Category Archives: Signatures

Life Through My iPhone

iphone94It’s time for another Life Through My iPhone post though I have to warn you – it’s not been that exciting around here. Makes you really want to read now doesn’t it?

These are my kids – we were out to dinner to celebrate the boy’s birthday. He turned 20 years old, no longer a lost and confused teenage boy that I used to always call him and his friends. He’s now a young man, very confident and focused on his studies.

And he’s a goof ball – that will never change.

iphone91Do you Snap Chat? Or have Snap Chat? I don’t know how to even address today’s social media applications – is it a noun? But if you use it, is it a verb?

Anyway, the boy went back to his school the day after the girl left our home for college. He had this photo on his Snap Chat (or he Snap Chatted it?) I can’t figure it out -

iphone92The girl’s move in day at college was really overwhelming for her and for us. It wasn’t because we didn’t have any help. When we pulled up, about ten really cheerful people swarmed the cars and grabbed all of her things to bring up to her dorm room. It frankly made her very nervous, she whispered to me that she felt rushed. And that people were touching her stuff.

I didn’t have to carry a thing so I was totally alright with it – but I understood. It’s a big adjustment. She refused at first to pose for a photo in her room so the boy posed for her. Like I said, he’s a goof.

iphone9I was not going to leave without a photo and she finally relented.

iphone7She then decided to pose with her things because it’s strange that the only photo we have is of the boy. The bedding and all of the accessories are very much “her.”

iphone6The husband was on vacation this week and his choice was to spend it fishing every day. I felt he deserved this time – he’s been so busy working and then dealing with all of our vacation plans and then moving the girl – well, he needed time by himself, and I understood.

iphone1He hasn’t caught many fish but he did catch this one – with teeth. Ugh.

iphone4We haven’t cycled in about three weeks and were invited to go with a group of people – but decided that our time was better spent drinking wine at our favorite winery and listening to our friends sing. Everyone has to make choices -

iphone5I’m going to do some cooking this weekend and this plant is one reason by. It’s a Honduran pepper plant recently given to me by a friend. She knows me – I’m waiting for the peppers to turn red before I pick them. And I hope I don’t kill it before the peppers are ready.

iphone3Speaking of peppers – take a look at this. My friend Kathy-girl offered me some peppers from her garden. And wow, did she have some peppers! It was beautiful! There are all kinds; jalapenos, rellenos, bell, and of course . . . .

iphone2. . . Habaneros! Fantastic right?

Kathy-girl made some habaneros pepper jelly from these that is just out of this world. I have a party to attend the weekend and you bet I’ll be whipping up some spicy Thai food with these. I’m very excited.

iphone8Speaking of Thai food, I’m also going to making some for the girl. Yes, she’s coming home this weekend after only a week away. It’s such a strange thing – the boy could not come home for the weekend. The girl can visit! Really? That can happen?

I was worried about her after we left her school. We texted every day and she assures me that she’s fine. Everyone is “super nice.” She likes her roommate and said they were out shopping which was a really good sign. She is riding at school and she said she was busy. Both she and Roommate Danielle are biology majors and it helps to have a study buddy.

iphone93She’s a strong girl. The husband was the one who suggested she come home this weekend. I told her I would make her Thai food this weekend and she was happy about that. She can eat really, really, I mean really, spicy food. A girl after my own heart. She also claims the cafeteria food makes her tummy hurt. I said it was probably stress to which she replied, “No, it’s the food.”

We also spoke yesterday about trying out for the equestrian team. She said she didn’t know if she’ll have time – and I told her it was up to her but that I supported her decision. She has an academic scholarship – not a riding scholarship, and I’m glad she’s putting things in proper perspective.

That being said, she’s still riding at the school’s beautiful stables and joining the equestrian club which will keep her around horses and plenty busy. Horses have been her life for so many years, it’s in her blood.

So – here’s to a wonderful weekend of celebration, Thai food, and hugs from the girl.

Love from me to you!

The Hauntings Of The Forts

ghost92For the most part I believe in the supernatural world, but when it’s convenient, like when I’m in a scary place where ghosts abound, I tell myself they’re not real. I convince myself – I talk to myself – I sing to myself.

