Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - "Jackie Disaster"

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Here are my teasers for today:

"My job was to make bad news go away, which in the age of the fabled spin doctor, was thought to be eminently doable with the right trick. To pull off disappearing acts, I needed to prove that the allegations against my corporate clients were false and that something other than justice motivated the charge. "
pg. 4, Jackie Disaster, Eric Dezenhall

A very detailed, but fictional, account of a corporate clean-up of humongous proportions involving a famous and very rich domestic diva, mob connections, corporate secrets and a good PR man who really has to dig deep on this one. Set in Southern New Jersey, I could identify with the locations and understand the Phlersey dialect (a mix of Philadelphia and South Jersey). I do believe the story runs a bit heavy in dialogue, not a favorite technique of mine. All in all, though, a good tale!

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your 2 ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Monday, August 30, 2010

"Isn't young love grand?"

"Sometimes when I smile at him, he smiles back. I just love him!"

The youngest member of the Omaha wing of the family started kindergarten while we were visiting. Granny-sat for 4 1/2 years, she missed any type of preschool or daycare experience so this all-day school routine definitely shook her up a bit.

She bravely trucked into the classroom without a glance back that first day. Oh, don't get me wrong. There were a few tears of relief when Mommy picked her up at the end of the day. She claimed to enjoy it but stated "One day is enough!"

There were a few tears the second morning but she persevered. The teacher later related one little boy cried pitifully for his Mommy. Our little gal then began to cry in sympathy, explaining that, "It just makes me so sad because he's so upset." Again, she enjoyed the day but did not intend to go back.

On Friday, the third day, her lip trembled a bit but she needed to stay strong for her new buddy.

After Sunday dinner, I asked about her new friend. Apparently, he has "cute hair" and "he's 7 tall, not 5." (We later found the translation of this to mean he's as tall as the 7-year-olds, not short like the other 5-year-olds.) Most importantly, she confided that "Sometimes when I smile at him, he smiles back and I just LOVE him!!"

Well, they've now had a play date, and...

she "loves him more!!!"

I remember my first crush. I was in first grade and his name was Robert! Do you remember yours ?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Mid-West Sky

If you've followed this blog for long, you know I
love taking pics of sunrises, sunsets and clouds on our trips.

O. K., I slept through both sunrises on the trip out. We were heading West, so it was going to be a little harder to get good sunrise pics anyway.

The first cloud pics I took were at a concert at the Lewis & Clark Landing in downtown Omaha along the Missouri River. I took all of these over a four hour period. Talk about a changing view!!

The first one shows the beautiful blue sky quickly disappearing behind some approaching storm clouds.

It did rain but really only a drizzle. By the time we moved The Big Guy's mom's wheel chair around the table so she was under the big umbrella, it stopped raining both times. The ground never even got really wet ! (There were some nearby communities that did get a real drenching at the time, though.)

Then, this beautiful rainbow appeared over the river!

After the rain came this really purple looking sky with bright red stripes!! I've never seen such vibrant shades in the sky before.

I don't Photoshop my cloud pictures or sun shots as I think that takes away their true effect but I do wish these colors showed a bit better. I really felt they were impressive!!

A humongous bright moon eventually broke through later in the evening and would have made for a fantastic time-lapse shot if one had such a camera!

I really do suffer from camera envy sometimes!

Friday, August 27, 2010

And so, our trip began...

Home again, finally !!!

Our trip began with two days in Johnstown, PA attending the American Flood City Music Festival.
This is a family tradition with us through changes in festival venue, name and, lately, dates. For the second year in a row, organizers have changed the dates. Traditionally, this was always a 3-day event held on Labor Day weekend. It's still 3 days but they keep switching weeks. It's really hard to keep traditions alive when you can't count on the dates from year to year. There have been a few other changes which, in my opinion, have taken away from the event but, for now, we keep going back. We do have less enthusiasm to get there these days, though. This year, for the first time, we only attended one day of the event.

