Sunday, July 31, 2016

My Last Chick is Leaving

Peter is packing up his room and heading to Columbus tomorrow. His first day of class teaching Middle School math is August 10.

All his stuff from his room and the basement, and those things of his that are scattered around the house, will be carted to Columbus in a U-Haul in the morning.

As I glanced at the piles on the floor in his room, I noticed the remaining four bottles of Hershey's chocolate syrup Mrs. Engle gave him for a high school graduation gift.

She gave him a basket with 20 bottles of Hershey's syrup (sort of as a gag gift) since he drank so much chocolate milk in high school. He's down to four bottles, and they are going with him. Even though the expiration date says 2013.

I'm trying not to cry each time I pass his room. He's my last chick, and he's leaving my feathered nest.

I've learned from the first two that I will still see him, even on a regular basis. This doesn't mean "good-bye", just "farewell" until we see each other again. Which will probably be next weekend!

Saturday, July 30, 2016


OverDrive is my new favorite App.  I use it on my phone to listen to audiobooks. I used to have a subscription to, but now I can listen to books for free by downloading them from the library.

I can't get the most current books right away because there is always a long waiting list, but I can listen to books that have been out for awhile.

In the past week, I listened to My Name is Lucy Barton and The Boys in the Boat (blog post to come). I can get through an audiobook rather quickly by listening to it when I am in my car, when I walk Riley, when I'm cooking, or when I just want to sit and relax for an hour.

When you enter the App, you can add any library for which you have a library card. I have library cards for Geauga, Portage, Cuyahoga and CleveNet library systems. So if a book I want to listen to is not available in one library system, I can check another.

One more feature of OverDrive that I love is that it keeps a history of the books I have listened to.

You can also use OverDrive to download ebooks, stream video, and read periodicals.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

My Name is Lucy Barton

My Name is Lucy Barton is the first book I've read by Elizabeth Strout. She also wrote Olive Kitteridge, which won the Pulitzer Prize, and The Burgess Boys.

This book got mixed reviews. Maybe because I had not read the other two books, I had nothing to compare it to, but I give this book four stars.

The reason I liked the book is because the main character's feelings came across as very honest and real. Lucy tells her story mainly while recovering in the hospital from a simple operation that had gone bad.

The story goes back and forth between scenes from her difficult childhood to the present. Lucy had been estranged from her family for many years, but her mother came to visit her for a few days of her hospital stay. While her mother sat at the foot of her bed talking about gossip and the weather, Lucy tried to work through memories and emotions of her childhood which was spent living in her uncle's garage, being ridiculed for being poor, and being locked in her father's pickup truck.

Lucy will not confront her mother about these things because she longs for her mother's affection and love. The story was heartbreaking at times, but it was Lucy's story, and she told it very well.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Katherine & Josh Move In

Last weekend, Don and I drove to Indiana to help Katherine and Josh move into their new house. It was 98 degrees in Marion, so the move was a hot one. I spent most of the day Friday in their new bedroom painting the walls. I also did a little bit of cleaning. Don worked on installing some additional cabinets in the kitchen. We were both drenched and exhausted by the end of the day. Katherine and Josh, with a number of their friends, moved everything they could from the apartment to the house - in the heat.

Here are some photos of their new house. All of the photos were taken before their belongings were dropped off. Some of the photos (especially the ones with furniture) were taken while the old owners still lived there. It's such a nice first house. I love it!

This is the fenced in back yard with the walkway from the garage up to the house. Katherine is headed to the garage. Real estate agent in the doorway.

These two photos show the first room you enter from the front door. It will be their family room.

The next two photos show the room that will be their dining room.

This is the kitchen. It has a little breakfast nook at the end. Don installed more cabinets on the right side, but they are not in the photo.

There is a staircase to the upstairs which has a floor, but is unfinished. It was about 200 degrees up there that day.

The bathroom. Doesn't show the tub/shower on the right.

The master bedroom before I painted it a lighter shade of teal. Katherine thought the original color wasn't soothing enough for a bedroom. Furniture from previous owner.

Second bedroom. Again - previous owner's furniture.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Before and After Photos

The downstairs apartment is finished, and our renters are moving in on Tuesday when they get back from their honeymoon. I'm so excited for them to walk through the door and see it. When they signed a lease a few months ago, the apartment looked condemned. Now it is one of my favorites.

This is what the kitchen looked like before renovations.

This is the kitchen after.

This is a view of the other end of the kitchen.

This is the bathroom before photo.

And the bathroom after.

The other end of the bathroom used to be a cupboard.

Now it is the sink and vanity.

The foyer before renovations.

The foyer afterward. We inserted a wall to divide the downstairs apartment from the upstairs apartment which is entered by another front door. We kept the built-in bench.

A view of the foyer facing the front door. The bench is hidden in this photo. The living room entrance is on the left..

Thursday, July 21, 2016


You know that yogurt sauce served alongside Gyros in a Greek restaurant? Or the sauce you sometimes get with your Kibbeh or lamb at a Lebanese restaurant?

Well, it is called Tzatziki (pronounced zat-ZEE-key), and I made it tonight. I was actually craving it even though I didn't have any Gyros or Kibbeh in the house.

I made it, and I ate it with potato chips. I can attest to the fact that it tastes great even with those.

