Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Olympic Medals

Nothing extraordinary was accomplished today.  The mundane and common were the code words for this day. 

The off-season clothes were laid to rest in the two new plastic storage containers we bought yesterday.  That was commendable.  That one simple act finally got the piles of clothes out of sight.  Of course, there are more things occupying all flat surfaces.  If a new table was placed in my craft room, it would surely be covered in Olympic time, and there would be a coveted gold in clutter hanging from...what?...well, maybe the light switch.  That room needs an organization guru to visit.  Oh, I could get it done, but what decade would that be? 

My dear Mr. Sweetz took my car and got my car registration renewed today. He also ran by the grocery store and bought eggs, milk, and OJ.  He called to tell me he was bringing lunch home so I wouldn't have to cook another day.  Nice man!  He's earned another metal.  Must be the Husband category.  No, not all husbands earn that.  He's special and the metal needs an honorable name.  Yep, yep, yep, I'm thinking of something appropriate...

Heard today that two management employees where I used to work were given their walking papers.  These are "seasoned" employees - not young folk.  They will be two more in the national unemployment statistics this Thursday.  That leaves one manager  remaining in my department whom I worked with just two short years ago.  Wow, the ax is really slashing.  Perhaps the best advice to the remaining one should be HDMS:  head down/mouth shut. 

I have permission from the bride to publish their wedding photos so here are a few of my favorites: 



Monday, July 30, 2012

Started with Italian and Ended with Gold

Mom went with us today to meet Brian for lunch at Elizabeth's.  Nice place which really takes special care of their customers which is the reason we keep returning.  Our waiter, Shawn, was outstanding who oversaw our needs with us barely noticing.  That's the way I like it.  Sweetz and I got pasta - he ate all his and I could only eat half - but I'm sure it was the best half!  :)  A take-out container is holding the rest of it in the fridge for tomorrow - along with some leftover chicken from Sunday's lunch. 

After lunch we met Tina at her office to give her the wedding pictures on a zip drive.  I had a cute bag with some special touches. 

I tucked the zip drive in the fortune cookie, which was used at the reception, as a "holder".  In the picture I have the drive pulled out just a bit to show it's there, but since it was small, it snugly fit completely down in the felt "fortune cookie".  

Tina looked at some of the pictures on her computer and after tearing up, she actually cried.  What a fabulous lady she is along with a super guy who is now her husband.  She then opened the package containing the paperweight which had a picture of her and Chris on the bottom which radiated throughout all the clear faceted glass sides.  She lovingly held it for a long time, then gently placed it on her desk.  

While there, we were given a tour of the building and got to meet some of the nicest people you'd ever want to know.  Everyone was so gracious to each person who worked there.  The CEO and all the management team treated everyone - all the way down to the lowest paid employee with the utmost respect.  I have never been in a business that radiated this sort of respectful behavior.  Most of the administration came out of their offices to meet me and seemed genuinely happy to meet me.  In comparison to the last place I worked, it was phenomenal the difference the way management  treated each employee.  I've always thought that if the management treated each employee with genuine respect then the employees would be willing to give their all to the company.  But it doesn't seem many companies understand this philosophy.  But walking around this business you could see immediately the respect that each person was afforded. 

Mom, Sweetz, and I then headed to Lowes and Home Depot to pick up a few plumbing items and some storage containers. Maybe now I can get the rest of my off-season stack of clothes stored and will be able to finally clean my craft room...no promises, but it does sound good at this moment.     

We ended our trip with a stop at one of those places where you put your choice of frozen flavor(s) of yogurt in a container, then top it off with any choices of fruit, nuts, chocolate, candy, syrups, etc.  The price is determined by weight.  It's rather expensive, but oh, oh, oh, it is good as an occasional treat. 

Both of our grandsons competed in the Junior Olympics for the stacking cups division in Houston, TX, last weekend.  Both placed - one with a gold metal and the other with a silver. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Expected Time of Arrival

Today was a beautiful day, all sunny with the prettiest fluffy white clouds floating in a sea of blue.   

The bride and I have decided on 2pm as the time for me to deliver the wedding pictures tomorrow.  She's very excited but I know I am just as excited to have that sense of satisfaction to be able to give them to her.  I need to wrap the paperweight in some lime green tissue paper and then I'll be ready.  Ahhhh, I can hardly wait to see her smiles.  Sweetz will be going with me and we will meet our son for lunch after we do a bit of shopping while we are out.   

