How ‘Bout That Summer

August has arrived and that means summer is nearly over. We’ve had an eventful summer. It’s been a bit of a study in making the best of the good and the bad that occurs while you are just living life. We’ve had some really fun “ups” and some really frustrating “downs” and all the in between. 

Back in March, I had a terrible plumbing issue happen in our basement. The whole thing flooded, the sump pump died and there was a crushed sewer line that was discovered. This led to the need to dig up half of the front yard to find the sewer line and replace it; which then led to the yard looking like the surface of Mars when the workman who did the digging basically threw all the earth he had moved back in the holes and ran away. It was a mess. After all my work on the yard over this last year, to see it destroyed in such a manner caused me not a little bit of angst.  In fact, I experienced a bit of depression over it, if I’m honest. My landlords came through with a solution and even came and planted grass seed once the ground was evened out – it was just up to me to make sure the grass grew.  This will not come as a surprise to anyone reading this, but I’ve never grown grass before.  I mean I have kept a hanging plant mostly alive all summer, but that is the extent of my horticultural expertise (if you can call randomly watering something when you look out and it appears to have shriveled up and died – expertise).  But I dutifully watered the straw-covered seeds and then the Good Lord sent 2 weeks of nearly solid rain, and low and behold, grass grew.  It’s a miracle. I grew grass in the middle of summer in the Midwest! So, basically I can leap tall buildings in a single bound these days.

This summer Arden and I joined a local neighborhood pool.  We have been thoroughly enjoying our long, slow days there.  The very cool thing about having a middle schooler who is a good swimmer AND a pool with lifeguards, is I get a lot of lounge chair/book reading time. Deciding to join the pool may have been the best summer choice I’ve made in all the summers of Arden’s life.  We try to go at least twice a week (except for that aforementioned 2 weeks of rain) and Arden really enjoys it.  She is so outgoing and has met kids in such a fearless way that I marvel at her bravery.  But on the flip side, she really enjoys laying on a chair next to me with her earbuds in, people watching.  I’m not sure we will have this luxury next summer, so I’m soaking up every minute left before it closes in September.

From the high of my grass growing (pun intended) and pool going, I plummeted into the depths of car repair drama. A couple of weeks ago, the car started making the most horrific noise and emitting a burning smell that was not a little disturbing.  I took it to the repair shop and was told that I had somehow managed to get a hole in the transmission case.  The mechanic had never seen anything like it.  So if you are going to be a bear, be a grizzly, I guess. I require a new transmission. What a blessing!  I was able to find another shop to fix it at a bit lower price, but it is going to take at least 3 weeks. And will still require that I sell one of my internal organs to pay for it – but I’ve borrowed a car to use in the meantime and have a plan to pay for the repair.  Watching as it was towed away, I felt waves of despair wash over me. Car problems overwhelm me, and this one was a doozy.  I was so frustrated and angry and scared and just basically undone. It felt like just one more thing to overcome after a year of overcoming so many things. I confess to having quite a few pity parties that week. But I’m doing better now and am more hopeful that I can overcome this as well and maybe it will be something I look back on as a good thing. Not sure how it will ever be a good thing, but I suppose anything is possible.

This week marked 1 year that Arden and I have lived in this little yellow house. To say we’ve lived a lot of life within these walls over the last 12 months, is an understatement.  We celebrated birthdays and holidays.  We cried over the changes and disappointments of our lives. We welcomed guests for dinners and sleepovers and book clubs and play dates.  We picked out 2nd hand furniture and a few brand new pieces. We put together each room with our own style and intentions. We did almost an entire year of remote schooling. We learned how to put together things and repair things and ask for help when something was just too much for us to tackle. We braved meeting new neighbors and have found ourselves welcomed by the sweet people who live around us.  We figured out a pretty decent division of labor between the two of us – Arden learned to do the laundry and I do everything else.  I kid. A little.

We cooked countless meals in our little kitchen.  We cranked up the music and danced through the rooms.  We walked through the streets of our little village and admired all the different types of homes that have been built here.  We have lived some life here.  But the thing I’m most proud to say about our year here in the little yellow house, is that we were brave. We did hard things and we were brave. We didn’t want to be and there were days when we did in fact pull the covers back over our heads and chose to be brave tomorrow – but by and large, everyday, we were brave. 

So that was our summer. School starts in 22 days.  Supplies have already been purchased and I’ve made a pretty good dent on uniform pieces. Middle School means uniforms for Arden, and while I know it is easier once the school year is in full swing, getting it all together from nothing is simply no fun. But we are getting there.

We still have a couple of weeks to soak up more sun and swim some more and sit out on the back porch late at night and sing and dance and stay in pjs all day if we want. 

I hope you’ve had a good summer, or at least a summer with a healthy dose of good parts.

See ya soon.


