Flower Day With Jip the Farm Dog

Jip the Farm Dog and I went to our favorite flower place yesterday. It’s our favorite, but neither of us can remember the name. We think it has a Z in it. Because Honey took the insurance off our big high top van, as no one drives it anymore, we went in her ..…blue, not a car or a van, but not a truck thingy.Vehicle, her blue vehicle!

I need to write myself a note for next year. A note of all the things I know I need, things I would like to try, and at the top of the list would be my reminder to get my front porch chair pot first, before I go down the other isles. If I don’t have the chair pot, the rest is just a fools errand. The chair pot color scheme sets the tone for the front yard flowers. I wasted a good bit of mental calculation on this error in judgment. You cannot place that cart in front of the horse.

We were able to go a little earlier this year than last. She can blame me for that one. Last year I spent the majority of May being indisposed and on the couch watching CSI Miami, and rallied just in time to make my annual trip to Schmenky’s in Virginia. That means we didn’t get to go until sometime in June, and I have got to tell you that it was the most unsatisfying excursion I have taken to the favorite flower place. Ever!

They did not have the coleus, zinnias and lantana I need to make my gardening experience a happy one. I muddled through and on the advice of CMB, returned later with Honey to the same road as the favorite flower place, and went a little further down the road to another flower place, that came through with the goods I so desperately needed! And guess what? That place had a Z in it’s name too!

Two weeks earlier evidently makes all the difference in the gardening arena, we managed to find almost everything we needed. We really only stopped because our carts could not hold one more leaf. We may have to go back, our minds don’t track like they used to. We could discover that we have forgotten large areas that we need to beautify! I have already realized I am lacking a necessary million bell. I’m pretty sure there could be more.

Here we are at the checkout, our carts heavy laden.

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It was like Mission Impossible getting all that foliage wedged in there! We did it!!!!! Probably 8-10 flats, at least 6 hanging pots and an assortment of other loose things including Honey’s basil and tomato plant.

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A blurry front shot, you get the picture. That vehicle was packed!

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They had most everything we needed but I wanted to check the place a little further down the road for a more diverse assortment of coleus. I only found TEN MORE and she spied this delicious pot of sherbet, smoothie, lantana scrumptiousness that could not be passed up! They rode home in the only empty space left. Jip was using her side, for driving.

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We rode home in the pouring rain, stopped for lunch at our usual Chip and Dip, discussed all the issues that concern us and unloaded our haul in the driving rain.

Mission:Accomplished!

I guess I could do a little planting today. Might could.

The Boy and The Dane will be arriving this evening on a Greyhound bus. It will be a relief to hug their necks! Thank you so much for the prayers, they availeth much.

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Way Back When-sday Wednesday Hodgepodge

Hi Guys! So glad you stopped by. Thanks to our hostess Joyce for rounding us all up together for the last Hodgepodge of May!

1. What news story are you following right now?
I can’t say that I am following anything at the moment. I was watching closely when Flight 370 first went missing. All those experts fascinated me, especially that Mary Schiavo, she really seems to know her stuff. I also found it so interesting how much they can learn from a crash. From gathering all the pieces to combing through the data. Seriously, I had no idea!

On another note, if you fly at all, it is alarming to think a plane can just get lost. Sympathy is felt for the families left behind with no explanations, or clues for the whereabouts of their loved ones. It’s hard to believe that there was even a feature to allow the pilots to turn off their transponders. Why would you ever need to do that?

2. What’s the last thing you wanted but didn’t get?

When The Boy told us a few weeks ago that he had symptoms of his in remission, chronic ITP, I prayed that it was a blip on the radar. His platelets, on occasion in the last 9 years, have dipped due to viral activity. Never this low, but he has dropped and then gone back up on his own without treatment. The University of Chicago admitted him shortly after and he received three doses of IVIG in hopes of suppressing his body from destroying his platelets. He had his blood drawn a few days later and his platelet count did not get the expected bounce we were looking for. He is now on a burst of steroids in hopes that will shock his immune system and allow him to return to remission.

