Tea and Quilts

Today was a lovely day for me and The Girl. She goes back to school on Sunday and we decided to finally make our way to the Penn Museum in Philadelphia, a place she’s wanted to visit since we moved here nearly ten years ago. Turns out, however, the museum is closed on Mondays.

Undaunted, we still made our way into the city, managed to find a decent parking spot and met The Boy for a cheap, delicious and way too large lunch. Philadelphia is known for its murals and, in fact, there are more than 3,000 of the colorful works of art scattered throughout the city. I’m always awed by their vibrant beauty so I grabbed these pics with my phone. (I made the conscious decision to leave my camera at home. *sigh*)

Mural 2

After we ate lunch The Boy went back to work and The Girl and I walked four blocks to Miel Patisserie, a divine French pastry shop, so we could finally experience French macarons. They’re quite as colorful as the murals and look like the little cookies on the time wasting game, Cookie Jam, on my iPad.

Macarons 2 Tea and Macarons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They also had really good tea. My tea was caramel toffee flavored and Katie’s was called Noel and was flavored with cinnamon and cardamom.

We enjoyed our sweet refreshments and walked back the four blocks to the car with about 15 minutes to spare before the meter ran out.

On our way home we made a stop at IKEA because IKEA. It’s like Disneyland. It even has flags at the entrance to the parking lot. The Girl bought a plant and named her Mabel, while I bought a $5.00 cheese grater. I spare no expense for my cheese preparations.

When we got home Mr. Jenster was off bowling so we made more tea to go with the macarons we brought with us and watched a few episodes of “Call the Midwife”.

Even though our original plans were dashed, it was an absolutely delightful day.

And as for quilts, it’s my day over at Grace & Such.

Myrtle Beach Adventures

I made it to Myrtle Beach and back in one piece. It was a quick trip, but I loved every minute of it. I even enjoyed the drive there and back. Mostly, anyway.

There is, no doubt, much more to Myrtle Beach than I saw, but what I did see was very commercialized. It was like Branson by the beach. Which is a lot of fun for young families and golfers, but I don’t know that it’s my kind of vacation place. I like slow paced, farmers’ markets, toes in the sand, an antique store or two, relax and read types of vacations. Still, my Katie was in Myrtle so it was the only place I wanted to be.

When I got settled into my room Monday night she came to see me for a couple of hours. Tuesday I did some of my own touristy stuff. Precious in hand, I set out to get some good photographs. What I got instead was some delicious sweet tea from McAlister’s (a foodie staple of the south) and a trip to Barnes and Noble. Not exactly what I had planned, but I wasn’t complaining.

I picked Katie up from her camp around 4-ish or so and we ran an errand or two before ending up at Joe’s Crab Shack at Barefoot Landing. This is where I found out she had never eaten crab before, other than in a crab cake or crab dip. Once I got over the shock of this parenting fail, we set about remedying the poor raising of her.  By the time we finished all those crab legs we were both a glorious mess of melted butter and crab juice. (It didn’t seem so horrible at the time, but reading crab juice kind of makes me shudder.)

After we got crabs (hehe – I said “got crabs”) we strolled around the landing, perusing the interesting shops and taking pictures of all the silly signs, t-shirts, etc. We made a couple small purchases and then landed at Kohr’s Family Ice Cream. It was the perfect ending to our outing.

We went back to the hotel, then, and got super comfy in our beds and watched Shark Week. Because we always seem to be at the beach when it’s Shark Week and what else should one watch? Especially when there has already been several shark attacks in the approximate vicinity. We also snacked a little. On Mega-Stuffed Oreos. They were on sale at the CVS we stopped at for bottled water and a few other things and this was our vacation and they looked so yummy and stop judging me.

Wednesday morning was super lazy and delightful. I got up and ensconced myself in the perfect reading chair while Katie slept on. I started a new book – The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty – for August book club. A book club I haven’t made it to yet, but August is a new month and I WILL FINALLY BE VICTORIOUS! By the time Katie got up and around it was too late for the free breakfast downstairs, which was perfectly fine with me. There was a coffee pot in the room and we still had Mega-Stuffed Oreos. What more could a girl with a caffeine addiction and a serious sweet tooth want? (I’ll talk about how I’m trying to get healthy again later. MUCH later. So don’t hold your breath for that post, m’kay?)

