Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day (151/365)

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“They fell, but o'er their glorious grave
Floats free the banner of the cause they died to save.”

Francis Marion Crawford (American writer, 1854-1909)

TIME:  7:29 PM
PLACE:  Walnut Hill Cemetery
SUBJECT:  Flags on veteran’s graves

Today is Memorial Day.  MonkeyBoy’s Boy Scout troop helped the Catholic War Veterans and Veteran’s of Foreign Wars raise flags at Walnut Hill cemetery beginning at 5am this morning.  HandsomeHusband accompanied him.  Then, HH, MB and StellaDella participated in our town’s annual Memorial Day parade at 10am; MB and SD sat in the Miata and threw candy while HH drove.  The parade ended at Walnut Hill Cemetery with a ceremony that honored the men and women of the United States forces who have died, been wounded, disabled or fortunate enough to return without physical injury.   Afterwards, we traveled to my sister’s house for a family get together and BBQ.  HH and MB left early so they could help lower the flags at the cemetery.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lantana (150/365)

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“It pleases me to take amateur photographs of my garden, and it pleases my garden to make my photographs look professional.” 

Robert Brault (American, free-lance writer)

TIME:  8:05 PM
PLACE:  Front yard
SUBJECT:  Landmark Sunrise Rose Lantana

I finally filled my concrete planters with flowers this weekend.  I put these Lantana flowers, along with some pink geraniums and pink petunias in them.  They are all bright and candy-colored and make me happy.  I filled some hanging baskets with more petunias (they were only 98 cents for a 4” pot at the Home Depot); pinks in one and purples in another.  Then I splurged at my local gardening center and bought a 14” pre-made patriotic planter with red geraniums, red and white striped petunias, white verbena and blue salvia.  U.S.A! U.S.A!  I still have to fill a large cauldron that sits in my side flower bed and another hanging planter, then I should be done with annuals – If I don’t kill them all.  Maybe this will be the year where I consistently water my container plants and don’t let them die of thirst…just maybe. *crosses fingers*

Saturday, May 29, 2010

1843 Bonded Whiskey (149/365)

 2010 05 29 IMG_7299w
“Four blessings upon you - Older whiskey - Younger women - Faster horses - More money

Anonymous Toast

TIME:  11:09 AM
PLACE:  Missouri Ave., East St. Louis, IL
SUBJECT:  David Nicholson 1843 Bonded Whiskey sign

Went to “The Hill” in St. Louis this morning for cheese, bread, salami and olives.  I took this picture on the way back home.  I have always liked this sign and took my first photo of it back on March 27, 2007.

David Nicholson 1843 Bonded Whiskey Signage

As you can see, it has deteriorated since then.  The “8” has started to break apart and the “3” has continued its descent into ruins. Bummer.  It’s still a cool sign though and I like the grass and the pigeons it now sports on the bottom ledge.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Swimming Pool (148/365)

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“Blue skies with no clouds,
Hot afternoons can get you down and make you sweaty.
Mid-summer sun bake,
I know exactly what we should do and I think you're ready.
Gonna stay cool, cool, cool at the swimming pool.
Gonna stay cool, cool, cool at the swimming pool.”

Trout Fishing In America. "Swimming Pool." *Mine!*. By Keith Grimwood and Ezra Idlet. Trout Records, 1994. CD.

TIME:  3:40 PM
PLACE:  Back yard
SUBJECT:  StellaDella in the pool

I caved and purchased an 8-foot quick set pool on Tuesday and HandsomeHusband helped me set it up yesterday.  It’s been a big hit, not only with my kids but many others in the neighborhood.  I knew that it would draw children like a magnet.  I am going to be the wicked witch of R--- Avenue and limit the number of guests allowed in the pool.  I feel bad telling the neighborhood kids “No” (I’m pretty sure that many are home by themselves all day due to working parents and are bored and looking for something to do), but I am not operating a swimming/latch-key establishment for the neighborhood this summer.  Did I just sound like my mother?  I believe I did.  I guess it’s appropriate being that it would have been her 68th birthday today. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

May Tree (147/365)

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"As it fell upon a day
In the merry month of May,
Sitting in a pleasant shade
Which a grove of myrtles made."