He has dealt with this auto immune disorder on and off since he was 19 months old. A splenectomy when he was 4 solved the problem for 9 years. It reared it’s ugly head with a vengeance causing him to miss about half of the 8th grade. The IVIG treatment that worked pre-splenectomy, didn’t work this time around. Steroids didn’t do much. Some of the treatments that had been developed since his last go round didn’t work at all. Years earlier, one of his first doctors called him refractory. I asked her what that word meant, she said  “resistant to treatment”.

In March of his 8th grade year his doctors at University of Michigan Hospital pulled out the big guns. Affectionately dubbed “Boxer’s Brew, named after his doctor who pioneered it. It was a cocktail of methylprednisolone, cyclosporine (a potent immunosuppressant), and chemotherapy. It was rough. Probably the roughest thing he has ever endured. I asked Dr. Boxer at that time what would happen if he ever came out of remission, he said we could do the Brew again.

Another 9 years have gone by, what is with the NINES! It is too soon to tell if he is completely relapsed. The Boy is no longer my 19 month old, my 4 year old, my 13 year old, he is almost 23, a college student in another state, he is married. We don’t know what the outcome of this trial is.

I wanted those counts to go back up, and they haven’t. Yet.

3. Random! Way Back When-sday

Here’s our Boy, from way back in 1999! He had lost his one front tooth, and grew it’s replacement months before, yet that other front baby tooth kept hanging on! Little did he know that the second tooth would not grow in for some time, leaving him with a decidedly snaggle toothed smile and the nickname of Cletus the Redneck! But look how proud he was!

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4. How have your priorities changed over time?

Back in the day I wore some pretty uncomfortable things in the name of fashion that would not be my priority now! Comfort is My Precious in this stage of my life. 
5. What’s a favorite memory with your grandparents?
Here are both of my Grandmothers. My Mother’s mother Georgia on the left and my Father’s mother Esther on the right. The side of the photo says March 1957. This is before I was born and before my family moved back to Michigan from California. Maybe my parents were home for Easter.

My Mother had a very small family, just her parents and her younger brother, my Uncle Bob. All the rest of their people lived down south in Tennessee. When she married my Father, she married into a big TRIBE of a family. I think there were at least 7 of the brothers and sisters of my Grandfather’s in the Detroit area. They all got together for holidays and picnics and were just generally all up in each others lives.

One of the things that I loved the most about this big family was they just absorbed my Mother’s family into their own and loved them. I know it meant so much to them to be graciously included in such a big, fun group of people who shared their lives and holiday meals. Even after my parents divorced, the love between some members of the family endured until death.

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Both great gals in their own ways. Hard workers, fun loving, God fearing and devoted to their families.

6. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being fantastic!), how good are you at multitasking? Share an example.

I think this is an area that I am highly skilled in, as most mothers are! Who hasn’t had a day when you were going in 10 different directions within a very small window of time? Just last week in Virginia I juggled shopping, eating, texting, praying and talking on the phone to children, Honey and health care professionals, all within an hours time!
7. How would you summarize your highs and lows for the month of May?

It was a month of very good highs and then some not so good lows. The year end of our Bible study, BSF, was the 8th, and that always goes out on a high with Sharing Day. The women in the class have the opportunity to share what God has taught them throughout the year in our study. Some women are so good at sharing that there is hardly a dry eye in the house! Always a good time for reflection and remembering the ways God has spoken truth, and shown Himself faithful in our lives.

There was also my annual trip to Virginia to see Mrs. Schmenkman, always a celebration of fun, food, fashion and friendship!!! Honey’s birthday was the 21st and he is the highlight of my life!

The low can be summed up in question 2. That was kind of unexpected.

8.  Insert your own random3. May 28th is National Hamburger Day…when did you last have a hamburger? Other than your own kitchen or BBQ grill, where is your favorite place to go for a hamburger? And for all you non-meat eaters out there…when you’re invited to a cookout what is the one side dish you hope is on the menu? thought here.

Lately, I have been more of a patty melt kind of girl, with no onions please, thousand island on the side. I last had one with Mrs. Schmenkman, at Red Robin, in Hagerstown, Maryland. It was yummy, but we really went for the onion ring tower!

