One of my favorite childhood memories is staying outside late on a summer night, listening to the locusts whine, predicting where the next lightning bug would emit its glow, and watching the stars come out one by one. A special privilege was being allowed to play outside in our pajamas!
I still enjoy spending hot evenings outside, but instead of running around the yard, I sit in my lawn swing and watch the sky turn dark. We don't have locusts or lightning bugs in central Utah, but we do have crickets.
Gradually, the 4-wheelers quit racing up and down the road (my street is a mountain access road,) the neighborhood kids head inside for bed, and the peacock stands as a sentinel, cawing loudly whenever a car enters his turf.
On night 22, Computer Geek and I welcomed the darkness as we sat on the swing and discussed the day's events. We got misted by the sprinklers in the back yard, but it felt pleasant. We could hear Weston and his friends a block over, playing Fugitive, a night-time game where the players try to avoid being spotlighted by the headlights of the searcher's car. And of course I had to take a photo, but of nothing, really. I just aimed into the dark and clicked.
Our local pool closes at 6:00 P.M. and reserves the 6:00-8:00 P.M. slot for private parties. I would go to the pool more often but I haven't bought a new swimming suit in years and the thought of spending $3 to sit there and wish I could go in the water doesn't seem all that fun. On day 21, they hosted a Family Night during those hours and only charged $1 to get in. For a buck, I'll go sit by the water.
Daughter Em and extended family were there. It's always a joy to see little kids splashing around or going down the slide. I'm usually the only adult there with a camera, which makes me feel somewhat pervish, so I make sure I am obvious about only taking pictures of the people I know. I also do a little creative cropping of photos to eliminate any strangers in the background or any immodesty. It was a beautiful night and well worth the dollar.
Baby Elephant and Em (and M&Ms)
Holy Cheeto Face!
River and Dash
Baby Elephant squirting her mom and not feeling one bit sorry about it
I've been diligently trying to get some good pictures of Avatar, but he's getting older now so this is what I usually get.
(Yes, there is an "r" in there; I double-checked)
Undoubtedly I shall have to study up on some paparazzi tricks. I'll let you know how it goes.
We had two reasons to celebrate on July 20. 1. National Ice Cream Day
A day devoted to my favorite dessert! Well, a day devoted to my favorite dessert next to fudge, key lime pie and seven-layer bars, all three of which are better when served with ice cream anyway.
I made a cake in honor of National Ice Cream Day. After I made the cake I realized I don't really like cake unless there's ice cream on top. I called Weston, who happened to be out and about, and asked him if he had any plans to stop by Wally World. He said, "I'm there right now." Hallelujah! It was meant to be.
He brought home some ice cream so we didn't have to miss out on the holiday.
And it's a good thing we had cake and ice cream on hand because...
2. A new little person entered the world!
Daughter Gnome and her husband William the Bruce had a baby boy yesterday. He joins older sisters Heavenly, Hoolie, and Ladybug. We're sure excited to have another grandson and can't wait to meet him in person. He doesn't have a cool blog name yet. I'll have to think a while on that one.
In a week, Weston will be leaving with a bunch of his mountain-man friends for a one week hike in the Uinta Mountains. He's been excited about it for several months and has been using his pay from his new job to buy needed supplies.
My son is no stranger to camping, having grown up in a mountainous region. He's camped in a snow cave and has slept in a hammock. Overnight. In the mountains. Where there are wild animals. Who eat people.
Before I get myself all riled up about the dangers of this upcoming camp-out, I'll carry on with the road trip story.
A couple of weeks ago, Weston bought a new sleeping bag for the trip. Couldn't he use our family sleeping bags?
No, because they aren't "mummy style" bags.
Couldn't he use the new mummy style bag that he bought for the mid-winter snow cave camp-out?
No, because that one was designed for below-zero temps and therefore was too heavy to be carting around while hiking 15 miles a day uphill.
He needed a compact lightweight sleeping bag that would be good for around 30 degrees at night.
You can tell I grew up in the city. I didn't know that you need a new sleeping bag for every type of camp-out. Where was Bear Grylls when I was growing up? Oh yeah--not born yet.
