July brings full-on farmers market season. At the Wednesday one, I got an asian type of cauliflower that's been delicious, and golden raspberries I've enjoyed with my cereal. And next week hopefully I can get sweet corn!
On Thursday my employer had a noontime seminar on 'Preparing for the Unexpected,' and most of those present, like me, were there in regards to aging parents. It was very helpful and informative and I'm glad I gave up my lunch break to attend.
I'd scheduled a 5 pm blood donation on Thursday after work and I am very glad I found a bus I could catch behind my workplace and take to right across from the donation center. Reason being: it was 92 with high humidity so a heat index around 100 for getting over there--no way I'd want to walk close to a mile in that! Then getting back was equally fun because a line of storms came in. I still got drenched even with the bus shelter, but at least I didn't have to walk all the way back for the next bus in that downpour! So I'm also once again counting my blessings that I make a single pre-tax bus payment every month that gives unlimited rides.
Saturday treat: got out to see Ant-Man and the Wasp and I had enough points saved up I saw it for free! The movie was a lot of fun and I also quite enjoyed the trailers--a couple movies coming out soon that might be interesting.
So so SO grateful for air conditioning with this crazy humidity and warmth of late. I should kiss my portable air conditioner!
I ran out of my wonderful mom's delicious shortbread cookies on Sunday, and was disappointed to have no goodies around...until I remembered the box of Lemonades the Towners gave me on July 4th. Gotta make these last...
Happiness is getting a dress for only $24 with free shipping that ends up being cool and comfortable.
The swifts are back! Got to enjoy watching a flock of them flying and twittering while at the bus stop Tuesday morning. I was wishing they'd come down and eat the gnats bothering me!
A real treat on Tuesday evening--the Towners took me out to Boca Chica for a late 'birthday' meal. Food was delicious and we had a good time.
Blessed this morning by some revelations tying to the fourth object of power in the Geren books sequels. Hopefully some decade, when I have a different job and a different life, I might actually even get to write them!
Friday morning was the nicest in quite a while--it got down into the lower 60s! I quite enjoyed the walk to the bus stop, not just because it was cool, but because the birds were enjoying it as well. Counted 11 species I either heard or saw just heading over there!
Blessed with solutions to three work problems, for which I'm quite grateful. The really fun ones are when an answer pops into my head and I haven't even finished praying yet!
My tv broke June 27. My fallback was to watch using my computer instead, but then that software (cheap and included with purchase) quit working as desired on Tuesday, to my immense annoyance. Exercise fell off the bandwagon for a few days, but now I'm back! I "just happened" to have a hdmi to dvi cord lying around (bought years ago in a failed attempt to hook my work laptop to my tv) and thanks to wonderful Amazon, I was able to purchase a digital-to-analog audio converter for a much lower price than a new tv or large monitor, hah. So now my makeshift and highly ugly setup is running my blu-ray player to my old spare monitor, which has been blessing me quite a lot this year. Success!
My original plan had been to spend the 4th of July working on Geren book 4 pass 2 stuff that needed large amounts of time and concentration. But with the Towners' very kind invitation, that pushed it back to Saturday, while I crammed in as much weekend work as I could in advance on Wednesday and Friday. And it was perfect! I got myself right up to the part I needed to focus on, had the free time I needed, and finished both the last scene expansions and pass 2 work in only 5.5 hours! I might need a sanity day or two, but pass 3 should be in motion soon, hurrah!
A very memorable and special church service on Sunday--the power went out a few minutes in and stayed out until right near the end! I was impressed with the support guys who rigged up a neat light, and since our pastor couldn't see a clock, he took more time and the message was exactly what I needed, too. I will not be forgetting this Sunday for a while!
Also on Sunday, delighted to find the camera battery recharger I thought I'd lost--was beginning to think I'd left it in San Diego. But it had just fallen sideways behind some other stuff, whew!
Delighted to discover that my purple 'Grandpa Ott' morning glories have already started blooming! They're much less fussy about that than the 'Heavenly Blue.'
A treat to have the 4th of July fall smack in the middle of the workweek. Got a whole bunch of stuff done in the morning, then over to the Towners for lunch. A few people were there and it was a great time, especially as I could stay inside with the air conditioning. And now just two more work days before the weekend!