Thanks for stopping by, enjoy the last few days of May!

The Memorial Day Doings

We spent the majority of Memorial Day Weekend trying to get our yard in some kind of order, The Polar Vortex caused much carnage around here. Honey, Mousey and I weeded, cut, pruned and hauled away many garbage pails full of weeds and trimmings to the field behind our house. We scatter things evenly and nicely and every month a giant bush hog comes and mows it all up like it was never there.

On Saturday I concentrated on weeding and trimming the front. We were the white trash house for several years during The Sewer Debacle, I feel I owe it to the neighborhood to never be trouble again. A lot of the things I thought were dead were sort of not dead. Partially dead would be a more apt description. The holly and spirea were pruned within an inch of their lives and look much better for the shearing.

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I was not sure the weeping cherry would rally, it still looks like it is shocked. It never bloomed, just sprouted half it’s leaves. Every time I go out there it whispers “I am afraid, what the heck was THAT?”

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The spirea and holly are less than half their former selves.

This other tree was also shell shocked, but it gathered it’s courage when I was gone to Virginia and I returned to a confident two year old!

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You can’t tell in this picture but there are about a half dozen sticks coming out of the top. They look like thick, fly away hairs. The shrubs look a little greener except for the corner one, it is full on dead.

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Burning stick bush?

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A burning nub.

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On to the backyard. While listening to the classic rock station on our outside speakers, Honey and Mousey worked together on the Hedge O Death, I tackled the Mighty Vine of Doom. Schmenky assured me that this was not dead, that it was almost impossible to kill.

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Well, she was right. It’s not dead,

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but The Polar Vortex breathed it’s stinky poison breath all over it and all we have left is this.

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Before it’s untimely death, that vine had grown to rope like size! It was wound so tightly around the fence I had to peel it off with brute strength! It left its skin behind! Y’All, it was like wrassling a bear!!! I will now spend the rest of the summer trying to retrain the vines to grow up the trellis. Not along the ground, not up the deck, UP the tall thingy. It will be like herding cats, I’m sure.

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On to the Hedge of Death. Here it is in its former glory.

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And its after Polar Vortex state.

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it is still mostly suffering hedge death, but there are patches of new life.

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It has a bad case of the mange. Flourishing at ground level. Next up; massive haircut. We did weed around it in preparation of mulch. We are guardedly optimistic.

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This is in the very back of the house, next to all the pool heater/filter paraphernalia. I thought everything in this area was a goner.

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The azalea and weigelia are a motley crew, but you know what The Polar Vortex could not wipe out?

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These hateful, thistle-y, prickly, nasty weeds! They are LUSH, and huge.

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We emptied the shed of all the patio furniture, but we left it all down on the lower patio because Honey wants to paint the upper patio and its cracks with a product called Deck and Concrete Restore. Anyone out there have any experience with a product like this?

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Before he can paint it, he has to try and fix this low spot that is always a puddle and therefore a discolored mess. He also will remove the caulking around the patio. All this work has Honey again wishing hateful stuff on Bob the Builder. The patio cracked immediately after it was poured, due to the excellence and skill of workers he hired. It has also settled over time, causing more crackage and the unsightly low spot. Once Honey has mended it, THEN we can paint it.

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Honey again had someone come out and give him the annual estimate of replacing our decks, always hoping for the estimate that would have him hire the job out. He has once again decided it would be too much money to swap out our cedar for a Trex like material new deck. He said he could make the necessary repairs and we could stain it yet again, leaving him with enough left over to buy a good quality used truck. I am fine with that. It’s the remaking of the decision year after year that is taxing!

In case I have left you with the impression that we were all work and no play this weekend, I will tell you that we did do a few fun things. We ate out several times and went and saw the new X-Men movie which was very good, if you like that sort of thing. Which we do.

Tomorrow there are plans to link up with Jip the Farm Dog and go to our favorite flower place for our annual buying of all the foliage. We will come home with the car stuffed to the gills with annual purties to plant! We are buying work. At least it is pretty work.

