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Thursday, May 31, 2018


Burdette pool opened for the season this past weekend. When my kids were young, I always bought us season passes. We spent nearly every weekend there, so it was a no-brainer when Thing 1 called and asked if I wanted to go to Burdette with her and her baby boy. Of course! I snapped a photo of the little guy enjoying what he had to think was the world's biggest bathtub!

And ... in case you've ever wondered what this little guys daddy would look like in a Paddington Bear hat ... look no further!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Bird Girl and the Arbor/Clematis

Bird Girl has fresh mulch.

And as you can clearly see, she is obviously thrilled. 

The arbor has been painted (it used to be white), and now has clematis climbing up.

Below is a photo of what the arbor area looked like when I first moved in. Note the ivy climbing the house and covering the ground between the house and fence. I sprayed for poison ivy/oak/sumac and pulled the ivy off the house before I even closed on the home! The area by the fence in the front yard was so overgrown when I moved in, clearing the "clutter" was one of my first projects. I didn't tackle the ivy on the ground beside the house until last year. It's starting to pop back up, so I'll be out there the first chance I get to pull it ... again... and hopefully get it all.

The following picture was taken out one of the windows in my bedroom. The ivy is now mostly gone, and you can barely make out the ivy covered fence. Part of this area used to be a dog run, so there were two ... and sometimes three ... layers of fencing, part of which was buried in the ground to keep the dog from digging out. I tackled that area last summer. I lost track of the hours it took to remove the ivy, dig out the fence, and un-attach it from the main fence. I also pruned or cut down the trees hanging over the fence.

Compare the above picture to the one below. It's the same one posted at the top of this post, but it helps put the huge amount of work it took to get it from point A to point B.

I'm thinking of planting azalea's against the fence and the house, and I'd love to cover the ground in black rock, but I'm not going to add any more projects to my list for this summer and fall.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

I Set the Edging Stone and Mulch ... Finally!

I picked up twenty more bags of mulch and my edging stone Friday. I laid the stones Saturday morning before I picked up my grandbabies, and I was very pleased with the results. On Sunday, I pulled up the red spider lily and the lambs ear that was between the hosta's. I don't know why that one plant is called a red spider lily ... it never flowers and it dies in late spring.

So, my patio and side garden beds are finished ... until I decide what I want to plant in the patio garden!

The following photo was taken before I moved into this house ...

Last summer I removed the grass by the patio and covered it in black plastic. I mulched it a few weeks ago. (Note the addition of window boxes, screen door, and the doors have been painted.)

Below the side bed with the lambs ear.

And here's the (almost) finished project ...

Thursday, May 24, 2018

I Still Can't Decide What to Plant Here

This patch of ground was grass when I moved here. I was a real pain to cut, mostly weeds, and completely useless. So, last summer, I dug up all the grass (weeds) and covered it in black plastic to keep the weeds down until I decided what I wanted to plant.

I vacillated between a couple raised bed gardens or a combination decorative plants, like hosta's, azalea's, hydrangea's, daylilies, etc. A year later, I still don't know what I want to do with this area

Since I can't decide what to do with it, and I was sick of looking at the black plastic (with weeds popping up where the plastic shifted, I decided to just cover it in mulch. I wish the air conditioner wasn't in this spot, because I could just extend the patio ... and have room for my big outdoor table and chair set. But, it is there, and I have to deal with it. I've contemplated building a lattice enclosure around it, with one side opening to allow technicians to service it, but I'm not doing anything until I decide what I want to plant.

I've bought cobblestone edging bricks to put around it, but I can't pick them up until Friday. Once I get the edging in place, I can add more mulch. I bought ten bags of black mulch last weekend. I knew I'd need more than ten, but I can only haul so much in my vehicle. This small spot took all ten ... and still needs more! This weekend I'll have to buy a lot more mulch, because I have a lot of flowerbeds that need it. I'm thinking I'm going to need at least twenty more bags.

After the flowerbeds are taken care of, I'll need to start on one of the many other outdoor projects I've given myself to do this year!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Anyone Else Feel Sorry for Meghan Markle and her Parents?

(Photo courtesy of Mega/Reuters)
Two people are just trying to get married, but the press has to delve into the past of her dysfunctional family. Her bitter half-siblings have been quite vocal. One minute they're calling her vile names and making shameful accusations about her, and the next they're begging for an invitation because they are family.

Her father, for whatever reason, allowed himself to be photographed by journalists and was so embarrassed he pulled out of the wedding. Then he changed his mind and said he does want to walk his daughter down the aisle. Now, it appears, he's changed his mind again.

