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.

They Won’t Stay In My Head

It has been confirmed beyond a doubt that I am a visual learner. The news was on TV as I was preparing dinner last night and I could hear the anchor reporting on the day’s events, but I wasn’t actually watching the broadcast.

What he said: 17 miners were trapped in an elevator shaft in a rural New York salt mine.

What I heard: 17 minors were trapped in an elevator shaft in a rural New York salt mine.

What my head said: Why in the world were those kids in a mine shaft? Where were their parents? How old were these minors? Was it a field trip, maybe? This rosemary smells so good.

What you’re thinking: I can’t believe Jenster is admitting this in public. She could have kept it to herself and no one would be the wiser.

You’re right. I shouldn’t have said anything.

It’s not like the time at work when a coworker said “Crisis averted!” and what I heard was, “Chris is perverted!” I asked who Chris was and what had he done to be considered perverted. There was no getting around that one as the entire office heard my questions.

But the minor/miner thing was in my head. I didn’t have to tell.

I mean, I can keep these things to myself. I didn’t tell you how I kept waving my hand under the paper towel dispenser at the restaurant today, completely frustrated that the sensor wasn’t sensing. I mean, come on. It only has one job. But then I realized there was no sensor and all I had to do was pull the paper towel out.

Dang.

I just told you that, too.

The Summer of my Content

It’s been close to three months since I quit working and I feel really good about the successes I’ve achieved this summer. If these accomplishments are any indication of what the rest of my years will be like, then I can look forward to a very fulfilled and satisfied life.

I watched the first four seasons of Scandal in a matter of weeks. We can look at this one of two ways:

  1. I am able to focus to meet my goal. I am that dedicated; or
  2. I  could have watched all of it in one day, but I didn’t. I am that disciplined.

Either way I come out looking good.

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I scored tickets to LIVE with Kelly and Michael for September. (This maybe isn’t such an accomplishment as it was much easier than scoring tickets for the Tonight Show.)

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I baked one day.

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I read a book. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. I read it for book club and enjoyed it for the most part. It ended kind of abruptly, but it wasn’t a waste of my time. (I’m really good at book reviews, too.)

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I have been able to keep up with the laundry. Mostly.

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I hung out with Katie until she left for school yesterday. This included watching the last season of How I Met Your Mother with an impressive determination so we could both move on.

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I went out to lunch. A lot.

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I started a website – Grace & Such. It will be launching next Tuesday, September 1st. The concept is something that I’ve had on my heart for a long time and I’ve been working on it since January so I’m super excited that it’s finally about to be real. And maybe a little nervous about it, too. I’ll tell you more about it on the 1st, but here’s a little clue.

FB Cover

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See what I mean? It’s been a productive and contented summer. Or something like that.

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!!

 

Regressing in Retirement

I have my first week of retirement under my belt. I would consider it a bit of a fail. I didn’t do 15 minutes of writing every day, nor did I do 15 minutes of decluttering or organizing a day. Do you know what I did do for 15 minutes a day? Nothing.

Actually that’s not entirely true. I kept thinking about what I need to do when I get back to work after my vaca– oh yeah. It’s kind of weird.

I also think I regressed. I watched “The Pacifier” one day – a very entertaining family movie. For families. With young children.

Do you know what else I did? I bought myself a coloring book. I feel slightly better about the fact it’s an adult coloring book and I’m using colored pencils instead of crayons, but it’s still a coloring book.

Maybe I shouldn’t call it an adult coloring book because I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about it. Here’s a picture of the cover. No need to hide your eyes. It’s perfectly innocent.

Coloring Book Cover

Coloring is supposed to be a good stress reliever. I discovered, however, that using dull pencils and no pencil sharpener in the house is irritating. Irritated does not equal relaxed. Never fear, though. I bought a pencil sharpener this afternoon and now I’m good to go.

Todd has some work stuff going on in Ohio this week and I’m going with him. A perk of not having to work. My hope is that when I return I can get down to the business of, well… business.

 

My First 15 Minutes

Today was my first Monday of retirement. It was pretty nice. I got up when I wanted to get up, which was about the same time I would have gotten up had I been going to work. But the difference was I didn’t HAVE to get up. I liked that.

I watched some Good Morning America. That was enjoyable.

I had a cup of coffee and a waffle and made out a loose schedule for the day. That was fine.

Lunch plans for today had been made last week so I had that to look forward to. That was fun.

The shower broke. I tried to turn it on and nothing happened. I tried the sink and it worked just fine so I knew the water hadn’t been shut off or anything. Trying again, I turned the knob and this time it was only hot water. So I jumped in for a quick shower. But then I couldn’t shut the water off. I went to the basement to get some tools while the shower was still running. I managed to get the broken knob off and then had to use a screw driver to actually turn off the water. That was exciting.

