatoes, biscuits and a vegetable, the second night there is definitely enough remaining chicken for, perhaps, a chicken pot pie! And then chicken salad sandwiches! The leftover mashed potato becomes lovely potato pancakes . The leftover veg can be used in the chicken pot pie. The bones and bits of meat left make a lovely chicken soup and of course leftover biscuits are great with everything. Look at all the meals I made from one chicken!
There is a creativity required, a challenge presented that goes along with leftovers, which I love, too. I stare at the food in the fridge and wonder to myself, "What else can this be?" Recently I made some stuffed shells florentine. It's a dish I adore but rarely make and I was in the mood, what can I tell you. But I was very disappointed because the box of pasta had only 12 unbroken shells. Dang. I had a great big bowl of the riccota/mozz/spinach stuffing and not nearly enough stuff to be stuffed with it! The next day I turned it into a pasta bake that was glorious!
I guess that's part of liking leftovers. You have to either not mind a repetitive meal OR you have to find a way to turn it into a different meal. Some meals are perfect for this idea. I've mentioned it before, but it bears repeating. Chili is one of the best. You doubt me? A big pot of chili is of course a great meal already with side of corn bread. Yummy. And if you make a big enough pot you have, potentially, leftovers for days. Naturally, you can just continue to eat it, as a bowl of chili. Nothing wrong with that. But if you crave a little variety, leftover chili is also great on a hot dog, and it's delicious on a baked potato. A popular twist is to add elbow macaroni and now you have chili mac! Yummy. Or, my personal favourite to put it on a salad with tortilla chips and it's sort of a taco salad. So Good.
When the boys were young, I almost never served leftovers. There was, very rarely, food leftover. I had three boys! And the older they got, the hungrier they got and the fewer leftovers there were to be had! It's only been, really, since the boys grew up and left home and it was just Tim and I around the dinner table. And suddenly there were always leftovers and I had to find a way to use them. Turned out, I have a knack.
Now anything can be taken too far. My Nana, bless her heart, would save everything. Every single scrap. One pea left? Save it. And put it in the little container in the fridge with those two green beans and 3 kernels of corn and 4 bites of carrot. One day of the next weekend that sad lonely leftover container of vegetables would be added to a green Jello ring mold, chilled then turned out unsidedown onto a bed of lettuce and the empty center would be filled with mayo. Welcome to vegetable Jello! Disgusting! I would rather go hungry than eat that and often did. Yuck.
And quite honestly, if a dish is not good the first night, being served again, in another fashion another night will not make it any better. Some meals are just destined for the garbage can or the disposer and Good Riddance to them. I'm not quite That Hard Core.
I have respect for the people who are anti-leftovers. You feel the way you feel. And I don't have to understand it, to believe it is true.
So, which camp do you fall in? Leftovers: yay or nay?
Clearly Joy and I (Joy on the right, me on the left) managed to get out on the hiking trails again this week. Hurrah! So obviously this will be another Photo Safari Report. Eventually. Had an interesting conversation with Joy that started when I missed a shot. Nature is some times so dang fast! And I wanted to start out writing today about that conversation.
I have always believed that I was just a slow thinker. When something happens that I do not expect, I do not react quickly. It's as if my brain needs a few extra seconds to sort things out first and in photography, especially nature photography, sometimes, you gotta act fast. And I just don't. I assumed it was just me, since some people react/respond very quickly and I do not. I laughed as I explained this to Joy and said, "Yeah I know, I'm weird but at least it means I'm always calm in a crisis". But Joy said that she believes that most people's brains work similarly. She referred to it as, "The Questionnaire".
Her theory is that most people's brain process goes a little something like this: Walking down a path in the forest, tralalala. You see something up ahead that looks unexpected or not quite right. What is it?
Is that a duck in a tree? and as you slowly approach
Well, I'll be darned! It is a duck in a tree? Why is there a duck in a tree? And more importantly, is this photo worthy? How is the light? The angle? What setting should I use? Is he moving? Will I scare him off if I get closer?