If Meghan had serious felonies on her record, that would be relevant topics of discussion, but the things being reported are not ... they're just hurtful and cruel. There might be a kernel of truth to some of them, but what family couldn't come up with something mean to say about each other? The scrutiny on Meghan and her family has been relentless. Leave these poor people alone! Did the paparazzi learn nothing from the death of Princess Diana?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

I Had to Take the Patio Lights Down

I haven't been seeing any hummingbirds, and I'm normally swamped with them. I'm guessing the lights looked like a giant spiderweb to those tiny birds. The lights looked really pretty at night, but I'd much rather have cute, itty-bitty humbingbirds visit than have lights on my patio.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Mother's Day Thoughts

I just read an article about a woman, a mother, who does not celebrate Mother's Day. Why? Because her mother died before she married and had kids. I thought it was one of the saddest ... and the most selfish ... thing I've ever read. My mom died in October of 1996. This Mother's Day was the 21st one I've celebrated without her. I miss her and wish desperately she had lived to see all fifteen of her grandchildren grow up, but God had other plans. Still, I would never deprive my children of celebrating the day for me because it means so much to them. They want to make the day special.

My mother would be horrified if I let her death taint a holiday that celebrates all that mother's do. It would upset her if I couldn't enjoy the day because she was gone. I feel sorry for that woman, and even sorrier for her kids, and I can't help but wonder what other joys of life she and her children are missing because she lost her mother. Those poor kids will grow up remembering Mother's Day as the day their mother was always sad and depressed, despite whatever effort they may have went to to show her how much she means to them.

When you're a mom, you can be as sad as you want, but you can't drag your children into your pain. It's okay for kids to see their mom cry on occasion, but a crying mother scares a child. A depressed mother scares a child. To a kid, mom is the barometer for life. If mom can't hold it together, things must be really bad.

What a shame that this mother is forcing her children to help her carry her emotional baggage, because once she's gone, they're still going to be lugging it around ... but hopefully they won't pass it on to their own children.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Mother's Day Flowers

My grandbabies picked these "flowers" for me (with help!) ... and they might just be the prettiest flowers I've ever received!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Hail Storm Thursday

It's hard to describe the sound of hail pelting a house ... but it's loud! I don't think I sustained any damage to the roof, which is surprising given the amount of hail that fell and the length of time the storm lasted. I took some pictures and a couple video's when it was hailing. The pics and video's don't show it, but it was pretty intense!

Thing 1 was heading over with her baby for me to watch for an hour or so. I called her while she was on her way. I told her to either come here and stay or go back home. It looked like the storm was only going to get worse, and I didn't want her on the roads with that sweet baby or driving during a dangerous storm to get back to him ... I wanted her someplace with a basement!

Just as she got home, the hail was beginning to subside at my house, but it was just beginning at hers. The storm wasn't that bad as predicted (aside from the hail). I was really looking forward to seeing my baby grandson, but not if it put my daughter's life in danger! Plus, he's only ten months old ... if the hail hit him, it would hurt!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Today is "Eat What You Want Day"

I might be breaking the rules for this, because I eat what I want every day!

I generally try to eat healthy, and for the most part, I do ... but I did have a Milky Way for dinner the other night. Don't worry ... I washed it down with a protein shake!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

My Driveway

My driveway is one bumpy ride! It's needed grading since I moved in, but I never felt compelled to spend a couple thousand dollars on it, so it's stayed bumpy.

There was one particular bump that drove me (and likely, everyone else) completely nuts. Last summer I took a shovel to it, but it was like concrete, so that was that. I told John I was going to wait for a good rain, then tackle it with a hoe. He said the ground underneath would be like concrete, too, and that I'd never be able to fix it myself. He was right in that the ground was like concrete, but I was able to do something about it!

It was either do something myself or pay someone a lot of money to do it for me, so I got out my trusty hoe and got to work. It needs a lot more attention to be a smooth ride, but the biggest bump is smoothed out (mostly), and it makes the ride up the driveway much less bumpy.

It's hardly what you could call "graded", but it's a start! I don't have any "before" photo's, so the pictures below don't portray the hours it took to chip away at that bump!

After I tackled that bump, a blew all the leaves on the side of the house by the woods into a pile. I should have done it last fall, but I didn't, and I could have cut them up with my lawnmower, except the belt for the self-propelled quit working. The part is ordered, so until it comes in, my lawnmower is on sabbatical.

The plan is to burn the leaves in the outdoor fireplace, but it was too late to start burning when I finished ... because it's a huge pile that will take a long time to shovel into the fireplace!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Bird Girl Has Flowers Again

When I moved here, Bird Girl's new home was filled with purple phlox.

Bird Girl in the Spring
It looked beautiful, but there were so many weeds, and several with woody stems. Pulling the weeds destroyed the phlox, so I pulled it all out and covered with with black plastic for the rest of the season.

Bird Girls with no flowers :(
I planted some flowers last summer, when it was really hot and dry. I can't remember the name of the flower, but they flower all summer and had small orange blooms. I was so excited to see her surrounded by flowers all summer. Sadly, they all died. I'm not quite sure why.

Bird Girl with newly planted orange flowers that bloom all summer.
This past weekend I almost bought the same flowers that died last year, but changed my mind and planted white phlox. I really wanted the orange, summer blooming flowers, but since they are the only plants I've ever bought that didn't thrive, I decided on the tried and true phlox. It will be several years before the Phlox has filled the bed, but that's okay. Knowing Bird Girl will be surrounded by pretty flowers in the spring will be fine.

