Saturday, August 19, 2017

Reporting from the scene.

Children's choir. The dreaded children's choir planning meeting happened on Tuesday and it was a laugh fest. (And that's not even sarcasm). The theme of the concert is "peace." After we had a mostly full program a google search revealed "War what is it good for" as an option. While joking at first (as in hey do we know any good bari sax players), I actually made an arrangement combining it with "Get up, stand up" and a Shel Silverstein poem about a chicken who won't hatch for socio-political-environmental reasons. If it flies it will be amazing! I have to convince the coordinator that while protest songs may be controversial, they are indeed a part of our history and worthy of study.

School- I got my schedule this week. The number of times I am scheduled to see kids for music has gone from 2 times to one time a week. The number of recess duties I have has gone from 0 to 6 a week, the number of classes I will be monitoring while they do math at a computer went from 2 to 6. It is the most ridiculous waste of a music degree I have ever encountered. And I find it very difficult to believe that the 1/2 hour of screen time a week added to their schedule will raise math scores. It's a work in progress. Ugh.

High school music appreciation- for the win. The weird part is saying things and having kids write them down. The other weird part is how much I have to talk. The fun part has been their answers and ponderings. I've only met with them once but I feel good about what is to come.

So my favorite part of the whole thing is that at 9:30 am I was talking about truth and beauty to high school students and at 11:30 am I was helping a first grader learn how to pump his legs back so he could swing.

The reason I am able to post today is because it was Saturday number one of reclaiming some of my own time back. Cousin was used to shopping and lunch every Saturday which was fine when it's all aunt had to do in a given week. And when it was the only going out and about that cousin did. Now that both of those situations are changed, I have finally changed the shopping routine. We went at 8:30 am and I was home by 9:30.

There is now plenty of time for finishing sleeping in, food prep, laundry and some WiiU Zumba. In fact last week at this time I was just starting what I have already finished today.

The food plans for the weekend include making more oats and honey bars (the oats and nut ones were a little overwhelming), preparing some vegetarian chili, and making a Mexican "casserole" (more like a tortilla lasagne) with salsa, refried beans, and cheese. Light on the cheese, heavy on the beans.

The salad in a jar was an amazing success. One change to be made is to make sure the ingredients are plenty dry when they go into the jar. A little moisture can really horse things up.

And that's all the news that is the news. Stress level-3.5/10 which is pretty good.


Sunday, August 13, 2017


We just finished watching Ozark on Netflix.  It was all about decisions and how one decision effects the outcome of everything.

Last summer I made friends with zumba.

This summer we went on vacation.

While on vacation the family danced with WiiU dance game.

The boy and greathusbandbob played a few Mario games together.

The plans were made for the boy to come and stay with us.

In anticipation of the boy coming to stay with us I researched possible games that the two could play together while he was here.

In addition to finding a few, I also found a zumba WiiU game.

And so now I have done zumba every day but Friday for the last two weeks.  Monday and Thursday with grandparents from school and the other days in the basement.  While not as much fun as real life, it's just as sweaty.

Come to find it was a hella hard year

I went back a year in blog posts to see what my brain was like this time last year.  I travelled through the year on the blog and can only say it's been a hella hard year.  If we're talking fiscal calendar July-July, there has been six months of aunt illness with hip replacement and rehab, kidney cancer, bed bugs, and knee surgery for the dog.

While all that was happening I was also undergoing some intense and unpredictable negative menopause side effects and trying to sell aunt's house long distance.

And really, if you want to just gander back at the year before that you'll notice not very many blog posts at all because it was the aunt and cousin transition from there to here precipitated by me driving to there every weekend (or after every ambulance call)  culminating installing her in June, buying and renovating a house for cousin in July and moving her in October.

What. The. Hell.  I'm sure glad I don't have to go through this stuff alone.

In food news-

I steamed eggs to hard boil them and shorted them about 3 minutes and ended up with soft boiled eggs.  Ugh.  I cooked them some more but I don't know what the hot cold hot cold process is going to do to them.  Note to self.  If you're steaming eggs allow 3 minutes for the water to boil and 12 minutes for the actual cooking.