Final Shot. I was lucky in this particular case because the duckie in question did hold still. But more often than not, by the time I've gone through the entire questionnaire, the subject is gone. Dang.
Is that how it works for you too?
For me it's even murkier than that. Often the questionnaire gets even more muddled because my brain is kind of like Grand Central Station at Rush Hour. A zillion things going on in a zillion different directions all at the same time. It's crowded, it's noisy and sometimes it's tough sorting out the important stuff. Which means while I am considering taking a photo, part of my brain is admiring the lovely fragrance in the air and trying to identify the various scents. As I consider the consequences of all the light and shadow, my stupid brain seizes on the word shadow and suddenly the Theme song to the old radio show, 'The Shadow Knows' is playing, another part of my mind is cataloguing black & white photography as well as pen and ink drawings. Another part is rifling through the brain cabinet of old mystery movies, books and TV shows. As I'm debating what settings to use I'm also thinking about every article I've ever read on Photography technique which reminds me of painting techniques which leads me to the word Technical which of course segues into machinery of all sorts and somehow lands on the topic of Steam Punk and Doctor Who (both at the same time)..................... And like that. Which is why, occasionally I miss a really good shot.
Which in part explains why, if you looked at the pictures Joy took and the pictures I took of the same hike on the same day, a hike we took together AND we always take the time out to point things out to one another, you might think we were on completely different hikes, separately.
Don't know why I felt the need to explain that to you, but there you have it! Something you probably didn't know about me before.
Now, back to the hike. Should I start with the birds that I actually did manage to capture?
I have a few botanicals if you are the mood for those: (they don't move as much)
A couple of shots that involve water of one sort or another:
A few surprises, rather than rando's today:
All in all, it was a terrific hike and a great time. Hope you enjoyed.
Wishes for a wonderful weekend to us all!
About six months or so ago, I decided to let my hair grow long again. It's been a very long time and every once in awhile, I just feel the need to mix things up a bit. The real capper on making the decision was the continually rising cost of getting my hair cut. The price had gone from "wow" to "crazy" all the way to "insane". I'm not saying that these people do not deserve the price they charge. I'm saying I'm not willing to pay it.
What I had apparently forgotten in making this decision were two key things: First, straight hair is a pain in the arse to deal with. I have straight hair. It's very soft, like baby hair, it's very fine and it's Very straight. Secondly, my bangs. Was I going to grow out everything? Or everything except the bangs? I decided to go for broke and just let it all grow and as far as the straightness, well I would figure that out as I went along.
Yeah, sure, Easier said than done. As the bangs got longer and more and more in my face, it began to drive me crazy. I just cannot stand having my hair in my eyes.
I tried all sort of things: various clips, pins and barrettes , hair bands, hair gel and even hats. The clips, pins and barrettes work fine for a short time but as the day goes on, they begin to slip their moorings and ultimately end up on the floor somewhere. So I have to constantly put them back in. Also it takes roughly a zillion clips to keep my hair, even short term, where it belongs. Lots of clips, lots and lots. Way too many. So Annoying.
Hair bands, well, hmmmm. The plastic ones eventually give me a headache. I guess I have a big head and they squeeze ? The softer hairbands, as long as they are anchored with hair pins, actually work BUT they cover my hearing aids causing two things to happen: one, I cannot hear becoz the receiver is covered and two, they squeal becoz the receiver is covered. Dang.
Hair gel? Sort of works as long as it's in partnership with clips, pins or barrettes. On it's own it does little to nothing. I know there are more powerful hair glues' out there. But I choose not to invest more money in something that I am unsure about. Also I hate it when my hair looks like a helmet or a wig.
