Sunday, August 31, 2014


A large part of the fun is found in the getting ready. I'm sure the Bride felt that way, too. All of the preparation was hugely fun! There was the shopping for just the right dress, with a sister or two hovering and saying encouraging words. ("Buy it!"). There was the consideration for the shoes - which went with what dress, best? Should they be black or navy? And the frequent discussions about how the family would get there, where they would stay, or what they would eat. It was a lot of fun just asking, and telling.

All the while a woman is preparing for a wedding, whether it be her own or someone else's, she is already living it. Did you know that? It's true. And not just for things like weddings. The same thing goes on when I, for instance, am getting ready to travel - especially to England. There is no ending to the thought process, the online scouting, and the vicarious thrills it all perpetuates. There isn't anything like it - that is, until the Real Thing shows up, and we are there. 

THAT is best!

I really wouldn't want a trip, or a wedding, where I was not involved in the planning. Picturing it all out in one's mind is wonderful, and terrifically rewarding. This morning I (unfortunately) awoke at 3:00 a.m. and experienced no further sleep. So I decided to think all through the upcoming trip. It started with take-off - that feeling of rushing down the tarmac at break-neck speeds when you think to yourself, "Ummm...when will the thing rise up?"). But it finally does do that, and finally gets you out and over the USA, eventually touching you down in beloved England. 

Then the fun begins.

And that is when you realize that all of the planning was only a minor taste of the Real Thing. The moment that beautiful Bride walked down the aisle with her father, she knew this was the real deal, and not just some daydream. 

I hope I am preparing well for that which means the most. That Place where I will spend every moment with the One who is preparing the Place. My trip there will be the Real Deal, and the cost of it was all His.

PREP - it's key. Don't forget, and don't get lost. The way is clearly signposted - you can't miss it!

See you along the Way!
the SconeLady

Saturday, August 30, 2014

My, How You've Grown

The cake was delicious, the Bride stunning. And then there was the equally stunning couple in the front row, radiating joy: the parents of the Groom. Every Groom should be so fortunate. And the proud father? my cousin!

I remember growing up with that man, that father who was then just a young thing. When we were teenagers he had introduced me, in grand fashion, to Disneyland. I had never seen Disneyland and could not believe I was going. This cousin, a California native who lived near that magical Place, knew all about it and felt the importance of being my guide. It was a day I would always remember.
Disneyland in 1968 was a thing of rare beauty. It has always been clean, but that day it was scrupulously so. There were the most uniquely dressed cleanup crew who surreptitiously came along behind everyone and removed whatever they happened to drop. And they all did it with the most amazing smiles. It seemed that all of the workers were perpetually cheerful. It was the Happiest Place on Earth.

And so that day my cousin showed me the ropes; got me around; introduced me to Thunder Mountain. But I was shocked to see him suddenly stepping out of the passenger canoe in It's A Small World. Right out of it, onto the scenery at the side. "Come on!" he said. "We can walk around behind the scenes and check it out."

I wasn't so sure I wanted to 'check it out', but he had obviously done it before so I climbed out to join him. Strangely, nothing bad happened. We walked along beside the canoe, which still held our amazed fellow passengers. "Quick!" said one. "Get back in here before you become arrested!"

This scared me. I figured I'd better follow her wise advice before our luck ran out. 

But we had underestimated just how long that would take. As I climbed back in and settled down, to our horror we heard a voice through a loud speaker saying, "Young man, get out of there. Make your way to the exit door to your left and DO NOT COME BACK. You are now BANNED from this ride."
And that young kid is now the grown man who yesterday stood witness to a marriage. Smiling to beat the band; happy as any proud father in this wide world. And through all of that, through the wedding, through the photos, through the music and the dancing, that smile never faded. It was the sweetest thing.

And I smiled too. Smiled as I remembered him as that bold and daring teen who had once been banned from a Disneyland ride. I may have been the only person in that room who knew.

We've come such a long way, Baby.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">Tom Simpson</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="">Express Monorail</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Bride Catches Groom

It was after midnight when the bus pulled up, and let us all off. Too late to post! The SconeLady will be with you again tonight. 