Another weekend, hurrah!
A new farmers market started this past week that takes place right near where I work. Got to check it out with my boss and get some fresh green beans. It will be nice to have it so close, and now three days a week with farmers market options!
The top of my dresser by the window has been a fun place for months. First it was the streptocarpus blooms in March and part of April, then the African violets were blooming like crazy. Now that the violets are winding down, the streps are getting back into it again. My biggest strep currently has flowers on three different stalks but arranged in a row so they almost look like a string of orchids. Just loving it!
What with this upper 90s plus dew point in the 70s stuff going on again (and a low just under 80 for tonight!) I am SO GRATEFUL for air conditioning! And not just that, but that my portable AC has a timer function, and that I have an extra timer. My first time plugging in a standing fan to the spare timer so the fan could help the cool air not just stay in my bedroom. It certainly helped and I'm very grateful for it!
Got to go see Incredibles 2 on Sunday and that was a lot of fun. Also, thanks to the Towner's minivan, did some scouting of potential areas to move to next year. That was fascinating.
A real treat on Monday morning. Headed out early at 6 so I could pick up treats to bring to work for belated birthday goodies. I would not have seen it if I'd left at my usual time, but I got to savor a marvelous morning rainbow, quite high and lasting for a good while as well--and no rainfall in my area! Best rainbow I've seen in quite some time.
I brought goodies on Monday--bagels and also donuts from a local bakery--because both my boss and Dawn were off on Friday. But it worked out great, as I could leave the cream cheese in the work fridge overnight and have leftovers on Tuesday! It is very nice to have that fridge around.
Happiness is getting to place an order using the wonderful birthday gift of an Amazon gift card! Whoo-hoo!
Birthday weekend blessings:
For weeks now, I've been saying how I hate summer...then laughing because it hadn't even started yet. Well, now Midsummer is past, and I can at least anticipate the nights eventually getting longer again. The whole ordeal with light blocks every night and morning is quite tedious, but every night I can sleep before 10 pm and after 4 am makes it quite worth it. Summer has finally 'started,' hah!
Blessed by a gift of Chicago mix popcorn my coworker Dawn gave me the day before my birthday (as she was off on Friday). Quite enjoying it!
Also the day before my birthday, blessed to have dinner with the Towners. Their son and daughter-in-law from Florida are up visiting, along with their two dogs. I quite enjoyed that, and Joe showing off the LED lighting he installed in the garage and the nifty gadget he got that finds current through drywall. Can't forget wonderful birthday brownies hot out of the oven. YUM!
The reason I was over on Thursday was not just because of my birthday, but because the Towners were kind enough to loan me their minivan again. Thanks to that, I was able to drive to the local art festival on Saturday. And more than that--the library! I'd been frustrated that I wouldn't get to the library until autumn, since there wasn't a spring this year. But on Wednesday I realized I should look at other county libraries, and I was blessed to find one near enough the bus line to be feasible. I can use bike + bus + walking to get to that library on Saturday, and roll in the Farmer's Market too as it is right next door. And then I can just stay on the bus I take home from church Sunday, and do that whenever I need to return books. What a joy, that even though it will still cost a fair bit of time, at least I can start reading some library books before September!
Happiness is a birthday box full of wonderful homemade goodies from my wonderful mother. Blueberry lemon bread for breakfast, whoo-hoo! Looking forward to sampling the rest later!
So glad for air conditioning during a weekend with humidity imported from Florida!
A thunderstorm with hail came through Saturday morning before 6 am, and it was from the south so my deck had no protection. But I'm glad I was up, and able to get out there and cover most of my garden fast enough that the damage was fairly minimal. Could have been much worse, or happened when I was not around.
I lost my old falling-apart umbrella on the bus recently; made it through a week an a half and only had to lug around my stick umbrella once. My replacement was delivered Saturday, and I already needed to use it Monday morning and twice on Tuesday. Great timing!
I really enjoyed having a quiet weekend, even if I spent it holed up with the AC going to escape insane dew points up to 77 and a night where it only got DOWN to around 80. Felt good to catch up with some stuff, do a little organizing, and get rolling with two projects.