It was time for lunch by the time we got out of the hotel so we went to McAlister’s. I realize there were about a bajillion other places for us to go, but I really hadn’t satisfied my McAlister’s need and Katie was down with the choice, so there you have it. After lunch we headed to Broadway at the Beach. Our plan had been to spend the day there and then eat at the Hard Rock Cafe because eating at every single Hard Rock Cafe there ever was is a crazy and unspoken goal of mine. Well, now it’s spoken. Or written, which is even worse because you can deny the spoken word, but it’s hard to deny something that’s been written down. So now you know. But unless you’re independently wealthy it’s an impossible goal and one I think I’ve finally given up on. Unless I can someday write several NYT best sellers. Then I may revisit this goal.

Anyhoo, we walked and browsed and window shopped and took more pictures of ridiculous things that made us laugh and walked some more. Which makes me feel okay about my breakfast choice of that morning because it was pretty much walked and/or sweated off by the time we finished at Broadway. Oh. We also stopped in at Ben & Jerry’s for a kid sized cup of ice cream. Tonight Dough, how I love thee.

We had seen everything there was to see so we decided to forego the Hard Rock and head back to the hotel. More Shark Week to watch, more reading and a short nap for the girl. She wanted Mexican for dinner and we went to a gloriously authentic hole in the wall and it was delicious! And what trip would be complete without at least one run to Wal-Mart? We bought a few movie bundles in the discount bin and then ended our day back at the hotel.

Thursday morning Katie got up early and had to be back to camp by 7:45 or so. I got ready, went downstairs for a quick and free breakfast and then hit the road. I wanted to bypass DC because I knew I would head into the area right around rush hour so I took an alternative route. I didn’t think about the fact it would be a lot of highway with stop lights and such. OY! It took me forever to get home. But what a beautiful drive it was! I drove the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel – Bridge and it was fascinating. A little eerie, but very interesting.

On the way down I had listened to a book on tape – The Anatomist’s Apprentice by Tessa Harris. It was entertaining, but I don’t know that I would necessarily recommend it. On the way home, however, I listened to her second book in the series – The Dead Shall Not Rest – and found it to be much more interesting because it concerned real life people from 1780’s London. When I arrived home I had to do my own research on a couple of the characters and I liked how she wove the story around them. I’m sure I’ll eventually read the third in the series to see if she continues to get better or if book two was just a fluke.

It took me a little over 11 hours to get home so it was a lonnnnng day. My drive ended with a hellacious thunder storm with so much lightening it was blinding and so much rain it was hard to see more than about 10 feet ahead. But made it home I did. And I really enjoyed my own bed that night.

All in all, it was a great mini-trip and I loved hanging out with the girl. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat!

A Change of Scenery

As you can see, I’ve changed the look of my blog. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’m not in love with the new appearance, but the old look was, you know. Old. Time for a change of scenery.

Speaking of a change of scenery, I’m headed down to Myrtle Beach on Monday. Just me and the open road. I use the term “open road” loosely as said road will be I-95. Katie is working there for the summer and Todd wasn’t able to get away,so it’s a girls’ couple of days in Myrtle Beach! I’m excited to see her and the ocean and to just get away for a few. I have an audio book and good music so I think I’m set for the long drive.

And finally, I would love to be somewhere, anywhere near this particular scenery. This is the flag that flies over the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor.

Arizona Flag

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!!

 

Celebration Surprise

Todd is going to be 50 next Tuesday and we have a whole week of celebrating planned. We started the birthday week last night with a surprise visit from Katie.

Let me give you a little back story for this surprise. Over the summer she was our ice cream gopher. She would even tell you she was bullied a couple of evenings to run out for ice cream for the rest of us. I don’t think that’s technically true as she was never threatened or verbally assaulted, but whatever. I’ll let her have it.

She has also always been the one to change our whiteboard calendar. Said calendar still says August. So the other day I posted a picture on Facebook, tagged Katie and said, “You need to come home and change the calendar.”

So this is how it went down yesterday. She left after her last class and made the 7 hour drive home. But before she came to the house she stopped at the store and called me, saying she was bored so she thought she would call. (We had to keep to the script in case Todd could hear our conversation.) It went something like this:

KT:     Hi! I’m bored so I thought I would call.

Me:    No plans with the friends tonight?

KT:     No. They all went home for the weekend.

Me:    Oh. I know! You can come home and change the calendar!

KT:     Haha.

