At first glance one would assume the reason there is a golf statue in the middle of our backyard is because either 1. We live on the golf course. 2. My husband has a keen affection for the game or 3. I have an aversion to decorating sense. None of these would be correct.
Let me back up and introduce you to Vern. Steve Adams, owner of Adams Lumber in our little town of Council Grove was one of my husbands dearest friends. I remember the first time I met Steve. I was living in Topeka, about an hour away from Council Grove, and had dated Tim just long enough that we felt it was time to start meeting each others friends. So one evening he took me to a party. On our hour drive to Council Grove he told me he wanted me to meet Steve and told me funny stories about him. We arrive and in the kitchen surrounded by lots of laughter, there was Steve. We walk up as he is telling a colorful joke that ends with many choice words! Well, I'm far from being a prude, but I didn't think that is the way I'd be introduced to him. Over the years it wasn't a party if Steve wasn't there. He was in his element when he was entertaining people either by being a comedian or strumming his guitar singing songs he had written himself.
A couple of years later Tim proposed. We were blending our children, two sons and three daughters, who would be spending the majority of their time at our house so we started construction on his cute little blue bungalow. Tim did all of the work himself, sometimes working until 3 a.m. Many a night, Steve was by his side lending a hand or keeping the mood light with his humor. I'm not sure when it started, but sometime during the construction they started calling each other Vern. None of us can remember why.
Many years later, Steve became ill and passed away. This was very hard on my husband. He had lost one of the dearest friends he ever had. Several months after Steve's death one of the employees at Adams Lumber told Tim that he had something to show him. So they ventured to the bowels of the lumber yard and there was this hideous golfing statue. Steve had ordered it in as a joke and wanted it to be placed smack dab in front of Tim's office door on Christmas Day. As ugly as it was, it was just as heavy. I'm sure Steve had quite a laugh thinking about Tim finding it and the difficulty he'd have trying to move it before he could open the door! But, the guy that was supposed place the piece of "art" hurt his back and was unable to do it. Then Steve took a turn for the worst and the statue was forgotten.
Now that statue that my husband lovingly calls Vern has a special spot in our backyard overlooking Number 6 Green. What a jokester, that Steve! The final laugh was on us.
Vern overlooking No. 6 Green, Council Grove Country Club
I first saw the house in 1992. Not even knowing what it looked like on the inside, I knew I was in love. It was a two story brick house that was built in the early 1930's. It sat upon a hill with just the right number of shade trees to make it look inviting. It had four large french windows with eight panes on each side, all trimmed in white. Above the quaintly rounded front door there was the sweetest little balcony with a black iron fence. Across the front, just enough lush green ivy was growing to give it charm.
It wasn't until April 2001 that I was fortunate enough to move into it. I can't explain the feeling I had every morning when I would wake up and walk through the house, realizing it wasn't a dream and that I was actually living there. We called it home for almost twelve happy years.
We have outgrown our big house on the hill. We now have four beautiful grandchildren and a big, fluffy galoot of a Goldendoodle. We have found a perfect space on 2.5 acres complete with a mini orchard. It is truly a lovely place to live.
Tomorrow is the day we hand my dream house over to a new family. I can only hope that they love it as much as I do.
Selling the house I love has made me realize that even though I thought it was mine, it really never was. I just borrowed it for a while. Hopefully, through the years as the house is passed from family to family, all of it's occupants will feel how special of a place it is.
I just returned home from a beautiful month in sunny California. While there I tried Man Candy. The menu described it as Bacon with Brown Sugar and Spices. It sounded delicious! But, when the order came, it looked and tasted different than what I had in my minds eye. So, today I decided to try and make my own. It turned out just like I imagined! I just used items I had on hand. I can't imagine how good this is going to be when I actually shop for ingredients!
I hope you enjoy it!
Pepper Jelly ( I had Cranberry)
I sliced bacon into six pieces then coated each side with pepper jelly, brown sugar and cayenne pepper. I placed on a cookie sheet (the kind with sides) lined with foil and put into a cold oven. Set oven at 400* for approximately 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn. I prefer my bacon on the crispy side so I went the whole 20 minutes. Enjoy!