And that leaves hats as an option. I like hats. I own a few. I wear my ballcap every time Joy and I hike. And I generally wear a wide brimmed hat when I walk outside. But as an inside thing? nahhhhhh. I don't think so. Scarlet O'Hara pulled it off, but she was probably the very last woman to do so.
Which left me wondering what options I had left. I did a little googling about growing out bangs and saw a wonderful video of a young woman doing magical things with a curling iron. Curling! Great idea! Well I don't have a curling iron. I do, however, have a flat iron. Now why a person with straight hair would own a flat iron, I have no idea. It was so old I wasn't even sure it would work! Turns out, if you fiddle with the on switch long enough, yes, it does turn on and it does heat up. Yay! Let's give this a whirl!
The results were not good. I do not have a natural aptitude for hairdressing as it turns out. Oh well. Back to a different instructional video (love You Tube) on working hair magic with a flat iron instead. I watched that video several times in a row, hoping to have absorbed enough technique to duplicate it. Nope. No bueno. I was able to get the end to curl up for a Very short time but the bangs went crazy. With the least amount of encouragement they went total frizz. Yikes! If I tried to cool the flat iron at all, the bangs defied all effort and remained stick straight. So those were my options, frizz or straight. Sigh.
There was one last possible option. Electric rollers. I had some long ago and while I didn't use them often, I was always (or almost always) pleased with the results. I did a little online research, found a set that wasn't horribly expensive but seemed to have everything I remembered needing in the past. I talked to Tim about it, he was agreeable and did his own research. They were ordered and arrived yesterday.
How cute are these? I was so excited to try them out this morning.
Now bear in mind that it's been a very long time since I've used these and that meant things were not going to go perfectly the first or tenth time. I forgot how dang hot they get, burned my finger tips a little bit. Didn't remember correct placement of the different sizes. Also did not recall whether to roll them up or down. So I did what I always do, I faked it. Just jumped in, as if I had a clue, and slapped those babies in as best I could. Several rollers had to be re-done, one of them more than once. but eventually I got all of the hair (or at least most of my hair) properly corralled.
Yeah, I know, not the best job ever. I'm sure with time and practice my technique will improve. Or at least, gosh, I certainly hope so! Yikes. Can you imagine if this is it? This is the best that i can do? Wowza.
Anyway, I couldn't remember how long to leave them in, so basically I left them in place until they weren't hot anymore. Seemed like a good plan. At least I didn't burn my fingers taking them back out! Bonus!
I carefully unrolled each one, putting the rollers and clips back in their proper place and then I left it alone. Just left it completely alone. I did a quick google search on tips for using hot rollers. One of the rips said exactly that (Love it when my instincts are correct). It then suggested using a bit of hair spray before brushing. Before brushing? OOOKKKAAAYYY. I don't get it but I was open to new ideas and willing to try.
Yeah, it's not perfect, not by a long shot, BUT my hair is out of my eyes and I think I can live with this.
Obviously this will not be a daily thing. Too much work, too much effort, too much time, too much fussing, but I'm so happy to have this as an option! I'm sure with more practice I will get better at it. Never Great but better. And in the meantime, it's still an improvement. No clips, no hair gel and no hats required.
First of all, Thank you to Joy for the above photo! She is so dang clever!
Are you buckled in and ready for another Photo Safari Report? The weather has not been conducive to hiking lately so we were lucky to sneak this one in. We left even earlier in the morning on Thursday to get ahead of the predicted rainstorm AND the worst of the heat and humidity. And I'm happy to report that our plan worked! Welcome to the Early Morning Hike.
