Wednesday, June 27, 2012

season for corn on the cob... and a bowl full of cherries, too

I thought I'd continue on with the somewhat sporadic, yet very enjoyable theme I did last summer entitled "season for..." ("season for strawberries ", "season for thrills", "season for going barefoot", etc.) 

A way to really see and internalize the simple joys and beauties of the season through capturing the essence of it all through my writing and photography.

Isaac begged me to bring home some fresh corn on the cob on our marketing run this afternoon. He said he couldn't wait to go home and shuck it. I loved his enthusiasm for such a simple task. For his excitement, his glee almost, rubbing his hands in anticipation, jumping up and down all for this seasonal, looked-forward-to-all- year food. And a vegetable, nonetheless.

The season's first. A celebration, almost, as we gathered around the picnic table outside for dinner tonight. Biting into those hot, firm, sugar-sweet milky kernals. Corn juice spraying across the table at your neighbor. No need for any butter or salt, as far as it goes for me these days. And I'm finding that everytime I work my way around those cobs, whether it was tonight or any other night, so many childhood memories seem to flood my mind of past corn on the cob feasting.

Corn on the cob is more than just eating.
It is an experience. A ritual.

And you couldn't ask for a better dessert than those cold sweet cherries we had. Especially on such a hot day as this. Another first for the season.

Ah, the foods of summer....
So simple. So right.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

me: a silvery streak "Pin" up!

It's cool to be able to track where my readers are coming from. The countries, the traffic sources, the links from other blogs.

I get a lot of traffic from Pinterest. Interesting, in that I don't even have a Pinterest account. Although, I do enjoy browsing for ideas every so often. I think it's a great organizing tool. It's fun, and a little amazing, that folks like something they see on my own bloggy space and make a pin out of it.

Well, I was surprised to see this picture (from this post) of yours truly linked to Donna's extensive "Rock the Silver" Pinboard featuring many of us gray haired gals. She has a blog by the same name, too, by the way.

I smiled as I scrolled.

Feeling proud to be numbered among these women. Excited to see just how beautiful a woman of any age can be regardless of hair color. Us fairly young and pre-maturely graying ones, the more silver middle-agers, and then those elegant, white haired elders advancing in years.

Beautiful regardless if she allows her hair color to naturally age. Embracing it all. Letting that unabashed aging shout out loud:

I am me.
I like me.
The just-the-way-I-am me.
I have "highlights you don't have to pay for".
I have no fear.
I am confident.
I am strong.
I am uninhibited.
I am sexy.
I am soft.
I am feminine.
I am elegant.
I am stylish.
I am hip.
I am "wow!".
I am real.

And we rock.

Seeing these women all lined up like this adds more to my already growing acceptance of my own aging and all that comes with it. (Alright. More like a work in progress acceptance, if I'm being completely honest.)

And it's my belief that any woman who feels this way about herself, whether she dyes her hair (which I so don't have a problem with other women choosing, if that's what makes her happy) or if she doesn't (like I've chosen and will continue to do from this day forward)...

I'm realizing more and more that saying we all have heard a thousand times:

True beauty comes from within.

It's an attitude.

Can't you just tell?

It's the love.
For others. And for ourselves.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

wedding celebration: alice and reuben

June 22, 2012

He finally found the girl of his dreams.

And we couldn't be happier.

All of that day was just so beautiful. 

So many smiles all around. So many sweet, tender tears shed. Gratitude filling our hearts. Truly, a celebration.

Alice... what a beautiful bride. 

Her natural beauty radiating even more from her happiness. We couldn't ask for a sweeter, kinder, more genuine sister. These eyes fill with tears just thinking about her.

And those shoes. How I loved those red shoes she wore. Absolutely perfect.

Her sister and mother came from Wisconsin where she's from. We're all amazed that we again have more ties to this state. (Where two of my sisters live now.) They'll all be heading there next week to celebrate all over again.

After the temple marriage and pictures, our families congregated at Olive Garden for lunch. Then we gathered that evening in the  canyon to party it up.

"Creating Team Ficklin"

Alice has played on softball teams her whole life, it's her love, and so naturally, this theme played out perfectly. I can't tell you how many people, many of them donned in baseball caps and jerseys, told us that this wedding reception had to be the funnest, most memorable one they'd ever attended.

 She's worked for years as a high school P.E. teacher, and our family were all amazed at how much support so many of her friends and colleagues gave to make this celebration come together like it did. 

