Wednesday, September 29, 2010

autumn's coming

Summer's sneaking out while autumn's creeping in. I see it, feel it, smell it. Autumn fools you. It was in the 40's this morning, but by the time Ellie and I walked, the air was warm. Well. Ohio just that does that all the time.

A nip in the air also means we "close" our cabin for the winter. "Close?" ask the southerners. What do you mean? This is north, way north, where snow can blow in October and ice remains on the lake until April.

Whitecaps whipping the lake, we spotted just one lone boater all weekend.

 All docks get pulled from the lake. And for a cottage built in 1945, it means the pipes are drained. We check for dead trees that could blow down on the cabin.

Usually, we'll have spotted one or two over the summer that really should come down. I'd cry for the felled birches, except there are dozens more coming right behind them.

To make way for the dock sections, the boathouse is straightened and cleaned.

And - perhaps the best entertainment all weekend - my husband put on waders for the dock disassemblage (such a word?). He was, shall I say, a fish out of water!

With the able help of our amazing neighbor Roy, the dock was soon put
into hibernation. 

It wasn't quite as cold as you might think ...
but almost.
Call me crazy, but I am crazy over the entryway into the kitchen.

I love the way thousands of feet have worn away the paint for 65 years.
I roll up and hang the clothesline behind the door.
I love the collection of small stones lining the screen.
The kerosene lantern I found for $2 at a yard sale hangs here. I proudly use it because I learned how at Girl Scout camp many years ago.
And I like how my daughter's flip flops sit waiting for next summer.

On our final night there, I played with my camera,
trying to catch the light on the boathouse.

And as the sun slipped beyond the western lake shore,
we sadly and sweetly said goodbye
until next summer.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

be back soon

Been a little occupied. Back soon. Promise!

Friday, September 24, 2010

the grounded girl

the Grounded Girl and her family

Our kids tease me about our "hippie" days: as newlyweds we ate lentil burgers. We really did, though we weren't hippies by any stretch!

In our early married days, I was very health-and-exercise conscious ... jars of whole grain flour and brown rice lining my kitchen counters.

Then? Well, along came four kids, Halloween, the discovery of M & M's, and sports. Yes, baseball, soccer and tennis, all of which took me out of the house and away from the kitchen. I admit to the occasional Stouffer's mac & cheese for convenience.

Enter daughter-in-love Jenny, who is dedicated to healthy eating and living. She now has a blog dedicated to teaching us how - and most importantly why - to eat more healthfully. If you're like me, you might desire to make changes but aren't sure how. So I invite you to check out grounded girl. Simple, easy-to-follow tips and recipes for improving in your healthy eating department. Great stuff!

Well, I'm on a time crunch, gotta go. Check out grounded girl!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

the fair, part deux

Ok, ok, I admit it. Today was "senior day" at the fair and at 55 I now qualify. Oh, goody. So off we go: my long-senior husband and I, to check out the Delaware County fair.

Things have changed: no one yanking on our arms begging for rides and dip 'n dots and elephants ears. Of course they'd only get the goodies after being dragged through the animal barns for an hour. What a mean mom.

Anyway, we whizzed through the chicken/turkey/rabbit barn in about 43 seconds and headed for dinner. THE BUCKEYE VALLEY ATHLETIC BOOSTERS FOOD BARN or whatever they call it ... an amazing feat of food production the likes of which you've never seen. Volunteer parents, staff and teens whip around the narrow counters, serving up burgers, fries, beef & noodles, cold drinks and even breakfast. One worker named Jon told us he arrives to work at 5 a.m.!

Kind of cute to see hubby chatting with the goats and llamas ...

Well it was rather hot, so we didn't stay long. Browsed the craft building - we always enjoy the winning photographs and quilts. Then I trotted down to the midway and took some shots of the lit-up rides. Little did most of the carousel riders know, a full moon was rising in the east.

I wonder what this fella - or gal - was thinking?

Monday, September 20, 2010

bath time

What could be better for a grandma who lives 450 miles from her granddaughter than skype? It's amazing, I tell you.
I got to "be" with Ari for her bath tonight!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

the fair

It's fair week here in Delaware. I mean, it's FAIR WEEK, the biggest event of the year and it all starts today. I think we went to the Ohio State fair once, just once: an awfully big fair.

The Delaware County fair has plenty to see and do, on a much smaller scale, and it's practically in our backyard. Local kids showing their 4-H farm animals, horse and sheep and pig-showing, crafts and pies, farm equipment, yummy fair food, rides and horse racing. A little horse racing goes a long way for me.

Yippee. The fair. I used to enjoy taking our kids, and it surprises me how much I enjoy it without them. That didn't come out right. But I am excited about the fair!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September ramblings

Back in January, I wrote a post of random thoughts. I think mid-September seems about right to write randomly again.

