At Sam’s

One day I was an early shopper at Sam’s Club. I walked to the usual door, my mind counting the items to pick up and I stopped dead. The door didn’t open. Only then did I notice the exit door had a sign welcoming early shoppers at that door. I trudged to that door, picked up a cart and rolled into the store.

Once inside, I noticed a table with coffee pots. Hmmm, I wondered, if those were for me? I didn’t investigate, but filed that note away in the recesses of my mind (hopefully I will be able to pull it out when I need it).

Still checking on my mental list, I wandered past the book section. They have Divergent and it is pretty cheap, so I added this item to my cart. (After all, I am on summer vacation, it’s time to catch up on some reading. :-) )

My list was complete and I stopped at the first self-check out lane. I swiped my card, it didn’t read it. I swipe slower, it didn’t read it. One more time, with my eyes narrowed, and aggravation building, it decides I am legit and it welcomed me. Ha! Some welcome!

There is a girl patrolling the self-check stands who wandered by my cart. She checked out my items and noted the Divergent book. “Oh you are going to read it before seeing the movie?” she inquired. Before I can respond she continued on, “I did that with the Hunger Games. I didn’t even know there was a book of Divergent.” I am thinking, Really, you didn’t know it was a book first? Do you live under a rock?

Meanwhile during this exchange, all my items are scanned, I slide the credit card and receive a message I’ve never gotten before. You have a chip in your credit card, use the reader under the credit card reader to complete your transaction. What? I always use the same credit card, what’s going on? It also said, Touch help if you need assistance.

I don’t need to ask for assistance, the help is standing right next to me exclaiming she has no idea what this is talking about. I discovered a slot under the card reader and it seemed to work because the receipt  printed.

“Huh, learn something new every day,” the girl announced. I mentally thought, You learned two new things today.

 

 

A Sweet Word

The end of the year loomed, bloggers began writing about their one little word, but I remained wordless.

The new year dawned, more bloggers revealed the journey and discovery of their one little word, but I remained wordless.

Wherever there was print, I skimmed the words, looking for the one to jump out and say, “I’m your word!” None did, so I remained wordless.

As I drove, alone in the car, my mind sifted through many choices, however, none felt right. I began to think that perhaps I won’t have a word, this year.

Last week each member of the TWT team revealed their word and the story of how it came to be. I read one comment by Tara that she was worried, no word yet and a post was due on Thursday. I understood her angst, I remained wordless.

Saturday I was reading celebrations on blogs and Terje told of her aha moment in finding the word that was right for her. There it was, a word I wanted to hold onto for this year: sweet.

To all those who know me, stop laughing. I don’t want the saccharine, sugary-ness of sweet, but more the pleasing in general, delightful aspect of the word. A few synonyms for my thinking are: pleasant, pleasurable, agreeable, gratifying, and fine.

The voice of my niece echoed in my mind “Shweet!”  was the word she used whenever something pleased her. I thought about how this word fit into my life. It fit.

Hmm, I wondered, has this word found its way into any quotes? A quick google search and moments later I found a few quotes that have the essence of my word.

“I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life while are the real ones after all.” Laura Ingalls Wilder (I have learned this is true.)

“Friendship is always a sweet responsibility never an opportunity.” Kahlil Gibran

“Change in all things is sweet.” Aristotle

“What was hard to endure is sweet to recall.” French proverb

Finally: “Mirth is the sweet wine of human life. It should be offered sparkling with zestful life unto God.” Henry Ward Beecher

I found my word, I will hold these thoughts close as I find the sweetness life has to offer this year.

Christmas Memories

A week ago, I was giddy with the anticipation of the arrival of family. One week later, I only have my memories of our time together.

Christmas Day brought gifts, food, and more family together. The house hummed with the chatter from the family members who live far and near.

From the cover of Southern Living, red velvet and cheesecake. I love a challenge!

From the cover of Southern Living, red velvet and cheesecake. I love a challenge!

We awoke to frozen fog the next morning. It was the closest thing to snow for our California girls. Then we were off to visit Silver Dollar City, an amusement park with five million lights. Temperatures were just right for roller coasters. Yes, even I went on several of them. I don’t enjoy being terrified as much as others in our party.

Fog froze on the bush.

Fog froze on the bush.

My gingerbread family

My gingerbread family

Just one of many trees that sparkled in the night.

Just one of many trees that sparkled in the night.

 

The rest of the days were filled with horseback riding, hanging out with cousins, playing cards, and football.

Our time was short, but we made the most of it. These memories are now preserved forever.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Happy New Year!

Joys

Yesterday: The morning was spent running handouts for my work the first two weeks of January. This was followed by a quick trip to the grocery store to collect perishable items needed in the next few days. The evening was spent with the girlfriends exchanging gifts, consuming a vegetable bisque, and perhaps a fun martini.

Today: Food preparation is top priority today. Two desserts, one salad, one brisket, and a cheese dip in preparation for tomorrow’s dinner. For tonight I must prepare a loaded baked potato soup, a vegetable soup, and a cheddar jalapeno quick bread. My father-in-law and his girlfriend arrive shortly after lunch. My son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter will be arriving around seven this evening. It is a frosty day outside, but the welcome inside will be warm.

