Monday, July 30, 2012


When I came home this evening I announced, "I'm having a very specific craving for Nilla Wafers." Sweetie replied that she was pretty sure she'd seen how to make those online somewhere. I went in search and sure enough, I found recipes abound! I had narrowed it down to 2, and decided to try the one on Weelicious that used one whole egg instead of 2 egg yolks.

As always, I made sure to read all the instructions before starting. Good thing too, because instruction #1 was to preheat the oven. Instruction #6 was to refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes. This happens all the time and it irritates the bejeezus out of me because it makes zero sense. Anyway, I saw that the flour, baking powder, and salt was to be mixed in a bowl together and set aside to be added in later. I had what I considered to be a genius flash and used a Gladware container for those ingredients. Then I just snapped on the lid and shook away! Perfect and no-mess.


In the end, I changed too much to say for sure if these didn't replicate Nilla Wafers because of my changes or because that's not what the recipe does. 

Cream sugar & butter 3-4 minutes until fluffy.
Sweetie told me that means it should look like mashed potatoes.
Add the egg & vanilla. I'll use more vanilla next time.

Add the flour mixture and mix till smooth.
The beater licking was SO GOOD!

Supposed to be teaspoon sized balls.
I used a #70 scoop  which is closer to a Tablespoon.

Smash them flat. The dough was sticking to my glass so I
started dipping it in sugar.
In the end, they didn't taste like the Nilla Wafers in my memory. They weren't immensely vanilla-y, which is something I definitely remember from the store-bought version.  They weren't crispy, but that might be due to the larger sizes I made. 

However, they were so delicious and so easy that they are definitely still on the list of cookies to make when I'm having that craving. I will be trying another batch later this week with some changes. I will add more vanilla and make the balls teaspoon sized. They don't expand when cooking so you can tell exactly what size they'll be when they're on the tray.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Phenomenally Indecisive

Some of you who know me have experienced my indecisiveness. You know that when you invite me to a restaurant, I need enough notice to look over the menu. Like a couple days or so. If you impromptu invite me to a place for ice cream, and they have more than 4 flavors, you know there's a chance that I will take as much time choosing what flavor I'll eat as it takes you to finish your dish.

My parents learned early on that if they were taking us kids to Goodrich or Baskin Robbins,  they had to make me choose what I wanted before we arrived. I even got the threat, "If you haven't decided by the time we get there, you'll eat what we pick out," which wasn't really much of a threat considering I wasn't a picky kid. Actually, that's my problem with food decisions. Everything just sounds SO GOOD! Sometimes I ate what they picked out just because I couldn't bring myself to decide. The pressure was just too much!

Sweetie has found a helpful trick around this that works most of the time. If I can narrow it down to at least two or so choices, she will tell me to pick a number or a color. Like, "Red or Blue". Then I pick "Red" and she tells me what that color was assigned to. Sometimes, I'll realize what I really want during the process of picking a color. I'll think, "Oh, I hope "Red" is for the orange cream shake because that sounds really good all of a sudden." At which point I usually say, "Never mind, I chose what I wanted."

For those of you readers who don't know me, consider those scenarios as a little enlightenment.

This leads me to share a particularly extreme example of my indecisiveness that happened recently, along with a little insight as to what processes my brain goes through in those moments.

I'm at that particular time of the month when impulse control is low, patience is minimal, and indecisiveness is at an all-time high. This excellent (not really) emotional combo attacks exactly 2 days every month. Last night, unfortunately, Sweetie got the full brunt of it and I think she might believe me to have multiple personalities.

I was on my way home from a physically exhausting 2hrs of labor at the Harvester's Food Bank Warehouse and wanted a hot fudge sundae from Sonic. I thought I'd be nice and offer to pick up Sweetie on the way over so I called. She warned me she'd just learned that she would need some cash the next day for lunch but offered to get me a carton from the grocery store with our leftover grocery money. I agreed. We went to the grocery store and I couldn't for the life of me decide what flavor I wanted.