”As It Fell Upon A Day”, Richard Barnfield (English poet, 1574-1620)

TIME:  4:29 PM
PLACE:  Front yard
SUBJECT:  Red Sunset Maple tree

The leaves have become fuller and the light a bit brighter here in May.  Today was the kid’s last hour of school – for them summer has officially begun.  We set up the pool and probably got our money’s worth out of it already judging by the usage it had today.  I just have one question…How many more days until school begins again?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sister Graduates (146/365)

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Helen: I can't believe you don't want to go to your own son's graduation.
Bob: It's not a graduation. He is moving from the 4th grade to the 5th grade.
Helen: It's a ceremony!
Bob: It's psychotic! They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity, but if someone is genuinely exceptional...

The Incredibles. Dir. Brad Bird. Perf. Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson. Walt Disney Pictures & Pixar Animation Studios, 2004.

TIME:  1:40 PM
PLACE:  School gym
SUBJECT:  DramaQueen and StellaDella

Today was the second to last day of school.  SD had her kindergarten graduation ceremony at 9am this morning – then she came into work with me for an hour, we went to lunch at McDonalds (her choice) and then back to school for DQ’s ceremony at 1pm.  I will admit to tearing up at both programs.  My baby, my last munchkin, finished kindergarten and will be a 1st grader in August.  And my oldest, DQ will be in Junior High.  Time is flying way too fast for me.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Orange Glow (145/365)

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“Sunsets are so beautiful that they almost seem as if we were looking through the gates of Heaven.”

John Lubbock (English Biologist and Politician, 1834-1913)

TIME:  7:54 PM
PLACE:  Little League Fields
SUBJECT:  Sunset

Even with the power lines in the way, this was a beautiful sunset…and to make it even better, MonkeyBoy’s team finally won their 2nd game.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cedar Tree (144/365)

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“There is a lull to the very air of the place, the creaking of the tall teak forests, the lapping of the canals, the gentle swaying of the little kingfishers who sit like neat blue idols on almost every telegraph wire.”

James Morris

TIME:  7:46 PM
PLACE:  Back yard
SUBJECT:  Cedar tree

As I stood under the cedar tree this evening, the wind started to blow and I could hear the branches creak.  Love that sound.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Big Red Barn (143/365)

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“By the big red barn in the great green field,
there was a pink pig who was learning to squeal.”

Wise Brown, Margaret. *The Big Red Barn*. Addison-Wesley, 1954.

TIME:  6:54 PM
PLACE:  Off Little Rock Ln

I hated to to it, but we turned on the A/C today; it was just too humid not to have it on.  StellaDella had a T-ball game at 2pm and when we returned home afterwards, we all ended up needing to take a shower before we went out to dinner with my Dad.  We went to a restaurant, Robert Scott’s Grille, which is owned and operated by a cousin of ours.  DramaQueen and I had fettuccine con broccoli, HH and MonkeyBoy had steak, Dad had oven roasted chicken and SD had a cheeseburger.  It was all very good.  Afterwards, HandsomeHusband took a scenic route home and stopped at a few locations so I could snap some photos.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cuts Like A Knife (142/365)

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"Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it." 

Russell Baker (American Pulitzer Prize-winning writer known for his satirical commentary and self-critical prose, b1925)

TIME:  8:43 PM
PLACE:  Bathtub
SUBJECT: StellaDella’s upper back

Good gravy, did that girl gave herself some major grass cuts at my godchild’s graduation party this afternoon or what?  That is what happens when you are fair-skinned, wear a halter top and decide to roll down the grassy hill at your Uncle’s house.  Apparently, my brother is some sort of secret evil botanist and cultivates a special type of razor-sharp grass.  *wink*  Summer hasn’t even officially begun and already she has enough cuts on her body to last past next Christmas.  *shakes head*  I’ve got a feeling that It’s going to be a long, rough summer.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Musk Thistle (141/365)

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“Untilled soil, however fertile it may be, will bear thistles and thorns; and so it is with man's mind.”