This afternoon I spent some time reviewing the wedding pictures and it was amazing to see the actual 1.5 hours blended into a sea of wedding bliss via a slideshow.  With smiles and flowers and promises witnessed by family and friends, it was a glorious day for both the bridal couple and also for me.  What a splendid experience - I loved every minute. 

We went to church with some friends today.  The SS lesson was inspiring and the church service was reverent and meaningful.  Afterward we ate at our usual Sunday restaurant with friends.  Afterward, we gave them some of our garden veggies which they seemed to appreciate.  She's a great cook so I'm sure everything will be used within the next few days in some wonderful dishes.  

The Sweetz and I have been trying to come up with some  possible fall trips.  Yesterday, he chose five of his favorite bus tours and we asked some friends who are always wanting to travel with us if they'd like to join us on one of these, but they are rather tied up with Carolina season tickets during the fall season. This afternoon we began to seriously consider the possibility of taking the camper so that's again in the running - and it's definitely my favorite mode of traveling.   He wants to go to Key West - I want to go to Texas.  BUT we remembered September weather could be really hot in both of those areas so they were tossed as September destinations. Lots of time has been spent thinking but still we have nothing definite, but that's the fun of wondering just what we'll see around that next curve...   

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Thinking BIG thoughts

I'm trying out different fonts...think it will make my entries more interesting?  Doubt it, but it might keep MY interest high.  I don't like same ol', same ol'.  So tell me, how does Sweetz Stuff get to stick around?  He knows he needs to offer variety...  

The day started with me in the kitchen fixing a "big brunch" and it filled our tummies for hours.  Then dinner time arrived and I just DID NOT want to face another meal prep!  So, off we went to Ruby Tuesday to allow the chief cook and bottle washer a reprieve.  We both chose meatloaf which just happened to offer a trip to their garden bar. Fiber, fiber, fiber.

Mom stopped in to visit this morning on her way to Wal-Mart.  She was venting about different things so I listened and allowed her time to work things out.  Whew, was she ever in a prickly mood!  By the time she left, she was calmer and things had been smoothed over.  She might need to get her thyroid level checked! 

Tomorrow we will again visit a church we previously attended for a few weeks.  YES, it just so happens to be where quite a few good friends attend when we all left our previous church.  Can anyone say "Divide?"  They are there/we are elsewhere. I miss them, but Sweetz likes another church better.  Ummm, I might need to put my wifely skills to work and see if I can get him to prefer this other church better.  Could be I need to work on some hypnosis techniques while I'm at it. Think he would stare at a swinging watch long enough to fall into my trance?  Excuse me now while I go find a watch and long chain...     



Friday, July 27, 2012

Green Gold

Today I found it rather hot outside but a few things needed to be done in the heat whether I liked it or not.  For one thing, Sweetz came in to tell me that the fixture on the rain barrel had about snapped loose.  So, off we went to figure out how to save the water and also to keep 55 gallons from leaking next to the house.  Yep, that creates all kinds of trouble. 

I grabbed an old garbage can which fortunately had no leaks and captured most of the water.  When the water level was reaching the top, we grabbed several 5-gallon buckets and finally was able to save most of the water.  The remainder was spewing out like a water fountain and it was impossible to corral it into the containers even though I made a heroic effort to divert as much as I could with my hand. 

We decided it was a great time to water a few things, like some flower beds and some of my herbs. We both mentioned we weren't quite sure at that point whether the rain barrel was worth the effort.  Of course, if the barrel was made correctly, the fixture would have endured more than one year's use!

At that point, I was wet and dirty, so I decided to snip my basil and make some pesto to freeze.  That is the best method I've tried to keep the savory flavor of the basil throughout the winter.  Drying, whether in the dehydrator, oven, microwave, counter, bags, etc., just doesn't cut it.  Most of the flavor is not captured in the drying process and I am usually left with what resembles old dried brown leaves.  Definitely not something I relish sprinkling in my food. 

I spent a bit of time cleaning the basil clippings which were then allowed to air dry.  The leaves were swirled in the food processor to a crumbled green mess which I kept together with some EVOO.  Talk about summer gold.  After I patted the mixture down flat in the bottom of a baking pan, I placed it in the freezer.  After that's frozen I will cut or break it into smaller pieces which I will place in a labeled baggie to use in winter cooking. 

The kitchen with the basil mess has been cleaned but there is still a strong basil smell. It will take a bit of time for the air to clear, but in the meantime, I'm enjoying this heady aroma. And I have a green thumb!

