Thursday, June 29, 2017

Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

Celeste has a number of Indians season tickets, and Nancy and I joined her today for an afternoon game against the Texas Rangers. We had great seats, the Indians won, and we got to get our picture taken with Slider. Can't beat that!

After the game, Celeste took us for a little drive to the Piccadilly Artisan Creamery (a fancy name for an ice cream shop). This was a very unique ice cream shop as you will see.

After scooping up the liquid-looking ice cream of your chosen flavor, the worker behind the counter adds it and liquid nitrogen (321 degrees Fahrenheit) to the mixing bowl.

She lets it mix in the Kitchen Aid Mixer for several minutes until the liquid turns into a frozen mass that can be scooped out like regular ice cream.

It's really quite fascinating to watch.

Why make ice cream like this? It does not use any artificial flavorings, preservatives or chemicals. It contains milk and cream from grass-fed cows, free trade sugar, and organic fruit. They even had non-dairy options so I could have the vegan peach coconut milk variety.

Such a fun afternoon. Thanks, Celeste!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Road Trip 2003

When the kids were young, we took a few USA road trips in the summer. In 2003, we stopped by  Niagara Falls and then drove on to Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts. Here are a few photos from the adventure.

The mist of Niagara Falls in the background.

At the Ben & Jerry's factory in Waterbury, VT.

Fog in Acadia National Park - Maine.

Excitement on the Freedom Trail in Boston.

Even more excitement doing the audio tour at Ellis Island.

Riding the Carousel in Central Park, NY.

Hanging out with the bears at F.A.O. Schwarz Toy Store.

It wasn't all sight seeing. We did have some relaxation time at the hotels.

Daniel had to make sure this policeman in the lobby wasn't real.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Too Cute!

There's just too much cuteness going on in our family with the addition of two puppies and a kitten. All three of the new pets are at home with their families and everyone is doing their best to adjust.

First, let me introduce Josh & Katherine's new kitty, Penelope. She is a rescue kitty and right now weighs about two pounds. She is a Russian Blue who is not afraid of anything or anyone, which is good, because Roman came home to stay today.

I'd say Penny is pretty brave right here!

It might be the angle of the camera, but Roman looks like he is larger than Katherine, and he's only about 10 weeks old.

This is a more realistic photo to see his size. He is definitely larger than his sister, Lucy.

Lucy is doing great at Peter and Kendall's house. She is settling in after being home for two weeks.

Lucy slept a lot the first week or so because she was on some pain medication for her fractured leg.

This made it a little easier for Peter and Kendall to adjust. But now she's off her pills and I hear she is a little more lively! And not as snuggly. I got to meet her last Monday, and I can vouch for her adorability.

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Turquoise Table

So many people (myself included) feel a bit disconnected from our neighbors these days. We all go about our busy lives without even knowing the names of people who live next door.

Kristin Schell did something about it. She bought a  72-inch picnic table from Lowes and painted it "Nifty Turquoise - SW 6941" and put it on her front lawn about two feet from the sidewalk.

Then she got up the nerve to just sit there with a cup of coffee and wait for someone to come by. It didn't take long before a woman walking her dog sat down to chat and a friendship was born.

She has since launched a turquoise table community.

Loved this book and highly recommend it!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Potato Chips

Until last week, these were the ONLY potato chips I would eat. They are hands down the best potato chips on earth. No other potato chips compare. So it is sort of ironic that while on the peninsula of Cape Cod, I discovered another potato chip that I adore.
My sister-in-law, Lynne, introduced me to the UTZ brand of kettle potato chips in the Dark Russet variety. Oh my! These are very good as well. They taste totally different, but they are up there with the Cape Cod chips in quality. I have found a runner up, and they can be purchased at Giant Eagle Market District.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bike the GAP

We are all set to go on our next great bicycling adventure. Later this summer, we will tackle the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) which stretches from Pittsburgh, PA to Cumberland, MD. You can continue on via the C & O Canal Towpath to Washington, D. C. but we will not be doing that!

We will bike the 150 mile trail in four days, staying in Bed & Breakfasts along the way. An outfit called Bike the Gap will move our luggage from place to place and give us a ride back to our cars after we finish. Other than that, we are on our own. Don't worry - you can't get lost.

This trip was Greg and Merry's idea, and they are biking with us.

 And joining us for the first time will be Nancy and Jim. I'm so excited about that!!

The trip is only six weeks away. Time to hit the pavement!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Cape Cod Visit

We've been away for a few day visiting Dan (Don's brother) & Lynne on Cape Cod. They have a lovely home in Cotuit, Massachusetts. It was so nice for Don and Dan to be able to spend some time together.

We were entertained by their 3-year-old Golden Retriever, Nelson. He loves to spend time in the water trying to catch fish, even though they've always escaped him.

On Thursday, we walked around the quaint little town of Sandwich, which is the oldest town on Cape Cod. We ate lunch at the Brown Jug which offered salads, sandwiches, wine and wood-fired pizza.

That night, we went to the opening game for the Cotuit Kettleers. They are part of the Cape Cod Baseball League. This league is the summer home for some of the top college baseball players. Pro scouts attend games and look for up-and-coming players.

Pam and Tim came with us which made the trip even more fun! The highlight of the trip for Pam was playing tug of war with Nelson. He barged into her room and grabbed a bra out of her suitcase.