I take that back, I knew I wanted chocolate. But plain chocolate wasn't enough. I wanted chocolate with chocolate bits of stuff and chocolate coated stuff and chocolate ribbons of stuff. But then when I found that flavor, it still didn't jump at my brain as "YES!". So then I got irritated. I thought I knew what I wanted but I apparently really had no clue.

Some internal/external dialogue starts in at this point:

Brain: You probably just wanted to spend money. I mean really, how chocolaty is a hot fudge sundae anyway? You were all set to get two dinky little sundaes from a fast food place and spend $4 but you're balking at a $3 half-gallon of some supremely chocolaty concoction at the store?

Me: Grrrr

Sweetie: What's wrong? Get whatever you want! Look, there's a chocolate chip one over here. There's a chocolate and marshmallow. There's a rocky road. You like rocky road!

Me: Forget it. I think the impulse is gone. At this point, I'll just get the ice cream home and stick it in the freezer. I still have to shower and I'm tired. I want it now. I don't want to have to fix a dish of it once I get home.

Sweetie: We could stop at Baskin Robbins or Sonic on the way home.

After a couple more rubber band decisions, I agreed and we headed for the checkout. While standing there, I grabbed a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup and a stick of Starbursts for us to share. On the way to the car, Sweetie asked if I knew what I was getting. I gave her my exasperated questioning look.

Sweetie: You wanted to go to Baskin Robbins right? Chocolate something? Or do you want Sonic now? Isn't that what you wanted in the first place? Or was the candy enough?

Me: Grrrr. Yes, I wanted Sonic when I was passing it in my car and I thought I'd just swing through and have an instantly gratifying chocolate fix. Now it's not instant and I'm irritated and I can't make a decision about anything. And no, the candy isn't enough. I still want ice cream. I don't know what I'd get at Baskin Robbins. Sonic doesn't appeal to me anymore. Maybe we should just go to Dairy Queen, there are less options there.

Sweetie: Yes, but they're more expensive.

Me: True. And I don't have any coupons.

Brain: Just pull out of the parking space. You have to turn left for Sonic or Dairy Queen. Baskin Robbins is in the lot. If you get the street and still haven't decided, then just go home.

*it's like my inner mom was giving an ultimatum to my cranky inner child*

I got to the street and turned to go home.

Sweetie: Where are we going now?!

Me: I couldn't decide so I'm just going home. If I can't make up my mind, then I must not want it as bad as I thought I did.

On our way home though, we passed an Apple Market (small grocery store) and I swung in. I instantly knew what I wanted.

Bing Cherries.

I saw them on sale here a few days ago. No wonder I couldn't choose the ice cream! It wasn't chocolate at all that I wanted, it was fruit! At this point, Sweetie's patience was being tried as well. I warned her that it was very likely that I'd walk in there and not end up getting anything. She said she was fine with that.

Of course, the Bing Cherries were not on sale anymore. Weekly specials end on Wednesday and this was Thursday. And of course, since my inner child has already been throwing a rip roaring hissy fit for the last half hour, I certainly didn't still want the cherries! Then I spotted the kiwi. Oh! Kiwi! I fondled about three quarters of the pile before giving up on finding any ripe ones that I could eat immediately. They'd all need to sit in a bag for at least one day. Sweetie tried her best to help, bless her heart.

Sweetie: They have plums on sale. They have apricots. Let's go see if they have ice cream on sale.

Me: I think I want cake. But not cake cake. Not zingers or cupcakes. I don't know, I want the taste of cake but not the texture. It doesn't make sense!

Sweetie was clearly nearing her own (much higher) patience threshold so as I veered to wander the cookie isle, she dropped back and picked up a magazine to look at and left me to figure it out alone.

Brain: Oh, generic oreos!
Oh, real oreos are on sale and only ten cents more than generic oreos!
Holy crap, when did oreos come out with so many kinds?! Berry, chocolate, vanilla/chocolate, mint, mocha... Oooooh Chewy Gooey Megafudge Chips Ahoy Fudge Filled soft cookies? Hmmmm. Yes - that's exactly what I want. And vanilla ice cream on top. THANK YOU for FINALLY figuring that OUT!!