Hopefully we will see you tomorrow for The Hodgepodge!

Potent Quotable-Memorial Day

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.  ~Joseph Campbell

The patriot’s blood is the seed of Freedom’s tree.  ~Thomas Campbell

Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tri-State Healthcare

Hi Guys!!! It has been a whirlwind!

Returned Monday night from the Memorial Day Hootenanny Extravaganza at Mrs. Schmenkmans house in Virginia, which was not held over Memorial Day Weekend. Just the first of many changes this year. Date, and circumstances.

You know what can get complicated? Navigating the waters of healthcare and insurance when you are in one place, the patient is in another and the doctors are in yet another place. We were tri-place-ed. Even though I was out of commission on the blob, I was attached at the ear to other technology, such as the cell phone and my new favorite, iMessage. You know what else can be difficult? Keeping a cell connection in the rolling hills of Virginia!

I mentioned last week that The Boy had sent me a picture of his arm, heavily decorated with petechiae, which is a symptom of low platelet counts. Not a good sign for someone who is remission from a particularly hard to treat case of chronic ITP.

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Of course this was all detected on finals week, when time is short and the stress is plentiful. He had his blood drawn by the nurse at school in Chicago, simple enough, but when the results came back they set off a flurry of panic from Chicago to Michigan, that hunted me down in Virginia. Honey was even briefly involved in the phone chaos of the doctors attempting to make contact with their platelet deficient patient.

To make a long story blog friendly, there were many complications. Things like an expired blood work order, a lapse in patient care (pediatric) of three years, an extended respite of nine years from his hematologist at University of Michigan, and a health insurance that requires things like blood work orders and referrals and other things to make sure you have crossed all Ts and dotted all Is. Let’s just say there was some conversation burning up the lines between the three states.

On the advice of all doctors concerned, considering that he has been seen by exactly no one in at least three years, The Boy and The Dane travelled by train for two hours to the recommended University of Chicago. I guess universities are loyal like that. It was at this point The Boy mentioned that he had some bruising.

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I have to give him props, that’s a mighty fine bruise. I also have to give him a talking to. Having a friend help you find out if your counts are low by punching you in the arm? Not his best move.

Many prayers were answered when they arrived safely at the emergency room and were seen in a timely fashion. This is a familiar pose. The Dane was doing a great job of keeping me informed, with words and pictures.

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When they found out his platelet count was 8000 (normal is between 150,000 and 400,000), they decided to admit him. She said this was his “not a happy camper” face. I have seen that face before. I am very acquainted with that face.

 

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I think he was a bit of a curiosity for them at the hospital, they said there were many herds of residents in and out of his room. He stayed for several days, had three infusions of his former medication of choice IVIG, developed a massive headache, had a cat scan, confirmed he has a brain (despite that little punching episode above), confirmed the brain was not hemorrhaging, was released from the University of Chicago, got a ride from a friend halfway home, and a taxi ever so thoughtfully provided by their church the rest of the way so he didn’t have to barf into plastic bags (that The Dane smartly brought with them) while taking public transportation. The trains of Chicago thank you too.

Almost home.

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Finally home!!! They Boy said the cat had about lost his mind with lonesomeness! He had knocked his food and water bowls over, drug everything out of the closet to get a ziplock bag of food, that had been sent with him when he was hand delivered by Jip the Farm Dog and Daniel Tiger, and just generally made a mess in his trying to while away the days without his parents! The Boy said he was just moaning when he saw them!

Didn’t take long to fix all that and start filling his little heart back up with love!

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They travelled back to University of Chicago on Wednesday for an appointment to meet his new doctor and have his blood drawn. His counts were not good. 28,000 is not brain hemorrhage territory, but not what you like to see after 3 doses of IVIG. They put him on steroids for a while.

He sent me this to soften the blow. The Boy needs that shirt. Or not.

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So there is a lot we don’t know. Is he out of remission> Don’t know yet. If he is, where will he receive treatment? Not sure. Will his counts go up on their own? Only God knows.