St. Teresa of Avila (Spanish Nun, Mystic and Writer, 1515-1582)

TIME:  8:12 PM
PLACE: On the banks of Richland Creek near West Monroe St.
SUBJECT:  Musk or Nodding Thistle

This is the Musk Thistle prior to blooming.  It is a native of Western Europe and was introduced in the U.S. in the early 1800’s.   It has been declared a noxious weed here in Illinois.
MonkeyBoy had a baseball game under the lights at 8:15 this evening.  They lost.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Blue And The Gray (140/365)

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“The blue and the gray. Let us march together beneath the star- spangled banner.”
Laurence Stallings (1894-1968), U.S. screenwriter, and John Ford. Judge William Pitman Priest (Charles Winniger), The Sun Shines Bright, as a former Confederate soldier, speaking at the encampment of the town's Union veterans (1953).

TIME:  12:49 PM
PLACE:  Longacre Park
SUBJECT:  Bike rack

StellaDella’s kindergarten class was supposed to have their field trip to the zoo today, but the weather was not cooperating.  Instead, they implemented “Plan B” and went bowling and then to a park to eat lunch under a pavilion.  Did I mention, that in a moment of weakness, I volunteered as a parent chaperone?  Luckily, there were quite a number of us and I only had to keep an eye on 3 kiddos.  It was misting and very chilly at the park, but the kids did not mind.  They played in the fenced-in wooden playground for about an hour and had a blast.  I was able to quickly snap this picture while they were running around in a gigantic game of tag.
And here is a shout out to my pop – since today is his birthday (68!)
Happy Birthday Dad…love ya!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Roly-Poly (139/365)

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“The way a child discovers the world constantly replicates the way science began. You start to notice what's around you, and you get very curious about how things work. How things interrelate. It's as simple as seeing a bug that intrigues you. You want to know where it goes at night; who its friends are; what it eats.”

David Cronenberg (Canadian filmmaker, screenwriter, and occasional actor, aka “the King of Venereal Horror or the Baron of blood” b1943)

TIME:  7:04 PM
PLACE:  Front porch
SUBJECT:   Armadillidiidae

StellaDella loves finding roly-poly bugs under the pavers that line the front flower beds.  These are two of the three she placed into an old bowl to observe.  She called them the “Papa Roly Poly” (the large one pictured here), the “Mama Roly Poly” (a medium one, not pictured) and the “Baby Roly Poly” (the small one pictured here).  She had many questions, so we did some searching on the internet to find the answers.  Now that we found out information about them, she wants to bring them to school tomorrow because, as she says,

“I am an expert on roly poly bugs Mom.  I want to teach my class all about them.  See, “exo” means outside, so, their bones are outside, (she grabs her forearm for emphasis) they have exoskeletons, see?; they are, what did you call them?…’crustaceans’…that means their cousins are lobsters, crabs and what’s that other thing?  Oh yeah, shrimp.  Did you know that they all live as a family under rocks.  They eat plants and decayed animals.  ‘Decayed’ means dead.  So that means they are…not herbivores, those guys only eat plants.  What is that other one?…not carnivorous…(I tell her the word is ‘omnivorous’) Right, omnivorous.  See, Mom, I know a lot about roly-polys now.” 

Yes StellaDella, you do, you are one smart cookie.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ball Pit (138/365)

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“Life is just a bowl of pits.”