The weather was fantastic and, I hope, contributed to good attendance. While it was crowded, I still don't think they've come anywhere near the crowds they used to get on Labor Day weekend. Many folks used the festival weekend as a sort of homecoming over the holiday and still do as there is still another long-running festival at that time.We did catch several performances by a number of excellent entertainers on Saturday including Devon Allman, Duane Allman's son. His show was definitely worth sitting in the hot sun.
The big name at this year's event was Los Lobos, who performed on Friday night. We missed them but we did enjoy Los Straightjackets on Saturday. This was one of the tightest bands I've heard in a long time and is made up of excellent musicians. One quirky item: Everyone on stage, and even the sound men, are hidden by masks throughout the performance.
I took pictures of our little group enjoying the music that day.

In this one of The Big Guy and I (Hours in the hot sun does nothing for my looks, believe me!), he thought I was smiling because I was with him.

But... here's what Mama was smiling at! Wouldn't you?

Funny, The Big Guy got me up and out of town before daylight the next day ! Can't a girl just window shop?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Why ? Why ? Why ?

When you're traveling cross country by car, driving in excess of 20 hours on the road in just two days, you get a lot of time to contemplate the many mysteries of life while your traveling companion snores in the seat next to you.

I now find myself asking: WHY ?

Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are dying?

Why do banks charge a fee on "insufficient funds" when they know there is not enough money?

Why does someone
believe you when you say there are four billion stars but check when you say the paint is wet?

Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?

Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?

Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?

Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Whose idea was it to put an "S" in the word "lisp"?

If people evolved from apes, why are there still apes?

Why is it that no matter what color bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white?

Is there ever a day that mattresses are not on sale?

Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?

Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?

Why is it that no plastic bag will open from the end on your first try?

How do those dead bugs get into those enclosed light fixtures?

When we are in the supermarket and someone rams our ankle with a shopping cart then apologizes for doing so, why do we say, "It's all right?" Well, it isn't all right, so why don't we say, "That really hurt, why don't you watch where you're going?"

Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that's falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?

In winter why do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat?

How come you never hear father-in-law jokes?

I've really got to get off this highway and get some sleep!!

So, what have YOU been wondering about ??

Friday, August 20, 2010

Stress Relief

Okay gang, we've been away from home and our familiar surroundings for over two weeks now. We've driven thousands of miles and spent lots of time together in a vehicle just the two of us, and then days living with family, that, while they make you feel very welcome and comfortable, it is their home and it's not just the same as your own place. We've spent a lot of time in a small guest room, just the two of us. There's been some medical things going on that just create some stress for all involved.

Can you say "TENSE" ?

Just in case you too are having a rough day, here is a stress management technique recommended in all the latest psychological journals. The funny thing is that it really does work and make you smile.

1) Picture yourself lying on your belly on a warm rock that hangs out over a crystal clear stream.

2) Picture yourself with both your hands dangling in the cool running water.

3) Birds are sweetly singing in the cool mountain air.

4) No one knows your secret place.

5) You are in total seclusion from the hectic place called the world.

6) The soothing sound of a gentle waterfall fills the air with a cascade of serenity.

7) The water is so crystal clear that you can easily make out the face of the person you are holding underwater.

See, it really does work! You're smiling already.

Ah, now I'm ready for that 1200 mile drive back home.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


You know, these days one can shop for any occasion in your local pharmacy. We have a Wallgreen's Drug store on the corner coming into our little community. I often sit at the traffic light and read the changing sign in front of the store that pushes the specials each week. Some really cause me to wonder.I mean, aren't you just tingling with anticipation, hoping someone will give you that you that much anticipated gift card for YOUR flu shot?!?
And just what is a "Mister Steamy"? Is it better than a Harlequin novel?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer storms..

We've had some wild weather lately. Just the other night there was a real thunder boomer around these parts. Brought this story to mind:

A Dark & Stormy Night -

They were together in the house.

Just the two of them.

It was a cold, dark, stormy night. The storm had come quickly and each time the thunder boomed, he watched her jump.

She looked across the room and admired his strong appearance... and wished that he would take her in his arms, comfort her and protect her from the storm.

