The Week Behind: Another Change

Friday:  Just a quick mention of my view from the kitchen window this evening.  I went into the kitchen to get a glass of water and there was a baby fawn right up here on the terrace the house is sitting upon!  He heard me turn on the water and ran down the hill to join a second fawn.  It looks like we have a pair of twins this year!  We watched them graze before they scampered back off into the wooded area.

Last year I bought a big set of clearance napkins, red and white ticking stripe.  This year I found Navy and White seersucker stripe napkins.  I have both red and blue place mats.  Easy enough to make a very patriotic table setting.  I found red candles in the buffet drawer.  I wonder what I did with those red Beeswax candles I ordered in October when I was planning ahead for Christmas that arrived in February?  I have a sinking feeling they might well be in the shed in one of the Christmas decor boxes melting away in the heat.

Note to self: next time I'm in Hobby Lobby, look for red candles.  They are lovely any time of the year.

Saturday:  Woke early this morning and smiled.  It's Saturday and that means I've little to do all day long.  A day of rest ahead is a lovely thing to contemplate!   Even better when I look out the windows and see such a beautiful day.

First I finished the book I began last weekend.  Admittedly I scanned through it and didn't read as thoroughly as I had before just in case I found anything else embarrassing.  I've noted  that reading the Kindle causes me to see double.  I find putting it on nighttime mode (brownish cast) is easier on my eyes for long periods of reading but I definitely cannot 'get lost' reading too long on the Kindle.  It's just not friendly to my eyes for long spells.

State of the nations address:  I've been reading a lot on other blogs, several from Australia, a few in other countries.  I think it is safe to say that many countries harbor worried housewives.  Not worried as in fearful, but as in being mindful of what we've all just been through, what appears to be ahead, and how much we all need to do.  Therefore they are busy  planning ahead.  They are paying attention to the signs of times about them.
Here in America I still see limits and empty shelves in the few stores I go into.  

We actually debated buying a case of toilet paper in one grocery that has had none in months and months now.  I held back for three reasons: no visible pricing on the case and really nowhere to store a case and the fact that in checking the paper, while it was very thin toilet paper it had no 'septic safe' markings on it.  Since we do have a septic tank,  that is a consideration.  And lest you think I am the spoiled sort that wants the thicker almost clothlike paper, I am not.  It is not in the least a team player with our soft water!  It clogs our system terribly, as will some cheap soaps.  We have to be 'choosy' here with those sorts of things.

In our part of the country there's a lot of new construction, businesses have mostly re-opened and many places are hiring now.  Reports for May's employment figures for the nation shows that more people were back at work and the rate of unemployment had dropped.  Do I think this is true?  From my standpoint, I'd say, "Yes".  Katie had looked for work for a bit over a year and had two job offers in a week's time, as did her boyfriend, his brother was employed within the first part of June and Bess has also found part time work.   

Am I feeling all safe and secure  over here in my part of the world?  

I'm feeling cautious.  States about us are experiencing higher numbers and these are states in 'hot' areas weather-wise....So much for the surmise that we'd see the virus die back in heat...And that makes it more than clear that no one seems to have any idea at all about this thing as we were assured it would 'die back' in the heat of summer.  Well no, it's rising again and even our own state experienced a sudden increase of cases.  In our area, those numbers are still in the single digits for rises but given those numbers and the counties nearby there are several hundred new cases.  A week ago, Caleb's nursery was shut down because someone knew someone who had been diagnosed with Covid and while they had not been in the building or had contact with the children, the nursery closed.   Sunday the church had every other row of chairs cordoned off and we'd only just reopened the first week in June. 

So yes, I am feeling cautious.  I'm thinking ahead, too.   There are things I think I'd like to get in a supply of, like seeds for flowers and vegetables and bed sheets.  I've only kept  a couple of sets of sheets per bed for years but I had two of the Queen sized ones give out during the virus and there we were.  It was blown elastic on two fitted sheets and I was able to manage a repair of sorts that appears to be good enough for now, but given the shortages of things and the lack of stores, I'm thinking ahead on those matters.  I've gone over clothing and linens and towels and am trying to plan ahead so if I see a particularly good buy I can take advantage and stock our needs.   I would like basic sewing supplies like elastic, perhaps a few pieces of fabric.   I've looked at my houseware items and determined which would be a help and which of my wants if in actuality unnecessary.  So I'm looking at the big picture of home overall...

