Tuesday, May 26, 2015

And the Switch Has Been Flipped

Those of us in Pennsylvania really notice dramatic weather changes twice per year.  Once is in the Fall when the big yellow buses begin making their rounds.  It is pretty consistently much chillier and less humid from that time, usually just after Labor Day.  To me that brings the exhilaration of football and I associate those days with precious times with my father watching Penn State win and lose....but mostly win!

The other time of the year when you can just know the weather will make a marked change is just around or after Memorial Day.  In this case the heat, humidity and summer weather begins.  It is when the pools open for the season, picnics mark the beginning of the outdoor season and for regular people flip flops come out of the closet.  I am not regular people.  I would wear my flip flops year round if it weren't for the risk of frostbite therefore my feet come out to play well before Memorial Day.

Well, this year is no exception to this rule.  We experienced noticeable chilly weather last week.  This week we are hanging out around the 90's.  Thunderstorms are a daily possibility.  That switch has flipped and summer weather is here.

I love seeing the farmers across the street make hay.  It is a process.  That of the cutting, drying, turning, checking and finally baling.  Takes me back to my childhood when my very best friend lived on a farm and we helped them bring in hay one very hot summer day.  I loved it soooo much!  Memories of that day and others where I got to enjoy visiting their farm.  Talking to the very cows who gave us their milk, giggling at the antics of the pigs and piglets, daring myself to challenge hens for their eggs and other such things that my friend just took for granted.

Perhaps that is why my heart is so given over to Lancaster County in my adulthood.  I truly love living around farms, cows, fields full of crops and hard working practical people.  There is little more beautiful than the grouping of buildings that make up a farm.  The barn, perhaps being the most obvious but there is almost always corn storage, multiple small out buildings and one or more houses. The other evening we were over at Rockvale Outlets and I looked across the road just before dusk and noticed one of these very common sights but with a deep blue sky with fluffy white clouds above it.  I stopped to just take it in.  I considered snapping a photo but knew that the lighting was too far gone to do it justice.  I couldn't bear to look at it less than as it was in real life.  Sometimes you just have to take a minute.  Out from behind a lens to just soak up the beauty.  To let your mind wander back to special times and friends who are now on the periphery of your life.  Not because anything is wrong....just because we no longer live in the same neighborhood and we have grown into other lives.
And so here we are.  Beginning the days of summer that will both go quickly and cause us to groan every now and then at the extremes of temperature and humidity.

Because the switch was flipped.....yesterday.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A Good Week!

Good Morning Sunshine!
What a fantastic weather week we have enjoyed.
It has been watch the grass grow weather.
As in...you can almost see it happen!

It was back to work for Chelsea and Chadd
as Joseph opened officially yesterday.
They had training days earlier in the week and then 
there was the Final Dress Rehearsal
Employee Premiere on Thursday evening.
Because they work in concessions 
they have to take some down time while
the shows are changed.
It is a mixed blessing as they enjoy getting
to do things on the weekends that they 
usually aren't available for 
but they miss their work family and the paychecks.
So...all in all it is good for them to be back to 
a routine and serving those who come to see

This week Mom and Georgia will 
finish up their fun vacation.
It will be good to have them home again.
The neighborhood can be a bit quiet without them.
Although we do have someone in Mom's house while she is 
away who is taking care of  her pets.
Chadd is house sitting for her and he is finding out that 
animals can be quirky.

We also had a guest this week and we had him 
stay at Georgia's. 
It was almost amusing, though, that it didn't occur 
to us until about 11pm when we has headed next door
that we hadn't alerted our neighbor on the other side of 
Georgia's house, who is also Georgia's very good friend.
We wondered if she might notice a man in what was supposed
to be an empty house and call the police.
Thankfully that didn't happen and all was good.
Can you imagine, though?

That guest was Warren's cousin Tim.
It has been way too long since we have had a chance
to sit and chat with him.
Hours straight of catching up were great!!

These guys might look a bit different on the outside from
those years when they did everything together as kids
but their hearts are still the same.
Too bad there are so many miles between here and Florida.
We would so enjoy having this guy in our daily lives.

We also used Georgia's sun porch for a "picnic" dinner 
one evening this week.
The weather looked amazing but it was cool and windy
so we grilled our meat and carried it next door.

We had our family dinner....
but missed the moms who are usually 
pretty key to those events.
And so we look forward to their return 
and even the million photos we will "get" to see.
Just kidding.
I've been enjoying the few that Mom
has been posting on Facebook.

Update on the Chiropractic care that 
Warren and I 
are getting.
We love it!
Three times a week we go and get 
Warren's horrible headaches have stopped.
It is worth it just for that...
if there were no other benefits.
But there are and so we are thankful for this
change in our health habits.
Not all Chiropractors are the same....
and we've been to a few.
But we agree that this one is exactly who 
we needed and treats exclusively for keeping
those bones in their right places.
She doesn't try to sell anything else.
Doesn't it bug you when you go to a service 
provider for one thing and they try to 
get you to buy x, y and z?
Well, this practice does it right in our opinion.  
And all for one very reasonable monthly fee.

