Friday, October 23, 2015

A New Rug

After living in the House on the Corner for almost three decades Husband and I are finally getting somewhat serious about improving the sad and sorry state of our lawn.

That sad-sorry-state isn't entirely my fault (I'm reject all responsibility for the gully-washers that semi-regularly take out the landscaping between the sidewalks and the street), but I must reluctantly claim ownership for at least part of the mangy-looking main lawn. We're Bermuda grass folks and my unwillingness to let Husband trim trees means the increasing canopy size has left our sun-loving Bermuda fighting a losing battle against the shade. I have planted and replanted grass seed in those spots. I have fertilized and plucked out any weeds. I have talked to it lovingly, and coaxed it to please, please, please grow some ground cover.

And still there has been nothing but hard, dry, dead dirt in those ever-enlarging spots.

You may ask why we don't just change the grass type to fescue, or some similar shade-loving variety, and I can answer that question with three letters: H2O. If we planted all fescue, we would have to water the lawn, and if we watered the lawn we could no longer justify not having water-savers in our showerheads, and if we watered the lawn AND took nice showery showers, the Midwestern guilt would be too much for us.

Or that was our stance until this week when the fabulous landscaping guy who is seeing what can be done about the washed-out strip between the sidewalks and street mentioned that he could fix those bare spots in the main lawn inexpensively and quickly. We wrote out a check before he could change his mind, and Tuesday I came home to the sight pictured above.

It's a lawn toupee.

See the resemblance?

Now it all makes sense. Donald Trump just needs more sunlight.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Overwhelming Healthiness

Photo from the BB website
I did not take the picture in today's post, but you probably already figured that out. (Have I mentioned that the only grade of C I received in my entire life was in Photography I?) It was taken by Ronda from Montana, and was on the Bountiful Basket Facebook page as the winner of last year's photo contest. 

Thank you for letting me borrow your picture, Ronda, because I have had the equivalent of all this lovely produce in my house this week and it has been yum-mazing. (I just made up that word. You are welcome.) Husband and I have been eating with such focused and overwhelming healthiness I wouldn't be surprised to be told we are shooting out invisible sparkles of wholesomeness. 

Potato-Leek Soup! Which actually turned into Grey Squash-Leek Soup because the BB contained five grey squash and while I wasn't watching them the potatoes I had in the house had turned into vile-smelling liquid that burst into bloom when I picked up the sack (retch) so I substituted the grey squash for the potatoes. It was yummy, yummy.

Sauteed Kale! And while I am going to admit that kale is not my favorite of the leafy greens and in fact ranks somewhere just above those potatoes, I ATE IT and I am healthier for it. 

Watercress! Pomegranates! BLTs made from the full grocery sack of tomatoes! Pears! Celery, because holy cow, does Bountiful Baskets like celery. 

The only thing we have not yet sampled are the bananas. This is because at the House on the Corner we have a very specific ripeness point for bananas, and until that point is reached we sit around like this, just staring at the bunch of slighty-greenish fruit:

And then they're suddenly perfectly light yellow and we do this!

Five minutes later, that perfectly light yellow point is past and I sweep all of the remaining bananas into the compost bucket because I know from long experience that no one in my household will touch a banana that has even one tiny brown spot on the peel. (Except me, and I don't really need to eat a full bunch of bananas.)

The point of all this then, is to say that we are enjoying our fresh fruits and vegetables. And to warn you to not stand too close when you're around Husband or me this week. Being hit by invisible wholesomeness sparkles just might hurt.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Why I Wasn't Here

Why, hello, dear reader(s). I have not forgotten you. Every day last week a little frisson of guilt ran through me mid-morning, which is usually about the time I take 15 minutes to bang out another of these episodes. Last week, though, those 15 minutes were consumed by Life.

It was homecoming week at Small College, and as if this enormous, festive occasion is not enough fun for everyone, we add a two-day trustee meeting to the mix. So you have parades! Woo-hoo! Parties! Yay! Football /soccer / volleyball / softball! Three cheers! Food! Food! Food! Yippeeeee! And also, your bosses and lots of meetings.

Homecoming is such a big, all-consuming event that I try very hard not to add anything to my schedule during that week. It was the week of Bountiful Baskets distribution, though. I had been determined to get back into the habit of ordering these enormous piles of unbelievably cheap produce so a half hour before the parade, I was still standing in line to get my laundry basket filled with lettuce, kale, pomegranates, zucchinis, onions, pears, grapes, and a pumpkin bigger than most toddlers.

(Parenthetically, the Bountiful Basket later led me to uttering words to Husband that had not crossed my lips in nearly 32 years of marriage, to wit "Honey, I hope you don't mind that I ate all the watercress." He did not mind.)

