Friday, June 23, 2017

The Ditch -- A Different View

Usually when I walk the Ditch, I'm looking for Harry the Heron, Gaby the Goose or the Ducksters. But there is more to it all than that. It's also a flower walk and one that begins closer to home as I pass the rose garden of someone who has a passion for pink.

As I draw closer to the ditch I am transported to a different time and place where the sense memory is that of honeysuckle. This large honeysuckle hedge is so fragrant, so full of blooms, I find myself in a spot quite unlike my own -- at least for a block or so.

The tall birches are first to greet me as I enter the Ditch.

But as I start my first round I see loads of flowers.

Some appear to be wild.

I'm not so sure about the others.

But either way, they are lovely.

Even the grasses are filled with wee blossoms. I loved these yellow ones.

And on this first day of summer, I leave you with a sunset.

When this photo was taken, it was nearly ten o'clock. It wasn't fully dark till sometime after.

Oh, keep those long days coming for another month or so!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

When It All Seems Dark...

Do you ever feel like you've been spending money like a drunken sailor? This was how I've felt recently.

Well, this squirrel had originally had his eyes closed and was so sacked out in such a dead sleep on the branch that I thought he was dead. When I woke him, he ran to another branch and proceeded to try to get in his nap -- but he was watching me! But that's how I felt -- like I just wanted to sprawl out on a branch, play dead and let the world go on without me for awhile.

The best things in life may indeed be free -- like squirrel watching or enjoying a beautiful evening of free theatre or being with people you love (more on that in a second!).

But lately the essentials have been expensive! A muffler repair, washing machine repair (which turned into "It can't be fixed. You need a new one"), new shower installation (ouch!), basic homeowner stuff, the parts of my surgery-related things that Medicare or insurance didn't cover... it's been that kind of month.

(This, of course, doesn't count the things that should be done or the wish list -- grading of the back yard, a new well for the cottage, new walkway at the cottage after last year's foundation repair... you get the gist.)

Even when the cash wasn't flowing out, the water (as in our big rain storm) was flowing into the basement! It's at this point I give kudos to Rick for going on my roof in a thunder/lightning storm and cleaning out my gutters, which helped stop the flooding in my basement on the night before Father's Day. (It's pretty well dried out now, thanks to soaking it up with towels and flannel sheets, six buckets full!) Of course, how I'll get those towels clean without a washing machine is up for grabs. Laundromat, here I come.

I know we need rain to make things grow (and we needed it desperately) but I didn't need it in the basement!

This clean-up is considerably easier when the washing machine is working -- you can at least spin the sopping wet towels for their next soaking round instead of wringing by hand. Ah well... it's dry for now.

So, in sore need of a good day and a little baby love, we took off for Father's Day celebrations, making a quick stop to Trader Joe's (oh, if only I could find these at home!)...

...and our favorite Italian grocery market. Get a load of the pastry counter -- and this is just the cakes!

And when you need a smile, what could be a better destination than the home of Kevin, Molly and the Baby Grand!

It was a day of male bonding...

Selfies (he looks like he's really seeing it, doesn't he?) ...

Baby Baths...

...Family portraits...

...Really good dinner...

...Baby bench pressing...

...Toe dancing...

...and a crazy lady!

Help me! She's closing in!

For a first time dad...

...and a first time grandpa...

It was indeed the perfect way to celebrate.

Our little guy looked dapper in his bow tie...

...but I think he was glad for us to head home so he could get to bed! (Mom and Dad probably were, too!)

Thanks for a wonderful day!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Three Dads Who Mean a Lot to Me

Loads of bloggers are saluting dads this week and I'm no exception! Here are three who have made a big difference in my life!

First, my own dad. This is how I remember him most -- hanging out at his ham radio set. I learned Morse Code before I learned how to write. I can't remember it now, but it was fun to have this secret language of dots and dashes. I suppose the first time I said "hi" to someone I could never see on ham radio was my first foray into social media! How he would have loved this wild and crazy blog world!

Then there's Rick. I've used this photo before because I love it so much. It may be the first or second Father's Day I was part of their lives and the expressions tell the story. I remember the gloriously easy and fun times and the tough ones, too. I know all the love, the worry, the fears and the joys a dad faces, seeing it through Rick's eyes. (And seeing that helped me to understand my own dad's. You think you do. You don't until you've lived it.)

And then there's this one. He's learning the ropes. The ups and downs of being a parent. And all the love that goes with it. There's just a little bit of us that hopes that our Baby Grand gives as good as his dad gave when he was a teenager! (Huh? Why do you want to know? I have a life, you know. Whatever.) Just enough! And I'm also confident he'll love this little guy and all who come after him, till the cows come home.

That little baby will one day, perhaps, be a dad of his own. Somehow I think he has a lot of legacy to live up to -- and I'm pretty darned sure his parents will prepare him for the challenge.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Recipe for a Perfect Weekend

Take six friends and a big, happy dog.

(photo selfie by Mike Smith, reimagined by Judy Winter)
Add bright sun, more than a dash of wind and a great big lake. (Or, a big GREAT Lake!)

Combine one lakeside town that was new ingredient for most of the gang.

Mix in lighthouses and seagulls.

Add one harvest moon.

Stir in one campfire...

... and bake over loads of embers with a beautiful glow.

In a separate bowl mix sunsets.

One at a time.

Season with a beach walk with beautiful views and sparkling blue water.

Oh, add another for good measure! You can't have too many beach walks! Even if they are slow gentle ones! (Sometimes, that's the best kind!)

(photo: Michael Smith)
Let the mixture rest while you take a nap in a wicker chair on a shaded front porch...

...or paint a ladybug...

...go antique shopping...

...or grab an ice cream!

Add a little musical soundtrack. Classical guitar is an option!

And to add a little spice to it all, include a little drama. Try a pinch of renegade bees...

...or a small mechanical issue. (OK, so I left the oil cap off when I added some, drove three hours and it sort of blew up all over the car. And that's never a good thing. Don't do it.)

But we got it cleaned out. There's always a mess somewhere.

But donuts help.

Add lots of smiles (and a selfie or two)...

...and plenty of cameras.

And a dash of relaxation on a quiet Sunday morning.

Garnish with flowers.

Taste for final approval.

And there you have it!

A recipe for perfect weekend with friends!

And dogs.

Life is very good indeed!

Sharing with Pink Saturday!

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