While there was some eating out this weekend, there was only a little bit of cheating and no sweets.  

We ate at the mexican restaurant on Saturday and the only cheat was the con queso dip on the shrimp.  Otherswise shrimp, rice, veggies and tortillas.

Saturday's steak salad had some delicious fries on it- usually in my head I wish there were more fries.  Saturday I was just glad there were fries.   

Here is the lunch plan for the week. ZumbaVickie says she had lettuce that lasted for two weeks when she sealed it in mason jars in the fridge.  I told her that I hope it works otherwise I have two lunches and 3 rabbit specials.

I found out that they sell carrots individually at my store.  Big carrots.  While convenient, those baby carrots mostly seem stupid to me.  They don't have a ton of taste, they aren't as good for you as real carrots and they would need a mason jar of their own (as long as they weren't already tired when you got them out of the bag.)

Additions to this include hard boiled eggs, cottage cheese, grapes, some granny smith apples (I am still tempted to bake one of those)

I may defrost a soup or some black beans and rice to accompany it later in the week.

Dinner plans- tonight it will be fried eggs.  Tomorrow I will make mushroom stroganoff again.  That was so delicious.  I may have it with brown rice which is this weeks "try something new" food.

The first batch of granola bars were filling- maybe had a little too much flour.  The only calories in them came from 1/3 c coconut oil and 2/3 c honey. The rest of the ingredients were wheat flour, oatmeal and plain rice krispies.

The second batch looks to be more decadent.  Oats, honey, butter, brown sugar, almonds and cashews.  This one is refrigerated instead of baked. (though you do toast the oats and nuts prior to assembly- not sure why.)

It has some delicious potential but I'll be wary not to eat them as freely as the others as the calorie content is much higher.

It also comes as a "basic recipe" with suggestions for various add-ons.

Tomorrow is the long meeting day.  Dear Future Self, right now I feel a little anxious about the schedule, duties and high school class.  I am glad my life isn't as crazy as it has been in the past.  I am glad to be teaching only on my end of town and not having to drive to "the city."

And if you're able to read this next year (hopefully we will not all be blown away by nuclear fallout) I hope that the world outside yours is less volatile than it is right now.  I hope the haters in our country find a way to stop hating.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

No anxiety until things start.

Yesterday day this was in my email.


The above ideas were not my suggestion. I said let's hang out and explore the software at the same time. It's a small detail but when you're dealing with a coordinator with a borderline personality order it's crazy making.

This afternoon I headed to my campaign meeting. For the United way. Scheduled at 1:00 at location A. I arrived early at location A. Your meeting is at location B. There was an email. Um. No. Plenty of time to get there. But still. Do things right please..


When I get home I will taste these homemade honey oat granola bars


I'm going to have to practice not letting the little things drive me crazy.


Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Good deed for the day

The aunt got to the box store. She's the Dolly Parton impersonator in the rolly cart.


Pressing needs? Batteries (which I got her two weeks ago) foundation, eye shadow, a birthday card, a $5 box store necklace and some body lotion that she thought was shampoo. This was after we had to leave one- crowded because the students are back- box store for another on the other side of town because there were no rolly carts at the first one.

We did have a decent exchange afterwards.

This is a lot of work for you, you hate this don't you?

It's not my favorite thing.

You would like it better if it involved food.

No that's not it, it's just that I already do it every weekend with your daughter.

Ohhhhhh. Then there was a fleeting memory and knowing nod and she said "I'll give you my list from now on."

And then I offered up a ride in the car to get out of the building every now and then if that would make things more interesting for her.

The truth shall set you free. We'll see how well she remembers that.

Meanwhile, said cousin called today and said "my backpack is falling apart, are you doing anything today, can we go get one?" I said we'll do it on Saturday, took a Xanax and went to bed. She never minds when you say no. She doesn't get disappointed but there is always the guilt of having said no.

Food consumtion was harder today. Few options, no time to try something new. I stuck to it all. The white chili tastes much better after a few days. Zumbabettygave away some cucumbers on Monday so I sent her a note thanking her for lunch today.