There wasn't any vanilla left (I know, what?!) so I grabbed a cookies 'n cream and headed to pay. Sweetie saw my selection and claimed I'd completely lost my mind. I claimed I just needed some quiet time to myself to figure it out. I went home, put the cookies in a bowl and nuked them, then added a dollop of ice cream and enjoyed my treat. I felt better, thankfully, because at that point if I hadn't felt better I probably would have just cried myself to sleep out of pure irritation.

aka: PMS medication

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

1000 Push-ups In 10 Days

1000 push-ups in 10 days! It was a challenge presented to me by a friend who'd created an event on Facebook for others to join in the challenge with her. A seemingly impossible task when presented has been conquered (and more easily than I expected!). There was a LOT of pain on days 2 & 3, but after that my body resigned to its daily torture. See the details below for my day-to-day experiences during this journey!

Day 1: 
Completed 3 sets of 10 between 7-8am, 2 more sets of 10 the next hour, then 1 set of 10 each hour until 3:00pm
Soreness in traps, lats, teres major, serratus anterior, and abs after completing 3 sets of 10. 
Felt soreness bordering on pain in my lower back. Researched this and learned it could be due to improper form. As the hips dip toward the floor during the push-up, it places too much stress on the spine and the muscles supporting it. The last 5 push-ups of the day were done modified-style, with knees on the floor. 

Day 2:
Day 2 was rough. I woke up feeling like a big rubber band was pulled taught across my pecs. Holy lord.  I started out at 7am, doing 2 push-ups regular style, then the next 8 modified style. It wasn't my back that landed me to my knees, it was my entire upper body. I did another 10 modified style twenty minutes later while the dog was frolicking in the yard.  From then on, I was doing them every hour until 4:00, at which point I just did 20 so that I could be done with it for the day. 
It was like I was intentionally lowering myself onto spikes aimed at the upper armpit area of the pecs. Every. Single. Time.
Soreness today in pecs, traps, lats, teres major, serratus angerior, abs, and obliques.

Day 3:
Completed 5 sets of 20 between 7am and 11am. Performed "bench style" on surfaces ranging from 24-36 inches in height. Doing the push-ups in a different position seemed to help immensely. 
Soreness today in traps, deltoids, pecs, triceps, biceps, abs and obliques.

Day 4: 
Completed 2 sets of 5 with a ten-second rest in-between 10 times between 7am and 5pm. Performed regular style. Stretched for about a minute following each ten push-ups, which probably helped the soreness factor.  
Soreness lessened a lot. Still noticeable in armpit area of pecs, obliques, and abs (abs especially when I sneeze!)

Day 5:
Completed 10 sets of 10 between 7am and 4pm. Performed "bench style" on surfaces ranging from 20-30 inches in height.
Less soreness but still haven't been able to do more than 10 in a row - even though the bench style is easier. 

Day 6:
Day 6 fell on a Saturday. Weekends have proven (over YEARS of various workout routines) to be elusive when it comes to motivation for working out. I wasn't sure how this would go since it takes so little time and prep to actually do.  I completed 8 sets of 10 between 7am and 9pm. All but one set were performed "bench style" on the bathtub ledge. One set was performed regular style with a lot of breaks. 

Day 7:
Sundays are a really rough day for me in any aspect of movement. It's the end of the week. The end of 50+ hours of work and the 2nd day of very late nights followed by early mornings. I usually take a few naps and read on Sundays. Sometimes, Sweetie and I will watch a movie while laundry is going.  At the end of the day though, I had done 110! I completed 10 sets of 10 "bench style" and one set of 10 regular style with one break.

Day 8:
Completed 4 sets of 10 at 7am on the bathtub ledge. Then I decided I would push hard and do the rest of the sets this day regular style. Not only did I do all 7 remaining sets regular style (I had one set added to make up for the loss on Saturday), but I was able to do all 10 at a time during the last 2 sets! I was pretty excited about that!  I noticed on this day that I hadn't had soreness in a couple days. I was thankful for that but at the same time realized that it was likely due to not pushing myself to do the regular style push-ups. 