Or like in the case of the forts in San Juan, I just didn’t even entertain the thought even though it’s patently obvious that if ghosts were to live anywhere, they would live there.

The tunnels and hallways deep in the fort are stifling and claustrophobic causing your mind to play tricks on you and the hair in the back of your neck stands up – maybe it’s just me. There were times, like when we were in the dungeon that I literally felt a presence of something – and I resisted the urge to run screaming from the room.

That’s not an exaggeration.

I chalked it up to the creepiness of the fort. After all, hundreds of men probably suffered and died within its walls. It’s easy to imagine -

After we got home, the boy looked up hauntings in the fort – thank goodness he waited until after we left the island. He informed me that the forts were some of the most haunted places in the world – in the world? So glad I didn’t know that when I was there.

As I went through our vacation photos, he stood over my shoulder and found orbs in some of them. An orb is a light that has no apparent source and which represents a ghost presence. Ah me – so scary. When I was in Newport News with Neighbors Beth & Susan, we took a ghost tour and tried to capture these elusive orbs with our camera, but were unable. Now as I look through my photos, I realize that I caught something, and I wasn’t even trying. I was in denial remember?

Repeat after me, there are no such things as ghost, there are no such things as ghost . . .

ghost1But then I began to see . . . something. Do you see that light source by Sydney-girl? Yeah, that’s an orb. It has no apparent light source but yet, it’s very shiny. It’s a dark room so nothing is reflecting it – that I could see anyway.

Weird huh?

ghost2In this photo, Sydney-girl is looking at the sea through the long, skinny window. Do you see the light source to the left? It’s pretty innocuous, but look clooooosserrr…

It looks like a figure with a head – well doesn’t it?

I was standing at the entry way and I thought it was me – but then it would have been a shadow, rather than a lighted figure . . . really unusual – or maybe it’s in my mind. But there’s definitely a light source shaped like a head and shoulders don’t you think?

ghost3I think this one is the creepiest. Do you see the bluish light source on the tunnel floor? It’s very inconsistent with the light source from the tunnel. According to the boy, it’s a classic orb.

I believe – I believe!

ghost4I had to look a little closer at this one. There’s a light below the benches/cots on the lower left of the photo. At first, it’s really not noticeable at all and I couldn’t see what the boy was seeing.

You have to squint a little . . . ok, maybe a lot.

ghost9

I’ve blown it up for you. Do you see it? It’s underneath the bench, lower left . . .

ghost91Here it is, I’ve blown up the photo even more.

It’s not exactly conclusive evidence Mr Holmes but it’s close enough.

ghost5Look at the above photo. There’s a light source, an orb, on the wall on the lower right.

I should have put an arrow there -

ghost6I took two consecutive snaps of my camera and you can see that the light source has moved slightly from the photo above. It looks like a little firefly but there were no bugs in the hallway. And no possible way it could have been illuminated by another light source.

The only possible conclusion? Ghosts! It’s not that far-fetched!

The boy’s theory on ghosts is this. There are two kinds, the benign ghosts, and the kind that mess with you. The benign ghosts do things over and over, like a sentry standing guard. According to the boy, they may not even know they are dead. The second kind of ghosts do things like pull your hair and can actually hurt you. They can be signs of demonic activity or at the same time, they can be angels who protect you. It’s a part of the supernatural world where there is a struggle of good and evil.

When I was a little girl, I loved ghosts stories around the campfire but as an adult, I want to leave the supernatural world alone. I’ve seen too much, felt too much, experienced too much.

Do you believe?

The Awesome Power Of Social Media

socialmedia1We ask the kids to be polite and put their phones away at dinner. But then again, the husband and I are just as guilty at times. Here I’m asking the girl for a photo on our first night of vacation in San Juan last week.

Wait, she says with her finger. She’s busy -

socialmedia2When her conversation – or whatever she was doing – is finished, she then poses for me.

I admit it can get annoying but I appreciate this new era of constant information flow – after all, I have a blog.

socialmedia3Here my friends at our 30th high school reunion are on their phones – but I think they were exchanging contact information.