What's interesting is that I've grown accustomed to feeling a little hungry. It's not the rumbling death rattle in my body that I used to think it was. If you're a little bit hungry and you're not addicted to sugary carbs, you can make it to the next healthy snack.

That being said, I'm going to have to pick up my find good snacks for work game. I get a little nibbly every two hours or so and there's a cabinet at school full of peanut m&m's and snicker bars. I'm going to try to make honey and oat granola bars tomorrow.

Did a half assed post nap version of WiiU Zumba but sometimes it's not how well you do it, just that you keep doing it. The scale says I've lost some weight and I've noticed that my hump (what hump? LOL) has receded. Not so pronounced. I look forward to misplacing some belly fat so the WiiU Zumba belt doesn't come unattached regularly.

Tonight's big adventure will be beating the garbage men at their own games. Alarm is set for 4:00 am. If they come earlier than that I'm going to load up the car and drop it off at THEIR house and let stray dogs tear it up.


Monday, August 07, 2017

Just skip it if you don't want to chat about my food...LOL

Item one- Zumba at the town hall tonight for about 75 minutes. It was the biggest crowd ever. 15 or so. And I have taken to clapping and cheering with and for everyone. Five of the women there were sisters. What is that even about? It blows my mind.

Item two- I made some meatless white chili. I forgot to buy great white northern beans but had white kidney beans and they worked. I was smart enough finally to recognize that the recipe was too big. It couldn't easily be halved so I just bought the ingredients and eyeballed it. It did not taste too bad but between you and me- I'm growing a little weary of beans.

Greathusbandbob doesn't understand how brown sugar works. If it's in a container in the refrigerator for longer than 2 weeks, it's time for it to go. So tonights plan to make a baked Granny Smith apple with oatmeal brown sugar and cinnamon fell through.

And finally just to demonstrate my willpower of late, this is what I had to move aside to make dinner tonight.


Donuts and cookies. He has at least refrained from buying any ice cream kinds of deliciousness.


Saturday, August 05, 2017

We do more than plan food around here, but not much.

First I have to put this out there. Greathusbandbob for whatever foibles he may have is truly the best when he sees it hit the fan. Other times he teases and often makes jokes that cause me to ask reply "funny to who?" But when you need him he is there.

Today's case in point. A visit to the Aunt. You never know how that's going to roll. Sometimes she's happy sometimes she's cranky mean. I think we get the cranky mean because she can't be that way to anyone else. Today's visit included complaining that we missed a weekend, complaining about not being taken to the store and teasing in a "funny to who" fashion about the time as kids when we slept on a major highway in sleeping bags on lounge chairs in ocean city while the adults got drunk in the camper. She also said she wanted to be reincarnated as our dog so she could go on vacation too.

On the way home greathusbandbob points to the reality of how much we do for her, how we have essentially adopted her adult mentally impaired daughter (to which she says "she's your problem now") and how if it weren't for us she would have been unhappy and/or dead in her home three years ago. So she can complain if she wants to but we are doing the best we can and still keeping sane. However it seems we'll be going to the box store next Sunday. It has to end badly before she'll see that it's not a practical venture.

Yesterday was take cousin shopping and to lunch day. Her doctor said diet. And said something about buffets and only taking a little bit. Cousin took that as taking a little bit of Every. Single. Thing. On the buffet. It was a mound of food the likes a grown man would eat. Pretty sure that's not what the doc meant but I pick the battles. On the other hand when she went back for dessert (it was a smallish buffet) she came back with this.


She's watching her weight.

I behaved myself, had a tossed salad, a small bowl of brown rice and two honey chicken strips the size of my pinkies. Sacrificing and saying no to both egg roll and crab Rangoon. For the past two years every Saturday has been a trip to the box store followed by lunch somewhere. The new plan once school starts is early Saturday shopping (8:30ish) it's a once a month out to dinner or so. I need to reclaim some of my time for knitting friend adventures and workshops and such.

My food today and yesterday followed the rules and there was 40 minutes of WiiU Zumba each day. It burns 600+ calories. Walking for the same amount of time burns maybe 100. I am drenched when it is over every time. That can't be bad.

In other projects. I don't think I'm a lego girl. After spending some initial time with it the novelty has worn off and at some point I'm going to find a good home to give it to.