Day 9:
I had expected to feel a little more soreness on Day 9 because I'd started doing regular style push-ups again. The only noticeable soreness was in the deltoids and traps. Not bad! Woke up late so I didn't get any sets in before work. I had decided to only do regular style push-ups the last two days, which I can't do as many of at one time, so it took quite a bit longer throughout the day to get them in but I did it! Completed most of the sets doing 10 at a time, resting a few seconds, then another 10 at a time. I was able to do 15 at a time during my first set of the day but never was able to repeat that. The most I was able to do in one go (including rests) was 25. I actually inadvertently went 5 over my goal of 100 for the day during that bout of 25. I was just pushing to see how many I could get before I truly could not do a single extra. 

Day 10:
Completed the first set of the day with 15 at a time, a short rest then 5 more. At lunch I did 10 at a time, followed by a short rest, 5 more, another rest, and 5 more. Around 2:30 I did 20 at one time! I was pretty excited to see that barrier broken and I think the adreneline got the best of me because I tried to do more. I got 5 more in and they were shaky and questionable, LOL. The other sets had 10 and 20 with various rests. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Feeling Challenged

Sweetie and I have been trying not to let ourselves slip back into old habits so quickly. I recently acknowledged that we need to spend more time creating memories with ourselves and our friends. July hasn't started out as active as those last few weeks in June and I'll admit, it's a bit of a letdown. So far, it's been mostly Sweetie & I. We did have two successful gatherings with friends, and hopefully more will fall into place these last few weeks of July.

Fourth of July is a difficult holiday at our house. Our Cocker Spaniel, Max, is terrified of thunderstorms and fireworks. We took our chances going out the first year we had him. We had noticed he was skittish during the weeks prior so we left him in the bathroom, which at the time was the best sound-insulating room in the apartment. We came home 2 hours later to a neighborhood that seemed to be trying to recreate the soundtrack of a battlefield. When we opened the bathroom door, we found Max slipping around in a puddle of his pee, feces, and blood. He had bloodied his paws trying to dig his way through the door. Okay bud, we learned our lesson. We'll never leave you during wartime again.

A couple we're friends with invited us to watch a movie at their house on July 3rd and said we could bring Max with us. We went and watched the movie - full of shoot-'em-up action which cleverly disguised the crackers popping outside at a steady pace. We remembered as we left the city they live in how much more horrible it was for Max when we lived there as well. They really do love their firecrackers!

We were glad to have spent some time with our friends the night before because we had every intention of not leaving the house on 4th of July. The neighborhood we live in now has been 500% quieter than the neighborhood we lived in during Max's first 4th of July experience with us. However, since people come and go over the years, we can never be certain that it won't happen again. So we become intentional hermits one day a year. We put him in his Thundershirt and go to the basement to watch a movie (the only appropriately patriotic movie - Drop Dead Gorgeous, of course) while doing laundry. It seems to be enough noise in a further insulated environment that he doesn't even realize what's going on outside.

On the 10th, Sweetie and I gathered once again with friends at the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival and saw Antony and Cleopatra.

I had ventured out to Aldi's that afternoon and picked up our favorite cheapo bottle of deliciously sweet red wine and another brick of the extra-sharp aged white cheddar.

We got better seating than the previous visit and I enjoyed the performance. Some of our friends preferred the comedy we saw last time over the more serious tones of this drama. However, I felt it was easier to follow along with the dialogue at this one because there was less distracting activity going on. I cannot compare which I liked better because one was a comedy and one was a drama. I liked and disliked both for different reasons.

The 12th was my evening to volunteer at Harvester's with ServeKC. This is such a fun, hard-working, and efficient group to work with. It's the best kind of work for me too - body exhausting and mind clearing physical labor.

And that's really it. We invited friends over both Sundays and neither worked out. Sweetie came up with a good idea to (hopefully) keep me from getting too bummed out about it though. She suggested we make it a goal that twice each week, we do something with someone. That takes the pressure off any specific day working out. And since Sunday is the first (or last, depending on how you look at it) day of the week, there's plenty of other days to work it out after (or before). I really liked that suggestion.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Garden Update - Fruits Of My (non)Labor

I noticed it had been exactly a month since my last garden update and enough has happened that I figured I'd go ahead and fill you all in on what's changed since June.