There are three things we do know. He is very much loved. God has His hand on the top of that Boy’s head. And Seymour is one happy kitty to have his people home!

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Thank you so much for your prayers and concern, they were greatly appreciated!

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Hey Guys, I am home from Virginia, back in The Mitten and ready to blob again! Click on the square below to head over to Joyce’s and link up with the other Hodgepodger’s, it’s a fun thing to do!

1. Under what circumstances do you do your best thinking?

In difficult situations. I can’t help my mind returning to the problem like you can’t keep your tongue from going where you lost a tooth. The constant revisiting, thinking, praying over the situation, it’s how the problem is taken apart, analyzed and put back together in a workable way. I can’t say that it is always a pleasant experience, but it gets the lions share of attention. 
2. Are you a risk taker? What’s one big risk you’ve taken?
I don’t really consider myself a risk taker. In my heart I feel like a rule follower. To a lesser degree I could say that I am honest, and that can be risky when someone wants to hear something else.

3. Some of the most common phobias according to the National Institute for Mental Health are-fear of spiders (arachnaphobia), snakes (ophidiophobia), heights (acrophobia), fear of spaces from which escape is difficult (agoraphobia), fear of thunder and lightening (astrophobia), fear of dogs (cynophobia), injections (trypanophobia), social situations, flying (pteromerhanophobia) and fear of germs and dirt (mysophobia). True phobias affect only about 10% of adults, but of those listed which would you rate as your greatest fear?

The older I get the more I realize I am sort of claustrophobic. I cannot stand to be so hemmed in that I cannot move. So that with a side of mysophobia. I do ALL I can to stay away from germs. I also really don’t like snakes or sharks. I am tri-phobic!
4. Are you settled or do you feel the need to move somewhere new?

I feel I am settled but there is the nagging realization that things will soon change. Honey will be retiring in the next few years and I know he wants to relocate south. While I find that exciting in a way, I will be ever so sad to leave our life here. Our family and many dear friends are here or nearby, all the activities we pursue are around here. Just big changes coming.

5. What is something you find annoying when dining in a restaurant?

It’s very annoying when your waitperson seems to have vanished off the face of the earth! No one wants to spend a goodish amount of time looking to flag them down.
6. Daffodil yellow, sunset orange, spring green, or sky blue…your favorite color this time of year?

Really Joyce, we have to choose? they are ALL so delicious in spring! After the winter we had, blue skies are most welcome.
7. If you were going to take a holiday all by yourself, where would you go?

I just did it! Every May for the last 19 years I have flown down to Mrs. Schmenkman’s, first to Greensboro, N. Carolina, and the last 15 or so to Front Royal, Virginia. Honey gave me the trip as a special Mothers Day gift one year and I just assumed it was an annual thing for the REST OF MY LIFE!!!!!

It’s always so nice to see her and we have a lot of fun eating and talking and shopping our way around the towns near her. Since Schmenky is child free, she has a different type of life. When she visits here, I’ve had to do all the things I normally do with the kids, when at her house, it’s all us. I will have some posts about the trip later in the week.
8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Today is Honey’s birthday!!!! I am always thankful for him, but birthdays and anniversaries cause you to reflect a little more. Since he is 57 I will just get rid of the big 5 and give you 7 reasons why I love him so.

1. His heart is big, if you are loved by Honey, you are LOVED. We are enveloped in that love.

2. He is so generous. To others, to his children, to me.

3. The other day we were talking about a couple we know. He asked me if the wife was going to do something with our group of women. I said I didn’t know if she did activities like that, it seemed like she just hung out with her husband. He said “ oh, like you and me?”. He’s a big old hunk of honey.

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4. He is quirky. He can be watching Man Verses Food, American Pickers, The Turtleman, Kung Fu movies and some bad science fiction, all at the same time through the miracle of clicker technology!!!!! We tease him, but we love him!

5. He’s a fixer and a maker. We have a saying around here, JIMMYDOIT!!!!!!!

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6. Mousey says he is smart and capable. Any problem or issue she has, he can help her fix it. He is also driven and type A because somebody around here needs to be. I only have her input because she is the only one here, as she is up early, probably dying of a throat ailment.