The ground and the green stuff was heavy with the previous nights rain when we started out so in very short order our socks and shoes were soaked. No worries. We are not put off by a little inconvenience and we forged on. The bonus is that we got some pretty water drop pictures. We'll start with just a couple of them, if you don't mind:
We heard more birds than we saw, so we knew they were out there, somewhere, but the lush and somewhat overgrown trails and full, robustly leafed out trees made for too many good hiding places to get a lot of bird pictures. But I got three. That's it, just three. Of course I'll share (whether you ask me to or not!):
I think we both recognized early on that this would end up being, mostly, a botanical hike (flowers later). What I didn't realize was how many insects I would manage to capture. A few I didn't even know about until after I got home and was editing. A nice surprise :
Ready for some pretty flowers now? I will try to keep them to a minimum, only the best ones, I promise:
By the time we finished up at Curry Creek, it was still early enough that, even though it was getting hot, we figured, what the heck. We are already sweaty and dirty, what's a little bit more? So we decided make aquick stop at the Rookery. Make up for the lack of bird photos from Curry Creek, maybe? Oh yeah, we found more birds :) Hope you like bird pictures because I got some :
A naturally, I cannot do a Photo Safari Report without at least a couple of rando's for ya:
As they summer steams forward, in more ways than one, we will still, occasionally, find a way to get out there and fight out way through overgrown trails, flooded pathways, up hills and over fallen trees. Prepare yourselves, because now and again, there will be more Photo Safari Reports to come. Hope you enjoyed the Early Morning Hike.
Have a GREAT Weekend! Hugs all 'round
Like a most places in the world right now, we are having some super hot days. Which isn't all that unusual, this is July and it is Florida, so there is an expectation of sunshine. But the thing is, this is supposed to be the rainy season and we have been seeing precious little of that. I t's been day after day of hot, sweltering, scorching, roasting, searing, parching, blistering, sun.
And then last night, while we were sitting around relaxing in the family room (and it is so nice to be able to write that, by the way) we heard thunder. And our ears perked up. But not our expectations. We've been fooled before.
During this record breaking heat, we've gotten our hopes up way too many times. Heard the thunder, even seen the lightening, the sky gets darker and darker and then, and then, and then.....nothing. Dang. So we didn't dare hope too hard.
In fact, by the time we went to bed, the sound of the thunder had passed and the ground was just as dry as it was before and the air was just as hot, even in the darkness. Which mean that waking up to rain bright and early this morning was an unexpected delight! Somewhere during the night or in the wee hours of morning, finally, the rain came! I wanted to go out and dance in it! Do a full on Gene Kelly, "singing in the rain" musical number in the courtyard!
By the time I was showered and dressed, it had backed off a little bit and there was just the merest sprinkle tickling the shrubbery. But I grabbed my camera and my rubber flipflops and stepped out side anyway.
It was still warm but comparatively, much better. It was still humid (duh...rain is the ultimate humidity). But instead of feeling oppressive and stifling it felt exhilarating! I love that smell! Floral, Green, Dirt and Rain is a heady combo. The first thing I noticed was how all of the green growing stuff had perked up. Happy Happy Happy!! The second thing was that the birdbath, which I had cleaned but not refilled - (malaria mosquito alert which is a whole other thing) - was completely full to overflowing. A sure indicator of a terrific storm! Hurrah!
I took a few photos. Of course I did!~
Maybe now we are back to a more normal Florida summer where yes, it's hot and it's humid, but every day or perhaps even every other day, there is some rain. Then we can return be being lush and green and floral and we will have enough water to get us through the rest of the year when i is no sort of humid at all.
I feel a little like those folks, way back when, who, out of desperation, would hire a "Rainmaker" to resolve a drought and save their farms during the dustbowl era of the 1930's. Curiously, the 'dustbowl' was caused by poor land management. Effectively, too many people making really bad decisions about how they treated their little piece of our planet. Some people are saying that our current world-wide heatwave originated with similar mindset and behaviours. A shame. Why didn't we learn from our own past?
That is the purpose of history, right? To learn from. It's why we are taught history in school. Not just to practice by memorizing names and dates to pass a test but so that we can learn from our mistakes. Make better decisions, better choices, have a better outcome. sigh.
