Weekend Getaway to Alabama

My oldest son turned 30 this past Monday.  I can hardly believe it.  I was 30 when I had him.  He and his brother (who is three years younger) both went to the same college in Alabama.  They studied hard, became engineers, and fell in love with their little college town of Huntsville, AL.  They found jobs there and stayed.  I’m glad they’re happy there as I like Huntsville too.  But I guess I thought they would always come back home after college.  Like I did.  Instead, they’re 130 miles away from home and we don’t see them nearly as often as we’d like.  Occasionally, my husband and I will make the almost 2 1/2 hour drive to go visit them.  We went this past weekend bearing birthday cake.  We hadn’t seen them since July 20th, when they both came home for their grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration.  I miss those boys.  You may be thinking that 130 miles is really not all that far, and it’s not really,  but it’s far enough for me.  I went to a college in the same state but a different city.  It was only 40 miles away from home and about a 45 minute drive.  I was a homebody and  I wanted to go NO further away than that.  I didn’t have a car and I felt like I may as well been 1,000 miles away from home instead of 40.  I was homesick the entire four years.  I never adapted well to college life or got over my homesickness.  I wish I had.

We had a nice visit with both sons.  Saturday night we took our two sons and our daughter-in-law out for a birthday celebration dinner (he chose Logan’s).  Then we headed back to our oldest son’s house for birthday cake and ice cream.

When my husband and I go to Huntsville, we always stay at the Marriott which is on the property of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.  We’ve always liked staying there but it’s in the middle of being renovated now.  It’s gone carpetless and has the laminate gray flooring that seems to be ever so popular now and I see everywhere I go.  It looks like wood planks (easier to clean than carpet I’m sure).  All the bedding is white (easier to bleach I guess).  There were no pictures on the walls – just a mural above the bed.  There’s no longer any night stand tables and now there are just floating shelves that come out of the wall.  No table lamps by the beds but lights that are suspended from metal poles on the ceiling.  The sinks were elevated bowls and there are no tubs now, just walk in glass showers.  The rooms were clean but looked a little drab and needed some color in my opinion.  I thought of an old friend I met at church many, many years ago who told me her mother used to say that every room in your house needs a splash of the color red.  She said even if it’s just one single rose, have a little red in every room.  I think there’s something to that.

Anyway, they put us up on the 6th floor and we enjoyed our view of the rockets at the Space and Rocket Center.  There was a time when our boys were really into space and we read tons of books about space.  Both boys attended Space Camp here many years ago and so it brought back happy memories of that.  They were in heaven. That view from our hotel room reminded me of why our kids both ended up in college in Huntsville.

The view from our hotel room balcony

My husband and I joke when we’re in Huntsville, that if you get lost while driving there, that all you have to do is look for the Saturn V replica and it will guide you home.  Ask us how we know.  I call it Huntsville’s guiding beacon.  Just look for the rocket and drive towards it and you’ll find your way.  The rockets are undergoing major cosmetic renovations after 50 years and we noticed that the monstrous Saturn V replica was not lit Saturday night when we were driving from our son’s house to the hotel.  Huntsville’s guiding beacon was not doing its job!  I’m guessing it had something to do with the renovations.  The red flashing lights warning airplanes were functioning but the rocket itself was not bathed in its glorious white light and so our view at night from that hotel balcony that we looked forward to, was not to be.  We enjoyed the view during the day though.

Anyway, our trip was very short but it was good seeing our progeny.  We didn’t really have anything planned to do on this trip since it was such a short visit.  Our goal was just to spend some time with our boys and celebrate our oldest son turning 30.  My husband and oldest son attempted to repair some electrical problems at his house, so there was a trip to Home Depot while we were there ( I don’t think we ever go to Huntsville without making a trip to Home Depot or Lowes).  He had a lightning strike several weeks back that fried his TV, his cable box, his garage door, and X-Box that he watches movies on.  He’s still finding things that are messed up from that lightning strike.

Like I said, I miss those boys.  My mother doesn’t realize how lucky she was that all three of her children came back home after college and all lived close to her.  She always told me that girls tend to stay closer to home than boys.  I know that’s not always the case.  Hubby and I stopped at three different antique stores on the drive home.  I came away with a teal green candy dish, a blue crackle glass bud vase and a beautiful cobalt blue bottle.

