Jo Mayne Casey

Archive for the ‘Spring at Sonnystone’ Category

Weekly Wrap…

In 2017, Spring at Sonnystone, Uncategorized, updates, week-end wrap-up on June 19, 2017 at 11:59 am

Last week was catch-up time here at Sonnystone.  The garden was showing signs of powdery mildew, so we neemed and trimmed.  We officially moved to the downstairs bedroom, and turned on the a/c.  We put up the new pool, a 14×36 cheapo from Big Lots, and put in a trellis around its west perimeter.   The hot, muggy weather made it the perfect coolant after doing our chores.

 

I may have mentioned that I am not at all comfortable in water that is over my head, or too close to my nose for that matter.  I had a traumatic near-drowning experience when I was a teenager, swimming up at the stripper pits in Pelzer.   I never swam, or floated, in the pits after that and will have nothing to do with lakes or ponds, either.  When my children outgrew the baby pool, I started sending them off with other adults so that I didn’t have to brave the anxiety of watching their heads bobbing around in a sea of rowdy splashers, or hide my panic as I watched fretfully for them to resurface after diving.   Both of my kids are excellent swimmers and think I’m just being my usual neurotic self, like when I won’t let them near edges…   The grandkids sort of know that if they’re going to a Real Pool, JoJo will not be there, because it makes her nervous…no one likes to make me nervous…

I am, however, a World-Class air-mattress-floater, and have taught the girls how to slither into the pool without getting wet, a skill that will serve them well, long after their desire to do the breaststroke has left.  We bought some new rafts this year and I’m floating high on the water…

I’ve been doing this 15:9 intermittent fasting thing and have taken off a couple of lbs in prep for the bathing suits.  Of course, there’s 15 more to go, but I don’t think that’s going to be happening in the summertime.  I sweat like a…well, there is a small fountain at the top of my head that opens up whenever my body temperature goes above 98, pouring perspiration over my face, into my ears, funneling down the delta of my chest to saturate my clothing.  This sweating thing really is an excellent excuse to not work too hard in mid-day heat, and the chiggers are the excuse to stay on the screened porch at dusk and dawn.  With all that work-avoidance, and the holistic approach of treating sweating with cold beer, I’ll be happy to just maintain….because I’m old and confident…

I spent a welcome rainy Sunday reading for a new Book Challenge.  Willard Library’s Adult Reading Challenge invites you to read 10 books from 10 categories to be entered into a drawing for $250.  I think it’s read 3-4, you’re in for $50, going up with however many you read.  Thus far, I have read “book with a 1-word title” (Commonwealth) and “book with an animal as a character (Travels with Charley).  Currently reading “A Hillbilly Elegy”.

It looks like a lazy week up ahead and we’re going to take full advantage.  Though Casey will always find a project, he’s making good progress in sitting around with me.  Next week we are busybusy, and The Jose’ fam will be here before we know it.

We’re scheduling our Camp Sonnystone activities and trips.  Do you have a suggestion?  Have you been to the elephant ranch?  What did you think?  Emma and Eliza will be attending a week-end Feis in St. Louis at the end of the month and I hope we have time to hit the zoo and the arch, too.  Closer to home, we will visit our zoo and museum,  Ellis Park,  New Harmony and Harmonie State Park.   Am I missing anything?  Riverfronts, both Eville and Newburgh, perhaps?  There will be the usual arts, crafts, and music.  I’m thinking let the kids do some photography, too.  Soo excited.

With the Solstice in 2 days, this may be my last post for Spring at Sonnystone…  It’s a beautiful, 72-degrees and sunny, day and I’m going to get out there and do nothing…and perhaps a little nap afterwards…

Peace

 

 

 

 

4 days in Manhattan…

In 2017, Spring at Sonnystone, updates on June 13, 2017 at 11:41 am

The Kindergarten Graduation

5 years ago Emma graduated Kindergarten…Same hat.  At least my head hasn’t grown…

Party at American Girl

Swinging in Central Park

Roaming the Met

Sadly, I did not take any photos of the Ceili, only videos, and I would Love to share them with you.  Alas, wordpress is not being co-operative.  If I figure out how to upload them, I will post them.  All of the dancers were wonderful, especially Emma and Eliza.  So much excitement!  Word to my daughter, send me some pictures!