One of those projects is switching Geren book 4 pass 2 work back to bus rides. There's only one chapter outstanding that needs a huge amount of rewriting, and that's close enough to the end that I can put it off and work my way through the rest of the book until I have time (a spare day or more) to address it. So glad to finally be moving again!
Today was another example of being blessed at my job by the awareness I have due to my family living in a different time zone. On multiple occasions I've caught an oversight for the Canada offices: today's example was my realization that shutting down for the publish at 3:30 in Minnesota is really not a good time for the west coast, so at least I got to warn them beforehand!
So glad for a weekend, however hot it gets! So glad for air conditioning!
Forgot to mention in the last post. As part of my employer's rebranding, everyone got a Yeti drink holder with the new company logo. I finally got around to trying it out on my Peoria trip, and it is amazing! Keeps my drink cool for hours on end; perfect for long road trips.
Hugely blessed by a website I found Tuesday that had just what I needed regarding what I was struggling with. Thank you, God!
I have been enjoying the peonies the past couple weeks as I walk to and from the bus stop. Much better than last year, when they got ripped to shreds by strong storms only a few days after they started blooming.
Also quite enjoyed the asparagus I picked up at the Farmer's Market in Davenport, Iowa. I'm looking forward to savoring more local veggies soon!
It took longer than I planned, but I finally finished compiling a spreadsheet of various trips and visits my mom and I have done since 2006. We've been blessed to go to all sorts of wonderful places and find wonderful restaurants too, but it's really hard to remember what year goes with what event in order to look it up in my journal. Hopefully this will help!
A lot of driving over the past two days--about 7.5 hours Saturday down to Peoria, Illinois, for the Killing Krytonite tour stop, and then the return on Sunday. So I'm very grateful to have today off!
Blessed by good driving weather--cloudy most of the time, and I never wound up going through any heavy rain.
It was such a treat to drive through such gorgeous countryside, a great deal of which was new to me. Everything is verdant in June, and I loved the views of woodlands, farmland, hills, and the gorgeous bluffs by the Mississippi. I definitely have a higher opinion of Iowa, but it was neat to drive through parts of four states on Saturday.
Found two places I'd love to take my mom sometime--Dubuque and Guttenberg, and next to Guttenberg was the most unique scenic overlook I've visited. Because locals were selling jam, maple syrup, and honey from the area. So I did some granola ingredients shopping after I took in the view!
My first time staying in a hotel room alone while also traveling alone, and it went very well. Loved the free cookies and the continental breakfast was fantastic.
I will NOT need to drive so far in August--John Bevere is coming to my state, and actually a nearby suburb! =)
So glad it's Friday!
My coworker Dawn told me she'd heard a peregrine falcon outside on her break, and somebody had told her they were nesting. When we went to the window we were blessed to see one parent flying around and what appeared a young one practicing flight. Neat!
A real delight to get a thank-you card from Scarlett in the mail, complete with a drawing of Pikachu! I'm so glad she's out of the hospital and doing better after that awful scare with septic shock, and I'm thrilled my gift was well received.
Been thinking about some conundrums regarding the story I hope to start writing soon. And that led to realizing t'DoL had another layer of scrying shield invention I'd been quite unaware of. Better yet, by pondering his behavior in Delarun, 'Bedtime,' 'Courage of Tarlah,' and Great Wave I was able to narrow down the timing of that invention to a two-year range. Twenty-five years and I still hardly know squat--I love it when stuff like this happens! =D
Very pleased that my iron was high enough and I succeeded with a platelet donation on Thursday after work. Then I was blessed to catch all three buses I needed to get back with hardly any delay, instead of having 20-30 minute layover. Home before 8:30, thank you God!
Flowers! My African violets are blooming up a storm, and my dwarf morning glories that I started from seed in March just started blooming too. Can't have too many flowers!
Almost immediately after putting up my post about the awful months of April and May, I was hit with two big blessings. The KVM switch for my computers, that had appeared completely non-functional on Thursday night, got 'resurrected' Saturday, once I figured out the strange order in which I needed to set it up (quite unlike the instructions). So $85 I thought had gone down the drain popped right back out of it! More gushing about the KVM switch is bound to be forthcoming, but I have to thank my job for even learning what they are.