One of the gentlemen approached me at the reunion and if you’ve ever been to one, you know how difficult it can be to remember names and faces. After all, it was 30 years ago. In this case, this classmate, his name is Classmate Tim, said to me, “It looks like you’re doing well, your kids are doing well.”

I looked at him and tried to remember him from all those years ago and I drew a blank. He said, “I’m (Classmate Tim).” And I remembered the name, but I still couldn’t remember him. But what was really bemusing was how he knew so much about me and I couldn’t remember him from Adam (of the Garden of Eden).

Then it dawned on me, I said, “Are you my friend on facebook?” He said yes. Aha. Slightly creepy, but aha.

It’s not the fact that he knew so much about me that I found disturbing, after all, I accepted a friend request from a total stranger. It’s the fact that I put so much of myself out there.

Oh well, too late now.

socialmedia4That brings me to this – is social media in this age of information overload a good thing or a bad thing? It’s a question I struggle with sometimes, particularly when there is drama among the teenage crowd or texting at the dinner table.

But then there’s the ice bucket challenge. It’s purely a social media phenomena and at first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Then as I watched more and more videos and how it was bringing attention ALS, I began to appreciate the heart of people, many of whom would never make a spectacle of themselves on the internet except that they really felt it would make a difference. I thought of my sister and her long battle with ALS. The above photo was taken in June of last year and she would pass away three months later. She and her family suffered the debilitating effects of the disease for eight years and I know at times they felt that no one understood and no one cared. Now people know – and all it took was a baseball player and his family to start a campaign that touched off a social media storm.

socialmediafI also thought of our friend Tom, who passed away from ALS last June. This disease knows no demographic, no ethic background, no age difference. It does not discriminate.

As a result the ALS Association has raised 700 times more money this year than at the same time last year. It’s a miracle and it’s a blessing.

Check it out here.

So are you doing the ice bucket challenge and posting it for all your family and friends to see? I hope so. And it hope that simple act moves the hearts of other to donate to help combat this disease that has tragically taken so many lives.

Bless you!

 

A Week (Or So) In Review

eds2It’s a little bit crazy around here – but as cliche and overused is this phrase, – it’s all good. We paused long enough to grab the boy from the airport and then off we went, to rural Pennsylvania. I just love it up there, it feels far away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities – and it is. One thing we look forward to every year is visiting Uncle Ed’s farm where we get all the tractor rides we want!

eds3There was a new toy in the pond this year.

eds7It’s a paddle boat! And these are my sailors, and they are dressed in their best nautical wear.

Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip . . .

week92It just so happened it was also the weekend of my 30th high school reunion. Not many folks came, but then again, there was only 76 people in our graduating class. See that guy in the plaid shirt on the right? He didn’t even graduate with us:) He went to the Catholic school but we are apparently a lot more fun than his class.

It was a fantastic time, lots of laughs and lots of hugs.

week95It’s funny that most of the people who came to the reunion actually live out of town and traveled there, some like us, a long way, but most of the people who live in town didn’t come. I hear it’s not unusual, maybe it’s because they see each other all the time. Me? I would come, it’s an excuse to get together and party! But then again, I never really need an occasion to do that.

week93The husbands were tasked with taking photos – they were very patient.

week91After the “official” party, the unofficial party began! Classmate Miss Theresa and her family rented a cottage on the lake and it was the perfect after party place. Classmate Miss Theresa’s husband Steve is a big fisherman and he had some fishing poles out for the kids – and mine promptly broke the line on a lily pad. It was actually the girl who did it, and she handed the pole to the boy – it’s how a sister loves a brother. He took responsibility for it – like a good brother would.

Mr. Steve understood – he has four children of his own.

week94Here they are playing badminton with tennis rackets and a rubber ball. If kids are bored enough, they will find a way to entertain themselves.

week2The next week was a busy one at work and I hoped to begin packing early for our vacation but I never really got around to it. I did however get my hair cut, the first time in over three months. The next day I told the boy that I had four inches cut off to which he said, “When? Today?”

“No, yesterday.” thanks for noticing . . .