How ‘Bout That Yard

Let’s talk about yard work and gardening, shall we?  I seem to post a lot on social media about the work I do in and around my yard (so if you already get your fill of my lawn woes on Facebook or Instagram, feel free to bow out now), but I think I need to explain why it seems to be on my mind so very often.  

Let’s start at the beginning.

I was born in the Midwest, and I’m sure the homes we lived in for the first few years of my life had lawns.  But, I was an infant and don’t have any recollection of those times. I spent the bulk of my childhood living in San Diego, California.  I know we had yards in those homes as well, but most of them also had pools in the backyards rather than a lot of grass because grass doesn’t grow all that well in California.  I remember rose bushes and concrete and pools – I don’t remember much grass.  There was grass, I just don’t recall it.  

We moved back to Illinois when I was in Jr. High and our home had a large backyard.  It had grass.  I know my dad or my grandpa (who owned his own lawn care business after retirement) mowed the grass, but that home also had a pool – so I clearly concentrated more on that.  And then I grew up and moved away and spent the next 15 years in dorm rooms and apartments and townhomes – no place that required me to learn how to take care of a lawn. My dad and grandpa taught me quite a few useful life skills like how to drive a stick shift and change a flat tire. I know how to do my taxes if I have to, and I can follow directions to put together most pre-fab furniture, but I never learned how to mow.  My grandpa did teach me how to drive a John Deere riding mower all through the little town where he lived and once or twice he dropped the blades down so I could do a section of some of the large yards he serviced, but never in my life did I learn how to start and use a push mower.

I did live in a duplex for a couple of years that had a lawn. One time when the lawn got too high that it either required a goat or lawn mower, I borrowed one (a mower, not a goat) from a neighbor and did the best I could to cut the grass. But, after that one abysmal attempt, some guys moved into the otherside of the duplex and took over the lawn care – out of mercy for my poor, unskilled self. 

When I got married, my husband took care of the lawn care duties – I took care of the inside, he took care of the outside. That was the deal we struck, and all went along without incident for many years.

But now, at 45 years old – I find myself living alone (well my daughter lives here too, but her interest in lawn care is even less than my own) in a home with huge front and backyards. When I was looking for a place to rent, I knew I needed a lawn for Romeo, our dog, because he and I are pretty lazy and while I don’t mind the occasional walk with a dog who hates a leash, I wasn’t going to do it multiple times a day.  When we found this house and saw that it had not only a yard but a fenced yard and a lot of space for the dog to run around, it seemed like the perfect solution.  Yes, I saw on the lease that the tenant was responsible for the upkeep of the yard, but I really did not think much about it.  I just saw that the need for a yard had been met and signed on the dotted line.  

And then reality hit – there is no one but me to make sure the mowing gets done and the yard doesn’t turn into a nesting ground for rodents and snakes and whatever else lives in tall grass. The critters that live in tall grass scare me more than actually attempting to cut the grass and so I pulled on my big girl pants and set about teaching myself how to mow. 

At this point, you may be asking yourself why I didn’t just find a neighborhood teenager who had a lawn care business and pay him or her to do this job. Trust me, I ask myself that question twice a week – which is how often I mow. I’ve done the front and back yards in one day only once since living here – it was not fun – and so, I break the job up into a two day job and my body doesn’t yell at me as loudly when I’m finished.  It’s a good system. But I digress. I haven’t hired anyone to come do the yard work because over the past year, the yard represents something more than grass and weeds and mulch and bushes and flowers – it represents something that I don’t know how to do and want to conquer. It has become a metaphor for everything else that is happening in my world, but it is something that I can actually control and impact the outcome and for that reason I keep doing it myself.  

Over the past year, I have learned how to mow in nearly perfect lines.  I have weeded and mulched the flower/bush beds in the front. I have tried, evaluated, discarded and found the right weed spray for the pesky and undesirable growths that happen on my gravel driveway.  I have pruned the world’s largest hosta plant that is located in the middle of my backyard.  I have tried, without success – yet – to tame a gigantic lilac bush, also planted in a most inconvenient space in the backyard.  I have learned how to balance on one foot and angle the mower just right to mow along the drainage ditch in the front.  I have wrangled with an electric hedge trimmer and purchased those scary hedge clippers that look like a medieval death device. I have added lawn art thingies and solar lights and mulch – have I mentioned the mulch?  The mulch almost killed me.  I even bought a gardening stool.  

And last but not least, I bought a hanging plant.  I have no record of past success with live plants. I love flowers.  I buy flowers for the house every week.  But live plants – these have been the bane of my flower loving existence. I’ve purchased outside and inside plants over the years and they tend to last a couple months and then find their forever home in a landfill somewhere after I acknowledged defeat and threw their brittle carcasses into the trash bin. 