Although anxious about the high school class I am at least a little prepared. This afternoon I gathered some thoughts about how to start the year with my elementary kids. Whereas the high school prep took the first seven Mondays of summer, the ideas gathered for the little ones are enough to roll with mostly because of the "old pro" factor.

I like to start the year with a theme and this year's will be mountains- and then you use the names of mountains as words by which to learn rhythms. My words are Matterhorn, Table Mountain, Spruce Knob, Mt Fuji and Bear(I needed a one syllable mountain- let me know if you think of a better one.). There is a Bear Mountain in upstate New York and also bears live in the mountains so there's that. The cool part of the theme is that I have actually been to the first three. Looks like I need to make a trip to Japan.

There is a giant crocheted afghan called Atlanticus. I started it on vacation. There are a total of 12 parts. I just started part 9. Here's a sneak peek. It will likely fit our king size bed at some point.


And a special thanks to kmkat, Suzanne and my mom for reading and commenting. Especially when it's so few and far between when I visit the blogs of the first two. I'd probably keep writing even if I felt like I was talking to myself but your comments mean a lot and Suzanne, if I can do it, so can you. 7% in a year works for me. Kmkat- when are you traveling this way? and mama, it was easier than a bunch of complaining venting texts. Have a good week all.


Thursday, August 03, 2017

Sorry about all the food posts but it does keep me motivated.

So today it was wild rice, green beans, total and soy milk, summer vegetable soup, salad, fried eggs and whole grain english muffins and a very berry smoothie.

This smoothie had blackberries, blueberries and strawberries in it- although you can't tell in the picture, it was a spectacular purple color.  What you couldn't taste was that it had half a bag of spinach in it which is about 14 calories but I believe added some bulk to it making it feel at least a little bit like ice cream- the thing I miss the most.  It felt ice cream enough for today.

Wild rice served as today's "filler." I had it with green beans (which came fresh from a zumba friend's garden) and I put some in the summer vegetable soup.  Speaking of that soup, a little lemon zest goes a long (very long) way.  I think the combined acid of the tomato brings out the lemon even more.  

I still have tomatoes, cucumbers, a red onion and a red pepper from the farmers market.  It was going to be a cold  soup (gazpacho as it were) with pureed tomato but that's a lot like the hot soup from yesterday.  I'm thinking that tomorrow I will just make a cucumber/tomato salad with some red wine vinegar and olive oil.  It will be delicious with cottage cheese.  It seems a waste to puree fresh garden tomatoes.  I'll have too much so I'll take some to the cousin who likely doesn't eat a whole lot of fresh vegetables.

So I had some ideas about other foods.  Barley is calling to me as is buckwheat flour.  I'm thinking I might be able to make some buckwheat cakes (like pancakes) to trick me into believing its a gluten-y carb.  Barley feels like a thick food and I have images of it sticking onto broccoli in some sort of mixture.  I'm going to have to give that more thought.

I found a seemingly easy recipe for granola so that is going on the "to try" list.

Let's talk about sugar and carbs.  I think I am getting plenty of sugar in the fruits I've been eating.  I did add a little equal to sweeten both of the smoothies.  I opted for that instead of trying to figure out what medjool dates are and how they work.

My body isn't demanding sweet sweet carbs (cookies cakes etc) as it was when I started this.  I look at them longingly knowing that "nothing tastes as good as healthy feels" and I can resist.  And let's just say that resisting is more than just not buying them.  Greathusbandbob always has a refrigerator full of baked goods for his evening treats.  It's partly what got me into this mess in the first place.

On the second to last Friday before school starts (tomorrow), I'm going to try clean out my car and put things together for the start of school.  There are some things in the secret basement room that came home with me two years ago that didn't make it back last year.  

I'm a little anxious about the new class at the high school.  I know I'll be a genius but I just want to know what I'm going to have to do to be that.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

On today's menu...

Summer Vegetable Soup
From the book-

Sroufe, Del. Forks Over Knives - The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year

So it begins-

A list of things that I had never done before today-

Bought vegetables at a farmer's market that I actually had a plan for

Cut fresh corn from the cob. (thank you google)- had I tried it on my own I would have just used a cutting board.  I cut the cobs in half, put them on the upside down bowl and was able to cut all the way down without danger.

