Monday, May 23, 2016

Summer - Here She Comes

The beginning of a new season walked onto the patio yesterday. I call it the time of “summer parties”.  True, it’s still spring, but the key to the whole idea is having the first grill out. It was spontaneous. The very best kind of party where a mention here and a mention there brought out food and drink, games and laughter. “Come over for burgers after the game.” And they did.  

In all levels of society everywhere the idea of seasonal parties puts one in a certain frame of mind. Summer food for instance. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken or ribs on the grill. Your awesome bbq sauce that you’re not sharing the recipe for – ever. Cold beer, chilled wine and lemonade. Corn on the cob, though the really good stuff doesn’t show up until late July, and bowls full of strawberries. Summer salads and watermelon. I could go on, but I don’t want to wet the keyboard from a happily watering mouth.

Oh – and the party clothes. Shorts. Gotta get them out, try them on, like laying on the bed so I can zip them up kind of trying on. Then looking for the ones with a more belly friendly waist. Can you say “elastic”? Cute tops. I have a light gray t-shirt covered with colorful parrots dashing about. You can almost hear them calling to each other, “Hey, she’s packed on a few pounds over the winter don’t you think, Bertie?” Stupid parrots. Pretty skirts, sun dresses and tank tops. Clever sayings on hubby’s pocket tees.

Lawn furniture hauled up from the basement, scrubbed, arranged just so then tested for their sit worthiness. Flowers and plants from the local nursery lounging in their planters and plastic pots eyeing the furniture and wondering who will buddy up to whom for the parties. The geraniums prefer to sit next to the glass top side tables they've let me know. 

The cover is on the gazebo, but I left the side curtains in the big plastic bag this year. Lots of trouble putting them on the little rings, tying them back and wondering if  the spiders and icky cocoons will find their way into the folds. Puts the party people right off their pasta salad when one of them critters emerges for a bit of sun and frolic.

Parties travel.

Memorial Day at Karen and Ben’s. Glorious appetizers, Bob talk (ask us), Bocce Ball on the lawn and fabulous desserts. Who has the most adorable sandals and don’t  you just love their new wicker patio set? The cats, Simon and Luci, eyeball us then lean in to be petted. Leftovers to go home with for lunch tomorrow. Yum.

Sometimes, like  on the 4th of July, we’re at the lake. Lots of kids splashing about, lots red, white and blue, lots of sun. We line up for boat rides and then crowd onto the dock when the sun goes down waiting for the fireworks to start. We scratch mosquito bites and swap stories while the wet swimsuits dry on the backs of chairs. Anybody up for watermelon?

Then there’s the annual soccer game at the home of number one son later in the month. In their huge side yard the competition is getting more fierce as the grand kids, nieces and nephews get bigger and meaner. Ha! Just kidding. But the eyelids of the dads and Grandpas flicker a bit now when they think of actually getting out there. Pow! Bam! Oof!

The pool at Mimi’s. Can’t forget that one. Water, water everywhere. Slipping in, sliding down and plunging forth. Shrieks of laughter or sudden silence as your head goes under. A gulp or two of chlorine never hurt anybody. Right? 

Birthdays, Father’s Day, Independence Day, birthdays, Labor Day, birthdays, cake ice cream and a colorful pinata. On and on the glory goes for three full months. Bring on those lazy, crazy, hazy days. 

Yup, the summer parties are on their way. What are yours like?   

Image: Free Digital Photos

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Tubin' It

You all know that I’m a You Tube junkie. Lots of stuff on there  - good, bad, ugly, uplifting, depressing, awesome – just like life. So, leaving out the bad, ugly and depressing, I though I’d share a couple of the good ones (at least to me) with you. Maybe you’ve already seen some of them, if so, enjoy them again or comment. I love comments.

First two are these  Someone posted this on Facebook and I was blown away. When you can’t dance yourself this is the next best thing. Enormous talent in this one too  A more modern version of the first and just as much fun to watch.

Next is this one  Oh, my goodness. My granddaughters and I watched this a few weeks ago and we’re planning a similar event in the Hannaford Supermarket over the summer. Well, at least in our minds. But wouldn’t that be fun? Seriously.

Then there’s this one  Prepare to laugh. This bad, bad dog is thoroughly  entertaining. Youngest granddaughter, Sierra, and I love it and laugh like the crazy girls we are.

The last one it this one  There is nothing in this world more pure than a baby’s laughter They bring nothing to the process but joy.

