I’m walking on sunshine………ooooh….

Here in the beautiful land of the Pacific Northwest, sometimes you have to “create” your own summer.  Today, I am wearing a yellow sweater with my boyfriend jeans and t-shirt.  No, it is not in the high 90*s.  It is chilly and cloudy and there is a bit of drizzle.  How on earth do you think everything stays so lush and green?  I honestly could do without the slugs and the mold and the mildew………….however, I have lived in the middle of Oklahoma.  I know exactly how good we have it here!

Yesterday, this is what our kitchen counter top looked like.  Today, happy Summer!  We now have a lemonade center!  So for under $8.00, a trip to the dollar store,  the grocery store and unearthed an old lemon plate I have……………..instant Lemonade inspiration!!!  a little corner of sunshine!

Get out your little sauce pan folks.  It is simple syrup time.  Walk outside and grab a sprig of rosemary, or a sprig of mint, come in and wash it and put it into a little mason jar.  Put one cup of sugar and one cup of water in the pan.  Turn on the flame.  Bring to a boil, dissolve sugar while stirring and then cool.  Pour over the sprig of rosemary.  Put the lid on and put in the refrigerator.  You are ready when you want a glass of icy cold lemonade.  Love having it ready to go to make a quick glass of goodness.

Grab your sunglasses, a glass of lemonade with lots and lots of ice, Say GRACE and enjoy that first chilly sip.  Happy Summer!

Today, I am grateful for:   107.  lemons  108.  dollar store finds  109.  new grilling magazine  110.  sugar in the raw  111.  sunshine (in moderation)  112.  flip flops  113. mixing 1/2 lemonade and 1/2 ice tea  114.  grilled corn on the cob  115.  colored straws  116.  simple syrup ready to use

Say Grace and grab some “fast food”

Just like everyone else, sometimes I would like to grab some fast food and go.  Tonight, Mr. Right will be flying in and we will be having a late supper.  I really, really would like to stop off at a chain restaurant and choose something to eat that is quick and pretty good.

To every single human on earth, MSG is poison.  Period.  Yes, it wrecks havoc with brain cells and it is some nasty, nasty stuff.  It just so happens, I get hives and swelling and itching and my tongue swells up…………you get the idea.  So eating at chain restaurants is pretty much a no go.  Period.  Then add in the vegetarian “thing” and the idea of stopping off somewhere to grab something as enticing as it may seem sometimes, is not a choice.

Enter my “fast food” option.  gardein is a frozen, meat free option, not the healthiest of choices, however, pretty darn good when you crave “fast food”.    I like several of the products and I even have a cook book that uses some of the products in the line.

Some of you may have heard of a restaurant called “Applebees”.  The commercials make it look so inviting and friendly.  Yep, once in a while I see those and think, hey, that would be so nice.    Enter http://www.topsecretrecipes.com/Applebees-Oriental-Chicken-Salad-Recipe.html  Todd.  I love him and his recipe team.  I  like to go and copycat  some restaurant recipes.  I like getting his books out of the library or going on-line.  I can alter or change-up what I need to (like tonight, instead of the chicken he talks about, I have replaced with the gardein for our salads.  His recipes are packed with flavor and some of our friends tell us “it is spot on” when it comes to copycat those restaurant meals.

Tonight, we will enjoy a late night supper.  It will be “fast food” to me.  I already have it prepared and waiting in the refrigerator.  The dressing is mixed in a jar and ready to go.  The almonds and the noodles are on the counter.  The table is set.  Our juice is made and chilling.  So tonight we will drive home, walk in, sit down, Say GRACE and will dig into our fast food, “Applebees, Oriental Chicken Salads”.