Anyway, apparently the new sleeping bag didn't quite cut it on a test run so it had to be returned. (And who knew camping required test runs? Not me!) That left Weston less than 6 days to find a new sleeping bag. There was much discussion between Computer Geek and Weston as to whether it was more cost effective to drive an hour away and look for a new sleeping bag, or whether it would be better to pay for expedited shipping.
So that he could look at, feel, and smell the new bag if we took the road trip, we decided it would be better than having one shipped sight unseen. We headed to the largest nearby town, about an hour away from us. (Yeah, sorry, that's what we consider Road Trip! in my house.)
See what I mean about the labeling of mountains? This one is mountain V.
We stopped at a sporting goods store where Weston found the perfect sleeping bag for the trip. However, it was $69.99, which was a little more than he wanted to spend. He also saw a pair of light weight cargo pants that he wanted, but they were $30.00.
Computer Geek talked him into checking out the local Big W to see if he could find something cheaper. We spent about an hour at Big W, but found that a comparable bag was indeed cheaper, with the emphasis on "cheap." It was made out of that new material that looks somewhat like heavy-duty knitted paper. They make shoes out of the same stuff. After much deliberation, Weston decided to head back to the sporting goods store and buy the $69.99 sleeping bag.
We drove back and he picked up the sleeping bag that he had been looking at before. But now, it had an added feature that it didn't have an hour ago--a pink tag!
That's right, folks, half price!
Needless to say we were in awe about the situation. We felt like Someone was looking out for little Weston. And if that Someone cares enough to make sure Weston got a half price sleeping bag, wouldn't He also care enough to make sure a bear doesn't eat him on his hike? That's what I'm counting on.
And what did Weston say about all of this? "Now I have enough to get the cargo pants!"
The Chunk had his last swimming lesson for the year so Computer Geek and I tagged along. The last day was reserved for fun so the kids were rewarded for all their hard work with trips down the water slide. Chunk was just a little bit too short to go down by himself so the swimming teachers went down with him.
How fun is that!
Miss Baby Elephant was being kind of grumpy. She wouldn't turn around to talk to Grandpa or me. I finally thought I'd engage her through her doll. "Will you show me your new Anna doll?"
Instead of turning around, she lifts Anna over her shoulder for me to see.
Stinker 1, Grampires 0
She warmed up to my charms eventually.
This is how Michael Phelps started.
Baby Elephant wants to join the fun.
Daughter Em found a gift idea on Pinterest so she personalized it and gave one each to Chunk's two teachers. In case it's too small to read, here's what it says:
"You're oFISHally the Best!
Thanks for teaching me how to swim
Even though sometimes I act like a FISH out of water!"
She filled it with Goldfish crackers and Swedish Fish and decorated it with puffy fish stickers.
It was a hot and sticky night. The lady of the house had been battling a migraine all day and was somewhat irritable. The thought of firing up the oven or cooking over a hot stove made her even more so.
Suddenly, a thought or three popped into her brain. Pizza Pizza! Little Caesar's! Five bucks!
Once that thought was there, there was no getting rid of it. Luckily she has a swell husband who was totally into the idea. Even the surly teenager agreed that pizza would be "okay." He guessed he would go with us.
The husband decided he would spring for the $8 pizza instead.
It has one-inch thick crust which suits his bread fixation nicely.
I'm more of a thin crust, extra pizza sauce kind of gal.
View from the park. In Utah, we label our mountains so they don't get lost. This is Mountain S.
This annoying little creature screeched at us the whole time we were eating.
Sheesh. You would think she had babies around or something.
Heh heh. Oh.
Hot desert sand. Crunchy desert grass. Just makes ya wanna get right out there and spike a ball, huh?
Sometimes, no matter how hard the swamp cooler works at
trying to keep your house cool, it just doesn’t cut it.A summer evening drive in an air-conditioned
Weston was off on a hike in the mountains so Computer Geek
and I went on a joy ride in our town of 3,000 or so. It took about ten minutes
because we took the scenic route.
We live on a dead-end street, as proven by the DEAD END sign at the beginning of our block. I think it's a ruse to keep the city folk away because anyone with a 4-wheeler (i.e. anyone who lives in our town) can simply keep going right on up that hill.
After we continued on the "dead end street" *cough* we came to The Pond, a.k.a The Fountain of All Life.
