Sunday, July 31, 2011


You know you have a really sweet boyfirend when he says he made plans for our Saturday night and he'll pick me up at 4. We went to the lake and ate dinner (amazing dinner, I might add - we split the best crab cakes I've ever had along with a burger that might fit into the same category). We wandered in and out of the shops, stopping for an ice cream cone before walking down to the lake to watch the sunset. sweet.

The evening was perfect.

But that's not what makes my boyfriend so sweet.

Leaving the lake, I suggest we put the top on the Jeep part way down. It's a gorgeous night, not a cloud in the sky, and I can think of nothing better than spending the half hour ride home, stargazing and enjoying the summer evening. WG indulged me and we had the top back and were on our way.

Sweet man, indeed.

But that's still not what was truly sweet.

It was about ten miles down the road, when I have put my sweater on, and tucked my bare legs underneath me, and crossed my arms in an effort to keep warm, that my beyond-sweet boyfriend, without saying a word, simply reaches over and turns on the heat.

Now that, my dear friends, is a sweet, sweet man indeed.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Two Reasons I'm so Glad it Wasn't Our First Date

I took WG out to dinner and a movie tonight. Not being a TV watcher, I'm completely out of touch with what is playing on the big screen, so I took a recommendation from some girlfriends and headed off to the cinema for the lastest comedy without knowing much of anything about the movie we were about to see. Let's just say, I sat through the entire film with my hand over my mouth and my eyes bugging out of my head in complete shock. I could not believe what was being said, done or implied on the big screen. I spent the rest of the evening apologizing profusely for having chosen such a film. WG was perhaps equally embarrassed and entertained by the situation, but knew me well enough to know this wasn't at all like me, or my sort of a film.

Scared after that experience to choose a new restaurant for fear it might be a strip club in disquise, we went with a familiar place and sat in the lobby waiting for a table. As a couple entered the door, I commented quietly to WG that they didn't seem to go together at all. The man had tattoos all up and down his arm, and the woman was dressed in a cutesy outfit, including a sunflower barrett in her hair. They ended up sitting next to us to wait and it didn't take us long to realize they were on a first date. It was all WG and I could do to contain ourselves. The woman talked incessantly while they waited. Telling the man about her recent move to the area, having quit her job, left her home and everything she owned back in Ohio, she moved up here, moved in with her mom and is starting over. She talked about her son, and how she doesn't have custody exactly, but had guardianship and she's trying to hold that over her ex's head as though she might request custody at any point (heaven help the child). She talked and talked and talked and the man just sat and nodded without getting a word in. WG and I were trying to devise a plan to help the poor lad escape an entire dinner of this train wreck when they called us to our table.

As we ate, we laughed about the movie experience and the eavesdropping in the lobby and both of us were so thankful that we were not out on a first date together. I cannot imagine what impression he might have had of me had this movie been our first date instead of "True Grit". And I am glad that neither of us are living with our parents, without a job, without custody of the children we have and without a clue that we are a mess and should not be seeking a relationship at this point.

While Date Night didn't go quite as smoothly as I had hoped (who knew that Winnie the Pooh might have been the best choice afterall?) we had a great time tonight.

I just hope he'll still call me tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Not Funny

We wrapped up teaching summer school today. While I was delighted this year that summer school was extra and not my only source of income, I didn't enjoy teaching as much as usual and was glad when it all came to an end today. While I still have work to do to get my new classroom ready for fall, I'm more than ready for some R&R.

Apparently, however, according to my television and local stores, it's already BACK TO SCHOOL time.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

For Flash

Flash asked for some pics of the garden. Having put in his time getting it ready in the spring, he misses out on the joy of it, returning in time for the craziness of constant-harvest days (not that he minds constant-food). In any case, it has taken me far longer than seems necessary to upload the pics, but for Flash's sake, I present, the 2011 Garden:

Perhaps hard to tell, but the fuzzy green on the left is asparagus in its first year. The vine up the fence is pumpkins, and at the rate it is growing and flowering, we will have, um...plenty! I planted miniature daliahs along the garden border this year and I have really enjoyed them. Still would love to have plants that are full of color to offset all the green of the garden, but these are quite nice.

Same pumpkin vine on the left of this pic, but you can see the two rhubarb plants in the center. I transplanted these two earlier, when they seemed to think it necessary to flower this year. We weren't getting any good rhubarb off them anyway, so I decided to move them and open up the space by the garage. Hopefully we'll get rhubarb next season.