Today, I am grateful for:  99. a well running, maintained and fully insured car 100.  new windshield wipers 101.  two refrigerators 102.  the internet  103.  the ability to cook  104.  reading  105.  airplanes  106.  cell phone lot at the airport

no white gloves needed

I recently read this quote and of course wrote it down and pondered it for several days.  “The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any”.  Fred Astaire

Over the weekend we had the pleasure of tramping, walking, skipping and meandering around and around the local Zoo.  It was fun and carefree and perfect weather.  We saw lots of animals and grandgirlie number one, made lots and lots of animal sounds.  She is a sweet little girl.  Happy spirit with a sweet disposition.  Her parents (thankfully, it would be so awkward if they did not), are teaching her lots and lots of good manners.  Sometimes, it is easy to forget she is not even two years old yet.  She says please and thank you.  She sort of says something that sounds like another language when you are done sneezing.  She has to tell her parents she is done with dinner and would like to get down, please.

We were not surprised when Papa (Mr. Right), gave Grandgirlie one and two, both a little baby snow leopard stuffed animal as a treat……………Sweet Zoe said thank you right away.

While thinking over this quote, I am reminded that we all were kids once.  That even grown ups with horrid manners may have grown up not seeing any.

Good Manners make our society better.  Some how easier to get along and like others.  Makes being in large groups smoother and as intimate friends a much lovelier relationship.

No, we all don’t need to go back to “White Gloves and Party Manners” class.  However, some could use a little brush up.  Maybe instead of shaking our finger at others for not having any manners, we should live our lives as good examples.

Thanks, Fred, we all need to be gently reminded that it is our responsibility as a society to be kind and civil to one another.

The test of good manners is being able to put up pleasantly with bad ones.  ~wendell willkie

Today, I am grateful for:

89.  time with grandgirlies 90.  popcorn  91.  having been taught good manners  92.  a basket of clean folded laundry  93.  friends that will meander through a Farmer’s Market with us  94.  Sun glasses with bling  95.  fresh bouquet of flowers in our home, weekly  96.  pretty thank you notes  97. monogrammed thank you notes  98. library books

chill

Not being a fan of bottled water myself, I am hardly an expert.  Sure I buy a bottle in this airport or that……….after the infamous security check points.    Could I really hurt someone with 16.9 fluid ounce plastic bottle of water?  What exactly could I do with it?  Can some Army Ranger please fill us in on some way to kill a villan with the little tiny plastic cap?  I guess you could pour it on some business man’s Dolce and Gabbana suit and he would be so red-faced mad that he would drop over with a heart attack?  I just don’t see the connection between a goofy plastic bottle of water and airline trouble.

Sure I have paid way too much for a bottle of the wet stuff when I thought I was dying of thirst.  I have found half empty bottles rolling under the front seat of the car.  I have seen back up hockey referees, gulping water from a bottle to “hydrate” in case he “gets the call” in the next 3 minutes.

I like the label on the Talking Rain, 25th anniversary bottle of water.  In very tiny print it reads, “as in life chill for best results“.   Made me smile when I read that.  I re-read it and tore off the label to remind myself just that. I sort of want to embroider that on a pillow.

It made perfect sense to me. 

Today, I am grateful for:

80.  clean water to drink  81.  hot water for a shower  82.  water to make my Passion ice tea 83.  water to take care of my outdoor plants 84.  water to wash my towels today 85.  water in a pool to swim in 86.  water so cold you can feel it trickle down your throat 87.  water that makes mud puddles 88.  water for a bubble bath

30 paper snowflakes

Thirty years ago today, I ate popcorn.  How do I remember that?  Easy peasy!  a.  I eat popcorn almost everyday of my life  b.  son number one was born and I had eaten popcorn and an apple that night for dinner.  see?  easy peasy?

Hold on, wow, how did I become old enough to have a son who turns 30 today?  Yep, it’s my blog, so it’s about me!  haha

When he was a little boy, we would tell him all the flags flying were people celebrating him and his birthday.  It was sort of sad when he was around 9 and he figured out that it was Flag Day and the US Army’s birthday as well.  Secretly, I bet he still loves to see the flags flying just for “him”.