Here, my sister Felicia (along with some eager little boy helpers), puts out the cotton candy, while my brother Andrew and I worked at the popcorn machine.

Add to that:

 background mood-setting music,
smiling and happy well wishing friends, family and neighbors all casually 'a mixing and 'a mingling,
 the beautiful mountains a backdrop to it all,
croquet and lawn games for restless, running, happy children,
 hot dogs straight from the grill,
little plates of warm and cheezy nachos,
baseball ring topped cupcakes, 
a groom pitching to the bride at bat wedding cake,
a genuine soda fountain,
and even authentic cheese curds, all the way from Wisconsin...

What more could you ask for?

Finally, the time came
 all of us gathering,
some on one side, some on another
to send them off
 on their way,
as husband and wife
and friends,
through a tunnel of bubbles,
a tunnel of love,
off to their mountain-cabin nest,
to that hopeful and promising future that stands before them.

Every happiness, you two.
Today, tomorrow, and for many days to come.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

bouquet in june

Midsummer morning,
I harvest some beauty
to feed these eyes
and gladden this heart.

So I cut and I gather
with baskets and shears,
competing with bees
the buzz in my ears.

Bundles brought in,
splashes of color,
fragrance and healing,
all of it lovely.

Arranging and placing,
with care and with purpose,
gracing these corners,
making house

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

these hands

:: waved a friendly greeting to a stranger on the road.
:: pointed that cute little dog to go on home as he runs along at her heels.
:: dabbed some tea tree on that pesky cold sore clump that's decided to sprout on her chin-cheek of all places.
(and just in time for friday's wedding, too.)
:: pulled weeds and planted flowers so her mom wouldn't have to.
:: drove them both to lunch at her (mom's) invitation.

:: brought them some soup to help ease the week.
:: pulled some interesting goodies off the library shelves.
:: clicked on the keyboard (multiple times throughout the day) to see if a wednesday letter was sent.
(yipee! it was!)
:: typed up a grateful response to her kind and generous words.

:: hugged this tired basketball player son of hers home after being away with his team for three days straight.
:: chopped and stirred the dinner vegetables.
:: dug into that coconut curry with glee. and delight.

:: picked out her number tiles while this small, eager son waits on.
(he wins. nothing's new.)
:: rubbed some of those soothing remedies onto this not-feeling-so-good daughter's chest.
(this cough lingers still.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

a morning at phyllis's house

Our good friend and neighbor, Phyllis, invited a small group of mothers and daughters over this morning to work on a little project. A little upcycling project, transforming our old T-shirts into something new and fun and pretty.

Phyllis has the gift of bringing people together. I think it's because she, herself, draws others to her and around her.

Deep friendships with other women are rare, especially with those much older than you. I'm so grateful I have found this kind of nurturing relationship with her. She's there for me, and I think I've been there for her.

What a blessing she is to not only me , but to our whole family and the entire neighborhood, as well.

I love her laugh. I love the way she shows genuine interest in our lives. I love how she listens. The wisdom she shares. I love watching neighborhood children rush up to her and be wrapped in her warm embrace.

She and her husband Dennis have worked to create the most beautiful yard and garden. A welcoming and peaceful haven, with such a feeling of quiet serenity.

I went there to work on the project, but found that I spent more time wandering around with my camera. Soaking it all in.

How could I resist?

It was such fun being with her and visiting with the others.

Connecting with my neighbors. Forging friendships. Creating with my children. Surrounded with such beauty.

What better way to enjoy this fine midsummer's day.

Monday, June 18, 2012

oh, yes. this.

I went to pick up some dinner for my mom and dad the other day.
I sat down at an empty table.
Waiting for those sandwiches.
I looked up and read some words
printed on a block
on a shelf.
Those simple words hitting me hard.
Sinking deep into this soul.

A gift.

Somewhere, someone is looking for exactly what you have to offer.

It's true.

For me.
And for you.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

our little stay-cation

Thursday ::

We pack up and leave that morning for Lagoon. A little over an hour from our house. Although we live fairly close to this amusement park, it's been about five years since we've all gone together.

The kids peer pressured me big time into going on Wicked; the most scary roller coaster ride around. Like, maybe in four western states. (As my dad would say.) 90 degree angle, first thing after leaving a very dark tunnel, going sky high up then bulleting straight down at lighting speeds. The remainder of the ride, imagine flying on the Wicked Witch of the West's broomstick. Upside down, corkscrews, out of control, fast. I closed my eyes practically the whole time.