Rodney Dangerfield (American Comedian, 1921-2004)

TIME:  12:36 PM
PLACE:  St. Louis City Museum
SUBJECT:  Ball pit

It was school picnic and parade time today and like last year, we opted out of participating.  The kids decided that they wanted to go to the City Museum instead.  Except for MonkeyBoy losing his wallet while crawling around the tunnels (and the $22 he had in it!!!) it was a good day.  We paid the additional fee to go onto the roof and enjoyed the gorgeous weather we had today.  The kids also loved playing in the ball pits on the ground level which were filled with kick ball sized rubber spheres.  While I sat and let the kids run like wild monkeys, the sun was casting shadows from the bars of the cage over the balls in the 6 year old and under pit, which was surprisingly unoccupied at the time.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Robin (137/365)

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“Robin's here in coat of brown,
And scarlet breast-knot gay.”

William Allingham (Irish Man of letter and Poet. 1824-1889)

TIME:  3:11 PM
PLACE:  Back yard

Another gray day, with rain late last night and in the very early hours of the morning.  It was a cool day – kind of reminded me more of a fall day than springtime.  Rumor has it that we are supposed to have clouds and sun tomorrow…we can only hope.  As I was leaving to go to the grocery store this afternoon, I saw this guy sitting on our fence.  Looking at his nice orange-red chest helps to chase away the gloom of the day.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Window (136/365)

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Don't throw stones at your neighbours, if your own windows are glass.

Benjamin Franklin (American Statesman, Scientist, Philosopher, Printer, Writer and Inventor. 1706-1790)

TIME:  5:49 PM
PLACE:  Around town
SUBJECT:  Window

Another gray, overcast day here.  The kids had their last Sunday School session this morning and DramaQueen and I went to Target to find a new comforter and shams for her room.  I had a headache and laid down for a nap until it was time for StellaDella’s T-ball game at 5:30 – or so we thought.  We drove to the fields only to find out that the game was at 3:30 and we missed it…oops.  SD wasn’t too upset, especially after we stopped to get ice cream to make up for it.  Then HandsomeHusband drove around for a little bit while I took some photos and DQ complained she was bored and wanted to go home.  We enjoy torturing her so.  This window can be found at the rear of the church where HH and I were married.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Trailway Motel (135/365)

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“At Motel 6 in Amish Country I wonder if they leave the light on for you?”

Jay London (American, Stand-up comic

TIME:  7:19 PM
PLACE:  Fairview Heights, IL
SUBJECT:  Trailway Motel sign

On our way back from MonkeyBoy’s baseball game last Tuesday, we passed this motel.  I remarked that it had a neat sign and I would have to come back and get a photo at some point for my blog.  The family went out for supper tonight (Applebees) and after we had finished and gotten back in the car, HandsomeHusband asked me if I had a photo for today; when I said I hadn’t yet, he drove so I could take this picture.  Isn’t that sweet?  *grins*

Friday, May 14, 2010

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others (134/365)

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“One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn't belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?”

"One of These Things." written by Joe Raposo, Jon Stone and Bruce Hart. First appeared on Sesame Street, Episode 001, Nov 10, 1969.

TIME:  9:45 PM
PLACE:  Grade School gym

StellaDella’s Daisy scout troop had a sleep-over at the school this evening for their final activity of the school year.  I bit the bullet and volunteered to spend the night and help out with the activities.  They ate pizza and salad; gussied up dollar store flip flops with strips of fabric; decorated hair elastics with tulle and handcrafted yarn pom poms; did some dancing with the Wii and finally watched “The Tooth Fairy” and “Akeelah and the Bee” while eating popcorn and nachos.  The last girl fell asleep about 1:45am Saturday morning.  Yeah, I’m tired.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Contemplation (133/365)

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“I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.”

Edgar Allan Poe (
American short-story Writer, Editor, Poet and Critic, 1809-1849)

TIME:  3:00 PM
PLACE:  Living room

I often wonder what he is thinking in that little cat brain.  “Where should I take my next nap?…Did she clean out my litter box yet?…Why does the dog always eat my food?…Shall I put my evil plot to rule the world into motion today or tomorrow?”