Somewhere between sending out the announcements that Dustin Jeffrey Andrew Wilson had arrived in this world and today………….he grew up into a really great guy.  Someone you would enjoy having lunch with or exploring a museum, factory or brewery with.  He has great conversational skills, is funny and well-educated, has great manners, plays well with others………. and can talk on a variety of subjects.  He can and will tell you about his pretty amazing wife and his two sweet, and adorable little girls.   He is an avid animal lover, motorcycle enthusiast, car lover, curry ketchup loving, kind of guy who loves to fish.  His daughters adore him, his dogs love him and somehow he became the biggest shoe (you know I want to say whore, but that would shock him if he reads this) LOVER of SHOES anyone has ever met.

Today we celebrate him and everything that he loves.  Well, and celebrate me, because I am his mom and I said so, and it is my blog!

Turned out pretty darn good for a guy who’s pre-school teacher said needed to work on his scissor skills. I hope he cuts 30 paper snowflakes today and celebrates just how good he is.

I know his Dad and I will be celebrating.  We done good.

Today, I am grateful for:  71. son number one  72.  US ARMY  73.  Flag Day  74.  fresh juice in the morning  75.  blunt end scissors  76.  little pieces of paper on the carpet that fall out when you cut out snowflakes  77.  snowflakes taped to the sliding glass door  78.  popcorn  79.  great shoes

I miss that man of mine.

Somewhere in blog land, I recently read, “I don’t feel comfortable writing about ……..on the internet.  It doesn’t have the same weight.”  Today, I wrote most of my blog in bed.  With pen in hand, on a yellow legal pad of paper.  Messy with doodles and I was fiddling with the paper and fold the corners up into little accordions or fancy fans.  Some of the words are darker with extra ink.  Some are written with curly ques.  I have a couple stars and a couple of hearts dancing across the top of the paper.  At the bottom, in some grass, pops up some daisies in full bloom with jaunty little stems with leaves.  Confetti drips down on the words,  coming from somewhere above the blue lines.  I probably should just take a picture of the page and post that.  With all the arrows and the swoop of triangle celebration flags flying on the side margin, you some how get the “weight” of the topic instead of just black letters typed on a page.

Ah, the legal pad…………invented in 1888 by a guy with the last name of Holly.  He used scraps of paper left over from the mill where he worked and made them into pads.  Quit his job and started a business selling pads of paper.  A couple of years later, a judge asked him if he would draw the margin lines in so he could write notes about his notes on the paper.  No one knows why they are yellow.  Or at least the writer of the article in “Mental Floss”  (a great magazine by the way).  Maybe to make all the scraps of paper the same color, yellow was the cheapest dye…………still one of the great mysteries of life.  Well, maybe not great mysteries.

Here’s a question:  If you practice something over and over and over, shouldn’t you get better at it?  Mr. Right and I have been together about 32 years.  A good portion of those years he was in the US Army.  So, you can gather from that information that he was gone on business trips, a lot.  He was gone for 6 months a couple of months after our oldest son was born.  He has gone to schools for months at a time.  My better half has been gone for a week at a time, every month while stationed in Alaska.  He has been gone overnight, weeks, months……thank the good Lord, no war zone deployments.  When we moved back to the great state of Washington, he got us settled in,  then left for Texas for a couple of months.    Thank heavens now a days, supporting the military is “in fashion“.  Sometimes it was tough with him being gone, two boys at home.  If we lived on post, other military guys would offer to take them to an airshow or play catch in the ball field with them.

Fast forward 11 years.  No longer in the military, no little boys at home to fuss over, make popsicles for or to drop off at summer golf lessons…………….just a sweet Golden Retriever and me.  You would think with e-mail, texting, cell phones (with one reasonable monthly payment, NOT $250+ phone bills) it would be easier.  Nope.  It still Hoovers.  (We didn’t want the boys to use the word sucks while growing up, so one came up with the word Hoover, like a vacuum.)  From my point of view,  business trips are pretty much the same as going to a military school somewhere.   I still drop him at the airport.  I have to figure out a way to live my life day-to-day, by myself.  Some trips I over plan and go insane with redecorating and painting and rearranging.  Some times when he is out-of-town, I try new toe nail polish colors.  Today, I am trying OPI Mermaid Tears with a top coat of Revlon Whimsical…………not sure I am in love with it.

