Monday, May 25, 2015

We Honor Those Who Gave Their All

In our little town we have a Memorial Day parade, which HHBL and I love. We love it for many reasons. We can walk to the parade and don’t have to go 2.5 hours early just to save a good spot. The parade is actually geared towards honoring those who have served in the armed forces, which is as it should be, sort of. Memorial Day is really to honor those who have given the “last full measure of devotion” and since we cannot honor them physically we honor those who have served.

And the parade is only 30 minutes long, which is just about perfect in our opinion.

And there is candy.

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We still have several WWII veterans who ride in the parade. If this is the uniform that he wore then he is in pretty darn good shape for being, whatever age he actually is.

Many people bring their dogs to the parade. I think that just makes me love the parade even more.

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What do you mean I don’t get any of the candy??

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Did anyone leave me anything? Essence of candy maybe? I guess I will just eat the wrapper.

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Prepared for the shower of candy blessing that is about to descend. We were located about half a block from the center of town. The parade starts at the city hall and proceeds to the central intersection where it takes a left and goes up to the cemetery. If you REALLY want to get a boat load of candy you need to be just a bit closer to the start of the parade. Be that as it may, the kids still made out like bandits….

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Oh the dental bills that are going to be coming up!

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They’re throwing candy! Oh yeah, they’re throwing candy!

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At times it sort of had a “Lord of the Flies” feel to it as children scrambled for the every decreasing candy horde. Survival of the fittest. But I do have to say that the young fellow in the red shirt was very sweet to some of the younger kids around him. He willingly, and without prompting, gave away candy.

He is a better man than I.

HHBL and I brought no candy containers so we did not bring any candy home with us. That does not mean that we didn’t actually EAT some candy while standing there. We are just a bit more on the picky side about what we like. Tootsie Rolls and Bullseyes are the favorite.

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I indulged in a piece of bubble gum and was quickly reminded of the reason why I don’t chew the vile stuff. Nostalgia overwhelmed me and before I could think better of it I had that piece of pink, sugar ladened rubber in my mouth. About the fourth chew I remember that I don’t even like the stuff and then, of course, there was no available garbage can to spit it out in so I just had to chew/blow/pop until I could get rid of it.

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We were not the only ones who indulged in a bit of instant gratification.

And then the marching band went by. I love me a good marching band.

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The colorful footwear was excellent.

And finally, bringing up the rear of the parade, was the man with the job that everyone covets……

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Sometimes you just have to scoop the poop.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Bitty Bits of Blather

The weekly round up…..when I can remember. And aren’t all that bitty once I finally put them down on paper.

1. Our AC is fixed. That might seem to be a silly thing, considering we live in the Frozen Northeast Ohio where we went from the 80's to the 50's in the space of a week. But AC is important.

Here at Chez Knit we have what can only be described as an ancient and crotchety air conditioning unit. She is as old as the house (20+ years) and lets you know it. She wasn't working when we bid on the house and the previous owners fixed her but resisted our thought that she should actually be replaced before we took up residence. We could live with that.

HHBL and I are not all that fond of AC but we are not adverse to using it. We avoided using AC like the plague at OCK only because that was a beast of a house and the cost of running the AC for long periods was....painful. That is just one of the things that you don't think about when you build a McMansion.....the cost of running the place. But here at Chez Knit costs are much lower, and the ability to generate a breeze through the house (unless I have had cole slaw) is not as great so we run the AC, especially at night when we want to sleep. There is also the issue of the fact that to have the bedroom window open means we have to pull back the light limiting shade and thereby let in the light from the million candle watt street lamp.....but I digress.

Right before we left for Arizona the temperature went up. We thought it might be a good idea to turn on the AC in the house while we were gone. I flipped the switch and waited for that cool rush of air to come out of the vents.....the air rushed but it wasn't so cool. And when I went out to look at the compressor it was obvious that the fan wasn't spinning. Not good. But our AC/furnace guy was here this week, on a day when we needed the furnace not the AC, and all is running for the moment. But as Shaan the AC guy says,

"That's a really old unit. I will give you a quote on a new one. You are going to need it."