This week, we’re enduring a heat wave (though actually this summer has seemed like one long heat wave).  All week long, our temps will be in the upper 90s with heat indexes in the triple digits.  The heat index as I type this is 104 and supposed to get up to 105.  It’s miserably hot out there.  I heard a meteorologist say that we might break some weather records this week and that our July weather is continuing on through September.  No sign of fall here yet!

Stay cool.


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Virtual Coffee #7

Am I the only person who drinks hot coffee when it’s over 1oo degrees outside?  I was raised in Tennessee and have lived here my entire life.  Lord knows it gets plenty hot here  this time of year and this year was no exception.  We’ve had multiple days with a heat index of 107 and I believe one day the heat index was 110!  But yes, I drink coffee on those days and sometimes I do believe my husband thinks I’m nuts.  He’s not a coffee drinker.  At. all.  He will drink hot lemon tea occasionally but ONLY in the winter.  This time of year you just about always see him with a glass of ice cold sweet tea and on days when he does yard work, he’s chugging the Gatorade.  For a man who’s had multiple kidney stones (five to be exact) he isn’t a big water drinker.  This girl is ready for some fall weather and hoping we get it and it’s not like last year where it went straight from hot weather to cold weather.  Straight from the air conditioner to the heater!

If we were having coffee today, I’d mention that I’ve been surprised to see the number of blogs I’ve read lately where people are celebrating fall and saying things like how glad they are that fall is here!  I was so confused by this that I had to go check out my calendar to see if I had missed its official arrival.  According to my calendar, the first day of fall isn’t until September 23rd, which is easy to remember because that’s my youngest son’s wedding anniversary.  Maybe these other bloggers live in an area that is already experiencing fall like weather.  Or maybe their leaves are already changing.  I’ve had NO hint of fall’s arrival other than the stores putting their fall decor out, but that happened way back in July!  I guess some people consider Labor Day or schools starting back as the official end of summer.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that it dawned on me the other day during my afternoon walk, that this is the 8th year that I’ve stood on the sidelines watching all the back-to-school hoopla and didn’t have a child to get ready to go back to school.  I still miss those days.  I miss all of it.  I miss the shopping for school supplies and school clothes, I miss meeting new teachers, and teacher conferences.  I miss my days of being a room mother (which was just about every single year), I miss band competitions, and I might even miss seeing kids get all dressed up for prom.  This is the time of year I remember first days of kindergarten, middle school and high school.  I remember taking my oldest son to college in Alabama and how he was so excited and happy to be there and so I didn’t cry because I was so happy that he was happy.  I remember taking my youngest son to college and fought back the tears and the lump in my throat when I told him goodbye.  I didn’t cry in front of him.  But when I got in the car to make that long drive home, I cried on and off the entire 2 1/2 hour trip home.  I cried because leaving him there meant I had an empty nest and I just wasn’t ready for that yet.   I felt like my days of being a mother had suddenly and prematurely come to an end.  I had wanted nothing more than to become a mother and now those days were over and it was time to move on with the next stage of my life.

My husband and I still like to attend high school football games at our sons’ old high school alma mater.  Go Bears!  Even though our kids have long been graduated and live in a different state, we go.  As my husband says, there’s just something about a high school football game!  I have to agree.  I love the atmosphere and the school spirit, the grilled concession burgers, the cheers, and the beat of the marching bands playing the fight song.  I still get cold chills when the band plays the National Anthem during pregame as it takes me back to my marching band days.

If we were having coffee today, I’d probably share the very weird dreams I’ve had recently.  I don’t know what is bringing these very strange dreams on but I’ve had some doozies lately.  Do you ever have just crazy weird dreams that leave you scratching your head in the morning?  The other night, I dreamed I was back in vet school in student surgery and I was performing a spay on a large blonde chow dog.  Back in vet school, when doing student surgeries, there were usually four students to a surgical team.  One student was the main surgeon, one was the assistant surgeon, one was the anesthetist, and one was the gopher (the gopher’s job was to get the surgeons the things they needed, like more suture material or more sponges, etc.).  In the dream, I was the main surgeon but had no assistant surgeon, no gopher and no anesthesiologist and the dog I was working on, just got up off the surgery table when I stepped away to get some suture,  walked outside into traffic, and got hit by a car!  Why in the world I dreamed that I will never know.  It was one of those very vivid and colorful dreams and I was literally sweating when I woke up from that one!  The next night I dreamed I was back in high school on the first day of classes and I couldn’t find any of my classrooms.  I went to a very large comprehensive high school but finding my classrooms was never a problem.  In the dream I stop a teacher and ask for directions and I’m directed to a white water rafting area which is essentially a third floor that’s been flooded with rapids.  I’m given an inner tube and told that I must pass the white water rafting course to be able to attend school there.  There were monster hills to go down and the water was nothing but rushing, turbulent swirls.  I’m placed on an inner tube and pushed down a hill and I’m terrified I’m going to drown, so I pull out my cell phone and call my sister (because that’s what we all would do in that situation, huh?).  I tell her I think I’m going to die.  By drowning.  And then I woke up.  What a crazy dream!  Sometimes, I’d love to have my dreams analyzed.

