Monday, September 30, 2013

31 Days of Life

Day #1

It is October and once again I am going to link up with The Nester and write to a theme every day in October.

FUN FACT:  The Nester is Emily from Chatting At The Sky's sister.

Myquillyn from The Nester

Emily from Chatting At The Sky

Last year was 31 Days of Storytelling.

This year is 31 Days of Life.

I know, that is pretty vague but there is a WHOLE LOTTA life getting ready to happen this month:

2 events at church to plan,

a homecoming dance to endure,

a trip with Monte to Memphis,

a production of Annie to prepare for, 

basketball tryouts

and of course…

our family Halloween costumes to assemble.

We were the characters from Clue last year.

But that's life so I will try to write it down and laugh with it or attempt to learn from it

and maybe throw in some random things that pop into my head as well

like what my dream was about last night 
or what I hot glued 
or threw in a pot together for dinner.

But I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the last one.
I am going to be busy!

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Things That Make Me Scratch My Head

No, I don't mean dandruff

or bedbugs.
(She said in a whisper so as not to invite them into her home.)

There are just things that I don't get

in a scratch-my-head kinda way.

Not big huge things like human trafficking or babies with cancer.

I will never understand that.

No, I am talking about the little-things-that-make-you-go-hmmm kinda things.

Intentional walks in baseball.

You know, when the catcher goes way away from the hitter so the pitcher can lob the ball in all slow to him like he is back in the coach-pitch league.

And the hitter is just left to stand there in the batter's box all awkward not knowing what to do with himself.
See the catcher is pointing to the pitcher:  no, throw it WAAAAY
over there.
Yes, Monte has tried to explain the strategy of potential runs versus outs and blah, blah, blah.

But I am left

scratching my head.

Recumbent bikes. 

You know, the bicycle that positions you into a lounge chair recline while you ride.

They sit so low that I feel they are dangerous.

That and the fact that I have never seen one ride in the bike lane

but rather right down the middle of the road like they are a car.

Every time. 
And not the same rider. 
There are more than one.

I know.

I've seen them.

Once I saw only the flash of a neon orange flag in the rear window of my car signaling me that there was one right behind me.

I couldn't see him because he was that low.


We were at a restaurant the other night when we saw a tandem recumbent bike ride by.


In the middle of the street (of course).

It was a man and a woman.

It was something to take in because it was sooooo long--

basically two Lazy Boy recliners 

in full reclining position

end to end.

The man was in front and the lady in back let go of the handlebars so she could

get this

unwrap and eat a candy bar.

Yes, I hear that they are better for people who suffer back pain and blah, blah, blah.


Have to.


iPhone's new operating system iOS 7.

Where do I start?

Actually, I am not going to start.

I will simply say this:  I have grown up on Apple products and have loved them and defended them and truly enjoyed using them most of my life.

But I am not enjoying the seemingly unnecessary improvement on something that was already working fantastically.

Yes, I know it is supposed to be better in ways that I am too old-dog-not-liking-new-tricks but blah, blah, blah!

 Although I did make Siri's voice a man and he seems 
to enjoy me so much better than that surly woman Siri.

But I am STILL scratching my head.

Soup at a football game.

When we were at the college football game on Saturday, Monte got up to grab some food. I told him to get me something.

It is a stadium.

I naturally assumed something would turn out to be a

hot dog 
or pizza 
or some type of meat on a stick.

I was pretty shocked when he came back with a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup.

Talk about scratching my head.

The weather had gone from chilly and rainy to sunny and warm by this point and we were all peeling off layers in the heat.

Yep, I am pretty sure I am the ONLY one eating
broccoli cheddar soup in the stadium.
Do you know what a bowl of hot broccoli cheddar soup smells like when you are eating it in very close quarters with 103,000 people?

Don't make me say it 
because you already know.

I am pretty sure I started sweating the broccoli cheddar soup out of my pores by the end of the game.