Obviously I want a supply of paper products but as John said this morning, we can live without toilet paper but it's hard to live without food.  Now that we're in hurricane season, and knowing that we can be affected here even as far inland as we are by storms crossing the state, I'd like to get a couple of battery operated fans, some extra bottled water (I can use our own water bottles and fill them if warned ahead) and yes, paper plates and cups and such for use during any power outage.

I'd like to stock our pantry a little more deeply.  I'd like to get my freezer packed a bit more tightly and efficiently.  Things are so bulky once frozen.  I want to find a way to get things more flat so I can get more in overall.  I'm reminded that Grandmother always used those little 10 ounce boxes to pack her bags of frozen vegetables in and then she could stack them...(Too bad she never marked them with what was in them!  One tended to eat from top to bottom so it was black eyed peas until peas were gone and then start in on green beans, lol)...  But even ground beef and steak and chicken can be packed in a flatter manner if one has the right items.   I'm unimpressed with using zippered bags for liquid items having had too many accidents and leaks, but I want to find a few flat containers that I can use to freeze liquids then move the solid into a zippered bag once frozen.   I know my peanut butter jars and cottage cheese containers are doing just fine but they are bulky and take up more space than I'd like. My point being I want to be able to get more stuff in my freezer and it seems to me the way to do that is to pack it flatter and tighter.

I've thought hard about getting another freezer.  It wasn't so long ago I gave up my 5 cubic foot freezer we'd had for years upon years because I felt I wasn't using two freezers efficiently.  I think it's time to reassess what I'm storing and why instead of planning to buy something new.  And frankly that goes for foods, goods and everything else you can think of.  

I know we need to have some basic medications on hand and obviously hand sanitizer, masks (homemade will do) and gloves.  Certain sanitizing cleaning products, too.  Things that were in short supply earlier.  Sanitizing wipes would be helpful but even a baby wipe is preferable to nothing.  It will at least wash your hands!  

And with two babies in the family it would about pay me to keep a few diapers and baby wipes oh hand;  formula and baby foods might be a good idea as well.  I don't want to hoard but I am slowly building up a supply for my household and as a help to my near by families' homes.

But more than this, I am trying to build up my recipe files to include good basic recipes for good basic foods using things I'd typically have on hand.  That means trying out recipes a lot just now and scratching those that we don't care for and making sure I copy out those that we do.  Also looking for recipes that we might enjoy substituting beans for meat, like using lentils to make sloppy joes or a cottage pie.  

I am also thinking about what skills I can acquire.  Obviously though I have played about at gardening I'm not adept at growing food and that's something I'd like to expand upon.   I am looking for ways to make things last and repair them better and thinking of how I can help with homeschool, child care, etc.

I'm also thinking of what things would bring pleasure. I'm listening to hear what John might say he'd like.  I'm thinking of the things I like best.  Books, flowers (seeds will do), coffee, perfume, craft supplies, even work tasks that are too much just now in the heat but will warm the body, strengthen it and bring a sense of satisfaction at day's end.  I think finding puzzles and games would be something we could do together and enjoy.  And obviously our love of picnics would allow us to still enjoy our dates while remaining socially distanced if need be.  So I've been building up a rather nice picnic basket of things for us to use.   So you can see, I've been really thinking and planning ahead...

That's my thoughts for today about our future.   What are yours?

Sunday:  I think I mentioned last week that I'd lost a car key and had looked absolutely everywhere for it.  So had Chad, Katie and John.  We'd all gone behind each other and looked everywhere. Except my purse because these guys don't 'do' hunting in purses, but Katie did.  I'd given it a thorough clearing out and even checked the trash to be sure it wasn't tossed in there.

We moved furniture, went over my car with a fine tooth comb front, back and trunk, looked about the yard between car and house, etc.  I'd been looking all this week.  My last memory of the key was putting it in my pants pocket when I caught myself playing with the key fob and we'd all checked the pants multiples of times.   

