Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"we should totally do that!"

First we were trying to keep up
with the Joneses...
then moved onto the 
Cleavers and
Carmichael Lynch
(I don't often cite an ad agency
but this one is deserving...
great work team!)
gives us something to really
strive for...
the adventurous couple
featured in their Subaru commercial
whose slogan is
"Let's do that."
Filling their road trip of firsts
with things like
deep sea diving
log rolling
bug eating.
All goes well until they get naked
and share a hot spring with
a couple of hippies...
ending with the line
"We really shouldn't have done that!"

Their troubled ending
did not deter me from throwing
their plan at my man
when we found ourselves
Married Without Children
for an entire weekend.

(The boys went to
Hell's Survivors
a weekend of paintball mayhem.)

When I posed the theme
"Let's do that!"
to my husband...
he was all about it.

Now some things
are not
appropriate to blog...
we are consenting adults
who haven't been
all alone in our own house for
way too long.
Let your imagination surf here.

The rest of the weekend
was fun but tame by Subaru's standards...
 we're new to this
couple without kids thing.
Started our Saturday at
Architectural Artifacts
in downtown Toledo
(Yeah...that's right...he took me downtown!)
We've always wanted to go
but it was either closed or we just 
Well we did on this day.
Such a cool place with everything
you could possibly imagine 
that has been salvaged from old
homes, buildings, outhouses, churches...
you name it
I'm sure they've got it.

Didn't know I needed something
until I found the knobs
that were missing from a salvaged desk
I use for my sewing table.
(will blog soon)
A real win because
I bartered and they accepted.
For those of you who care about such things
you can now add
Architectural Artifacts
to your list of
places that barter.

Time for lunch at
The Beirut
serving Mediterranean cuisine.

My choice
fattoush, hummus, olives and feta.
cabbage rolls.


We stayed for some baklava and
Turkish coffee
while a storm rumbled through.

Next up
decorating my guys office.
That's right...
all alone
 in the newest NOIC location
where the loan officers are housed...
lights dim...
putting a cabinet together
while watching
on their big screen.
I'm not kidding.

That man knows how to show 
me a good time.

Sounds silly
but we had great fun just being

We're newbies to this
filling of our days with firsts.
A work in progress.
Looking forward to the homework ahead. 

I'm even liking the thought of
ending our day with...
Maybe we shouldn't have done that!

he gave me an early b'day present...
tickets to see
Trace Adkins
at Centennial Terrace
(another first!)
Friday night.

I took it as a 
Tag...You're it!

Monday, July 22, 2013

hit the ground

The unanimous decision
to carry our
Garage Sale
through Saturday 
was made.
Good decision financially
since it was the best money making day
with 50% off

On Sunday I rested.

This Monday morning is a different
story altogether.
The frig is bare...

every imaginable flat surface
is stacked with stuff
I need to sift through
WE need to sift 
and sort through
and put back to their proper
designated locations
wherever that might be

This aftermath is to be expected
after such an ambitious endeavor
but add to that 
two adorable
little girls
in record breaking
heat advisory
and you can imagine how much action
my house saw.

Trips for ice and water
pit stops
(I swear that bathroom looks
like a rest stop along I-475!)
wardrobe changes...
I know I could keep going with 
this list
because it felt

Everyone pitched in to help
but there are those things
apparently many
that only Grandma Jenny 
can do.

Hold me...
said with a bit of a whine
because all were feeling the effects
of that heat...
 let's snuggle.

On a few 
very few
occasions the kids would take
a break in the cool air conditioning
while James made lunch...
Oh, I owe that kid a HUGE tip...
and catch a piece of a movie
before returning outdoors
to brave the elements...
and snuggle some more.

Three days
at that pace.
Friday night was my respite.
The house was empty and dirty
which I chose to ignore
as I threw on my tankini
and floated in a perfectly
87 degree
rum and Dr. P in hand
as I waited for my man to join me.
grabbing as bit of 
summer romance where I can.

And knowing when to say
let's just get some take-out.
Music to James' ears.

Today will find me running
and smiling 
as I think about that crazy
hot garage sale
spent with some of my


What have you been up to?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

what am I doing blogging?

Making signs.
Hopefully selling.