Suddenly, with a pop, the power went out.

She screamed.

He raced to the sofa where she was cowering.

He didn't hesitate to pull her into his arms.

He knew this was a forbidden union and expected her to pull back.

He was surprised when she didn't resist but instead clung to him.

The storm raged on...

They knew it was wrong ...

Their families would never understand.

So consumed were they in their FEAR, that they heard no opening of doors...

just the faint click of a camera...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

HOT can be nice!

Our end of the world is kind of a marginal area for crepe myrtle. We're just South enough that they will grow but not to their absolute best and only a few varieties really do winter well here. Well, this year's super hot and sunny summer has been fantastic for the crepe myrtles. They've been absolutely beautiful!!!!

Usually the dark pink ones are the ones that grow best and put on the best show in our region but this year I have been totally mesmerized by the rich beauty of the dark purple blooms. We've had a terrific array of lavender, purple, several shades of pink and white ones. If I truly let my mind run wild, I can believe I'm wandering the streets of Charleston!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Under the sea ...

I recently mentioned that we never know what's registering in a child's mind, here's yet another example:

We spent the first night of our journey this time at our very close friends' home, as we always do. The men went off to do their thing and, as women do, we sat with our iced teas and discussed the things us gals are interested in.

My friend had just come back from visiting with her grandchildren and told of their most recent game of "Let's Pretend."

The two boys are ages 3 and 5 and share a bedroom which is decorated in a sea-oriented manner with fish on the walls, etc. They often pretend the beds are boats and the floor is the sea. This time, the oldest boy suggested they pretend to be creatures in the sea.

Grandma decided she'd be a seahorse because they are so graceful and prance around in an elegant manner. The oldest boy wanted to be a dolphin because they seem to have so much fun.

The little guy put much thought into his choice. His little furrowed brow indicated he was really working at coming up with an idea. He even tapped his chin with a finger as he thought. finally, he announced he'd be an oil slick.

"An oil slick?!?"

"What's that?"

"It's dark and sticky."

What's more enticing to a little boy than a mysterious dark and sticky substance to play with?

You just never know what they're thinking, do you?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Quiet Memories

This week marked the first year anniversary of the loss of someone very dear to me. It's been a tough week but I've struggled through by remembering the good times and laughing at a number of those memories. So, I thought I'd just share a few of those images with you.

We miss you, Tom!

Friday, August 6, 2010

See y'all in 3 weeks!!!

As some of you know, I'll be traveling over the next 3 weeks with little, if any, access to the internet. I have not prepared any advance posts at this time but if I somehow get the opportunity, I'll definitely try to make a quick comment here and there.

So, until we chat again, stay cool, relax, have some fun and enjoy life!!

Oh, yeah, eat some chocolate, too.

See you in 3 weeks!!!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Dancing People

I’m sure I’ve mentioned these folks in previous posts. They were there again at the Concert in the Park on Friday. I call them “The Dancing People.” (I can be soooo creative with labels!! LOL) My husband finds them irritating. Why? I’m not sure. (He says they’re “distracting.” This, coming from the dude who can sleep peacefully through even the loudest concerts!) I think he’s just jealous of folks our age that can still move that well!

They show up just about anywhere there’s music - generally anything from doo wop to the classic rock genre. And they’re good - very, very good! They jitterbug. They jive. They can do the pony and the swim. I’ve seen them do the bump, the stroll and even the waltz. They’ve been known to 2-step and they can do a great macarena, too. Oh yeah, they cha cha and I have seen them strut in a conga line.

We’ve seen them at concerts throughout the State and in neighboring states, too. They get around and people do notice them. They sit as close to the front center of the audience as they can get and they dance to almost every song. They most often wear pristine, well-pressed white shorts for him and a skirt for her with matching flowered shirts. Once in a while, their lower garments are of a bright color that matches the shirt but more often than not, they are white, bright white.

Clorox could probably sign them to an ad contract! I mean, who wears white to outdoor festivals? They look so neat and tidy even when it’s 100 degrees out! (Okay, my inner sloppy eater is maybe a bit jealous of that, too.)