Me:    Or you could bring me ice cream!

KT:     Yeah. I’ll get right on that.

Me:    Okay!

KT:     I gotta go! Emily just came in.

Me:    Alright. Have fun!

About 10 minutes later she came walking in the front door, carrying a bag with a gallon of ice cream and a package of Oreos. Todd had no idea and he was so happy to see her!

Note to self: Don’t let Katie leave tomorrow without fixing the calendar.

A Little Gray With A Bunch of Good Junk

GOING GRAY

There’s not much going on with my hair right now. It’s only been a week and a half since my coloring job. There is the faintest amount of color sliding at my temples, but it didn’t show up in the pictures I tried to take so they’re not even worth posting.

And speaking of pictures, I know I said I would get one at the wedding while I was all gussied up, but that was a falsehood. Not an intentional one, mind you, but it just didn’t happen. I DO, however, have these photos I took the day after the coloring.

8-6-14 Hair 2 8-6-14 Hair 1

I love my color. I really do. It has a nice vibrancy to it that I’m afraid I’ll lose as it’s growing out. But I guess we’ll find out together. Because you’re a part of this now and I’ve tossed my pride aside. Today, at least.

ADVENTURE

Thursday night was Todd’s bowling league night and Katie had gone out with some friends. So after dinner Taylor told me we were going on an adventure, but he wouldn’t tell me what. I love me a good adventure and now that I’m all “grown up” and everything, I don’t get many of them.

He loaded up something in his truck and then we left. Our first stop was Sonic for milkshakes and then we were off again. We ended up at the river, where he backed his truck up to the shore and we climbed onto the bed of his truck and sat in lawn chairs. Then we commenced to converse and enjoy our milkshakes.

20140814-DSC_0025 20140814-DSC_0028

It was such a beautiful evening and, in fact, became downright chilly as the sun went down. Which, as you can see, made for a gorgeous picture.

After our most enjoyable endeavor we came home to watch Sharknado 2. Please don’t judge. It’s less an “I really want to see that spectacular cinematic brilliance”, and more of an “I have to watch it to say I watched it and then we can delete it from the DVR and never have to see it again.” Todd made it home just in time to watch with us and I have to say, it wasn’t without its entertainment. There is some value in B movies after all.

THE COFFEE COUNTER

A few years ago I was off visiting my parents in New Mexico and when I returned home, Todd had bought me a Keurig as an early birthday present. I was ever so happy with it and really do like it. Sometimes. But here’s the thing about a Keurig – the coffee doesn’t taste the same. Oh, it’s super convenient as long as you have a supply of K-cups. That can get pretty pricey, though, so we have special K-filters we can use regular ground coffee with. That’s great, too, except it’s kind of a pain to put together every morning and again, the taste isn’t the same.

I’ve been thinking for a while now that I wanted a regular coffee maker. But how wasteful! The Keurig works perfectly fine. The taste thing finally got the better of me and I had Katie pick up a discounted coffee maker at Target the other day. So now this is what our counter looks like:

Coffee Counter

We’re keeping both on the counter because the Keurig is great for brewing iced tea and chai lattes and hot chocolate and hot tea and hot apple cider and all manner of alternative beverages. You can see from the K-Cup holder, however, that we are low on our favorite K-Cups.

Two mornings in a row Taylor and I have had coffee from the new coffee maker and it was divine. Oh, how I’ve missed that flavor.

EXTREME SPORTS

We ended this fabulous streak with a kayaking adventure. It was such a gorgeous day yesterday so we drove through the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside to Green Lane where we rented four kayaks and took to the open water. So.much.fun. And it was just an awesome way to spend a day. No phones. No computers. No TVs. Just the four of us. We probably would have stayed out a bit longer, but some dark clouds started rolling in, the wind whipped up a bit and it was cold. In August. It was cold. No matter. We still had over an hour of relaxing fun and I’m looking forward to doing it again.

I’m Still Around

Holiest of molies! Today marks the end of August and my last post was at the beginning of July. I promised myself I would never again go a whole calendar month without posting because, well, I don’t know why. But since I promised myself and I don’t like to go back on my promises, unless it was to promise my peanut allergic daughter that I would never eat peanut butter again until she was no longer allergic, I have to post something. Anything.

Let me tell you people, I have a lot to say. A ton. A whole slew of stories. A plethora of tales. Heaps and oodles and scads of riveting adventures to regale you with.

