Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Why Do I Love Hawaii So Much?

Remember when Dorothy arrived in Oz? Her world was in black and white. Then she opened the door into Oz and everything was in color? That's how I felt the first time I arrived in Hawaii. In those days the airport in Maui was all outdoors, so we exited the plane right on the tarmac. I was standing in line with the other passengers, waiting for the door to be opened. Then the door opened and I felt the Hawaiian air. It felt soft and smelled like flowers. I had never experienced air like that before. That was the beginning of my love affair with Hawaii.

Where else are rainbows so reliable?

Where else can you stand on shore and see humpback whales jumping and diving?

Where else can you see scenes like this?

and this?

and this?

(That road you can barely see snaking around is the Road to Hana, which is one of my favorite drives.)

This is how I feel when I'm in Hawaii. I'm just a happier, better person.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On Broadway!

I am so excited for my nieces! They are 15, 13 and 11 and they live in Kentucky. They have traveled quite a bit, mostly in the western and southern United States, but they have never been to New York city before. I have been telling them how big, crowded, noisy and exciting it is. I have been hoping they would go to see a Broadway show, a musical, with all the singing and dancing. I knew they would love it.

I remember how I felt the first time I saw a Broadway show. I was ten years old and my parents took my sister and me to see "My Fair Lady". It was the original, with Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison (I'm dating myself for sure). I was hooked. Since then I have seen a number of shows on the stage, but very few on Broadway itself. I know there is nothing like it. I know that feeling of breathless excitement when the curtain goes up and the music starts. I know what it feels like to get goosebumps and feel like your heart is going to jump out of your chest because it's so great to watch them... live on stage!

Today they are going to see "Newsies". I have seen scenes from it so I have an idea what the choreography is like, how amazingly talented the dancers are. I've been watching clips on YouTube, trying to imagine my nieces' reaction. I am so excited for them to be experiencing this. I can't wait to hear what they have to say. I hope they love it as much as I do. I hope they feel the same excitement I do. I hope they develop a lifelong love of the theater. I'm so glad they are having this experience. They have all taken gymnastics and dance classes, so I think they will appreciate the talent and be inspired by it.

Heat Wave: 106 degrees

It's way too hot here! It's so uncomfortable that I've been neglecting to go out and do things I should be doing. I haven't been back to the Y to exercise, and it's showing on my body. I really have to get out there. I wish it would cool off a little.

The outdoor kitties seem to be doing fine, though. I took this photo of them on the deck stairs yesterday. I've been putting ice water out for them, and they have a lot of shade to rest in out there.

The one in the middle is "Spot" and the one on the right is "Mama" (Spot's mother). The one on the left is "Little Blondie". Spot and Little Blondie hang out together quite often. Mama still hangs out with her grown kittens, Spot and Little Sister.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Farm Memories

Writing my last post, about the farm, made me think of my grandfather. He grew up on the farm and loved taking my sister and me there when we were kids. He showed us everything and explained how everything worked. We were fascinated by the milking barn which had rows and rows of milking machines. We loved playing with the kittens in the barn. We envied the kids who lived there because they had go-carts and lots of room to ride them.

We always wanted to visit the cows; they were large black and white Holsteins. When we came up to the fence surrounding their field, they would wander over to us and reach their heads over the fence. They seemed to be as curious about us as we were about them. Sometimes my grandmother came with us and we would be invited inside to visit with the farm wife in her big, sunny kitchen. We would usually take home fresh eggs that she had given us.

There was a small family cemetery across the road from the farm. My grandfather would take us over there so we could see the gravestones of our ancestors. He took us to a sulphur spring that smelled like rotten eggs and encouraged us to taste the water. He took us to the grain elevator to see how it worked.

We went many places with our grandfather. He was not a demonstrative man but he enjoyed spending time with us, and we with him. He knew all the back country roads and all the interesting things to see along them. He always wore his army boots, a short-sleeved short, and khaki pants with suspenders. He was a character, which is the best kind of grandfather to have.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Farm

We have a farm that has been in my family since 1811. We have a certificate of land grant signed by President James Madison and Secretary of State James Monroe. The land was granted to my ancestor, Joseph Brown. Was he the original "Farmer Brown"? We're not sure.

The 300 acre farm was occupied and farmed by my family until my grandfather and his two sisters decided to leave in the 1920s and become "city folk". Since then, it has been run by a series of tenant farmers. It was a dairy farm until the 1980s when it became a cattle farm. After the death of my grandfather and his sisters, there were three surviving family members left with inheritance rights to the farm, my father and his two cousins. They each had several children, so they foresaw that the number of family members would increase in generations to come. It was then that they decided to incorporate the farm so that shares could be distributed to all family members.