I need to go get ready to pick Jonathan up from
work.  We were going to go have breakfast this morning,
and so we went shopping together and dropped him off 
at work last night,
but he called and said he is just too tired.
Poor guy, sleeping during the day is so hard 
a couple of days a week.
And that first one is the worst.
Between loud pick up trucks that are so 
popular in our neck of the woods 
and a bus stop in front of our house with energetic 
children each morning he just can't sleep as long 
as he should to go into this first night.
So...no big breakfast today.
I'll just bring him home instead and he will sleep until sometime
after 6 pm when he will wake up and prepare for his second
overnight shift of the week.
And all the shift workers out there say...Amen!

Catch you later!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Back to Normal?

Well, we are quite far from normal as far as the house is concerned.  But the schedule is coming back to a more normal pace which will be helpful in getting things back on track in here.  It is crazy how life can just consume and overwhelm and there is not a blessed thing you can do about it.

Warren is at about 80 percent of his old self where it relates to his health.  He tires very easily and still has visual disturbances then.  We'll see if he just keeps getting better or if he has to have testing that is scheduled for June.  Bless his heart he has been trying to keep up with the house stuff and our aging cars that are breaking faster than he can fix them.  It is a blessing to have a husband who is handy like that....seriously.

Our mothers are on a large ship out there somewhere.  They went through the Panama Canal on Saturday.  Can't wait to hear all about their adventures.  They scare me.....something about four wheeling and other such craziness.  But you know what?  Those ladies are up to these challenges and it is amazing to see them embrace life like they do.

I'm having fun designing new baby shower favor candles.  Since my normal jars are out of stock I've been playing with small tins.  There is always something good that comes from a frustration such as having those jars stuck in a shipping container in LA after the strike out there.  Aren't these precious?

I put them in my Etsy shop.  Now to get them listed on my web site.  So much updating to do.  But I really love it.

We had a very nice day at church yesterday.  I got to spend the afternoon chatting with two ladies that I never get to spend enough time with.  Some of that is my fault because I could make time during the week to get together with friends but you know how that goes.  We all have plenty to do with our families and it just doesn't seem to happen.  I'm glad we tend to spend our Sundays together so that these friendships can blossom and grow.  We ladies really need friends.  Sharing of ideas and encouragement is definitely important to us.

Since it was a week that I wasn't playing the piano or singing I decided to go a bit more involved with what I brought for lunch.  So I did chicken and waffles.  This seemed like a good idea and actually worked out pretty well until the entire waffle maker fell apart mid waffle.  lol  Thankfully it had made it through one double batch of waffles and I was just making a third batch so I think that anyone who really wanted them got them.  Warren isn't sure if we will be able to save the waffle maker or not but in any case it was kind of fun.  Probably won't do it again any time soon since it requires so much time and stuff being hauled with us.  Normal Sundays don't allow that kind of added work.

I think I continue to write here this morning to avoid getting started with my day.....and so I should probably get moving.  Chelsea and I have a few errands to run this morning and then I have some fundraiser and Etsy orders to make up this afternoon.  We are looking forward to a visit from Warren's cousin this week and so I should go rearrange the stuff in our dining room and living room to clean under it.  :-)  I'll at least feel as if I tried.

Have a very blessed day!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Bits and Pieces From the Weekend

 Found this sweetie in our yard on Saturday.
Wished I could keep her but we found out where she belonged.
Such an itty bitty thing....and so sweet too.

 I took my annual dogwood tree pictures.
Just because.....

Randomly received these Mother's Day 
flowers from a mystery sender.
LOVE them!

Enjoyed two delicious desserts made by Chelsea.
We are dreaming of the day strawberries are ready to 
pick nearby.

This also had a layer of strawberries. 

 After Georgia made a scrumptious lunch for everyone at her house
we girls headed out to Groff's Nursery to gather some
flowers to spruce up the empty spaces on the deck and 
in hanging baskets in our yards.
This is the second year we've done this on Mother's Day.
Could be a tradition as long as Chelsea lives in the area.
She loves tradition.

The kids hosted a picnic on our deck for us.
It was delicious.
Mikey and Emily brought a beautiful hanging basket.
It is so full of blooms.
Here's hoping I don't kill it with my 
brown thumb.
I'll really try because I truly do love and appreciate it!!

Candid shots of two of the most important women in our lives.
We are so thankful that they are friends 
and for all the ways they pour into 
our lives.

My Mom (Ruth) has the dog.
Warren's Mom (Georgia) is in yellow.

I know that many of you had amazing weekends with your families...
I saw some had sick kiddos...
while others were missing those that they love because of distance
and other reasons.
Whatever your situation I pray that God blessed you
with His love and peace.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Good News From Johns Hopkins

We left our home at 6 am this morning.  
Warren, Georgia, Chelsea, Chadd and I.
Our mission was two fold...
with the second being a bit iffy.

We saw the sun rise in all of its beautiful 
pink glory.
It was hard not to stare.