The cake was delicious!
(notice the bride and groom)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

To Witness a Vow

We came from a variety of places, to be here. Why? Because a grand wedding is in the works! On the brink! About to happen! And tonight was the first of several fun and solemn gatherings of which we are privileged to be a part.

To look at us, you'd think we were a bunch of kids out of school, or something. Five siblings+spouses, suddenly let loose and kicking up all available heels. All in the same hotel on the same floor, it is a kind of mobile party that shows no sign of stopping. 

And it will be a lovely wedding, tomorrow, this wedding of our cousin's son, a.k.a. our first-cousin-once-removed. Or, if you prefer, our 2nd cousin. Whatever. He is adorable and is marrying an adorable girl, both of whom are brilliant and beautiful and engineers. And I would like to just say, right here, right now: THREE CHEERS FOR MARRIAGE! Welcome to the fold! May God richly bless your union and bless all those around you. 

It is an honor to be in a place where young and old alike gather to honor the two who are looking at the future, together. It is the sweetest thing. And tomorrow, the wedding. 

The blessed opportunity for this bride and groom, after all of the planning, all of the choosing, and all of the working, to hear these electrifying words:

'Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the union of this man and this woman in holy matrimony, which is an honorable estate, that is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently and soberly..'

We love you, Austin and Xixi!

The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make His face to shine upon you
And be gracious unto you
And be gracious..

The Lord be gracious, gracious unto you.

See you along the Way!
the SconeLady

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fine Tuning Your Expectations

I must be honest here. It is harder to walk distances in the Asphalt Jungle. 

The shock of this settled in pretty quickly. One such hurdle was how frightfully HOT it all was. Is. And may I mention the noise? Walking along just inches away from cars barreling their way to work in L.A., Corona, San Diego, and so on is just plain intimidating. But I had done it all before, and hardly noticed. Must be the year and a half in that sweet woodland town that spoiled me.

But I won't exactly say We aren't in Kansas anymore, because of the obvious upside of all this. We are loved and welcomed. We don't need jackets or sweaters. We enjoy mega-bunches of uber-cute restaurants, coffee shops, and shopping malls or sweet main street stores (hello, Anthropologie!). How could one complain? I know. It's a first world problem. I get it.

But this morning after walking 7 miles (not terribly hot, yet), swimming through cars, trucks, semi's, bikes and Harleys, I wondered if I would ever rise up off my daughter's soft couch. The grandchildren helped push/pull me a time or two (giggling and laughing, because it really was just a joke) as they shoved me on up. 

I know we will adjust and come out of this just fine. As we left the house tonight, the three stood on the porch and shouted goodbye as if we were never coming back. We said our own goodbyes and started for the car. But the smallest was suddenly distraught. He was saying something with a fair amount of urgency that I could not quite catch. What was it? I strained, turning to perhaps have it translated by his mother.

But then, loud and clear, out he came with it: "Wait! Don't go yet! I NEED A KISS!!" and he ran toward us, flinging his body against our legs, pulled our heads toward his, and kissed us both heartily.

Well. May I say? All weariness fled in an instant. As he raced back to the porch where his mother stood smiling, I felt light as a feather. 

What complaints could ever possibly overshadow such a sweet, small thing? "Goodbye, my darling.." I said, unwilling yet to desert that spot.

Not in a hurry anymore.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">Maggie Mbroh, joeyjorie</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It's The Music That Does It

As soon as I heard the music, I knew what was happening. Blaring from the upstairs speakers was something from (I think) Pandora, while the voices of small children piped down from the landing.

"Grandma!! Grandpa!! You're back!" (we had been gone two hours - but time stretches out when you are little!).

Down the stairs they streamed, the 4 year old girl in a pink and purple princess dress. "What have you been doing?" Grandma asked.

"Mommy has the music up LOUD and we are PACKING!" they shouted.

"Some moves are especially sweet":
First Home Buyers    
Up LOUD, huh? Well, that sounds familiar. I was taken quickly back to the years their mother and uncle were growing up. It was Spring Break, which meant five days of - who-knew-what? It was lovely to be off school for a week, but not so lovely to figure out what to do with two energetic kids who weren't old enough yet to drift off alone. So what to do?