First off, a note: I'm a mother nature sort of gardener. I do my best to let the garden go as it naturally would. That means I don't water (unless we haven't gotten rain in a few weeks), I don't use pesticides, and I don't do a bunch of soil testing/amendments. Basically, if it's meant to be there, it grows well and I'm rewarded.

The eggplant still seems to be going well. Each plant has a big purple bulb starting. It's been exciting to watch the progression!

Blooming - June 18th Bulbous start - June 27th Getting bigger - July 11th

I might have messed up the onions. I'll know more in a few weeks. A few days ago, I was out staking the various plants that needed staking and thought the carrots and onions should be done by now so I pull them. The onions were still tiny and since I dug them out, they still had their roots intact. I checked online and they aren't supposed to be harvested until mid-September. Oops! Hindsight 20/20, I should have checked online beforedigging them up. I decided I had nothing to lose by replanting them so that's what I did. They didn't look happy at all the next day so I might have killed them but I figure I'll wait until they turn brown before I pull them out for good.

The carrots weren't very well developed, as I had anticipated. I was still looking forward to eating the little baby roots but Max beat me to it. The good news is, the next round of carrot seeds can be started in mid-July so I think I'll put those in soon.
We've taken clippings from the basil a few times already. None of them are very big but it's been in excess of 100 degrees for the last few weeks so that's to be expected. Luckily, they're shaded by the tomato plants so they didn't burn and die.

I really have no idea which way the cucumber is going. One day it will look all wilted and ready to die. Then when I come home in the evening, it will look perky and strong. Upon inspection the other day, it does look like it's getting infected by something. Some of the vine is yellowing and some of the blooms have webbing around them. When I planted it in a pot, I knew I wouldn't be watering often so I used a moisture-retaining soil. I think that might not have been a good idea. It would have worked well for the lettuce, but I don't think cucumber likes to be soggy. The soil doesn't ever really dry out until about 10 days after watering. So the sadness in the plant might also be due to the sogginess.

Sweetie roasted the first of our harvested garlic the other night and said it was tasty. I wasn't feeling well so I didn't try any. Still plenty of opportunities though, as there are 6 other bulbs waiting.

Picking the first flowers off the tomato plants definitely gave them a boost in growth! Some are almost 5 feet tall! The cherry tomato plants are fruiting wonderfully. We have a good handful every day. Unfortunately, all of the other tomato plants have blossom end rot. I'm not surprised since our area's been in drought conditions and I only water on Sundays (if we didn't get any rain throughout the week).

There is only one pepper on one of the 6 pepper plants. Again, it's not surprising. They love the sun but not the high temps. I don't even have any blossoms. This week has maintained below 100 degrees so I'm hoping they'll get blooms going soon.

The lettuce is officially done. I pulled it and plan to plant the next round of carrot, radish, and beet seeds in one of the pots in addition to the garden. The next round of lettuce seed doesn't start until mid-August, and I'm thinking it will share with the cucumber pot given the soggy soil in there.

That's it for now! Hopefully next month I'll have tons of bountiful harvest pictures to show off ;-)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Go Your Own Way

Am I alone in getting an instant Fleetwood Mac earbug whenever I hear someone say, "Go your own way"?

Earbugs really don't have anything to do with what I wanted to write about, but as is the nature of earbugs, they won't go away until you listen to the song. So here:

Okay, now that we've taken care of that ...

Sunday was a rough day for me. I pouted and wallowed and threw a 4-hour pity party. Then I started to write a blog post about what all had happened. My writing process involves blind and unfiltered purging, followed by a lot of editing. On posts like the one I started late Sunday afternoon, it becomes cathartic and I usually end up finding revelation followed by deleting the draft. This time though, I thought I'd share what happened.

"I know that I alone am responsible for how my day turns out. I can make a choice to dwell and wallow, or I can make a choice to acknowledge and deal with my disappointment and move on."

That was the moment when I realized the blog post was ready to be deleted. It seemed absolutely absurd to me to continue writing as if I'd already made the decision to wallow. As if I didn't still have plenty of the day left to make it better. So I deleted the post and stood up, determined to do something.