On Thursday, while John was mowing grass for Sam, I'd set up outfits and those same pants were part of that mini-wardrobe.  I felt about in the pockets of them again and nothing.  I then hung them on a hanger, pockets down, and put them in the closet next to the tops I meant to wear with them.

Getting dressed for church this morning, I was pulling up my pants when I felt something sort of fall over my thumb.  I looked down and there was the key fob and attached to it was the key!!   I've no idea how all four of us could have missed that key as many times as we checked the pockets of these pants.  I don't believe we did miss it.  I'm just grateful that the key was found because this next week we were going to have to go buy a new car key in order to have a spare and it was going to be $95...Praise God, I say!   I'd been praying every day since it went missing that we'd find it and at last it was found.

Well rack one up for us on the scoreboard!  We finally made it to the 8:30 am service on time, before service started!  It also meant we left home with no breakfast...Not that we came to any harm for it.  I did grab a snack bar on my way out the door but John chose to fast until lunchtime.

We had a rousing good sermon today.  My church is The Assembly and they post the videos on YouTube each week.  If you feel so inclined, go have a listen.   We tend to rush home after and arrive here just in time to watch the next service online.   Well John watches, and I listen in as I scramble about the house getting things done.  I haven't noticed that the second sermon is too much different than the first one, but I think John just likes following up on any notes he missed taking during the first service.

We stopped on our way home this morning to get gasoline in my car and then we went into the dollar store to get an over the counter medication we've run very low upon as well as a carton of ice cream.  Our local grocery doesn't have one I can eat due to the Carrageenan in every variety so I'd suggested to John to check the dollar store.  Edy's is currently Carrageenan free.  I say 'currently' because we've had other brands we've picked up which were and then we'd read the ingredients list the next time we'd purchase and the company had added it to the product.  

I'd love to get an ice cream maker and make my own but I'm going to look at other options first...I have some things in mind, indeed I do.  In many of the older cookbooks, one doesn't need an ice cream freezer to make ice cream and long ago in my first beginning days of homemaking I made a lovely butter pecan iced cream and used my fridge freezer to make it. (This goes back to my 'learn new skills' in yesterday's post!)

When we came in we stripped our bed, and both baths and I washed everything and hung on the line.   John helped me remake the bed.   Then I worked my way through the laundry, back entry, kitchen sitting, my desk area, the kitchen, living room, dining room and master bedroom.  I still need to clean both baths and  plan the week's worth of meals from breakfast to supper.   I'll be keeping Caleb all week long and while I may have moments of time, I don't expect to have loads of time.  I'd like to do some prepping ahead and planning for the work week.

One thing I've promised myself I shall absolutely do this week: Get those bulbs and daylily and rhizomes in the ground.  Here I am just longing to buy new plants and I've got several needing to be planted.  I just have to determine where I shall put them and get busy.   I'm going to try to rise early this week so I have time for a wee bit of yard work and then shower and  coffee before my littlest boy arrives each morning.

I find myself in a season of planning and will begin executing what I can.  There is no urgency to my list of things to be done but there is a sense of 'ought to' about them and so I shall do them.  I just need to get it all worked out on paper so I have a way of keeping track of what I'm doing and what I feel is of the most importance, etc.

Now off to plan our meals!

Monday:  While I was planning our meals yesterday afternoon, Katie called and invited us to come to supper.  It was a good meal and so nice to eat one I hadn't cooked myself.  Isn't that the way it always is?  She had made a Honey Mustard Vinaigrette that was delicious and used to glaze chicken on the grill, and she served garlic beans and oan fried potatoes and salad.  Simple food but so delicious.   

I tried a Blueberry (!!) Vanilla coffee last night.    I wouldn't have believed it, but now I know why Mandy in the Making orders a Blueberry Caramel Latte when she goes to Dunkin Donuts.  And by the way, I thought it sounded odd but when Katie offered me a k-cup of it as an option and followed up by saying "If you don't care for it, I'll make you something else after you've tried it..." I said "Oh what the heck!  Let's experiement!"   It was sooo good!