Meanwhile, I am delighted in our rain today and, according to the weather report, we should have more rain all week long. Not every minute of every day, but rain at some point every day this week. No idea what will happen after that or even how accurate the prediction is. So, much like everything outside soaking in that lovely rain and getting happy and healthy again, I will just enjoy what I have.
Funny how in years past, I've written about how annoying the daily rain is, soaking Tim and I when an unexpected shower passes overhead while we are out for a walk or interrupting an outside event, or just the cabin fever from being stuck inside. This year, I cannot imagine complaining about it. Give us, this day, our daily rain!
I'm sure you've already realized this, but just in case you have not, isn't this kind of a cool similarity?
On the left is a pretty painting of mountain peaks with the river valley between them and on the right are the peaks and valleys of a heartbeat as shown on a heart monitor print out. Peaks and Valleys, Peaks and Valleys, yup that's life!
And it's perfectly normal and expected to have those sorts of highs and lows throughout your life. Good times and Bad, Happiness and Sadness, Joy and Sorrow, Delight and Anger and then all of the regular normal ordinary days in between.
Here is the thing I am slowly realizing about myself. The older I get, the more I do not like the extremes. The high highs and the low lows are no longer desirable. They are uncool, as we used to say back in the day. I no longer have any interest in personal theatrics. Perhaps it's more that I no longer have the energy required for them.
In short, I no longer find any enjoyment in the "Verys" of life. Very sad, Very angry, Very annoyed, Very anything, even the good Very's just wear me out. Very Happy! Very Excited ! Very Silly! I'm exhausted just typing the words.
On the other hand, ordinary happy, excited or silly is still great. Regular sad, angry or annoyed is, well not great because those are negative words, but hey, stuff happens in life so there is going to be some of it and I can deal just fine with a standard amount of the bad stuff.
It applies to everything in my life nowadays, not just emotions. I am no longer easy going about extreme weather. You know what I'm talking about, the Very Hot and Very Cold times of year are just less easily tolerated by me now. The super hot and humid days just lay me flat. When I spend any significant amount of time outside in the middle of August, I'm going to have to have a little rest before I move on to anything else once I've returned to the safety of the Air Conditioned indoors. I used to be so blasé about it! And on those few super chilly, hovering around the freezing mark days at the pinnacle of winter, I'm bundled up and drinking hot things and cuddled under sofa blankets, teeth chattering and shivering. Once upon a time, I just wore long pants and a sweater and I was good to go. I'm concerned that as I get even older I will continue along this vein until I'm one of those annoying old ladies who keeps her house thermostat at 80 year 'round while also wearing two sweaters and heavy socks and complaining about how cold I am. That's terrifying.
I find myself eschewing foods that are too spicy, too hot, too bland (but then who likes that?) or even too cold. Brain freeze anyone? I was always kind of picky about food, lately I'm pickier than even me. AND if I don't like it, I will not eat it. I won't make a big deal out of it, but you cannot compel me through any means to eat something I am not enjoying.
I don't like clothes that are too tight or actually that really touch me much at all and I avoid shoes that are very tall which means any sort of heel at all really. The shoe thing is not because I don't like the way it looks or feels but because at this point I'm kind of concerned that I may fall off or out of them! It's a reasonable concern.
Which kind of leads into buying anything I consider "Very" expensive and currently that's almost anything. The cost of everything is kind of outrageous and feel outraged is a "very" emotion that I am just not in the mood for so unless it is something absolutely essential (and few things are) frankly I would rather not have something than spend a Very large amount of money on it.
I avoid buying or selecting anything that I deem Very trendy because that means at some point I will have to replace it or risk looking Very Out of Date and Out of Style. Although, as time passes, I'm not sure how much I care about either of those things either.
I avoid places that are Very crowded or Very noisy whenever possible and I'm uncomfortable when roads are Very busy and cars are going Very fast. Of course it's my interpretation of what constitutes the "very" element of all of these things.
