Sunday, June 30, 2013

Life Is Not Always a Bowl of Cherries

I have always loved kitchen has a cherry theme, when I was a rubber stamper, cherries were one of my favorite subjects.  I can't even remember how many cherry rubber stamps I own, but it's in the double figures for sure.  I think many of my friends must know how much I tend to like cherries because I have received various gifts over the years with cherries as the central, notecards, socks, aprons, towels, bags & purses.  

I certainly do not mind that friends associate me with cherries....I think cherries are cheery, who doesn't want to be thought of as cheery?

But life isn't always a bowl of cherries.  We all know that not only do cherries have pits, but so does life itself.  The trick is to get rid of the pits and still enjoy the sweetness of life.

I am hoping this latest pit in my life will turn sweet as the week progresses.  I have appointments with 4 nursing homes on Tuesday to determine where I will move my sweetie.  I am so praying that one stands out sweeter than the others and becomes my sweetie's new home soon.

An extra prayer from you will help....I do strongly believe in the beautiful, sweet power of prayer.  Sometimes life really is the pits.....but with my family and friends I feel blessed and it helps me to overcome these times.  Thank you.....

Until next time.....

Scavenger Hunt Sunday - The June 30, 2013 Edition

Been missing this lately....blame it on the summertime, lack of motivation, too busy....I don't know, pick one.  But this week I'm join us at Ashley's for this week's challenges:
  • Tools
  • Motion
  • Sweet
  • Dots
  • Stripes
I am supposing at one time this was a farmer's tool for assisting him with his crops....and since I am definitely not a farmer, maybe not, but I'm calling it a tool.

The clouds were definitely in motion on this day, bringing in a mighty storm later in the afternoon.

I did a family shoot yesterday and thought this was a really sweet picture of a really sweet couple...

Did someone say dots???

I love this little stripe vase, perfect for a sunflower or two....

Well that's it for another week.  Come and join in on this weekly's fun!!

Until next time.....

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Party's Over....

Yesterday I mowed the lawn, hoping it would help to dry the grass since it was soooo wet and keeping my fingers crossed that any rains would hold out until after the Celebrate Summer Party on Friday.  Don't ya just love it when your plans actually happen??!!  It didn't rain all day yesterday, altho the skies got really dark while a girl friend and I were on our way to the Morton Arboretum to hear the Chicago Symphony Orchestra play John William's best know John Williams, the composer of Star Wars, ET, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jaws.  What a night, first time the CSO had ever performed at the Arboretum and it was glorious, wonderful music under the stars.  The threatening skies passed us by, leaving behind a beautiful night.  I even spotted a lightening bug, which I thought usually didn't appear until July or August.

The clouds drifted away....

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra in action (psst...don't tell anybody, we were asked to not take pictures during the performance....I snuck one, don't think they even noticed)

My friend, Bonnie...a most enjoyable evening we had together.

Today was pretty darn near perfect for an outdoor party.....sun shining, check....lower humidity, check....slight breeze blowing, check....grass dry, mosquitoes, check.  Can't get any better than this.  I rose early, needed to get the pasta chicken salad prepared, put stuff know that stuff that gathers and makes piles and then you have to get rid of those piles so people will think you are so neat and organized.  As long as they don't go to the garage, or to the spare bedroom, or the laundry room, or the basement...I might fool them.  Tee Hee!!

My "great" friend Marti arrived early, I was borrowing a table and some chairs from her...she immediately started in on the strawberries, cutting them up for dessert and then preparing the topping (sour cream & brown sugar....try it on top of fresh fruit ie strawberries, raspberries, it is delicious)  As other people arrived they all seemed to find little jobs to do...what great friends I have.

Everyone arrived and after chatting for awhile, grabbing a drink...lunch was daughter, Lisa & granddaughter, Bailey helped serve, I was so happy they came.  Not only were they a big help, but many of my friends had never met them.  And some that did, had not seen them in several years.

So much food....I really didn't want anyone to bring anything, but so many insisted, so we had more than enough food....

Let the feasting begin....

It seemed to be over way too soon....sorta like Thanksgiving, you prepare & prepare and then everyone sits down to eat and 30 minutes later, it's done.

And would you believe that it rained (hard) after everything was put away and everyone had left...we were living right today.

A Bonus Today....I am including the Chicken-Pasta-Salad Recipe that I have had in my stash since 1994.  Some recipes stand the test of time and this is definitely one of those....