If we were having coffee today, I’d probably ask you if you’ve read any good books lately.  I’ve read several good ones this summer.  My favorite was Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.   It’s both a murder mystery and a coming of age novel.  I usually don’t read murder mysteries as I’m a big weenie and don’t like being scared, but I had heard so many good things about this book.  So I read it and I wasn’t sorry.

I just finished The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.  This book was interesting to say the least.  It was narrated by the main character who is autistic (It never says but I’m assuming he had Asperger’s as he was a math and physics genius but had major problems dealing with human emotions and had underdeveloped social skills).  In the first chapter, the boy finds a neighborhood dog who has been murdered (someone stabbed it with a garden fork) and this autistic boy uses his math and physics skills to try to solve the mystery of who killed the dog.  It’s interesting to say the least and this book really takes you inside the mind of an autistic person.  I liked it.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that my niece just started her third year of veterinary school and that’s hard for me to believe.  It seems she just started and I blinked my eyes and she’s already finished two years!  Here’s a picture of her in the early summer with the fish she caught.  It was a whopper!

I found out back in July that I’m going to be a great aunt (again).  My other niece (the twin sister to the niece shown above) is expecting a baby in January and she and her husband are very excited.  I am excited for them and I’m looking forward to a new baby in the family to snuggle!

Well, thanks for having coffee with me.


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Things I’m Loving These Days

Landscaping Animal Figurines

I went walking around the yard several weeks ago and noticed that many of my landscape animals have succumbed to aging and are worn, cracked, crumbling, or faded.  I decided it was time to part with some of them and replace them with new ones.  Here are some of the new critters.

I couldn’t resist this one as I have a gray tabby and a blonde tabby and this reminds me of my sweet boys.

One of my favorite hobbies is pig collecting. I just love this little piggy’s boots!

A friend gave this cat and mouse statue to me for my birthday.

Handcrafted Goat Milk Soap

I’ve never used goat milk soap before and a friend gifted this to me  on a recent visit.  It has a nice aroma (it’s Blackberry Sage) and I have been pleasantly surprised at how creamy and lathery it is!   I like this soap!

Blenko Pinch Decanter Bottles

The older I get, the more I love colored glass.  I recently purchased my third Blenko pinch decanter.  My mother owned a ruby red Blenko decanter that I now have.  It did not have a stopper but after years and years of searching for a ruby stopper (and a Blenko dealer telling me that ruby was the most popular and that I would probably never in a million years find one), I found one (!) and it was a perfect fit! I loved it so much that I purchased a second ruby decanter just like it because the price was just too good to pass up AND it came complete with a stopper.   I found an emerald green bottle on eBay for a great price (with a stopper).  The green bottle has a residue in it (probably why it was listed at such a great price!).  Hard as I’ve tried, I can’t get the residue out.  I’m not sure what it is. I’ve tried vinegar and soda which didn’t get it out.  I tried an Efferdent denture tablet as someone suggested, to no avail.  Someone else told me to put dishwashing detergent in it with warm water and to add rice and then gently swirl it around.  It didn’t work.  I display the red and green bottles in my living room on a marble top table that sits in front of one of my windows.  The blue bottle will go in my guest bedroom that is getting a makeover and being painted and decorated in peacock colors.  I think it will look beautiful sitting on a white shelf!

I couldn’t capture the beauty of this bottle in a photo, but trust me, it’s gorgeous!


My mother’s red ruby Blenko decanter


The emerald green Blenko decanter with some sort of residue inside which makes it always look dusty and dirty.


American Leather Co. Yellow Crossbody Handbag

This was a birthday gift from a good friend.  I love the color…. yellow is my favorite color!