Have you ever done something and while you were doing it, you were in a surreal moment that felt like you were on the outside looking in? That happened to me yesterday while I was getting a routine highlight done at a snazzy little place in Kansas City. I mentioned I was stuck in a rut and needed a change to jolt me back to reality. Let's just say I walked in as a blonde with longish hair and I walked out a short haired brunette with red highlights. I have had short hair before. Notice my attractive picture to the right. I can't give my mother all of the credit for the stylish haircut though. I distinctly remember hiding in my bedroom with a pair of scissors and when I was called to lunch shoving handfuls of hair under the bed thinking no one would be the wiser when I came out! Unfortunatley, my First Grade school picture day was soon after my handiwork. So, bless my Mom's heart, she added her skills to mine and voila! Even though yesterday was with a trained professional, my heart is skipping a beat as I wake up on this new day and catch my reflection. I hope today as I walk out my door that I embrace my 6 year old self and smile like everything is perfectly normal.
Well, we did it. We moved our two youngest to San Diego, California. The land of Endless Sunshine and Infinite Dreams. With a trailer crammed to the brim, four weighted down vehicles, 3 dogs, 2 boyfriends and one sad momma we headed west for our 1000 mile plus trip. It was something I dreaded doing. The closer we got to the California border, the bigger their smiles were getting, which in turn made me smile through my streaming salty tears. The first night in San Diego we went to Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach to see the sun set. It was a beautiful sight. We of course took many pictures. A few days later I looked at the pictures we had taken. I was surprised to see how happy I looked. In fact I believe the smile on my face is the most genuine smile I have ever had in any picture, ever. I was perplexed because inside my heart was breaking. Then I realized that I was genuinely happy because I knew how happy my daughters were. And isn't that all we ever want for our children? To be truely happy. I think that is the greatest gift a Mom could ever ask for. If I knew how fast my kids were going to grow up I would have done things differently. I would have held them on my lap more. I would have tucked them in bed and lingered longer just to be near them. I would have taken the time to play and be silly and not feel so rushed to get things done that could have waited. It is true when they say in childhood the days are long but the years are short. How I long for those long crazy days that I thought would never end.
Have you ever been in love? Do you believe in love? What is love? The most basic of all human emotional cravings is love. Have you ever known someone that
is cranky and grumpy and hard to love? Guess what? They need it the most. Somewhere along the way that grump turned on a coping mechanism that made them avoid feelings of love. We all have our own experiences that are ours alone. It is what makes us, us. No one can know what we've been through and how it has shaped us. All we know is ourselves. So love really begins there. Within yourself. Be kind to yourself and then get out there and be kind to others.
The beautiful couple in the photo are my parents. I hope one day to share their love story as well as the stories of both sets of my grandparents. And possibly my favorite love story, mine.
Have you ever wondered what people talk about when they talk about you behind your back? You know they do it. I'm not saying that all the talk is bad. They may actually be saying nice things about you. But, somewhere, at some time someone has talked about you. It has come to my attention that I dress up too much. What does that even mean!? I guess the talk could be worse (and at times I'm sure it has been) and I should even be flattered. I love to dress up. Period. It makes me feel better on days when I'm feeling down. It makes me stand a little taller than on days when I let my "downess" over take me and I succumb to lousy dressing. I secretly wish I had lived when ladies wore hats and gloves and looked presentable at all times. Isn't it a shame that a person is noticed for trying to look nice? What has our society become? Days of Casual Fridays in the workplace have caught up with us. We've made EVERYday Casual Friday. Several years ago, when I first heard the rumors of my dressing abilities I was embarrassed and self conscience about it. Today I embrace it. It is who I am. It is something that I hope I never change about myself. So if you happen to see me out and about looking anything less than stellar, you will know that I am having an "off" day. So please be kind.