I also pulled the last of the white onions. They were nice and dry and practically sitting on the top of the dirt. I made a salad for lunch today and used one scallion, still quite a few left. Sure had a great flavor for this time of year. Sweetz started a new crop of beets a few weeks ago so I had to check them out. I'd say we could easily harvest a pot of them and thin the row at the same time. Sounds like a plan to me! 

Mom called and said she arrived back home and bought some peaches and nectarines for us on their drive home.  Now, that sounds like some good eating!

And she noticed I had done some pruning on her backyard shrubs while she was gone. But she didn't notice she had her first two ripe tomatoes on her plants.

MainMan is doing fine today.  I must admit it was hard to keep him down yesterday and today he is already back to his usual high-energy level. 

It's time for supper - what to fix?  What to fix? 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Procedure Day

9am: Sweetz will have a colonoscopy today at noon.  The prep (8 oz every 15 minutes) was  conquered, which he said wasn't as difficult as everyone had described.  There were quite a few trips to the bathroom and we did have a good chuckle over his choice of reading material...

It was the GO magazine! 

His main complaint at this time is hunger. 
In fact, as we laid in bed last night
waiting for the sleepies to arrive,
his stomach was growling so loud I had to giggle.
He, on the other hand,
was NOT amused. 

He has declared that he will be eating
an entire LARGE pizza after the procedure. 
We'll see. 

I scanned and printed a copy of an 8x10 picture of my mom and dad taken on our wedding day.  The first try had produced a 4x6 from the original 8x10.  Not sure why it came out that size - but "photo" was obviously not the appropriate choice.  But I got it right the second time so mom will have the copy when she returns tomorrow.  Dad died at age 57, so we treasure the few pictures we have of him.

Sweetz chipped the lawnmower blade as he was mowing the front yard the other day, think he hit a rock or tree root.  Whatever, it died.  So, we bought a replacement at Lowes and he finished the job.  We're finally having some rain, so the grass is green again for now. We also bought a new water filter for the fridge.  Sweetz installed it and reset the gauge button.  We decided this was easier and cheaper than constantly buying gallon water bottles - plus easier on the environment. We used to have good water but now our mailbox is filled with scary, spine-tingling announcements from the water company telling us how dangerous our water could be.  Now, we wonder if the water filter will solve that problem.  Who knows what to do in life! 

We have an unused well - maybe we should reconnect it and get a filter for iron. Our next-door neighbor has sand in her water.  Thought that was interesting that our wells are that close together yet have different contaminants. 

I finished a surprise for the bride and groom - it's a paperweight with their picture.  After I wrap it with some bubble wrap for protection, I'll be ready to let them have the picture package.  But first, we must get through today's "special event".  :-) 

10pm:  The Sweetz was checked high and "low".  He received a good report except for some diverticulosis which is to be treated with high-fiber diet.  He was a bit woozy when he was transferred to the car in a wheelchair (per policy) but kept saying he sure was thirsty...and hungry.  He was advised to not eat that greasy pizza he really wanted.  So we opted to get burgers and come home to eat them.  He wanted two, he wanted onion rings, he wanted a piece of pie, and he wanted a big drink.  He got them...and ate all of it.  Nary a crumb left.  Then he snacked a couple of hours later and then we had a big supper after that.  He finally said he was full.  He has to call his general doc in the morning - we're thinking that is for the results of his followup labs last week.  I'm praying that it will be good news.  If not, we will deal with it, one step at a time. 

I'm wanting to take a day trip tomorrow - am tired of hanging around at home.  Wondering if the Sweetz man is interested.  Nope, I haven't asked him yet.  One step at a time is best with that man.       


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Finishing Touches

Yesterday, I worked for hours on the wedding photos to get them down to a manageable number.  I still have over 400 to choose from.  The bridal couple used a fortune cookie made from felt as a table decor item so I decided to use it as the holder for a flash drive for the pictures I will give them.  Originally I intended to use a plain plastic CD/DVD holder, but this is so much cuter.  Their predominate colors were pink and green so I'll use the ribbon to close the box in which I'm putting the fortune cookie flash drive holder.  So cute!  Another idea I'm mulling is to copy the pattern on the glass coaster place marker at our table.  It will be fabulous as a filler or decoration on the bag I'll give her.  Oh, oh, oh, so cute.  I plan to include a picture in the blog when it's all finished. 