Caleb's nursery was closed 11 days earlier than planned for their summer break because someone knew someone who knew someone who had Covid and they weren't taking any chances.  I am keeping Caleb four days a week.  Bess will take him one day to give me a break.  I knew this was a blessing but after day one I can say it's truly a blessing.   He is such a good baby, truly a good one, but he is one wiggly little fellow.  And picking him up a dozen or more times made me aware of how much I need this daily work out to build up my muscles.   

To be fair though, I worked fairly hard today aside from the boy's care.  During his naps today I tried to work ahead on my meals for the week.  It was awfully nice at the end of day to go in the kitchen and pull out a pasta salad.  I didn't get through by any means with all I wanted to do  but I have a start and I expect to be able to finish my prep work tomorrow morning without a great deal of effort.

Sweetest thing ever is to see those beautiful little hands holding his own bottle.

And bathing a baby is one of my most favorite things in the world.   He got really fussy this evening and I put him in my old tin dishpan and bathed him in just warm water.  He calmed down after that and hummed to himself.

Rain came today and I was happy to see it.  Plants were starting to wilt due to the heat.  Also it cooled things down enough that my air conditioner didn't have to come on as much.  This season of the year that is always a big bonus.

Tuesday:  I was up early this morning and while it's not something I mean to do every single morning (not that early!) it was rather nice to watch the sky change and to enjoy my coffee and Bible in complete peace.   

When I got up, I slipped from our room bringing my clothes with me and went to the guest bath to shower.  I don't go in there that often except to clean it but it's not a bad thing to experience your home in a new way.   When Sam and Bess were living here, Sam replaced the shower head with a larger one and then later bought a curved rod for the shower, as well.  John put up a hook for hanging clothes and two rings to hold towels, one near the shower, one nearer the sink.  I found all in all the experience of showering in that room was quite pleasant with the minor improvements made compared to experiences of the past.  

I might have tenderly held the idea that I'd keep Caleb and get yard work done as well...Let us just lay that down as a pipe dream at the moment.  All my energy this morning went into getting up and having coffee.  Thank goodness I had a breakfast casserole to simply slide into the oven...

Baked my French Toast Casserole which was nothing more than dried bread cubes soaked in milk and egg and topped with cinnamon sugar.  Although I made a half recipe, there was still half a pan leftover which we'll eat another morning.  Good to know I've a second ready prepared heat and eat breakfast for this week.

After Caleb arrived and was fed his breakfast, I put him on the floor to play on a quilt then went into the kitchen to finish my meal prep work.  I cubed sirloin steak and made a marinade to go over it to help tenderize and flavor it.  I also made a yogurt marinade to go over chicken thighs for tonight's supper and planned sides for that meal.  

I took the liquid I'd poured into the sausage pan so I could scrape up the goodness out to the pets bowls after it had cooled.  They seem to like the variety of a little soft food now and then.  I really ought to be freezing this for Maddie's sake but the weather has turned off mild once more.  

Picked my first zinnia this morning...Looked to see if the new seeds I sowed had started to come up but couldn't really tell.  I was hurrying along since I'd told John I was going to the compost and I'd wandered around looking at all the plants.  Even a tiny garden area will grab your attention longer than you'd expect.

Bess called to say she was going off to The Fresh Market to take advantage of the $2.99/pound chicken breasts and ground beef.  Did I want some, too? Yes, please!  It's still the very best price on ground beef around.   She noted that they are now putting just one chicken breast half in each packet instead of the joined boneless whole breasts as they had been doing.   We always cut those in half anyway and then halved the one piece again for a meal so that's all right, I guess.  And it is one way for the store to stretch it.  I was glad they let her get meat for me in a separate order.   I can occasionally find as good a price on boneless skinless breasts at Publix and sometimes cheaper still at Kroger, but never at Aldi.  As for the ground beef, I've yet to find it that price anywhere for good, lean beef.  