I bought the hanging plant in April.  April 18th to be exact, and at the time of this writing, it is June 14th.  If you have even rudimentary mathematical skills, you will note that is almost exactly 2 months. About a week ago, I looked out the window and saw that there was more brown than purple and yellow in the hanging plant.  I was so discouraged!  I did everything the little tag on the plant told me to do – keep it in direct sun,  water the thing all the time and make sure it has enough soil.  It had rained nearly every day for weeks. The soil was damp and still in good supply, but the plant looked to be nearly dead.  At that point I had nearly resigned myself to complete the live plant ritual of my past self and put the poor thing out of its misery, but I decided to try a little longer.  I DETERMINED to try a little longer.  I Googled what to do and the wisdom of the internet said to trim it back a bit and try to get all the dead stuff out and then water two times a day – when the sun was not yet on it and then after the sun had gone down.  And, so that is what I’ve done. It still looks a little sad, but today I went out and there is new growth!  I think it might actually survive!  This plant of mine is not going to win any gardening awards at the state fair.  It might not even make it through the entire summer before it joins its predecessors in garbage.  But I didn’t give up on it, and it seems to be responding. 

This story of the little plant that (maybe) could seems to beg for “a moral of the story” ending, but that is just too easy and trite.  You know what I’m getting at, and if you don’t, it can just be a cute little story about how inept I am at gardening. 

I promise not to fill the blog with posts on my yard work adventures – maybe promise is too strong a word – I will try my best not to fill the blog with my yard work adventures.  Although there is a really interesting situation going on with it right now that involves a broken sewer pipe, a flooded basement, a backhoe that tried to take up permanent residence on my property and all the mud in the world – but that is for another time.  It is Monday and Mondays are for mowing the front yard, so it is time I get to that before it gets too hot.  

Talk to you soon!


Hello Again

Hello friends!  It’s been a little while since I’ve been here on the blog.  Ok, more than a “little while”; it’s been a little over a year since my last post.  You may have noticed that some things have changed around here.  First, the name of the blog itself.  “How ‘Bout Them Apples” is a play on a nickname my grandpa gave me when I was a little girl – Apple Dawn.  I’ve been called Apple by those closest to me since childhood, and so when it became evident that a rebrand of the blog was needed – I went back to my roots. 

There are a lot of reasons I chose to change the name, but I suppose the most obvious reason is that the reason for the original name no longer applies.  I’ve typed and retyped and typed again an explanation for the time I’ve been away from this space.  I enjoy writing here and the back and forth I’ve had with so many readers over the years, but about a year ago my life basically fell apart, and I’ve been very reticent to share too many details of what all has transpired because there are a lot of people who have and continue to be impacted by what happened and is happening.  I know I’m not alone in the pain so many have experienced through 2020 and 2021 – whether from Covid lock downs, loss of jobs, loss of friends and family, loss of connection with loved ones, the tumult of the election season and fallout – so many things changed for so many of us that it is hard to wrap the mind around all that has been lost.  For me, the destruction of my world was not brought on by Covid, but certainly exacerbated by it.  I’m not going into details here – it is not appropriate or necessary – but I will say, Arden and I moved back to our home town in July of last year and have been undertaking the enormous task of building a life together – just the two of us.  The last 11 months have been challenging, heart-breaking, fear-inducing and really, really hard.  But I’ve also watched us both rise from the ashes and start to become so much stronger than I could have imagined.  

So, with that said – let’s start again here, you and I.  I plan to get back to the business of writing the things in my heart and on my mind.  I may be a little clunky in the delivery as I reuse these muscles that have lain dormant for the last year – but that’s the thing with muscles, if you use them, they get stronger.  So let’s pump a little literary iron together and see where it takes us.


See ya soon!

Phase – Get the Heck out of Dodge

Day 61

I started daily (nearly) a COVID journal here on this blog at the beginning of the Coronavirus stay at home/school at home order. Today is officially the last day of school. Illinois is still under a stay at home order, but my daughter and I have left the state and taken up residence at my Mom’s house in Florida.  I’m sure there are all kinds of opinions over this choice. I’m not interested in them. I’ve watched over the last few weeks as my kid has sunken deeper and deeper into what I can only define as depression. She hasn’t seen actual people other than her father or me since the middle of March. She was quite literally dying on the vine.

So, Monday Arden and I got in the car and drove 19 hours to Florida. We are still staying home. We are just in a different home. We are still social distancing and wearing our masks, but we are able to feel the sun on our face and dip our toes in the surf.  We can swim (at a social distance) for a few hours a day.  We can sit on the balcony and watch actual people in the actual world. I don’t know if this decision was the medically wise one, but it was the only mentally wise one I could find.  And so here we are.

I’m not sure how long we’ll stay.  Arden says she could see staying for a year – I think my Mom was less than encouraging of that particular suggestion. We are just taking it day by day.  I’m a planner and a scheduler, but over the last few months I’ve had to surrender that part of my personality in favor of situations that are outside my control. I have no control over the government or the virus; I have no control over other people’s choices and opinions; I have no control over when this will end and when it will return to normal. I have no control. That is so hard for me. I like even the illusion of control. Currently, I have none. So, I’ve had to lean into this schedule-less life. Trust me when I say I’m horrible at it, and I have no desire to get better at it. But again – here we are.