Just a few of the items left on my to-do list
the big door opens
for business

Sometimes I wonder why I put myself
through these things.

Here at a house
full of boys
who like their great big motorized
I have to rearrange the garage 
to create enough room 
just to hold the stuff.

Even had my man move
his beloved bike
outta there
so I wouldn't have to
work around precious.

One of the many piles 
that have accumulated in my home
while I wait for space
to become available.

I'm not trying to fool anyone here...
this sale will be more of 
the yard variety.

The garage is strictly used for 
very temporary storage...
protection in case of (don't even think it!)
before it is all
pulled out and displayed
to sell.

That's when all the fun begins.
I love the
 haggling & bartering...
the visiting with neighbors
that I only see
at this annual event.

Why do I put myself through it?
You ask.
It's all about the 
big bucks.

Gotta get back to work.

Enjoy your hot summer day.
I hear tomorrow will be a great
day to go garage sale-ing.

Monday, July 15, 2013

All-American Pie :: Cherry

The Bing Cherries
are now in season.

Ever notice
how once you start
popping these in your mouth
it's nearly impossible to stop?

The path to perfection
 starts at the tree 
and goes
directly in your mouth.

The only proper way
to eat a cherry
in my opinion.

But you know what they say...
everybody's got one.
So when I asked my guy once
if he had to choose his 
last meal...
what would it be?
I wasn't surprised by the grilled steak
mashed potatoes and gravy
(I don't think a salad made the list)
my shock came when he announced dessert...

Cherry Pie.

(insert a screeching tire sound effect here)

Of course he meant apple
a) I never made him a cherry pie
b) apple is my favorite
I guess I assumed the whole family
was in agreement on this...and
c) cherry glob pie ranks somewhere
at the bottom
of my list.

Then again...
I don't know if I ever
ate a real cherry pie.
You know...
from scratch.

With cherry season upon us
I consulted 

Soon followed by a call home
to mom
asking the vital question...
how do you hull a cherry?

Mom was sure there were
gadgets available
at the nearest hardware store...
which will always be
True Value to me...
even though it is now
Do It Best.

As our conversation grew
mom also suggested
using the end of a small spoon...
by any chance
did I still own a Tupperware
orange peeler?

I do...
I do... I do
have a Tupperware orange peeler!

It worked like magic
and cost me nothing!
After about fifteen minutes
I had the 4 cups needed for the recipe
cleaned and hulled.

Consulted Betty (again) for crust.
Adapted it to make it vegan
and it was 

Here's the rundown
for a two-crust 8-9 inch pie:
2/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
5-6 Tablespoons ice cold water
(I put 3 cubes in a cup)
Cut oil into flour and salt until pea-sized particles are formed.
Sprinkle water in 
one tablespoon at a time
until well moistened and
the pastry cleans the side of the bowl.

Divide and Roll.

Mix the cherries with sugar.
I reduced Betty's recipe 
to a scant 1 cup...
followed the rest 
except when it called for dotting butter
I used coconut spread.

That pie went fast.

A retraction is called for.

I now know that I just might pick
a real cherry pie
if I am ever asked to make
a final choice.

the only picture I captured

For those who may have forgotten...
I am on a quest for the
perfect pie this summer.

the only goal that I 
am truly dedicated to.

What would your last meal be?
let's just ask for dessert first!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

what a difference...

Sometimes I shave my legs
and sometimes I don't
Sometimes I comb my hair
and sometimes I won't
Depend of how the wind blows
I might even paint my toes
It really just depends on
whatever feels good in my soul.
-India Arie

Great lyrics from Video.
Honest to goodness
Universal truth stuff
that all women can relate to.

Yesterday I ran outside to
catch the only rays expected to come my way
I was going to post
about how I was determined to make the
most of it...

circa 7/11/13

That post got away from me.
Just didn't happen.

When I turned to walk in the house 
after taking that pic
I saw an old friend I hadn't seen 
in a very long time
but as soon as I went to take her picture
she was gone.

In that very moment
the sun sank behind an endless

she was back.

Along with a breeze.

my hope was to continue work
on a zabuton.
(A meditation cushion)
(one of my Old Maid New projects)
The 2 inch padding was
layers of old towels
old/ratty mattress pads
(cleaned, of course)
hand-quilted together
for a soft and sturdy base.