Bess needed to feed Millie before leaving the house and it just goes to show that even a lag of half an hour can create a longer list.  Seriously, I had 8 or 9 items on my list by the time she arrived.  I told her that none was a necessity except the meat and the ginger root but I had a list of 'nice if you can find them' items and a couple of splurge items that I felt sure she could get there.  One was a Blueberry flavored coffee.  She did find one called Blueberry Cinnamon Crunch.  I asked for a 1/3-1/2 pound packet of that.  Oh my gracious goodness, it is good!!  I'll save it for my Saturday morning cuppa from here on but I had to sample it this afternoon and as tired as I am I figured the extra caffeine isn't likely to keep me awake, lol.

I also asked for a Darjeeling or Lapsang Souchong loose tea.  I'd discovered quite by accident just yesterday that loose teas tend to be less per ounce than tea bags.  I know this because I added a lovely Peach Tea to my Amazon cart last night after Tea with Friends blogger Angela McRae mentioned it on her blog post.  I'll share more about why I want that particular tea in just a moment.  Anyway, ordering the tin not only nets me a lovely little tin, but more tea for the money.  So Bess compared prices today and brought me a pretty Harney & Sons tin of Lapsang Souchong today.  

That tea and the coffee constituted almost as much money as the meat, but I don't even care...I'll enjoy them a little bit at a time.  It was my splurge for me, from my allowance.  And yes, I do plan to order the Peach Tea, as well.

Now I shall tell you why I am so keen to have the Peach Tea.  A few years ago, in the midst of winter, we were asked to take a lady home from synagogue.  It turned out she lived within a mile of us.  We'd never have known it as, like us, she lived way up a winding field road and was well hidden from the main roads nearby.  Her driveway however, was deeply rutted and truly horribly washed out....  I digress.   The house, like ours was a doublewide but not in nearly as nice a shape.  She explained that they planned to remodel it.  Then she invited us in for tea and laughed gaily when I said I didn't drink hot tea and said "Oh I have coffee, as well!"

The house was stripped bare.  No carpet or tile on the floors, no curtains at the windows, nothing on the walls, no furnishings,.  But she led us to her kitchen which was just a little squared off G sort of shape on the backside of the house.  

As we came through the empty living room and stepped into the empty dining room there was a big wide doorway off to our right and another room that was almost completely bare, save a huge white iron bed sitting smack in the middle of the room covered in white eyelet, white lacy linens and white comforter and pillow shams.  

The kitchen was a kitchen, not remarkable, at all. However, the den which opened off the end of that  kitchen  and was at the end of the back of the house, was simply glorious.  There was a dark wood on the walls, and a creamy white sofa and armchairs with an array of amethyst toned pillows. The coffee table was covered with African violets in the same shades of purples and pinks as the pillows and sat on a lush oriental carpet in the same rich tones.   There were built in bookcases on the end wall with a big picture window between them on the west facing wall and a fireplace on the interior wall with a mantel filled with orchids.  There was a second huge picture window facing north, which happened to look out over a huge natural spring fed pond.   

The room was stunning.  To this day, I recall it in every detail.  The sun poured into the room and warmed it and the pond outside sparkled blue and lovely in it's red clay banks.   As I was admiring the room and the view, she held out to me her bag of tea and it was the blackest, richest tea I'd ever seen.  I picked up a bit of leaf and it was almost sticky with flavoring and smelled like summer peaches.  She'd picked it up in a tea shop somewhere in her travels and said it was delicious iced as well as hot.  She made herself a cup while our coffee brewed and honestly I can't tell you if the coffee she made for us was good or not. All  I could smell was her tea and it was marvelous.  

I felt, in standing in that room, that much as I didn't really know the woman herself for various reasons I won't go into, there had to be something to her to have created such a marvelous room in her largely barren home. She moved some time after our visit to a different part of the state but that room has stayed with me ever since.   It was almost like I'd seen a secret part of her that was  as guarded and hidden from view as the house itself.    I really think she's why I started giving hot tea a try here and there until I found one that I felt I could like well enough to drink because I was sure that drinking tea had some play in how she made that room so lovely.  

We came home the long way round this past Sunday afternoon after we'd stopped at the dollar store on our way back home from church and went by the driveway that led to her former home and I thought about that glorious room and that lovely tea...  So, Monday, Angela mentioned this tea and showed a photo of it in the tin,  I was sold on it right away. I went right to Amazon  to pop it in my cart.