We’re back at Sonnystone, catching up with the garden and putting up the pool.  The New York Family is scheduling a July visit—hey, that’s just a couple of weeks!  Plans for Camp Sonnystone are underway.  Being with each family is wonderful, but getting All of Us Together is Superlative..!  See you soon!

Peace

Retirement, so far…

In 2017, Spring at Sonnystone, Uncategorized on June 6, 2017 at 7:42 am

It’s been nearly 6 months since hubby’s last day at the highway, officially 12/16/16.  I was in NYC on the actual party day, but he was properly fete’d by all the young guys to whom he has been a mentor, as well as a whole quarry of old codgers who had worked with him in the past.  When I returned to Sonnystone on the 19th, our new life began.

At first, it was kind of like going away to college–we were free to stay up all night and/or to sleep all morning.  It was the holiday season, so we decked the halls and all that.  After the New Year, he dove right in and remodeled the laundry room.  It was a mild winter, so we spent part of February blazing a new path and making space for gnomes in our woods.   We spent a week on Dauphin Island in March.  By the time I solo’d to NYC again in April, he had nearly completed the new garden beds and fences.  After planting, we took a break to camp in the Smokies, and ever since we have been continuing to spruce up for the summer season.   We babysit the grandkids frequently and he has done some work over at the Jrs. house.  His usual mowing, wood-chopping, and fixing jobs have kept him busy and he claims that except for the machinery, he doesn’t miss work at all.

As for me, I am delighted to have him here to pal around with, but…  I write less, I read less, and I have given up watching what I want on TV.    My blogs are quickly-put-together pictures and commentary, not much more.  I haven’t sat down and spent a day working on Any project like I used to.  Though we’ve settled into a routine (we go to bed early and get up early), I haven’t yet been able to incorporate any Me time into it yet.  I still clean the house and cook the meals, all our traditional gender-based duties, and his constant gotta-be-doing-something has rubbed off and I am outside attracting chiggers and skeeters more than in my whole life.  The other morning, for the first time, I kinda wished he would go to work so I could just be alone.  Just one day.

By the time the pensions and annuities and social security kicked in, I had stressed over the insurance premiums (less than we paid at the state, thank-you, President Obama) and started feverishly throwing money into savings.  By May it was worked out, but the picture is not as rosy as I had hoped.   It’s doubtful we can afford to be snowbirds this year, but that’s due to the fact that we are taking 2 (yes, two) trips to WDW, one in October with the Jrs. and in January or March with the newyorkers.   Overall, though, the worry was unnecessary, as usual.  He wasn’t worried at all…

This morning I am up early to finish packing, grabbing an alone minute or two.  We are driving up to Indy and flying from there to LaGuardia.  Eliza is graduating from kindergarten at St. Joseph and they make a big deal of it.  We went for Emma’s, so we’re keeping it even, and I’m going to wear the same hat.  (I made a wonderful friend at Emma’s kindergarten party: Brownie Severine.  I doubt I’ll get so lucky this trip.)   The girls are doing their Irish dancing on Saturday, and we’ll head home Sunday morning.  Together.

So far, So good…

Peace

Adventures with with O & S ….

In 2017, Photos, Spring at Sonnystone on June 2, 2017 at 3:49 pm

We went to the zoo to celebrate Olivia’s first day of summer vacation…

Afterward, we came back to Sonnystone and played…It’s nice to have PawPaw around to play clue and help with fairy wings…

Samantha spent a while working on her flying…

Missing the essential Pixie Dust, she didn’t quite lift off, but she persisted…I like that in a person…

 

Peace

 

Another Week-end Wrapped Up

In 2017, Photos, Spring at Sonnystone, Uncategorized, week-end wrap-up on May 21, 2017 at 2:48 pm

We arrived back at Sonnystone early afternoon Thursday.  You can read about our trip at My Travel Blog.  Wink had traveled very well, (even alerting us to bear outside the camper one night!) but was glad to get back to his old box, as were we.