I made an unplanned trip to Lowes to get a new shower faucet handle and a stop at Target for a bunch of cleaning supplies. Because, you know, I’m going to be doing a lot of cleaning (in my head).

I started a 15 minute a day challenge today and spent 15 minutes working in my “office” (the sitting room off the master bedroom or, as it’s fondly known, the catchall room). It’s amazing what you can do in 15 minutes. Of course, the room is such a disaster that you can’t even tell. But a whole week of 15 minutes should make some sort of a dent.

This post is actually a part of the 15 minute a day challenge as well. I’m going to write for 15 minutes a day. I’m not exactly sure what that means yet. Will it be the blog? Will it be the book? Will it just be writing exercises? Or maybe all three. I don’t know. And it doesn’t even matter. It will be what it will be.

Do you know 15 minutes is a long time? This has taken me less than 7 minutes to write. What will I do now?

I’m sorry, but you’re stuck with me for another 6 minutes and 18, 17, 16seconds – less than 6 minutes. So I’ll tell you what’s currently going on. Todd’s bowling and it’s raining cats and dogs and thundering and windy and Sookie is not happy. She’s curled up at my feet and anytime I move she jumps up like I branded her with a hot iron. Skittish thing that she is.

Four more minutes…

Um…

It was hot today. Hot and sweaty. Not my favorite.

I’m reading To Kill A Mockingbird. I read it in middle school, but I didn’t really want to back then. Now I’m enjoying it. I may just read and read and then read some more tomorrow. I’m also reading Me Before You on my Kindle and it seems to be written well. I’m fairly well sucked in. I used to be a monogamous reader, but I’ve strayed.

Sheesh!! Still 2 minutes!

Oh. It’s thundering now. A nice rumbly thunder and it sounds like big, fat drops of rain. I love rainy weather when everyone is home and nobody has to get out. I wish Todd was home.

One and a half minutes more. Or is that one and a half minute more? I would think it’s only plural if there are two or more, but I’m not sure what the rule is when it’s more than one, but less than two. Anyone?

I have some really ripe bananas. I think I should make banana bread in the morning.

For the love! We’re still ticking down…

And I’m done!

Probably not the best post I’ve ever written, but at least I wrote for 15 minutes today.

And if you’re still reading, then thanks! (But seriously. What is wrong with you??)

The Meaning of “Jenster”

I just did a Google search for “Jenster” and it was fascinating. Jenster’s Musings came up second, but the Urban Dictionary definition was first and this is what it had to say:

Jenster

Nickname for the coolest Jenny you have ever met in your entire life! If you have met her, these might be a few of her characteristics:

1. Will listen to any kind of music and rock out to it. Can be found in traffic singing way too loud with one hand on the steering wheel and a sencha shot in the other.

2. Her personality is truly memorable and even contagious!

3. She likes sushi, mochi, kimchee, and musubi’s. How cool is that!

4. She is a wonderful mother and wife. When you see her kids its natural to say “what great kids, and beautiful”
Must make take after their mother because…

5. Jenny is beautiful too!

“Oh Jenster, you crack me up!”

“JENSTER!”

And this would be where I drop the mic and walk off the stage.

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.

Grocery Bliss

I did a little grocery shopping today.

NO! Don’t go! I’m not going to whine about it like I usually do. Promise!

Okay. Now where was I?

Oh, yes. I did a little grocery shopping today. And by that I mean I ordered my groceries online last night and today I pulled up to the designated spot and two young men graciously loaded my car for me. I didn’t even have to get out, but I did anyway. Mostly to ask if they would come to my house and put the groceries away for me. They said no.

There was no frustration, no angst, no drama. It was a thing of beauty. Now I don’t mind grocery shopping so much.

If only they would come to the house and put everything away for me.

And clean the kitchen.

That would be awesome.

I also stopped on my way to the grocery store to pick up my first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box today. I bought a half share so each Thursday I’ll stop at a friend’s house and pick up the fresh, locally grown vegetables, fruit and half a dozen eggs. I won’t know from one week to the next what will be in the box, but that’s cool. I’m just excited to have all kinds of healthy goodness on a regular basis.

Last night I mentioned that I would be picking up our first box today and I can’t remember if it was me or Katie, or maybe the both of us, who said that we hoped it would have rhubarb in it.

Guess what! It had rhubarb AND strawberries!

Strawberries and Rhubarb

Guess who’s making a rhubarb strawberry crisp tonight.