The above photo and the next two are courtesy of Jesse Snyder Photography. Jesse is one the most talented photographers I know. He’s amazing at capturing the heart of our non-profit events like this one that took place a couple of weekends.

week1This event feeds thousands of people, many who live right next door. They are the working poor, people with jobs but need an extra hand in keeping food on the table and a roof over head. I love this ministry.

week3I was there, and I had a camera – but I let Jesse do the heavy lifting because he’s so fantastic at it and that allows me to chat and drink coffee, ha! There is Brooke-girl with the other camera, she was the videographer that day.

week4I finally decided to begin packing for San Juan and I succeeded in throwing everything into one carry-on suitcase which I could just carry with me on the airplane. It’s a good thing since the family was flying stand-by and we never know where we will end up when that happens. We actually got to San Juan on the day we planned to get there and I promptly placed myself at the poolside bar, ordered a mojito and began to shoot the tropical flowers around me.

week9It was also Shark Week – yikes.

week8We said good-bye to San Juan five days later – I cried all the way home to Maryland . . .

week6And now for something completely different -

We landed in a different airport we took off from and the prom date had to drive to Washington DC to pick us up around midnight. What a sweetheart, his stock just rose a couple hundred points in our family.

We got ourselves together because that same day, our friend was assuming command of a (lot of people) – in military terms. This always makes my heart proud! even at the same time, I’m also grateful that I don’t have to stand at attention for hours on end anymore.

week5One of the airplanes under his command is the airplane that flies the First Lady. She sits here and I pretended I was her. It’s an easy mental exercise – I could get used to it and there are absolutely no complaints about not enough leg room. Notice my San Juan tan?

week96Here’s another airplane that belong to his command. It’s so neat! (in civilian terms)

week97I was told that I could fly “Space A” on this airplane, a term which means if space is available, and as a veteran, I could fly to where they are going.

I’m sure Baghdad is nice this time of year . . .

As nice as these seats look, I think the next time I fly, I’ll actually buy a ticket to make sure it doesn’t take me 12 hours to fly a 3.5 hour flight or land at a different airport – but it’s free!

Maybe I will go to Baghdad . . .

That’s what’s been happening around these here parts. Keeping it all in perspective . . .

 

 

 

Saying Hello & Goodbye

memory1The family had such a great time at our high school reunion last weekend. I’ll post photos of the people who were there but first, I wanted to show this photo – of this group of photos. These are of the sister, Dianne, and Barb, all three were in our class, all three died within less than a year of each other. All three each had an memorable impact on our class.

The sister was fun loving and quirky. Everyone remembers how fashionable she was and how she could “rock a scarf.”

Dianne was likely our most creative class member. She was an artist from a very young age and she always doodled and drew, that is how we remembered her from back then. She then went on to become an art professor but her work was shown in numerous art shows.

And Barb, I’ve yet to write about her & I but I know that she was missed. She was our class valedictorian, and everyone remembered her as “the brain.”

I feel confident in saying that most people were not remembered so fondly by their classmates, or even at all. These three were different, everyone knew them, everyone misses them. In a way, the reunion last week was just what we needed to move on – or at least move on with life, missing them along the way.

Someone thanked me for bringing the photos for display. I said it wasn’t me – and she said, “Well, Theresa said you did.” I was given credit by some for doing this but the credit really goes to Classmate Jim who planned the entire reunion and did a great job. I thanked him profusely, it was so touching.

memory2 Classmate Theresa had posted this photo on social media of the three of them 20 years or more ago. It was at my engagement party – my sister in the middle is flanked by Barb and Dianne. It gave me chills and I broke down crying when I first saw it. It’s a great photo and brought back wonderful memories.

It was a fantastic weekend, filled with laughter and hugs. These wonderful ladies were missed but it was a great reminder to all of us to stay connected and live life to its fullest.

 

All Creatures Slimy, Crawly & Strange

flip3My girl as never been intimated by any animal. She has always been fascinated – frankly she makes me nervous.

creatures1There were times when I felt her curiosity puts her in danger. Alright – maybe not danger per se, but in situations that would intimate most people.

creatures5Last weekend while on our visit to my hometown, I took all the cousins to the stream where they went exploring.

creatures8The girls started wading into the stream further and further.

creatures6Then I see this – I wondered what she was doing. Look at her hair in the water! It must be something really fascinating -

creatures7“Look Mama!,” she says. It’s a crawfish shell. Absolutely fascinating.

