Sunday, July 28, 2013


We went to a farm stand the other day and got pickling cucumbers and made pickles with our garden grown dill. Apparently they aren't "dilly" enough, so I'm tinkering. We'll see. I tried a different recipe than the last time I made pickles - a few years ago. The last time, they were too salty.

I made this cute bag for Tate a few weeks ago, for her to take books with her to Hilton Head. It was a super simple crochet, sewn together on one side, and she decided she wanted an orange and lemon slice for the front. I was angling for a cute animal, but she insisted. I also made the hat, below, but that was for me - however, I hate figuring out if my gauge is correct while knitting, and this hat, consequently, is snug on me. But cute on Tate! 

While getting the pickling cukes, the owner of the farmer's stand started a conversation with Tate, and asked if she'd like to come into the field and pick some okra. We've never eaten okra before. The owner was so nice - sure makes me want to go back again and again!

We're heading to a bluegrass concert in town tonight - after eating peppers from the farm market with cheddar cheese and chorizo inside. I also made this amazing guacamole with goat cheese and corn. Great food this time of year!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Horseback Lesson

Tate loooooooves horses, and wants a pony desperately. That's what she asked for for her 7th birthday, but in lieu of that, my mom and dad got her a private, 2 hour riding lesson at a nearby barn. My friend Eliza has her horse there, and she passed along the name of the amazing Becky, who does lessons. She was fantastic! Lots of discussions with Tate, listening to her answers, really drawing her out. Not that she really needs a lot to draw her out, but it was a very special 2 hours. She rode Dulcinea bareback, gave her a bath, everything - really a great time. And I got some bonus time chatting with my mom!

The 4th and beyond!

Catching up - we had our normal 4th of July parade in town. It was HOT, as usual. Smith took the lion's share of the pictures - some 178 or so - here are a few that he captured. Many were in succession, with the rapid "sports" shots, so we could see 20some pictures of the man on the unicycle in a row. Good times.

Mime on a unicycle - my brother's kryptonite

Decorated grocery cart

Beautiful, but HOT!

Annual picture of the 4 of us

After the festivities of the morning, we went back to the house and got my parent's car loaded for their upcoming trip to Hilton Head. David and I were headed to Madison, and the kids were going to various locations - Smith to a friend's house, then UVA for a soccer camp, then flying solo to Hilton Head. Tate did "just" Hilton Head.

Tate and I made what is now our annual strawberry treat, white icing and blue sprinkles, and we got ready for the fireworks of the evening. 

Strawberries look a little like a crime scene.

Waiting for the fireworks

Meeting up with lots of friends

After the show - the fireworks in the pool parking lot. Sparklers are still my favorite!

The next morning, we all headed off to our various locations - Tate to Hilton Head with my parents, Smith to a friend's and then UVA. He had a blast, 6 of them shared a suite. Then, he had another first (sleep away camp was the first first) - he flew solo to meet up with my parents and his sister! 12 is a big year of firsts!

South of the Border

UVA hotspot

Friend at the beach

Seriously, one of my favorites. Breakfast in HHI, chatting away.

He boards...

...and he arrives! HUGE thanks to my dear friend Sonja for picking him up and getting him to and on that plane! That is not her in the picture above - she is taking the picture :-)


 We did a lot of relying on friends and family while we were away. It's hard to rely on others - personally. I know they all know I would do the same for them, any time, and each and every one of them was gracious and kind and giving of their energies to take care of Smith before camp, getting to camp, getting to the airport, picking him up from the airport - and Tate, with her adventures and the energy she creates, and Spud, the Mighty Beagle, at a friend's house while she, too, was away. It's exhausting being away and worrying over who is where and how do I repay these people. But they don't really need repayment, right? "That's what friends are for" but I have a hard time equalizing all that. I find it is much easier to give than to receive in these cases. It's the receiving that makes me feel...heavy. Overdue. Anyway, I'm trying to let that go! Everyone had a blast and got to just where they needed to be, so all is good.

And now, our real summer (for me anyway) has begun!

Friday, July 19, 2013


Had our annual meeting in Madison, Wisconsin last week. It was such a nice town - we were maybe 5 blocks from the University of Wisconsin campus. Lots and lots (and lots) of patchouli and hookah pipe establishments between the hotel and campus, and the smell of pot as we would walk by people just smoking on the street. There was also this creepy guy, very old, hobbled over in a wheelchair, skin and bones (getting to the creepy part), NAKED with a pee bag strapped to his leg. Yes, sad, but the creep factor was a bit overwhelming.

We were picked up in a STREEEEEETCH limo - prom style, for the 5 minute ride to the hotel.

The convention center is the Monona Terrace Convention Center, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It had gorgeous views of Lake Monona. Typical FLW architecture, though - bathrooms tucked way off and inconvenient, weird levels with elevators all over the place but none that go from the bottom all the way to the top. But hey, great view.

There was a big bike race there the day after we arrived, 60 laps around the Capitol. 60!

Weird double bike - bike welded on top of a bike.

Lake Mendota, right on campus. Beautiful - it would be interesting to see these lakes in the winter. They do ice fishing, skating, and that sail skating.