Thursday, June 16, 2011

Garage Sale-ing

It's a verb. It's something I did with my pennies as a child and now I do it with my pennies as an adult. This is a strange phenomenon. Growing up in an affluent neighborhood I never expected to seek out "used" items for my future home, but this is the real world. And in the real world the economy is junky and everything is expensive. And in the real world I don't make anything close to the money I grew up with. And in the real world, it's not so bad to stop by a few garage sales to see the offerings.

Still, it's a strange phenomenon. I had to take the Mister with me to stop me from buying something in every garage. I overdose on generosity. Or maybe I'm just a sucker. In any case, I can't walk out of some little old white-haired lady's garage without buying something to make her feel good about her former belongings. Which is why the Mister has to come and help me realize that tarnished silver serving pieces will never be used in our home and a small Amish made table and chairs isn't a good fit for a home with no children. How do you just walk out? I view this as a huge insult - "you have no taste." I say "thank you" to everyone when we leave their garage. I don't know exactly what I am thanking them for, I guess for the opportunity to peruse their things, but I feel I must say it.

We did wind up with a beautiful mirror for our front hall, Christmas stockings that I adore (and that still have tags on them), a little pitcher perfect for the homemade grape juice we've been hoarding since last year, and a small cutting board with a sweet depiction of Holland, windmill in the distance and all. I spent $14.50. Thank you.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Strawberry Delight

It's so nice to have a little strawberry patch. We are yielding more than we expected which is another fun surprise. I was able to make a fresh fruit pie - one of the Mister's faves. This photo is a "before" shot - before it went in the fridge for a while to cool and allow the jello to solidify around the berries.

This little fresh fruit pie reminds me of growing up and going berry picking with my mother. She loves fresh fruit and knows what a deal it is to go to a "U-Pick" type of place. We drove for hours in a stuffy van to random farms. I think the farm hands cringed when she opened the side of our 12 passenger van. My mother would always encourage us to bring a friend or two, she knew it was cheap labor. She would give them a small pint of whatever berries we picked to take home to their family. Due to the large number of youngsters we always received a lecture from farm hands about how one) we couldn't eat any berries until we had paid for them and two) how we shouldn't pick any berries that are not ripe yet. Last summer I went blueberry picking with my mother and sisters. We came away with close to 30 pounds of blueberries. My mother is serious about the "U-Picks."

I hated being outside in the heat with bugs buzzing around my head trying to attack me for stealing berries from them. I was embarrassed to have brought friends along for such an activity. What would they think of me and my family? Would they think we were too poor to buy berries at Giant Eagle?

Today I am grateful. My mother taught me how to be a master berry picker. Our blueberries are almost ready and I am hoping to arrange a mommy&me date. I may even give her two pints of berries!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Memorial Day

What did Mr. and Mrs. decide to do on Memorial Day, the hottest day of the year so far?

Oh, run a 5k, mow some of the lawn, tie up daffodil leaves, and start the garden. We were a sweaty mess, but we've got potatoes planted. We've got brilliant sunburns too. :-)

Dear Graduate

Dear Graduate,

Welcome to this summer. It's your last summer to be a child. So go ahead and let it out, be a bit reckless, make a few mistakes. In a few short months, you will transition into an-almost-adult lifestyle. More will be expected of you in each day going forward. You will never be able to return to the carefree life you live now.

Savor this summer. And the next three summers. After that, you won't know what summer is. Summer will just be a hot day when you're dressed in a professional costume sitting in an air-conditioned office while you hear the shouts of youth from the streets.

Dear Graduate, I'm so jealous of you, running around in shorts and Old Navy flip-flops. It's not even worth it for me to buy Old Navy flip-flops - even on the days when they are on sale for one dollar - because the hours I will spend wearing them will be so very few. You probably think your life is so boring, but let me assure you, it's just beautiful.

Goodness. Getting old is tough.