Mom is at the lake again for a few days.  I'm to watch her house and also water her outdoor plants if needed.  She has a security system to keep tabs on the inside so I don't have to worry about that.  She mentioned the other day that she wants a picture of my dad that she doesn't have.  So, I plan to scan and print the one I have so it will be ready for her when she returns. Later...I found the picture and have it printing as I type a bit more.  Might as well dove-tail my jobs. 

There are a few things I need to get at WalMart, so I'm off to finish getting ready to get so that trip can be finished.  There are some other mundane home chores...like laundry, dishes, cooking, etc. that need to be done when I get back.  But most importantly -- I plan to copy pictures to the new flash drive to get that ready to present to the bride and groom who are eagerly awaiting their first look at memories of their big day.  I know I must be as excited as they are. 

In the meantime, here are a few of the pictures from our wedding many moons, gray hairs, and pounds ago

  My parents and me
my brother (L) and Sweetz (R)

a balcony ceremony shot 
9pm: I have finished the photos...well, I think I have.  If I can keep my editing fingers off of them! The plan was to save the photos to a CD or DVD.  But at that point, I had no clue there would be so many photos.  I deleted the number down to 421 and then whittled  the number down a tad more.  Didn't actually look to see what the final tally is, but it's probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 400.  Can't get that many on a CD.  So, I saved them onto a flash drive and emailed the bride to see if a flash drive would be acceptable. I'm sure it is, but our agreement was to have them on a CD so want documentation that it is ok with them.  Also, I should be able to get the entire package ready tomorrow, which is way ahead of schedule.  I'm also working with them to see how they want delivery.  Hope they like them.  It definitely was a delightful experience for me!    

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I Do

Today was Tina and Chris' wedding.  I was fortunate enough to be asked to photograph their ceremony and it was a treat.  Lovely people - I couldn't have asked for a nicer family.

What can I say except it was a beautiful venue, a lovely couple, and gorgeous weather.  And I was blessed to have a small part in their special day.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Touch of Drama

Today, we went to Ferrum, Virginia, for a lunch and musical drama at the Blue Ridge Dinner Theatre.  The theatre is located on the campus of Ferrum College.  Today's production was The Night Loretta, Mother Maybelle, and Jeannie Riley Spent in Jail by Rex Stephenson and Emily Tucker.  With the locale of the production taking place in the old south, there was a menu of southern cuisine which included chicken and dumplings, rolls, eggplant, potato salad, pasta salad, sweet tea, pecan pie...to name a few. 

The gorgeous dining room offered beautiful window views of the campus and surrounding mountains.  We were seated at a table with several transplanted northerners who had relocated to the Smith Mountain Lake area.  Let's say they were out of our league with their huge diamonds on each ear and nearly each finger.  One sweet lady was originally from London, England, who was charming in both her accent and nature.  Everyone at the table was very nice and we all had a great table conversation.  One lady and I were the only ones originally from the south.  Sweetz was able to fit right in since he hails from New York state.

In the auditorium we were seated next to a wonderful couple who seemed to just fall in love with Sweetz.  The ladies on my side were also charming and we chatted before the show and during intermission like old friends.  I wish some of these people were my neighbors!   

The situation in Syria is very tense and analysts are predicting the regime may not survive more than just a few more hours.  In fact, the entire area seems to be spinning out of control as we watch.  There seem to be no resolution in sight.  And then there was a terrorist bus explosion in Israel.  Gracious, where is the peace we need in our world?

On our return home through the hills of this beautiful area, we found a possibility for a future retirement home we thought we could buy...it just requires a weeeeee LITTLE BIT of fix up before we could call it "home".   

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Hey, I'm normal...at least when I say I like clothes and shoes.  I just don't normally like to shop for them.  But still being undecided on what I'll wear to the wedding Saturday, when mom asked if I would take her to Hamricks today, I agreed. 

We ate lunch in a nice little restaurant and it was fabulous.  Then we found Hamricks and spent a couple of hours browsing the clothing racks.  Couldn't find anything made in USA but I tried.  My mind finally settled on red - my favorite color.   This color will certainly stand out from the crowd - maybe not the best selection for a wedding photographer - but that's probably what they'll get.  And certainly everyone will be able to easily follow the lady in red around as I sweetly mold the people to do as I wish - ultimately for the best wedding photos this side of the Canadian border! 

Near Hamricks is a neat frozen yogurt shop - one of those with over a dozen choices of yogurt and 50 toppings from cherries to chocolate - from walnuts to kiwi.  Of course, it had to be checked out.  And we found it was yummy in the tummy.