News of the Day:

Over 4.4 million people worldwide have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, and more than 302,000 people have died.

In the United States, there have been over 1.4 million confirmed cases and more than 85,000 deaths.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives votes Friday on a $3 trillion stimulus package. The measure is expected to pass largely along party lines.

Some parts of New York state will begin to reopen on Friday. New York has been hit hard by the virus, with over 27,000 deaths.

Nearly 3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to data released Thursday. More than 36 million have filed since mid-March.

Plan of the Day:

Let the sun and water do a little healing.


One of My Favorites…A Promise to My Daughter

Day 56

It is Mother’s Day. I am sitting in my room waiting for my daughter to wake up, because I’m not supposed to leave my room until she comes in to tell me I can. Don’t tell her, but I got up and got coffee 2 hours ago, because I’m old and I wake up at 6 a.m. most days. But I came back and am sitting obediently in my bed waiting.

Instead of trying to come up with something new for this day’s post – I am re-posting an essay I wrote a few years ago. Time has moved along, but these words are still 100% true.

Happy Mother’s Day!

A Promise to My Daughter

You were a miracle from the moment I knew you were coming.  You were not planned for or even considered a possibility and then there was the reality of you.  From that moment, my life has been changed in so many ways.  Gone are the times of thinking of only how my decisions impact me.  Gone are the moments of guilt free laziness that used to fill my Friday nights.  Gone is the lack of empathy for parents whose children struggle to make friends or worry about how their children will succeed in school.  Gone is any moment that doesn’t have you in some part of it.  And I would not change that for anything.

You are the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning and the last thing on my mind before sleep claims the end of my day.  You are more precious to me than any job, adventure, gift or achievement.  Because of you, I have a new name and a new purpose.  I am your mom, and that title has redefined every goal and direction of my life.

Yesterday, as we lay talking in the backyard, telling fairy tale stories of puppies and rainbow cities, I had a moment of deep awareness that every one of these moments will shape us both.  I want to be more intentional in how I approach these precious times with you, my angel.  I want you to be secure in the knowledge that I do not take these times for granted.  So often, we wait until life throws us tragedy to say the important and eternal things to the ones we love; I don’t want to wait.

So today, on a very ordinary Monday – as you are in school and I am waiting for the moment that I will pick you up and hear all about today’s adventures – I want to take a few moments to make some promises to you.

I promise to love you, unconditionally – no matter what choices you make – good or bad.  I promise to tell you in a loving and constructive way the truth about life and how all of our choices have consequence – both good and bad.  I promise to let you cry and console you when you make bad choices, because you will; and to help you find your way back to what is right.

I promise to help you feel good about yourself.  There are times when you just won’t feel good about yourself – puberty is not a friend to anyone – but in those times, I promise to help you find ways to look at things in a different way so that you are able to hold your head up high and be proud that you are a miracle – a treasure – a woman made in the very image of God. 

I promise to embrace your uniqueness – including wearing multiple bows in your hair and socks that do not match.  I promise to praise your creativity and style.  I promise to build you up – enough of this world will be looking to tear you down, but, my love, in this house and with this mother, you will find your biggest fan.

I promise to defend you and stand for you.  I promise to correct you when you are wrong.  I promise to praise you when you are right.  And in all things, I promise to be your biggest fan.

I promise to play dolls, jump on the trampoline, swim, dance, color, and bake with you.  I promise to find moments to belly laugh and giggle.  I promise to be aware that you will not always want me to be your playmate and I promise to try to be present and engaged now that you do.

I promise to hate the first boy who breaks your heart.  I promise to love the man you marry.  I promise to treasure your future and celebrate your accomplishments.  I promise to be the most annoying mom at every sporting event, school musical or play, graduation ceremony, or anything in which you are participating.

And when you are older and the time for my original role of Mom has changed,  I promise to support you emotionally.  I promise to listen to your advice.  I promise to give advice when you ask, and I promise to try not to be offended when you don’t.  I promise to be a place of refuge and security and ease.  I promise to make your favorite dinner when you come home to visit and I promise to share coffee and laughs whenever you are able.

But most of all, my precious, wanted, treasured, desired, celebrated child – I promise to love you and pray for you every day of your life.  I promise to stand in awe before God over the amazing blessing that is you – I promise to lift you up before our heavenly father each day and pray that He guide, protect, and bless you.

I love you, Arden Whitney.

Love, Mom

News of the Day:

More than 4 million people worldwide have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, and over 279,000 have died.

In the U.S., there have been over 1.3 million confirmed cases and more than 78,000 deaths.

