Friday, February 6, 2015

7 Quick Takes - Groundhogs, Grocers & Other Good Stuff

Happy to be linking up with Kelly over at This Ain't the Lyceum for another round of Quick Takes. Happier still to be getting this 7QT actually published on a Friday.  Huzzah!

Trout Lily (courtesy of wikipedia)
Well, I am pleased to report that while Punxsutawney Phil might have seen his shadow in sunny PA, the groundhogs did not see their shadows here in the hills of southeast Kentucky, which is not surprising considering we get about one sunny day per week during the winter here and odds were already against this past Monday being one of them.  But I'll take cloudy days over six more weeks of winter any day.  In just a few more weeks, I'm countin' on looking at wildflowers like Trout Lilies and the aptly named Harbinger of Spring and listening to the wood frogs.  Groundhog, don't let me down!

Of course, winter is a relative term, and even though we've had a very mild winter, with very little snow, somehow my kids have still managed to only go to preschool five days in the past eight weeks (they usually go two days a week). By default, I think I have become a homeschooler, thanks to a county school system that calls off school at the mere mention of snow in the forecast.  It's a little ridiculous, considering kids in Boston have probably missed less school than we have.

So, thanks to all those "snow" days, and the fact that our January thaw ended about a week ago, we've been battling cabin fever again.  Joah has been doing a great job turning my vacuum cleaner into an automatic weapon and using it to protect us from terrorists who might be hiding in the basement.  John has been perfecting his skill at becoming a professional slacker and doing a lot of slouching on the sofa and begging for more nutella to feed his sugar addiction (I'm not sure how the kid is going to survive Lent).

John doing what he does best.
Joah on patrol.

Tom has completely filled up his new wood rack, which puts us halfway towards having enough firewood for next winter. We've already burned through more than half of this year's supply, so let's hope that "half your hay by groundhog day" does not apply to firewood as well or else we might have to start paying for our heat with real dollars rather than real sweat.

But the biggest news around here is that we have a new grocery store! It's the best thing that has happened in our small town since we got numbers put on our traffic lights (we're up to four now so it was getting a bit confusing).  We have two grocery stores for our entire county, one of which is a off-brand discount grocery.  The other is part of a major grocery store chain but until this week, that particular store was housed in a very small building.  That all changed when they moved to a building twice its size this past week.  More space equals more selection and I had to pinch myself when I walked in and found things like organic leeks and mangoes, hummus, and even fresh seafood (and I'm not talkin' about catfish).  Before this, we had to drive 30 miles for such a thing.  I'm not sure the selection matches the clientele, however, and while I was pushing my cart down the baking aisle and reveling in the fact that we now had olive oil, I did hear a customer inquire "where's the lard?"  You know, the important stuff.   By the time they had their grand opening a few days later, however, the store managers seemed to have figured it out, which was made evident by the fact that they were offering a free case of Mountain Dew to the first 500 customers who showed up. That brought out the crowd!   Having the grand opening during the "first of the month" didn't hurt either. Christmas comes every month around here, all compliments of Uncle Sam. Mountain Dew, cigarettes, lard and a check every month whether you earned it or wonder everyone here is always smiling!

Anyhow, back to Groundhog day, aka, Candlemas.   As I said, it was a cloudy, non-shadowy kind of day around here, so the boys and I (mostly I) decided to fight our cabin fever by making some candles using our old advent candles and some other used candles I had on hand.   Well, it took me about 4 seconds to realize that hyper little boys and hot wax do not mix.  Thankfully, hyper little boys are also easily distracted so I offered to make them some lunch while I also tried to finish the candles.  Not one of my better multitasking moments!   In the future, I think I will just stick with lighting candles rather than making candles.  I haven't lit any of them yet to see if they smell like peanut butter.

Hmm, what else?  Have a I mentioned that we have a birthday boy in the making?  Joah turns four in fewer than ten days.  Oh my.  I can't believe how old my boys are getting.  Didn't I just hold them for the first time like yesterday?  I really hope to write out his (adoption) birth story to commemorate the big 4.0 anniversary.   Hopefully, I'll find the time for that soon.   I can't imagine a more perfect adoption than the one we had with Joah, and we owe it all to his birthmother, who, to this day, is still the most amazing woman I have ever met. I wish every adoption could be like his.

And...drumroll...this coming week also marks my one-year blogiversary!   What a year it has been! I'm not sure what I was thinking when I started writing this blog on a cold February day last year.  I remember sitting at my kitchen table, pounding out that first post on my laptop as the boys napped, thinking, what in the world am I doing?   At the time, I was facing a possible adoption, surgery for my three-year old, and a 500-mile move of our entire household all within the period of the next two months.  So what possessed me to add "Start a Blog" to the list?  I suppose it is what motivates most of us who read and write blogs;  it was the longing to belong to a community of like-minded souls who share some of the same values, beliefs, crosses, and joys as I do.  At least, from my one year of experience, that's what I've picked up on as being a common denominator in all who read and write blogs like this one.  Which is kinda cool, but also kinda sad, if ya know what I mean.  What used to be available in families, parishes, and neighborhoods now has to be found online for so many of us and I am no exception.

The other thing I noticed when I was recently looking at my first blog post is the date. One year ago, when I wrote that post, I did not realize that I was writing it on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.   How cool is that?   I can't help but believe Our Lady was with me all along now, hopefully inspiring me to put words to paper.  And so, I dedicate this blog to not only Francis (my first-born) but also Our Lady of Lourdes.   My second line in that first post was " I'm not sure where this blog is heading but something is pulling me to do it so here it goes".   Maybe it wasn't Something, but rather Someone.  I pray so.   Thank you for bearing with me during this first year as I haphazardly tried to find my voice in this infinite abyss known as the blogosphere.


  1. "I haphazardly tried to find my voice in this infinite abyss" --- You and me both! What a great way to say it! I loved this update (I grew up in a one-horse town, so congrats on the grocery store - I know just how exciting that is!). I come up on my first year blogiversary in a few short months and I feel like we've both been figuring this out side-by-side. I'm so glad you decided to blog. Happy reader of your thoughts here, and I pray for you and your family often. <3

    1. Thank you so much. Your prayers and your readership mean so much to me. Can't wait to see where the second year takes us both!

  2. 3rd attempt (blogger is not liking me today). Congrats on your 1 year blogiversary! Glad you started a blog and I look forward to continuing to follow.

    1. Thanks, Kerri. You and others inspired me!