Several weeks ago I left a comment on a blog I've followed for a long time: My Little Corner of the World. Mari had been asked to review a children's book.
I was incredulous when as a consequence of leaving the comment on that particular post, I won a copy of the book.
I don't normally win stuff. It's not that I'm unlucky; I'm just relatively uneventful.
Anyway. The title of the book is Would a Worm Go on a Walk?
Naturally I was excited, since I have Dagny to read to, although at age two and generally so active she'd make a worm in hot ashes appear stationary, she isn't exactly capable of sitting through a whole story.
Peppa Pig videos keep her glued to the spot; books, not so much. Yet.
Next week Allissa will be visiting and I'm pretty sure her compelling storytelling skills will hold Dagny longer than mine ever could.
But Dagny loves to climb the stairs to the landing where the book is on display in a bookcase. We take the dust jacket off so she won't tear it, and she lugs the book around.
The message of the story is sweet, all the more so because it glorifies God our Creator. The illustrations are darling and inspire Dagny to babble happily as she turns the pages.
I was glad to learn that the author, Hannah Hall, has written several books. I plan to buy more of her titles for my grandchildren.
Meanwhile, thanks again, Miss Mari. From Dagny and from me too.
And that is all for now.
Happy Friday :: Happy Weekend
Henry turned eighty-four on eight-four. Henry's been married to my mother for over thirty-three years. He's a family treasure so when it's time to fete him, we do it up right.
It was a week ago Saturday and I'd planned a pretty good meal topped off by a store-bought chocolate cake.
Melanie was with us for a few days and she helped me do the shopping and pick out the dessert.
We were also drawn to these cute drinking glasses -- real glass -- in that most marvelous of colors, teal, with darling red tops and happy striped straws. I told Melly to put them in our basket.
Look at that butterfly! I mean, it's a one-way ticket to Cutesville. Am I right? We served two flavors of lemonade with the meal.
Afterwards, when it was time to slice the cake, Henry patiently posed for the OBP: Official Birthday Portrait.
I don't know why he didn't exactly smile there because Henry's a pretty easy-going fellow.
Anyway what you need to know is, right after I took this series of pictures, I picked up the cake stand and walked with it to the other end of the table where the serving tool and the party plates were.
You see that gold cardboard disc the cake is sitting on? The one that came right out of the clear plastic carrier that came from the store?
Well. As I was walking, it slid off my cake stand. And the cake went right along with it.
By the time I realized what had happened, everyone was pretty much laughing at me.
But you won't believe: The cake fell straight down to the floor on that cardboard disc and didn't flip over or anything.
In other words, none of it touched my (very clean) floor.
It was only slightly the worse for wear in that some of the icing had been jolted from the sides.
While Audrey and Andrew cleaned chocolate frosting off the floor, I served the cake. It wore a bewildered, somewhat indignant, faintly porcine expression.
But we ate it and all pronounced it good. No harm, no foul.
Meanwhile back before that little confection-centric drama, Henry had smiled when he switched the order of his candles.
When you get to be a certain age, sometimes you can do that and it comes out in your favor.
Let that sink in. Join me in wishing Henry a Happy Birthday and many more. And don't forget to smile.
You may recall that in the past, I have struggled to draw a bead on a hummingbird feeder that actually works.
As in, both feeds the wee winged beasties while not dripping.
I've had the partly-plastic Perky Pet pinch waist kind.
It looked cute but leaked like a sieve.
I've had the glass mason-type jar embossed with the lovely word Southern on the side.
The hummers went hungry while the deck was decorated with a treacly pinkish puddle.
Several months ago I became determined to find a non-leaking hummingbird feeder.
And I succeeded. It's called the Couronne Sphere.
This model cannot leak. It's a thick, solid, heavy glass (I love glass) bowl that fits into a holder made just for that purpose, and is covered with a red glass top outfitted with holes that invite a hummie's beak.
An added bonus is that the clever design suspends the glass bowl within a black wrought iron (I love wrought iron) circle (I love circles).
And so I bought two. One hangs from the eave outside my kitchen window, and one hangs from the eave on my front porch, beneath the huge canopy of our century-old White Oak.
We've discovered that the hummers love to hang out in the branches of the oak. Who knew? The leaves are lots bigger than them.
This year I've used clear hummer hooch rather than the sticky stuff dyed red. They love it just the same.
I keep it in this glass moonshine-type bottle, in the garage fridge. The feeders that don't leak are a trifle small, meaning I'm obliged to refill them a few times a week.
Only, at some point, for some reason, having refilled the leakless nectar reservoirs both front and back, I stashed the bottle in the kitchen fridge.
I didn't think to warn anyone that what looked like water was really liquid sugar. I guess I assumed they knew.
And so it was that Andrew came in the house a few weeks ago and began energetically washing out his tall aluminum travel mug.
Turned out, before leaving on some errands, it being so hot and humid outside, he'd filled his mug with ice-cold water. From the nectar bottle.