Yes, I know it is a healthier option than a hot dog, slice of pizza or some type of meat on a stick blah, blah, blah.

But I am still.


This broccoli sweaty.


Monday, September 23, 2013

"This Is the Way; Walk In It"

After 14 years of living in a college town, I finally made it to a college football game.

My husband has been to many games and never wanted to "waste" good tickets on me.

To be fair,

he was in the right.

I am much more about people watching than game watching.

Much more interested in half-time shows than touchdowns.

But this time it was MY friend that offered us tickets.

Thanks, Julie!

So I graciously let Monte come.

I'm a real peach like that.

The day started out dark and chilly and wet.

But it dried up just in time for a brunch tailgate.

Check out the "breakfast" cupcakes I brought from Chocolate Cafe:

Dark chocolate cupcakes infused with bacon with
a coffee and bacon icing. Look at those cute eggs
on top with the bacon!
They truly are geniuses with flavor and icing.

Our seats were amazing.

We had such an amazing view as the band entered the field.

Can you even imagine??
What precision in their steps and movements.

Never mind the flexibility.

But it was the half-time show that blew me away.

While the university band was forming the traditional script Ohio on the field

(it is a BIG deal who gets to dot the "i"), 

the Ohio School for the Blind formed the braille version of Ohio (which required two dots for the "i").

Photo credit:

The blind students had guides walking behind them with one hand on their shoulders, leading them.

It was so loud in the stadium with 
so many band members playing at once

yet I could still see some of the guides lean in 
and speak close to the ear of the person
 they were leading.

The people in the red jackets are their guides.
Photo credit:

I instantly thought of the general idea of this verse (although I have to disclose it took me FOREVER to find it--thank you Lord for the concordance in the back of my bible!).

Isaiah 30:21:

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

I was so struck by the confident stance of each of those high school band members as they marched onto a field and into a formation they couldn't see 

in front of an enormous audience they could only hear.

I read an interview with one of the blind band members this morning that said they could feel the electricity of the crowd.

Whoa! They could feel us watching them.

That made me think of one of my all-time favorite verses:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
Hebrews 12:1-2

Boy, we sometimes forget in the extreme "noise" of our daily lives that there is someone right there with us


"This is the way; walk in it."

And I still walk around unsure in my steps as if any minute I am going to fall into some big dark pit.

Or worse:

I walk around thinking I'd make a better guide.

I wish you could've seen these kids

these blind kids.

Their steps were not unsure

and they were moving quickly.

Their heads held up high

utterly dependent on their guide

yet completely confident in where they were being led. 

In the same article I was reading this morning there was a quote from a current member of the university marching band,

"Wow, if these guys can do this, where 
have I sold myself short on what I can do?"

Wow is right!

The things you can learn at a football game.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Blue Jeans Record Player

A few weekends ago my 14-year-old daughter, McDaniel begged Monte to get a new needle for my old record player.

Yes, I said MY and RECORD PLAYER.

Hello there. Remember me?

I got this bad boy for my 8th or 9th birthday. 

I always referred to it as my Blue Jeans Record Player.

As in,

"Oh, you are having a sleepover Friday night? 
Should I bring over my Blue Jeans Record Player?"


"Hey, you want to roller skate in the unfinished room in my basement to Disco Duck? Great! Let me go get my Blue Jeans Record Player!"

It was quite portable in case you missed the kicky handle on top.

I took it everywhere when it didn't live on top of my wooden bookcase

(the one my dad made me that is now in Ellie's room).

I played TOO DEATH the Grease album

(even though I was not allowed to see the movie until YEARS later),

and Michael Jackson's Thriller.

Of all the things that my mother has thrown out of mine through the years,

don't get me started where Rub-a-Dub dolly went

It wasn't me, Rub-a Dub! I would never
give you away! I don't remember
ever having that tugboat. Did mine
not come with the tugboat?
Someone has some 'splainin'
to do.

or the unknown condition 
of my wedding dress, 

it is a bit baffling she kept my Blue Jeans Record Player.