This is a view down the line of tomato plants. Somehow we ended up with 14. Sigh. We have Early Girl's and Best Boy's and Roma's and a couple cherry tomato plants to boot. I have similar signs as last year that might be pointing to "tomato blight" but I am NOT pulling these plants out. I read/hear too many conflicting reports on what it is, or how to handle it. I'm not missing out on my tomato harvest again this year. I am, however, soliciting the help of a friend who is an expert canner of tomatoes. My canning didn't fare so well last year.

Ahh, for want of peppers. WG brought me some pepper plants, but they haven't fared well. I added a few around the corner in the garden, but they are way behind where they should be. We have banana and jalapenos, but no green bell peppers. Makes me sad as they are some of my favorite things to go out and pick fresh to go with dinner. Tomatoes are on the left (cherry) and another pumpkin variety growing up the fence (and into the neighbors lot).

Oh Brother, can you spare a zucchini? I have four in the fridge and I've given away just as many already. Went away for the weekend and returned home to a zucchini big enough to be a weapon. If you look closely, I have two celery plants on the bottom left of the zucchini. I have staked the zucchini branches, trying to give the celery sunlight. I always underestimate the size of the zucchini plant. The celery is for Flash, I don't much care for it myself.

The cucumber trelllis that Flash built. The cukes are doing great. They love climbing the trellis! I'm not loving this variety of cuke as much, however, as they are long and skinny and I for some reason, asthetically prefer the short fat ones. Ahem. Maybe it's just me... :)

Cukes. They just hang down out the back of the trellis. Flash, you did a great job building this trellis!! It's working great!

Beans!! We built a sort of May-Pole for the green beans this year. I'll use a different twine next year, but the beans seem to be doing well. Only trouble is, they have towered much taller than I can reach. Sigh.

A second crop of beans. This one was planted later than the first, in an effort to extend my bean season. We didn't have nearly enough beans in the freezer this past year, so I'm hoping for LOTS!! (Note: we finally had enough beans for dinner tonight. They would have been perfectly delish if I hadn't scorched them in the pan. Sigh.)

Potatoes! I actually saw my first field of potatoes this weekend in our travels. I made WG off-road it with the Jeep so I could stop and look closely (and take pictures). While I find potatoes to be labor-intensive, we just so enjoyed having home-grown potatoes last winter (mmmm potato soup!) that I couldn't help but plant another crop. We.Shall.See.

We tore out mertyl and relocated the herbs to help with the tilling process. I really love having my herbs all in one bed. I absolutely love fresh basil!! Now if only I could remember what the rest of them all are and what to use them for...

New to our garden this year is a strawberry patch! Again, I love that it is a self-contained area, which is perfect for my berries to grow! I planted two varieties, a June and an all-season bearing so we'll have strawberries for jam and throughout the summer! Can't wait for next year!

The berry plants are really taking off. I'm getting lots of runners and even a few berries!

The blueberry bush. Sigh. WG bought me the bush one day in spring and the poor thing has suffered so much including Flash accidentally digging it up and then trying to replant the poor thing. It's surviving, but not by a lot.

The raspberry bush, on the other hand, is doing quite well! This is one of Flash's addition to our garden this year (along with a blackberry bush, not photographed).

In case we don't get enough beans from the garden, I planted more along the garage where the rhubarb used to be. With room, trellises and sunshine to spare, I thought this was the perfect place for additional crop!

I've been nabbing cheap perennials at various places and for now, have just been sticking them along the sunny North side of the house. They may find themselves new homes next spring, but for now, they fit the space AND the budget!

More perennials. So much nicer than the hideous vines and bushes that used to be here.

So I went a little petunia crazy with the annual band flower sale. There are daylillies and hostas tucked in, gifts from my sister. Hopefully next year, I'll be able to make this another perennial bed (sorry Flash, I won't be as much help with the band fundraiser). I do so love my flower boxes (although, again, no more petunias!)

This is the other side of the front door. More cheap perennials just finding a spot for now. I'm not doing much with this bed until the dreaded pine tree is removed (donations, anyone?) and then I can landscape this whole side of the house withe more intention.

Some of the perennial blossoms....

I saw bunches of these all over the plaza in Mackinac City and was delighted with how they looked. So glad I had found some on sale earlier for my flower beds!