2. Today and tomorrow I am off to coordinate a wedding. Dang I love that job (of the several that I do). I would actually say that I love coordinating weddings more than I love photographing them. All my friends that really know me photographically are saying, "But you really don't like photographing weddings!!". True, sort of. I love the photographs that I produce but I am not fond of the stress of the situation and the one off nature of it. And I also don’t like thinking about having to cull through 2400 pictures. I would much rather coordinate weddings and photograph people in other situations.

I actually have 4 weddings this summer, two off site and two at church. This weekend's bride and I have met, but it was many years ago when she was a child. Her younger brother was a classmate of Cartoon Girl's when she was in grade school. But Sarah and I have been meeting through the beauty of Skype and tonight we will meet in person. They are getting married here....

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Isn't it the most beautiful church! It smells like several of the churches that my grandfather was a pastor in. Oldness and wood and stone all mixed together. I am sure I will take a picture or two with my phone.

3. Gardening season is here!! I believe that it is genetically impossible for me not to garden in some form. It was a concern for me when I knew that we were going to move to Chez Knit as my gardening space would be much more limited. Technically I am not in charge of the majority of my landscaping. The association hires a landscaping company that trims bushes and trees. I can't just dig up the bushes and plant what I like (hosta). I can add flowers, mostly in pots but some in the beds, but I have to be responsible for them. I was afraid that the real problem would be what to do with the back patio. The size and scope of the patio cannot be changed as we don't technically "own" that. And I wasn't sure how much sun it actually got. But after observing the patio for a full summer last year I have come to realize that it actually gets more sun over the course of a day then the back garden at OCK did.

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Garden where you are planted. Now if I can just keep the chipmunk out of here!

4. I am still feeling all discombobulated from vacation. When we travel there is an equal relationship between the time we are gone and the time that it takes me to get back into the swing of things. To make matters even more confusing for my already overloaded cranium.....I am leaving again very early (5:30a flight!!) Tuesday morning to go to Denver for a trade convention. AND we have a holiday on Monday. I am not going to know if I am coming or going. Poor Max has to go back to the kennel.

Whine, whine.

5. Do you know about the Freakonomics podcast? Have you heard of Freakonomics? I love Dubner and Levitt. Do you know why? Because they think like I do. Ask HHBL. My thought processes and the questions that occur to me at random times are often.....well, I don't know how to describe them. I just like to say that I have an inquiring mind about things. I am the one who, when we were driving down the highway on Maui and I was looking out at the sea suddenly posed the question, "I wonder if whales sleep." I will not describe to you the grief that I received from the others in the car over what was perceived as an asinine question.

Whales do sleep. It is different from what we perceive to be sleep but it is still sleep in a way. Pfffffft!

Dubner and Levitt ask the questions that don't occur to most of the rest of us and then they go about finding the answer. How cool is that!

6. I am going to steal borrow something from my friend and fellow blogger, Barb, and give you a reading update. I used to do more indepth book reviews when I was first blogging. That doesn't necessarily appeal to me any longer but I sometimes like to tell what I am reading and why. I also used to have multiple books going at any given time. But since the yanking of the offending uterus and subsequent menopause, my brain can't take that. So I just read one book at a time.

  • The Conversation: A Revolutionary Plan for End of Life Care by Angelo Volandes M.D. -  Read. This. Book. When I pick up a book at the library I rarely buy it afterwards. I read half of the introduction to this book and bought the Kindle version. It was my vacation reading. Not light by any stretch of the imagination but it should be required reading for EVERYONE. It speaks to what I have felt for a long time about how poorly we “do death” in this country.
  • Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, Sea World and the Truth Beyond Blackfish by John Hargrove – I am not a huge fan of “whistle blowers”. Often I find they have an axe to grind. I can tell you that what comes through in this book is that Mr. Hargrove loves orcas, that to work with orcas is the career that he always wanted, that he achieved that, and that what he finally came to realize about Sea World and how they do what they do, broke his heart. I have never been a big fan of places like Sea World, so perhaps I am the one who came in with the bias. But I can tell you that I will never darken the door of a Sea World or “marine park” again where orcas, dolphins or other marine animals are trained to perform in shows.
  • The Game of Thrones Series – read it for yourself, if you can take 1000 page books.
  • The House on Garibaldi Street by Isser Harel – the tracking down, capture and bringing back to Israel for trial of Adolph Eichmann.
  • When to Rob a Bank by Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt

7. Instagram. Because I think people want to know what I do minute by minute.

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Time It Doth Fly

30 years ago tomorrow I said “I do” with my HHBL. I can tell you that when I said those words I had absolutely no idea what they really meant. I was just so excited to be married that it didn’t actually occur to me that I had to live with this guy that had given me a ring and promised to love me and cherish me and stay with me till death do us part.

We fought on our honeymoon. That might just give you an idea of the path that we started out on.

That is the part of marriage that no one tells you about, the part AFTER the party. The part where for the rest of your life you live with this person that you THINK you know so well but really and truly don’t.

Folks, if anyone ever tells you that marriage is a breeze, they are lyin’ to you. Lyin’ like a big old rug. Marriage is hard. Marriage is work. Marriage isn’t the lovely dovey feeling that you have when you see your beloved standing at the end of the church aisle looking all sweaty and nervous. Marriage is the fact that your beloved puts up with you when you answer a question with a diatribe (not that I would ever do that). Marriage is talking through the things that hurt. Marriage is waiting 4 seconds before responding because if you don’t….you will say something that you WILL regret. Marriage is putting that other person first even if you really don’t want to watch Taken3. Marriage is washing sweaty baseball uniforms that are covered with dirt.

 And I am going to tell you that I don’t know how anyone “does” marriage if they don’t have Christ in their life. HHBL and I would tell you that if we hadn’t known that we made a covenant before God when we said “I do” then we would have very quickly have said “I DON’T!” and gone on our ways. The first few years were that bad. The first 10 years were that bad. No communication. No weaving together two that become one. No understanding. Three progeny so obviously we were doing SOMETHING (oops) but that isn’t the kind of love I am talking about at the moment.

But right about the 10 year mark God saved our marriage. HHBL would tell you the same thing. It took 10 years before we learned to love unselfishly, to talk with and not at each other, to put each other first because that is what the Lord asked us to do. To want to spend time with each other because there isn’t ANYONE in the world that can make me laugh harder than my HHBL. To trust each other enough to be vulnerable. To understand that if HHBL goes all “thin lips” on me that it doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me, it just means that he is none too happy with me. It will blow over. To go to the yarn store because HHBL knows that fiber makes me happy and playing with pointy sticks means I don’t kill. To understand that it is fine if I get on the park bus and ride the last 4 miles of the Grand Canyon Rim Trail while HHBL hikes those miles. If he didn’t do it he would feel like he quit before the goal was finished and I have NO problem riding in cool comfort all by myself and waiting for him at the end of the trail.

Remember what I said in paragraph 4 about marriage being hard work? It is. But all that hard work and hours and hours of kneeling in prayer and asking the Lord to change YOUR heart and not change that person that you are married to….all of that leads to love. It isn’t love at the beginning. It is love at the end.

So I send my love out to my HHBL, the man who makes me laugh harder than anyone else in the world. The man who puts up with my crazy, who lets me use big words all I want and doesn’t look at me funny when I do, who makes my heart go ZING when he walks by in a suit. I would go through those first 10 years all over again just to have the last 20 years to look forward to as well as the years that we have ahead of us.

I mean, who else would think to take me to the butt end of the Taj Mahal or Bundibugyo, Uganda where I was viciously attacked by the beetle for heck. Life is never dull with you my love!