I think I was traumatized.

Isaac really was the one that dragged me on this thing. He wouldn't let up with me for a month. He made me pinky- promise to not chicken out.

Poor thing. He had a worse time than I did. I don't know how he survived. I think he bit off more than he could chew with this one.

A few minutes and one more roller coaster later, I just about killed Sam who announced, "Mom sits with me!" and me realizing... when it was too late... and I was strapped in...  and there was no turning back... and I was doomed...and that we'd be sitting backwards on a wild and crazy rotating this way and that loose car...Ugh. Big ugh. I almost had a panic attack as we began climbing that first hill. Isaac and I decided we were done.


Keith too. We've decided we're getting too old for this kind of stuff. I should have known better, with me getting motion sickness on the porch swing nowadays.

Eliza's ready roll again. Mom's trying to smile through the trauma, the hesitancy, and the quease.

The crowds were pretty minimal, allowing for no long waits standing in line. We left earlier than what the kids had planned. (6:00 instead of 10:00. Whew.)

Dinner vote for the buffet restaurant. "The Choice is Yours..." A good thing.

Eliza starts feeling sick. Jane continues with her the headache and cough she's had since the day before. I get a killer neck sunburn.

We all crash at the hotel. Sleep comes easily.

Friday ::

Slow and easy morning. The boys gather for a quick game of  their favorite Settlers. After a drawn out meeting, all of the kids trying to decide on what we should do, and seeing that some of the things like the little hike we planned just weren't going to work with the way the girls were feeling, we finally agreed that we'd head to the aquarium. A place we'd never been to.

First, a stop for lunch at Whole Foods. Oh, I love this place.

(Note to self: Having the kids all spread out in ages- college, teens, and a seven year old- it's a lot harder than it used to be to try to find activities that will make everyone happy, suit everyone's personality, interests, and energy levels. Sad, but true. Learning to "go with the flow", accept what is, and lower my expectations of the perfect vacation. Maybe a different setting? Seems like something nature-centered probably is our best bet for a vacation, these days. And it may take me a while to get the courage for another long road trip.)

Now, back to the aquarium.We especially enjoy petting the sting rays, seeing the octopus getting fed, and watching the playful otters.

Go to Tutoring Toy where Paula's cute new husband Dexter works and see his creatively designed and over-the- top cool "Newlywed and Honeymoon" Playmobile window display.

(Note to self: I get a little teary-eyed thinking about Gary. Wishing he was with us to see the Arab man Playmobile guy. I take a picture of it to send to him. This whole thing just isn't the same without him. First time we've been on a trip without him being with us. Well, not counting the cabin/Canyonland trip while he was studying in Jordan.)

Dinner at Rumbi Island Grill. Eliza has a fever.

Isaac and Sam swim in the hotel pool. Nice to see this smile right here.

Early to bed. Can't believe I'm sucked into Diners, Drive-Inns, and Dives, The Best Thing I Ate: Totally Fried, and Swamp People (the later in honor of our Louisiana Cajun heritage.)  So not vegan. Cable TV a novelty to us, as we've never had it.

(Note to self: having us in two separate rooms made for a little less unity. Especially each room on two ends of the long hotel hallway. I prefer the times when we've stayed in rental homes when we traveled in Portugal and the east coast, the time we rented a cabin, or when we have at stayed in relative's homes. We still have a need and a way for quiet seclusion, but it seems like there's more of a feeling of "together-ness". )

Saturday ::

Keith and I head (solo) a block north to the Downtown Farmer's Market. His first time. I come away with three kale plants, a bar of peppermint soap, and two bags of sugar snap peas. Which I happily munch on as we stroll.

We pack up and leave the hotel and say goodbye to the city. Realize that our Dim-Sum lunch outing will have to wait for another day. The girls are ready to go home.

All-in-all, despite a few quiet, end of the day moments in bed where a few tears were shed because:

A. I'm hormonal.
B. My kids are growing up.
C.The majority of them teenagers/young adults and all that goes with that.
D. Me trying to adapt/relate to it all.
E. Heart searching reflection on my vision, my desires for this family.
F. All of the above.

 I felt glad we were able:

1. To have these few days to be together. For Keith having some vacation time.
2. To be able to do this.
3. To have something to look forward to.
4. To leave town. Change things up a little.
5. To build some memories.
6. To have some fun.

I think we accomplished what we set out to do.