There now. If you’ve watched just one, I hope it’s brightened your day. 

Image: Free Digital Photos

Monday, May 9, 2016

Up to the Garden

 “We’ll put the coffee on and then go up to the garden. You can see Grandma’s herb patch,” I said. Yesterday our youngest son, his wife and kids stopped over with apple  cider doughnuts and a luscious cherry pie – a nice surprise for Mother’s Day.  Coffee on then up the hill we trooped and, though there wasn’t much to see yet, I got nods and smiles for my efforts.

This put me in mind of my own Grandma Blaine’s garden from when I was a kid. They lived in an old farm house out on the prairie in upstate Minnesota back in the 1950’s. I always loved going to Grandma’s house. My aunt Doreen, only four years my senior, was our guide to all things farm related – like descending into the cool depths of the cellar where Grandma stored all her canned veggies or standing in the spring house where the stream running through kept Grandpa’s milk cans cold. One of the best things in the world was being in the garden, plucking peas and eating those little sugar bombs right out of the pod. Our own granddaughters have done the same.

Once when we visited the farm that, at the time, still had an outhouse, my sister Shari and I had to “go”. So, off we took ourselves, down a short slope, heading for the wooden doors and the iconic two holer (I think). I’m sure we were blither-blathering along, trying to beat each other to it and so were caught unawares when, upon flinging the door open, we suddenly encountered – A Snake!! Gaaa!! If you think Lucy Van Pelt of Peanuts fame screeches every time Snoopy kisses her, well, she had nothing on us. You never saw two little girls flap about, screaming, and running so fast in your life. Lucifer himself was on our heels and we were shoving each other to be the first out of his way as we ran pell mell for the house. Our tale was greeted with rollicking laughter among the relatives, but I gotta tell ya, we didn’t have to pee for hours after that. Our fear had siphoned it off completely.

Grandma was an awesome cook. Remembering her spring vegetables in cream still makes my mouth water. She also made bismarks, a long jelly filled doughnut, that makes me smile (and drool) when I think of them. And probably the jelly was homemade. Speaking of which, her pin cherry jelly was to die for. In those days jams and jellies were sealed with paraffin wax and I remember always wanting to lick the jelly off the wax when she pushed the wax disc on one end to get at the ruby loveliness beneath.

Today I’ll be checking my rhubarb to see how soon I can make a pie. Oh – another memory spark. My aunt Doreen and I used to love picking rhubarb, cleaning it up and sprinkling it with salt. A taste delight lost on rhubarb enthusiasts of today. But the tang on our tongues and our puckered lips brought a delightful shiver and I hold that memory dear. At least one stalk is still savored that way from my patch every season. Yum!

So, a short Mother’s Day walk in the garden is more than it appears. Puts you off in a whole other world sometimes. That ever happen to you?

There’s my herb garden in the first photo. Dill, parsley, sweet basil, surrounded by marigolds and cosmos. Can’t wait for it to bloom. I tried to find a snake to sit for a photo, but perhaps a cautionary word has gone out among them since I went all commando on that milk snake last summer. They’ve been scarce on the ground of late.

Have an awesome week!

Friday, May 6, 2016

For Moms

It’s been five years this week since my mother, Elaine Bagger, died. She loved butterflies. I wrote this poem for the bulletin we used at her funeral. It’s sentimental and it rhymes, but it was written from my heart at the time. I still talk to her now and then, especially if my heart is heavy and I'm sure she hears me because that’s . . .   

The Way of a Mother
by Susan Sundwall

With labored breath and happy tears
she brought you here to earth
and so became your mother
at the moment of your birth.

She gazed at you in wonder
precious daughter, tiny son
and held you up so proudly,
“Meet your daddy, little one.”

Then years rolled by like thunder
with laughter, joy and -  grief,
too soon you were a grown up
thanks to Father Time – that thief!

But standing like a solid oak
who’s limbs are strong and true,
your mother said, “I love you,
no matter what you do.”

So you hardly even noticed
how her back began to bow,
or that her former lively step
had now become quite slow.

A moment here, a moment there
was all that you could give.
She let you go quite happily,
had taught you how to live.

And now this loving woman
who brought you here to earth,
she longs to leave the wondrous life
the laughter, grief, and mirth.

When finally unto her there comes
the call to Heaven’s grace,
our God will gently take her
to His holy, peaceful place.

Happy Mother’s Day to all my readers.

Image: Free Digital Photos