Our nephew Ben was also visiting this week with his girlfriend, Maura. We enjoyed catching up with Ben and meeting Maura since we had heard about her for the past five or six years! Ben is working and living in Houston. Maura just finished her master's degree at Harvard and will be returning to Houston in July.

View from the back of the house.

A shot of the living room. Lynne purchased almost everything in the house (furniture, dishes, linens, etc.) from antique shops and estate sales on the Cape. It is a very eclectic look that I love.

This is so "Dan" in his walking outfit. He puts dog treats in the pocket of his blazer. Once when he was visiting us, he had that blazer with him and Riley sniffed out the treat crumbs and chewed a hole through the inside of his pocket.

Our stay was too short, and we really hated to say good-bye.

Don and I had a great time. We need to visit here again sooner than later!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Quick Lunch Salad

I threw this salad together in about five minutes this afternoon, and it was just so good I had to share it.

I started with a handful of Spring Mix lettuce and a half handful of spinach.

I added a half can of tuna and some walnuts.

I then sprinkled a few currants on top.

For the dressing, I whisked together 1 T. olive oil, 1/2 T. apple cider vinegar, and a glob of honey.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Being Gracious

I read Gracious by Kelly Williams Brown a couple of months ago. Even though the book derailed onto unrelated topics, its main focus was on how to be gracious. Reading it has made me be more conscious of graciousness in my own daily life.

I feel like I was more gracious to others when I was younger. As time has gone on, more prickles have grown on my back. I am not as patient with people. I don't always remember to thank others for the kind things they do. I don't forgive other people's faults, and I get irritated way more than I should.

Here are a few things I noted from this book:

1. Find a way to become comfortable in your own skin and use that security to make everyone else feel comfortable too.

2. Be focused on others - not yourself.

3. Pause before reacting.

4. Behave well, no matter what is going on around you.

5. If you are gracious and polite, other people will help you.

6. When making small talk with someone, be genuinely curious about them and let them talk.

7. Be kind even when you don't feel like it.

8. Stay serene and sensible in a world that is neither.

The opposite of being gracious is being rude and crude. I certainly don't want to be that! But it can also mean being selfish, disrespectful, self-centered, irritable, and sarcastic. Even though I am not these things on a regular basis, I occasionally catch myself being them.

When I pay attention, I can let the mom with little children go ahead of me in line, I can smile and say hello to the Walmart greeter, I can politely decline a request to sign up for another credit card, and I can give the better seat away to someone else.

Psalm 145:8 says, "The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love." I pray I can extend the same grace and compassion to others that God has shown to me.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Younger Next Year

Don thinks it is hilarious that I read the AARP magazine from cover to cover every two months. My defense is always - "There are good articles in there!"

He's in complete denial about the aging process, so he refuses to even glance at the magazine. Heaven forbid he read it.

Just so you don't think I've gone completely mad, I did not subscribe to this magazine. When Don's mom passed away, we had her mail forwarded to our house. Apparently she subscribed to infinity and beyond because we are still getting it, and she has been gone for over three years.

There was a good article in the October/November 2016 issue. I tore it out for future reference, although I should have acted on its contents right away. It was called, Younger Next Year. It was written by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge, M. D. who also have a book by the same name.

In the article, Chris and Henry give us 7 rules to stop the aging process.

1. Exercise six days a week FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!
2. Do serious aerobic exercise four days a week FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!
3. Do serious strength training two days a week FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!
4. Spend less than you make.
5. Quit eating crap!
6. Care.
7. Connect and commit.

I love how simple they make it. And they are funny too. I especially like the tip, "quit eating crap!"

These tips will help keep you from being a "busted-down old plop," so they say.

They say there's going to be some work involved. You can't make this happen with a pill.

Research says most of what we call aging is actually decay, and that is optional. Your body, including your brain, decays as you get older. The key to overriding this decay is daily exercise, nutrition, emotional commitment and real engagement with living.

They're kind of talking to those 70 and older in this article, but it doesn't hurt to start early.

The article is very encouraging. Here is an excerpt: "Normal aging is grim. It means losing 10 percent of your muscle mass every decade after age 40. Ditto bone mass. At age 60, you can't get out of a deep chair. Or the tub. Your joints hurt. So do your back, your hips, your knees. You fall down and break a hip. Your're a boring old wreck. That's normal aging." But it doesn't have to be that way.

No wonder Don doesn't read this stuff.

Monday, June 5, 2017

I Graduated!

I had my own little graduation ceremony here at home tonight because I received my Certificate in Biblical Studies from Moody Bible Institute in the mail today. I just happened to have a cap in my kids' dress up box.

This certificate was hard earned over the past two years. Each class required a ton of reading and two tons of papers. I am proud to say that I graduated with a 4.0 GPA.

I took the following classes:

New Testament Literature I (focus on the Gospels)
New Testament Literature II (focus on Epistles & Hebrews)
Old Testament Literature I (focus on Old Testament narrative)
Old Testament and Theology  
Independent Study in the book of Hosea
Teaching Isaiah
Teaching Romans
Interpreting Scripture

There were many times when I thought to myself - I'm too old for this, or - what have I gotten myself into? But I kept on plugging, and now I feel a sense of accomplishment. I've been praying about how God will use all this effort somehow in my life. I know he will come up with some creative way.