Saturday was Olivia’s Dance Recital (as well as the Preakness, which did not turn out well, but I don’t wanna talk about it).  She has really improved and this year was her best.  In fact, the whole (half) of the recital that I watched was better than the last few.  It’s tough to get dancing pictures from the cheap seats without blur, but here’s my best of her best…


Didn’t I warn you about what happens when we go off-grid?  While we were in the Smokies, the news cycle was Spinning, and when I came out of the no-news-zone it took several hours of reading to catch up with the chaos.  I’m glad I missed it in real time.  Reading it all summed up was anxiety-producing enough…  Of course, those of you who watch faux news 24/7 don’t have any idea what I’m talking about…

Busy week ahead.   The garden is growing strong.  Check out the photos at My Garden Blog.  Until we meet again…

Peace

 

Week-end Update

In 2017, Spring at Sonnystone, week-end wrap-up on May 14, 2017 at 7:07 am

I bet the winner at the Kentucky Derby across the board, but he wasn’t the horse I was rooting for.  I’ll take my winnings, however bittersweet.  Preakness next….

After the monsoons let up—I thought it would take forever—I scrambled outside to the garden (visit Growing Every Season–my gardening blog),  stopping only to celebrate my #2 grand-daughter’s #9 birthday.

Olivia Mayne Casey, birthday Queen

We’re packing up for a few days,  trailer trippin’ to Cades Cove campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  I’ve got a hankerin’ to hike back to Laurel Falls.   We’re still learning about dry camping, and Wink will be coming along, so it’s kind of a science experiment, too.  We never tire of GSMNP and have been dozens of times, but have only seen a bear once.  We’re told that the bear population around Cades Cove has increased and that we will have no problems seeing lots of them!  I don’t know if that’s good or not, but Casey thinks it’s great.

Remember when we were there (at another campground) in late October?  Just before we went out of cellphone range, the news broke that Comey had re-opened the Hillary email investigation…when we came home 3 days later, she had for all intents and purposes lost the election.  Now as we go back into the wilderness, Comey has been fired and…you know…

 We will be gratefully off-grid, and on the lookout for Bears…

Peace

birds, coyotes, squirrels, and thoroughbreds…

In 2017, Spring at Sonnystone on May 4, 2017 at 1:33 pm

It happens every year at this time…the spring ushers in waves of thunderstorms, downpours, big winds…the green pops up, bordered by gloomy gray skies on the top and mud puddles on the bottom.  Inside, we’ve had the fires going, cozily going crazy while we watch the birdfeeders…

There has been an influx of rose-breasted grosbeaks at our sunflower-seed feeders.  The male and female look Nothing alike.  The male is quite striking with the patch of rose on his chest and white marks on his wings, while she looks like a large carolina wren sort-of (same eyebrows, totally different beak, etc).

I got this picture on May 2, when we had a brief glimpse of the sun.  Shows 2 males and a female…

In fact, the grosbeaks are kin to the cardinals, but my resident cardinals don’t seem too happy to see them.  One of the female grosbeaks hissed off a male cardinal and she and one of her girlfriends hogged that feeder for a while… Mostly, though, they just crowd in and everybody seems well-fed.  We put out the hummingbird feeders and we’ve had several visitors there, as well.

Speaking of well-fed, a coyote visited Sonnystone today.  We’ve seen him/her before, down at the far end of the property, but today he wandered right up to the birdfeeders by the time we noticed.  Casey said he was after a squirrel and went to chase him off, but he had his eye on two and took off toward the garden where that one scrambled over the fence.  I saw him stand there and sniff, then he took off around to the other side where that squirrel was cornered.  This happened quickly, so by the time we figured out where he was he had the squirrel and was sauntering off…

I have no problem with a coyote eating well, but not that close to my house and my squirrels.  He’s thinking he’s got a buffet here, so we’re on Coyote Alert.  He came back for seconds as soon as he ate the first one, so we’ve chased him off once.  Now the pellet gun is pumped and Casey has a Mission…

Meanwhile, I’m researching for my bets on the Oaks tomorrow and Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.  The archives show how many times the Race has been Run on a rainy, cold day, so nothing new there.

