Mary Oliver

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?"

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Arkansas Memories

I flew to Arkansas this past week with my mom so we could visit some of my father's relatives. He won't fly and he didn't feel able enough to go by car, due to his back surgery in April. My mom had not flown since 1999, mainly because of my dad, and when I booked this trip, she surprised me by asking to go with me. She absolutely loved it! She spent the entire time looking out the window and marveling at the view. She even loved the Atlanta airport!

Despite having been to Arkansas many, many times while growing up, I had never been to Little Rock, so I enjoyed seeing some new sights.
I wish I had had time to go through the Clinton Presidential Library, but maybe I'll plan better next time.

The riverfront area was lovely and we particularly enjoyed the farmers' market. Here, my mom is listening intently to the man explaining how to cook the purple-hulled beans she bought for my dad.

Hogs are very important to Arkansas; in fact, the mascot of the University of Arkansas is a hog (pronounciation: hawg).

My aunt, an avid photographer, absolutely hates having her picture taken, so I had to trick her to get this one. She thought I was trying to take a picture of something in front of us, not realizing I was taking a selfie!

This photo was taken during lunch at a catfish restaurant in Little Rock, hence all the fish trophies on the wall. The shirt my uncle is wearing lists their great-grandchildren's names, and you can see the hog reference.

My mom is getting used to our selfies.

The picture below shows my aunt doing what she loves: taking pictures. She had a small stroke a few years ago, and while it has interfered with her speech (she often has trouble with the names of things) and she lost her ability to read, she can still take pictures. The small town of Hope often prints her photos of local events in the paper, which makes her happy. Before her stroke, my aunt was the public relations person for the school district, worked with the local newspaper and radio station, and even published a cookbook that included information about Bill and Hillary Clinton. Because of that cookbook and her very active role in Hope, she visited the White House a number of times as the guest of President Clinton.

The two of us were taking pictures of an old building in Patmos that used to be a train depot. What made it so interesting to us is that my grandmother used to hang a mail pouch for the daily train to pick up back in the sixties, and I remember how exciting that was to me when I visited her in the summers when I was growing up.

The building was moved to a community park in order to preserve it, but even though it's in a different location, I still remember her hanging the big canvas bag from an old metal hook, and watching the man on the train snag it as the train went by.


Apparently, a love of picture taking runs in the family.

I took the baby animal pictures while visiting a general store in Hope, which is primarily a farming community.




The same store also sold a lot of other things, including clothes and boots; I almost bought these boots, but I chickened out. Not sure they'd get much use here on the East Coast, although I did love the color!

I am so glad I had the chance to squeeze in this trip before I return to work tomorrow, and I'm especially thankful I had the experience with my mom. She is 75 and while she's still in great health, these opportunities will only be around for so long, and I cherish the memories we made.

Have a great week, my friends. I hope to be here again soon.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Day is Done, Gone the Sun

It looks like Gracie has had enough! Either that, or she's demonstrating how I feel when I realize I have to return to work in less than a week!

Here she is checking out a box I left out.

Is it any wonder that I was gifted this cute mug?

The waves on the bay have been rougher than usual, but they haven't stopped me from soaking up the sun as often as I can get down there.

But the waves have prevented me from playing with my new toy as much as I'd like. Yes, I finally bought a new-to-me Stand Up Paddleboard, or SUP, as they are commonly called. It's my early Christmas gift from my husband and I am beyond thrilled. I played with it a bit today, but the waves were too choppy for me to have much success at standing up, although I had fun nonetheless.

This sunset is from last week, and I feel like it's representative of the end of summer for me. I fly to Arkansas tomorrow morning to visit my aunt and uncle, and I return Saturday night, leaving me with just the one day before I return to work. The good news is that my mom is going to go with me on this little trip, which will make it extra nice. We travel well together, probably because she tends to let me run things now that we're both older.

But back to work or not, I still plan to get in some quality beach time during the month of September, after school and on weekends, so I'll try not to complain too much.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Almost At The End (of summer)

The sunflowers were so beautiful this summer.


But the heat, rain, and squirrels finished them off, so we finally cut them all down.

I pulled this cake stand out of my china cabinet and have been using it as a fruit stand instead. I didn't plan on matching the tablecloth to the lemons and limes, but snapped a picture when I realized it. I've got pears and peaches now, but no photo.

Making progress on my Imagine When shawl, most of it knit on the beach. Knitting is wonderful that way. Whenever I wear this one, I'll remember that Meredith gave me the yarn for pet sitting, which will remind me of all the things I saw in New York, and how much of it was knit on the beach. So many memories knit into one item.

Speaking of the beach, we have enjoyed a long streak of gorgeous weather: low humidity, cooler temperatures, and crystal clear water. We had our AC off and windows open for a full week. In August!

A friend brought her paddle board over one day and that's my youngest daughter on the left, getting a lesson. She did a great job on it! I've wanted one since last summer and I'm looking on Craigslist for a good end of the season deal.

I also scored a copy of this book at the library last week and I'm almost finished with it; it's definitely a gripping story. I'm slowing down now to stretch it out; it's one of those books you want to rush through but also don't want to finish, if that makes sense.

I took another selfie, to remind myself how much better I look when I'm relaxed and stress-free.

I should take lessons from Gracie, who seems to have her priorities straight.


Three different days, three different naps.

The life of a cat, eh?


Monday, August 10, 2015

Loving Every Day

This has been a magical summer for me. I didn't work or take any professional development classes; my time was completely free of obligation. The weather has been great, if a little lacking in rain, and I've spent a lot of time outside, most of it at the beach.



I haven't hung out with my daughters enough, but it's good when we do manage to meet up. This is a photo of Melissa crafting at a coffee shop with me one day last week; she embroidered, I knit, and we both drank good coffee. Such a sweet time. The relationship I have with my grown girls is so precious to me.

I have also tried to do a little extra organizing and cleaning at least once a week; the latest achievement was lining my refrigerator with cheery placemats in order to keep it clean and bright. I did the same with my food cabinets, and I quite like the new and improved look of them.

How are you spending your summer? I hope it's as nice as mine.