Spain reported its lowest daily death toll in two months. In Germany, however, infections are increasing again.

Plan of the Day:

Celebrate being a Mom.

See you soon!

Next up…Chicken

Day 54

I’ve been quiet for a while. A week actually. There just hasn’t been much to report.  There still isn’t much to report, but I worry if I put off writing much longer I won’t come back to it at all or at least not for a long time.  So here we are.

There is one week left of the school year. We’ve wrapped up many of the assignments that needed to be completed before the end of the year.  Next week we need to go drop off the school’s books that we have in our possession, and pick up Arden’s belongings. We likely won’t have occasion to go back to that particular school building.  The elementary school Arden attends goes through 4th grade and then the students move to the middle school in another town for 5th grade. One of the little quirky things about living in such a rural school districts is that the school buildings are spread out into different towns. So now that 4th grade is over, we say good bye to New Boston Elementary and hello to Mercer County Intermediate School – I guess, maybe. If school happens in the fall.  Honestly, I have no idea what will happen.  So, so many changes!

This has been an unique year to say the least. We’ve all walked through big changes – new home, new school, new friends, new locations, new routines. And then COVID. It gets really overwhelming to think about all the changes and losses that have happened in just the last few months. It is a lot.  I will say that Arden has done so well academically this year.  She’s worked very hard and things that seemed to be so illusive last year have clicked into place this year. She still has many challenges academically, but I’m thrilled with the progress she has made to date. I am hopeful that the disruptions of this last part of the school year will not cause a backwards slide in this progression.  This is a worry I can’t allow myself to sit in for long, because there is just no way to know what the long-term impact of this time away from school will be. One day at a time. That’s all we can do.

Other than wrapping up home school for the summer, I’ve been thinking I should be recording somethings that are enjoyable or are bringing satisfaction during this time. It is hard to find a lot, but here are few things that have made me happy lately.

I made this recipe yesterday.  It was delicious and easy. Arden tried it and said it wasn’t the worst thing she ever ate. So, take that as endorsement if you are so inclined.


yield: 6
prep time: 10 MINUTES
cook time: 1 HOUR
additional time: 30 MINUTES
total time: 1 HOUR 40 MINUTES

Samin Nasrat’s Buttermilk Brined Chicken from Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

4.6 Stars (10 Reviews)



  • 1 (3-4 pound) whole chicken *note below
  • 1 cup Kosher salt + 2 TB
  • 2 cups buttermilk



  1. Remove giblets and wingtips from chicken. Season VERY liberally with kosher salt, rubbing on all sides and in crevices.
  2. Let chicken sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  3. Stir 2 tablespoons of kosher salt into buttermilk.
  4. After 30 minutes, put chicken in gallon ziploc bag with buttermilk brine mixture. Move bag to distribute brine to cover the chicken.
  5. Place bag in a baking dish (in case of leaks or spills) and into the refrigerator.
  6. Allow to marinate at least 12 hours and up to 48 hours.


  1. Remove the chicken in brine from refrigerator; let sit an hour at room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile position a rack in center oven; preheat to 425° F.
  3. After 30 minutes, remove chicken from the bag, discard brine and pat excess buttermilk off of chicken with a paper towel.
  4. Place chicken in 10″ cast iron skillet.
  5. Place chicken in the 425˚oven with the legs pointing to rear left. Roast 20 minutes
  6. Reduce heat to 400˚F; roast for 10 minutes.
  7. After 10 minutes, rotate the chicken so that legs face rear right of oven.
  8. Continue to roast for 30 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 165˚ degrees in the thickest part between leg and breast. Chicken will be brown all over.
  9. Let chicken rest at least 30 minutes before serving.


If using fine sea salt reduce to 4 teaspoons. Do NOT used iodized salt.

I couldn’t find a whole chicken at the grocery store – it’s a mad, mad world – so I just did bone-in, skin on Chicken breasts.  I checked the internal temp at the end of step 6 and it was cooked through.  The breasts were huge (ha, ha) so we all 3 ate our fill and there are still left overs.  I served with mashed potatoes, yeast rolls, and steamed broccoli.  It was delicious.
So, that was good stuff.  Also I cleaned out the hallway linen closet and plan to reorganize the storage room that is off of the laundry room.  That’s on the agenda for today.
I’ve read 2 1/2 books in the last week.  One was good and one was horrible.  I’m reserving judgement on the one I’m currently reading.
The good….
Behind Closed Doors By B.A. Paris
The bad…(the really awful!)
The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
The current (this is the 8th book in a series – I love this series so I’m sure to love this book)
The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny
Well, that’s about it. Hope everyone is hanging in there.
News of the Day

More than 3.8 million people worldwide have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, and over 270,000 have died.

In the United States, there have been over 1.2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases. More than 75,000 Americans have died.

A record 20.5 million U.S. jobs were lost in April as the unemployment rate jumped to 14.7 percent — the highest it’s been since the Great Depression.