One day, I am going to take some time to chat with these folks and find out their “story”. There has to be one. The band pointed them out to the crowd Friday night and stated they have now danced in every state!

After retiring this past year, they mapped out a route to get them to every state they had not danced in and then set out to do so. I overheard the dancing lady telling someone they simply went to the Welcome Center as they entered the various states and asked about festivals, street fairs and concerts in the parks. She says she now has a scrap book featuring them dancing at those events posted with a pic of them posing with something indicative of each state.

I think that’s really cool and I do want to know what drives them. I’d like to hear their stories.

I plan to approach them next time we see them which seems to be fairly often these days.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Beware of how you impress the little ones!

Woohoo !!! Our extended family welcomed a new member this week - my kingdom of “Aunthood” continues to grow. She’s little and pink and cute a a button!! Mom, Dad, Big Bro and the little Princess are doing just fine!

Speaking of nieces…
My sister-in-law, “L“ , called the other night to ask for a recipe that I apparently made for her granddaughter, “K” , at some point in time. Seems the little one’s mom asked if the apples growing in L’s yard were worth doing anything with or just serving as squirrel feed these days. As L stated she used to use them for cooking but hasn’t in years, little K piped up with the words, “Aunt Sue [me] made me cooked apples with cinnamon and sugar!” She went on to insist I picked the apple we used from that tree.

While I’m not denying I did do such a thing, (I have in the past done so for other little ones in the clan but that was several decades back when we had our own apple tree.) I’m sure I must’ve picked the apple from the fruit basket on the counter. I’m not even sure I knew they had an apple tree.

Seems she’s now determined someone needs to make her some of those apples again. I’ll be visiting next week, so I’m elected. (Hope, I don’t need to climb the tree to get an apple!)

Seems we never know what will stick in a child’s mind and memory as something unique and memorable.

As a small child, I referred to one of my Mom’s friends as “The Rainbow Lady.” At the time, no one knew why but they thought it cute and went along with it. Years later, The Rainbow Lady finally asked why I coined that name. Seems back then, so many of the church ladies wore “invisible hairnets” to keep their “do” in place but hers was not really “invisible”. Her’s had little bits of different-colored sparkly glitter on the netting. Worn over her prematurely snow white hair, it made me think of a rainbow. Such a simple explanation!! (Do they still sell "invisible hairnets" ?)

Similarly, I have a friend named Steve. When he met the little one who would soon become his step-granddaughter, she quickly named him “TV” and she stuck to her guns on that one! We all hypothesized about how she had come up with that nickname. No one could even remember the television being on during her visits. Seems she heard his sister-in-law jokingly calling him “Stevie” (a name he wasn’t even called as a child). To a toddler, it definitely sounded like “TV“. He is now known to a whole generation in that family as “TV.” (Of course, his kids had a “Grandad” and a “Grand-Doug”. Maybe it just runs in the family!)

Another young lady in the family tells me every time she sees the sizeable aqua choker I wear 24/7 (as important to me as my engagement and wedding rings) , she thinks the words “Pretty. Like your eyes.” I’m sure I haven’t said that to her in well over a decade, not since she was 3 (or less) but I do remember holding her as an infant and toddler, who, like all babies in arms, was fascinated by my jewelry and saying those words - often.

So, just in case you’re looking for a quick, easy and, apparently,memorable way to fix an apple for your little one (or anyone in your life) try this:

Microwave Apple Chunks

Peel and core an apple (or 2) and chop into bite-size chunks;
Place apple in a small, microwave custard dish or bowl;
Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar (I usually mix 1 tsp cinnamon into 1 T white sugar.);
Add a dab or two of butter on top;

Microwave on high for 1 minute at a time, stirring after each minute, until the apples are warm and soft (not mushy);


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - "Prime Cut"

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Here are my teasers for today:

"Like a fudge souffle, life can collapse. You think you have it all together - fine melted chocolate, clouds of egg white, hints of sugar and vanilla - and then bam.There's a reason things fall apart, my husband would say. But of course Tom would say that. He's a cop."
pg. 3, Prime Cut, Diane Mott Davidson

Yep, I'm back into the culinary mysteries again. This one is another in Diane's Goldy Schulz series. Just started it tonight so there's not much more I can say at the moment.