Almond Chicken Pasta Salad

4 cups cooked, cubed chicken
1 Tbsp. Sesame Seed
2 medium apples, cored and coarsely chopped
1 tsp finely shredded lime peel
8 oz corkscrew or bow tie pasta-cooked & drained
3 Tbsp lime juice
8 ½ oz can pineapple chunks, drained
1 Tbsp honey
½ cup seedless grapes
2 tsp. grated fresh gingerroot (I used dried)
1/3 cup biased cut celery (about 1 stalk)
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup sliced green onion
½ cup toasted sliced almonds
¾ cup mayonnaise
Lettuce leaves
¼ plain yogurt, I used Greek
Avocado slices (optional
Diced sweet pepper (optional)

 In a large bowl toss together the cooked chicken, apples, cooked pasta, pineapple, grapes, celery, and onion.  For dressing, in a small bowl combine the mayo, yogurt, sesame seed, lime peel, lime juice, honey, gingerroot and salt.  Pour over the pasta mixture, toss gently to combine.  Cover & chill.  To serve, if necessary add several tablespoons of milk to moisten.  Toss gently.  Serve on lettuce-line plates.  Top with almonds.  If desired garnish with avocado slices & sweet red pepper.  

This recipes makes enough for 10 main-dish servings, perfect for a luncheon. 

I am truly blessed with the friends that I have surrounding me...I don't think I could have handled these last few years without my friends.  The song, "I'll Get By With a Little Help From My Friends" is definitely my theme song.

And one more tidbit...I would love it if you would hop over to my collaborative blog, Focusing On Life where I am remembering "How I Met Your Father"....!! 

Until next time.....

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Take a Walk With Me

I know I have mentioned this numerous times, but it's been raining...again.  If I didn't know any better I would think I was living in the northwest United States instead of the midwest.  We have had 24.75 inches of rain this year, which doesn't seem like a lot, but we broke the record for wettest spring in the history of this kind of weather tracking.  This time last year we were in the middle of a drought, remember all the corn crops that were lost last year because of the lack of rain??  What a difference a year makes.

And because of all the rain, the gardens are glorious this year.  Not even the end of June and my garden is just flourishing.  Come and I will take you on a quick walk.

The clematis on the front arbor is happily blooming.  This gets very little sun due to the growth of the trees but yet she blooms profusely each year.

The Stella D-Oro daylilies are blooming happily outside of the front fence.  Again, not alot of light, but they do manage to bloom each year.  The sedum by the driveway is joyously growing there because of the heat from the black-top and the sidewalk.  Only 3 plants and they have spread rigorously.

The pots are bursting with flowers, some happier than others.  I think all of my impatients would like to have some heat and sun, which has been sparse.  This month our nights have been quite cool, down in the 50's and an occasional 40....impatients like HEAT!!

This poor little window box hangs just outside of my kitchen is leaning and the bottom is falling out, but my sweetie put this up many, many years ago and I always plant impatients in it to enjoy as I look out the window.

These roses are still quite happy.  This one is part of the Knock-Out rose family called Rainbow....she begins her blooms a lovely pink with a yellow center and then turns a pale pink as she begins to wither.  This was not a real popular choice and most garden centers don't carry the Rainbow Knockout, but it performs beautifully all summer in my garden.  

And then the hydrangeas....ahhhh one of my favorite flowers.  They last so long on the vine and there are now so many choices that will grow in our area of the country.  The Endless Summer Hydrangea will grow anywhere in my yard, but they seem to prefer either morning sun or very little sun.

I have added more varieties this year, a hybrid of the Annabelle called the Incrediball....the flowers are supposed to get the size of basketballs on strong, sturdy stems.  Mine is new this year, so I would say the flowers are closer to softballs, not basketballs.  Maybe next year I will have basketballs....

And look at this beauty....I planted this one in a pot and plan on dragging it into the garage over the winter and hope that she re-appears next year.  Drats I have misplaced the tag and can't remember her name...but take it from me, she is a stunner.

And on my way to the Party Store to buy the plates, napkins, cups etc for this Summer Party I am having this Friday....again, apologies to all that received the invite in error...and you probably got another reminder, can you see me apologizing on bended knees....sometimes technology is grand...other times, not so much.  But anyway, on my way home from the Party Store I swung by Home Depot's garden center and look what I found.....Indian Summer Rudbekia, it is supposed to be a perennial, but it may be an annual here, but couldn't resist.  If it doesn't come back next year, I will have enjoyed it this year.