What I find myself gravitating toward is level, average, ordinary, normal, perhaps even boring and dull. I shoot for the middle. Drama does not suit me, take it elsewhere please. Pleasant is good and nice is delightful. I am easily amused, happy to be content and what's more, I make no apologies for it. I dear that I am becoming increasingly boring and yet fear is a "Very" emotion and therefore, I dismiss it out of hand.
My peaks and valleys are looking more and more like a croquet field now. And it's all good.
You go ahead an have whatever sort of weekend you like. Mine will be perfectly fine.
So here I am people! This is Sam at Seventy. Yikes! Getting to be quite the old crone eh? Still, as they say, it could always be worse. Of course the thing they never mention is that it could also, be better! Hmmmm. Not sure just yet how I feel about being seventy years old. It sounds positively ancient. Right up there with Methuselah and the Pyramids. Still I had an absolutely delightful birthday weekend and feel well celebrated, so I guess I cannot really complain.
Since my actual birthday was yesterday, today's post will hold with my usual birthday blog tradition of posting the Birthday Rules! Ready or not, here they come:
1. Number one and most important on this hit parade: It's all about the birthday person. It really is. No exceptions. If it's your birthday, everything that day is about you. Period.
2. Of course, to be absolutely fair, I am not a person who really likes being the center of a big crowd of people. But a small, comfortable, familiar crowd is fine. In fact it's awesome. A small group of people that I really care about it absolutely perfect. If that group consists of me and one other person, sometimes that is the best group of all.
3. And there should be at least one treat that a person rarely has, like cake. Or ice cream. Or cake AND ice cream. And for heaven's sakes, if a person is going to indulge, it should be the good stuff. The real deal. No fake, crappy substitutes. And speaking as a person with Lactose Intolerance, if I'm going to suffer later, I want the suffering to be worthwhile, which means the ice cream must be primo.
4. There should be a few cards, some of them should have sparkles, some flowers, some funny, some touching or maybe thought provoking. I like cards. I set them up on top of the big display cabinet in the living room and admire them for far too long afterwards.
5. There should be some sort of contact from people far away, whether it's phone calls or emails or texts or facebook posts or telepathic thoughts, heaps of good wishes from folks far away makes a birthday extra special. To think that all of those people bothered to take the time to acknowledge your existence on your birthday shows that you matter in this life. That's important.
6. There should be no chores on your birthday. Not one single solitary gotta-do should be done by the birthday celebrant. Those things can either wait a day to be done, or someone else needs to do them. I'm immovable on this fact.
7. The birthday person gets to choose what or where to eat for dinner. And no matter what they choose, that's what dinner is. Doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. It is the ONE day of the entire year where nobody else's likes/dislikes/or personal opinion should take precedence regarding food.
8. It should be a happy day. Only positive comments and thoughts please. It should be a day of smiles and laughter. If there is something negative or sad that needs to be said, keep it to yourself for one more day. Not even boredom is allowed.
There you have it! Remember those rules when your birthday rolls around. These rules must be true because With Age Comes Wisdom and baby, I have plenty of age. I must be extremely wise by now.
Much like that sun, right now it feels a lot like I'm melting. It's hot out. Not just hot, it's super hot. It's super de dooper hot. And I guess that sounds kind of silly because after all this is July which is a summer month and summers, traditionally, are hot. And then there is the fact that we live in Florida, the Sunshine State, a place people visit intentionally because of all the sunshine. But this is hot beyond that. The entire planet has been setting new hotness records! Kind of crazy.
Recently, we had a day where the "feels like" temperature was 113. That seems excessive don't you think? Right this minute, while it's only 87 degrees Farenheit outside, the "feels like" is 101. What on earth? How does that even happen?
On the brighter side, I don't, currently, see a 'heat index warning' which we've had every day for at least a week now, so that's a nice change. Geez!
