Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorial Day Weekend

Jefferson Barracks
Memorial Day has always been a bit confusing to me. My understanding is that the day was designated to honor those who died while serving in the United States military. Yet I know people who decorate all graves on this day. And I see all kinds of folks thanking those who serve or have served in the military. It is interesting that no one has come forward to set the record straight on the true purpose of Memorial Day. But whatever the rationale, I am grateful to all who have fought to secure and preserve the freedom we have here in our country.

We had a wedding to attend on Saturday. My friend's oldest daughter got married at our church. This is a young lady that I have camped with through Girl Scouts and have watched grow up. It is amazing to see these kids become young adults who are beginning their own new families. The wedding was beautiful and the rain did not dampen any one's enthusiasm.

Laura's wedding
On Sunday Jim and I drove over to Kansas City for a gathering of his family. We have not all been together since last Memorial Day, so it was wonderful to see everyone. It was a great trip, albeit a quick one as we came back home on Monday night. Hopefully we will all be able to get together again later this summer to celebrate my father-in-law's 85th birthday. That will be a fun time!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Shaw Nature Reserve Photo Shoot

Over the weekend Jim and I attended a photography class at Shaw Nature Reserve. The class was Saturday and Sunday mornings from 7-11 a.m. Getting up at 5:30 both days so that we could arrive on time was a bummer, but the class made up for it. There were 9 students in our group, plus the instructor. Saturday morning was quite foggy, which made for some interesting photos. In retrospect, I wish the instructor would have deviated from his lesson plan and taken us down to the lake for tips on how to shoot in fog. I definitely could have used some advice, but I think I got a couple of nice shots.

park shelter in the fog
fog on the lake

Instead, he started with a short overview, and then we went to the planting beds near our classroom. I tend to shoot mostly on automatic exposure, but for the class I brought my tripod and tried working with different f-stops. Quite frankly, my camera does such a great job on automatic that often the pictures I shot on auto ended up being better than the ones I played around with both days. But I can see that there are situations when you want to have more control over the look of the photo, so it is helpful to learn some tricks of the trade. Here are a few of my favorite shots from the weekend.

I am glad that we took the class, and that photography is something that we both enjoy so that we have a shared hobby. Added benefit? The couple that shoots together doesn't shoot each other!

Friday, May 17, 2013

David Michael Kubler

Today is the birthday of my nephew, David. He would have turned 21 today, had he not suddenly passed away in January. I know this will be a hard day for my brother and his family. The "firsts" are always tough when someone dies. Birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, whatever...we are reminded that we will never share them again with our loved one. And so I think and pray today for my brother, his family and all of us who knew David. And I take comfort from the lyrics of a song written and performed by Miley Cyrus.

David 1992
I miss you
I miss your smile
And I still shed a tear
Every once in a while
And even though it's different now
You're still here somehow
My heart won't let you go
And I need you to know
I miss you, sha la la la la
I miss you

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

Mom on the right with 2 of her sisters
We spent Mother's Day with my sister and her extended family at Indian Camp Creek in St. Charles County. My nephew Joe has set up a picnic for the past several years and is always kind enough to include Jim and me in the gathering. The orphans. My kids have not been here for Mother's Day for years, so it is always a little bit of a weird day for me. I have never felt like Mother's Day was MY day, really. It had belonged to my mom for so long that I never truly bought into the fact that it was also for me. While I miss my mom each and every day, it is particularly hard on Mother's Day. I can't believe she has been gone for nearly twenty-four years.

But we had a fun day at the park. (Well, except for the ticks. They were numerous and disgusting. I still feel like things are crawling in my hair.) My nephew picked up Pappy's barbeque - pulled chicken, pulled pork and brisket - and the rest of us each brought a dish. I made a salad layered with romaine lettuce, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, strawberries and mandarin oranges. It is very pretty and tasty. I brought a variety of dressings, but the best on it is a strawberry poppy seed made by Marzettis. Yummy! Everything was good, but the barbeque was great. I had not eaten any Pappy's before. That is not for a lack of trying, but each time we have gone there it has been too long of a wait.

Both of the kids called, so at least I got to talk to them which was nice. And the day began with roses and Krispy Kremes from my husband. So over all, I had a very nice Mother's Day.

red roses for a somewhat blue lady

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Battle of the Bulge

Working out at Curves, Tralee, Ireland 2005
Each month it seems harder and harder to fight my losing battle with weight gain. I know that menopause has a great deal to do with it, but despite my valiant efforts things are not going my way. It would be easy to just throw in my sweaty towel. I walk the dog a minimum of 20 minutes every day (usually longer on nice days - which admittedly have been few and far between lately), I do small group training every Tuesday for an hour, and two other days I work out utilizing the treadmill as well as the weights at our local recreation center. Added to that I rarely drink and I don't buy fatty snack foods or desserts. I also have greatly modified my cooking, cutting beef back to once a week and adding more lean pork and fish to the meals. So what the heck!?! It really doesn't seem fair. I know that my exercise has contributed to my good bone density, low blood pressure and wonderful cholesterol count, but it would be nice if it also enabled me to look good in shorts or a swimsuit. Really, what more am I expected to do?