The exterior was the next step.
Choosing equally soft & sturdy fabric
(discarded & salvaged upholstery samples)
that were a pleasing pair-up.
Since a cushion has two sides
 I like to have two pattern choices...

one day I might want a 
paisley in earth tones
velvety leaves
to sit my rump on.

It really just depends on
whatever feels right that day.

Meal planning
with Renee from FIMBY.
Did I mention I won her e-book 
Eat This
Meal Salads & Whole Food Dressings 
in an 
online drawing?

and thank you!

today...in a new light

Went out to dinner with
My sister Tina and Mom instead.
Needed some family time...
 some women time.
Needed to laugh.

When we stepped outside the restaurant 
it was like the old weather front
that had been hanging around these parts
blew away 
blue skies and sunshine returned.

if I would have known that bringing us together
would have created this change
I would have suggested it weeks ago!

My latest stack
that I have been

like Blue's Clues...remember that?...my reading chair

But it is so much better
for your eyes
when there is proper lighting.

Everything looks prettier too.

My camera wanted to
take it all in
before anything...
another storm cloud floated by
and stole the moment.


preparing to sing the Alleluia Chorus

it looks like it's here to stay...
dare I say it...
all day!

Keep your fancy drinks
and your expensive minks
I don't need them to have a good time
Keep your expensive cars
and your caviar
All I need is my guitar.

...and a dose of sunshine!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

my Keebler fence

A year ago
almost to the day
I took these pictures
naming the file

Why chaos?
My gardens have a way
of going all natural and wild
this time of year...
nothing to do with the gardener
who slacks on weeding

And so I mulch
and tell myself
I am taking back control
on how my garden grows.


I built a little 
twiggy fence
to give the weeds a border.
The rule:
Flowers to the North
Weeds to the South

It worked for a little while.

I love my little fence.
Looks like elves
erected it.

Fast Forward
to today.

I do remember
planting and transplanting
cone flower
hoping to let this little area
do its thing
without much supervision.

and it did.

A few cosmos
reseeded themselves...
how nice of them.

But let me draw your attention 
to the green leaves
near the bottom of the picture.

What am I looking at
you might ask?

Check out this angle.

Or this one.

My Keebler elf fence
took root and is now

That's it.
I just thought it was a cool thing
to show you.
It makes me chuckle
every time I step
out my door.

There's a lesson in
control here...


one about

Maybe nature is trying to
tell me
to mind my own business.

Could go really deep
and say...
just maybe, mind you
God is showing me how
some things are out
of my control
and I should leave it
in His capable hands.


Monday, July 8, 2013

All-American Pie :: Strawberry

One of the 
very attainable goals
I set for myself
early in the season
was to find the perfect pie.

My hope
at the time 
was that it would involve
a ride down country roads
to a Ma & Pa roadside diner
our little secret

A place we could call our own
and go to 
whenever we wanted 
a great piece of pie
and a cuppa Joe.

Now that part of the dream
has been elusive.
it is a place we call our own
my kitchen.


I just want one perfect piece
NOT a whole pie to tempt
before/after meals/for breakfast/as a midnight snack.
Gaining 10 pounds didn't make 
my list.

So far
what I have found 
are definitions to phrases like
that pie was definitely frozen
and baked in some oven
The tell: soggy crumb topping
and a flavor that screams

second cousin to
fresh from the oven 
leaving me with a 
somethings just not right 
after taste...
maybe those 
mystery ingredients strike again.

I know because I made it.
My one rule 
has been
to keep it vegan.

To all my vegan friends:
If you have ever wanted to
explore your vegan talents
stretch your vegan wings
by converting a traditional recipe
and substituting vegan friendly ingredients
but were reluctant to try
start with pie.

Hence the phrase
Easy as Pie.

Even my traditional 
Pat-In-The-Pan Pie Crust recipe
required one change only
(although I made two)
instead of vegetable oil I used canola
instead of whole milk...
almond milk.

As for the Strawberry Pie.
Mine was already up to 
vegan standards.
I did reduce the sugar because
I am sensitive to things being
too sweet.
Mine also called for
red food coloring.
Not needed when you're using
fresh from the field Michigan Berries.
that which is at its peak
makes such a difference.