Early on I had come to my own conclusions that five days of a loose-end was not all it was cracked up to be. Nope, too much of that kind of 'vacation' often created mischief. I needed something that would help them have fun but also some satisfaction.

I came upon the perfect solution: SPRING CLEANING. The house certainly needed it. What an inspiration! But instead of all day every day, I decided on this plan:

  • four hours of daily work from 8am to 12noon
  • they could choose the music and turn it up as loud as they wanted, with no complaints from mom.
  • they would report for 'work' at 8:00 sharp, and look at their job list
  • fights or complaints would add time to the workday
  • they would be fed sumptuously at 12:00 sharp
  • they could do ANYTHING THEY WANTED UNTIL DINNER! (within reason, of course)
They reported. They set up the music. They read their lists. And then at 8:00 on the button, the music suddenly blared, and the scrubbing began. Four hours of work? That's quite a bit to get out of a kid every morning. Apart from a short break at 10, nobody stopped.
Every evening I adjusted the lists, and things got pretty seriously clean around there. You know how dirty windowsills can get? The trough the window rests in that gets grimy and is hard to extract? They got all the windows and troughs clean! The floors vacuumed! The cars spotless! Toilets gleaming! THE SILVER POLISHED!!

All the things I don't really like doing, they did. And it was fun - at least for me it was fun. And they seemed to be having fun, too. I think it was the music. There's something inspiring about LOUD.

And that is what was happening today. They are moving to a new house, so a lot of packing and organizing is in the cards. And kids are all part of the agenda. As a wise man once said, there must be something to gain, something to lose, and an element of fun.

But it sure helps if they like the same music you like. Otherwise? EARPLUGS.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">Terence Gilheany</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="">clevercupcakes</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Monday, August 25, 2014

Girls Day Away

It was decided, rather quickly. Grandma was making a plan to drive out to Aunt Karen's house, and from the other room the small girl overheard. The decision was made before Grandma knew it. The girl must go along!

Every one of the three small people in this home know how fun it is to go to Aunt Karen's house. There is always something to do. There is never a reason to be 'bored'. No one would think of being bored, not at Aunt Karen's house.

And so it became a girls together day. There was the drive to the aunt's tidy and welcoming spot just down the road. There was the news upon arrival that the uncle would be out as soon as a much-needed nap could take place. AND there was Play Doh. Not just any old Play Doh but the kind with rolling pins, cookie cutters, and very important implements to make very important items. Cookies, and such.

This was all well thought out because Grandma and Aunt Karen wanted to visit. It had been a while and so there was a lot to catch up on. Sisters like that sort of thing.

The Play Doh, along with some Lincoln Logs (and a tasty apple), meant the visit was a success. When it was time to go, the girl whispered to Grandma, "Do you think we could take Great Aunt Karen to get our fingernails done?" 

But her aunt had already had her fingernails done, so we two made our way to the Super Walmart to be taken care of by the kindly manicurist/pedicurist. 

Everyone there who saw this small girl, loved her. Heads turned. The waves parted. They all wanted to do her nails, so the Boss had to settle whose turn it was (several girls were disappointed). 

When it was time to go, she had the most perfect looking finger- and toe-nails. She proudly showed them to Grandma. Later her mother was wowed and impressed, her brothers slightly less so. But all thoughts of prettiness instantly evaporated when the fire pit was set with wood, and lit. No worries about 'spoiling' her manicure. This girl could handle fire sticks just as deftly as her brothers, nail polish or not.

It was a very satisfying evening, spent doing what every kid longs to do.

And when you're a kid, there can never be too many sticks.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">Robert S. Donovan</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Sunday, August 24, 2014

That Thing You Do

Listening. It's that thing you do when you love someone, no matter what they are talking about.

I am finding that a 7 year old boy is very interesting to listen to. The ideas flow like a wildfire shooting through a drought-dried forest, and each new idea spawns another. Fascinating.

Today's subject happened to be the building of a boat. I've noticed that boys and boats seem to go hand in hand. Perhaps it is the appeal of water. The SconeLady's husband actually built a boat when he was a boy. This alluring idea has sifted downward two generations, and his grandson has been bitten Big Time.