Here is the recipe which I adapted slightly from one on the Food Network:


1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
1 English cucumber
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon lemon zest
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 T. chopped fresh dill (if you don't like dill, you can use basil or mint)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil (optional)

Place yogurt in a medium-sized bowl.
Cut cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out any seeds. Grate cucumber.
Place grated cucumber in a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl.
Sprinkle with 1/4 t. salt.
Let sit for 10 minutes, then press excess moisture out.
Mix cucumber in with yogurt.
Smash garlic in a garlic press and add to mixture.
Add lemon zest, lemon juice, dill, 1/4 t. salt and dash of pepper.
Drizzle in a little olive oil if desired.
Mix all ingredients together. Refrigerate for 1 hour to let flavors meld.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Things Fall Apart

After reading Americanah, I became interested in reading more about Nigeria. I was at a local library book sale looking around, and I found this book, which is apparently a classic (it was the 50th Anniversary Edition), so I bought it for 25 cents.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a very complex story of an African tribe in Nigeria before and after colonialism and the influence of Christian missionaries.

The story focuses on one man named Okonkwo whose father was considered weak and lazy by the tribe. Okonkwo was embarrassed by his father's weakness and therefore overcompensated for it in his own life. He would under no circumstance show weakness of any kind and was very stern with his wives and children. Even though Okonkwo beat his family into submission, the author managed to make me sympathetic to him.

Okonkwo's fear of weakness does not allow him to accept the changes that are inevitable in his land, and his life falls apart. His falling apart is symbolic of the the Nigerian traditions crumbling as the English government imposes their court system on the tribes. The book was published in 1958, which was two years after Nigeria declared independence from Great Britain. I would give this book five stars. Excellent read.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Honeymooners

Daniel and Heidi are having a great time on their honeymoon. They sent a few photos today to let us know they are alive and well.

Their big adventure for today was a snorkeling trip. 

They said jellyfish were all around them. When they asked the guides if they would sting them, they said, "It just feels like a bee sting!" Daniel bought a waterproof case for his iPhone before they left. That is how they got this underwater photo.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Wedding Day

Yesterday was the big day we had been waiting for. Daniel and Heidi said their wedding vows at approximately 2:45 p.m. at Christ Community Chapel in Hudson. Here are some photos sent to me by various people.

Heidi, her mom, and Carli on their way to the church to get ready.

Heidi  with her bridesmaids right before she put on her gown.

My new daughter-in-law!

Heidi looked so beautiful in her gown. 

Photo taken by my friend Debbie Quigg, who happened to be the wedding coordinator that day at the church! Ready to walk down the aisle!

Daniel took advantage of the charge to 'kiss the bride" - I think they might have practiced this!

Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Richards -  riding in the limo party bus to the reception. 

The newlyweds on their way to Antigua.

Saturday, July 16, 2016


Just a couple of pictures Heidi sent me from the rehearsal last night. Doesn't Heidi look fabulous in her white jumpsuit? Daniel looks pretty good too.

Heidi and all her bridesmaids.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Tomorrow's the Big Day!

We had a very enjoyable day getting ready for the wedding today. First thing this morning, we went to a bridesmaid's breakfast prepared by Chris's group of friends called the "Sister Chicks." They provided yogurt parfaits, muffins, mini quiches and mimosas. They showered Heidi with wonderful advice and fun little gifts to remind her of their advice.

Right after breakfast, we went to Anthony Vince salon to get our nails done. This nail salon is amazing. There are twenty stations for fingernails and 20 stations for toe nails. All of us got our nails done at the same time.

Everyone is ready for the big day!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Holding it Together

I've been preparing myself for the moments during Daniel's wedding where I might likely cry. If I cry, my mascara will run down my face, and I will look bad in the pictures. Besides that, it might turn into an uncontrollable, sobbing cry that will disrupt the wedding.

At Katherine's wedding, I cried two times.

The first time was when Daniel and Peter escorted me to my seat.

And the second time was during the Father/Daughter dance.

I was very proud of myself for holding it together otherwise. It was a very emotional day.

So for Daniel's wedding, I've been crying ahead of time so I won't have to cry at the wedding. I imagine things like Heidi walking down the aisle and the look in Daniel's eyes and I tear up. I imagine the Mother/Son dance, and I go ahead and sob now so I won't have to do it later.

I also typed "how to keep yourself from crying" into a Google search for advice. Here are several tips I might try: push your tongue against the roof of your mouth, wiggle your toes to distract yourself, take deep breaths, think of a happy song, or stare at a point out in the distance.

I'll do my best.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Ready to Walk

Riley waiting for Jake to meet him at the park.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Rental Property Progress

You may recall that we bought this house in Cuyahoga Falls in the spring and began working to convert it into a duplex rental home. This is the before photo of the front outside.

After a new roof, new siding and new windows, the house looks so much better! Also notice that there are two front doors now. One door leads to the downstairs apartment and the other door leads to the upstairs apartment.

So far, we have two rooms in the downstairs apartment completely finished. This is the living room before photo.

And this is the living room after photo. I didn't get the same angle, but you can see that a new wood floor and some fresh white woodwork plus a light color on the walls makes a huge difference.

This is the downstairs bedroom. It was really another living area before.

We put carpet down and painted the entire room. It sure brightens it up!

Our downstairs renters are getting married the same day as Daniel and Heidi. They plan to move into the apartment after their honeymoon. This means we have two more weeks to finish the kitchen, bathroom and foyer. Those photos will be forthcoming.