Visit your Farmer's Market!

I even simplified my 1983 recipe
with one that was quite
similar on
All Recipes
using the 
Most Helpful Comments

That pie was 
super easy.
Another of my high criteria.

I will keep you posted
as my search continues.

But wait...

Are you holding out on me?

Have you already discovered 
THE place
for which I seek?

Please share...
Pretty please
with strawberries on top!

It'll be our little secret.

Friday, July 5, 2013

the 4th on the 5th

I've discovered something
about myself
where picture taking is 
It occurred to me during
Kierstin's dance recital a while back
that it would make such a wonderfully sweet
blog post.
how could I miss?

I could miss out
by watching through a lens
rather than
sitting back and experiencing
taking in the moment
for my own selfish pleasure.

Since then I find
I am often without my camera
and must explain
with my mental lens
which has proven 
not to be the most reliable
the most enjoyable for me.

There you have it.

Staying in the now
if you will.

as in this case
staying in the yesterday
where a small group gathered
for dogs and brewskis
Mom's newest fave
cheese and carrot casserole
jalapeno pepper poppers in a bowl
Cheesy potatoes that earned me a hug
from James.

A front yard
filled with leftover debris
from the fireworks show
had my boys (sans Josh)
running back and forth
from garage to yard
in batches of three 
with onlookers asking
Why don't you just bring them all closer?
To which James replied
Because we wouldn't want them to accidentally
catch on fire.
Seemed logical
especially in the light of past

Their efforts
yielded a few honks from
the cars passing by.
the highest of praise.

Joe's final thoughts on the whole experience
I don't know what it is
but it is so cool
to  blow shit up.
he said the "s" word.


As I wandered the yard
this morning with my camera in tow
I started
playing the rewind
in my mind
hearing the laughter
of goofy family stories that were told
and retold
to elicit the much expected response
from their audience.

The food
that was shared and enjoyed
and also created the
Oh...I'm stuffed
that it does each time we gather.

The plans.
Setting up the croquet course
unpacking the corn hole
tidying the patio and 
getting the cushions out for comfort
only to have 
first the humidity and then the rain
put a stop
to that
and Plan B was made...
sit inside and enjoy the air and food
and drink.

Did I mention 



With the big finale...
sitting out in the cooler night
to watch 
the show.

Fireflies and fireworks.

Not before mom
had Rudy
go out and take the flag down...
she is a stickler to the patriotic rule
down at sunset...
or before...
whichever the case
Mom was there to assist in the
taking down
the proper folding
then unfolding because it got a bit damp
and I hung it to dry first...
never touching the ground 
of course!

One last picture.
Deserving to be last
since it was my last
all natural defense against the
blood suckers of the night.

My citronella plant.

Rain and mosquitoes
seem to get along just fine.

Way over-rated.

Happy July 5th!

Monday, July 1, 2013

summer reigns

that was a typo
Freudian in many ways
since I do love my summers

but this years' solstice
ushered in 
the rain.


Don't get me wrong
we have had lovely moments
of sun
as well
but each day we have experienced
torrential downpours.

Today appears to be no different.

Which I'm sure the farmers
will complain about...
last year drought
this year water.
Which leaves me wondering...
Has there ever been the perfect
growing season?

My little garden says

I answer with reservation
 since the excess moisture has
brought with it
some strange specimens

like a hardy crop of
throughout the lawn
but, oh...
that lawn is lush and green.

I didn't capture the
(you're welcome!)
that came in the house
via D.O.G.'s

A thick layer of 
on the north side 
of our yard...

that feels like
a luxurious carpet ride
under my feet.

Perfect for the fairies
that come to visit.

With these unusual suspects
in the yard
I visit my garden daily
not to water
but to pull a few weeds
and to 
vigilantly check for
any signs of
slugs or bugs
who may try to set up house.

So far I only found
a bunny
in the oregano
which I am more than
happy to share.

What about summer?

Did I find my summer
during this hiatus?

I did find calm and a good nights' sleep.
I did discover and finish
two good books.
I also noticed that there was
more conversation
as the boys would leave their respective
screens to spend some time with mom
(who was doing this solo)

As for summer...
it's coming slowly.