Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Concord Grapes and Veteran's Day

I saw this post on the Food Network's Healthy Eats blog about Concord Grape Smoothies and it made me think of my grandpa. I've spoken about my small, spunky Grandma Polly. Her deceased husband, my Grandpa Red (yes, Red and Polly, adorable, hm? :)) once grew concord grapes in their backyard. They had a nice, big wooden arbor and grew the dark purple grapes in the summers. They would turn them into delicious, fresh juice. My brother and I stayed with them in the summers for many years while my parents were at work and we were out of school. I remember walking into their home and smelling coffee, hearing news radio and I still find those smells and sounds comforting. If I close my eyes, I can picture their home and feel that same feeling. They haven't lived in that house for 20+ years, but I can still picture it like I was there yesterday. I am not overly fond of grape juice, but sometimes, in the summer, it sounds so good, refreshing. I'm sure it is because of those summer days I had fresh juice at Grandpa's.

I've talked about Grandma before, but not as much about Grandpa. He's been gone since our youngest daughter was a baby. His name was Kenneth, but he was called "Red" because of his hair. He had the typical "red-head temper". Firey-was road rage before it had a name. I remember slumping down in the back seat as he gestured for drivers to pull over a time or two! He was a carpenter by trade, an excellent one. Could make things just by looking at them. I have a hope chest and a bread box he made. Both wonderful works of wood. He made toys, wall cabinets in lawyers' offices, tray tables-he had quite a gift. He had just finished a baby doll cradle for my youngest daughter the day before he died. He would challenge me to debates and switch sides halfway through... say things like, "just think." He liked to get me going on emotion and then cause me to think halfway through. I take pride in that he didn't do that with very many of his grandkids.

He was in WWII. He was in the Navy, the SeaBees. They were a construction battalion that would go in and get things set for the navy to come in behind them.  His stories were amazing and frightening. He went into the military before he was of legal age to, lying about his age. He told us stories of hiding under tankers as Japanese fighter planes flew over, shooting at them. I think of him even more acutely on Veteran's day.

He, like Gram Polly, had such a spunk, a fight in them. He wasn't a saint, he was ornery, thought boys could do things better than girls and wow, was his temper short, but he loved us and we knew it. He loved to play cards and the marble game aggravation. He and Gram were quite the pair.

Did you know your grandparents, Readers? I know many people who didn't get to. I was lucky enough to know all four of mine very well.

Friday, November 07, 2014

"What's on Your Home Screen", via TNW

I saw this interesting article on TNW (The Next Web) about "What's on Your Home Screen?" It caused me to think about my homescreen with several folders, each with several items inside them. I am trying something new, only having 15 items, no folders, on the home screen. I have:

  1. The App Store
  2. Calendar
  3. Settings
  4. The Weather Channel
  5. Clock
  6. Google Maps
  7. Music
  8. Podcasts
  9. Photos
  10. Pinterest
  11. Chrome
  12. Reminders
  13. Twitter
  14. Instagram
  15. LinkedIn
With Phone, Email, Messages and Camera down along the bottom. 
I have moved folders to the second screen.

What does your home screen look like, Reader? Any things you can't live without? What is the first item you open when you pick up your phone?

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Doodles, Balloons and Great Photos!

Just wanted to send a shout out to fellow blogger, Thimbleanna. She took some wonderful photos of dogs and balloons in a recent post. Just excellent photos! Since the dogs are doodles like my goldendoodle, I got an extra big smile out of them. :) Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

What I'm Reading Wednesday

I'm currently reading Silkworm by Robert Galbraith/JK Rowling. It is the second in the Cormoran Strike mystery series, the first being The Cuckoo's Calling. I read the first and thought it was a 3/5 star book. My mother-in-law had this book, and I love mysteries, so I picked it up to read, as well. The first book was kind of dark, nothing like the Tea Shop Mysteries I like so well. :) I enjoy Agatha Christie mysteries quite well, too. This Strike book is much more so-graphic and gory in spots. I  like to read books at bedtime and the last two nights I have found myself not wanting to. I am halfway and eager to finish it, to find out "whodunnit" and be done with it.