But I am so glad she did!

When she gave it to McDaniel a few weeks ago it was if she had found some ancient time capsule.

Ellie kept saying,

"Take it out of its box!"

Isn't it beautiful in its no touch screen simplicity?

My mom also found my little denim and handkerchief print container that held all my 45s--even the ones that I inherited from her when I was a kid.

This was hot stuff when I was growing up.
Or it was just me.
Yeah, that was probably it.

In that little cute homesy container was a  plethora of genres and eras.

I remember as kids, my brothers and sister and I would pull out all of the 45s my parents possessed and we critiqued them by writing yes or no or NO! on them as our musical tastes saw fit.

We played them on an enormous stereo embedded into a beautiful wooden console that was the size of a buffet table and sat in our living room.

Helen Reddy's Delta Dawn got a yes.

A big fat no! for Glen Campbell's By the Time I Get to Phoenix.

And the CMD written in the top left-hand of the record?
That would be my Aunt Connie's unmarried initials.
I guess her big sister (my mom) swiped it from her at some point. 

Monte actually found a place to take the record player for repair.

Get this:  it is called "Needle In A Haystack"

(or not)

Monte walked in carrying my cute little Blue Jeans Record Player and laid it on the counter and the worker guy asked,

"What is that?!"

Not a great vote of confidence that our needle was going to get replaced.

Yet, with some investigation,
(it was the original circa 1978-1979 needle)

the aid of a really big catalog

and $10,

Monte came home with a just-like-new Blue Jeans Record Player.

McDaniel was ecstatic.
Apparently our dog Nigel photo bombs with his
She dug through the hankie container and started playing everything from

Bonnie Tyler 

to The Letterman.

It was quite the musical mix.

By the end of the afternoon, she asked if Monte would take her to Half-Price Books so she could add a few of her own albums to the collection.

She came home with these:

That is Johnny Cash, The Temptations, The Supremes 
and Four Tops.

We never know in the morning who we are going to hear singing and from what era but 


it isn't anyone who knows the first thing about twerking
and for my mom who kept my su-weet Blue Jeans Record Player.

Amen and Amen.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Perfect Saturday

It was one of those days that seemed like 2 days,

it was so packed full

yet completely relaxing.

We had nothing planned.

[Happy sigh]

Monte and I took a nice long walk through our neighborhood and the air was crisp enough for a fleece to be worn.

Oh, how I love this time of year!

We walked to the local middle school hoping to take a lap or two around the track.

There was a football game going on. Monte was thrilled to watch a play or two before we continued on.

We passed a breakfast place and saw people eating omelettes and drinking coffee outside on mismatched vintage tables and chairs.

We passed the local fireman running around the neighborhood for exercise.
(Or they passed us.)

It was one of those mornings right out of a movie.

You know, the beginning part where the names of the producers and directors and studios are still being shown and there is a kicky song being played while the camera stays on Monte and I walking through our neighborhood.

And then our "characters" are chased home by zombies.

(Seriously, what is up with the fascination 
with the undead? I just don't get it.)

Back to our walk.

It was idyllic.

It was almost as if we were on vacation and exploring the town on a walk thinking about what it would be like if we lived here full-time.

Don't you do that sometimes?
I do every time I go to Fripp. 

But then we got to stop and realize,

"Hey, we DO live here!"

Yeah, it was one of those "Thank you Lord for placing us here" kinda idyllic walks.

I came home and planted mums in my flower boxes and pots while Monte watched football.

Then we decided to go out for dinner and then onto an ice cream shop for dessert.

I love ice cream. I  REALLY do.

This local ice cream shop, Jeni's, is just the best. 

We don't go often because it is in an area where finding parking is a headache

and the ice cream is expensive

but it is a perfect once every great while kinda treat.

Their flavors are unique like Riesling Poached Pear (a favorite of Ellie's) and Wildberry Lavender.

There are standard flavors and then their seasonal ones.

