Alaska Update

Yes, I wore my walking shoes while hiking in the “wilds” of Alaska. (Okay, I walked on a path near a lodge for almost an hour.) I wore my pool-lounging, deck shoes, too. Okay, I had them on those times I wandered by the pool trying to find the restaurant, the buffet dining, the coffee shop, the information desk, an elevator,  my cabin…. Not sure why I was always lost as the ship traveled east throughout the trip. In fact, I’m not sure how I got to Alaska and home to Kansas as the plane going flew west, the ship sailed east, and the plane home flew north.

John, too, appreciated his walking shoes, but his deck shoes never left home. Something had to give when push came to shove while packing.

At first I was confused about the days of the week. I am a creature of routine, and sitting on the cabin’s balcony glacier watching rather than doing laundry on Monday morning confused me. I learned, though, to check my pill box each morning to determine the day of the week.

The trip and traveling companions were great! I’m ready to go again—after I pack my footwear.

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Appropriate Footwear

 John and I were planning a trip to Alaska with friends. Planes, trains, automobiles, and, of course a ship were involved. The plans did not include wilderness hiking. Yet, in a quick-texting exchange that somehow got out of “foot” with her daughter, my friend soon found herself overwhelmed with suggestions for suitable hiking shoes, special hiking socks, and silk liners for said socks. Support hose were even suggested.

“She really cared for the well-being of my feet,” my friend said. “I was puzzled, though, as to why she thought I might possibly entertain the idea of hiking in the wilds of Alaska.”

Upon hearing this, John and I assessed our own footwear. The cruise line recommended comfortable walking shoes for day excursions and rubber-soled shoes for lounging around the ship’s pool. Walking shoes, yes; lounging-around- the-pool shoes–well, I wasn’t so sure.

The lady at the shoe store was helpful–very, very helpful.  John and I both now own sturdy, comfortable, waterproof, (if somewhat expensive) walking shoes. We also both now own rubber-soled shoes for lounging around the pool.

I’ll update later as to the amount of hiking and pool lounging that actually occurred during the trip.

Beef Stew, Anyone?

“Are those bouillon cubes?” my husband asked. “Why do you have so many?”

“Two jars are cubes, the others are granules,” I answered.

“Still, what are you going to do with all that bouillon,” John asked.

I didn’t know. In fact, until I cleaned the top shelf of the cupboard, I didn’t know I had so much bouillon. It was certainly more bouillon than I needed.

In no sense of the word, am I a cook. At the most I use four bouillon cubes a year, if that many. Yet, at some point in time…well maybe at several points in time…I must have thought I needed beef bouillon. Perhaps I thought I would make beef stew for a hundred people or more, or maybe I thought I could use it as a foundation for a weight-loss program?

I do remember dripping a cup of bouillon soup on myself once following major surgery, but that was some years ago. Say…well…I checked the expiration dates: January, 2016; January, 2017; December, 2017; and September, 2019.

So, I guess I won’t make beef stew for a hundred. I just hope I remember to make beef stew for John before September, 2019.

Tea and Freedom

“Nana, your tea is ready,” my two-year-old granddaughter said as she took my hand and pulled me toward the small table. She is my sixth granddaughter, so I have attended many pretend tea parties. I am blessed.

“Nana, play trucks with me,” my four-year-old grandson said and handed me his concrete-mixer truck. I have two other grandsons. I am blessed.

I live in a free country. My grandchildren and I do not worry about a war raging outside as we play safely inside. I am blessed.

Many honorable Americans have served America by holding political offices or by working in city, county, state, or national government jobs. Their efforts contributed to America’s freedom. Since before America’s first “tea party” men and women have served our country–and many have died–for freedom.

This Fourth of July, Americans will celebrate freedom with family and friends. There will be fried chicken, grilled hamburgers, potato salad, watermelon, and homemade ice cream. There will be fireworks, too.

As an American, I am free, I am blessed, and I am thankful. Yet, our country is troubled. I pray it will heal.

Happy Father’s Day!

My father stuck the butcher knife in the large, oblong, striped watermelon. Craaaack…the melon split open, and a black seed or two fell onto the counter. I had anticipated this moment for a couple of days.

Daddy purchased the watermelon, at a low cost I’m sure, from a roadside stand. He had an ear for a good “thump” of a melon. The melon had cooled all day in the milk cows’ water tank.

“Just look at that color—it’s a good one all right,” Daddy said and handed my brothers and I each a half-circle slice. We hurried outside and sat on the porch step.