7. Quite simply, he is my favorite person.

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Happy Birthday Honey, in better and worse, I dee and Dough!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. It’s still May, right? When were you last in the middle of something that might be described as mayhem?

It seems like we have a lot of mayhem going on but I am having a difficult time remembering any!

2. When did you last feel dismayed?

A couple of days ago The Boy sent me a picture of his arm covered in petechia . He said there was a lot more where that came from.  That means his platelet count is low and that also means that there is some sort of ITP activity going on in his body.  He is in the process of getting his blood drawn  so they can see what is going on in there.  He has been in remission for the the last 9 years. Let’s hope it’s a blip. Mama is dismayed.

3. What’s a food combination you like, but other people may find strange?

Strange is in the eye of the beholder. I like my mashed potatoes and corn mixed together.  Apple sauce and cottage cheese mixed.  My recent favorite is dark chocolate and orange, but that is not strange, there are a lot of others who buy that!

4. “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” Do you think that’s true? Why or why not?

I think it depends on what you are talking about.  It is never too late  for God to transform my mind and show me who He has always wanted me to be, no matter the late date.  But I am pretty sure my dream of being a gymnast is shot all to pieces. That ship has sailed.

5. US News and World Report listed the best historic destinations in the US as follows-Washington D.C, Philadelphia PA, Williamsburg VA, Charleston SC, Boston MA, Richmnd VA, Savannah, GA, Santa Fe NM, Yellowstone, San Antonio TX, San Francisco CA, New Orleans LA, and Charlottesville VA.

Of those listed how many have you seen in person? Which two sites on the list would you most like to see in person?

I have been to four, Washington D.C., Charlottesville, Virginia,  San Antonio, Texas, and San Francisco, California. I will choose  Williamsburg, Virginia and Yellowstone. We have plans to get out west with The Schmenkman’s some day, Yellowstone is on that list.

6. May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. If you had to participate in a single fitness activity for the next half hour, which activity would you choose?

All I do is walk. I have always wanted to try yoga. I’m not much on intentionally perspiring. Honey and I have big plans to get our bikes up and running this summer.

7. What did you like best about the city, town, or neighborhood where you grew up?

There were a lot of kids in our neighborhood and we were all outside for a majority of the time. That seems to be a extinct thing anymore. We played a lot of those games that we talked about last week on The Hodgepodge!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I am in Virginia this morning with Mrs. Schmenkman, having a cup of chai, looking out on her loverly,  foggy yard, and getting ready to  perm her hair and have my own highlighted. The eating,  shopping and bargain hunting has commenced. Life is good!

 

Virginia Bound!

Hi Guys! I am flying down to Mrs. Schmenkman’s this morning! It’s always good to visit Sassy Cat Hill and see the critters.

I am planning on joining up with The Wednesday Hodgepodge, but it could be a spotty week of posting.

I will be home the 19th with bargains to share and stories to tell and Sassy pictures to show! Have a wonderful week, I know we will!

Come and get me Schmenky!

Potent Quotable-Mother’s Day

“You count the hours you could have spent with your mother. It’s a lifetime in itself.” ― Mitch Albom, For One More Day

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If I had a single flower for every time I think of you, I could walk forever in my garden. ~Claudia Adrienne Grandi

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She never quite leaves her children at home, even when she doesn’t take them along.Margaret Culkin Banning

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Mother is a verb. It’s something you do. Not just who you are.Cheryl Lacey Donovan

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There is only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it. ~Chinese Proverb

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Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone

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Happy Mother’s Day.

Awkwardness Abounds

These sorts of things have entertained our kids endlessly.

Oh.My.Word.

I don’t even have a category for this.

Just google awkward family pet photos.

Here’s an idea for you Schmenky!!!!!

Which one is your favorite?

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I think mine is the guy with the bird on his shoulder with the cup of tea, stack of books and his computer. Everything you need to know about him! But I do, for some strange reason, find myself captivated by the couple with the bird and the rifle. Decisions, decisions.

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