Musings of an everyday woman . . .

Reflections on living and loving life . . .

Back to school . . . August 26, 2009

Filed under: Education — everydaywomanusa @ 7:28 pm
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Just in case you’ve been thinking I’m MIA, I’m actually BTS (Back to School)!

It’s been a couple of hectic weeks getting ready for our students and I don’t believe there’s any place hotter than our older elementary schools these hot, humid days as the schools  lack AC and air circulation in general.  As I move things from storage, set up rooms, and slave over the hot copier, I feel like I’m in a sauna and I’m missing my summer days at the pool!

The hardest thing has probably been to transition from pretty much living in a bathingsuit and barefeet to clothes that actually, kind-of look decent, and to wearing shoes on my feet, albeit sandals!

But, there is something else . . . the most important thing on my mind lately is something that I can’t blog about . . . not yet anyway, but soon . . . so stay tuned and enjoy the end of your summer, wherever you are!!!



Without missing a beat . . . August 19, 2009

Filed under: Family,Farm,Friends,Summer — everydaywomanusa @ 5:43 am
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Do you have a really good friend who you may not have seen in a while, but when you’re back together, you pick up right where you left off, without missing a beat?

Annie and Me

Meet Annie.  She’s that kind of friend.  She’s actually my second cousin and I hadn’t seen her in years.  We used to spend time together in the summer: a week on my family’s farm (which she says was a real treat for her) and a week at her family’s home, outside of NYC (which was a treat for me!)  We did this for several consecutive summers through our early teens . . . and then, life just got in the way.

Well, yesterday, Annie (who lives clear across the country now) showed up at my Mom’s farm because she was in New York, attending to some family business, and she wanted to share her happy childhood memories on the farm with her own children.  I made sure to arrange some time for a quick visit to my husband’s family farm, where we live, as well.

Even this photo brought back memories.  Annie, the eternal photographer, would delight in taking rolls and rolls (back then!) of photos around the farm.  We did crazy stuff and I was a willing subject.  She had me pose in a prom dress in blistering heat in a hayfield until she got the lighting just right.  We also attempted some photojournalist-type essays with close-ups of our hands as we climbed out of chicken coops or some such nonsense.  Now, 30 (or more) years later, here we are posing in my Mom’s flower garden, while Annie’s son snapped the shot.  She suggested we move around to the other side of the flowers to take advantage of the best light and to kneel down so more of the pinkish-purple cone flowers would show in the picture.  What you don’t see is another one of her sons who jumped through the garden at the very moment the shutter flicked  and landed on the other side (just kind of cropped that out).  Oh, the beauty of digital photography, which we definitely did not have way back then.  But, we did have a darkroom set up in an old house on the farm (i.e., a room that I painted black with shades on the windows) where I mixed chemicals and developed my own black/white pix to my heart’s content.

Anyways, as we relived our summers of decades ago with fond memories of “minding cows” on the farm while we serenaded them with our clarinets (a story for another time) and our trips to Greenwich Village or Annie’s annual carnival in her hometown, we realized that we hadn’t missed a beat.  We could still just about finish each other’s sentences.

Then, to my surprise, Annie gifted me with this wonderful, watercolor painting, created by her mother.


You see, the reason Annie was back in New York, was to clean out her parents’ home, because her Mom had recently passed away.  She was a wonderful artist and I’m sure her home was brimming with lots of her creations.  Annie picked this one out for me, she said, because  the apples in the still-life reminded her of our farm and she knew her mother would want me to have it.  Thank you, Aunt Dotty, for your creative spirit and for all the happy memories spent with you summers long ago.

Have YOU had a chance to reconnect with a good friend or family member this summer?


Sunday Stroll: “Fruits of Our Labor” July 26, 2009

Filed under: Farm,Gardening,Summer,Sunday Stroll — everydaywomanusa @ 9:36 am
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Finally, we’re enjoying the fruits of our labor in the garden, especially native sweet corn and tomatoes!




I can remember when, growing up,  my Mom would say she could live off fresh-picked corn and native tomatoes during the summer, and now I know what she means!  A simple summer supper doesn’t get much better than corn-on-the-cob and tomatoes!

Everyday couple of days, we’ve been having rainstorms that bring another couple inches of rain, but the sun has managed to shine in between.  Still, many of our native vegetables have been running late, but are a welcome sight when they arrive!


The pickling cukes are ripe, as well as broccoli. . .