That's it. A grand tour for Flash's sake. If nothing else, he might appreciate being away from home knowing all the weeding that constantly has to be done...

Hurry home, Flash! :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sisterly Advice

I sent a text to Jules, full of excitement about our get-away destination. Thinking we might take the ferry over to Mackinaw Island where she and Bear honeymooned and spent their 10th wedding anniversary, she sent this bit of wisdom:

Oh the story that must be behind this one!!

The Get-Away

6:30 am - Text from WG "Just told no work Sat. I know it's short notice, but want to take off for the weekend?"

I had unintentionally thwarted his plans for my birthday by squeezing in a quick trip to TN over that weekend in August. Further challenged by working six days a week, he was determined to bring a fun and relaxing vacation trip of our own into our summer plans. WG pulled together plans for our weekend get-away in just three short hours.

I called the kennel, booked Eli for the weekend. Flew to summer school; taught for 3 hours. Hit grocery store on the way home and picked up travelling snacks. I was home long enough to shower, change and pack.

WG arrived at 2:45 to load my things into the Jeep. I grabbed a bag from the fridge to add to the cooler. WG perused the items, taking a few out saying, "You don't need this. You don't need this."

"What?! Why don't I need those? You don't want cheese or crackers or summer sausage?! I know I'll want some Diet Coke, and you'll surely want some Coke Zero! I thought you loved these things!"

"EJ, I love all of those things. That's why I already have these exact items in the cooler."

"Oh." Scary how much we think alike.

He was a man with a plan.

By 3pm, we were on the road. My only knowledge of our destination was "it's north."

North indeed. We stayed in Mackinac City, chosen for it's close proximity to so many sight-seeing options. WG brought me a fistful of pamphlets and asked me to choose the sights I most wanted to see.

We put the top down on the Jeep and spent all of Saturday touring around the Upper Pennisula, where I had never been.

We drove, literally, to Paradise. We stopped and hiked through the State Park, getting to see Taquamenon Falls, a beautiful sight, and an even more delightful sound.

We saw three of the five great lakes and marveled at each and every one.

Curiosity got the best of us, and we stopped to see the Black Bear Ranch, where over 80 black bears have been rescued and cared for. WG was kind enough to lean on a tree and help this poor fellow reach just a few more berries. He said he did it so I could get a better picture, but I think he's a softie for those big brown bear eyes.

We had dinner outside and listened to some great live music.

We took time out to play a round of 18. WG beat me by one point, which scores major points in my book. It's been a long time since I've had serious putt-putt competition!!

Unable to capture the breathtaking serenity of the lakes themselves, this is my favorite photo from our trip, taken while hiking through the woods. Thanks, WG, for such an amazing get-away, and for patiently waiting in mosquito-infested woods for me to get just the perfect shot.

You are an amazing man.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


He brought apologies and flowers. I offered forgiveness and cobbler.

We both promised to handle each other a little differently going forward.

WG is back.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Chick-Flick Philosophy Works!!

OMG!! It works!!!

Jules and Bear found these and brought them to me this morning! I am so excited that Chick-flick Philosophy works! I can now cross #1 right off my list!! (Now that I know it actually works, I am kind of kicking myself for not including a few other items on the list. Like a boyfriend. But hey, when I start making NFL salary kind of money and I'm thin with money, I'll be able to get a boyfriend pretty easily, right? He'll probably take me out to dinner at a restaurant with great live music, too. Who knows, maybe he'll be a window salesman and run a tree service on the side!! Next up - my furry but shed-less pets!)


My new, intimate kitchen table, built for two. Handcrafted by my amazing dad.

Isn't it gorgeous?!

Thanks, Dad. I absolutely love it.

They Have Their Moments

At summer school this morning, one of my first grade students put his hand over his heart for the pledge and then whispered to me, "I can already feel my heart beeping."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Why I Am An Idiot Part #437

My house is pretty quiet these days. Having no one to cook for, clean up after or talk to, leaves me with far too much time on my hands to dwell on the recent break-up. I decided to throw myself into my school work to keep myself occupied (read that: sane). Last night I spent several hours watching chick flicks working on school work, including loading my car with more materials from my third grade classroom so I could spend the afternoon after summer school and tutoring working in my new room.

I arrived at school with the loaded car only to find an email from the custodians saying they would be waxing floors in my new building today and no one would be allowed into the building until Monday afternoon. Sigh. The best laid plans, you know...