The bride emailed me her final wedding day itinerary last night so I jotted notes all over the copy I printed and think I have my plans down in wet sand.  Not sure where I can keep these sheets so they are convenient...but maybe by Sat I will have everything committed to memory.  Not sure I'm THAT GOOD. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Itinerary

My bride emailed me her wedding itinerary today.  It's down to the minute.  Sounds like it could be overkill, but actually it gives a great overview of what she wants.  I crunched the items and made notes on the side for my best position for photos.  Rather looking forward to the day.  I've had a dry period for taking wedding photos, so this will be exciting to get back in the groove.  Weddings are usually joyous occasions - a beautiful bride and handsome groom. I would decline the Adam and Steve type. The weather forecast looks wonderful.  

My dental appointment today was rather uneventful - I relaxed in the big reclining chair while the well-paid staff circled around. 

I walked out broker and they were smiling.  I then spent a fun hour with my financial adviser who is a lovely lady filled with  personality.  Guess I'm ok...but who really has any confidence with this economy and the people in control of our lives???  Saw my property tax amount today...life moves on for some and is enough to make others weep.  Retirement aint for the faint of heart.   


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Red and Round

I have a nice spread of tomatoes here in the house.  We have had a great harvest this year and I couldn't be happier.  They aren't the biggest ones in the world but certainly are a beautiful scarlet red color.  The time has arrived that I must do something with them.  Logically, that would involve canning or freezing them.  Last year, I cooked them down to a sauce consistency with peppers, onions, and herbs.  Then they were frozen in flattened quart baggies.  They were delicious used all during the winter and spring.  I just used the last package a few weeks ago. Now, it's time to preserve this year's bounty.  Lots of work, but soooooo gooooood in meals.  

This afternoon after church and lunch I was so sleepy.  But I have an excuse...I took some antihistamine this morning.  So, after reading a few chapters, my eyes just didn't want to stay open any longer.  Needless to say, I laid down for a nice nap.

We had some beautiful blue skies for awhile today, then some clouds floated in - and now we have overcast skies.  The weather forecast shows 30% chance of rain in our area.  That's ok right now, since yesterday we received a generous two inches which will tide us over quite well for a few days.  And the tomato plants are happily soaking up rain water even as I type.  Slurrrrrp...   

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pounding Away

I've been down with another migraine. GRRRR  Now, please tell me WHY I had another migraine?  Wish I knew the cause of them...then I could make a mint selling tickets to my speeches and could rake in a ton of money selling my books.  My head is still tender - which feels like I've been struck in the back of the head with a hammer. Ouch 

We received just a tad over two INCHES of rain today.  YESSIREE BOB, right here in Drought City.  Saw the rain gauge  with my own two crossed eyes. Had to get confirmation from The Mister that I wasn't seeing migraine double.  That rain just came down like normal rain - like in the olden days.  None of that recent sprinkling spit resembles dew stuff.  Nope, this was RAIN - falling from the dark sky.  Had my two hands replacing the emptied gauge when I realized I didn't have a picture.  Why, no one will believe me! OK, you'll just have to trust me on this one.   

As nice as the rain was, it still didn't explain WHY I had to suffer yet another migraine?  Especially right after I already had one DAYS ago.  Just not fair.  Need to redistribute the wealth - like someone else I know.  I can't find any takers though - but maybe I can just change the laws - like this same person I've heard of...

With blurry eyes, I have not been able to read.  In fact, at the beginning of one of these attacks, my brain doesn't want to function much at all.  There is literally some brain malfunction - I can't think of words, I can't even read labels - words look like Greek.  Why I can't even pronounce fairly simple words.  But that stage only lasts approximately 30 minutes, then I come back to my senses.  I knew it would be too embarrassing to type a blog when I wouldn't know what to say - even if I did, I wouldn't know how to spell the words.  Yep, decided it would be better to lay off the serious stuff until  brain function returns.  Why someone might feel the urge to assist me into a straight jacket so I could be "helped"... The Mister felt like he needed to fix supper - probably not to help me as much as he realized I wouldn't be cooking for a day or so.  He tried...but the squash was squishy, the beans mushy, the meat overcooked, the tea watery, the cucumbers bland.  But he tried...and I lived to breathe another day.  Bless his heart...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Drizzling Around The Middle

We actually got a bit of RAIN today.  That is the wet stuff that occasionally drops from the sky.  Our area must have been in the "absolutely no rain!" section of the country because it seems like weeks since we've gotten our feet wet.  God is in control, He will bless us with rain when He determines - but I was definitely getting worried.  We'll be fine for a few days.  1/4 inch doesn't sound like much but it has the worth of solid gold bricks right now in our scorched area. 