But I made it to the parade, and I did not throw candy. I've told you about that rule, right, that came about directly from my personal ineptitude in tossing parade goodies? The first year my colleagues and I were in the parade I walked the entire route hurling miniature candy bars and immediately yelling "Oh! Sorry!" when they smacked the kid in the head or the knee or anyplace except in their tiny outstretched hands. The next year the Powers That Be decreed that candy must be placed directly into those tiny outstretched hands. I apologize, all of you other more ept throwers, for spoiling your fun.

And kids, thank your lucky stars that I managed to get the produce back home and pick up the big sack of little candy bars before I went the parade or I may have had to dip into the Bountiful Basket for your goodies.

I would have arm wrestled you for that watercress.

Monday, October 12, 2015

My Fudge Day

Okay, I'm not going to bury the lede here: Fudge Day was magnificent.

In order, these were the things I did:

*Waved farewell to Husband and two Boys as they left the House on the Corner in their patriotic shirts at 7:15 a.m. Also answered the question "Are you really going back to bed?" with a non-guilty "Quite possibly," although I did not go back to bed.

*Attended an artsy-craftsy-outdoorsy-autumny class (shown above) and glued things to a pumpkin. It was delightful although I had no illusions that my efforts were either art or a craft.

*Grocery shopped and picked up some pre-cleaned roasting vegetables that require no preparation whatsoever. They are slightly out of date (don't tell Husband) but will make an absolutely splendid soup. As the tag says, Woohoo!

*Considered getting a pedicure but decided the thought of having someone else's hands anywhere my poor little toe was too much stress, so I did my own "pedicure." The color I chose out of my meager stock of polishes turned out looking like Creamsicle chalk paint and made me remember why this bottle was still full, so I immediately threw it in the trash. De-stuffifying!

*Knit a hat for Ruby, my newest great-niece who was born just a few days ago. Realized as I finished that I have not conquered my complete inability to control whether the baby hats I knit turn out sized for an acorn or for Andre the Giant. You are seeing the hat on Mable, my adult-sized head model, so if you know of any really big-headed babies, I can fix you up with a new hat. I'll be starting over for Ruby.

*Between these activities I read, I played the piano for a ladies' luncheon at church, I watched two movies that had been in my Netflix queue for months and months (Enchanted April and Quartet) and I topped up my English accent. (I say...did you come a cropper?)

*Then my 'Cats came so, so close to a fabulous upset and since I'm from the days of the longest losing streak in college football history, I count these as moral victories and I smiled and went to bed.

And the next day when I got up, Husband and the Boys were home (having acquired a bonus Boy during the process) and all was back to normal again. Fudge Day was a treat, but a house full of clomping feet and toilet seats left up? That's even sweeter.

Friday, October 9, 2015

This Fudge Is Mine

I did not make this.
You all know that I love Husband and my Boys to distraction, right? That there is nothing in the world better than spending time with them? And that when I don't have my allotted my-guys time I become cranky and distressed? 

This is all true, and yet....

Tomorrow the MomQueenBee Men (minus Boy#2, who cannot get back from the eastern edge of the country on a whim) are going to do a football double-header. They will go to the home of one of Kansas's fine Big Universities in the morning, and watch their Alma Mater beat up on the hapless team of this Big University. (What? Three of them are alumni of the visiting team, so sic 'em, Bears.) Then they will drive several hours down the road to the other of Kansas's fine Big Universities to watch the semi-fine team of that Big University get beaten up. (Hey, I love  me some 'Cats, but let's be realistic here. We are using a fifth-string quarterback.)

Anyway, they are going, and they are leaving me at home. And I could not be happier about that. In spite of the love I have for my family, I feel as if the universe has put a pan full of no-calorie fudge in front of me and invited me to eat as much as I want. 

"Here! It's all yours!" the universe says. "Do whatever you want with this guilt-free fudge day! Eat it all yourself, or give some away." 

And I will admit that I plan to eat most of that guilt-free fudge myself. I have new yarn itching to be cast on to my needles. I have a brand new Anne Tyler book checked out from the library. I have quilt pieces ready to piece together, and a nap begging to be taken. 

I'll be giving away a few pieces of fudge--one to the refrigerator, which has some suspicious-looking spinach lurking on the edge of slime; one to a group that needs a pianist for an hour or so; possibly another to a craft class that I'm on the verge of signing up for. 

But most of the day? It's all mine, and the anticipation couldn't be sweeter. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Toe-tal Disaster

About a month ago I stubbed the pinky toe on my left foot. It was very painful, and I may or may not have made up some new words in my effort to explain to the universe how much it hurt.

I didn't go to the doctor, though, because I'm well aware that nothing can be done for a stubbed pinky toe. There would be no teeny-tiny little pink cast for my friends to sign if it were broken, and there would be a $25 co-pay I would regret spending if it were not broken.

