Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Friday, July 26, 2013

Summertime Discoveries

It's been a good week.  Jury duty came and went.  All I ended up having to do was call in every day at 11:30, only to be told to do the same thing the next day.  Finally, on Thursday the voice recording told me my "service" was done.  Relatively painless, except for the slight heart pounding, fingers crossed, while I called in, waiting to see if I needed to drop everything and drive in. It was so sweet that I didn't have to go in and judge some drunk driver, murderer or child molester.  Been there, done that. 

The first part of the week was devoted to my aunt, and getting her a little bit better situated.  We took our trip at last to Orchard Hardware to get her flowers.  She walked almost the entire store, looking at everything.  Finally, out in the garden department, she asked again if there were any pansies.  (There weren't.)  I explained it was too hot for them - petunias had taken their place.  She finally chose some bright pink and purple pansies,  some hot pink double-flowered impatiens, some hot pink Sweet William, and some orange and yellow marigolds.   Along the way we also picked up a pair of gardening gloves, a trowel, a soft pad to kneel on, and some extra Miracle Gro garden soil.  When we got back to her house, she thought that maybe she was too tired to plant it all today, but I know how that goes: pretty soon you just have a bunch of dead plants in their pony packs.  So we both rolled up our sleeves, watered soil and turned it over, dug holes, and plopped little flowers into their new homes. 

In just about an hour (or less) she had two large pots, and a small corner of the real planter edging her patio that was filled with beautiful flowers.  Even viewed from inside, it couldn't fail to cheer you up.  From her patio she also has a full view of a fountain.  The view, the sound of falling water, a light breeze, and the summer colors of the new flowers made for a perfect place to come and sit.  As we sat and enjoyed, we also discussed getting a pot of tomatoes going.  Or a zucchini plant.  She seemed to like that, so I'll just let her mull that over for a few days.  I left her with pride of ownership over her little plot of land.

On Wednesday I had the chance to have lunch with a friend.  I think we got there around 12:30, and it was almost time for the cows to come home before we finally left.  It's been a long time since I've had time to just sit and talk with a good friend.  Catching up on our kids, husbands, and each other.  It was a fun afternoon - even better because it was sort of spontaneous.  She asked a lot about blogging, and I was able to tell her what a great tool it is to keep track of the little things in life - the BEST things, actually.  I can't tell you how many things I've read over after combining a year of posts into a book, where I've laughed out loud and said "I'd completely forgotten about that!"  And I was so glad that I'd had the reminder because the memories were sweet.  So who knows - maybe we'll all have a new blogging friend to follow!

Last night was fun.  I was able to meet up with another good friend who is here visiting from the Bay Area with her family on their annual family reunion/vacation.  Their days at the beach are jam-packed with activity and fun, so it was so generous of her to make time for me last night.  The others had all gone to a movie, and she was needing a little "me time," so we met at BJ's Grille for dinner.  We had our healthy salads, and gabbed away for the duration.  Caught up on our kids and grandkids.  Caught up on each other - our mental and physical well being.  We have so many parallel threads running through our lives on so many levels.  She is a wonderful support and friend, and I like to think she says the same of me.  And she's feisty.  A great trait in a friend, to my mind.  After dinner, we wound our way back to the beach house, where we set up camp on the patio, and continued to talk while the world traveled by us on the boardwalk.  Before I knew it, her family was back from the movie.  Time for a quick hello and goodbye - it was 10:30!  Where does the time go when you're spending it with a good friend?  Wherever it goes, it goes too soon. 

And today it's back to regular life.  Or what has become regular life.  I've talked to friends more in the last two days than I have all year.  I'm still trying to figure out what to do when I'm not helping my aunt, or visiting out of town friends.  We will go to Denver in a couple of weeks to meet Travis, and play with Lexi, Matthew, and Skylee.  I'm looking forward to that.  A lot.  Be prepared to be smothered with pictures.  There are FOUR of them now, so it's likely to be obnoxious.  I'm just warning you.  Lots and lots of pictures.  And the baby can't run away from me!  *You are MINE, little one*

 Isn't that the sweetest armful? 