Oh well. He only took one swig -- blech! -- and he was a good sport about it. Also I don't reckon it hurt him.
Meanwhile the hummingbird population in these parts is fat and sassy. At some times of the day, they're thick as snow outside the window. Being territorial, they fight over who gets to feed.
One tiny wing-humming jewel-toned body at a time has been nourished on my watch.
I'm only sorry I couldn't get you a picture of the ruby-throats. Quick little suckers. You so much as touch your camera shutter button and they beat a swift retreat.
It will be sort of sad when summer goes and the hummers do too. But I know as long as I keep the leak-free feeders full of free food, they'll return. And so will summer.
I hope my granddog, Rambo (Dagny calls him straight-up Rainbow) will still come over to share in the fun.
And that is all for now.
OK what happened to July?
We've got multiple projects going on over here.
I have been a mite distracted.
Things are about to settle down, however.
And when they do, we shall resume our regular programming.
Meanwhile check out Rambo (above).
That's Andrew in the driver's seat and my granddog pulling a canine Kilroy.
I was lurking in the car beside them (naturally).
It was taken a few months ago, before Andrew spent five weeks in the Middle East.
Andrew and Rambo have now moved to Columbia.
They'll soon be moving into their new house.
We are so happy.
And that is all for now.
Have you ever noticed that the second half of anything -- from a tank of gas to a gallon of milk to the few hours before your alarm sounds in the morning -- evaporates exponentially compared to the first half?
Kind of like this: The first six months are the slow climb. That slight, terrifying pause is the Fourth-of-July weekend.
Then the second six months picks up speed and goes by like a dizzy blur.
Meet the second half of 2016.
(Eight weeks or so until the start of my beloved -ber months. September, October, November, December.)
Six months until New Year's Day 2017.
But don't wish your life away. Enjoy every minute. Have another cookie.
And that is all for now.
Happy Friday :: Happy July
I was missing Dagny on Monday night, having not seen her all day.
So Audrey, goosed by my text, went into Dagny's room.
Where, although she'd been put to bed, the baby was not even close to asleep.
It had only been a few minutes.
This is what ensued.
Several weeks ago we all traipsed out -- yet again -- to Peak.
This was before it got so hot here.
These days, a five-minute sortie into the back yard to point the hose at some flowers calls for a half-hour lie-down in a cool, dark room.
But on that soft late-spring evening we yearned for fresh air and exercise in rare and rustic environs.
Dagny, like most children, upon feeling the boards under her feet, sets off at a trot.
The 1100-foot-long truss-style Harry Easterling Bridge over the Broad River -- a major feature of the Peak to Prosperity Passage on the Palmetto Trail -- suspends one between sky and water while providing spectacular views.
Sometimes there are bald eagles flying in the area. So far, not while we've been there.
One can only hope. I always pack my long lens, so as to be ready.
Here's something I did capture.
I don't like spiders any more than the next person but one must admit, their architectural acumen is impressive.
There's lots of human-made graffiti on the steel supports. Tonto. Bubba.
I'm probably not supposed to -- and I would never be so crass as to add to the collection -- but my guilty secret is that as long as the contributors keep it wholesome, I like the writing.
I guess that's just the cowgirl photographer in me.
Following the lead of lock-loving walkers at the Lake Murray dam, folks have begun adding decorative and meaningful padlocks to the bridge's fencing.
Some mark time. Others get right to the point.
A young woman who works at my dentist's office got engaged out on this bridge. Her name is Hilary. I don't believe padlocks were involved, but a bargain was struck and she's gone from bridge to bride.
Long ago -- one hundred-fifty springtimes back, give or take -- Confederate soldiers burned this bridge so that Sherman's Yankee troops couldn't use it.
The old stone supports still lie in the water, which was low enough at the time of our excursion, you could see them.
The old bridge and the sky and the passing water have seen lots of things. Many struggles and more than their share of joys.
Lots of sunsets, a steady stream of hopeful lovers, numerous shutterbugs, and hundreds of laughing, running, wondering children.
Speaking of children, you can't tell from these photos but Dagny was a trifle under the weather that evening. She had some sniffles and became whiny in a relatively short amount of time.
She's heavy to hold and heavier to carry. Audrey had done her fair share of it and handed the baby to Papaw.
Dagny wasn't happy with that development. She wanted to be in the arms of her mother.
In fact, she became the picture of insistent unrequited yearning. Reaching, squirming, gesturing, brow furrowed, already-dark eyes clouded with dismay.
We laughed -- gently, lovingly -- at her discomfiture. It's true what they say: The struggle is real. The heart wants what it wants.
In answer, in acceptance, and in its God-granted timeless wisdom, the old river kept on flowing to where the sky reaches down through the trees to hold its hand.
It was dark when we got home. Now we have these memories, and the togetherness that made them possible.
And that is all for now.
Happy Monday :: Happy Week