Second blessing was Sunday morning, an answer to a topic I've been praying about for a few months. Hit with insomnia and couldn't sleep past 4:30 am as if it was a workday, but that led to big breakthroughs with the story 'The Lark and the Lion.' I've been wanting to write that every summer since 2014, but either been stuck or too busy with other commitments. Thank you, God! Hopefully I can get started in a few weeks!
It has been crazy hot of late, so the spring flowers were very short-lived, but I quite enjoyed the delicious smells during my walks to and from the bus stop over the past week when the lilacs were blooming.
Thanks to my mom's kindness at the outlet mall, I got some nice sandals for only $20. And it sure helps to be able to wear those when it's 90+ outside!
Very, very grateful for my wall AC and especially my portable one that I set up in my bedroom. After the printing press, best invention ever! ;)
This 4th-of-July-temps record-setting heat wave was perfect for making my first batch of nice cold emerald soup and I quite enjoyed it over the long weekend.
I planted the seeds on February 25, and moved the seedlings outside a few weeks back. They've just loved the steamy sunny warmth of late and took off--my first dwarf morning glory flower started opening today, just a little after the flowers on the plants I gave to my mom. Looking forward to seeing more of them!
The good stuff:
My morning glories are sprouting and my dwarf morning glories are growing like crazy!
Blessed to go shopping at Costco and Trader Joe's with Cindy last Saturday. Had lunch at Cafe Zupas and got to show her photos from my vacation. It was a very nice time, even if I did spend a little too much!
Some drama with trying to get a graphics card into my refurbished pc, which I have named 'Sidekick.' Got one in the mail Saturday and then discovered that since it uses a small (narrow) desktop chassis, regular graphics cards won't fit. So I'm grateful that, being carless, I could just bike over to the Amazon locker early Sunday morning to make my return, and even more delighted that when I ordered a smaller card on Monday morning, they delivered it to me Monday evening, and on Tuesday evening I was able to swap out the bracket and fit it inside Sidekick. Whew! One step closer to using that KVM switch I bought months ago...
Big week at work with the public rollout of the company rebranding. Along with that...new chairs! They are very nice and have an intimidating array of knobs and levers. I'd be tempted to get one for home, but not with how much they cost on Amazon, ha ha!
Found out my June pay raise today--4%, praise God!
Heading toward Friday...
Found out my rent raise yesterday, and I'm grateful it is only $25 per month and will be fixed for a year. I was bracing for worse!
Speaking of 25, today is a fun day. 25 years and 3 months since I first 'met' t'DoL could also be presented as 25.25! Silly and fun!
Very grateful for my new window fan and air conditioning with the wretched July temperatures of late. Also anticipating a few days of reprieve before sticky summer heat begins in earnest...shouldn't start counting down to September when it's not June yet!
It has been a treat both to have cool mornings the past few days, and to spot the first violets and creeping Charlie flowers as I walk to the bus stop, along with some early tulips.
Thursday evening was special. Got together at a restaurant quite close to the Towner's house to celebrate Aaron turning 40. That meant the inflatable walker (along with the other over-the-hill stuff that my brother sent to me when I turned 40, and I sent back to him when he turned 40) got to see more use. The waitresses were quite amused!
A big blessing from the Towners--they let me borrow their extra minivan from Thursday evening to Sunday to cut down on driving me back and forth. With that, I got to do a big grocery shopping run Friday (and not have to worry about weight/bulkiness unlike when I'm shopping by bike or with my cart). On Saturday, I got to Gerten's and the local garden shop to purchase gardening supplies and plants for my garden, as well as running some other errands. Now I'm broke, but it was wonderful to be able to get that shopping taken care of.
Except when Mother's Day falls quite early, in my area it's right around the time when the crabapples, apples, and lilacs start blooming. I was sure they wouldn't make it this year, with that monster blizzard so recent. But the warm weather this month has caused the plants to sprint to catch up, and to my delight I started spotting the earliest crabapple blooms on Friday. The lilacs didn't quite make it, but a delight to see the trees blooming for spring, as well as hear the house wren singing and see that the swallows are back.