But here’s the deal. Preschool starts on Tuesday, the day after Labor day. Do you know what that means? That means I’ve got stuff to do. Stuff that does not involve me recounting the past several months. So I will leave you with this tasty little morsel and pledge (because I don’t put as much stock in a pledge as I do in a promise, even though they’re the same thing) to tell you about my beeswax much sooner rather than later. Do we have an accord? Okay. Then here’s a snippet of a thing.

Todd and I are interim empty nesters. Katie is now a freshman and Taylor is a senior in college – both in Virginia. I don’t know what the deal with Virginia is and why it stole my children. Virginia is for lovers, not children.

Taylor is about 7 hours away and Katie’s about 8 hours away. I would like it if they were a bit closer, but they’re not. Any time I feel sad about that I think of my friend, Stephanie, who lives in Hawaii and whose daughter went to Rutgers in New Jersey. Now that’s a far piece. But then again, she lives in Hawaii so… yeah.

Anyway – back to the empty nest thing. It’s only been a week, but I think it’s going well. In fact, I think this next phase is going to be good. I might even like it. It’s peaceful, to be sure. I like peaceful.

And that’s that until the next time. 

A Happy June

June has been quite a month. A great month, really. From really close to the very beginning. I think I’ll tell you about it.

The first week of the month it became much too apparent that we needed a new washer and dryer. I was running the spin cycle a couple times, sometimes up to 5 times for bedding, just so things wouldn’t be dripping when I put them into the dryer, which nearly always took at least two runs to get mostly dry clothes. The set had been purchased when the original owners built the house 14 years ago so they’d had a good run. But it was time to say our goodbyes and move on.

While the thought of bigger, better, shiner and maybe even colorful was thrilling, the thought of paying for it was not. This year is already shaping up to be the year of needing money faster than we can pull it off the tree. Adding yet another large expense made me cringe. Until I started doing research and looking at the alluring beauties and learning what friends’ had and what they liked and what they didn’t. So one night while Todd was out of town Katie and I headed up to Home Depot to “look”. Looking turned into talking to an employee which turned into ordering it right there on the spot with Todd on the phone so he could answer all the manly questions that I didn’t possess knowledge of.

I ended up buying the white ones (cheaper), but aren't they lovely?

I ended up buying the white ones (cheaper), but aren’t they lovely?

The worst part about the whole thing — well, besides the money that is now forever gone — is that they delivered and hooked up the set the following Monday. I was not home that day, nor the next two days after that (which is part of my great month story I’ll be getting to in a minute). Todd had to wash all manner of bedding (which is another part of my great month story) and I promise you I was jealous. Never in my whole entire life have I ever been jealous of someone else doing laundry. Seriously never. Ever.

So that Monday, which was the 10th, was the beginning of my really great month. Katie was in the last week of high school but her finals were done. Thursday night was graduation and Wednesday was mandatory walk through, but she had gotten permission to miss it so she could attend her college orientation.

You read that right. College my-baby’s-going-away-in-the-fall orientation. More on that later. Much later. I’m not quite ready to go there.

Back to the 10th. Katie and I packed up Raven (the name she has given my new car – one of our please-take-my-money-because-obviously-I-don’t-want-it expenses) and hit the road, bound for Radford University.

Radford

Yes, THAT Radford. The Radford that’s been all over the news this past week for misspellings on their diplomas. At least it took the focus off their party school status.

Anyhoo, it’s about a 7 1/2 hour drive so we were fully stocked with good tunes and, well, that’s about it. I had my coffee and we each had a bottle of water. We made our appropriate stops at the great rest areas they have between here and there for a Starbucks and water and snacks, etc., and then began our search for the obligatory Cracker Barrel stop. After driving through some pretty heavy rain and cursing the 18-wheelers for spraying up water so that I couldn’t see where I was going, the sun peaked out and shined it’s ever-loving rays on the glorious Cracker Barrel sign about an hour out of our final destination.

Cracker Barrel

“Ahhhhhhhhhh” (That would be the sound of angels singing.)

We ate our fill, emptied our bladders and bought chocolate. There was a very ominous black cloud ahead of us, but I wasn’t daunted. I had just driven through a rainstorm of epic proportions. I could handle this miniature dark cloud.