Well – not really.

creatures3So then she waded back into the water and found a live crawfish which caused a lot of squealing of delight.

creatures4Look at this thing! Ugh! After “playing” with it for a while, they let it go. It’s probably traumatized.

creatures2We found another snake skin. I wanted to get out of there!

creatures9Here are a couple more creatures we saw last weekend. Anyone know what kind of spider this is?

creatures91Look at this beautiful dragon fly. I finally caught him with his wings open.

creatures92I spy a fly -

Anyone else itching?

 

The Flip

flip1

The boy came home last Friday for the summer. I know that summer is almost over but that’s how it goes. I spent a lot of years praying for independence and now I’m asking him if he is ever coming home. He spent the week in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, flew in last Friday, switched out his suitcase and then we drove the 7 hours to Pennsylvania to my home town.

This photo was at Uncle Ed’s and before his hair cut. Speaking of hair, check out the flip by the girl. Girls are really funny when they prep for a photo.

flip2

Beautiful. Brother & sister together again. They claimed they didn’t dress alike on purpose.

flip3And then there’s this. The girl is totally fascinated by reptiles, snakes, and various grossĀ  creepy crawling creatures. All I know is that she didn’t get it from me.

 

Life Through My iPhone

It’s time for another edition of Life Through My iPhone. I began doing these posts because it was easier to gather a collection of photos together – and I find myself giggling when I go through them.

And – I don’t use up too much room on my external hard drive. Bonus.

iphone0The horse show was a month ago but I love this photo. The girl is eating a sandwich and Ella is begging for a treat. It’s the unglamorous side of a horse show. That and the road apples in which I step constantly.

iphone1 We were invited by some friends to a slip holders party at a shee shee yacht club. We had a wonderful night, it was beautiful weather and the food was good. There was a pool and live entertainment and I felt blessed to have friends who are willing to pay a yearly yacht club membership and let us piggy back on their monthly celebration! I wish I had more photos but the above photo was my view from dinner – the other half lives well:)

iphone3I’ve been biking at least a couple of time a week. I came upon these geese in a field and quickly got off my bike to take a photo. But then I noticed the house . . . I bet they had a yacht club membership.

iphone4Here’s a couple more things I saw on my little bike ride.

iphone5So glad I started doing this – I love snapping photos along the way. These were taken on a nice slow ride with the husband. I couldn’t do this with the bike club I ride with because I would fall so far behind that I’d never see them again – at least for another 25 miles.

iphone6I sat through a sermon a couple of weekends ago about forgiveness and mercy. We don’t punish people by stoning them now a days but when we condemn people in our minds and in our hearts it the same thing as picking up a stone and throwing it. If we never pick up, we can’t throw it. How beautiful is that? It’s simple wisdom but so powerful. You can listen – just go here.

It is worth 20 minutes of your time, it really is.

iphone7We’ve caught yoga fever at the office and when people come in to visit (or actually have a work related issue), I ask them to get into a yoga pose. I upload it to instagram with the hashtag #officeyoga. We are easily amused and my co-workers are easily the most fun people on earth.

iphone92Speaking of co-workers, how beautiful is she? She just got her hair done – I digress.

iphone93My sister’s children came to visit and I drove them to my parents’ house where they stayed all week doing fun things like boating and movies. We’re going to see them this weekend. While I was there, I saw this tree in their front yard.

iphone94It’s a massive tree that was hit by lightning. It stood for years and years and now it’s split into two. Thank God the house was far enough away…

iphone95On my drive back home from my parents’, I was stuck in a stau – or traffic jam. See the cars behind me? Well, there were as many cars in front of me! I did have the radio all to myself though -

iphone97Some friends of ours sold their home and needed a place to stay so they are staying at some other friends’ home while they were on vacation. Got that? Anyway, the husband and I went to visit and brought some wine. I sent this photo to our friends with this text, “Found some squatters at your house.” Easily amused I am…

iphone99We had a little birthday celebration at the pool with our neighbors. They brought me the most beautiful flowers, I was so touched. I made dinner, and I like cooking so much that I don’t mind cooking my own birthday dinner. They did however, help me clean up. Happy birthday to me.

iphone991On my birthday I received this photo from Theresa-girl and her beautiful daughter at 7 am. For some reason, Theresa likes to text me that early. They were at the airport going to Punta Cana, which explains the big hat beach attire. She’s a crack up. Our friend Barb called me every year for my birthday. I miss her voice.

