Another Tree Tale

Last week’s final sentence, “The backyard has more mottled shade than before, but hopefully the next wild wind that blows in our direction will slip between the branches and leave the limbs intact.” My hopes were crushed and blown away.

Saturday morning, the sun turned the thermostat to high. Slowly we strolled through the farmer’s market, collecting the ingredients for our dinner, Southwestern chopped salad. The plans called for keeping cool in the movie theater, so we were discussing where should we go for lunch before the movie. As we chatted, the room grew darker and darker. A quick look outside surprised us with a gray sky. The forecast did not include rain.

As we gathered items on the patio, the wind began to blow. The trees began to sway. The wind became more angry. It was a bully pushing the limbs back and forth. Every leaf hung on for dear life, some lost the battle and went whirling away.

We retreated to the house to watch and wait. Would the thinning be enough to withstand the power of the wind? Unfortunately the answer came when the limb came crashing to the ground. By the time the storm moved on we had broken limbs dangling, on the ground, and behind the fence.

This was the largest limb that fell.

This was the largest limb that fell.

The sun boldly appeared as we squished through the grass to assess the damage. Immediately the chopping tools were brought out. Basket after basket was filled with chopped branches.

Ten baskets were filled and brought to the recycling center.

Ten baskets were filled and brought to the recycling center.






“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” was certainly true this day. Did we even dream that we’d be chopping limbs? No way!

We did make it to the movie, a much later showing than originally planned. And yes, the

Another before and after of this poor beaten tree.

Another before and after of this poor beaten tree.

Southwest chopped salad was delicious.


Slip the credit card in to the slot, pull it out, wait for authorization. Simple procedure to get gas, one that has been done countless times. Not so simple when the message that flashes includes the word declined.

Immediately the mind goes into a panic mode. The heart races, blood pressure rises, the bottom falls out of your stomach. What could be the cause of this? Has someone stolen the credit card number through air waves? Miles from home this is not the message one wants to read.

Another credit card is used for the gas, so we can continue the trip, but I must also begin the task of finding out the cause for being declined. A quick call to the customer service number on the back of the card sets the mind back at ease.

“Did you purchase gas in Apple City, Minnesota this morning?”


“Did you just now try to purchase gas in Bethany, Missouri?”


“So sorry for the declined purchase, but everything is fine now. You may use your card. I will put a note on your account that you are traveling.”

“We will be home later this afternoon, so our travel is almost over. Thank you for keeping an eye on our account.”

A moment of panic, followed by relief. It is comforting to know that someone is watching for unusual activity.


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!


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.


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.