And guess who doesn’t mind grocery shopping anymore.

 

A Month At A Time

PREFACE

When I said “Join me after Thanksgiving for my next round of Holy Random Stories No One Cares About, Batman!” I was only joking. But look. Here it is, two days after Thanksgiving and the very last day in November. I really need to plan my time a little better.

THANKFULNESS

If you were around last year you may remember I did an entire month of thankfulness. Being the clever girl I am, I called it NoThanks – short for November Thankfulness. I thought for sure it would catch on like wildfire and people would be hashtagging #nothanks and maybe we’d even see it on Good Morning America or the Ellen Degeneres show and it would be my ticket to stardom and then I could write a book and go on a book tour and eventually I would be able to buy the ice blue BMW Z4 I’ve always dreamed of, but I was wrong. 

Since it didn’t catch on and I didn’t have the motivation to blog every day of November, I Facebooked a thankfulness every day instead. It’s much easier. I can write one little sentence and nobody judges me. And the really clever part (that I didn’t even think of until right now) is that I can just repost all those Facebook statuses (statusi?) and BAM! It’s a blog post.

Day 1:

I’m thankful for an awesome husband.

Thank you, Todd, for kicking me out of the house this afternoon even though I hadn’t finished re-organizing the pantry and the kitchen was an even bigger wreck than it was before I started. My trip to Valley Forge with the beautiful, late afternoon sun to light the gorgeous scenery was exactly what I needed! However did you know?

xoxoxo

VK collage

Day 2:

I am thankful for people who come over to my house and don’t judge me for the mess it is.

Day 3:

Thankful for getting to fall back this morning.

Day 4:

Thankful for the opportunity to teach a class about something that fascinates me to no end and thankful for the people in the class who indulge my craziness.

Day 5:

Day 6:

I forgot yesterday’s thankful post. So yesterday I was thankful for comfy flannel pants and warm, fuzzy socks. They made my icky, sicky day so much better.

Day 7:

I’m thankful for silly fun in the form of a Sound of Music sing along with friends. I’m feeling waaaay more normal than usual.

Day 8:

I’m thankful for lazy Friday afternoons with my bestie. — with Todd Thompson at The Thompson Homestead.

Day 9:

I don’t remember forgetting Day 9.

Day 10:

I’m thankful for friends who make me smile when I see them as I walk into church. And since church is the people and not the building, I love me some church.

Day 11:

Excuse the cliché, but I’m ever so thankful to all the military men and women for their service. Thank you!

Day 12:

Tonight I’m very thankful that Excedrin Migraine and a 20 minute power nap will usually work wonders.

Day 13:

I am thankful for photographs of my little loves (and the ability to scan said pictures). — with Katie Thompson and Taylor Thompson.

Kiddie Collage

Day 14:

I’m thankful for dinner out with good friends, one of which I don’t get to see nearly enough. Good food and great company!

Day 15:

I’m thankful for so many things I just can’t decide. So for today I’ll say I’m thankful I no longer have any gray hair.

Day 16:

I’m thankful for the opportunity to hang with some really great people a couple times a month so we can help each other do this Jesus thing.

Day 17:

I’m thankful for modern technology such as phone, email, Skype, and the like. It makes the distances of friends and family just a little bit closer and much more bearable.

Day 18:

Tonight I’m thankful I remembered to write something I’m thankful for before I fell asleep.

Day 19:

I am thankful for another birthday. ’nuff said.

Day 20:

I’m thankful for a warm and comfortable house.

Day 21:

Tonight I’m thankful to have my Katie home a day early!!

Day 22:

I’m thankful that my mom had a safe flight and I picked her up in Philly at midnight without a hitch!

Day 23:

Today I’m thankful that Taylor came home a day early as well. Now I have all my chicks in the nest as well as my mom. The only thing that would make it better would be if dad was here, too. Thankful for the care he receives and also for my sister and brother-in-law who are spending time with him this week while Mom is away.

Day 24:

I’m thankful for deep belly laughs!

Day 25:

I’m thankful for grace because I forgot to actually post on the 25th.

Day 26:

I’m thankful for adventures in the Big Apple with my girl and especially thankful that Oma could come along this time!

Day 27:

I’m thankful for puzzles and movies and time off work.

Day 28:

I’m thankful for delicious, traditional Thanksgiving dinner with my favorite people AND for someone else doing clean up.

Day 29:

Thankful that on this post-Thanksgiving day I don’t have anywhere I have to be. Thoroughly enjoying being lazy with my mom.

Day 30:

I’m thankful I managed 30 days of thankfulness AND I still have much more to be thankful for.