Peel tomatoes. (thanks again google) I had no idea.  I scored a little x on the bottom, dropped them in boiling water for 20 seconds and moved them to a bowl of ice water.  Zip zip zip.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Speaking of lemon- I learned how to acquire and make use of lemon zest.- no pics of that.

The most important decision I made was to go with two pots.  This recipe clearly called for a bigger pot.  In the past I would have tried to stuff it all in and see what happens only later to have a mess.  Not this time.  It was a two pot venture.

The final product looks a little something like this-

Just as the last dish was washed, greathusbandbob came in.  He has no idea the chaos he missed.  That cracks me up a little.

In a huge fit of crack me up some more- he walked in and said "they gave me these two zucchinis if there's anything you can do with them."

The plan is to freeze most of the soup in individual ziplock bags and have it as an option for dinner.

In other news, what with the boy gone- he left yesterday- we have easy access to our tv again.  I tried out the wiiU zumba game.  It was a win. You wear a goofy wrestling belt with the controller tucked into it.  I got as much of a workout as I do on Mondays and Thursdays.

The Letter arrived today.  I'm so glad she waited until August to send it. We report back to work on August 14.  Students begin on August 17.  And so begins another year.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

More skinny food.

Total and soy milk

Brussel sprouts

Plums and cottage cheese

Mushroom stroganoff.


Posting because the mushroom stroganoff was amazing





New knowledge- there is more to life than white button mushrooms. Cremini, portobello and shiitake with garlic, pepper, Italian seasoning and sour cream over whole wheat noodles.

I made food that tasted really good. Such a rarity.


Friday, July 28, 2017

More skinny food

Breakfast- Total cereal w/soy milk.

I've always been slightly creeped out by soy milk. I've always hated the way my belly feels in the morning with a bowl of cereal with cow milk. Go figure.

Lunch- wild rice, corn, bean salad, nectarine and cottage cheese

Snack time- pumpkin smoothie made with ice, pumpkin pureé, soy milk, two packets of equal, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.


Dinner plans tonight- shrimp with broccoli (maybe over wild rice, maybe not.)

Another accomplishment for the day-I put together a blues cigar box guitar. Complete with glass finger slide bar.


I have another kit ready for using in next year's music appreciation class. It took about 40 minutes (without my magic string winding tool) and will be less now that I know the tricky parts. Just time enough to put it together in class and practice playing it.

Add a little ukulele playing and it's a good day.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Falling Behind Falling Behind.

And so go the lazy  days of summer.

The boy 

The boy came down from the back 40 (really just a quarter of an acre- maybe) gave us high fives and said he was half way done.  Greathusbandbob and I have both mowed that area- we know it's hard but it really takes more energy to come back into the house to tell us about it than it does to just finish it.

He's decided to be a YouTube millionaire.  He already has 100 followers (friends and friends of friends)  If he gets 10,000 views, YouTube considers him for advertising.  His videos are xbox recording of him playing video games (just the game) with background narration of him telling the story of how he got into a fight in fourth grade.

Today he went with a friend of greathusbandbob's and learned gun safety and got to shoot 100 rounds of three different guns.  I wasn't there but was told that he talked non-stop for an hour upon returning.  Not sure if that was good or bad.  As husband says- you never know what will stick.

The Aunt and the Gauntlet-

I was able to make a daytime visit to the aunt- post lunch visit.  She was in one of the chairs outside the entrance that we like to call the gauntlet.  And actually we jokingly call it the gauntlet  because no one has ever really paid attention to us entering other than to say hello.

When aunt is presiding, visitors do in fact go through the gauntlet.  Who are you?  Why are you here?  or sometimes with more subtlety Are you a doctor? Who are you here to see? Who are those other people with you? I'm just glad I'm related to her and she knows why I'm there.

She also told the story of waking from a deep sleep after breakfast, seeing that her watch said 10:10 and wondered why they hadn't gotten her ready for bed yet and why it was still light out at 10:10 at night.  She even checked the tv to make sure it was really 10:10- which it was but likely the a.m. was too small to see.