DSCF0800 (2)

Elephant Sitter Figurines

I came to own this three piece figurine by mistake.  My mother-in-law collects elephants.  I saw this in a catalog and thought of her so decided to order her one.  To my surprise, two were sent and when I went back and looked at my order, it was for quantity 2.  Oops!  Not sure if it was my mistake, or the company’s.  Needless to say, I kept the extra one!  I think it’s adorable but my cats also like it too and want to swat at it.  So finding a “safe” place for this mama elephant and her clinging calves has been a challenge!

Elephant shelf sitter figurine

Farmer Pig Figurines

My sister found these at an antique mall.  I collect pigs and these are perfect for my pig kitchen.  I haven’t yet decided what I will put in them, but will change their wares  around for the various seasons.  I think these little piggies will be hauling pumpkins this fall…  And maybe some little pinecones for  Christmas!



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Why I Love Publix

Today is a major milestone for my husband, Rick.

It’s the big 60!

Air, Balloon, Balloons, Birthday, Bright

July is birthday month in our family.  Hubby’s birthday is today, mine is 6 days after his, his mother’s is 4 days after mine, and our daughter-in-law’s is the last day of the month on the 31st.  To say that we get a tad bit burned out on birthday cake and put on a few pounds in July is an understatement.  By the time our wedding anniversary rolls around August 2nd, we are caked out.

This year, Rick and I decided we didn’t want big cakes for our birthdays.  So when we were in Publix the other day, our mouths watering from all the delectable goodies in the bakery case, we spotted the perfect sized cake.  A mini buttercream cake which was 5 inches in diameter which appeared to have about 4-6 servings.  I ordered his cake and told the bakery employee to put a blue icing border around the edge.  Since a five inch cake isn’t really big enough to write Happy Birthday Rick, I told her to just write Rick, and then underneath to put a 60 or 60th.  She liked the 60th idea.

We stopped off at the store this afternoon to pick  the cake up and were carrying it to the checkout when my husband said, “Did you check to even see what it looked like?”  Though I just about always do that, I had not on this one.  How could they mess up a little five inch cake with one name and a number?  They had the receipt taped over the little clear window in the bakery box.  I stopped and lifted the receipt.  There plain as day, in blue icing, was the name:



I stood there staring at that cake with furrowed brow.  I showed it to hubby, my brain quietly pondering who the hell Rick Goth was.  Hubby looked at the order form and realized the order taker had written 60th but made her 6 look like a G while making all the other letters the same size and running them all together.  For some reason, this just started getting funnier to me.  My husband and I walked on to the checkout, pondered whether we should take it back and have it corrected or just let it all go.  After all, we would soon be devouring it.  But then there was the matter of photos.   We decided to buy a small tube of blue icing and just fix the defect ourselves.  We found the icing and went to the self-checkout.

There happened to be an employee standing nearby who smiled at us and so I carried the cake to her and I said, “Ma’am, what does this cake look like it says to you??”  Without batting an eye, she said loudly, “Rick Goth.”  I laughed and said, “Okay, thank you, it’s supposed to be Rick with a 60th underneath.  She smiled, then laughed, and took the cake from my hands.  Laughing, and seeing our little tube of blue icing that we were about to purchase to fix THEIR mistake, she said, “Oh NO! They WILL fix this for you!”  She walked to customer service, and showed the cake to two different employees.  She asked them both what the cake said.  Both said, “Rick Goth” (of course)! When they realized the error, they laughed too.

And so back to the bakery it went.  They retrieved a man believed to be the bakery manager, from a back office who came out and donned a cap, put on gloves, and looking like he was about to perform major surgery, immediately went to work.  We heard whispers of “Rick Goth” and a few snorts of laughter.  The baker added an apostrophe “s” to Rick and scraped off the little “o”, replaced it with a big “O” and then underlined the th, extending the h below the line.  He didn’t really do anything to make the G look like a 6.  By this time, I was just finding the whole thing kinda funny myself and was ready to take Rick Goth and go home.  I’m kinda wishing now we would have left it Rick Goth.  Hubby and I were told to go to Customer Service.  The lady behind the customer service desk scanned our cake and said, “There will be no charge, and we hope you can forgive us for our mistake!  We are so very sorry!”  It appeared she was trying not to laugh.  We told her it was no problem at all and we were more than willing to pay for the cake.  But she would not hear of it.  And that right there is why I love Publix.  They always do right by their customers.


I sure wish I had a before photo but I don’t.
Rick Goth becomes Rick’s 60th…. well sort of? 