Now I hear a little boy awakening from his nap, so off I go!

Wednesday:  Katie had to get a prescription picked up and discovered on arrival at the store that it hadn't even been filled.  She was late coming to pick up Caleb.  Quite late...

Now that's fine, but what was interesting was Caleb's reaction to her being late.  He always gets a bit fretful anyway towards time for her normal arrival, partly due to his being terribly sleepy by that point o fthe day.  Last night however, as the usual time came and went, he began to wail in earnest but now and then he'd stop, look at the clock (SERIOUSLY) and then towards the kitchen where Katie normally enters and then he'd start wailing again.   John finally put on an album he listens to at home with his mama that puts him right to sleep and all was well for about 45 minutes.  Then he woke and realized she hadn't come still and it was "my mama, my mama" until she arrived some 20 minutes later with a continued stop now and then to peer hard at the clock on the wall and then craning to see the kitchen.

I was glad we'd gone ahead and eaten our own supper about 6pm last night.  We typically wait until 7p but we were very hungry and it turned out Grampa was the only acceptable sleeping spot in the waiting period.

Then after Katie left, the storm that was threatening came in full force and pounded us with rain, snapped wicked lightning bolts and shook the windows with thunder.  When it was all over, the electric went off.  Funny how it's almost always AFTER the storm when that happens.  We went to bed in pitch dark and I was shaken awake by light coming on and smoke alarms beeping to share their blessed reconnection to electric power once more, sigh.

Up early this morning and before we were through the baby's breakfast the morning was very nearly wrecked for three households with three temperamental women.  We got ourselves all squared away though and made nice, each apologizing in turn as we well ought to have done.  It's just fact that some mornings start out rocky but we all all know it's the women of the home who set the tone and we all adjusted that tone mighty quick.

I thought I'd share this week's meals with you all.  I can't recall for the life of me what we ate on Saturday besides the corn fritters we had at lunch.   
Sunday:  We skipped breakfast in favor of getting to church on time. We had Chili Vegetable Soup  to which I added black beans and corn (all from the freezer) for our lunch.  John ate the last of the corn fritters with it. and then dinner at Katie's house.   
Monday: we had Breakfast sandwiches for morning,  hot dogs for lunch and for supper we had Tuna Pasta Salad. 
TuesdayBreakfast casserole, Smoked Beef Sausage
                  Turkey Sandwiches, Chips
                   Curried Chicken, Rice, Zucchini and Peppers
WednesdayApplesauce Muffins, Cheese Cubes
                       Tomato Soup, Quesadilla with cheese and sausage
                        Poor Man's Lasagna, Garlic Bread, Salad
The pay off of all that work on Monday has been meals that are relatively easy and need only a little cooking.  The preparation was well worth it.

Thursday:  The morning started out well enough and really it's not been a bad day at all but I got a bit frustrated this morning when I went to log into my bank account and I kind of couldn't because the bank changed hands and switched our security questions back to old ones and didn't recognize my form of the answers.  Argh!!   All I wanted to do was reconcile my checkbook but we had to jump through nine hoops and follow a list of mandates that changed with each new security step.  It took us about 45 minutes to get it all squared away once again and I guess it's something about technology that for once we managed on our own without calling anyone, but there might have been hairpulling and name calling that wasn't directed at each other.

That was not the way I planned to start my work day!

Today is my 'day off' so to speak.  Caleb has spent the day with his Aunt Bess, whom he adores and who adores him.  Those two laugh and giggle themselves silly just looking at one another.   And then there are cousins, one of whom is close to his own age.

I'll have him for a couple of hours between Bess going off to work and Katie coming in but it has indeed been a day off.  

We ran minor errands this morning.  I went into the post office, where minding the six feet between folks rule meant two could be in the main room and the line from there was one in the lobby and then waiting outside the doors.  Our post office is small, though larger than the one in the town northeast of us.   I don't know why waiting six feet further away from the next person in line seems to make the wait feel three times as long, but it does.  Ridiculous, isn't it, to feel it's longer?  I think it's because keeping our distance means we're less likely to chat with one another as we'd typically do here in the local office.