On the nonfiction side I am reading Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking by Andy Sernovitz Just started it and hoping it is a great resource for my new job(s).

What are you reading, Reader? Any suggestions on books you have loved, lately?

Thursday, October 30, 2014


It's funny. Sometimes I don't blog because I don't have anything new to say. In other instances, I don't blog because I struggle with the quality of my writing. In some cases, I am an absentee blogger because I am mired in the posts of social media. This is not a time like those.

My One Little Word for this year is "light". It should probably be "change" or "new".  It seems like I have had a lot of changes lately. This odd phenomena started when I had a mole removed. As silly as it sounds, it was a big change. I've had it all my life, on my right cheek, right up on the cheekbone. My mom once had an identical mole on the opposite side of her face-we had mirror-image moles. She had her mole removed when it got to be quite large. I did the same-bigger than a new pencil's eraser. It wasn't a "cancerous" mole, my dermatologists said. However, it would keep getting bigger, and my face is small, so it was quite noticeable. Once it was removed, it felt like a big change.

I also worked on another aesthetic change-getting my teeth fixed. I had braces from 8-12+ grade. I had them removed before my senior pictures, and replaced for a few months after my freshman year in college, but they didn't do permanent retainers, when they removed braces, then. I had the plastic kind that slipped over your teeth. Once I was expecting my first daughter, and had some morning sickness, I stopped wearing them. My teeth slowly moved out of their perfect places. However, over the last few years, they have moved exponentially faster and got harder and harder to clean due to their proximity to one another. So, I started the Invisalign procedure. I am so excited for the final product.

Sad vs happy changes... My big dog passed away and then we got a puppy-Quite big changes in the pet department. Both big changes to my heart, as well.

Changes in my profession also sailed along. I officially accepted the fact that I was moving away from teaching, cleaning and sorting my supplies. I stayed put in the realm of funeral coordinator. I still have that job, and happily, it's been a slow business lately-knock on wood. With that freed time, I wondered... "what else?" My house is quiet, when I'm not working on teaching Morgan commands, and even then, it is only I who speak. I started researching how to make my husband better at social media for his business posts. I found I really enjoyed the topic, reading and learning about business. Who knew? :) I talked with two women I knew in the business field, who knew me-my first "networking" appointments. They were adamant that I could make the transition. My husband had been saying this for a long time, but he's married to me so he has to say nice things, right? ;) I also set up a meeting with one of his partners, on my own, and spoke with him. He was in agreement. They are meeting about possibilities of me helping out in a more permanent capacity with their company. We will see what changes come from that. In the process, I am reading several books about marketing, mainly in the social media realm, and business analysis. This would be a huge change.

We are making changes in our home, as well. We had some companies look into remodeling, and after pondering the choices, we are building a new home. It won't be done until May or June and it is only about two blocks from where we currently live, but will have such better use of space. I am incredibly delighted. I have no reservations about this or the occupational jump. They both feel like the right steps to make right now. The right changes to make.

One last change that is fairly big for me, and then I will stop for tonight. I have always loved running. Long story short, over the last two summers of half-marathon training, I have battled injuries. I haven't given myself time to heal. This year's half was slower than I'd hoped and was by no means a personal record. However, I finished. Normally the thought of resting from running makes me sad and restless. This year I am going to keep running, but cut down on my milage and begin to try some other things like pilates and barre. I enjoy yoga, definitely, but am ready to try something new. With these as two new possibilities of cross training, running seems like a fun "extra". I'm hoping these will help me change my fitness level, away from the running only plateau I have put my tent up on. Once I feel successful, I know it will help me change some of my bad eating habits, too. That's how it works for me, it's all a cycle.

What changes are you experiencing these days, Reader? I hope they are good changes.