Saturday, October 25, 2014

Around Here

I was in line at Panera the other day when out of the blue a man (a stranger, a bit older than me) asked me who I thought was going to win the election for Governor. Now, I don't know about you guys, but I think that's a dangerous opening gambit for a conversation with a stranger.

On Friday I went swimming, and it was very different from normal Friday afternoons at the Y. Quite crowded. This would not have been a problem except that I offered to share my lane with another middle-aged woman, and she splashed just like a toddler learning to swim. It was like a tsunami each time we passed each other.

On the other hand, in the third lane, a boy (7 years old, maybe?) was having a swimming lesson. At one point he was practicing diving. The first time, he was all lined up and then just jumped in at the last minute. The next time he did it though, with that let-your-body-follow-your-head falling motion which is scary before it becomes natural. He was so psyched when he surfaced, and I shared a smile with his teacher. What a cutie.

I can now walk without a limp or cane. I get to use both hands when I do things. It's so refreshing --kind of like suddenly being ten years younger.

I cleaned the kitchen windows. Don't cringe too much, but the outside of the windows in our double-bay hadn't been cleaned since we built the addition, in 2005. I used a bunch of old hand towels, and the view is much improved. I've been on kind of a cleaning-jag. To make up for the last five years of neglect.

We're having an absolutely wonderful October. Lots of mild sunny days, and the foliage has been gorgeous. This afternoon I felt the need to hesitate as I drove up the driveway to get this photo:
And I wandered around and took a few pictures of the gardens, as they get ready to head into winter.

Aging hostas.
Some weird fruit weed.
Begonias that have made it through our frosts.

I don't want this October to end.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Note To Dad

I don't know what this is, only that last night Rob was doing some of that really annoying bugging that Dad's are wont to do, as Emma was working on this at the kitchen table. I left them to it.

This morning I came down after my shower and found this on the counter.
Ahh, Dads :-)

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Some positive:

Someone has been leaving post-it's on the mirror in the Y's locker room that say things like "You are beautiful!" Makes me smile each time I try to make myself look presentable. 

The fact that the Y has a locker room exclusively for women over 21. Really, that was a spectacular idea.

Someone recommended the book "The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry", and it was such a lovely book, I wish I wasn't finished with it. I thought it was Kristy (of The Crislers) but apparently it wasn't. If it was you, please own up in the comments so I can thank you :-)

The sun came out today, after what feels like weeks of clouds and drizzle. What a mood-booster that sun is!

Some funny:

Driving Emma and her friend K to the park, they are talking about one of K's cats, called Shenanigans. This was a feral cat, and it now comes inside but hides behind the fridge most of the time. A few nights ago there was a raccoon on their deck, her dad opened the door, and Shenanigans streaked out. He put one arm around the raccoon's head and started punching it in the face with his other paw. Her dad came out, and startled Shenanigans into loosening his grip. The raccoon escaped. That's one serious guard cat!

This story lead to a second story, where a different cat had peed all over the inside of a cabin when left alone for a weekend, including on the stove. As K was talking about cleaning and refurbishing the cabin, I heard Emma say "Is Kathy flammable?" Um, no. Turns out she asked if cat pee is flammable. My bad. Hysterical laughter from the back seat, as one of their teachers is named Kathy. K said "Well, I don't know . . . we could find out . . . "

Rob was doing some shopping, and he was in the cleaning products isle. There was a mom, with two young boys, looking at a sponge-mop with a large rectangular head. As he walked up, he overheard her say "I think this is what we need." One of the two boys looked at her in amazement, and said "That's a fly-swatter?!!" Oh my goodness, I laughed so hard when Rob relayed this story :-)  

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Heart Rocks

Emma and I spent the afternoon at a friend's house (former student of mine, as well), coloring heart rocks. Later, we'll take them with us and leave them in various places for people to find. Hopefully, they will add a little smile to someone's day. Some of the rocks we collected were not heart-shaped, but we had fun coloring them anyway. This was such an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon, that I'm thinking I might start a casual art-club. Along the lines of a book club, but we'd get together once a month to enjoy doing something artistic.

Here is a selection of our work --I think my favorite is the one in the center bottom, colored by Emma.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


I've been swimming 3 or 4 times a week now for about 5 weeks. I'm able to go after teaching, in the early afternoon. It's never crowded although I do sometimes have to share a lane. But sometimes I'm the only person in the pool!

The pool is divided in half by a wall that runs about 3/4 of the length of the pool; one half goes from 0 to 3'6", and the other half is for lap swimming, going from 3'6" to around 14' deep.  The zero-entry end of the shallow pool is at the same end as the deep end of the lane pool, which for some reason took me awhile to grasp. And by grasp I mean map in my head. It's a really big pool. 

I swim laps for about a half hour, then swim over to the shallow part to do some quad stretches and PT exercises. I swear, I could swim for several hours, it feels so incredibly peaceful. And since I'm always swimming after work, I just rinse off afterwards, and don't have to worry about making myself look work-presentable.

It's a funny thing about the Y --when you open the door to the front entrance, you're hit with a strong smell of chlorine. I don't know if this is true of many Ys, but it must have been true of the one my family went to when I was a kid. Opening that door is like taking a step back into childhood, just for a moment. Also, when I'm swimming in the deep end, I have such an incredible urge to just dive under and touch the bottom. We used to do that all the time as kids during Family Swims, and it's amazing how strong that memory is. I try to stay dignified, but who knows? Some day, when it's just me and the lifeguard, I may give in :-)

In the meantime, I'm grateful for the opportunity to move and enjoy the calm, and it has been doing my leg a lot of good. The quad muscle had really started to calm down until I planted some bulbs this past weekend, lost my balance, and wrenched it again while trying (successfully) not to fall down. So, more swimming and stretching is needed :-)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Last night, Rob and I went to the pet store to pick up litter while Emma was in her Kempo class. While we were there we noticed they were having a sale on cat beds. Gwen has been sleeping on an old pillow, with fleece blankets on it. We figured with winter coming on, we should get her a better bed, with sides, so she would be warmer. 

Last night after we got home, we set it up, on top of the old pillow. After she'd had her evening meds and food, we put her in it.

This morning, this is how I found her:
Even blind, she managed to push that new bed off her old one. One of my favorite things about cats --they let you know if they don't like something. No suffering in silence for a cat :-)

Saturday, October 4, 2014


I sent two packages off on Thursday. One had the charms I made for the Beads of Courage Auction and charm exchange, and one went to my sister, a little late, for her birthday. I can't show the charms until the reveal date, so I'm just including a photo reminder of why I made them.

For my sister, I had to fix a necklace I'd made her last year, make some matching earrings, and then I made an additional set for her. A very lavender/purple set :-)

I did fix that jump ring on the yellow flower earrings before sending them off. They are the ones that match a necklace I made for her last year. 

One of the reasons I like participating in things like the charm exchange, blog hops, or even making things for friends, is that it gives me a deadline and gets me beading. It's so easy for all the necessary daily tasks (laundry, grading, prepping, cleaning) to get in the way.