Everyone is involved (read that as the word I dread “busy’) with their own lives, as it should be.  So I will have my own little pity party on my blog page.  I will find productive things to do and see and accomplish while he is out-of-town.  Our life is just smoother when we are together.  We laugh more and engage in conversation more, plan more and have way more fun when we are together.    A few years back during a church service the pastor asked that we pray for “Suzy”.  She and her husband had been married over 50 years and had never spent a night apart.  He was going in for minor surgery and was going to have to stay the night in the hospital.  “Suzy” would be alone for the first time in her life.  Oh my goodness.  Come to find out her Bible study ladies came over and they lifted her up and kept her company the entire night.

I am not sure I want 14 Bible study ladies to come over and entertain me as I would feel obliged to cook for them every single time Mr. Right is out-of-town.  However,  having folks in my corner thinking of me and lifting us up in prayer is of value.

I am grateful for such a good husband.  I am lucky and yes, absents makes the heart grow fonder…………well at least it helps us forget the not so blog worthy moments that frustrate us.

Today, I am grateful for:

61. a really great catch  62.  a good cup of coffee 63.  a car to drive to a new to me quilt shop today  64.  raw honey  65.  the invention of nail polish  66. yellow legal pads  67.  a dog that likes me 68. technology to talk with Mr. Right while he is out-of-town 69.  my exercise bike  70.  the Safeway near our house that sells two in a package oatmeal cranberry cookies

Start up the grill, say Grace and for the love of a juicy, dripping, sweet strawberry, dig in!

Having grace at 2:50 am is a trick.  As many of you know, I am not a morning person.  So to be gently woken up at oh dark thirty, sort of makes my eyes sting and my attitude is not graceful.  It is best for mankind if I just keep my mouth closed and hop in the shower.

Mr. Right needed a ride to the airport.  Yes, our Golden Retriever is smart and has very good manners and is adorable, unfortunately she does not drive.  So Sweet Liberty stayed curled up and wished us a safe drive.  “You take care now, I will be resting here when you come home”.

BooHiss for business trips.  However, he will get to share dinner with his brother, sister-in-law and niece so that sort of makes flying clear across country totally worth it.   Oh yeah, the business part is important, too.  Had to say that in case his boss of a multi million dollar company has a little free time and wants to check up on my blog.  um, probably not.

After the airport drop off, came home and took a little nap…….the sweet golden girl was still sleeping, good to know our going and comings didn’t bother her.

Anyhoo, when I woke up, it was time for coffee and some food.  Didn’t really “feel” like a breakfast food kind of day.

I poured some Balsamic vinegar in a little sauce pan and started to reduce it.  Grabbed a couple of slices of frozen (store-bought, gasp) pound cake, buttered both sides of those babies, turned on the grill,  got it nice and hot.  I put the slices of cake on the grill and got some terrific grill marks.  Turn off grill (if Mr. Right is reading this, he loves that I remember to do things like that), cut the slices into triangles and arrange on a plate.  Scoop two big, huge, juicy, luscious mounds of freshly cut, fresh strawberries on top.  Drizzle with the reduced vinegar and top with a teeny, tiny little dollop of freshly whipped cream.  Grab an orange and zest a bit of peel. 

A napkin or two might be in order, I set a place setting at the table for one.  Used the good flatware, yep, I am worth it.   Napkin in lap, Say GRACE and with gratitude for the people who had to pick those little red beauties DIG IN.    Now, that is the way one should start the day………….the breakfast, not the driving an hour to the airport at oh dark thirty.

Here’s hoping that the week flys by.  Miss him already.  sigh.