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your 2 ‘teasers’ in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Yard work, family reunions and the blues!

Well, it was another busy weekend. (Aren’t they all?) It seems we’re running out of time and we need to rush to squeeze it all in. Before what? I’m not sure. Maybe we just hate to lose the longer days of summer although a little cooler temps might be welcome.

The Big Guy was plum worn out!

We followed Friday’s concert with a bit of car, yard and home maintenance on Saturday during the day. Yep, we’re prepping for another trip, gang. The yard and housework were routine and those that stay behind will need to keep that up anyway, while we’re gone. The car bit was definitely a form of vacation prep.

Starting with a fairly early dinner at a nearby restaurant, we met up with about 40 or so of my husband’s cousins and their offspring for a casual family reunion in the evening. The restaurant is a microbrewery. We hadn’t been in for a while (It used to be a regular haunt for us.) and the Brew Master made a point of coming over and spending some time chatting and catching up with The Big Guy and I since he hadn’t seen us in so long. So I guess it was also an “old friend” reunion for us, too. Once we had all milked dinner for all it was worth and felt the restaurant really wanted their space back, we migrated to one of the cousins’ homes nearby and spent another few hours just “catching up” with everyone.

My only regret is I never remembered to pull my camera out - not even when we were passing a bunch of photos around for all to see!! You would have thought those pictures from the last reunion would have triggered the thought, but, no, they didn’t. I’m not sure anyone took pics this time. We were all too busy talking!!

If your family doesn’t hold big formal reunions, I highly recommend this approach if there are still a number of you in the area. Just book space at a local restaurant and invite everyone to join you. Make it clear they are financially responsible for their own food and beverages. We purposely pick a place that offers everything form sandwiches right up to fancy formal dinners and the orders throughout the crowd reflected that variety.

After such a late night, we were still up bright and early on Sunday so we could get on the road for a trek to the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania for a little blues festival in the tiny borough of Fleetwood. For a small little town, these folks throw a terrific event to benefit the Recreation Council and, specifically, to maintain and improve the great city park (where they hold the event) and the pool there.

They charge no admission and ask only for a parking donation as you enter the park. The fire department provides great traffic and parking assistance throughout the day. The Rec Council runs a food stand for additional money making and they hold guitar raffles throughout the day.

This year there were 8 instruments raffled off in addition to a grand prize raffle at the end of the day. Where else can you take a chance on a Les Paul guitar for only $1 and have a chance of 1 in 300 or so of winning? (Um, we didn’t, incidentally, win anything. But we did try.) Last year, they raised $8,000 for the Rec Council at this little event.

They feature 7 or 8 bands each year and every one is excellent. We can never stay until the end (the last band takes the stage at 7 p.m.) as we have quite a long journey to get home and The Big Guy does get up early on Monday for work. By the time we left this year, the crowd had swelled to about 1500 folks.

One word of caution should you attempt to attend this one in the future. When planning your trip, Mapquest nor your GPS will make time allowances for you ending up behind Amish buggies on little one lane windy roads that don’t allow much room to pass. Be sure to allow LOTS of extra travel time!!

You will, however, travel through some beautiful countryside to get there. Despite all it’s bad qualities, a field of healthy tobacco plants is a beautiful thing to behold. At one time, you saw such fields throughout Maryland but there are only a few tobacco farmers (almost exclusively Amish farmers) left growing the product here anymore. You can find a few fields in Cecil County (MD) and just across the Pennsylvania line (the ones we passed this week) and a few in Southern Maryland in St. Mary’s and Calvert Counties. Unfortunately, I was driving and couldn’t photograph the countryside at the same time. You’ll have to drive through and see it for yourself.

*** Pictured bands:
Blues Factor
Blues City Blues Band
Friars Point
James Supra Blues Band