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Freshly Cut (132/365)

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“To be overcome by the fragrance of flowers is a delectable form of defeat.”

John Beverley Nichols (English, author, playwright, journalist, composer, and public speaker. 1898-1983)

TIME:  8:07 PM
PLACE:  Kitchen
SUBJECT:  Peonies

We had a storm early this morning with very heavy rain and hail.  I had placed tomato cages around my peony plants in early April for support, but they were still sagging to the ground due to the rain.  There was an abundance of blooms though, so this evening I cut a number of stems to make a bouquet to place in the house.  Their fragrance is simply delectable.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pitcher (131/365)

2010 05 11 IMG_0545we  
“Anybody's best pitch is the one the batters ain't hitting that day.”

Christy Mathewson (American Baseball Player. One of the first five players admitted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. 1880-1925)

TIME:  7:47 PM
PLACE: Little League Fields
SUBJECT:  MonkeyBoy

Tonight MB had his second ballgame of the season and since StellaDella did not have practice, I was able to watch him in his pitching debut.  He relieved another pitcher in the top of the 3rd inning with one out and was able to make the last two outs via a grounder hit to third (men on first and second) and a pop fly hit to the first baseman.  Although he did well, we still ended up losing the game 15-3.  I don’t know if I can handle him pitching…I was so stressed while watching.  Taking his picture helped me redirect my focus and prevented me from becoming a complete nervous wreck.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Distant Red Bird (130/365)

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“I am too far away from what I love and my distance is without remedy.”
Albert Camus (1913-1960), French-Algerian novelist, dramatist, philosopher. Gallimard (1958). Martha in The Misunderstanding, act 2, sc. 2, Pléiade (1962).

TIME:  10:33 AM
PLACE:  Our Lady of the Snows Shrine
SUBJECT:  Northern Cardinal

A cardinal flew in front of my car while I was returning to work after attending a visitation for my cousin’s father-in-law this morning.  I tried taking some photos, but he was quite a distance away and I wasn’t getting close enough in my opinion.  By the time I changed lenses, he had flown away.  Nothing else inspired me today, so this is as good as it gets on this chilly Monday.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother’s Day (129/365)

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“My mother was the most beautiful woman I ever saw. All I am I owe to my mother. I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual and physical education I received from her.”

George Washington {American, commander in chief of the colonial armies in the American Revolution (1775-83) and subsequently 1st US President (1789-97), 1732-1799)

TIME:  1963
hoto studio
SUBJECT:  Mom, engagement photo

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Chicken’s (128/365)

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Jake: Got any fried chicken?
Mrs. Murphy: Best damn chicken in the state.
Jake: Bring me four fried chickens and a Coke.
Mrs. Murphy: You want chicken wings or chicken legs?
Jake: Four fried chickens and a Coke.
Elwood: And some dry white toast please.
Mrs. Murphy: Y'all want anything to drink with that?
Elwood: No ma'am.
Jake: A Coke.
Mrs. Murphy: Be up in a minute

The Blues Brothers (Dan Aykroyd, Aretha Franklin, John Belushi, John Landis - director, 1980)

TIME:  8:10 PM
PLACE:  St. Libory, IL
SUBJECT:  Chicken’s Restaurant & Bar sign

I felt like I should be watching football instead of StellaDella’s T-ball game late this afternoon – we had to haul out the blankets it was so chilly.  The sun was shining, but the wind was blowing and the temps (which had only made it up to 62 degrees today) were in the mid fifties.  We also have a frost advisory in effect overnight.  Gotta love the Midwest!  After SD’s game was over, we headed out of town to attend a fundraiser.  This building was located nearby.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Sky, Cloud And Roof (127/365)

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“I watch the clouds as I see them
in pomp advancing, pursuing
the fallen sun.”

Denise Levertov (b. 1923), Anglo-U.S. poet. "Clouds.”