Anyway, Theresa-girl is going to miss our 30th high school reunion but I know they’re having fun!

iphone992The husband, the girl and I went lunch at my favorite restaurant for my birthday. I snapped this photo and once again counted my blessings. I live in a beautiful place.

iphone98And finally – the boy is coming home today!!! Mama is excited. He looks sharp in his new suit doesn’t he? He was going to a wedding and asked if he could by a new suit and we sent him to Men’s Wearhouse in Fargo where he called me and asked me if he could spend $500. Yes, you heard right. I was in the middle of work and I said to him, “There’s nothing cheaper in the store?” When you have a salesman standing there I guess there’s a lot of pressure. Anyway, I finally relented and told him it was his birthday gift. I justified it with the fact that he’s always borrowed his dad’s clothing for the four proms and four homecomings that he went to. Yes, that justifies it all. Le sigh.

After spending a few days at home for the July 4th weekend, the boy went back to school to finish his flying and then go to a wedding. He then decided to spend this week at the Oshkosh air show in Wisconsin with Roommates John, Kyle and a various other people who I didn’t know. The husband and I wondered if he was ever coming home. Well, he’s on the airplane right now so I guess he is!

I can’t wait to hear how his summer went! I’ll be glad to have the family together again.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone – may you be blessed!

A Fan Club

ashow94A lot of folks came out to watch the girl compete last weekend. The crowd went wild!

ashow6Well, maybe not wild per se . . .

The prom date’s father came to watch for a bit. I don’t know what he’s saying to her but she’s perhaps smiling too much at the boy to notice.

ashow7The best friend’s father came to watch as well that day. For some reason, the dads were out in full force.

ashow991Sydney-girl was so supportive of the girl. Even when the girl didn’t do so well she was lifting her up with encouraging words. Just like a good friend would.

ashow992And then she walked with her back and forth, back and forth. She went way and beyond – so sweet.

ashow993In the meantime, the crowd was getting restless between events and started climbing the sand pile instead. Little Matt was so cute, he kept saying, “where’s (the girl?) Is she going to come in first?”

We all hope so, but it doesn’t always happen that way unfortunately…

ashow994Sophie-girl used to ride on the team but now is riding at the collegiate level. She continues to support the girl in her riding endeavors though. This girl was a leader to the team and continues to be so still even after graduating. She’s going to be president one day!

ashow99Here’s her biggest fan though. It’s her dad, giving her horseback riding advice, or maybe he’s just telling her not to fall off.

ashow96She was determined to perform well for her fans.

ashow92And I know she was appreciative of all the support even though her performance may not have been all she hoped for.

ashow93To her mamma and all her fans, she was perfect!

Show Me

ashow93The girl’s last summer of shows before she goes off to college has been a mixed bag as far as performance. Sometimes she does really well – and sometimes not so well.

It’s life. But this summer we know exactly why.

She hasn’t been riding much. She’s been forced to choose between the farm and a plethora of other things in her life and sometimes she chooses the other things. Actually a lot of times she chooses other things.

ashow9But Miss Tina is always there to remind her of her priorities.

After her first course Miss Tina said, “That was atrocious.”

The girl has been her student for so long she has stopped crying when criticized.

ashow95But she still pays rapt attention when Miss Tina speaks.

After her second course she asked Miss Tina what she thought.

Miss Tina told her she needs to ride more.

ashow91And she says it with a very pretty pink flower in her hat – and that takes away the sting a little.

ashow995She’s a little disappointed after her performance yesterday but she did have a great fan base that day which I think helped a little. When it comes to horse show, you literally cannot win them all . . .