And the temps have really DROPPED.  Really.  It's 68* right now and it's barely after 7pm.  Nope, not complaining, just spewing meteorological data.  Mom has been suffering with an air conditioner that didn't want to pump out cold air and several techies have checked this and that with no improvement.  Today, tech #4 came and cleaned out her unit where mud, leaves, and pollen was clogging the works.  She called to say it is working beautifully now.  I told her she would probably want the hot weather back so she could prove it shoots out cold air.  She answered that she was satisfied with the cool outdoor temperatures.  We're both convinced the hot weather will return soon enough.   

Sweetz popped some of my favorite (and incidentally all wash in cold water) clothes in the washer today and then dried them (a definite no-no).  Must say, I was not very happy.  He knew he was in big trouble so he volunteered to fix supper - and clean the kitchen afterwards.  Doesn't quite make up for the mistake but at least I will talk to him again.  Looks like I will be heading out to buy myself some new blouses.  Pity too, because I really liked these - that are now a size 0.  I don't really want the pitiful clothes that are for sale right now - which will also shrink to size 0 if washed in warm water and dried in the dryer.  Don't like the styles, don't like the fabric, don't like the workmanship.  I can sew - perhaps I should grab some fabric and make my own!  Or lose enough weight to wear these doll size 0 blouses.  Our town doesn't have clothing stores worth a flip, so it will mean a day trip.  Could be fun, except I don't like to shop.  But maybe knowing I have nothing decent to wear will prompt me to rethink that feeling.  Ummm, maybe tomorrow.  Maybe I should take Laundry King to share my misery...and then celebrate with lunch on the town.  Well, perhaps I should check out our own town a bit first - there just might be a clothing store worth a second glance.  


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Shorter Lifespan

Today on the TV I learned that sitting can shorten your life.  Oh dear.  I sit alot.  Should I say good bye now or wait? 

I finished my book this morning before attacking the to-do list for the day.  Then this afternoon I started another one.  Hey, this one grabbed me in just a few paragraphs and it's the first book in a series.  OKAY!! Hard to put down a good book, but there were things that needed to be done first.  So, up from my chair I  popped.  

After taking a quick shower and washing my hair, off I started on my day's excitement. I prepared green beans for canning and got them done.  The pretty jars are now cooling on a towel in my kitchen and will be delicious this winter.  Well, maybe by me but maybe by someone else since I'm supposed to die earlier than my stand-up counterparts.

I also made a key lime pie.  We reluctantly let it sit in the fridge for over an hour and then enjoyed a slice.  Didn't take a picture of the pie or the slice but I do have a couple of dirty dessert plates in the sink.  Yeah, there is some pie left - but then I would have to get up from here and that might add time onto my life expectancy. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Front of a Front

Somehow I found a ton of energy this afternoon so headed to the backyard about 2:30 to deadhead the butterfly bushes which were getting out of hand and covered with spent blooms.  They looked awful and were really an eyesore - so I grabbed my snippers and clipped off all the old tips.  Takes a bit of effort but the bushes now look so much better.  Nope, I'm not posting any before shots.  Way too embarrassing.  My neighbor has some yard fluff that I think is way over the top so not going to post any after shots either since her birds with flapping wings, chicken 'n chicks, tacky tree decor, tin man hanging, pink flamingos, etc. would be a bit junky in the background. 

When I let the butterfly plants grow larger, they perform a wonderful job of blocking the unsightly scene, but now my plants are slimmer and shorter and thus not quite doing an adequate screening job.  I might have to rethink the idea of  trimming them too much the next time.  Some years she tones down all this yard clutter but this year it seems anything and everything is fair game in the yard - right in my line of view. I don't mention it because I'm afraid she might increase her "beauties".       

Can't believe it, but we are having a bit of thunder rumble and the sky went from sunny to overcast in a matter of minutes.  There appears to be a front coming through NC but is again to be primarily south of us.  That's a bummer.  This has happened several days recently as fronts move through with great fanfare only to give up its precious rain to some other location.  I'm praying we get some rain in our area this time which is so desperately needed. The weather forecast looks promising for precip the next 24 hours.  And I'm still praying.  Sweetz was heading out to water our garden but with the promise of rain, he decided to wait and see if we get anything out of this front. 

Our stargazer lilies are just beginning to bloom and I definitely want to get some pictures of them. Their fragrance is out of this world. And the tiger lilies are in full bloom now too.  Both are exceptionally beautiful.  Wonder if I can head out safely to snap a few pictures before this storm hits us... 