I don't know if The Pond actually has a name because ever since I've lived here, seventeen years now, I've only heard it called The Pond. This tiny body of water determines whether your lawn is lush and green or whether it is a fire hazard. Currently, as you can see, The Pond is full, so we may water our lawns between 6:00 P.M. and 10:00 A.M. That is good news for our gardens. When The Pond is empty, say after a few weeks with no rain, nothing comes out of our hoses and our lawns turn to brown crunch. We then have to water our gardens using buckets of water from inside the house. I suppose one could water the lawn the same way, but why?
I love the "old" section of the cemetery. These are the graves of the people who settled our town back in the 1800's. It's fun to walk through there and see how many names we can recognize from our Utah history.
And you thought Tow Mater lived in Radiator Springs!
After visiting Mater, we were thirsty so we went by the local grocery store, got two 35 cent Shastas out of the machine and went home. We couldn't drive around forever, unless we wanted to leave town, and I needed to get home to see who got eliminated from So You Think You Can Dance. Summer fun times!
Computer Geek here, shooting out a Day 15 guest post for my
wife, so as to save her the embarrassment of writing about a subject that she
knows very little – the annual Major League Baseball All-Star Game (MLB ASG).Now, I’m no baseball expert, but I’ve been a
fan of Major League Baseball since 6th Grade, too long ago to be
specific, but let me just say that in the first ASG I remember seeing, Hall of
Famer and true All-Time Home Run Leader, Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves, hit
his first ASG homer.
To me, summer is just not summer until I sit down in front
of the TV to watch those guys who have been tearing up their respective leagues
that year battling it out to see whether the National League (NL) or American
League (AL) World Series participant will have four home games (out of seven)
come Autumn.This year’s game was played
at Target Field in Minneapolis, home of the Minnesota Twins, and 41,048 fans
showed up to enjoy the festivities, including the National Anthem being sung by
Idina Menzel, AKA Adele Dazeem:)
Having been born and raised in Seattle, I am a long-time Seattle Mariners
fan, so this year’s game was especially sweet, since more Mariners were
selected this year (four) than in the last 11 years.I won’t bore you with the details, like which
players (Felix Hernandez, ASG Starting Pitcher; Robby Cano, ASG Starting Second
Baseman; Kyle Seager at Third Base; Fernando Rodney, Closing Pitcher with an
AL-leading 27 saves) were there, or the Mariners record right now (51-44, 8.0
games back in AL Western Division, second AL Wild-Card spot), suffice it to say
I’m proud this year (so far).Yay!
And, of course, this year, Derek Jeter, the celebrated shortstop
of the (Hated) New York Yankees, is retiring after two decades, and was voted
into his 14th and final ASG.Good (riddance).OK, he’s a nice
guy and a great player headed for the Hall of Fame, and he’s not the evil Alex
Rodriguez (A-Rod), but he’s still a lifetime (Damned) Yankee.Oh, did I mention that, before the Mariners
came into existence in 1977, I was a Los Angeles Dodgers fan (and still
am)?Hence my rather strong negativity
towards the Yankees.
Anyway, I’m happy to report that the American League was
victorious, 5-3, Jeter had two hits, Mike Trout of the
Something-Something-Something Angels was named Most Valuable Player (MVP), and
there was this weird thing about Adam Wainwright, NL starting pitcher, grooving
a pitch, which he initially implied to reporters, then denied.BTW, grooving a pitch means a pitcher
purposely threw an easy pitch to hit, in this case, to Derek Jeter.
Grooved pitch or not, a good time was had by all, and we
baseball fans can now look forward to the pennant races heating up for the next
two-and-a-half months (Go Mariners and Dodgers!), the playoffs in October, the
World Series, perhaps in November, and the Hot Stove League, during the
snowstorms of December.
It was a hot summer afternoon. 96 degrees, maybe more. Knowing that my clothes would dry faster on the clothesline than in the dryer, I was outside, um, hanging clothes. On the line.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear but two blond(ish) little elves and their mother so dear!
"We thought we would come and help you celebrate summer!" said my lovely firstborn, Em. She handed me a box of chocolate mint ice cream sandwiches. She knows the way to my heart, even though she's had it from the beginning.
Do you know how hard it is to get three people to look at the camera at once?
Chunk, looking away
Avatar, looking away
Em, looking away
I think Em had the right idea though--when other people are looking away, steal their ice cream!