Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ten on Tuesday: 9 + 1

Today's Ten on Tuesday topic is 10 Things You Did This Weekend. It wasn't a big extravaganza here, but low-key is fine with me! Here are nine things I did this weekend, along with one important thing I didn't do:

  1. Said goodbye to both sons on Sunday.
  2. Said goodbye to my husband when he left on a business trip to England.
  3. Mourned John Nash. I once rode with him on an elevator at Princeton, and even though he was simply a quiet, elderly man for the several minutes we were in the elevator, he was a commanding presence. Mr. Nash was a unique genius with an incredible wealth of mathematical contributions and this is truly a sad and tragic loss.
  4. Mowed the lawn. I even trimmed, since my birthday present last year was a good rechargeable weed trimmer. (I know, my husband spoils me!)
  5. Putzed around in the garden - planting, weeding, and watering. I also fiddled in the flower beds - pruning, weeding, and watering.
  6. Took care of some vacation details - transportation to the airport, bought fishing licenses, assessed knitting and reading to take along, held the mail, etc.
  7. Cleaned out all of the linen storage areas, Kon Mari style. These included a linen cupboard, a gigantic storage space in the bathroom, drawers in both sons' rooms, and several piles in the back bedroom. We've got four beds here, and the boys have sheets, comforters, blankets, towels, and curtains from their college days, so it was time to pile it all in Ryan's room (once he wasn't in it!), and spend the afternoon choosing what to put back. 
  8. Read - trying to get a good start on Book Bingo!
  9. Knit - this helps a lot when you miss your sons.
  10. Thankfully, I did not electrocute my husband this weekend. Our gardening efforts involve an epic battle against the deer, groundhogs, squirrels, rabbits, and raccoons that seem to be under the mistaken impression we plant the smörgåsbord for them. We've always powered the electric fence surrounding the garden with a solar rechargeable power source, but it died this year and a regular plug-in model was half the cost of a new solar battery. I had unplugged the battery for mowing, then plugged it back in when I was done. I told John that it was plugged in, but that seems to be one of the rare occasions he wasn't listening to me. He was weeding near the fence, and before I could yell, he touched the fence and the charge knocked him back a few feet. It looks like the fence will scare away the varmints, and a valuable lesson was learned about the importance of listening to your wife.

Monday, May 25, 2015

And Then There Was One

I've been the chief chef, laundress, chauffeur, and putter-awayer here for many years, but that changed as the nest started emptying. Ryan moved to Fort Collins in 2013 and has proclaimed that he's never moving back east. Justin has been in college for the past four years, but it was only about an hour away, so this has helped me to very slowly adjust to this empty nest thing. John and I have gradually learned to live as a family of two. Sometimes it's quiet, but it has also meant a lot less cooking and laundry.

All four family members have been home for the past week for Justin's graduation. It's been truly wonderful having everyone under the same roof, but I was a bit shocked at the amount of food that was prepared and consumed, and how fast the laundry hamper filled up. How quickly I had forgotten!

The house has gradually emptied over the last day; Ryan left Newark airport at 5:00 am yesterday for a math conference in Calgary, and we waved goodbye to Justin a few hours later when he left for his internship at Mainframe Whitetails in New York state. John is winging his way to Manchester, England this morning for business, so I'm on my own. It's been a little sad and lonely (for maybe 15 minutes!) but now I'm reveling in the alone time to completely plan my Summer Book Bingo reading, doing plenty of actual reading, and finishing some knitting. There will also be Thai food for dinner and quite a bit less cooking and laundry. I might even make time to strip and paint the front porch floor, but I'm living on the wild side and putting some fun first!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Summer Reading

There is just something wonderfully evocative about summer reading for me. It recalls those relaxed childhood days long ago when my mother would take my sister and me to the library, I would come home with the allowed ten books, spend all my time reading until my mother told me to go play outside, then go outside and read.

As an adult, I can't lie around and read all summer, but Books on the Nightstand podcast has a way to recall some of that fun with Summer Book Bingo. I participated via Mary last year and even though I was a little leery at first, I read some of the best books ever. It's a way for me to get out of my reading comfort zone and hopefully find some great books that I wouldn't have come across otherwise. Mary is doing it again this year, and I'm going to keep her company with that dreaded "At least 800 pages" square. My card is quite animal-centric, but I'm okay with that. I can't wait to read the book "That your parents wouldn't let you read" and find out why my mother banned it!