Something caught his attention yesterday, and the conversation was ON. I heard the excitement in his voice as he described the hull, the 'ailerons', the anchor, and the galley. For it must have a galley. Food will never be far from this small sailor, and where there is food there must be other amenities. Such as perhaps, a loo, I am told.

The stickler here is that the boy insists he is, himself, going to build the thing. Together we searched through numerous photos on Google Images in order to find just the plan. Something a boy would be able to construct without Dad or Grandpa - for Dad and Grandpa, and their garages, are going to be busy with moving houses for a while. This busy-ness is not to interfere with boat-building, and so the materials, the tools, and the 'electricals' must all be accessible without the men.


 Whatever. Let's let him dream, shall we? Let him think through the steps it will take, the list of items it will need, and the knowledge required. It doesn't hurt to hear it all out. 

The nicest thing about all of this listening is that the grandson becomes close to the person who is listening. I learned years ago that this is priceless. It can't be ignored. It takes time, but it also gives time.

His time. A treasure-memory to hold me when I am perhaps elderly, with time for memories that feed the soul.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

hoto credit: <a href="">Sheba_Also</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Someone to Come Home To

All of this talk of travel means I get to dash through the front door and grab up some grandkids! The 13 hours on day one was worth it for the stew and the bread bowl, but the end of the 5 hours today? sweet!

There was the scary drive over the I-5, the I-405, Rosecrans Ave, and Hawthorne Blvd, for a meet-up with the rather stunning California-surfer-son:

Then the scary drive back over the I-405, the I-110, and the 91, with this as the end result:

And then gazing at the other side of the table at this:

You see, Jack In A Box is our tradition, each time we make a drive or a flight to this Land of Asphalt. And asphalt can't be all bad, I suppose. Not when hugs and kisses are there to greet one.

And it's only the beginning! There is much to look forward to: the lovely daughter+Son-In-Law, mere miles to the SoCal sisters+husbands, multiple cousins, nieces, and nephews, in-laws, friends, and a dazzling wedding to attend, 5 weeks in enchanting England including THREE WEEKS IN CORNWALL, and ... well, THAT's about all I can take in at this particular moment.

But all this chatter won't put the baby to bed. And that, I must now do. But - do you want to know what's even scarier than those freeways today?

The thought that we may indeed have become Californians .. again ..

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Friday, August 22, 2014

End of a Long Journey

There must have been something pretty spectacular on last night, because the waiters at Harris Ranch kept their eyes glued. Whenever they could, that is. Carrying huge platters piled with hot plates of food doesn't really lend itself to watching a sport. But they were pretty good at it.

The funny quirky thing about this is that the waitresses never once glanced at it. They chatted amicably together while gathering plates and arranging silver. But football? No way! The guys were the watchers - and I have now discovered that it was the Oakland Raiders they were so interested in. No wonder!

Everything about that place tonight was pretty spectacular, from the ambience to the food to the wait staff. I cannot overemphasize the effect this had upon us, because we had been driving for 13 hours. There had been quite an assortment of road work along the freeway which impeded our progress. The radio stations I skimmed through were mostly fuzzy and unlistenable (except the Spanish channels, which were crystal clear), and as we were in two separate vehicles we couldn't really carry on a conversation. The normal camaraderie was missing.

But we made it. And the reason we drive so long the first day out of two is because we had Harris Ranch to look forward to! Our very kind friends had introduced us to it last year, and we immediately saw that it was The Place to be. 13 hours? No biggie, when you have Harris Ranch to shoot for.

The restaurant has only one challenge: every item on the menu looks fabulous. It becomes tough to choose. Tonight I ordered the Beef Stew in a bread bowl. The stew was a 10 out of 10, and the bread bowl was light and tasty, with just the right crustiness on the outside. You can tell just by looking, how luscious it must be.

And now, all we need to do is lay here luxuriating in this cozy room, checking our messages and writing - to you! For I am thinking of you, my dear Readers, and wondering if you have ever had a hearty beef stew inside a homemade bread bowl . If you haven't, you should try it. You could even make it! And I hope it is half as good as the one at Harris Ranch, where the ambience is dreamy, the wait staff are quick and friendly, and the tips will always be Big!