An aide to Vice President Mike Pence tested positive for the virus, Bloomberg News reported Friday. President Trump’s personal valet tested positive on Wednesday.

Plan of the Day

Storage room clean out. Read.

See ya soon!


My Pets Hate Me

Day 46

Well, all the little fat birds are dead.  I had one more left after the massacre earlier this week, but I walked into the kitchen today and saw this little guy laying on the floor. There were flower petals covering the living room rug and multiple picture frames were laying face down on other tables. For a moment, I worried there had been a home invasion, but then I remembered that no one is currently allowed out of their homes and few people even know we live here, so that was unlikely.  It was simply another attack of the crazy cat. 

I think I’ve figured out why she’s wreaking havoc on my home in the night. For many days over the last couple of weeks we’ve been able to have all the windows open in the house all day and night. We have deep window wells and the kitties have made those spots their resting places throughout the days and nights.  Yesterday it was rainy and cold, so I closed up the house.  I also recalled that the night of the last attack was a chilly one and the windows were closed as well.  I think the cat is punishing me for taking away her window perches. This revenge looks like broken keepsakes and destroyed flowers.  

The windows are open again today because it is a gorgeous day – so I assume there will be no further destruction of my collectables.  However, I’m going to have to come up with a solution to this situation because the moment the temperatures rise above 75 I turn on the a/c!  She’s going to have to find some other outlet for her frustration or I will have no decorations left! 

Another thing that greets me each morning are dog food morsels all over the kitchen rug. The dog gets up early, I walk him, feed him, and then I go back to bed. He then goes into the kitchen to eat his breakfast. Romeo is apparently a finicky eater.  He only likes the red kibble.  He is not a fan of the brown or tan kibble that is included in the mix. His solution to this problem is to grab a mouthful of the food and deposit it on the rug. He then noses through the pile to find the desired red bits and leaves the rest. It’s a blessing.  I’ve searched online to see if the brand of dog food makes it with only the red pieces (I’m assuming the red is the beef and the brown and tan are the veggies and grains), but they don’t.  I’m not sure how to rectify this problem, but I need to come up with a solution.  The brown and tan pieces blend into the rug pattern and feel like Lego pieces when you inadvertently tread on them.


Basically, what I’m telling you is – my pets hate me. 

News of the Day

More than 3.2 million people worldwide have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Over 230,000 have died.

In the United States, there have been over 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases. More than 61,000 Americans have died.

A Northeastern University lab now predicts 100,000 American deaths by the end of the summer.

Another 3.8 million workers filed for unemployment benefits, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. More than 30 million Americans have filed claims in the last 6 weeks.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to order all beaches and state parks closed after tens of thousands of people flocked to the seashore last weekend.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared at his first news conference since being hospitalized due to COVID-19 complications, and vowed to release next week a “comprehensive plan” to reopen the U.K. economy.

Plan of the Day:

Try not to punish the animals too severely. School work. Nothing much more on the agenda.

See you later!


Lovely Little Moments

Day 44

For the first time in several weeks, I got the urge to organize and clean some things today.  I don’t want to give the impression that I cleaned out closets or junk drawers.  Nothing that elaborate!  Let’s not get crazy!

I cleaned off the kitchen table. 

I know, that doesn’t sound very ambitious.  But, as with most other families doing school at home, when this quarantine thing started I transformed my kitchen table and dining room area into the “school room”. Back then (what was that 7 weeks ago?) we were doing most of our school work with paper and pencil, so we really needed the space to spread out for the work.  I had organized all our materials into bins that I stacked around the table and baskets that stayed in the middle. It worked for us for a while, but when the stay at home order turned into online learning, Arden and I made some adjustments in how we do school work.  Now we do 99% of it online, so we have put up TV trays at the couch and tend to do our work there because it is way more cozy.  I didn’t, however, put away all of the supplies and accompaniments that had cluttered up the dining room.  I just moved them to the side whenever we ate and scooted them back when we were finished.  

Today, I just couldn’t look at it anymore.  So I pulled out all the school supply tubs and put the things we won’t need anymore away. I consolidated all our coloring books and word searches and reading books into a small basket and generally straightened the area.  It has made a big difference in my mood.

I also pulled out all my Dave Ramsey budgeting worksheets and got that all up to date – I’ve not been diligent in writing down all the money details lately.  It felt good to do my lists and reconciliations. Nothing really changes in our monthly outlays these days – so I pretty much know where it is all going – but there is something about writing it down that just calms my mind.

Anyway, now that the dining room is back to “normal” I’m able to more fully appreciate the fresh flowers that are gracing the center of the table.  The arrangement has what I call “funeral lilies” in it.  I don’t like “funeral lilies”. But these flowers are so happy in their color – or I am just in a mental state when anything colorful is bringing me unprecedented joy – that I can’t fault them for being “funeral lilies”.