My thoughts are filled with the upcoming visit, possible creative projects to keep me busy in the meantime (researching those today), and grabbing some beach time - either just on my own with a good book, or with a friend or two. (Anyone?  Anyone??)  I'm also trying to gain some new culinary skills - learning to take decadent recipes that I love and tweaking them here and there to make a decadent tasting dish that is calorie friendly, gluten-free, or maybe both.  And BBQing.  Both L and I have fallen in love all over again with BBQing.  I love cooking outside, and I love sitting outside afterwards, enjoying the night air and the city lights from our (very small) hilltop kingdom.  I finally caved in and sent for the Williams Sonoma smoker box that you put wood chips in for your gas grill.  You can grill directly on top of it with it's top on to save the smoke for just what's on top of it, or you can let the smoke fill the whole grill if you leave the top off.  Deliciousness.

I also sent for their Cuisinart ice cream maker.  No need for ice and salt.  And I've found the most wonderful recipes for fruit sorbets - no dairy involved, for those that it matters to (like me) - or I'll try to substitute almond milk.  My challenge here is to whittle the calories down, but I'm determined.  Because I love frozen treats.  Or any treat - let's be honest, since I'm among friends.

 Yes, please...

So it's a summer of little ones, creative endeavors, and culinary adventures.    Before I know it, it will be time to head to the Central Coast to celebrate birthdays with Marion.  It's going to be a great break from work.  Time to give a little service here and there, and have some fun - but mostly to concentrate on ME.  What I want, where I'm going, what I want to accomplish, and why.  It will be interesting to see where the trail leads me, and what discoveries I make.  Stay tuned.


  1. You are filling your time off very well! That little bundle of preciousness is so full of sweetness- how blessed you are, my friend!

  2. I'm thrilled to know things are going great in your life, dear karen. It was very sweet of you to help your aunt pick out flowers and beautify her patio.. The scent of those blossoms combined with the comforting white noise of the fountain will bring her many hours of pleasure.

    Folks will be lining up around the block to get a taste of the dishes you prepare with that wood chip smoker and they're gonna want homemade ice cream for dessert!

    If the rest of the family pictures are as heartwarming as the baby bundle shown here (and I know they will be) then bring 'em on, the more the merrier!

    You are definitely on a summer roll, dear karen, and I hope to make it even better by presenting you with a special blog award. I invite you to stop by my blog and pick it up. It is richly deserved. Have a wonderful weekend, dear friend karen!

  3. The closest I can come to a "grandchild" is my hairdresser's new baby. God has truly blessed you. You are so kind to spend time with your aunt. I'm sure it's much appreciated.


  4. You have managed to fit a lot of fun things into your work break! That new baby is adorable! I know you'll have a great time with your family. Hey, I'll be glad to come sit on the beach with you...I think that would be a blast! We have a Cuisinart icecream maker and I love it. Enjoy! I think I need to look into a smoker..sounds delicious! Have a good weekend!

  5. What a great time you are gonna have - 60 days of pure joyful serendipity. Love reading about all the possibilities you are contemplating. Congrat's on the new grandbaby - adorable!!...
    21 lbs!!! Gurl, you've got it goin' on!! Way to go!! So happy for you!!

  6. I can tell that new baby and your other grand kids are going to get lots of love!! If I were closer, I'd be more than willing to hang out at the beach with you:)

  7. It was great to see you, Karen. And yes, I DO say the same of you...


  8. PS. Such a sweet pic with the baby. Melts the old heart.

  9. I was called for jury duty about 15 years ago. It was a federal case involving a drug family in Birmingham.
    We weren't sequestered, but I went to the federal courthouse every day for 13 weeks.
    It was not a fun time in my life.


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