Later...OK, got a decent one of the stargazer lily.   

Stargazer Lily's first bloom this year - a hundred left to open

Our porch cherry tomato plant produces about 8 beauties every day!
Tiger lilies are top heavy but if we were little people, we could look up and see beautiful blooms


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Found What We Needed

It's like a broken record...I'd flip to something else if I could get my brain around it.  But however you face the thermometer, it's still HOT.  Not a normal hot - but an ultra hot - a steamy hot - a lingering until you wilt hot.  It will get better, right?

I decided I needed to invest in a back-up battery pack for my camera and didn't have the time to order one online so decided a visit to a camera store was the best bet at this point.  This time I drove to Burlington, NC where they have a branch of Camera Corner.  Actually, I never heard of that store, but after doing some extensive internet searching, I found there's a camera store in Burlington.  Since that town is an interesting little town just the right size for some activity, stores, eateries, etc., it was decided to check it out.  They didn't open until 10am this morning, so I had to wait to call to verify if they had one of these battery packs in stock.  Yes, the man said.  WHEW!  Mom wanted to go with me so off we headed.  About halfway there she doubted she turned her coffeepot off.  So, knowing no one had a key to her house, I turned around and headed back to learn that she had, indeed, turned it off.  Better safe than sorry I'd say. Told her I might have to create a check-off list to use before I took her anywhere again - or maybe she should invest in a timer. 

We headed back to Burlington, checked out Camera Corner (I was rather impressed with their inventory and also the helpful staff).  I also bought a "generic" lens cap to replace the one I lost about three weeks ago. 

The new battery pack is now fully charged and the lens cap is protecting the lens --- and I'm relieved once again. 

Mom wanted to shop for some summer pants since all of hers are getting too big.  IMAGINE TOOOOOO BIG!  So, we landed at the Belk HOT parking lot and surely browsed at every item in the store.  Not being a shopaholic, I saundered through quickly then found a seat and played with my smartphone.  By then, she had found a pair of pants she liked but couldn't find a "jacket" or shirt to wear as a jacket.  OK, SwiftShopper to the rescue!  I took the pants and headed out with a mission in mind and nothing would deter me from my destinated result.  FOUND IT too.  Probably was literally the last top in the store as I hustled systematically up one aisle and down the next, scanning left and right with an eye for the perfect top.  Showed her how my choice would go with the pants and gave her several options for tee tops under it. She smiled.  I smiled.  She headed to the fitting room to try them on.  Everything fit, so she bought the pants and the open weave crocheted cardigan plus one of the tees.  Classy is the word I would use to describe the look.  She is a classy lady and those flippy gauzy ruffly sparkly tops are not her look.  Now wish I could find something for myself this easily.  But it wasn't my day today.  And I'm always happy to help her find something that she likes.

We ate lunch at Tea For Two which was delicious as usual.  Then after the shopping tour and prior to heading home, we had a light supper at The Blue Ribbon  Diner. 

Well, I had a light dinner of veggies - she indulged in a huge homemade peach cobbler with ice cream.  And she still weighs 112, soaking wet, while holding a cement block.     

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sizzling in Dixie

Wowwweee, it was a hot one today.  Went up to 100* again, getting so it's a daily event.  Sure don't want to think this is a normal temperature!  I'd take 70's again without hesitation.

I'm heading out somewhere tomorrow to see if I can find a back-up camera battery.  Wish I had thought about it sooner and ordered one online.  DRAT, where WAS my mind??  Oh, maybe it has been cooked with all this heat. 

It's been so hot and dry around here...that the garden, yard, flowerbeds - everything is drying up.  We can't keep everything watered and we sure could use some rain. Not sure how many things we will lose but another day or two of these oven temperatures and things will be getting serious.  Whew, God is really trying to get our attention.     

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fourth of July

Today's the Fourth of July and it's been a great one so far.  Ahh, but a hot one, but that's the joys of summer. 

Sweetz and I went to a community July 4th celebration this afternoon, complete with a hot dog eating contest, free bottled water/snow cones/lemonade/copy of the Constitution/flag/popcorn and a huge water slide.  There were several musical groups, reading of the Declaration of Independence, singing of the National Anthem, and salute to the American flag.  I guess the town's taxes paid for this little shindig but it was nice.

We were able to go in several restored buildings which had a guide in each one.  The first was a small museum of tobacco memorabilia housed in a tobacco factory. 