The day started sunny and warm, but a storm is moving in and the temps are dropping. We have two more days of predicted rain and then it is supposed to be lovely.  Terry moved one of the many site picnic tables to the grassy area nearest our house.  I’m looking forward to the end of the week – I would like to sit out there and eat lunch or read a book. Having something to look forward to – even something that insignificant – is also helping my mood.

Arden had another call with her class today.  It was show and tell. She brought her sketch pad and showed some of her drawings. It was fun to eavesdrop on the conversation.  I’m so glad that her teacher has made this a part of their week. At one point each student was just sharing what is on their minds during this time, one student’s grandmother is in the hospital with Covid19; one student is bummed that she can’t get the braces she was supposed to get last week; Arden shared that she has really been considering blue streaks in her hair and wanted to know if her classmates thought that was a good idea.  News to me!  One friend told Arden not to do that, because she has such pretty hair as it is!  Little tears pricked my eyes at this, because Arden has a lot of insecurity around her curly hair (and I have no idea how to help with it because mine is board straight). I was so thankful that one little friend gave that bit of encouragement.  It was such a small thing, but I watched Arden’s face light up with joy.  It was a good moment.

Also,  the bird vases got some flowers from the bunches I bought.  I really love these little guys and am SO glad that they didn’t suffer the same fate as the other little fat birds yesterday.

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News of the Day:

More than 3 million people worldwide have tested positive from the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Over 213,000 have died.

In the United States, there have been over 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases. More than 56,000 people have died.

With cases in D.C. mounting, the U.S. House of Representatives will not return to Washington next week.

Plan for the Day:

Enjoy my straightened dining room. Enjoy the sound of the rain. Watch old tennis matches. 

See you tomorrow – maybe.


Keep On Keeping On

Day 43

Another Monday.  I took a long weekend from writing the blog. I wrote other places, but didn’t really have anything fit for public consumption to say here. 

The weekend was OK. I made my weekly trip to the grocery store to pick up my order.  I even braved another store, while wearing a face mask, to purchase fresh flowers. I needed something fresh and alive and happy in this house.  While at the store with the flowers, I found a large package of the “good” toilet paper – it was the last one. I felt like the Lord was showing me great favor in that moment, so I grabbed that package and pretty much ran for the check out. There was no need to try to shop for more – TP and Flowers – you gotta know when to hold ’em, when to fold ’em, when to walk away and when to RUN!

So, in addition to groceries and fresh flowers, our posteriors can get a break from the sand paper that was passing for toilet paper in our bathroom!  Let the people rejoice!

I then went to Walmart to pick up the grocery order.  As I checked in, the associates who were supposed to be loading my car had a difficult time finding my order. Turns out the car next to me was occupied by a woman named April as well. They had put all my groceries in her car!  Thankfully, she hadn’t pulled out and left before the error was discovered! 

Although, I’m wondering what was in her order? Did I miss out on a fun week of mystery groceries?  Maybe she bought a bunch of really great food and I totally missed it!!??  Anyway, they switched out the bags and we each got our own order. Everything was correct when I got home.  So, crisis averted!

Is anyone watching The Last Dance on ESPN about the ‘98 Bulls? I am. I am LOVING it! I’m so happy they chose to release it early instead of waiting until the initial drop date in June. The 90s were when I was really into NBA basketball and I am totally loving this walk down memory lane. Plus, I’m a sucker for sports documentaries – really any documentaries, but sports are way up there in favorites.  No one does sports docs like 30 for 30.  It is just terrific stuff. 30 for 30 is doing a follow up podcast after each episode, so I’m listen to those on Mondays.  In this time of no live sports, this series is totally filling a void! 

I also thoroughly enjoyed the NFL Draft last week and weekend. I loved going inside all the homes of the coaches and GMs and the players.  It was delightful. I guess what I’m saying is my sports tank is full and it makes me so, so happy!!

You know what didn’t make me happy?  Starting the week with the Monday of all Monday moments. This morning one of the cats decided, out of the blue, to launch herself on top of the china cabinet I have in the dining room.  I use it as a kind of mantle for seasonal decorations.  I change it out a lot.  Yesterday, I put some of the flowers I bought over the weekend in a small vase up there. The cat has a thing for fresh flowers, but she has never jumped up there before, so I didn’t think anything of it.

I was in the laundry room when I heard a crash this morning and ran in to see the vase knocked over, water running down the cabinet and all over the floor.  Because it is spring and I love little fat birds, I had 4 little bird figurines scattered through the decor – 3 of them were laying, smashed to bits on the tile floor. Their little fat bird faces looking up at me with disappointment that I hadn’t anticipated this turn of events.

The cat had also sent a small glass bottle to it’s untimely death on the kitchen floor, and knocked over about 3 more.  It was a mess. The poor thing was standing up there on top of the wreckage, looking scared to death, so I reached up to help her down.  Big mistake. HUGE.