Carole is participating, playing herself and creating cards for her library patrons, and I hope you'll consider joining in for some summer reading fun. I've never liked "competitive" reading, and don't set reading goals for myself because that takes away some of the pleasure of reading for me. Summer Book Bingo isn't about winning or losing or even getting a bingo, but it is a chance to virtually read with others and find some great new books. Get your own card here and get reading!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Ten on Tuesday - My Two Cents at Commencement

This week's Ten on Tuesday topic is 10 Things You Would Say If You Gave a Commencement Address. I listened to at least five speeches at Justin's commencement on Saturday, and in honesty, found them a bit rambling, and maybe even...boring. That may have been because I was anxious to get to the good part (Justin walking across that stage!), but I did do a bit of daydreaming during the speeches, thinking about what I might say. I know none of my pronouncements are unique (and could maybe even be boring to listeners!) but here they are:
  1. You will fail, possibly spectacularly, at some of things you attempt. Reassess, learn from your failures, and keep trying.
  2. Find and nurture your support system, as the people in it will be thrilled when you succeed and necessary when you fail.
  3. Your time is limited, so don't waste it or squander it away without thought.
  4. Work hard, but also play hard and love well. Your work is not who you are.
  5. You've learned quite a bit, but you are not going to get far based solely on what you already know. Keep learning, always.
  6. You may not be able to plan the impact you are having in the world, and you may not even be able to recognize it at the time. That is why you always need to do your best and pay attention.
  7. Know that life is not fair.
  8. Your ideas of what success is will change over time, just as you will change over time. Make this growth positive.
  9. Know yourself - your strengths, weaknesses, and abilities. Be completely honest!
  10. Your dreams are important, and your actions even more so.
What words of wisdom would you impart to graduates? 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Saturday was...

a truly wonderful day. The kind of day that we haven't had for quite a while, where it felt as if all was right with the world (and it was)! Justin's graduation day started with some heavy downpours, but even that couldn't dampen our spirits much, especially because it cleared up and became a lovely day (possibly even over-warm if you were wearing a black gown).

There was the usual procession, pomp, circumstance, seemingly endless speeches, and then the conferring of degrees with plenty of cheering, pride, hugs, and photos.


We are incredibly, exceedingly proud of Justin, for his graduation with a 
B.S. in Conservation and Wildlife Management from Delaware Valley University, 
and every day, just for being Justin!


Friday, May 15, 2015

Today He's 22...

and tomorrow he graduates from college! It's gone by far too fast, but Justin has grown into a young man that I'm exceedingly proud of. He's charming, funny, able to think for himself and do the right thing, even when it's not the easy thing.

He's willing to get into some tight spots to help out.

Dance like no one is watching (but we all were, since this is so not like him!)

Create some mayhem

Worry his mother when he's out on his motorcycle

He also spends lots of quieter contemplative time in nature, 
with his fishing rod (always catch and release) and bows.

Happy 22nd Birthday, Justin! I wish you many, many more Happy Days.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

I Wonder...

I wonder about lots of things, and can often find the answers to my questions through books, Google, the library Reference desk, asking some of my wise friends, etc. But lately I've been coming across some questions that I can't find the answers to. I started writing down my questions; maybe someday I will find answers.

  • Is there a word for people that can't stand the feel of straps (or anything else) between their toes? I'm looking for new summer sandals, and because I'm one of those people, my sandal choices are very limited. I can't explain what an awful feeling this is to me; it doesn't hurt, but I just hate it. My search for sandals got me wondering what this might be called.
  • You know those lovely, sparkly light reflections you see undulating on the bottom of a pool? What are they called and where are they reflected from? I've always been fascinated by them but have never known for sure what they're called. I read a poem once that led me to believe the word was coruscations, but I haven't been able to confirm this with a dictionary or physics professor. The dictionary talks about a sudden flash of light, but that's not how I would define these constant shimmerings. 
  • Why do rainbows have an arced bow shape? I understand that raindrops act as prisms, refracting light to gives us the ROYGBIV colors, but I've never understood why rainbows are bowed; why aren't they just straight lines across the sky? Trying to find the answer to this question (in a way I could understand) raised more questions: 
          How many rainbows can appear at once and how do multiple rainbows happen?
          Why are the colors on the outermost rainbow of a double rainbow reversed?
  • This winter, I had many tufted titmice at the feeders. They often fed upside down or sideways, so I wonder how the tufted titmouse, nuthatches, and woodpeckers swallow "up" when they are hanging upside down.
What are some of the things you wonder about? I wonder about that, too!