It still wasn't a great day. It was a major disappointment when compared to what I had looked forward to all week. But it was better than slugging on the couch pouting about what could have been. I staked up the tomato, eggplant, and pepper plants. I watered the garden. I split & replanted the onions (we'll see how that went in due time). I came back inside and set some pork chops in a marinade to make for dinner. Then I started this post.

I determined my own day. And that's better than letting circumstances determine my day. It wasn't the best, but it wasn't bad. I think that's worth acknowledging.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Sadness, surprise, happiness,
disgust, anger, fear
Facebook gave me a notice last night that a close friend had changed his relationship status to "Single". Within an hour, I received great news about a close friend that her chemotherapy is showing amazing progress.

My heart had gone from aching to elated within one hour.

Primal emotions are hella cool in that aspect. I didn't hear the good news and immediately reflect on the contradiction of the unfortunate news I'd heard earlier. It didn't even occur to me to wonder about it. I simply and instantly experienced joy. Just as I had simply and instantly experienced sadness prior to that.

One of the most difficult things for adults to do is to accept the instinctual emotion and go with it. Young children haven't learned yet to question their emotions. When they get angry or happy, no one doubts it. The howl of a scorned child is rattling, just as the glee of a giggling child is uplifting. Somewhere along the process of aging, we learn to try and mask our true emotions. Or we learn to analyze why we're feeling them. Or we try to force ourselves to feel differently. Then we can't figure out why everything is so complicated. We see children playing and wish for those days when we were so carefree and free spirited.

I think the free spirited presence we see in children, and often miss in ourselves, doesn't have to be missed. I think all it would take to "be a kid again" is to truly accept our emotions as they come. Here's the snag though: In order to re-program ourselves to allow that instinctual emotion to full fruition, we have to be conscious of the attempt to block it. If we're focusing on anything, it's no longer just happening, but instead being forced. How do you intentionally unblock an ingrained response to an instinctual emotion without blocking something else in the process? There's an unending thread of logic unraveling here that I'm going to ignore for the time being. I've made my point. However, if you happened to miss it among the zigging and zagging, it's that basic emotions - even though they are instinctual - are very complex yet so simple. And we should all let ourselves experience them fully more often.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Summertime Fun!

Sweetie and I have been getting out more despite the scorching temperatures. We didn't really start doing much until mid-June, but here's the recap of that busy final two weeks!

We attended the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival and saw Midsummer Night's Dream. We picked a weeknight, invited a bunch of people, and packed some fancy crackers, cheese, & a cheap (but delicious!) bottle of wine. We really have the best group of friends! The evening was full of conversation and laughter.  We're hoping to go back before it ends in mid-July to see Antony and Cleopatra.

We joined a Meetup group to help Max with his doggie socialization issues. The Pittie Pack is the best group we could have hoped to find. It was formed to create a safe environment for leash-reactive foster dogs to learn how to be around other dogs in a pack environment. They are sympathetic and not judgmental, which is what we love about it. I just want to crawl into a shell when Max lunges at the end of his leash at neighborhood dogs during our evening walks. I feel like our neighbors think he's some sort of vicious dog, when really he's just completely freaked out about other animals. So far, we're having to walk about 20 feet behind the group during the walks and even with that, Max is constantly pulling and/or attempting to lunge. He doesn't bark unless we get too close for his comfort though, which is improvement. I'm optimistic that eventually, we'll be able to walk closer to the pack and socialize with the people. It might be a year or so, but I think he'll get there.

A few people I knew were putting on a production of Pippi Longstockings through The Theatre for Young America. One of them gave out a bunch of free tickets to try and help fill up seats for a particularly slow day and I snatched up five of them. We went with my mom, neice, and nephew. My neice got quite a kick out of it. Her giggling was contagious! My nephew was very interested in the backstage tour that we got to experience, and also thrilled that he got to talk to one of the actors. I later told my friends (pictured above) that the scene where Pippi gets the "official document" stating her dad was presumed dead made Sweetie and I both cry. Like, real streaming tears cry. They were thrilled that they did such a good job, LOL


My mother invited us to a Royals game with some of her coworkers. United Way had given out a bunch of tickets so all we had to pay for was parking. My parents didn't end up being able to come due to a last-minute snafu but insisted we go and have a great time for them. We chatted up the entire game with a friend we hadn't seen in too long and had an overall great time! The Royals won against the Rays but I really dont' think that would have mattered!