She did not appreciate my attempt at assistance, and showed her disapproval by scratching the foo out of my hand.  It was a moment to say the least.  I tried to get it all cleaned up without stepping on glass or dripping blood all over the place, and then checked the clock – it was only 8 a.m. I nearly went back to bed and called it a day.

I didn’t.

We did school. I’ve done laundry. And I’ve now written this.  No more tragedies have occurred since this morning – but the day isn’t over yet.    I’d cross my fingers in the hope that nothing else will happen – but I can’t – the cat scratch goes all the way down my left pointer finger.  Dang cat!

News of the Day:

More than 208,000 people have died from the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Over 3 million people worldwide have tested positive.

In the United States, more than 55,000 people have died, while there have been over 970,000 confirmed cases.

President Trump’s economic adviser said the jobless rates from the coronavirus will be comparable to the Great Depression.

The World Health Organization director said the pandemic was far from over and expressed concern about children.

Plan of the Day:

Try not to destroy any more decorations or draw any more blood.

See you tomorrow – or whenever.


Just Some Random Thoughts

Day 39

I seem to be on an every other day posting kick right now. I’m not sure why. Yesterday I sat down to write something several times throughout the day, and got distracted each time. I would apologize for that, but really this is a journal for myself to remember this time of quarantine, and sometimes I just can’t put words to paper. I’m not sorry for that – so I won’t apologize. Look at the emotional growth I just went through there!  Ha!

I’ve also been keeping a prayer journal during this time. Not every day, but several days, I write down what I’m feeling or praying for or a scripture that has clicked with me. I’ve also been reading through the Psalms for the last few weeks. Yesterday I was reading Psalm 22. It is a sad, sad chapter. David seemed to have a lot of sad, sad chapters in his life – many self inflicted.  He also talked about enemies a lot. Yesterday it occurred to me that I had probably been reading the word “enemy” too literally.  I don’t have enemies. No one is coming to attack me or steal my land or kill me with a sword. But there are many emotions and feelings and thoughts that are real enemies to my well being. So, as I’ve been reading through the Psalms, every time I see the word “enemy” or “foe” or “wicked people”, I’ve been substituting one of those thoughts or feelings or emotions into its place.

For example, Psalm 18:40

“You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes.”

I read it like this:

“You made the hopelessness I am feeling turn its back in flight and I destroyed the feeling of inadequacy.”

I don’t know if that is blasphemy or adding to the scriptures, but it definitely was a way to pray that has helped in some low times.

Back to Psalm 22 – I resonated with David’s despair quite a bit. 

Psalm 22:11 

“Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.”

Psalm 22:14

“I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me.”

Psalm 22:19

“But you, O Lord, be not far off. O my Strength, come quickly to help me.”

I think there is value in saying out loud how desperate we may feel. I also think David had a flare for the dramatic turn of phrase – “my heart has turned to wax” – wonder how long he spent on that little gem!? I’m not that creative in my prayers. Heck, I’m not that creative period. I’m thankful for the ability to pray God’s word. It has given me words I didn’t even know were missing and expressions that really fit my circumstances right now.

Anyway, that’s what has been on my mind this morning, so I thought I’d share.

Arden’s call with her class went very well yesterday. Eight of her classmates were able to get on the call, and she really enjoyed seeing their faces and hearing them yell at their siblings.  It was funny to hear that those students with brothers and sisters are DONE being with them, while Arden would love to have a sibling to be annoyed with.  The grass really is greener on the other side.

Today we are moving slowly. I have all the windows open and there is a lovely breeze blowing through the house. The dog is snoring on the bed next to me (I am dressed and the bed is made, but sometimes this is the most peaceful place in the house to write). Arden is taking her time waking up. We have a couple of assignments today but nothing that will take a large amount of time, so I’m just being content to do the day as it comes.

There is rain in the forecast for the next 3 days so we will be inside more than normal. The dog doesn’t enjoy walking in the rain anymore than I do, so our “potty” walks will be shortened.  Oh well.  Maybe I’ll substitute “rain” for “enemy” when next I read the Psalms.

News of the Day:

 Over 2.65 million people worldwide have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 185,000 people have died.

The United States has more than 843,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 46,000 deaths attributed to the virus.

Another 4.427 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, according to data from the U.S. Labor Department. More than 26 million Americans have filed unemployment in the past 5 weeks.

The first U.S. coronavirus death occurred weeks earlier than originally thought, with medical officials in California now attributing two deaths on Feb. 6 and Feb. 17 to COVID-19.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s brother, an 86-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran, died from complications related to COVID-19.

Plan for the Day:

Somehow motivate the child to do a couple of school assignments. Maybe read a little (I’m trying, I really am). On season 4 of the Good Wife – these episodes don’t watch themselves!

See you tomorrow  – or the next day – or the day after that – who knows!


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