Then we went to the bank, where I went to the door to go in only to find the doors locked.  The lights were on, so what was the deal?  In reading the hours on the door, it certainly ought to have been open.  That's when I saw the tiny little sign just above my eye level that said the lobby was open to appointments only...This branch has never once in all the 24 years we've done business there had six people inside it at one time and it's a BIG lobby.  However, no one allowed in.  I went back to the car and we did our business at the ATM which isn't half so nice as the clerks who hail you by name. 

We had lunch at our favorite restaurant.  I have to share this too...And by the way, John said I would.  "This will go into your blog," he told me.  "You'll have to mention it..."   It's not a major life event but it was another little monkey wrench moment.  

We both decided yesterday what we'd eat today.  I went online and looked at the menu and was pleased to note they'd brought back one of my favorite entrees on the menu.  Or so I thought.  I found out today when I placed my order that they had brought back part of it, but had decided to drop the main component of the dish,  in my opinion,  which was a delicious wine reduction sauce aka 'gravy' per the waitress.   

When I placed my order, she looked at me and said "You know it doesn't come with gravy anymore..."  "What?"   "The gravy...they stopped serving it with that entree.  And we don't have gravy in any other form to give you.   In fact, there is NO gravy in the kitchen anywhere!"  "What's the point of the chopped beef without the sauce?"  "All I can tell you is they paid someone about a million dollars to decide we had to do away with the gravy!  You want to order something else?  Everybody that asks usually does..."  All I could do was nod.  After all if the star of the show not only is out but her part is written out as well...why bother paying the price to go to the show? 

Our dinner was delicious as it usually is in that particular restaurant.  Sometimes we do go other places but we had a talk not too long ago about what we considered the most worthwhile restaurants for our money.  I think we quickly got it down to three that we always enjoy a great deal and this place was at the top.  

So today we decided that once a month we will go to one of those few places.  And then we'll try to squeeze in a picnic somewhere along the line every month as well.  We agreed that even if we buy sandwiches to carry with us, it's never an expensive date and we always enjoy it. You know we must because we've had picnics on days so hot we slid off the benches and so cold we huddled close next to each other wrapped in everything we could find.  We've picnicked in rain and in the car when we couldn't find a place to park that wasn't crowded.  

While we were eating  today, there was country music playing over the in house station.  Last time we were in they played one country song and then one pop song, but maybe the same expert who chose to do away with the wine reduction sauce also decided it should be only country?   I don't care.  I don't go for the music anyway.   One of the songs played was called "Better Man".   I didn't know it,  but I've gone to look it up since I got home.  

The song actually said something that caught my attention and it made me think about my first marriage and how often I waited for my ex-husband to grow into being a better man, one whom I could respect and admire.  Some people just don't have it in them to ever be different from what they are.   I thought about John, too,  and how glad I am that he's always been so earnest in his efforts to improve any fault he found in himself.  He's not the man I met 28 years ago, nor the man I married two years after that, nor even the man he was ten years ago.  He's always striving to be a better person, husband, father, grandfather, partner, etc.   I was humbled in that moment at how hard he works at being better in all he does and so when we left the restaurant I asked him if he'd paid attention to the song.  Of course, he hadn't but I explained to him the basics of it and said "I just wanted to thank you for being a better man."   

It seems something like that would be easy to say, but for me it's not.  I can show my love any number of ways but to vocalize it makes me stumble and struggle.  The words at my disposal aren't nearly enough to incorporate all I truly feel nor to express how deeply I feel it. And faced with their utter inadequacy, I say very little.   But sometimes, you just have to say what you're thinking and it was important to let him know I've noticed how he's always trying to improve who he is and that it is appreciated.  