Not to be derailed, however, I took the 80 degree, low-humidity weather as a sign that I should instead spend the day out-of-doors working on my gardens and lawn. (I'll admit, this seemed like an even better idea than Plan A, as I'm still not 100% gung-ho about the idea of first grade and who doesn't love a day spent out in the garden?!?!) I returned home, changed my clothes and was about to head outside when I decided to follow Flash's example - I grabbed my ipod. I was thrilled that I had remembered to charge it the other day; while I love my shuffle, I don't use it nearly as often as the teenager. I even took the time before heading outside to get it hooked behind me and to thread my earphones up through the back of my shirt so the chord wouldn't get in the way of digging, weeding or watering. Flash would be so humiliated proud.

I wasn't outside ten minutes before I realized the error of my ways. My hands were already covered in dirt, I couldn't begin to see or easily forward the songs on the playlist, and I couldn't even easily detangle myself from the contraption altogether to chuck it across the lawn take it back into the house, when I realized I was listening to the playlist WG had put together for our trip to IL last month. Double sigh.

Nothing like an entire playlist of your ex-boyfriend's favorite tunes to help keep your mind off...well, your ex-boyfriend.

Triple sigh.

My Newest Niece

Adelene Wilson is due to arrive in November to my brother G and his fiancee Diana.

I cannot wait to meet her!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Limits of Love

A week ago Saturday, my sister and Bear drove from Michigan to Cincinnatti to get the kids to my dad for vacation. They returned home for a brief stay before driving a couple hours north to Bear's parents house while his dad had heart surgery (he's doing fine). They left northern Michigan and drove to Knoxville, TN for the rest of their vacation at my dad's. This Monday they made the long trek back to Michigan and returned home shortly after a severe storm had passed through town, leaving the town and many surrounding without power. 2400 miles in the car together over the past week and now no television, no computer and no dvr for two days, left my sister to remark to Bear last night, "I'm sorry, but I just don't like you this much."

Monday, July 11, 2011

Break-up + power outage at school means I have time on my hands and no constructive place to use it. Translation? I'm in chick-flickville! Not usually my style, I'll admit, but desperate times call for...well, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Anniston, apparently. I wouldn't normally tout wisdom from such flicks as something to set your sails to, but I have to admit, this sort of resonanted with me. I quote, "Figure out what you want and learn how to ask for it." I thought I would give it a go. Ready?

I want tootsie pops without the sticks.

I want furry pets that don't shed all over my carpets.

I want to get thin without trying.

I never want to start my snowblower again.

I want more money in the bank.

I want new windows before winter.

I want to go out to eat where there is great live music.

I want to teach third grade again next year.

I want gas to be under $2 a gallon again.

I want my teenager to get a job.

I want my pine tree to be cut down, chopped up and removed from my premises immediately.

I want to be 29 again.

I want a hammock.

I want the government to decide what NFL/NBA players get paid and I want the salaries the players currently believe aren't high enough.

I want a politician who says s/he is an advocate for children to actually ADVOCATE FOR CHILDREN.

I want all my far-away friends to live nearby.

I want to go somewhere new for vacation.

I want to be invited to a BBQ so I can take this great broccoli salad I discovered this summer.

I want mascara that doesn't smudge all over my eyes minutes after I put it on.

It's Chick-Flick Philosophy, but hey, it was worth a shot, right?

C'est Fini

This isn't the place for the details of something that meant so much to me, but it needed to be acknowledged at least - WG and I have gone our separate ways.

If it wasn't obvious from previous posts, suffice it to say, I really liked this one.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Uncle Who?

It's the Fourth of July at summer school reading camp and we had a variety of fun activities that adeptly disguised reading to make the kids feel like it was a day full of nothing but fun while still teaching a little by incorporating many of our traditionally American activities and songs. We made flags and sang patriotic athems around our pretend campfire; we made graham crackers look like American flags with icing, licorice and blue sprinkles; we played relay races that involved spelling patriotic words correctly. At our station, we played Bingo, and I asked the students to identify the 4th of July words on their page by giving hints about syllable types or stealer letters or whether they were compound words, proper nouns, etc. There were a few pictures, clip art style on their Bingo boards as well, which prompted one third grade boy to say, "I just need this German guy and I have Bingo!"

Ahhh, I see we have much teaching left to do...