Needless to say, I’ve called Hubby “Rick Goth” all afternoon and all evening.  And now, I’m wondering, in six days, if we get my cake with my name and 60th on it (yes, it’s the big 60th for me too), if I will become Mrs. Gail Goth.  I’ll keep you posted.


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After the Rains

I took a stroll in the backyard just before dusk the other night after some late afternoon rain showers.  The frogs were creating their symphony chorus (and quite loudly I might add!) and the first few lightning bugs were starting to appear.  My hydrangeas are loving all this rain, and I, in turn, am loving them.


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Summer Reading- 2019

What makes for good summer reading?  Perhaps a little more romance?  Books about summer?  The beach?  I guess it’s different for everybody.  Normally, I prefer reading nonfiction.  But in the summer, I like to throw in a little fiction.  This summer, we have some home projects planned –  stripping wallpaper, painting, and installing hardwood flooring in a couple of bedrooms – so I’ve shaved down my list a little, thinking I’m not going to have as much reading time as I’d like.  But that’s okay.  Here are my choices.

The Confident Woman: Start Today Living Boldly and Without Fear– by Joyce Meyer 

A friend (who knows I like Joyce Meyer) gave me this copy she found at Goodwill.  I’ve never found a Joyce Meyer book I didn’t like and so far, this one’s no exception.

Tuesdays With Morrie:  an old man, a young man, and life’s greatest lesson– by Mitch Albom

This is a reread and a favorite book of mine.  I read this book many years ago and it was one I couldn’t stop thinking about.  After all these years, it’s still one of my top ten favorite books.  Looking forward to rereading it and enjoying it again.

Searching for Sunday: loving, leaving, and finding the church– by Rachel Held Evans

I’ve never read anything by Rachel Held Evans but a few of her books have been on my to-read list for a while now.  I know her recent unexpected death at the age of 37 shook up the Christian blogging world.  Rachel was a fellow Episcopalian and also a fellow Tennessean.  I’ve heard good things about her books and so this is one of two of her books I’ve picked to read this summer.

Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and loving the Bible Again– by Rachel Held Evans

The second Rachel Held Evans book to read this summer is a book that the title and cover alone makes me want to read.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time– by Mark Haddon

This is another book that I’ve had on my to-read list for quite some time.  It’s about an autistic boy who investigates the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog.  And that right there is about all I know about it.

Fahrenheit 451– by Ray Bradbury 

This is also a reread.  This book has been on our bookshelf since it was on our sons’ summer reading lists back when they were in middle school.  I think I read it with one of them but in all honesty, I don’t remember a lot about it.

Where the Crawdads Sing– by Delia Owens

Though I don’t usually like murder mysteries, I’ve heard too many good things about this book to pass it by.  I’ve had some friends recommend it and I’ve read a lot of good reviews about it.

Heaven- by Randy Alcorn

This book came out about two years before my mother passed away and I’ve wanted to read it ever since.  I saw it on sale recently at a LifeWay Christian store and decided it would be part of my summer reading.

What are you reading this summer?  Have you read any of these and did you like them?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and also recommendations for any other books you’ve read or heard about.  Happy reading! 


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Father’s Day

My father has been gone for 25 years now (that doesn’t seem possible)!  He died in 1994 after a two year fight with colon cancer.  I still miss my daddy and always will.   He was a great man, a gentle man, a caring soul, and just a great dad.  Words could never express how much I loved that man or how much I miss him.  I’ve written about him here and here, and in scattered other places across my blog.  Today, more words just don’t feel adequate.

So here’s a few Father’s Day quotes I really like.

It’s only when you grow up and step back from him — or leave him for your own home — it’s only then that you can measure his greatness and fully appreciate it.  Margaret Truman

“A father is neither an anchor to hold us back nor a sail to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way.” Unknown

“I am not ashamed to say that no man I ever met was my father’s equal, and I never loved any other man as much.”  Hedy Lamarr

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: He believed in me.”  Jim Valvano

“A father is someone you look up to no matter how tall you grow.”  Unknown

“The only thing better than having you for a husband is our children having you for a dad.”  Unknown

“Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance.”  Ruth E. Renkel

“I think my mom put it best. She said, ‘Little girls soften their daddy’s hearts.'”  Paul Walker

“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.”  Billy Graham

“Daddies don’t just love their children every now and then, it’s a love without end.”  George Straight

“Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes.”  Gloria Naylor

Happy Father’s Day!


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