Our next to last stop today was at the discount grocery in the next county over.  It's not like those deeply discounted stores some shoppers have in their areas (I think Lana mentioned one in her area).  It is a fair priced place with a lot of their own brands or lesser known ones and your total at the register is marked up by 10%, but it is a good grocery overall.  I had planned to buy 5 dozens eggs which were $5.49 but the one package of 60 left in the case had several broken eggs.  I opted to buy two 2 1/2 dozen flats for $2.98 each.  The price difference is almost, but not quite 1c, but still within the 9c each range.  The fraction is at the higher end with this option but still not a bad price.   

I needed little else, opting to pick up just one package of the turkey sausage patties, since I had 1 in the freezer at home.  I did walk by the canned meats and noted that still no turkey spam...In fact all the cans of Spam this week were the little half sized cans.  One day perhaps Spam will reappear and at an affordable price once again.  Funny it took a world war to put it on the market and a viral pandemic to take it off...

I picked up a couple of items for Bess and Sam while I was in the store.  We dropped those off on our way home.  I offered to take the baby back home with me but he was sleeping.   Even if he'd been awake I don't think Bess would have given him up.  She was over the moon this morning that he was to be hers for the day, lol.   She walked over with him later on in the afternoon, closer to time for her to leave for her job.   She said he was clingy today and I can attest that he was.  He went to sleep twice in my arms which he hasn't done since he was born!  He's always preferred his reclining seat or bed to being held while he's sleeping but not today.

I bought a blue plumbago today at this market.  I have a pot of soil ready to plant it and will get it in planted in this weekend.  I also walked about looking at plants and picked up a broken stem of coleus and two of moss rose.  I am going to try and root those.   I  won't actively break anything off a plant but if something has been broken in watering and left on the ground, I feel it's quite all right to help myself and try my luck.   Does anyone else do this?  If I'm at a business that has a particularly lovely plant I'll ask before harvesting seeds or take a small portion as a cutting.  It's just plain good courtesy.

I noted as we were leaving that they had plenty of red Penstemon which I enjoyed greatly last year so I know which plant I'll add to my garden next.  I have another pot where I can plant that one...This year I may have to add slowly but that's okay.  I'm doing my best to build a pretty yard, one that will attract bees and hummingbirds and butterflies.

John had gone off to mow the yard over there and came in later with a broken mower.  Monkey wrench!  Let's hope that tomorrow is free of monkey antics!

Katie had a meeting to attend after work and Littlest Boy did his clock watching thing again tonight which is beyond funny to me.  How he knows to look at the clock on the wall is beyond me but he will, every single time and then crane to look into the kitchen.  He was beyond ill tempered when she came in last night but even so he's not a screaming sort of child.  He just whimpers and blubbers.  I'm so glad he's such a happy boy overall.

Friday:  A little later start to our day and I have to say I was glad of it.  We slept just a wee bit later and still had time for first coffee before Caleb arrived for the day.  He hasn't been the happiest baby this week.  Too much change and teething on top of that, but he was in a grand mood when he came in today.  Katie said he woke full of smiles.

I hurried about after giving him breakfast and getting him dressed.  I started bread in the bread machine and made muffins for breakfasts over the coming weekend and week.  I cleaned and cleaned and neatened things up and when Caleb went down for a nap, I went outdoors to claim the one Stargazer Lily that bloomed and got bent down by heavy rains.  It smells so lovely!  I must get more of these.  I find I like the Lily family of flowers quite well.

I snipped basil and lemon thyme which I plan to use in various ways this weekend.  I clipped zinnia flowers.   I can't tell if any of the new seeds 'took' or not.  I had so much salty sweat in my eyes when I went out that I could barely see.  The plants that were established are looking very healthy and starting to produce blooms which makes me happy.  I checked the progress of the gardenia which appears to be growing well and deadheaded the chrysanthemums and hydrangea.  

Here's a look at my kitchen window this morning after my little 'harvest' from the yard.

I've planned meals for the weekend.  One is a carry over from this week since we ate out yesterday and had next to nothing but what we could scratch up for supper.    Tonight we'll eat the last of the meals planned for this week.  I'm glad I have the weekend thought out because my next task is to figure out next week's meals.

Caleb is playing on a quilt on the floor while Grandpa lies there on same quilt.  He's quite content to roll about as long as John stays there.  

How was your week?   Share with us!

(C) Terri Cheney