Last Wednesday, I was on my way home from work and got a flat tire while on the inner lane of a 3-lane highway. I did make it to the shoulder but ruined the tire doing so. I'd been looking forward to joining our friends at "Supper Club" all month so I got right to work fixing it up. In 100+ (before heat index), khaki pants and flip flops, I set about kicking the lug wrench to loosen the nuts. I found out after removing the flat that the car wasn't jacked up high enough for the spare to go on. And it wasn't going to get any higher either. I have since learned from a few more experienced people that this is common with bottle jacks. Here I was, trying to buy the bottle jack to save me time and effort during my next flat - when all I'd managed to do was delay the process. Luckily, I was about a 10-minute drive from home. I called Sweetie and she drove out to meet me with her scissor jack, which would get the car up high enough to finish the job. While I waited on Sweetie, I climbed up the hillside and found a good shade tree to sit under. I was upset and angry that I was missing Supper Club. I was stressing about how much I'd have to spend to fix the tire the next morning. I was seconds away from letting a hiccup of crying begin when a sort of calm came over me. I thought, "eh, I should just calm down and sit here and enjoy sitting in the shaded grass. I'm fortunate that I didn't lose control or get stuck on the inner lane. I'm fortunate that Sweetie was available to bring me another jack. I'll just sit here and freaking relax."

That lasted about 3 minutes, then the ants started biting. Really tiny, itty bitty, black ants. I had no idea how ferocious the little buggers could be! I started out just flicking them away but quickly realized they were swarming me. They were pinching away at my toes, ankles, lower back and neck. I was determined to continue with my forced relaxation though, so I just moved to another tree. However this time, instead of sitting, I squatted. I wasn't there long enough for my feet to get tired from squatting - maybe 2 minutes or so, when a wasp came and chased me away. Apparently it wasn't my calling to relax just then. When Sweetie showed up, I breathed a long sigh of relief and climbed down the hill to finish getting the spare on and head home.

Thursday, we had friends over for dinner. Sweetie made ribs in the the crockpot, which she then glazed with barbecue sauce and broiled just before we ate. They were freaking delicious! She also had whipped up a pasta salad and some ears of fresh sweet corn. Our friends brought dessert in the form of oreo fluff. All around, a delicious evening. We had a lot of catching up to do with them and talked around the table all evening.

Friday, we had more friends over for dinner. Sweetie grilled steaks, made some french bread, a scalloped potato dish and some steamed broccoli. Our friends came from out of town but insisted on bringing something. We ended up with appetizers, wine, and a key lime pie. More friends showed up later and brought a DQ ice cream cake just in time for me to leave for work. I had a slice shoved into a cup and took it with me - I was NOT going to miss out on a DQ cake!

Saturday, we got up earlier than usual to head out for my sister's wedding. The ceremony wasn't until 2:00 but I was needed during the 11:00 rehearsal since I was in charge of starting & stopping the music. Sweetie dropped me off and headed out to get some sewing toys. The entire day is kind of a cluster of images and flighty events until about 5pm, which is when we headed to St. Joseph for a barbecue and visiting with family who had driven in for the wedding. Once again, just as I'm settling into some good fun and conversation, the clock reminds me it's time to leave for work. I packed up some food for the road and gave hugs all around.

Sunday, we crashed. Sweetie took a 3 hour nap while I watched the entire first season of The IT Crowd on Netflix. I had key lime pie and french bread for lunch. After Sweetie woke up, we decided dinner would be ice cream and popcorn while we watched the original Moulin Rouge. The movie was horrendous, but it was nice to just sit back and do nothing.

We definitely spent more time in real life those last weeks of June! It might have seemed a bit much all at once but I enjoyed every minute of it. July 8th starts our Sunday gathering day and I've got a few messages out to people for other get-togethers. And after this post, I realize I need to take more pictures while I'm out there living it up!