Tomorrow: Another day of feasting ahead! My brother, his family, and my mom will join us for a Christmas Day dinner. I know the day will bring many smiles. We will savor this time spent with our family.

The rest of the week will pass too quickly. My son is only here for a few days, so I know that we will be busy taking in all the sights and sounds around us.

Have a joyous Christmas! I know I will. :-)

27 Items on the 27th

Today I begin the final year of my fifth decade. I thought I would reflect on 27 things that I love since it is the 27th day of the month and you would be completely bored if I tried to create a list to match my age. The first six on the list are rank ordered by importance but the rest are randomly listed. What do I love, let me tell you:

1. Mike, my husband, who has put up with me for thirty-six years.

2. David, my heart that walks the earth outside of my body.

3. Allie, my daughter-in-law, she loves my son and that is enough.

4. Maddy, my granddaughter, she puts a smile in my heart and on my face.

5. Other family members, those near and far.

6. Friends, they are family without the blood connection.

7. Traveling, where shall I go next?

8. Time, does one ever have enough? I love it when I find I have time to do whatever I want. That is a luxury I do not take for granted.

9. “Where do you want to eat tonight?” Those words are music to my ears, I don’t have to fix dinner.

10. Picture books, I am addicted to reading them and figuring out who needs to read this book.

11. Library book sale helps to feed my addiction at a low cost.

12. Patio in the backyard, the best place to sit back, relax, and read.

13. Peach tree in my yard, oh, the bounty is juicy-ful, but the season is too short.

14. Browsing the picture books of Barnes and Noble (we don’t have an independent book store in town, :-(), this fuels the addiction.

15. Key lime pie concrete, this is only available for about a month in the summer at our local frozen custard stand. Oh the tartness combined with sweetness is deee-liiish-ous!

16. A package containing a book in the mailbox. Need I say more? I didn’t think so.

17. Playing Draw Something and having a conversation through the chat option with friends I don’t ever see and some I have never met.

18. Ocean cruise, river cruise, any kind of a cruise.

19. Shoe shopping and finding shoes, I love a new pair of shoes.

20. Meeting friends for coffee with time to sit, visit, and sip.

21. Good health, at least I think so. Friday I have a physical, so we will see what the doc says.

22. Comfortable weather to ride my bike. This means low 70’s, sun, no wind.

23. Blue cheese, love, love, love that tangy taste mixed into food.

24. Coconut crunch, a coconutty, vanilla pudding, whipped cream dessert that I always requested on my birthday.

25. Starting the writing journey by blogging.

26. You, if you are reading this, I want you to know how much I appreciate your comments.

27. I did not have to make my birthday cake today. :-)  I ordered an Elvis cake. It is banana cake filled with a peanut butter ganache and peanut butter frosting.

elvis

There you have my list of things I currently love. I know I wouldn’t want to live without one single item. I hope you might have found yourself as a part of one of my things.

Sights from the North Sea

The world is so amazing! I love every minute of exploring it. Today I will take you on a mini-photo journey visiting intriguing lands I never dreamed I would see. A cruise ship is my favorite home away from home.

The photo from last week was taken on the Faroe Islands. They are self governing, but considered part of Denmark. Torshavn is the port. We drove north, crossed the Atlantic on a bridge to reach another island. We stopped in the small village of Gjagv (I have no idea how to pronounce this name). The guide informed us only about 60 people live in this village and there are no children there. We did see children, but they were there on vacation or visiting relatives. The pure innocence of their play was a joy to watch.

This could easily be a jigsaw puzzle picture. It was such a beautiful place.

This could easily be a jigsaw puzzle picture. It was such a beautiful place.

Reykjavik, Iceland was our next stop. We joined seven others on the Golden Circle tour by bike. The guide would drop us off so we could pedal to the sight. This tour would last eight hours. No need to worry about getting dark on us, as the sun doesn’t set until around 10:30. The first sight of this trip was the Gullfoss (Golden) Waterfall. The power of the water was incredible to witness!

Can you see the people on the flat rocks? This was huge!

Can you see the people on the flat rocks? This was huge!

Next stop was the Geysir geothermal area. This is actually were the term geyser originated.

The final sight of the Golden Circle tour was Thingvellir Parliament plains which is in a rift valley where the tectonic plates of North America and Eurasia are separating. This area is of great historical relevance to the country of Iceland. It was a fascinating journey.

This looks back up the downhill road we traveled to reach Thingvellir National Park.

This looks back up the downhill road we traveled to reach Thingvellir National Park.

This is the place the first parliament of Iceland met 1,000 years ago. The rock wall is part of the continental rift.

This is the place the first parliament of Iceland met 1,000 years ago. The rock wall is part of the continental rift.

Our next stop was in northern Iceland, Akureyri, which is just below the Arctic Circle. Namafjall Mountain was our first stop. We drove over and around mountains full of snow to reach this desolate landscape. There were hissing fumaroles of steam and boiling mud pots gurgling a sulphuric odor. This land reminded me of Yellowstone.