When I was in California, I took my mom to an international grocery store that had lots of Goya products. To my delight, I found they sold frozen sweet plantains and bought a couple small packages to bring back to Minnesota. So last weekend, that was my excuse to make Cuban-style black beans and try them out. They are delicious baked or fried, and I'm delighted I found them!
Fun to have a meeting with my boss and then spend the last 10 minutes talking over plot points and characters in Avengers: Infinity War!
Tuesday night was special. Had dinner with the Towners and showed them photos from my trip. But we were also greatly entertained by all the activity at their bird feeders. I spotted a male rose-breasted grosbeak the moment I walked in, and got to show them that the jumbo 'sparrows' were actually the females. Got to wrack my brain too, when I spotted a bird I couldn't name...after a while I realized it was a female Baltimore Oriole. And of course cardinals, chipping sparrows, chickadees, mourning doves, goldfinches, house finches, a grackle, a male downy woodpecker, a single rabbit and some squirrels. But best of all was the shocking blessing of two male indigo buntings coming there as well! Joe got photos to send to my mom, it was such a special treat! They look really tiny next to a mourning dove!
Very grateful for some rain and a break with the temperatures. The weekend felt like July, but for a couple days it will be nice to have it actually feel like spring!
A bundle of blessings:
Due to my nice cheap airfare, I didn't get to pick my seat until check-in and only middle seats were left. So to my relief, I wound up between two ladies and nobody was overweight or otherwise troublesome. Grateful for that!
As ever, grateful to the Towners for giving me rides to/from the airport and also watering my plants while I was gone.
It's been warmer than I'd like back home, a huge difference from the giant mounds of snow everywhere when I left! But I'm glad I didn't miss too much spring, as the trees are just starting to leaf out and the grass is nice and green. I spotted a bunch of lakes that still had ice on them during landing, but that won't last in this weather.
My weight on getting back wasn't as bad as I feared, hurrah!
Blessed to have a garden center close enough to walk to, which I'd kept forgetting to check out in prior years when I had a car. Went over there this morning and was very pleased with the selection. Also quite enjoyed seeing forsythia and small magnolia trees in full bloom on my walk, along with savoring the calling of frogs from a marshy area.
It was far too hot to walk later on, so I'm glad I could bike to the movie theater and do a little grocery shopping afterward in the afternoon. Quite enjoyed Avengers: Infinity War, though the cliffhanger is rather sadistic. I wish I had seen it on the IMAX screen!
More California highlights as I prepare to head home:
My wonderful mom made Key Lime pie! This not using juice from a bottle, but Key limes she buys herself--so good!
On Friday, my mom and I took my three oldest nephews to the Tech museum in San Jose. Traffic was bad again heading home, but otherwise it went quite well. The omnitheater movie 'Dream Big' was fantastic, and we had fun with the earthquake simulator, jet pack, and X Degrees of Separation by Google...among others!
In case I wasn't getting spoiled enough, my mom made fresh-squeezed orange juice for me a couple mornings. Delicious!
What with all the eating fun, I'm the more grateful for my parents (admittedly dusty) exercise bike. It's too big to be moved around, unlike mine at home, but I was grateful I could use Starfish and Amazon Prime streaming to have something to watch while I pedaled.
Just a few of many California highlights:
It has been great seeing green! I've gotten out for a few walks with my mother in the mornings and really enjoy all the thriving plants and flowers after so many months without seeing that back at home.
Blessed by a wonderful trip down to San Diego with my mom and my two oldest nieces. It was their first time flying and blessedly smooth travel. The weather was great (first San Diego visit where I didn't get rained on) and we had a good time at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and the San Diego Zoo. I enjoying seeing my first shoebill crane and blue-eyed black lemurs, among others. The cheetah run safari was amazing and it's always nice to visit Coronado Island.
I've been earning my mom's wonderful cooking by doing things like painting a door and providing all sorts of free tech support. Also happy that my parents enjoyed the Chicago mix popcorn and homemade granola I brought them; we've had a good time watching movies together some evenings. I was also blessed to get some nice work shoes as a gift from my wonderful mom and a pair of sandals on a great sale when we did some shopping at the discount mall.