And finally, the cone flower.  I love this flower, they have come out with so many hybrids of this, that now it comes in a myriad of colors and shapes.  This one is "raspberry".

I hope you enjoyed your walk thru the garden.  Watch your feet, I am sure they are muddy and you might have a mosquito bite or two.....with the rain, comes the mosquitoes.  Come back again, there will be more in bloom in awhile.

"So come and slowly we will walk through the green gardens and marvel at this strange and sweet world."  ~  Sylvia

Until next time.....


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Two New Friends

I am telling you this blogging world has been such a blessing in my life.  I have met so many wonderful new friends through this medium and hope to continue to do so.

A while back I mentioned here how much I love to travel, how much I would love to go to Italy or France, or Spain, or back to England (the only place I have visited across the deep blue sea).  But how difficult it is because I no longer have a traveling partner.  Well, one of my blogging buddies contacted me and said she too would like to travel and would I be interested in visiting the Amalfi coast in Italy. She had been there before but would like to return again for cooking & photography classes.  My heart did a flip-flop, cooking & photography in one of the most beautiful places ever?  Oh my goodness.

Correspondence and phone calls began with plans to meet in person in the summer to, for better lack of words, size each other up.  Would we be able to travel together?  Would we be compatible?  After following Jeanne's blog for quite awhile now, I knew she and I had the same values, the same love of photography and travel, and we are fairly close in age.

Yesterday was our face to face...and bingo it was perfect, except for the weather.  Jeanne better known to you as Butterfly Tales: Metamorphosis from the Cocoon was born and raised here in my area and moved to Dallas, TX, I on the other hand grew up in Dallas, TX and now live here.  Jeanne was traveling with Sam, her grandson, and what a fine young man Sam is.  Sam is 10, and while we were together, he flagged down a cab for us, talked to the concierge at the Drake Hotel as to where we could get a cup of coffee, he even tried to stop the rain from falling with a little dance, a very mature, smart (except for maybe the rain dance part) & fine young man.

We met at the you can see the sun was was a beautiful day.

We stopped for dinner and continued our discussions, getting to know each other, where we would like to visit in Italy, when we would like to go...etc.  But as we talked, the sky was beginning to darken, the winds picked up, and the rains came down with gusto.  We were drenched.  So much for making a good impression with a coiffed hairdo, but that's not what friendships are made of.  This is what I should have had, however no raincoat, no umbrella.

Our plans for attending the concert in Millenium Park were definitely cancelled and photography was a little dicey with the rains still coming down.  We caught a cab to Water Tower Place, wandered up to 4th Presbyterian Church, while the dripping continued.

At this point I was ready to seek shelter and have me a hot cup of coffee.  The Drake Hotel was right across the street, so off we went for coffee for us adults and french fries with ranch dressing for Sam.  Not exactly how we planned to spend our evening, but we continued our conversation and our getting to know each other over cups of hot coffee and a fry or two with ranch dressing.

It was time for me to grab a cab back to the train station to catch the 8:40 PM train that will get me home by 10:00 PM after spending a most enjoyable evening with 2 new friends.  See what happens when you blog!!

"I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.  I call God "Beautiful" for these gifts."  ~  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Until next time....

Monday, June 24, 2013

Dark & Cloudy With Little Light

Last night I couldn't what else is new?  After tossing and turning I decided to get up and go sit on the back porch, that usually lulls me to sleep, or at least settles my thoughts.  I think it is the quietness of the night with an occasional bird chirp (a bird with insomnia too?) that calms my soul.

I received some bad news on Friday about my sweetie.  The Memory Care facility that I raved about last week has informed me (gently) that they can no longer care for my husband.  He now requires constant supervision, he can no longer do anything for himself, including eating....he continues to fall frequently without injuries so far, he is entering the last stages of Alzheimers.  If he was confined to a wheel chair that would be a different story, but because he is so mobile, they do not have the staff to care for him.  I now must find a nursing home to care for him for his safety.  Something that I had hoped and prayed would never happen.  The staff will assist me in finding this place, they will go with me on my search and when the decision is made they will transfer him to his new home.  My heart aches, I feel like the image above....dark & cloudy with little light.

"You cannot prevent the birds of sadness from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from nesting in your hair."  ~  Chinese Proverb

Until next time.....