I know that this sort of heat is going on all over this country, not just where I live. I think it's even happening in other countries as well. I apologize because I haven't really been following the story. Not my usual style, I know. Normally, I am fascinated by information of any sort. But, uncharacteristically, mostly right now, I'm grateful for air conditioning, drinking lots of water and trying to think cool thoughts.
Things like: polar bears, the Ullr Fest in Breckinridge Colorado, The Frozen Dead Guy Festival in
Nederland Colorado (for real!) popsicles, ice cream, ice bergs, ice water, ice sculpture festivals (ice is a strong theme here) and the days I work as a docent at the Museum where, inside it's still Very Cold and I wear long pants and bring a sweater every day.
I think about the first house my parents had in Connecticut which had a big pool that was unheated and sometimes, diving into it was like diving into a glass of ice water. Very brisk and refreshing. I remember having very chilly feet while wading along the water's edge (while wearing sneakers because of sharp rocks, shells and barnacles) up in Maine, where the water is cold year 'round. Remembering standing over the heat register in California on a cool morning, dressing in front of the woodstove in the kitchen of the very old farmhouse in Connecticut and being bundled in so many layers of coats, snow pants, scarves, hats and mittens in St Louis that I could barely move.
Odd memories pop into my head like the specific smell of wet mittens drying on the radiator, the scent of breathing through a wet woolen scarf, the taste of an icicle we knocked off the side of the house, coming inside after playing in the snow with rosy chapped faces and runny noses and the feel of my frozen hair when I would go outside right without first drying my very long hair. I remember that squeaky and then crunchy sound of being the first person to break through the crust of a heavy snowfall and the struggle of getting galoshes on over my shoes (and then once again, trying to get them back off).
I remember shoveling snow over and over throughout a long winter and hands that were so cold, even while wearing gloves or mittens, that my fingers ached. I recall huddling behind anything bigger than me - telephone poles, parked cars and trees - while waiting for the bus on a frosty windy winter morning as a kid. And if there were none of those things around, just turning my back on a particularly fierce and stinging gust. Instead of complaining about the 'heat index' I vividly recall whining about 'wind chill factors'.
Over long Thanksgiving weekends, when we lived in Colorado, Tim and I would go up into the mountains to visit the town of Estes Park where, on the evening after Turkey Day, there would be an "illuminated parade". People would be all bundled up against the cold and wind and sometimes snow, drinking Hot Chocolate, Hot Coffee, Hot tea while lining the streets, waiting for the parade and then on the walk back to the Hotel we would find ourselves walking next to enormous Elk who, apparently, also watched the parade.
As a Kid I remember intentionally trying to make designs, like "smoke rings" breathing with our mouths in different shapes into the frigid air. On the farm, I recall using a shovel to break the ice on the top of the water source for the cows and horses, sometimes several times a day and bringing in load after load of wood to keep the woodstove going.
Smaller, faster memories: Getting "brain freeze" from drinking a Slushy too fast, having a purple tongue and lips from purple popsicles, the glitter and prisms on the ice coated bushes and trees as the sun rises the morning after an ice storm, making snow angels and snowmen, trying to walk or at least stay upright on an icy side walk, wearing thick heavy oversized sweaters and knee socks with tall boots and still feeling chilly and I remember being so cold all of the time that it seemed as if I would never be warm again.
Ahhh Memories! Ok that'll help for a little bit. I'm ready now to head outside to water the potted garden and get all hot and sweaty again.
Please stay safe in this terrible heat. Hopefully, it will settle down to a more normal sort of summer weather very shortly.
Have a good weekend and hugs all 'round.
Happy 247th Birthday America! Dang, you look good for your age :) heh
Hope everybody had a fun and safe Independence Day!
Because the 4th landed on a Tuesday this year, Tim was lucky enough to mostly have a 4-day weekend. He had to get some work done for the job, but there was also non-work related time and Yahoo to that. No matter how much a person may love their job, downtime is important too. That whole work/life balance thing. It's real!