Another building was a log schoolhouse complete with a teacher in period dress teaching a class to some fascinated pupils. The final outbuilding was a restored tobacco barn with a gentlemen who explained the growth of tobacco from seedling to sale.  All were quite interesting. 

The local mineral club sold bags of "dirt" for $3 which you could wash through a strainer in a running water trough to search for minerals. There were vendors selling the best hot dogs in the state, handmade craft items, as well as volunteers presenting demonstrations on various period activities from wild turkey calls to crocheting.

Our church is sponsoring a Fourth of July cook-out and fireworks beginning at 7pm tonight so I hope I have enough room in my tummy for a hamburger complete with all the trimmings.  There are to be over a dozen ice cream freezers offering some of the best flavors this side of Baskin-Robbins.

My headache, you ask?  It's still with me but should be fading soon as this is the tail end of day 3 and the bottom end of a container of Aleve.  Gotta love OTC meds but a Rx for something more powerful would be even better!  Oh, but maybe I'll never have another migraine...ever...the rest of my life... 

11pm:  We went to our church tonight for cookout, homemade ice cream, and then fireworks.  The kids had a wet slide down a hill plus lots of  other games so they had a ball tonight.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

And The Beat Goes On

Those hammers are still pounding in my brain.  Ouch, ouch, ouch.  Why don't they STOP!! 

Sweetz served supper - guess he deducted (quite aptly) that I wasn't going to budge a toe toward the kitchen.  His night to fix supper...well, he went out and brought a pizza home.  Rough life.  And the veggies remain for another day. I gave mom some of the veggies today and she seemed very appreciative.  She wanted me to go with her on some errands, then to get lunch but I just couldn't leave the confines of my dark house.  Not sure what the neighbors are saying - I'm sure they are madly concerned that I don't have my drapes open...  Sure, sure.  I could die here and it would take the stink of death to get some of them to notice anything.  OK, I'm in a cranky mood.  It's the migraine remember!!!  I warned Sweetz that the grumps are out and anything he does that irritates me a little in the regular life is going to become the major topic of criticism.  Yep, it happened.  That's about the time he decided to grab his car keys and head out the door for some "errands" and to bring home supper.  Fine with me.  That pizza with man in the kitchen... definitely left something to be desired.  I ate one slice. No comments.  Somehow I kept my mouth shut.  Let me tell you, it wasn't easy either.  And the bonus...he brought home a box of Advil Migraine.  Funny man.  Can't take anymore until tomorrow morning - box plainly says no more than two in 24 hours.  Guess that's what it says, can't read that minuscule print very well right now. You'd think the migraine med container would have large print.  Of course not, now explain that to me!  

He's in the Man Cave now.  Good boy, Sweetz. 

I'll be nice in a day or two...   :)    

Monday, July 2, 2012

Hammers Pounding

No hammers pounding in reality, but it sure feels like it.  In my case, it's a migraine that came on while I was in town exchanging my library books. Not sure what brought it on, but it arrived as I was trying to read a sign and noticed I couldn't focus on the letters.  That's the sure sign.  Then I closed my eyes and there it was - the dreaded "light show"which starts as a small loop and then grows brighter and larger, piercing in its intensity while flashing the brightest lights ever known to mankind.  Then the headache arrives shortly thereafter to gnaw through what's left of the brain.  Usually they last three days and I've made it through one.  Can't believe I can concentrate enough to type this - actually working in the dim light with the computer screen dimmed to a lower setting and I'm peeking out of one eye. Ouch

Had so many plans for the day - things to do, but I will slow down and wait for this painful experience to fade.  They will wait.  And I'm thankful I have the opportunity to stay home and nurse the pain til it departs for other shores.  


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Checked It Out

Saturday afternoon I went to the venue for the wedding I'm to photograph.  Pretty place - rustic with charm oozing from every exposed wooden beam.  Neat place with lots of character and as many suitable spots for pictures. 

It was hot as blazes while I was there getting the 50-cent tour with the owner. I'm praying for a few clouds on the big day so I can get some outdoor shots in the shade.  Yep, there are some trees that provide shade and each location will be utilized to its fullest -anything to prevent the bride's white dress from being one glowing mass. 

We have had two nights in a row of booming thunder and lightning with nary a drop of rain.  Quite a spectacle to watch and hear but everything outside needs water to survive.  Finally, this afternoon we had some clouds glide through and blessed us with a bit of rain -- 1/4 inch in the rain gauge.  MIGHTY nice.  Thank you, Lord!!