 See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Great Cacophony (2)

Previously: part 1

It’s a great way to travel. The seats are comfortable, the views spectacular. I may do it again, but just not right away. I need time to recover. There are too many quirks.

One unsettling quirk about traveling on a train is the extreme numbers of humans. While it wasn’t exactly the Great Unwashed, it might have been nicer had a few more people showered this morning. At each city stop there were so many passengers boarding that if you made the mistake of coming out of the loo just then, you would be caught. There was simply too much of humanity being crammed into too small a space. It made no difference what the conductors said (“Ladies and gentlemen, please board one at a time. Please do not push or shove. Ladies and gentlemen, please..”)


Do you remember all the talk about why airline companies forbid cell phone usage during flight? The reason given has been that the cell waves might interrupt the communications system and bring the plane down out of the sky. But my opinion is that the passengers themselves would be more likely to bring it down. Their sanity would be so sorely tried by all of the cell conversations that they would begin a riot. They might even attack. I almost did today. It went on for 5 hours all up and down the aisles.

A phone would ring. Just about all of the ring tones were hideous. They might have been ok out on the street or in the desert. But in a public train car? Hideous.

Then the passenger would answer, suddenly forgetting to lower his/her voice and end up practically shouting into the device. “Marge? Is that YOU? I said, IS THAT YOU?”

A small silence, and then more. “No, he’s fine. I just wanted to tell you about the HUGE KNOT ON THE SIDE OF MY NECK…..No, my NECK…It's growing, too, you should just SEE it..” 

(I personally was tempted to turn around and look, but my cervical spinal fusion surgery prevents me from turning my neck .. really. you should just SEE it).

There were a large variety of ailments discussed and re-discussed today. It made me feel terribly sorry for physicians who have to listen to this gibberish all day long. I really do not know how they tolerate it. I certainly couldn’t.

I’m sure these people were all very nice, in their way. I just wasn’t prepared to hear about all of their illnesses, conditions, medications, 'knots', pains, or relative’s diseases. I mean, I am sorry for their Aunt Gertie, but really - it was more than any trapped passenger should be required to endure.

Probably the best advise I can give you regarding train travel is to bring a pair of earplugs. I personally did not have any, but survived by wearing earphones and turning the volume all the way up on House Hunters International. It almost drowned out the health issue discussions. Almost. Once in a while I would still hear something like, “Well, it hurts whenever I cough and the Doc gave me some pills but nothing seems to work and I can’t keep from coughing because I have a cold and my son said…”

I truly felt sorry for the woman. But I felt even sorrier for the son, because -


See you along the way!
the SconeLady

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A True Hospitality House

There is a place called Hospitality Lane, in California. It is my brother-in-law's favorite spot to cruise and to find just the right tasty place to eat. It is just chalk full of choices, and behind every entrance there are menus and smiles of welcome. Of course, the smiles could be because they want your money. But hey. Who can argue with a smile?
Hospitality. It's what I have been shown in mega-bunches since I alighted from darling Amtrak yesterday. Two cousins with a lovely house containing 'guest quarters'. For me! A puffy and adorable double bed, the most comfortable and soft and fluffy bed ever slept in. Pillows galore. A bedside lamp with stages of brightness. An en suite filled with anything a guest could possibly need or want. I didn't have to bring:

  • a blow dryer
  • a tooth brush
  • toothpaste
  • shampoo
  • conditioner
  • lotions
  • hair bands
It was all there, ready and waiting just for me. I was given fresh coffee each morning, coffee of the highest quality brewed to perfection. And maybe my favorite discovery was a large glass container of (are you ready for it?) M&M's!!! Plain AND Peanut, resting there on the kitchen counter, suggesting I take a handful.

And then, the food! Homemade and hot and delicious at the cousins' home, and again homemade and hot and delicious at the nephew's home. Darling small grand-nieces and grand-nephews bobbing up and down, rolling around with (huge) dogs, and an aunt, and uncle, and Mother. Everybody had huge smiles plastered on their faces. Even the dogs.