Except I couldn’t. Just as we were going over a bit of a mountain pass the cloud’s dam burst and we couldn’t see more than 10 yards ahead of us. It was horrifying. The only time I’ve ever driven through anything like that before was in the middle of Tennessee on I-40 and I had to pull off until it had passed. This time I put on my hazards, pulled onto the shoulder and crawled along with at least two other vehicles. Ten minutes and it was blessedly done.

We stayed in a hotel Monday night and Tuesday morning began the orientation. After the initial session parents and kids were sent in separate directions and we saw very little of each other after that. Kids and parents were actually supposed to meet up again for dinner, but Katie’s roommate was also there so they ditched me and left me alone to my own devices. I didn’t feel like eating alone in the cafeteria so I went to Wal-Mart, which has unconsciously become a routine stop on every one of my trips, no matter where I am. I don’t remember what exactly I got to eat, but in the spirit of being at college it was something overly processed, extremely flavorful and super unhealthy.

Oh. I forgot to mention that I stayed in a dorm room that night. It was a recently renovated room and had air conditioning and its own bathroom. But let me tell you this. It was no night at the Ritz. Or even Motel 6. When you stripped away those two conveniences it was still a dorm room. A kind of smelly dorm room with a very uncomfortable bed, no cable and no coffee maker.

dorm

Notice the coffee maker, mini-fridge and large flat-screen TV? Oh yeah. Me neither.

Wednesday morning Katie and I checked out of our dorm rooms, (Hers was worse than mine because it didn’t have air conditioning and she had to share her bathroom with three other girls. Only three.) threw our stuff in Raven and grabbed some coffee at the campus Starbucks. After that we split up again and then met up around 11 where we ate at the campus Chick-Fil-A and then headed for home.

Taylor stayed in Lynchburg after school this year because he’s taking two summer sessions and working. He had promised Katie that he would come home for her graduation, though, so after his class on Wednesday morning he and Shelby made for home. Both Lynchburg and Radford are in the same general vicinity of Virginia and I-81 is the way to go. I had joked with him that maybe we would see each other on the road.

Due to my less than comfortable bed the night before I was tired. Katie was blissfully snoozing in the passenger seat and somewhere along the line I started getting really sleepy so I decided it was time to pull off. As we approached a rest area there was a sign that said, “Next rest area, 33 miles”. I debated about waiting until the next stop, but at the last minute chose to stop at the first one. A stretch was really in order and waiting another half an hour did not seem a viable option. I pulled into a spot with no cars on either side, cracked the windows since Katie was still asleep and went into the restroom. As I was coming out she was walking in. She didn’t say much other than she woke up and thought she should probably go, too.

I got out to the car and there was a green truck parked next to me. This green truck looked suspiciously (and exactly) like Taylor’s green truck.

Truck

My reflection in the tailgate is an optical illusion. I’m actually rather tall and thin. (in my head)

Sure enough. He had pulled in after us and parked right next to Raven – the sporty little black car on the left. The funniest thing about all of this is that he had no idea it was my car he parked next to, no idea that we were even there until Katie came out of the bathroom and walked up to him while he was looking at his phone, waiting for Shelby, and said, “Hey, Bro.”

So we had a little mini-reunion at some random rest area in Virginia. This was a very fortuitous meeting for Taylor as I bought his gas and dinner for he and Shelby at our usual stop in Carlisle Pennsylvania right before getting on the turnpike for the last leg of the trip.

Todd and Sookie were extremely excited to see so many of their people getting home at the same time. But the fun wasn’t over quite yet. I went to bed rather early – I think before 9 – and Todd had to drive to the airport around 11 or so to pick up his parents who were coming in from California for Katie’s graduation.

Which is why we had all that bedding to wash. (See? I told you I would explain it.)

Alright. Let’s see. We’re now on Thursday. Yeah.  So Thursday was supposed to be graduation, except the weather was unpredictable (much like it’s been for a while) and the graduation class is very large so moving it inside is a logistical nightmare and reduces the number of people who can attend. They finally postponed it until Friday. So it went like this:

Thursday:

I ran to the drugstore early in the morning for milk and cereal because there was no food in the cupboard. Seriously – nothing good to eat. And I knew grocery shopping was going to be an all day event but I couldn’t let all those people in my house starve whilst waiting for me to get back with the goods. A storm was rolling in and I wanted some sort of sustenance for my guests before the epic weather hit.