TIME:  7:30 PM
PLACE:  Outside
SUBJECT:  The sky, a cloud & a roof

We were supposed to have strong thunderstorms today, but it appears they skipped over us.  We did have some darker clouds roll in along with a temperature drop in the mid-afternoon.  The sky was a pretty blue this evening and the setting sun lit up portions of the cloud formations.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Every Rose Has Its Thorn (126/365)

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“Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.”

François-Marie Arouet aka “Voltaire” (
French Enlightenment writer and philosopher, 1694–1778)

TIME:  7:48 PM
PLACE:  Front yard
SUBJECT:  Thorns

Thorns are prickly, stabby and ready to draw blood – they mirror my feelings perfectly these days.  Ugh…I don’t like it.  Must. turn. attitude. around. and. quit. writing. like. William. Shatner.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rub My Belly (125/365)

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“Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job.”

Franklin P. Jones (identity not clear, either an American businessman, 1887-1929, or an American humorist, 1853-1935)

TIME:  5:55 PM
PLACE:  Home

I have been feeling down and depressed the past couple of days – I don’t know, maybe it is a residual effect from another birthday, another year gone by.  All I know is that I have been very impatient and testy with the family (poor things).  Oreo loves to have her belly rubbed.  She will lie on her back, paws bent, belly exposed, until someone notices and pets her.  She is always so much happier after that.  I think I may need someone to rub my belly – maybe that will make me feel better too.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

While My Pie Gently Weeps (124/365)

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“Egg whites are good for a lot of things – lemon meringue pie, angel food cake, and clogging up radiators.”

MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson). Season 2. Episode 041. Bushmaster.  23 March 1987.

TIME:  8:07 PM
PLACE:  Kitchen
SUBJECT:  Lemon meringue birthday pie

Five days later, I finally made my birthday pie.  The meringue was not as fluffy as I would have liked it and as you can see, it is weeping.  But it is still some damn tasty pie.  I forsee a slice of pie and a large glass of milk for breakfast tomorrow morning.  Mmmm.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Purple Spoons (123/365)

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“All the other colors are just colors, but purple seems to have a soul.” 

Uniek Swain

TIME:  3:41 PM
PLACE:  Garden Center
SUBJECT:  Osteospermum hybrid “Soprano Lilac Spoon”

StellaDella’s Daisy troop had a field trip after school to the garden center which is a little over a block away.  They learned about the difference between annuals and perennials, what plants need to grow and examined several berry and vegetable plants.  At the end, they all potted a marigold to take home.  I spotted this flower and loved the shape of the bloom.  And it was in my favorite color – purple.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Baseball Basket (122/365)

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“Every duty which is bidden to wait returns with seven fresh duties at its back.” 

Charles Kingsley (English clergyman, university professor, historian, and novelist, 1819–1875)

TIME:  7:21 PM
PLACE:  Front porch
SUBJECT:  Basket filled with baseballs

There are so many things that need to be cleaned up around here.  But I’m tired and all I really wanted to do today was nap.  I couldn’t because we had Sunday School, a trip to Costco, painting woodwork in DramaQueen’s room, laundry, StellaDella’s T-ball game and more laundry on the agenda today.  These baseballs have been sitting on my front porch for quite some time now and should be put away properly.  I took a picture of them instead.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Fifty Years (121/365)

 2010 05 01_MG_0204w
“A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity.  The order varies for any given year.”

Paul Sweeney

TIME:  8:08 PM
PLACE:  F--- Restaurant
SUBJECT:  Uncle Albert & Aunt Ann

On May 5th, my Uncle Albert (my mother’s brother) and Aunt Ann will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.   They had a dinner this evening for family and friends at a local restaurant.  They had their wedding album there and I had forgotten that my mother was a bridesmaid in their wedding.  Mom looked so young in those photos  - at the time she was just about to turn eighteen.  If HandsomeHusband and I make it to 50 years of marriage, he will be 89 and I will be 78, what do you think are our chances of making it to those ages?