The food and such-

Since the return of vacation there have been no treats.  I have weaned myself off sugar (likely why I've been so tired lately)  Few carbs and then only whole wheat ones.  Shrimp, eggs and cottage cheese are the only non-vegan items. Everything else has been plant-based eating. Fruits and vegetables- nothing processed.

It was Zumba on both Monday and Thursday this week.  Monday was sort of blah blah go through the motions.  Today, now that I feel comfortable with the "gang," I encouraged everyone to clap and cheer after each dance.  Everyone thanked the leader for a great class tonight but secretly it was me. (this is the only place I can say that)

The husband-

Cancer free after 6 months in his lungs and kidneys. Yippee.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

This week's protein


Black beans, red beans, garbanzo beans, corn, cilantro, and oil and red wine vinegar.

I must admit to two ice cream sandwiches and some fries on a steak salad but before vacation that was a daily carb/sugar fest rather than a week slip up.


Saturday, July 22, 2017

You read it here first.

I've been on the fence about the grandson. Given his behaviors at home, what we are experiencing is a little too good to be true.

Case in point- the first thing he did on vacation is ask to join me on a dog walk, telling me all about the "lighter side" of his bad behaviors (with trumplike justifications and avoidance of details that didn't suit his flow of the story) He spent all of mealtime yesterday talking about what he needed to do to do better. It seemed genuine. But it is the same genuine that says he's going to work on the lawn, take out the garbage (for pay even) and then something comes up.

Sadly, I think he is biding his time.

He's not the terrible annoying horrible preteen he once was. He doesn't drive you crazy at every waking moment as he once did with his siblings around.

But he says things like- girls like to get carded because it makes them feel young. (then to me) I bet you get carded.

Then to greathusbandbob (who's favorite movie is Glory-family history connections and all) I love war movies (we were watching Hacksaw Ridge) especially Glory.

Having seen that he hasn't been trouble, the other set of grandparents have asked to have him for the second half of the month. While their näivete will likely allow him to get away with a little more, my guess is he's put himself on probation until he gets back home. You could almost see the glint in his eye as he considered the less strict environment. Of his grandmother he said "she's a real piece of work."

I feel bad for thinking so and I hope very much I am wrong but my instincts say this kid is playing the game- doing his time- until he gets back in his element and does whatever he wants.

He'll have three weeks without any bad behaviors or consequences (and a clean slate) when he leaves here but he has also had very few expectations placed upon him. Our house is the music class to his regular classroom at school Everybody loves it because there are not as many demands.

His uncle says he's a "playah". His mom thinks he has trouble with follow through. What else can she believe of her own child who shows just enough concern and interest to keep her believing.

Time will tell but you read it here first.

Friday, July 21, 2017

A note on summer

A friend of mine recently shared a Facebook post about the heart of summer. There is a moment when goal driven-here's what I'm going to accomplish on summer vacation teacher becomes "it's late July and I have about three weeks left" teacher.

It usually happens after vacation and at said point the reaction to summer goal progress is "meh, whatevs." There's not even enough motivation for the full word "whatever."

After eating every single carb in the house for the first half of summer I have spent five full days with reduced sugar, (a bowl of life cereal in the morning) and fruits, vegetables, and beans. Today I lived on the edge and had some salmon. We went to The big red restaurant with bad service and had broccoli and carrots on the side and no bread. One day at a time.

In spite of a two week sabbatical, duolingo says I'm still 15% proficient in Spanish.

And today I explored this- sorting pieces by color and size I made some progress. Non verbal instructions are weird. Let me read about what to do. Don't just show me pictures. But that wouldn't make sense in this situation and it's a new and different challenge for my brain. It's like putting a puzzle together with clues.



I've got about five weeks of high school music appreciation lesson plans finished. (They may actually be more than five weeks). Additional topics include ear worms and synesthesia.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Let's pretend

The last night we were there we had another celebration. Greathusbandbob' oldest granddaughter has come out as gay. After she announced on Facebook I asked her mama if a celebration was in order. Mama asked and gd said "thanks but no thanks." As the week moved on she said "well maybe a cake with a rainbow on it." And so it was done.