I forgot to mention that at this point I hadn’t had a shower since, um, Monday. No, Tuesday. I did take a shower at the hotel Tuesday morning.  I guess it wasn’t so horrible. I hadn’t started really smelling yet so we were good.

I made it home from this quick run right before a good storm rolled through. I then took a shower. A gloriously hot, steamy, long shower. I love guests and all, but at that point I didn’t care if I used up all the hot water. I figured I had risked the tumultuous elements so they wouldn’t starve, I had done my unselfish deed for the day. Besides, there was a lot of shaving that had to get done.

Katie and I then spent the day buying consumables. We started at Costco, brought that stuff home, and then went to the grocery store for all the rest. I know I’ve mentioned before that I hate grocery shopping. That day was no exception and boy was I glad to be done with it!

Friday:

We had sandwiches for dinner – but not lame and wimpy sandwiches. I had the good bread, the good lunch meat, all the toppings and condiments along with chips, dips, salads and all that good stuff.

Then we went to the football stadium for the graduation ceremony. It turned out to be a perfect evening for an outdoor event.

Graduation_2636

600+ kids takes a long time to get through, however, and those bleachers are not exactly barcaloungers, if you know what I’m sayin. Still, as far as high school graduations go, it was pretty decent.

After the graduation we went back to the house for desserts and our friends, Kris and Shelby (not to be confused with Taylor’s Shelby) came over and joined us. It was nice.

Saturday:

Todd’s parents took us all to dinner to celebrate the following:

Taylor’s 21st birthday (April)

Shelby’s graduation (May)

Mother’s Day (May)

Katie’s graduation (June)

Father’s Day (June)

Our Anniversary (June)

And I think that’s it. We went to a place called Parc Bistro and ordered rather exotic foods like lamb chops with merguez stuffing and mustard barbecue sauce; sauteed king salmon with whipped okinawa sweet potatoes, warm asparagus and stone fruit chutney; venison loin wrapped in applewood smoked bacon, served with cous cous, balsamic glazed brussels sprouts and port wine pear sauce. I would have taken pictures (because that’s what I do) but since it was a rather upscale place I resisted. Not only that, but I had already eaten half of my dish before I even thought about memorializing the meal in a photo.

Sunday was a sad, sad day because Taylor and Shelby left. But it had been a really great visit with them.

Though nice, the following week was much less exciting. Susan and Philip were still here, but Todd and I both had to work and Katie had several things she had to do as well. Philip went on a walkabout with Sookie every day. I’m talking miles and miles. They would be gone for an hour at the least, sometimes up to two. Someday I might do that, too. But I would want to take my camera with me and it would take me infinitely longer to walk the same distance because I’d be stopping to take pictures along the way. So maybe I won’t.

We didn’t get to do any real touristy stuff and I felt bad about that, but it was a nice and relaxed visit. Saturday morning Todd took them to the airport. On Sunday he went back to the airport to fly to Akron and Katie hopped on a bus with a ton of other teenagers for their annual teen conference – this year in Michigan.

I know you’re all intelligent people and I don’t have to spell it out for you, but I’m going to anyway. I was alone. A-L-O-N-E. From Sunday afternoon until Friday morning. I watched what I wanted or I watched nothing at all. I ate what I wanted. It was a delightful week.

Sidenote – When I took Sookie for a walk on Monday we went around the block. The big block – almost a half a mile. When we got back to the house she gave me this look like, “Are you kidding me? That’s it?” Yep. That’s it, dog.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my people a lot.  I love them a lot of a lot. And I missed them, too. But I relished the temporary aloneness. It was just nice. I was more than ready for Todd to come home, though. Probably by Wednesday. And I’m definitely ready for Katie to get home tonight as well.

Which leads me to revisit a comment I made earlier about her going to college in the fall. Right now she’s been gone for a week and I miss her and the realization that I will be going weeks, if not months sometimes, without seeing her makes me sad. Ask me again next Saturday after she’s been home for a week. I might have a completely different outlook. Typically it changes from day to day, sometimes hour to hour, or even minute to minute.

But all that is a post for another day and I have wasted enough of your time waxing poetically about the beauty of my June. That is assuming, of course, that you actually made it to here. And if you did, thanks for hanging around. I appreciate it.

If You’ve Ever…

… had to read with your child for school – this link is for you.

… been told the night before a big project is due that, well, a big project is due – this link is for you.