The peaches are soaking up the rain and some early varieties should be ripe by the end of the month . . .


The pears are taking on nice size . . .


The hydrangeas are blooming, in all their glory . . .



At first, the Rose of Sharon buds were just promises on the bushes . . .


. . . and then the very first bloom appeared . . .


. . . and, today, just a few days after that very first blossom, we are graced with numerous purple/pink flowers, which adorn our poolside gardens . . .



What’s growing in your garden?  How has the weather affected you?

To see who else is strolling today, click on:   The Quiet Country House.


Oh, What a Night! July 21, 2009

Filed under: Summer — everydaywomanusa @ 9:57 am
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The summer sunsets lately have been amazing . . .DSCF5338




I’m been so busing LIVING summer, I haven’t been blogging as much lately.  Do promise to return in full swing soon, but in the meantime, how’s summer treating YOU?


Sunday Stroll–Walk in the Woods… August 17, 2008

Filed under: Reflections,Summer,Sunday Stroll — everydaywomanusa @ 10:53 am
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Today, I decided to take advantage of this sunny Sunday (for a change!) and take a walk in the woods.  There is a lot of evidence of all the rains we’ve had, including the green lushness and loads of mud puddles!  My local companions, Duke & Eddie, joined me on the excursion around the farm.

Duke, our Golden, takes a dip in the pond on the way to the woods.

Duke, our Golden, takes a dip in the pond on the way to the woods.


OK, make that TWO dips!!!

OK, make that TWO dips!!!

A view of the pond from inside our covered bridge . . .

A view of the pond from inside our covered bridge . . .

Our "older" Old English Sheepdog, Eddie, makes it as far as the cornfield and decides he's had enough exercise.  He heads back home to wait for us in the shade of the Maple trees.

Our "older" Old English Sheepdog, Eddie, makes it as far as the cornfield and decides he's had enough exercise. He heads back home to wait for us in the shade of the Maple trees.

 Duke's ready to go home and join Eddie in the shade . . .

Duke seems to say, “C’mon, Mom 2!” (That’s what he calls me; it’s a long story!)

On the trail into the woods . . .

On the trail into the woods . . .

There is a lot of evidence of the recent rains in the huge mud puddles, which Duke enthusiastically enjoys!
A view of the river that cuts through our farm . . .

A view of the river that cuts through our farm . . .

Of course, Duke takes a dip in the river, too!

Of course, Duke takes a dip in the river, too!

Evidence of damage to a tree from previous storms . . .

Evidence of damage to a tree from previous storms . . .


Duke’s ready to go home and join Eddie in the shade . . . after he shakes on me!!!

To see who else is strolling this Sunday visit “Sunday Stroll” at the Quiet Country House.


GOING TOP-LESS!!! August 14, 2008

Filed under: Humor,Reflections,Summer,Thankful Thursday — everydaywomanusa @ 9:04 am
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I’ve really enjoyed going top-less this summer . . . in my ride, that is!

OK, I think I mentioned a while back that my crazy, wonderful family gave me a red hot Mustang for Mother’s Day.  While I NEVER knew I NEEDED a convertible, I sure have had a lot of fun with it this summer!  As far as being green, it uses less fuel than my SUV (which is a necessity in the winter to even get up our driveway),  and I’ve gone without airconditioning!!!

On a lighter note, here are the TOP TEN benefits of a convertible:

1. A convertible eliminates blind spots.
Put the top down on your convertible, and the dangerous blind spot created by the c-pillar (the column that supports the roof at the back of a car) disappears, leaving unobstructed 360 degree visibility. What could be safer than that?

2. A convertible facilitates passive multitasking.
In an increasingly busy world, any time you can add a second task to your day without any additional effort, you’d be silly to pass up the opportunity. A convertible allows you to add sun tanning to your commute.

 3. A convertible responds to your moods.
Even on the nicest of days, people occasionally experience sour moods. Driving a convertible doesn’t mean you have to drop the top every time you leave a parking space (although I do!) — you can still choose to huddle beneath the fabric top, preserving that sour face until you are fully ready to face the day. Once you cheer up, you can put the top down and share your shining face with the world.

4. A convertible has unlimited headroom.
How many times has this happened to you: You’re on the road, when you see the perfect, authentic, 10 foot tiki totem pole for your backyard, and it’s only $10! The only problem is that your sedan’s trunk will barely hold a golf bag and the tiki gift stand is going out of business forever. If you were driving a convertible, that beauty would be in your garden right now, and it would have been a magnificent spectacle traveling down the highway all the way home. (Unlimited headroom also helps when three people in my immediate family are 6’4″ or taller!)