Flowering trees and other Spring decor made us sigh
with contentment all the way to I-95.
The back roads of Pennsylvania and Maryland are
simply at their finest right now.

The one thing we knew we were going to do was 
find our way back to the Neurology Outpatient Department.
It had been eight years since we had been there with Warren's father.
Those visits had been rough!
So, there was definitely some tension in all of us as we
approached the hospital area.
Both Warren and I were going in with expectations that 
this doctor would likely agree that the cysts on his brain
were not worthy of further treatment, 
which is good and bad. 

Good....because no one should have brain surgery 
if they don't have to.
Bad...because we don't have a sure answer for what is
causing his symptoms.
However, with him feeling better most of the time
we were surely hoping for a recommendation of 
watchful waiting.
That was exactly what we got.
Our doctor was soft spoken and very kind.
He carefully reviewed the MRI we brought with us
and put our minds at ease.
To further be sure that what they are seeing are truly 
just small cysts they will do follow up MRI's 
over the next year or two.
If there are no changes we will just be free on that count.

The second part of our agenda depended on this good report.
That was going over to the Inner Harbor.
That was the reason Chels and Chadd came along 
so I really hoped that it was going to happen.

We got done at the doctor's appointment just after 9 am
which made for an easy decision to go across town
to the waterfront.

We've discovered that we like to park in the Hyatt parking garage
and walk across the third story bridge over the highway.
It is nice to not feel in danger of getting hit
 just getting to the 
other side.

Our first stop was Barnes and Noble for a quick snack.
Breakfast was long gone by that point
and so we rode the escalator to the second level 
in this fabulous restored building and 
enjoyed some bites while on the balcony looking over 
the water.

Here's a bird's eye view of what we saw.

The others wandered off and Warren and I stayed here a while 
to enjoy the feathered critters and decompress from the appointment.
We just enjoy spending time together....
even after all of these years.

Then we met up with Georgia for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.
Several times we have attempted to go there for dinner when we
have visited only to find a wait of more than an hour.
We've always passed.
This time we were there when they opened the doors
 and got a prime table 
on the deck.
Oh yeah!

Chelsea and Chadd found a Chick-fil-a for lunch on their own.
Those silly kids. 

We finished off our lunch with a shared piece
 of their 30th Anniversary Cheesecake.
By now Chelsea and Chadd had joined us again and we coaxed
Chadd into helping us eat it.

Yes, it was as good as it looked!!

Finally it was time to head out.
I remembered just in time to get a photo, or four, of the 
cute couple....

Here's one.

It was a very good day.
Topped off by a nap upon our return and dinner made for us 
by Chelsea.

And now I must prepare for a craft show tomorrow
to raise money to help families in Guatemala 
learn to start small businesses
of their own and become 
financially independent.

I love my "job"!!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Quick Trip

 This is all you really need to know about the mountains....
as far as I am concerned.

 The sound of the stream as it goes on its way.
Way better than the sound of the ocean.
It is almost lyrical.

 Normally we go to this beauty in the early Autumn.
There are leaves on the trees.
Visiting here in the Spring brought the stream much more into focus.
The perfectly smoothed rocks are so pretty just under the water.

 This is the type of water I grew up with
when we lived a short walk away from Penn's Creek
in Central PA.
Many, many Summer days were spent splashing and playing 
with friends in the "swimming hole".

 Bandit loved this trip.
She even made the drive on my lap both ways
with no throwing up!
This is probably a first.
I'm so pleased....of course!

 Can you imagine putting together a jigsaw puzzle from this?
The reflections and stones would make you batty.

 The noise maker.
Just a bunch of rocks.

 This was Chadd's first visit to the mountains.
Somehow he didn't mind supervising dish washing
and even dried some.

We missed all of the people who are normally with us up here
but since we didn't get up there in the Fall
this trip just needed to happen when it could
with those who could make it.

The drive is the biggest deterrent for me.
It takes a very long time to get from one end of Pennsylvania to the other.
We broke it up with a delightful stop at Fisherman's Paradise
to meet up with Allan and Bev.
It was so good to see them and to visit a place where Allan and I 
spent hours and hours when we were younger.
He with his fly rod and me with a book.

 We started out in the reverse of how we came home.
Chelsea and Chadd were well rested and excited about the journey ahead.
Jonathan hadn't slept for 24 hours because we left immediately 
following his night shift.
Silly me thought he would just fall asleep as soon as we pulled
out of the driveway.
But....nope!  He stayed awake for most of that entire day.
Jonathan had the best time up there and relaxed so much.
He was jubilant on the way home.

However,  Chadd experienced car sickness on the curvy 
mountain roads and so his chipper expression dimmed a bit.
Poor guy.
He survived, though, and was a trooper!!

We are home and life is all real again.
Tomorrow we will go to Johns Hopkins to see what they think about
Warren's visual disturbances and brain cysts.

As our funny Otolaryngologist (ENT) said..
Our timing for a trip to Baltimore is just perfect. 
Well, at least the rioting seems
 to have calmed down
for now.
Hoping to not make the news.