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.