This is not a place where you get candy toppings.

This is a sprinkle free zone.

In fact, they encourage you to always get two different complimentary flavors to bring out the most enjoyment for your palette. 

I love that my girls aren't afraid to experiment.

The same girls that put gummy bears on their 
frozen yogurt at those squirt your own shops.


as we were doing our usual sample 75 different flavors before we decide on what we want

I came across a flavor called Loveless Biscuits and Peach Jam.

I was all thinking,

"What?! Biscuits in ice cream?"

Then I sampled it.

Oh. My. Word.


People of the South:

I am disappointed in you.

You have never thought to introduce these two before??

Thought they wouldn't get along?

Didn't have anything in common??

Shame on you!

They are AMAZING together.

Loveless Cafe is in Nashville, TN where a Jeni's just opened. 

And the peaches for the peach jam comes from Atlanta where a Jeni's will be opening very soon.

That Jeni, what a matchmaker.

I had to take a picture of the happy couple. They were THAT good.

I mixed the Loveless Biscuits and Peach Jam with my fave Brambleberry Crisp.

Look at that sweet biscuit goodness in there!!
Seriously, look at it.

I may have said,

"This is so good!" 

over an over again to the point where 
my family was a wee bit sick of me.

McDaniel could not handle that I took a picture of it.

"Mom, don't be one of THOSE people."

What does that even mean?
The kind of people who so thoroughly enjoy their ice cream 
that they write a blog post about it that includes pictures??
The kind of people who refer to their ice cream as a married couple in love??

I do have to say that I would not mix my beloved Brambleberry Crisp with the Loveless Biscuits and Peach Jam again because the bits of crisp coupled with the hunks of biscuits really went thud in my stomach.

I felt like I was having a food baby and its name was Biscuit.
(Sorry if that put a disturbing image in your head.)

But it was the perfect way to wrap up a perfect Saturday.
The End.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

We Bought A Trampoline

We have been saying no to getting a trampoline for years.

For many reasons.






Kills the grass.

Takes up too much room in the yard.



We had been noticing that when we sent the girls outside for some fresh air they seemed like they didn't know where to go. 

They don't play on our swing set anymore 


the one my dad made from scratch.

They needed a gathering spot.

I talked with some neighbors and found out that their college age kids still jump on their trampoline when they are home.

And not just jump

they HANG OUT on it.



even camp out over night on it.


Monte and I started to weigh the pros and the cons of purchasing a trampoline.

When we found out that friends were moving and needed to sell their trampoline and would arrange for the disassembly, assembly and moving of the thing

the pros won.

We bought a trampoline.

The girls are THRILLED!

In the short month we have had the trampoline, 

the girls have jumped until they are red in the face,

used it as a sun deck,

brought out pillows and had a reading party on it,

sat with each other and their friends and talked and talked and talked on it.

It is their new gathering spot!

Ellie had a friend over and they decided to blow bubbles while on the trampoline and the container ended up getting spilled.

I made her hose all the suds clean.

Monte and I hopped on it the first night we got it.

Monte wasn't so sure about jumping with me.

I told him it was fine and that we should face each other and join hands and jump together.

I know, but it seemed like the thing to do.

We could never get our timing right and he ended up nailing a hard landing that 

shot me in the air so high

that I could see what my neighbors were doing in their FRONT yards. 

It was one of those moments that was kinda slow and peaceful as I was sailing upwards

but then super fast and terrifying on the way down.

I landed with straight legs 

(bad, bad form)

and jarred my knees.

The girls watched the whole thing from the kitchen where they were supposed to be doing the dishes.

As it turns out, it looked even more ridiculous than I imagined.

Lessons learned:

•don't jump with someone WAY bigger than you

•don't land with straight legs!
(I limped the entire next day.)

After lunch on Sunday when I was cleaning up in the kitchen and the girls were upstairs changing,

look what we all saw out the window:

Monte found his new gathering spot too.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

A Celebration of Humanity

Our community has a Labor Day arts festival every year.