The rainbow was really anything but. Hey grocery store, ever heard of roygbv? It was very low key and a chance for everyone to acknowledge celebrate and support the fabulous girl that she is.

Later that night grandfather essentially said "let's play AA" but not really. He had all the grandkids in the room, he brought up a topic everyone got a turn to speak on it without being interrupted (crosstalk) and had to pass when they were finished. His adult children, seeing what it really was, sort of puhpooed it at first but were eventually we're interested enough in the things that kids had to say to participate.

I missed the first round but the three topics while I was there were past/present/future, fear and extraterrestrials. The e.t. Topic was proposed by one of the kids and eventually led to heady conversation about the universe and our place in it.

My favorite line by far came from the age 5 granddaughter who said something to the effect of "how does the earth move so fast spinning around the sun and we don't even feel it."

One grand brought her mama to tears when talking about fears and saying "I don't even know how parents do it."


Son of greathusbandbob shared his experiences with fear and panic attacks and I'm certain it's the first his girls had ever heard him talk about those experiences.

It was quite lovely.

Our only non participant was "the boy" the 15 year old grandson who is staying with us and out of trouble for a little month. There is so very little to do here and Grandfather can be such an imposing figure when needed. He's presumably here to do work but is pretty unaccustomed to the humid climate and is struggling so far. Quote of the day "weedeating is harder than it looks."


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Wedding Reception

Three years ago nieceCharlotte talked about having a baby someday with her then beau Danny.  Then they broke up.  And I was sad because he seemed by all indications a great guy.  Then they got back together and then she got pregnant and then they got married and then three weeks later they came to the beach house.

Their wedding was small- immediate family maybe 10 people total.  The beach trip was the closest thing to a honeymoon.  Greathusbandbob and I floated out the idea of a wedding reception to his daughter and she made it happen.  Balloons, flowers, orange juice/seltzer toast, playlist including the electric slide, the chicken dance and hava nagila- including lifting the Irish groom on a chair in ironic jewish fashion. 

Both are Star Trek fans, both are introverts.  The two youngest family members carried flowers and led bride and groom to their seats at the table to the theme song of the Original Star Trek series.  In spite of the fact that we had spent the entire week with them, those few magical details really made it feel like a wedding reception.  Here they are arriving-

Son Ian's playlist included the song "I wanna marry you" 
at which point I began to get all teary.

Dinner was served and the couple shared their first dance together.

Greathusbandbob giving the toast, unable to hold back the tears at 
the mention of the brides deceased father, his brother Fred

The Electric Slide- which ironically the 
groom (an electrician) was the only one who remembered how to do it

Danny in the chair- the only reason Charlotte was spared 
was because she was six months pregnant.

YMCA with grandfather and the grandkids.

And finally, the bride is gluten-free- the real kind not the hipster kind- so we had an ice cream sundae bar instead of a wedding cake- various toppings and ice cream flavors.  The winning combo for me was Turkey Hill orange sherbet/vanilla with chocolate sauce.  Mother of the bride and daughter Melissa making sure everything is ready.

It really was one of the most magical wedding receptions I have ever been to.  
So. Much. Love.

Healthier eating Day 2

Yesterday's meals-

Life cereal with blueberries for breakfast.  Salad for lunch.  Beets, cottage cheese and hard boiled egg for dinner. Strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream for late night snack.  No treats on Monday and some Zumba.

So far today it has been life cereal with blueberries and this deliciousness-

What appears to be black beans and rice is actually black beans and cauliflower pearls.  Now that they sell them in the produce department, I've been able to use them.  Anyone who has seen me in a kitchen knows that making my own cauliflower pearls is a no go.  This has tomatoes with habanero peppers, garlic, chili powder, thyme cider vinegar and worcestershire sauce.  It was very tasty. Any more if I make something edible, I'm pretty impressed with myself.

It's knit night which means I'll have to just say no to Harry's pizza and Panera's treats and yes to salad from one of those locations-but it's not forever.  It's for now to see if I can curb my sugar/carb addiction.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Beach Art 2017


Shelly and the Tide


Sandy and the Tide

Post Vacation Post

There is still a good bit to share from the beach vacation.  Specifically the wedding/baby shower and the coming out celebration but that will have to wait for another day as there are still 250 pictures to sort through.