The big event of today was .... losing my cell phone. I didn't lose it; I just couldn't find it after it slid out of my purse and pinballed around the van. I walked from one side of the van to the other a couple of times, peering under and around seats. I almost asked a complete stranger in the parking lot to call my phone, but finally found it: way, WAY under a seat. Utterly ridiculous.

The photos around here continue to have a life of their own, or at least take over mine. Problem is, I'd rather LOOK at them by hanging them on walls than STORE them. Today the guest room got a little photo display:

A couple of houseguests are arriving Saturday. I love company, but our house is typically not company-ready, if you get my drift. And college kids don't typically leave their rooms company-ready, either.

Just started Believing God by Beth Moore at church on Tuesday mornings. She's a spiritual giant in the world of Bible studies. Lots of homework, but it's good. And I am getting to know some new women. That's awesome.

I'm smelling fall. Little rain has fallen, so things are getting crunchy.

The Tampa Bay Rays are neck-in-neck with the (boo, hiss) New York Yankees in the their American League division. Our oldest son works for the Rays, so we are ultra-excited when they do well. Bill and I watch lots of baseball and eat buckets of popcorn. Go Rays!

When the nest empties, laundry goes way, WAY down. So far down that I feel like I'm skipping a chore or something. Crazy! At the height of kids at home, I did probably 10 or 12 loads a week.

We live in a dog-saturated neighborhood. The two (or is it three?) behind us sound like warthogs when they play. Creepy.

I made extra dinner last night, so it's all ready for the oven. That's such a comfortable feeling.

Have you ever found a book that speaks deeply to where you are in life? So deeply that you're exhausted after reading a chapter? I'm reading such a book now.

Have a nice evening, everyone!

Monday, September 13, 2010


Good gracious. Ari, my gorgeous 8-month-old granddaughter, is crawling. CRAWLING!

"Oh, boo hoo - she lives so far away!" say my friends.

Well, yes she does, not to mention her dad (my son Dan) and mom (daughter-in-love Jenny). My oldest son David lives even farther: Florida.

Oh, I'd love to hop over for a day to play with Ari, or have them over for dinner and birthdays. But here's how I see it. A generation or two ago, sons went to war without cell phones or skype. Babies were born without video cameras or Macbooks to share instantly with grandparents. Now in 2010 we have technology out the wazoo to exchange photos, videos and voices with each other.

Ari's crawling was caught on camera and posted on their blog (Ari's great-grandmother still can't quite understand that) ... and Baba (me) gets to hit 'play' 150 times if I choose. Which I very nearly do. I'll understand if you don't, but you oughta watch it at least once:

Don't get me wrong. I'd love to have Ari nearby. But since that isn't the case, I am most thankful to see her eating an apple (the latest photo sent to my cell phone) or crawling on my laptop. What fun it will be when she's talking and we can skype, chatting about our lives!

Skyping the night Ari was born, from laptop to laptop.
Taken with my camera, on Katie's laptop. Amazing!

Friday, September 10, 2010

sabbatical woes

This sabbatical thing is gonna kill me. I'm probably going about it all wrong. Today my time of rest and renewal became one of clean and toss.

Why am I always cleaning, organizing and tossing? Too many years of NOT tossing, that's it.

Anyway, in order to give a closet organizer/shelf thingie a proper home other than the trash, I had to make a way where there was no way: clear closet space. It's a long story as to why the thing was sitting in the middle of Katie's room. And why it had to move.

So, this afternoon, an afternoon far too gorgeous to have my head in a closet, I cleared the closet in my study. Most of the ensuing pile was graduation memorabilia with scrapbooks that never happened, and wedding memorabilia with scrapbooks that never happened. A seemingly sad state of affairs, but it is what it is.

Now I wish I'd taken before and after photos. The closet looks glorious, but the guest room is ghastly. And houseguests arrive in a week, so I can't just let the photos and graduation stuff sit.

As I said before, I think we collect way too much stuff, only to figure out how to get rid of it.

I'm trying. Closet by closet, I'll get there!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


There's a desk gene in my family. My mom paid the bills on a mammoth metal office desk in our basement. While her main job description was wife/mother/homemaker, she was all business while sitting at that desk. Clack-clacking on an old manual typewriter (she typed letters to family and friends), Mom was the picture of efficiency.

When I was about twelve, Mom did some book work for Dad -
at her desk, of course.
She promptly used her earnings to buy me a desk. A lovely, solid maple Ethan Allen desk which now sits in our guest room. Desks were apparently an important commodity to Mom and she made sure I had one. From then on, I was hooked.
On desks.