Bird Girl with newly planted white Phlox.
Next weekend I'll have to buy a truckload of mulch for all of my flowerbeds, but I sprinkled Preen all over, so maybe I can keep the weeds in check and won't have to gut this flowerbed ever again.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

My Dogswoods are in Bloom

I've always wanted to look out my front window and see a beautiful dogwood tree. At my old house, there wasn't room in the front yard for a tree. When I bought my current home, it was summer. All I knew was that I loved the setting ... I loved the house, the yard, the woods ... everything! I didn't really pay attention to what kind of trees were in the yard.

Once I moved in and was working in the yard, I knew I had dogwoods, and I (im)patiently waited for spring. Looking out my front window, I was rewarded with not only with a dogwood directly in front, but also a Red Bud and a Chinese Plum. There are a couple other dogwoods sprinkled on the property, and when they bloom, my heart smiles.

I'd love to plant more dogwoods, and a Magnolia, but I have so many yard projects lined up for this year, the trees may have to wait.

I took the above pictures last week, when everything was still pretty much in full bloom. The picture below was taken a few days after the other pictures ... and after the recent rains and wind blew away a lot of the petals ... but here's the view from my front window.

When I bought this house, I got my wish without even realizing it :)

Monday, May 7, 2018

Tiny Shoes

Seeing these tiny shoes lined up makes me so happy ... because it means I'm spending the day with my three sweet grandbabies, and I smile every time I walk by and see them. A day with those perfect babies wears me out ... but it also energizes my life and fills my heart to overflowing.

Friday, May 4, 2018

I Finally Have the Lights Up

I love the look of lights making a canopy over a patio, and have wanted to hang them over mine since I moved here. The problem was, however, that I didn't have anything to anchor the lights on one corner. Also a factor to consider, I have two different roof heights to contend with.

After some brainstorming, I bought a big urn, a Shepherd's hook, and a bag of sakrete. It took a few hours of stringing lights, unstringing, then stringing them again (and again ... and then again) to get them just right ... add a candle to the Shepherd's hook ... and ... problem solved!

At the moment, I have an extension cord running from the lights to the garage, and it's orange. I'll have to have electricity put closer, and I will definitely not use an orange cord to connect them! Also, flowers are hogging the chairs and table, so the patio is a little less than aesthetically pleasing at the moment, but once I get them in the window boxes, I can get the cushions out and re-position the furniture. There's enough room at the top of the urn for flowers, which I have not bought or planted, but other than that, I declare it done (for now!).

I took a few pictures last night. None of them capture how pretty it really is, but this is the best I could do.

From underneath ...

From the kitchen window ...

From the back door ...

From the end and side ...

And finally, the rig that made it all possible ...

Thursday, May 3, 2018


It's finally warm again! This pic was from Tuesday, and it was even warmer Wednesday. It might get cool again, but it won't be cold until late November ... yea!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Month of May

I no longer consider myself Catholic (I'm now just a Christian ... a non-denominational Christian), but my parents were both Catholic, and they raised us kids as such during our childhoods, including sending us to Catholic schools. Luckily, I only had to go to Catholic schools first through third grades.

During the month of May, the entire school gathered in the schoolyard around statue of Mary and prayed the rosary after church. Every. Single. Day. I have no idea if there is any "Catholic reason" for doing that in May or if simply "May" is as close to the month of "Mary" as they could get. Anyway, I hated saying the rosary.

For those of you who don't know, you have to pray a prayer for each bead on the rosary. Try as I might, I could never stay on the same bead as the nuns. Honestly, I don't think the nuns could stay on the same beads and the other nuns, either! Sometimes saying the rosary would take an hour. Sometimes it would take 15 minutes. On those days (YEA!), I don't know the nuns got confused and thought they were on the other side of the rosary and almost done, or they did it on purpose. I didn't care or understand why we said the rosary. I found it beyond boring. Aside from The Lord's Prayer, the prayers meant little ... they were simply memorized and regurgitated. Every day I hoped it would be a day the nuns got lost and finished quickly.

When I pray now, I pray in my own voice ... not the prayers the Catholic church tells me to pray. I mean no disrespect to devout Catholics, but I find the rosary and the made up rules of that religion (that change on the whim of the Pope) contradict the Bible in so many ways.

Below is a diagram of the rosary, along with the prayers we had to say on each bead. Looking at it, I'm sure you can see how it's easy to skip ahead a bead or two and get lost! (Click on image to enlarge).

Tuesday, May 1, 2018


Last week I was in one of the schools helping administer the ISTEP test. The night before, I had a fever of almost 101°. In the morning, my fever was gone. Since I was feeling fine, and we're short-handed, I went to the school as promised.

When I got there, I told the counselor (who helps administer the test alongside me) that I had been running a fever the night before, but was fine now. She gathered up her computer, coffee, papers, etc., and proceeded to setup on the other side of the room. Once she had everything moved, she left and came back, spraying Lysol. And it reminded me of someone ...