Now that my father and his two cousins have died, it has come to my generation. I have three sisters and two cousins once removed who are shareholders in the farm. Every year, by law, we must have a corporate board meeting. This Friday is our annual meeting for 2012. So, I will be traveling up north to Ohio to meet with my sisters and cousins. We meet at our accountant's office after an informal luncheon. As the corporate secretary, it is my job to keep the minutes. So, I am busy getting all of my papers together and preparing for this year's meeting.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I Live in a Dreamworld

It's true. On my first grade report card my teacher wrote "she's a day dreamer". It's still true today. I live in my head because I can't live in reality how and where I want to live. Circumstances have worked to put me in a place where I have been all of my life. I haven't been brave enough to change them. I recently found this quote: "This is your world; shape it or someone else will." I need to reshape my world.

If I'm lucky, I have another fifteen or twenty years left to live before I am too old to change things. So, I feel like I have to do it now. I've been places where I felt I belong. I've been with people with whom I feel like I belong. Circumstances have kept me away from them.

How do you change something so basic? How do you make dreams come true? That's what I'm thinking about now.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Things That Made Me Say "Wow!"

1. Candles with rainbow-colored flame! I just found these the other day. I used them on our three-birthday cake. When we lit them, everyone ooh-ed and aww-ed. They really are cool!

2. I can not stop eating these! They are crunchy, sweet and salty all at once. Addicting.

3. Blueberry Tart... I recently found the recipe in my Kroger store handout. They give the recipe to make the crust but I just buy a ready made chocolate crust. Just mix a little honey in some plain Greek yogurt for the filling, then heat blueberries with a little lime juice and maple syrup till the juice comes out. Top the filling with the blueberries and chill. It's fast and delicious... and mostly healthy!

p.s. I think a lot of people must be making this. I told my neighbor about it last week, and today I noticed the store was out of chocolate crusts.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mama and Little Sister

Three Birthdays!

My sister, my niece and I all have birthdays in the same week. Yesterday, we got together to celebrate all three.

It was a casual get-together; we had pizza and birthday cake and opened presents.

Friday, July 13, 2012

My Birthday in Indiana

From my house, you drive 30 minutes or so, down a country road in Kentucky, heading west along the Ohio River. It's a pretty drive, through rural Boone County into even more rural Gallatin County.

Then you drive through the tiny river town of Warsaw, Kentucky.

Soon you see a huge dam with a bridge along the top. This is the Markland Dam, which crosses the Ohio River and takes you from Kentucky into Indiana.

We cross that bridge and we are in Switzerland County, Indiana.

Out of the Indiana countryside has sprung a large complex... the Belterra Casino and Resort.

This is where my husband took me for my birthday. He was scheduled to play in a golf tournament there the next day, so we went the night before and celebrated my birthday.

We had dinner at Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse, a Cincinnati area favorite.

It's a tradition that every year on my birthday, I get to order lobster. So, I had the "special" of the night, Filet Mignon with a lobster tail. It was delicious!

We split a half bottle of Pinot Noir. One of my husband's golf buddies happened to see us there. When he heard it was my birthday, he sent over another half bottle. Thank you, Rob!

The next day, while my husband played golf, I was able to relax in the room, check out the shops, as well as the pool and the casino.

The casino itself is inside a riverboat that is docked beside the building. You go down a long hallway into the riverboat.

There are two floors in the casino; the lower level even has a non-smoking area. I didn't gamble but I watched the people. Fascinating!

Finally I met my husband for lunch at the patio beside the pool. Then we drove home. It was a fun birthday!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Road Trip!

A couple of weeks ago we drove from our home in Kentucky to visit our friends in the Philadelphia area. We have friends there because we lived there for sixteen years. We still miss them.

Crossing the Ohio River... from Kentucky into Ohio.

Driving through Ohio, miles and miles of farms...

This land is very flat.

Across another bridge... now we're going into West Virginia. This is where it begins to get hilly.

From West Virginia into Pennsylvania...

We saw some of these along the way. These giants fascinate me...

Along the Pennsylvania Turnpike...

Along the Pennsylvania Turnpike you go through three mountains... in tunnels.

Can you see "the light at the end of the tunnel"?

We passed our old exit... Fort Washington! I feel a tug in that direction and a sense of nostalgia for the place where we lived for sixteen years.

We finally arrived at our friends' place! Wine and conversation on the balcony...

And the sunset, after our ten hour drive. Whew! It's good to be out of the car.