Most of the weekend was dedicated to getting stuff done. We did a LOT. I mean a LOTTA LOT ! Including Tim having to replace the battery in his car because it unexpectedly and without warning gave up the ghost on Saturday. Dang. He was smart and set up this large canopy thing we have literally over the car so he was working in the shade. It was super hot out all weekend. One of those Heat Index of 110F sort of weekends so that canopy was a brilliant idea.
Tim also spent a lot of time getting the baseboards in the family room very nearly finished. The only thing left is around the backdoor and that has to wait for the door trim to be done. I really love the way it looks. Harkens me back to our New England roots a bit and that suits me right down to my toes. A little caulk and a little paint and it will be perfect.
I had my own project going that day. At our most recent Minock visit we were the lucky recipients of this beautiful wooden planter that the Mister made for us! Wow! To keep the wood safe (as it lives outside where the elements are) I decided to paint it. I am very pleased with how it turned out. Now I just need to figure out what to put in it! Isn't it fabulous?
Another exciting part of our 4-day holiday weekend was our new table & chairs! Here's the story behind that! When we first moved here, we brought very little with us. Our Colorado house was more than twice the size of our current house so first of all we didn't need nearly as much furniture but also the proportions of the rooms wasn't the same plus furniture with a Colorado feel just doesn't suit Florida. So we decided (way back then, 7 years ago now) to just get rid of (most of) it and start over.
Once we got here, after the kitchen was finished being reno'd and the ishkabibble of being under construction was done (for the moment) we began slowly buying new furniture that suited our new home. When it came time to look for a dining table we ended up buying one of those higher tables. I think they call it a bar top or bar height. It made sense at the time.. Because we have not just the table in the dining area of the kitchen but also a peninsula with a seating area it seemed (again, at the time) to be a good idea to have it all the same height. That way, the chairs could be used in either place. Eventually we got a second table, a round one for the family room, also bar height so that, once again, the chairs could be used at any of 3 places! Smart eh?
Well, smart perhaps, but when the only place to sit leaves your little feet dangling all the time and you have to kind of climb up to sit down well, honestly, it kind of made me feel like I was sitting in a high chair. Like a giant baby! Which I sometimes am, but that's beside the point. Additionally, and oddly, the higher chairs are also harder to push in, especially if you are already sitting in it. Think about it. If your feet don't touch the floor, how do you scootch in? Answer? You don't. It's not possible. And it turned out that Tim felt the same way. So we started looking for a replacement kitchen/dining table.
We found several that we liked everything about except the price tag. And so we waited. And waited. And waited. Tim happened to notice a set that we liked during a huge sale! We talked about it and decided YES! The set was ordered and was supposed to take 6-8 weeks to arrive. We anticipated it's arrival some time in August perhaps. Nope. It got here Monday! Awesome!
So Tim spent a lot of Monday putting together the new dining table and chairs. And I spent a lot of Monday breaking down GIANT boxes and gathering up endless yards of Styrofoam and other packing material and then vacuuming like a fiend to get every last little bit. Ultimately though, it was worth the time and the money because it looks great and we no longer have to sit in high chairs at our own table. Now we just need to find a home for the old table! Here's a few pictures of the new table and chairs. There are actually six chairs but I only put 4 at the table for now. The other two are scattered through the house. There is a butterfly leaf by the way, to make the table bigger when we need to :)
We did manage to find our way to the beach one evening. After all of the work we did all weekend, it was a lovely to hit that refresh button. We just stood there and breathed, watched the water, the birds, the dolphins and the manatees. There were lots of boats and lots of people but none of that mattered one single bit. Here's a few photos:
Ahhhh. I feel more relaxed just looking at the pictures :)
By last night, which was the actual holiday, we were too pooped to make the effort to walk over to the beach to watch the fireworks. We heard them though, and I'm sure they were beautiful because they always are.
So that was our long Holiday weekend. How was yours?
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.