Snow was deep on the mountains in the distance.

Snow was deep on the mountains in the distance.

A drastic change in the landscape as we entered a geothermal region.

A drastic change in the landscape as we entered a geothermal region.

We hiked around Dimmuborgir, a lava landscape with interesting formations of columns and arches.

The guide said this was part of the tectonic plates division.

The guide said this was part of the tectonic plates division.

Then it was on to Lake Myvtan and the pseudo-craters. The name means lake of the midges. Midges are like gnats. Fortunately we were not plagued with them at this lake, but we did see columns of them swarming in another area. Fortunately we were safely in the bus.

Lake Myvatn and the pseudo craters

Lake Myvatn and the pseudo craters

The final stop for this tour was Godafoss (Waterfall of the Gods). Another powerful waterfall cascading over the rocks and amazing all the tourists.

Legend has the chieftain threw his pagan god columns into this waterfall .

Legend has the chieftain threw his pagan god columns into this waterfall .

Our most northern location was actually the warmest day of the whole trip. It was eighty degrees. I did not bring clothes for that temperature. I was prepared for mid fifties. It was amusing to see sunset: 11:45 pm and sunrise 3:00 am. I don’t know if I could get used to that.

Now we leave Iceland and head for the fjords of Norway. Geiranger is our first stop. We were the first ship to use their new floating dock. This dock unfolded and came out to meet our ship. What a mechanical marvel that was! The other four ships had to tender their passengers into the port. It was a lot of fun walking past the long lines of passengers waiting for their ride back to their ship.

This waterfall is called The Seven Sisters. The captain spun the boat around so we had a 360 degree view of this waterfall.

This waterfall is called The Seven Sisters. The captain spun the boat around so we had a 360 degree view of this waterfall.

My husband and I went in different directions this day. I went up and over the mountain to visit a summer mountain farm. They walk the animals (goat, cattle, and sheep) up the mountain to pasture for the summer. It is illegal to keep your livestock down the mountain in the summer. It was incredibly beautiful.

The summer farm in the mountains, that is grass growing on the roofs of the houses.

The summer farm in the mountains, that is grass growing on the roofs of the houses.

Here is my view above the port. Our boat is the one farthest in the bay. Notice the road on the left we traveled down.

Here is my view above the port. Our boat is the one farthest in the bay. Notice the road on the left we traveled down.

My husband went to the other side of the mountain. They were driven to the top and given bikes to ride down the mountain. No pedaling was required on that trip. Fortunately it was a bright sunny day. We were both happy with our tours and we were able to get pictures from two different perspectives.

Here is the view from my husband's side of the bay. This time our boat is the closest one to the front. If you look closely you can see the road I came down.

Here is the view from my husband’s side of the bay. This time our boat is the closest one to the front. If you look closely you can see the road I came down.

Our last stop was Bergen, Norway. We made our way into town and found the funicular that takes you up Mt. Floibanen, 1,000 feet above the town. We wandered/hiked for a bit, but once again it turned into another warm day. The woods were full of ferns and pine trees. It was amazing to see a huge pine tree growing out of a rock.

This was attached to a tree in the woods. Do you suppose they have a problem?

This was attached to a tree in the woods. Do you suppose they have a problem?

The world is amazing and I am so thankful I can get out and explore some of these unique places.

More Slicers Met

I have found the perfect way to make my heart happy and put a smile on my face. Are you curious? Do you want to know how you can achieve this level of joy? It’s easy. All you have to do is meet someone that you’ve known for several years. Let me explain . . .

Last Wednesday I had the privilege of meeting two more Slicers. Michelle and Judy were heading to Branson to pick up their future in-law at the airport. Judy had the marvelous idea of contacting me to see if I was available. Absolutely I was available!

Through email we decided to meet up at the Branson Landing shopping area right outside the Bass Pro Shop. As I walked toward the entrance, I scanned the people looking for a mother, daughter, and two small twin daughters. No one seemed to fit the bill until I saw a lady step out of the store. Immediate recognition was in her face. She knew who I was, which then let me know who she was, it was Judy.

Hugs and introductions were the first order of business. Then we headed back inside the shop where the girls watched the fish for a bit. This allowed the adults time to talk. Once again, the familiarity of knowing our stories brought us together as friends.

We wandered about the shopping area looking for a place for lunch and giving the little girls a chance to stretch their legs. The giant ice cream cone sign caught their attention, but first we stopped for hamburgers and fries.

Unfortunately, the day became hotter and hotter as we looked for a shady spot to sit and visit. The fountains were entertaining for a while. However, the girls enjoyed crawling in a rocket ship, a car, and boat even more. When did those mini rides get so expensive? They used to be a quarter, but now you need four quarters to make them go.

Ice cream was a cooling treat as the afternoon heated up. Shortly after that treat we needed to say good-bye so they could get to the airport. But before we parted a quick picture was in order.  We snagged a young man as he came out of Bass Pro to snap our picture with our phones.

What a joy it is to get to meet the person behind the words! Thanks for a fun time Michelle and Judy!

michelle judy