… had to dress your kid up in some kind of a costume for school – this link is for you.

… been ready for summer before your kid – this link is for you.

And if you just like to laugh – the kind of laugh that makes you snort and unintentionally spew beverages – this link is for you.

Jen Hatmaker – Worst End of School Year Mom Ever

 

Out of Focus

This is going to be one of those really short posts, but I’ve got something to say.

Today was Katie’s spring recital – one of my favorite events of the season. I took pictures for the academy’s website and tried hard not to sing out loud along with the vocalists. What a bunch of talent!

Anyway, Katie sang Still Hurting from The Last Five Years. Do you know it? I didn’t. Oh.My.Gosh. It’s a heart wrenching song and she delivered it with so much emotion that it hit me like a Mack truck. For a minute I thought my lens wasn’t focusing because everything was so blurry, but then I realized it was just my eyes.  Not only that, but tears were streaming down my cheeks. Streaming! I didn’t want to wipe them for fear she would see that movement from the corner of her eye and it would trip her up. That and I didn’t want anyone else to know I was losing it. Because, you know, I have a reputation to maintain.

Todd didn’t fare any better.

What’s wrong with me? Where’s the soulless ice queen? Dang. The hard shell of my heart has been breached. I’m going to have to do something about that before her graduation in June and college in the fall.

He Speaks!

About two weeks ago I had a texting conversation with Taylor. I told him we bought a new car and he asked when we would be driving it down south to see our son. We’d had a weekend trip planned in March and one in April, but they both came to naught and our next trip to see him is scheduled for May. (This is where I could have pointed out that maybe he should have come home for his Spring Break instead of staying in Lynchburg to work, but I didn’t.)

After our conversation I decided to look at the Lynchburg College Event Calendar, just to see if there was some fun filled family weekend coming up. I had barely begun to scroll through the list of events when the name “Taylor Thompson” jumped out at me.

Day: Monday, April 1, 2013

Time: 12 p.m.

Where: Memorial Ballroom

Event Details: Taylor Thompson ’14 and Laura Dupuy, Director of Lynchburg Neighborhood Development Corporation, will talk on “Homelessness in Lynchburg.”

So after more texting, phone calls and cashing in Hilton points, Todd and I had our plan to go watch Taylor. Sadly, Katie’s a senior and classes are “important” and she “can’t afford” to miss any. “Whatever.”

To say our Easter was different from any other would be an understatement. Todd and Katie and I went to first service, after which Todd came home and Katie went her way to serve and I went my way. Since it was such a last minute plan I didn’t have a replacement so I was there until 1:45. Todd picked me up with Wawa sandwiches for lunch and we said goodbye to Katie and then ditched her for Easter. (I realize my parenting skills and the status of my motherly soul have been suspect for a long time, but she did have Easter dinner with her best friend so she wasn’t completely alone.)

We pulled into Lynchburg around 8 and went straight to Taylor’s house. Todd had never been there so he got the grand tour while I pretended to be all cool and hip with the other students that were there, though I’m pretty sure my use of “cool” and “hip” gave me away. While there his girlfriend, Shelby, told us that she was defending her thesis on Monday afternoon if we wanted to come watch and we said, “YES!”

We were meeting Shelby in front of the college ballroom at 11:45 on Monday morning so we had some time to just do our thing. We breakfasted at Chick-Fil-A and then went to the shopping center across the street and I bought new shoes. While at breakfast Todd asked, “Why do you need new shoes? The shoes you’re wearing look fine.” Because he’s a man and really doesn’t know any better I was very patient with him and explained how my shoes were fall/winter-type shoes and I needed some spring shoes. That seemed to appease him, though I’m not sure he really got it. I find very few men understand the whole shoe thing. I’m not sure I really understand the whole shoe thing. I just know it as a primal need.

But I digress. After I changed into a new pair of shoes (I bought two pair because it was buy one, buy one half price and I know a good marketing ploy deal when I see one) we headed over to the college. Since I have a new car I don’t have my “Lynchburg Mom” decal anymore so we went straight to the bookstore. I bought a new decal and a package of band aids because the new shoes were rubbing on my heal the way new shoes are sometimes wont to do. Todd bought a new Lynchburg insulated tumbler and I think that’s all we got. That time.

Then it was time to go watch my boy do his thing. One word: Surreal. There was a man and a woman who were talking to a room of about 200 college seniors and faculty about poverty, except the man was my son. My child. I was struck with so many thoughts as I watched him up there.

