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.


Sunday, July 09, 2017


Beach Traffic


Dog at beach house


View at beach house


We had a shopping trip as we came in- not at the tourist store. Fruit, cheese, nuts, treats. Georgia crew just made plans for dinner tonight and breakfast for which we are grateful. Really it's how it's supposed to work. It's just that others in the past didn't figure that out and played "your food and our food." They aren't here this time.

It is a huge house and that is the best. Very close to the shore and that is the best. If you decide cool wins over hot there can still be ocean.


Saturday, July 08, 2017

On the road. Tomorrow will be again.

It feels a little silly to check into a hotel at 3:00 after five hours of driving. Greathusbandbob said "now what are we going to do?" But I'm still glad we've done it this way. Four and a half hour drive tomorrow.

Lots of fun texting with the kids yesterday and today. On the flight here-


They're only about twenty miles away but are going to a baseball game in Charlotte tonight. Other family members have been checking in from NY and GA. All very much looking forward.

After some initial slobbering and frothing at every rest stop, the puppers has settled down. She's not even barking at the people outside the hotel room. Just watching a little tv. And has already dug herself under the covers.


Because the big guy did all of the driving, I was on meal recon. I had to drive into downtown Mt. Airy to check out the Mayberry factor. There was a kitschy souvenir shop that I probably would have liked. Lots of burger and shake shacks. This time tomorrow twenty people will descend together. Oy. I'm going to try really hard to fight the introversion. How else am I going to convince one of them to take care of me when I get old!


Friday, July 07, 2017


So I'm giving the dog a bath before leaving and my feet start to spontaneously and urgently itch.

I've been moisturizing dutifully.  Perhaps have some rare condition.

I have a condition but it's not so rare- apparently an outlying symptom of menopause is itchy feet.  What. The. Hell.

Rather than share a photo of that, I will instead post the delightful comments I got from strangers (because your friends have to say nice things) about the blanket.

On your mark...

It's that time again my friends.  Vacation blogging.  This year should be a good one. We are going here with the whole gang (dog included)  There should be about 20 of us.

I believe I mentioned earlier that the favorite niece 

is pregnant, due in October.  I have been working on the CAL Atlanticus by Hooked on Sunshine  (ravelry link)  I'm calling it a belly blanket for baby because the cotton texture is delightful.  So much so that a baby will be happy to be on her belly.

It is the first crocheted pattern that I've wanted to get married to.  I've started two others. One in a sock weight cotton and the other in leftover Monroe Sweater eco-wool (I'll probably have to order more at some point.  Crocheting uses so much yarn.)  I have now imagined every single skein of my stash in some form or other of this pattern.  I'm seriously addicted.

One thing that makes this vacay something to look forward to is that there is enough familiar and therefor less high anxiety. We know the beach, we know the grocery store (which is walking distance from the house!) we know the drive, we know the guests.  And while we are going to miss Greathusbandbob's Trump loving brother, we will be glad to be able to speak freely.

Whilst composing this post a package arrived- a bag from the mochithings store.  I allow myself one new purse/bag change a year.  It usually comes in summer.  When this year's arrived, the logo said: