Friday, April 14, 2017

Simple Joys on this Easter Weekend

Good Morning to you!
I hope you are doing well on this Good Friday morning.
As for me, I should be upstairs doing my exercise.  It's been too long since I've done my bicep curls and it's time to get back to it and work on strengthening up those arms and legs and anything else that can be strengthened.

I also should be locating a recipe to round out the Easter menu so that I can work up a grocery list before I head to the hair salon for a much needed cut and color.

Instead, I sit here in my little nest sipping coffee and acting as though I have all the time in the world.
The day has dawned so beautifully that it makes me want to head outside and stay there.  That will have to come later this afternoon.
But for now, until the coffee cup is empty, let's act like there is no schedule and have a little chat.

Perhaps I am still operating on babysitting Jaxson time where it was refreshing to see life unfold with no regard for time and schedules.  While not practical for we adults, it was fun to see him go from one thing to the next just enjoying the process.
Anyhow, one of the days we were together the weather was uncooperative for outdoor activities.  Before the rain started, he and I visited the garden to collect some fallen branches.  I had no idea this could be so exciting, yet to him it was.
The excitement continued as we worked together to construct an indoor Easter tree.
Once complete he found such joy in showing it to his daddy and grandpa.

His joy in this simple project was a tonic to me.
At a time when I was not feeling the love for Easter decorating, his wonder and excitement was contagious.

The process of spreading springtime cheer went from drudgery to joy.

It was fun to re-visit some of my vintage Easter treasures.

The lovely pastels have always been my favorites.

As the outdoor world unfolds with color, it is a joy to perk up the indoor landscape with beautiful springtime hues.

As much as I would enjoy chatting longer . . .

I really must get to work.

If I don't talk to you before,
I send my very best wishes for a
Happy Easter!!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Who Really Gives A Rip What the Neighbors Think

Last week while babysitting my grandson, we took a few morning walks along the stepping stones leading from the patio steps to the top of the driveway.
These little walks began when we were out one morning letting Peanut do her thing.  While waiting he got the idea to take a walk down the path. 
Normally I wouldn't be traipsing down the path in my bathrobe for fear the neighbors would really wonder about me.
However, when the one and only grandchild invites you to walk the path with him the bathrobe, bedhead and lack of make-up suddenly becomes very insignificant.

While walking from one end to the other and back again...
and again...
and yet again, I learned a few things.

1.  Planting sweet smelling dianthus along a garden path is a smart move especially in the springtime when pleasant scents greet your nose with every step.

2.  Few things are nicer than one on one time with a curious toddler.  He's happy to have an adult with time to answer his many questions and I'm happy to be able to share the knowledge I have gained through my many years on this planet :).  I know it won't be too many years before he'll be bored with my knowledge ;).

3.  Traipsing along your garden path in bed clothes can be quite exhilarating to someone who probably spends too much time worrying about what the neighbors think.
Brett often tells me I spend too much time worrying about that.
I suppose he's right.
On the morning Peanut decided to bolt out of the backyard and head for the street first thing in the morning I had to act quick.
So, I mean to tell you, it was a liberating experience to run across the front yard in bathrobe and bare feet chasing after the little runaway.
Little Jaxson was standing in the doorway watching the entire time.
Sprinting across the front yard clutching a damp doggy with a disheveled bathrobe and grass clippings stuck to my feet, I hear a small voice calling "Be careful grandma.  Don't hurt yourself."
And in that moment I knew that the safety of an aging doggy (and an aging grandma) were what really mattered in the eyes of a three year old.  Who really cares what the neighbors might think.

4.  Never underestimate the lessons to be learned from children.

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Things We Do For Love

Had someone ever told me I would be administering I.V. fluids to a dog, I'd have had to laugh.  Not me, I don't think so.
Yet, first thing Saturday morning Brett & I were at the vet's office ready and willing to be taught how to do this.
We learned from the vet that an every other day dose of fluids given at home could be helpful in keeping Peanut... well, Peanut.
Her failing kidneys can not be restored, but her quality of life can be pretty good if treated this way.
After an emotional discussion with the vet last week, I came home and laid out the options with Brett.

It took me a bit by surprise when Brett (a man who has been known to pass out while giving blood) said he thought he could be the one to administer the shot. 
So, I was the assistant as he capably performed this task in the vet's office.
We came home and took pleasure in watching her have one of the best days she has had in weeks.
Something else I never imagined myself doing is cooking special meals for a dog.
Apparently that saying about never say never is true.
Peanut lost interest in her dog food months ago.
She is, however, enjoying baked chicken and porcupine meatballs.
We know that her time with us is limited.
She went from just a dog to a family member many years ago.
As such, we plan to care for her as we would any other family member.
We're not kidding ourselves into believing that she will be miraculously healed.
As the vet said, she will let us know when it is time.
So we will follow her lead and, in the meantime, love her and enjoy our time with her.

On a happier note:

My presence was requested on FaceTime yesterday.
An excited little face said "Hey Grandma, what are you doing today?" 
Followed by "Can I talk to Peanut now."
I was able to gain his interest again after asking him what snacks he wanted me to have on hand for his upcoming visit.
Scooby Do Snacks
Scooby Do Snacks
Scooby Do Snacks.
Good thing I looked twice after tossing the fruit snacks in the cart.
Sponge Bob would have been a tad disappointing to his high hopes for Scooby Do.
I can see that I'm seriously out of practice on the pint-sized snack front.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Cheery Spring Welcome

When it comes to planting bulbs in the fall for color in the spring, I'm not always on top of the job.
I think it has something to do with being burned out from gardening throughout the hot summer.

Last fall I was intrigued by a bag of bulbs that was a mix of blue, yellow and white.
Hard to pass up that combination.
Now that spring has sprung, I'm glad I didn't pass it up.

I think they are rewarding me with a
cheery springtime welcome into my
blue/yellow & white home.

This week has been incredibly beautiful.
Warm enough to open the windows and blow out the winter cooties and eat lunch on the patio.  I plan to enjoy every possible moment out there before the hot, humid stuff arrives.
I hope that you, too, are noticing subtle signs of spring's arrival.

Just so you know that it's not all flowers and fresh air here.
It's also the season for dusting the pollen off of the front door and the outdoor furniture not to mention the cars.
I guess this explosion of blooms comes at a price.


Note to self:  Make the effort to plant those fall bulbs.  Come springtime, you'll be so glad you did!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Shall We Saunter Around the Springtime Garden?

Could I interest you in a little time in the garden today?
There's a light breeze on this mild spring day.
The air is fresh (except for that darn pollen) and the birds are singing their springtime serenades.

While most of the daffodils have already come and gone, I was happy to see the late bloomers just starting to pop out in the back corner of the garden.
Let's go back and take a closer look, shall we?

I may need to clip a few to bring inside before the entire daffodil season is over until next year. 

The garden bench in this corner comes in handy for gazing up into the flowering cherry tree.  Currently in it's glory, it won't be long until it too will be gone for another year.

Not far from the cherry tree, the dogwoods are just getting started.

Closer to the ground the colors are coming out in shades of blue...

Pink and...

I got to know them all a bit better while pulling weeds and collecting winter debris that had collected around them.
I think it's good to get down at their level once in a while to appreciate their beauty up closer.

While down there, I also noticed the state of my hydrangeas.
With all of our mild days this winter, they had started leafing out early.  Our late, short-lived snowfall has caused much damage to the tender new shoots.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that they will be able to re-bound from this shock to their system.
A peek into the nesting boxes shows that housekeeping has been set up in the form of a well-constructed mossy nest.
Soon a new family of baby birds will be welcomed into our world.
The circle of life.

Our weekend is destined to be a quiet and, somewhat, reflective one.
Peanut has little interest in the things that once brought her so much joy.  It's been particularly hard to see her losing interest in eating.
However, she still enjoys the warmth of the sun on her back and the scents that fill the outdoor air.
She has been content out here with her best buddy in the chair next to her.
They are convalescing together.
Brett no longer has his gall bladder.
As often happens with a medical emergency, we have learned an awful lot in a short time.
In his case there was no prior indication of a problem until
the tummy ache after dinner quickly escalated to a 10 on the pain scale.
A few days and several tests later it was determined that it needed to come out like NOW.
The surgeon was kind enough to share a picture (complete with gangrenous areas) with me post surgery:/.
Amazing and a bit disturbing that all that could be going on inside one's body with not much notice.
He is now home and resting and feeling better each day.

We wish to thank you for your kind words and prayers on his and Peanut's behalf.  It means so much to us.

Peanut will re-visit the vet on Monday.
We are coming to terms with her condition... but still... it's hard.
I know the pet lovers among us understand that.
For now, we take each moment as it comes.  Thankful for them all.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Best Buddies

Spring has sprung with the most beautiful weather here in NC.
I had hoped to be outside snapping springy pictures for the blog, but life had different plans.
A sick doggy was diagnosed with kidney failure along with several other problems.
I now understand the saying about dogs being like one of the children.
Four days in the emergency pet hospital with high hopes of improving those numbers enough to keep her well enough.
The numbers didn't change, yet the vet felt she could come home and be monitored until she tells us she is ready.
I'm not sure we will ever be ready:(.
Brett has become especially close to Peanut.
They are best buddies.
So, when he went from perfectly healthy to sick as a ... dog in a matter of hours I couldn't help but wonder about the way things happen.
The sick doggy is home from the hospital.
Brett is in the hospital awaiting surgery tomorrow.
I am, once again, reminded of how quickly things can change.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A New Way to Get Your Greens

While we try to stay on top of healthy eating, it can be a challenge to keep up with the information coming at us from so many different sources.  On top of that the thinking changes often on exactly what is good and bad for us.
However, one thing that never seems to change is something our mothers have been telling us for years...
"Eat your vegetables."
Lucky for me I enjoy most vegetables.
Although, I must admit, kale was something I had never even tried until just a few years ago.
I've since made it into chips and salads.  Since I know it is supposed to be super good for us, I am working on cultivating a LOVE for it.  So far, I think my favorite way to eat it is torn into small pieces in a soup.  I think it's the texture that is taking some getting used to.
But, since it does well in my garden, I am continuing my search for ways to incorporate it into my diet.
Recently I came across this idea from P. Allen Smith and decided to give it a try. 

I am now finding it very easy to do something else our mom's were good at... sneaking vegetables in any way they could.
A sprinkling of kale super green powder in my smoothie doesn't alter the taste yet makes me feel super good about eating my greens.
If you are a fan of kale, what is your favorite way to prepare it?