One of the first desks we provided our boys was actually a wooden door
balanced on some milk crates.
They thought that desk was super cool.
A little oversized for their bedroom, it strained under the weight of coloring books, construction paper, crayons, pencils, scissors, matchbox cars.
What an amazing work space for two busy boys.

Later on the kids had an assortment of desks: garage sale finds, simple tables, or cheap assemble-yourself styles. I've lost count! But in our house now, we have four functioning desks and two non-functioning. That's nuts.
But we like desks!

This is my desk now. A desk and a table, actually. It's where I work, study, write and dream. Sometimes Often it gets messy. My desks have always been cluttered with notes, reminders, ideas and quotes. Yesterday I cleaned it up. It's no House Beautiful, but it works for me.

Here's what's left:
Planner. I don't really plan with it; just jot appointments and reminders.
Mug of my favorite pens and markers.
Metal holder thingie that holds correspondence I want to get to
and my favorite Bible verses.
A rock paperweight with a bird glued on; made by my daughter. Love it.
Paper clips, tape, stapler, LOTS of notepaper.
Shelf full of Bible, dictionary, journal, devotionals.
CD's. Which is dumb, because they're all on itunes on my computer.
Laptop. My connection to the world, and where I write. If I had to write in longhand I'd be a mess.
A new Visa card from LLBean. I'm not sure if it's a renewal of the old one, or a trick to get me to open a new account. They did that before.
A card a friend sent me in 1995 entitled "How to really love a child." It is awesome and I can't throw it away.

I suppose if I worked in an office all day, I wouldn't hold my desk in such high esteem. But how I love sitting at my desk.
Desks. What's your take on them?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day bike ride: the Kokosing Gap trail

Here in Ohio we are privileged to have a great many "rails to trails:" rail beds that have been converted to well-kept bike paths. After a very hot summer of little biking, we're trying to get out more. So yesterday we headed northeast, to the Kokosing Gap trail.

Beautiful day. Lots of bikers of all shapes, sizes, and ages. The trail meanders along the Kokosing River, woods, and farm fields. A bit challenging for the allergy-prone, it was a great day nonetheless. Someday we'll bring Ari so she can climb on the train.

Yes, this photo's a little blurry, since I didn't stop riding when I took it!

Our friends Fred and Lisa, "instigators" of the ride!

Things I learned from the 26-mile ride:
1. If I bike 13 miles in one direction, it's a sure bet I'll have to ride 13 miles back. I haven't biked 26 miles since - no joke - age 13.
2. Invest in a pair of bike shorts.
3. Take allergy drugs before biking in September.

Friends Brian & Donna, who also rode with us.

What did you do on Labor Day?

Friday, September 3, 2010

a sabbatical of sorts

Do you ever feel that you need a sort of sabbatical, when you must pull away and get your thoughts and your life in order? Webster's points out that the term "sabbatical leave" originally meant a period of absence given every seven years.

That's where I am this beginning of September. Looking back over our summer calendar,  I was startled to discover I'd made eight out-of-state trips since late May. Well, no wonder things are in disarray around here. Since my work schedule has slowed down, I've decided to change my focus a bit. Reading, writing, reflecting, Bible study. Closets and kitchen cabinets. Organizing the bajillion books around here.

Wednesday the pantry got an overhaul. I threw away no fewer than three old boxes of graham crackers. And other things I just can't mention admit. Know what I mean?

Yesterday I jumped into my cookbook cabinet, pictured here. Katie caught me searching for a recipe. TIME WASTER! I found the lost recipe for delicious Chewy Raisin Bars and - no joke - a recipe for Flubber! One of the children's science projects, no doubt. It made me laugh.

Today I'll do another kitchen cabinet. No telling what I'll find.

I think we women sometimes don't allow ourselves to pull away. For me, raising children made it easy to slip into a lifestyle of doing for others, with little balance of giving to myself, whether physical exercise, reading, spiritual growth, or just doing something I really want to do. Like organizing my home. (That's even hard to say: me, myself, my.)

How do you find balance? Have you ever taken a sabbatical?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

things Mom DID teach me

OK, so she didn't teach me how to clean the shower, but Mom taught me many things. As lessons are best learned, she taught these by showing, not telling:

A love of the out-of-doors.
How to make a fire and cook over it.
How to pack a bedroll if you don't have a sleeping bag.
To be unafraid of the dark.
How to read, and to love it.
To laugh at myself, not others.
How to change a bed.
And do laundry.
To let little things go.
How to be a good neighbor.
How to plant daffodil bulbs.
How to talk to a baby.
How to knit.
How to make potato salad.
How not to make coleslaw.
How to make southern cornbread dressing.
How to raise and love children
how to let them go.

Thanks, and happy 85th birthday, mom.
Wish you were here.