Also- life does go on.

In today's news- I am a giant.  Not just overweight but a verifiable giant as can be seen by some of the photos from vacation.  Something has got to give.  No more ice cream.  No more treats.  A trip to the grocery store this morning brought an abundance of fruit and vegetables which I will name here so as not to forget- beets, sweet potatoes, cauliflower pellets, eggs, feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, nectarines, plums, and  black beans.  If I can't make some healthy choices from that collection there are no healthy choices to be made.  The trick is to do it for more than a week.

beets and sweet potatoes in progress
Mail orders placed in anticipation of returning home arrived today.  I have never played with legos.  I don't think they existed when I was little, I didn't have any kids to have them and we were sort of always a stupid lincoln log kind of household.  I ordered this hoping it would be a group project.  

today's wager- will it or won't it happen?
GreathusbandBob suggests that we not do it on the kitchen table because maybe we'll want to eat there.  We have eaten there a total of maybe 20 times in 14 years.  But he also says, "maybe some people can help" which is very promising.

And in an effort to keep both greathusbandbob and grandsonLevi busy I ordered these while on vacation-

They had a good time playing MarioWorld together so it should allow for some bonding moments.  That is if grandsonLevi gives up his vampire ways.  I thought I had sleep arrhythmia. Nothing like the weirdass sleep of a teenage boy.

It's Monday and that means at some point it's time to plan for another week of music appreciation.  It also means it's time to sort through more pictures and mentally prepare myself for Zumba. (there may be a wiiU zumba game headed our way as well- again- still taking bets)

And because it cracks me up- I call the following photo- "he's never coming back"

Thursday, July 13, 2017


The kids made dinner. Sort of.


I burned my feet on the sand yesterday. Note to self don't go barefoot on the sand at noon even if the dog thinks she wants to.

I haven't made any food or done any dishes other than my own.

There is a little girl here who I have to ask to speak more quietly and believes every sentence should begin with the word "basically." She is seven.

The one who is five and wouldn't talk to anyone last year or the year before has completed kindergarten and has figured out the whole being in the world thing,

The two mentioned above were having a conversation about their initials (while putting them in a video game) I like to call this "when relatives meet."

Hey, my name begins with a T!

What's?!?!?! Me too!

My last name is Terry.

No way!!!! Mine is too!

Greathusbandbob and his adult children had a pots and pan jam session after dinner.

Tomorrow is a wedding/baby celebration.

The dog is much happier now that the thunder has stopped.


Vacation made.

I feel guilty for not basking in the sun and water but then I'm doing what I love (reading, playing with yarn, napping and not worrying about other people) so it is still time well spent.

Nephew Leif recalled my love of Young Frankenstein and ordered it with the coffee pot carafe he had delivered. Last night at movie night we all watched young Frankenstein.


This morning was a big round of MarioKart and some coloring


I've done some online shopping while here. Some more ecowool to finish the giant mandala afghan I started with leftovers before we left and a lego model of a Volkswagen bus because I think maybe I would enjoy doing that and maybe the boy will too.

In a stroke of genius trying to figure out how to have food at the wedding baby celebration we decided to have a sundae bar with gluten free and lactose free options. Genius. Thanks you PBS rewards at school. In addition there will be flowers and balloons.

There were teacher messages on Tuesday night. It's hard to say I miss you to teacher friends because it suggests a desire to return to work. Instead we opted for a swimming pool play date back in the burg next Wednesday. That will be something to look forward to after the return and change in the living arrangements.

Monday, July 10, 2017

People are happy and having fun.




Favorite quotes of the day "oh crap" while learning craps. And "don't be sad about losing, be happy about me winning."

The dog is exhausted but got to walk on the beach this evening. Here's the thing. When it's hot and humid I become a sheen of sweat after 30 seconds. It is so unbearable. The house is nice enough that you don't feel trapped while inside and a dip in the pool is on the agenda for tomorrow but for the record, I hate hot. Alaska next year. Anybody? Beuller.