I had just read something in the book September about Hospitality, and how you recognize it. Noel Keeling was a Brit, visiting a colleague in the United States. The home was large and convenient and centrally heated (unimaginable to a Brit at that time) and should have been wonderfully comfortable. The only trouble was that the hostess "hadn't the first idea about having guests to stay. Despite the fact that she was possessed of an all-singing, all-dancing kitchen, she never cooked."

Much more was said about this distressing situation, but the moment I closed the book and walked off that train, all thoughts of Hospitality became terrifically positive. I was inundated by the stuff.

It's one of the ways we show love. Isn't it? I hope so. I hope you are shown lots of it whenever you go visiting. Wouldn't it be painful to arrive somewhere and find the door locked? the residents scowling? the dogs troublesome and disagreeable? Hm.

Such a thing hardly bears thinking about. Luckily I don't have to think about it. I can lay here in this soft, fluffy bed, luxuriate in the downy softness of the pillows, and consider at just what moment I might tip toe out to the kitchen for some - M&Ms...

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">Don McCullough</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="">mary hodder</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Today was a travel day, yes. Not a long one, but maneuvers were made via car, and then by train. Amtrak, as it turns out was lovely and smooth, with free wifi, electrical outlets, and a dining car. Not exactly white table cloths and waiters, but - one could 'dine', after a fashion. If what one wants is pre cooked snack foods such as cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, burritos and the like, one could survive.

I stuck to my banana.

But as the countryside swept past, I began to remember the last time I had been on that train. It was the year 1980, just shortly after May 18. Can anyone guess what had happened on May 18, 1980? Hmmm? A wild guess?

If you named the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, well then you would be right. It was a shocking event that people had feared and dreaded for weeks, even months. There were people up on that mountain who had told media outlets that they were "NOT LEAVING." Everyone was dreadfully worried about them, and tried like anything to get them to come down. One of these was Harry R. Truman, who did not want to leave his Lodge on Spirit Lake. 

But when the eruption happened, it was too late; Truman, among others, died.

The Highway Patrol had restricted the freeways of western Washington state, and I had a singing engagement in the Tacoma area. I had to be there, it was important. So my husband said, "Well, you can always try the train."

My departure was from Albany, Oregon and for a while everything was normal. Somewhere near the Washington border, a conductor appeared and announced that we would be required to wear face masks. These masks were to alleviate the effects of volcanic ASH on the lungs. We passengers couldn't get those masks on fast enough. 

Soon, piles of fine white ash began to gather on the chair backs, the tray tables, and the windowsills. The passenger car looked like a fog had set in. I sure hoped that face mask was enough protection. It was all very eerie.

I just discovered that I am sitting up, asleep, my dear Readers. Time to get to bed! But it has been interesting to recall that train trip 34 years ago while riding it again today. Of course today, there were no piles of fine white ash anywhere. No surgical masks. No frightened people looking at what looked like a snow storm outside the train window. Nope. It was all good, all clean, all forgotten.

Someone told us there are other mountains in the Pacific Rim that could 'wake up' one of these times. Sleepers that could make themselves heard, once again. I don't doesn't sound too plausible.

But then again, neither did St. Helens.
St. Helens 2 years before eruption

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

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photo credit: <a href="">Derek K. Miller</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Monday, August 18, 2014

Cute... or Not.

It's so hard to dislike a deer. That is, unless you like flowers because then, it is not at all hard to dislike a deer.

This is my sister's dilemma. I don't think she started out disliking them, because they were and are so cute. To her, and to many of us they have been uncommon creatures, rarely crossing our paths. Cute, yes - until they're not.

 A deer sniffs the SconeLady's sister's new plant

The 'not' part began when my sister and husband moved to this sweet woodland town and bought a house. The house itself was super cute, with two beds/two baths, a den, a Great Room, dazzling kitchen and double garage. Plenty of space for the humans, the cat, and the dog. Of course, the outdoor space was especially important to my sister. She is a keen gardener, and always has been. The most excruciatingly non-yardlike residence she ever had was  on Guam. There was no garden to tend; no flowers to water and to gaze at, and no yard for their boys to mow. It was grim

But now she had the chance to do all those homey things. She could find and plant pretty flowers; she could stand and water them while enjoying the crisp morning air before it became hot. She could hang baskets! Oh, the privilege.