Also, I did not want to have to try to explain to the doctor how the injury occurred. ("Well, see, Doctor, I was changing my clothes and while I was putting my foot into my jeans I got distracted by something on a shelf, and I forgot I was only standing on one foot and I leaned forward to see what was on the shelf but then I lost my balance and fell over and while I was falling I smashed the top of that toe into the side of the closet door, so it wasn't really a stub, it was more of a top-smash....")

For the first couple days after the injury I was one miserable, whiny puppy.As long as I was barefoot walking wasn't too bad but the second I put on shoes the toe made its swollen presence felt in a most unpleasant fashion. I hopped up and down stairs (which, if you haven't seen this spectacle...) but mostly I just complained to Husband about how much it huuuuuurrrrrt. Finally I discovered that as long as nothing was touching the top of the toe it really didn't hurt so much, so I took to wearing a pair of L.L. Beans sandals with the strap on that area of my foot let out to its fullest.

Today, though, was the city spelling bee. I was the pronouncer on this second-best day of the year, and I was not going to spoil the solemnity of the occasion by wearing L.L.Bean sandals. Only black shoes would be appropriately distinguished with the black skirt I would be wearing. I have many, many pairs of black shoes--surely one of them would be serviceable.

I went to my closet and began trying on the black shoes. The first pair did not feel so good; suddenly I recalled some of the words I had made up a month ago. The second one would have been fine, assuming I was looking for something that gave the  impression with every step that my toe was being nailed back on with a nail gun. The same with the third pair, and the fourth. (I wasn't kidding when I said I had a lot of black shoes.)

Finally I slid my foot into the last pair in the closet, and hey, these didn't seem so bad. They had a stretchy panel on the side with some give for the poor abused pinky toe, and in the dim light of the closet they seemed just fine.

It wasn't until I was hurrying into the spelling bee (late, as usual) that I looked down at my feet. The shoes that had been just one more pair of black shoes in the closet were quite clearly, in the bright light of day, navy blue and not black.

So for those of you who are keeping score, that means that in three days I have walked through the parking lot with the hem of my skirt tucked into my waistband, and have worn non-matching shoes. I'm not sure I should be allowed to dress myself any more.

New word, new word, new word.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Monday Morning Catch-Up

If it were Friday, these would be orts but it's not, so they're just idle observations and TMI:

1. Husband and I spent Saturday morning helping a friend move from her home of 35 years into a condo. She was excited about the transition--no more shoveling snow! no more mowing grass!--so it was fun to be part of the transition. It did remind me, though, that when all of the furniture-movers in your group are AARP-eligible (including Husband, who's taking a break on the left end of the hide-a-bed chair above) then maybe it's time for us to be making arrangements for our own someday/eventual/not-yet move out of the House on the Corner. But then I remember that I've already given the Boys instructions about the day their parents shuffle off this mortal coil: Carry the bodies out then set the house on fire.

Who says I don't plan ahead?

2. Does anyone else remember the late great television show Designing Women? It was a wonderful television series that was on from 1986 to 1993 (thank you, Wikipedia) and the character I remember best is Julia Sugarbaker, one of the title characters. I often chuckle about the moment in the show when gorgeous Julia was a model in a fashion show, and this brilliant, eloquent woman made a lasting impression on all of Atlanta by sashaying down the runway with her dress tucked into the back of her pantyhose.

I thought it that moment for a really good reason this morning. Unfortunately.

And there you have your TMI about my arrival at the office.

3. Great Mouse Hunt update: Still nothing.

Have a good week!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Throw WAAAAAY Back Thursday

Much Older Sister texted this picture to my siblings and me this week. It was shot in the summer of 1967 at Jones Beach in New York City. In this shot MOS would have been 13, I was 11, Much Younger Sister was seven, and the boys were five and three years old.


A couple of observations:

  • My mother made her daughters' swimsuits. Oh, yeah, she was amazing. 
  • My brothers were more comfortable as muscle men than we girls were as bathing beauties. (The sorority girl pose and duck lips* had not yet been invented.)
  • I was not nearly as fat at age 12 as I thought I was, which seems to be a common thought among women my age. 

And a shout-out to my parents, who drove a 1948 school bus/camper through New York City (and into Mexico, and to Washington D.C., and into Canada, etc.), traveling every summer so that the horizons of their children would not be stop at the edge of the farm. I have now camped with children, and while it is lovely and memory-making, Husband and I never had more children than we had hands, and we never tried to keep them corralled on the New York subway system, so my hat is doffed to Mom and Dad.

Also, I can still remember the NYC address where we were staying so that if I got lost I could tell a policeman.

Good times.

*I've no idea what this page says. Please do not tell me if it's in any way offensive.