“I won! My seed went the farthest,” I said as juice dripped from my elbows. I was proud of my watermelon seed spitting ability.

I recently purchased a small, round, seedless melon at the supermarket for $4.99. After cutting it into small chunks, I cooled it in plastic ware in the refrigerator. I ate the pieces with a fork. The experience was not exciting.

So, I’m going to buy a big, oblong melon with seeds, invite the grandkids to share, and eat on the deck’s steps.  Daddy would approve. I miss him.

Happy Father’s Day!

The Concert

I wasn’t going to watch it. My excuse was poor–my heart didn’t handle hurt well. The true, emotional stories told by actors and actresses of friendships, courage, love of country, and loss always brought tears to my eyes. It had been a near perfect day—an indoor picnic with cousins not often seen. I wasn’t sure I wanted to end the day with sadness.

Yet, I couldn’t hit the remote button to skip over the PBS channel. So, I watched the National Memorial Day Concert. Each year it honors those who gave their lives for our country, those who served, and those who now serve in our military. I cried and my heart ached.

My father-in-law and my uncle served overseas during World War II. They sacrificed for America. My husband and brothers served in the Reserves and Guard. While ready if called, their sacrifices were smaller than those called to active duty.

Yes, America is now troubled, but it remains a free country. I am grateful for those who served in the past and those who are now serving.

I’m glad I watched the concert.

Daddy’s Razor

I did not need fourteen used tooth brushes. But, there they were–hidden behind three dried-up bottles of nail polish and thirty-five small bottles of shampoo, hair-conditioner, and body lotion. (All collected from hotel rooms over the last fifteen years) The fourteen toothbrushes clearly proved I had resisted all desires I had ever had to scrub the bathroom tile grout.

An unexpected joy resulted from my cleaning the bathroom cabinet. I discovered my father’s old razor. I paused in my cleaning frenzy and reflected on those long-ago Sunday mornings when I would watch Daddy lather up and shave before church. Sometimes a small nick required him to wear a small patch of toilet paper until time to leave the house.

An unpleasant experience was combining the last remaining quarter inch of liquid hand soap from five different bottles into one bottle. It did not produce a satisfactory product. The brownish, purple-green colored glob smelled like mud and did not foam.

As a result of my cleaning, I have shortened the time spent getting ready for my day. Best of all, I am sure I always use the right tooth brush. (In my defense–some of the tooth brushes could have been left by grandchildren….)

 

Mother’s Day

We will soon celebrate Mother’s Day. My mother died during a very busy time in my life. My children were ages 21, 24, 28, and 31. While they were mostly independent, there was still some parenting happening—whether appreciated or not. (I do know they appreciated help when moving from one apartment to another.) Also, I spent hours at a job I thought important. It wasn’t.

Oh yes, I carved out an hour each week to spend with my mother, but I didn’t listen as she told the same stories over and over of happenings in her small town. I didn’t listen as she told me about her neighbor lady’s health. Not only did I not listen, I didn’t ask her questions. I now have many questions only my mother could answer.

Why did Great-grandpa move to Kansas from Ohio? What was the name of the horse she rode to school? What was her favorite subject in high school? I would like to hear the story about the above picture, too. What happened to that hat?

I’m older now, and sometimes I repeat stories to my children. They don’t always listen either, but I still love them. That’s what mothers do.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Plastic

I recently purchased a new ping pong table cover. Said cover was folded neatly and encased in plastic. The table cover might as well have been in Ft. Knox. How do they even make plastic so strong?

My first thought was to cut the plastic casing open with the kitchen scissors. However, I realized using my kitchen scissors to cut plastic might dull them and render them useless for snipping homegrown chives. (Don’t laugh, I might do that someday.) Anyway, I abandoned the kitchen scissor idea.

Next I thought about a butcher knife. Fortunately, I remembered it was 6:30 in the morning, and I had not yet had coffee, and I do value my fingers.

“Maybe this will help,” John said and handed me a screwdriver. After four or five stabs, a small crack appeared in the edge of the plastic. Finally, I inserted a larger pair of scissors in the small opening and managed to cut away enough casing I could pull the ping pong table cover from the packaging.

Just in time, too, as I was losing patience and considering the butcher knife option again. I only hope the cover itself is half as strong as the packaging.

Strange

Wow, it is strange not posting today. Rest assured, though, I have been cleaning and sorting…well except for today when I am going to the dentist.  Hope you will check my blog next week.