At last, her baskets were hung overlooking the front porch. A berm was developed and planted. Bark mulch was spread. A variety of flowers were chosen, and planted nicely. Things were shaping up, and she knew the satisfying feeling one has when one has accomplished a goal. 

Still, she was a little nervous. The nursery person had advised her to purchase plants that a deer does not like. One is never completely sure about what a deer does or does not like, but everyone felt that this particular garden would thrive.

It was not long, however, before I heard the rumblings of discontent. One morning something had gone missing, from her garden. It had been eaten. Something else had been chewed. It was horrible to wake up to. From that moment, all doubt had been removed. NO DEER WERE THEN, OR EVER WOULD BE, CUTE.

But the SconeLady has no plants for deer to chew or to eat. Her deer come softly up to the porch of an evening, and gaze at the humans. We have shared this with my sister. The SconeLady's husband has even intimated that perhaps feeding that deer has presented itself as a possibility.

It would take more than a deer to cause ruffles in this relationship, but just in case? I have recommended no further discussion of deer-feeding. 

Because things could get ugly.

The SconeLady's sister loses her new plant

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bewilderment in the Digital Age

It's a dilemma. My husband and I used to take photos with a real camera. You know - a film-ish kind of camera with a roll you put into the back and a button on the top that you push down. This was all fine because you knew pretty much where your photos were. They were inside your camera until you finished the roll and then took the roll out and drove it down to the photo store. Or something. It was all very straight forward.
But it wasn't without its management problems. I kept losing rolls, or placing them somewhere I could never find anymore. Eventually we'd come upon them in drawers all throughout the house, sometimes under piles of clothing or underwear, in the coin box or piano bench. Everywhere there were rolls of undeveloped film, from a variety of years. It was sad, because I really wanted to see and to send the pictures to my mother, but could never seem to find them.

All of this changed rather abruptly when the first digital cameras came out. It took a while, but I learned how to deal with the new format. I (sort of) learned to take a picture, then pull it up, and determine whether it was good enough to keep. 

I tried to manage the number of pictures I took. But 
one day my digital camera made a sound and gave out a message that indicated there wasn't any space for more photos. I went to my husband.

"The camera won't let me take photos."

"Why not?" he said from behind the paper.

"It's full..", I ventured.

Thus began the newest management problem, one that never seems to be solved: How to keep the SconeLady's photos from overwhelming her camera/phone/USB stick/chip/other storage device. It is all so very truly confusing.

Last year my husband advised me as I bought the newest iPhone, in a desperate quest for more space. He asked me which version I wanted - such as, how many gigabytes or megabytes or whatever it was. I didn't know so I just picked the biggest number. "I want the 64 gig one," I said.

"Good idea," he replied. "Even you will never use all that space."

That was a year ago. From time to time he would suggest deleting photos I did not like and would never use. "Ok, I will..",  I would promise. But it was just too hard to get to and the number of pictures blossomed. I had the blog, I had the grandkids, I had my 'sweet woodland town' to photograph - HOW COULD I POSSIBLY DELETE?

Which brings me to today. I awoke and went to take a photo of something, I think it was a sunrise. But suddenly the phone made a noise and a message that indicated there wasn't any space for more photos. I would have to delete some. Or download some. Or worse, import them into a Cloud. 

I approached my husband. 

"The iPhone won't let me take photos."

"Why not?" he said from behind his laptop.

"It's full.." I ventured.

It is probably best to end this one right here. Maybe analog wasn't so bad after all; maybe there's an old Kodak Brownie camera out there on Craig's List.

Sometimes progress just isn't what it's cracked up to be.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">Butte-Silver Bow Public Library</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="">Ian Halsey</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Saturday, August 16, 2014


Somehow there are numbers of decent movies from which to choose, after it seemed there never would be again. Such a dry spell we have had! (as if it really matters). It has become fun, again, to go.

We 'went', last night. And, the night before. Practically a binge. Last night was one of the best, this year, and as it began I realized I had actually read its book. The Giver. THAT can be a discussion of another day, because I don't want to lose track of it and of its importance.
But the night before was simply fun. Guardians Of The Galaxy. I don't generally care very much about movie Galaxies, truth be told. I was sort of ho-hum about that whole thing as we walked in, mostly interested in deciding whether I should have M&Ms or not. I finally chose not. But it didn't matter once the movie began, because it was sweet enough without them! Have you seen it? You should, you really should. 