I don't normally go since standing in line to eat food made out of a truck in the 110 degree heat is usually not enough of a selling point for me.

Or the overly priced pieces of colored glass sold from tents.

Although, I have always wanted to learn how to blow glass.

I have seen it demonstrated several times 
and it never ceases to amaze me.

We can heat something to a red hot stage and then

using nothing more than the air from our lungs

blow it into some amazingly elegant shape.

Even if I blew nothing more than odd shaped bubbles, I'd still want to learn how.

And I will.

Oh, I will.

And then I will be so proud of my odd shaped hand-blown glass bubbles
 that I will call it "art" and sell it from a tent at a festival.

So the moral of that rabbit trail story?

Don't judge.
You don't know what dreams are being fulfilled when you pick up 
some misshapen piece of glass with a hefty price tag.

So we went to the arts festival this year.

I know, but it looked like rain and we thought it wouldn't be 
crowded and/or hot because of the looming dark cloud overhead.

But the cloud quickly dissolved to reveal a beautifully intense sun capable of melting glass all by itself.

So every food truck had 850 people in line.

But the people watching was just 

Top. Notch.

While we ate, we were able to see a small stage area with what seemed to be a completely random assortment of people wearing tie-dyed shirts.

And when I say RANDOM I mean

cannot see the common thread among them kinda random.

Except that they were all doing a dance

to Indian music.

It was a coming together to form a circle 

then a spinning 

and then a single file line 

kinda dance.

Then they did it all over again to a Beyonce song.

All the while, an older man from the group skipped 
through the audience clapping to get the crowd "pumped".

They were having an absolute blast.

Completely. Fascinating.

After Monte finished his pulled pork sandwich he asked,

"How did this group get together?"

We all pondered that question and added a few more of our own:

Was the group formed by answering a 
flyer on the library bulletin board?

Were there auditions?

How are group decisions made on things such as costuming and choreography?

We kept pondering as we started to peruse the art booths and ran into this:

She was saying that they asked her to be a football player but she said, with a teence
bit of attitude, "No, I want to be a FAIRY!" Then she swooped her wings.

In case you didn't notice, they are on stilts. Did I mention it was quite windy that day?

Then Ellie started grabbing my arm and doing the whole "look over there" head nudge that I completely missed until she finally cried out,

"A parrot! A woman is walking around with a 
parrot. And she is pushing an empty stroller!"

This parrot was the most striking Crayola shade of blue.

And huge.

She gave him a beak kiss right after I snapped this picture.

I had so many questions for her but unsure she wanted to be asked any of them

so we pondered them among ourselves.

Questions like:

How do you know the bird won't fly away?

Did you clip its wings?

Does that hurt the bird to clip its wings?

Do you buckle the bird into the stroller so it won't fly away?

Or does it simply get exhausted from sitting on your shoulder all day?

Is that a baby stroller or a specific parrot-made one?

Do you fear it will one day peck your eyes out while you sleep?

Does it enjoy a good arts festival?

Now don't start thinking I am making fun of these people.

I am not.

I am celebrating them.

They have the confidence to dance freely 
in public with their friends.

They proudly walk through a park with their pet on their 
shoulder pushing a back up plan in case things go awry.

I applaud them.

Seeing how I just started back up with tap class last night and my saddlebags are crazy sore this morning

and I have ALWAYS tried to get my dog Nigel to sit in my bicycle basket 
while I go for rides but he will have NONE OF IT,

well, I am just a genre, 
a setting 
and a pet species off.

But I can totally relate.

God made us so completely and wonderfully different 

yet we can see 
(if we look hard enough) 
the common bond of His fingerprints on all us.

And that is certainly something to celebrate.

I didn't even mention the silent flash mob we walked into by mistake when we first got to the festival.

We had questions that we actually asked out loud

but no one heard us since they were all wearing ear buds to their iPods.

Hence the silent part of a silent flash mob.


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