Peas and Cheese. It just sounds prettier in French~le petit pois la fromage. I have been so very lucky to visit France twice and still have a longing in my heart to return. It is by far my most favorite place I've ever gone. Don't get me wrong. If my husband happened to surprise me (honey, if you're reading this~hint, hint) with a trip to any ocean I would be thrilled! But, there is just something about France that I connect with deep in my soul. Would you believe that one of my favorite memories of Paris is simply taking a nap? I was traveling with two of my daughters and my sister. We had arrived the day before from Barcelona and I had my long list of to-do's ready when we happened upon a lovely park, the Bois de Vincennes. I was reluctant to take the time to sit down because we only had 5 days to see all that Pairs had to offer and the clock was ticking! However, the well manicured lawn had inviting chaise lounges under the most beautiful shade trees and out of nowhere a waiter suddenly appeared and we had a perfect situation! Several Contreauopolitan's later I had forgotten all about my "list" and just lived in the beautiful moment. These memories are fresh on my mind because recently my youngest daughter brought her new dear friend, Thomas, home for the weekend. He was born and raised in a small village just outside of Paris. I never imagined I'd ever have a French person in my home and I suddenly became awkwardly aware of how many Eiffel Towers I had! We had the most lovely visit and his charming French accent took me back to those glorious few days in France. By the way I have six Eiffel Towers in some shape or form in my home (four I brought back as mementos and two were gifts). Hopefully, one day I can return to France so I can add to my quirky collection.
I love my job. It doesn't even feel right calling it a job. Having a little shop is something I never knew I always wanted to do! My sweet Momma is the one that gets the credit for its beginning. In 2004 my husband and I purchased a crummy old building in town. It was a great space to store the boat, jet ski, tractor and all of the stuff we just didn't have room for. It was built in 1924 as a car dealership. The City of Council Grove had been using it as a firestation when we bought it. There were garage doors on the front and back of the building with a huge open space in the middle. My Mom said it looked like a perfect place to have a garage sale to sell her collection of antiques. So we loaded up a trailer and on a sunny Saturday morning we opened up the front garage door and had a sale. We had so much fun we did it again the next Saturday! Then it turned into every Saturday that summer. Well, her antiques eventually dwindled but my passion for setting up vignettes and finding new homes for all of the lovely pieces grew. So one day I stopped in a local shop and asked where on earth they got their stuff to sell! I can't believe I had never wondered that before. They sweetly explained to me what Market was and how it worked. Let me tell you, my first day at Market I just felt "home". It is still my favorite thing I do. We have since taken off the garage door and replaced it with a real storefront. It is a beautiful space that I love spending time in. So, thank you to my Mom for planting the seed. Thank you to Deb & Angie Schwerdtfeger for teaching me about Market. And the biggest thank you goes to my husband for believing in me so much that it made me believe in myself.
When I was growing up we moved alot. I went to a total of 8 schools in 3 states. It was really hard to establish friendships. Not to mention my lack of confidence and security. During the Elementary years it was fun being the new girl! Everyone wanted to be the one to take me to the lunchroom or show me where the bathroom was. I loved it! But, around Junior High it wasn't much fun. Girls were just plain mean! They had all been together since Grade School and had already formed little "clicks" that I was not a part of and had a hard time trying to find one to fit into. Each school I went to I did find at least one person to be friends with and I've thought of them often and imagined if I had stayed there that we would probably be inseparable, life long friends. Happily, one day I found one of them on Facebook. I did a Friend request and was so excited when she accepted. My bubble was quicly burst when she sent me a message asking me who I was! When I told her, she still had no recollection of me. She hasn't Unfriended me so I guess that's a plus :) This has all gotten me to thinking of the friends I have made as an adult. I don't have a Lucy/Ethel thing going on yet (something I've always longed for!) but the friends I do have, I cherish very much. They have all made an impact on me. Inside, I still feel like that 12 year old girl that was laughed at or shunned and it makes me cautious. So, my goal is to be a better friend to the ones I have and to be more open to making new ones. There's nothing better than a nice long visit with someone that makes you feel happy. Whether they know it or not.
I'm lucky to have found a person to spend my life with that loves and believes in me. He must be a special man because I am quirky, unorganized & think my cluttered thoughts aloud to him on a regular basis.