I'm trying to remember why it was rated PG-13, but it must have been language, or something. Maybe explosions. There certainly wasn't anything suggestive in it. Start to finish, it was good, and funny, and made one forget the time. I always like a movie that makes me forget the time and forget to think about texting someone. Usually if a movie is a dud, I can always remove myself to the back row and text away.

This time the phone stayed suitably silenced and absolutely forgotten. 

A nice guy named Peter Quill accidentally got himself thrown into an Intergalactic Prison, and met up with some people (creatures?) who would, for a variety of reasons, change his life for the better. I believe this was a comic book movie. I mean, a comic book was created with this story line, and it is actually quite a sweet one. The characters (creatures?) might have reminded me a bit of those in Star Wars, but since there is nothing new under the sun, I could forgive that.

The thread within the story line, Peter's mother, made us all like him very much, and feel dreadfully sorry for him right the way through. But 'sorry for him' in a nice way; an appropriate way. It would be horrible to (spoiler alert) lose one's mother when one is a small boy. It hardly bears thinking about. But the facts in the case make him more, not less, of a man in the end. Honorable, in fact. Even manly! There is a lot to be said of manliness, whatever else Hollywood might throw at us by way of ambiguity.
I just loved the outlaws Peter met in the Intergalactic prison. Hahahahaha! I am still laughing. My personal favorite has got to be Groot, about whom I will say nothing because I want YOU to see him and decide for yourself. I am sure Groot is why I am still laughing.

So if you are casting about for somewhere to go tonight, if you are feeling at a loose end, I highly recommend you go, grab some popcorn, and check it out. Sure, it's a superhero film based on a Marvel Comic book, filled with strange players (creatures?) whom one would not typically yearn to see. But I think they got it right this time. I think their concept of good vs evil, of loyalty, of innocent love might just have something for everyone.

And after all, $418,681,000 is kind of hard to argue with.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">ell brown</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="">Han Shot First</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Simple, Contagious Pleasures

Coming up out of a phenomenal sleep, I heard scratchings and peepings at my sister's front door. Little voices. I wondered, was I dreaming? Have my three little blondes come from deepest California to hug me?

And then, the door opened and in popped two small and cheerful cousins of said blondes! Come to visit and hug! Joy of Joys!
The two stood smiling and jumping, and one said he needed the restroom (hence, the jumping). Off he went, and out we trooped through the door to see the tiniest of humans, resting/smiling/laughing from her stroller. Next to her was the young mother standing watch, beautiful, happy, and - well, motherly.

"But where's Grandma??" intoned the small girl, straining to look through the door. 

"We aren't sure, but she will be here soon," her mommy said.

And then as if by some miracle, Grandma's car rounded the bend, causing an increase in the jumping. Grandpa (also in the car) saw the small crowd, and waved, and laughed - as all good and loving grandpa's will do.

The baby girl in the stroller watched all this and pondered, and then her grandma brought out a surprise just for her. It was a stuffed toy, but so much more than just a stuffed toy. It was red, and white, and if you shook it it would make sounds and music. The baby's big brother (having experienced such things) held it and shook it and showed it to the baby. And then the small event happened that precipitated this post. That baby laughed. She was happy anyway, but the presence of this strange new toy made her laugh the most funny laugh the SconeLady had ever heard. And that funny laugh continued, as each glance at the toy prompted fresh outbursts. 

This was hilarious, and the SconeLady always loves things that are hilarious. We all laughed at her laugh. It was contagious! I can't really explain it. YOU HAD TO BE THERE.

And I am so glad I was. So glad to have heard the scratchings and peepings at the door today. So happy to be loved and wanted in this tumbly world we call home.

Before you get too worried that this world is going you-know-where in a hand basket, maybe you should take a quick look around. Don't look so much at the grownups (although there are many superior ones); look down a bit, perhaps around 3 feet or less. You'll find yourself assured. 

It isn't over yet.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">Jodie-Lee-Photography</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>