I love you my HHBL!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Beauty....and Stupidity

So, you might have guessed that we have been visiting Arizona. Ah, I sigh in contentment. If the progeny weren't all situated east of the Mississippi we might move here in a heart beat.

And just off topic for a moment. How many of you do what I just did when I was spelling Mississippi. I sing it out loud when I spell it...Miss-iss-ipp-i. Don't lie, you know you do.

And now back to our regularly scheduled blather.

HHBL and I spent Wednesday at The Grand Canyon, hiking the South Rim Trail. I did 8+ miles, HHBL did a bit over 12 miles (I got on the park bus and road the last 4 miles in comfort and ease). The last time we were at the Grand Canyon we had all the progeny with us and even though they would have been old enough to hike a bit....they were whiners and didn't want to hike less than cooperative in the hiking department. So we just walked a bit, looked at the scenery and got back in the car.

Not so this time. And I will say that if the progeny were with us today they would gladly hike the trail. I mean, who wouldn't want to hike along and see this.....

Truely spectacular views everywhere you looked. This was taken with my trusty iPhone. I can hardly wait to get home and play with the photos in Big Bertha. Most of the Rim Trail is paved, except for several miles that look like this.....

Of course, this is where I slipped and fell. I was actually thinking, right about the time I hit the loose gravel, about the time that I took a fall walking in the back country in Rwanda, far from any reasonable health care. Just as that incident came up in my mind....I went down. Nothing hurt permenantly except for a rip in the knee of my jeans....and perhaps a bit of my pride.....although I don't think anyone but HHBL actually saw me do my huli maka huli (look it up).

While hiking the rim trail I became obsessed with documenting the idiots who think they won't be the ones to go over the cliff as they are taking a picture right at the edge. I am keeping all of these photos in my "To Stupid to Live" file. I have about 6 pictures of this behavior (I could have taken a WHOLE lot more) and I still shake my head at it.

Just looking at these photos gives me the willies. The photo cannot be THAT important that you can't take it from 15 feet further back. These kind of people are the reason that these signs have had to be posted....

But other than that it was a spectacular day to be at the Grand Canyon, especially in light of what we woke up to this morning......

Yes, my snowmagnetic personality is at work again. Sigh.

Hense the reason we are actually changing our plans and going to Phoenix today instead of tomorrow. Phonenix zoo here we come.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Joyous Family Time

Ummmm, yeah. These are the hills outside of Sedona. One of the most beautiful places you will find anywhere.

Have I told you before that I love Arizona with a fierce love. Fierce. Love.

But why are we in Sedona you are asking yourself. Is it for the votex and tingling hands perhaps? Is it to realign our chakras?


Let's talk weddings. Let's talk about one wedding. The wedding of the favoritest niece a girl could ever have. The daughter of Pilot Man and The Chef. We gathered in Sedona over the weekend to witness the nuptials of Arin and her fiance Chris, who I think I might have to call Sequoia because he is as tall as one.

No really, he is tall.

This is Sequoia and The Chef. Tall.

Where was I?

We partied on Saturday night at the home of some friends of the groom, the house that is right next door to the home that Sequoia's parents are building outside of Sedona. That picture up there? The one I stared with? That will be the view from their bedroom. It might make getting up in the morning just a bit better.

And that was the view that we had as Arin walked down the aisle. I mean, there are no words.

Me, My Momma, My Sister of the Heart (The Chef). I lurve them. We are all smiling because it was actually warm and sunny. And I had on a top that I knit myself. Warm yet airy.

Owen & Moley provided the music for the party the night before and the ceremony itself. They were fabulous. And they were funny as well.

And then the moment came when FN (Favorite Niece) walked down the aisle on the arm of Pilot Man. There were no words for how beautiful and radiant she was.

And the dress. Oh my gosh the dress!! Lace and a train and the veil flowing behind. Just beautiful. They were married in the grove of maples that the father of the groom planted specifically for the ceremony.

We might just have had the most awesome and excellent time.

Welcome to the family Sequoia! We aren't as crazy as we general...most of the time.