He appears so confident.

He only said “um” once.

He knows his subject matter well.

He’s really passionate about his subject matter.

He works very well with Laura (the other speaker and a mentor of his).

He doesn’t look like a little boy.

I’m so proud right now I might burst.

I have to hold it together so I don’t cause a scene and ruin everything.

Don’t you dare stand up and yell, “That’s my baby!”

Maybe I should have bought those khaki flats instead of the gray.

Well… some of those thoughts might be creative license for entertainment purposes, but you get the idea.

The presentation was part of Senior Symposium. Instead of trying to tell you what Senior Symposium is and getting it completely wrong, here’s the blurb from the college’s website:

The Senior Symposium is an academic tradition at LC that brings significant texts, questions, and ideas to bear on various contemporary issues. Students meet weekly to listen to a public lecture, then participate in small group discussions.

It’s not often that a student is a speaker so the fact that Taylor was is huge. At least to me, it is.  I’m not entirely certain – and I should probably get my facts straight before I put these words on the internet because, you know, if it’s on the internet then it’s true – but I believe Laura was asked to present and she asked Taylor to co-present because of the work he has done with her.

After the lecture the speakers are invited into the inner sanctum – that place that only faculty and distinguished guests are allowed – for lunch. Todd and I were going to go do our thing and then meet up with Taylor later to watch Shelby’s presentation, but we were graciously invited to join the lunch festivities. We then went back to Taylor’s house for a little while until it was time to go back and watch Shelby.

Her thesis was based on her work for a summer reading program with mostly underprivileged children. It was a very interesting subject and she did a great job presenting the information. It was obvious she had done her work and knew her facts as she was able to answer the questions afterwards with ease and received high honors for her defense. Getting to be there for it was an added bonus to our quick trip!

The rest of the day was just fun. We took Shelby to her house so she could change and look what she had.

DSC_0012_1811

I think she said it was a 12 pound jar of Nutella. I think this picture should be framed and hung on a wall.

The kids took us for bubble tea smoothies. A bubble tea smoothie has tapioca pearls in it. I always thought tapioca pearls were small and white, but it turns out they are, in fact, big and black. The straws are rather large so as to accommodate said big and black tapioca pearls. So you’re drinking this smoothie and then all of a sudden you suck up this big pearl with the consistency of an almost gummy bear.

Bubble Tea Smoothie

I feel as though I should think it’s terribly gross, but I liked it. In fact, I think I liked it a lot.

After that Todd and I were taken to the amazingly spectacular Givens Bookstore.

Givens Bookstore

It was a little like Disneyland. After perusing used books, new books, antique books, classic toys and even educational curriculum, I finally bought Let’s Bring Back: the Lost  Language Edition – A collection of forgotten-yet-delightful words, phrases, praises, insults, idioms, and literary flourishes from eras past.

Lost Language Book

I thought it would be a great addition to my writing library. Now I’m not so sure. Turns out I already use a lot of these words and phrases in every day conversation. Though I did learn that “groovy” was a term for sardine (“Please pass the groovies and crackers.”) before it became a hippy thing.

When I decided everyone had indulged me in my Mecca for long enough we were given a tour of downtown Lynchburg by Taylor. I had my camera around my neck and got all twitchy as I watched the beautiful surroundings of church spires and amazing architecture and fascinating urban scenery go by. If I’d had my way it would have taken us until dark before we made it to the restaurant for dinner. So I made a note to myself – come back in May when you have a lot of time and people aren’t hungry.

Dinner was very enjoyable and we were able to discuss Taylor’s presentation more – I had all kinds of questions (and I like playing devil’s advocate). All four of us walked out of the restaurant stuffed. We dropped Taylor and Shelby off at his house and then drove back to the hotel. Only as we were getting out of the car did I realize we forgot to have him endorse his tax return check and sign a DMV thingy, so I drove back to the house, got his John Hancock, and then came back to the hotel.

Tuesday morning we got up, packed up, checked out, ate at Bob Evans and then hit the road. It was a fabulous spontaneous (and when I say “spontaneous” I mean it hadn’t been planned for months) trip down to see Taylor and Shelby. Next year Katie will be at school about two hours from him (Shelby graduates this year) so I imagine we’ll be taking many more trips down that way for another four years. That means four more years to take lots of pictures!