5. A convertible gives you entry options. Haven’t we all tried the Dukes of Hazzard entry into our sport coupes, leaping through the open window directly into the driver’s seat? Well, with a convertible you can actually use those vaulting skills that your high school gym teacher insisted that you develop, and you’ll have a chance of getting behind the wheel without sustaining major head trauma. (I haven’t mastered this one yet!)

6. A retracted convertible top eliminates embarrassing phone calls.
Leave your convertible top down all the time and you’ll never have to call the auto club to confess that you’ve locked your keys in the car — again.  (Just don’t get caught talking on the phone while driving, as it’s a lot easier for our friendly policemen to pick you out in a convertible . . . talking from experience here.)

7. A convertible fosters an interest in science.
Take your children for a late night drive in your convertible, and encourage them to look up at the stars in the sky. Before long, you may be chauffeuring a potential NASA astronaut or rocket scientist.

8. A convertible is great for a relationship.
Think about it — when was the last time you saw an unhappy couple driving around with the top down? It’s much harder to argue in a convertible — the combination of wind noise and exposure make a fight much less likely in a Bentley Continental GTC convertible than in a sedan.

9. Convertibles are fun!!!
Driving a convertible is the kind of fun that doesn’t rely on speed or handling. Even a slow convertible is fun to drive. There’s nothing better than being out in the elements while still being in your car — the wind in your hair, the sun on your face, the smell of nature instead of the chill of air conditioning. When you have a convertible, you’ll look for opportunities to drive — a beautiful day can be amplified by a nice drive in your drop top—or by going “topless” as my husband likes to call it! 

10. Chicks dig convertibles.
If you are a girl, you know that this is true; if you are not a girl, you will find that driving a convertible will help you to attract and retain them. This is a proven fact, at least according to my expert industry analysis.

Or so my son, Jonathan, thought when he drove our ’66 Mustang Convertible to UMaine at the end of his last semester.  Turns out it was a “50-year-old man magnet.”  Chicks simply did NOT dig the old ‘stang.  Ummm. . . some truckers also dig convertibles and you might hear their airhorns! 

So there you have it. That should be enough ammunition to go out and rent or buy your next convertible. I would gladly give you more — but I’ve got to get this totem pole out of my back seat and into the garden before the neighbors start to talk.

 So, can you tell what I’m thankful for this Thursday?  Going Top-less!!!


Thankful Thursday: PEDAL POWER!!! August 8, 2008

I’ve been pedaling a lot lately – – on land and on water!  This week I’m thankful for small things, like PEDAL POWER!!!

In a time when “staycations” are popular, I’ve been saving fuel, too, and using pedal power to have a bit of summer fun close to home.  I’ve always enjoying biking, especially in the orchards and down along the river on my mountain bike, but this summer, I’ve added another toy.  I’ve always wanted a pedal-powered boat for our pond and had been talking about it for a while.  When my son said, “Gee, Mom, your dreams are really kinda small and if you really want a pedal boat, you should get one!”  I justified it, thinking it was another way to get in some exercise, and a way to further enjoy summer in our backyard.  Although some of my family members may think I’m a little crazy, I’m enjoying it!

I’ve even convinced my daughter to go for a “spin” with me one day, and, then one evening, my husband humored me by pedaling along with me.  Although they both thought it was more like work than relaxation, you have to admit, there’s something just virtuous about physically pedaling along!  Although my little “yaht” is supposed to carry 5 people, it’s really just about right for two and is even fine for a single!

So, if you’re looking for me this summer, I’m likely pedaling along . . .


“Green” your Beach Towels! July 24, 2008

Filed under: Living Green — everydaywomanusa @ 12:36 pm
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Pool and beach towels are traditionally made from cotton–a crop that accounts for one quarter of the world’s insecticide use, according to the Sierra Club.  If it’s time to replace your old towel, why not keep it out of the landfill and go for greener options?

You could turn worn-out towels into:

  • dog toys
  • batting for a baby quilt
  • or donate to an animal shelter for drying off damp critters and lining kennels

When it’s time to replace those old towels, look for options that use organic cotton or (fast-growing) bamboo.

Any more ideas for recycling old towels?