Fresh crop of horses that will have to run in the mud, god love ’em.

2017 Kentucky Derby Horses

We’ll stay warm with some Bourbon sippin’ and make our bets online.  Will still wear a hat, of course…

Peace

Back home again…

In 2017, Spring at Sonnystone, updates on April 24, 2017 at 10:36 am

Had a great trip to visit with the NYC grand-daughters, mostly Eliza, who was on spring break.

Anyway, it was a quick trip…  Eliza and I went down to Rockefeller Center, but I failed to get Studio Tour tickets.  Not to be daunted we went** to the Top of the Rock…

We played games and did some book-reading, attended Emma’s All-School Assembly, and just enjoyed being together!!

I arrived back at Sonnystone on Saturday, and I have to brag that my house was freshly swept and my windows were shiny-clean.  All of the my veggie plants were in great shape.  The seeds that I planted last Sunday are just sort-of starting to pop up.  Sunday we planted 9–count ’em–9 double knockout roses across the front of the house.  We’ll be planting veggies this week-end, if not before..!

I’m babysitting Samantha today and tomorrow…

Hope your week is off to a great start!

Peace

 

** (I accidentally walked by trump tower while there…the whole block has to be cordoned off and there are seriously weaponized men everywhere.  I don’t blame Melania for not wanting to live with her husband, and I understand that Barron has special needs,  but according to the New York City Police Department, it has cost the taxpayers an average of $127,000 to $145,000 per day to keep Melania and Barron Trump in New York. By the time the Trumps vacate Trump Tower in June, (if they do) the tallied amount is projected to hit $8.6 million.  Since he’s so rich, can’t he pay that himself?)

(that wasn’t very peaceful, was it?  sorrrry…)

For Real…

Peace to All of you!

 

Just in case you miss me…

In 2017, Spring at Sonnystone on April 18, 2017 at 5:20 am

I’m off to NYC for a couple of days–3 to be exact.  It’s Eliza’s spring break and I got a great price on a ticket out of Indy.  We’ve been non-stop gardening for weeks and I’m actually ready for a break.  The weather in Manhattan won’t be as warm, but what better way is there to spend rainy spring days than playing with your grandkids?

Hope your Easter was happy…ours was!

Peace

Reading Challenge: #3

In 2017, Reading Challenge, Spring at Sonnystone on March 29, 2017 at 5:06 pm

#3 on our book challenge list:  Read a young adult novel.

Coincidentally, Kindle First free books offered up just such a tome, “The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland”, so my choice was made.

It’s been a while since I read a YA novel, but the kids-in-the-nurse’s-office (KITNO) often had their heads buried in Twilight or Mockingjay or The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  I considered those titles, and still do.

Grover Cleveland, however, was a pleasant little book that I read in a couple of sittings while we were on vacation. It’s the story of Zander, a girl from Arizona who is sent to a camp in Michigan for troubled teens.  The teens at Camp Padua are cutters, bulemics, anorexics, compulsive liars, rule-breakers…and some have even tried to break Rule #1: thou shalt not kill thyself.

Zander  seems so normal compared to her bizarre cabin mates.  A straight-A student, she dutifully follows her mother’s extreme eating rules. She wins swim meets to please her father. She’s the perfect teen daughter every parent dreams of, so what’s she doing at a camp full of crazy kids?

Zander meets Cassie, an abrasive, foul-mouthed anorexic girl who slings insults and hides pills.  Zander and Cassie become friends with Grover Cleveland, a kid who is convinced that he is going to grow up to be shizophrenic like his father.  There is Alex Trebek, a compulsive liar (is that his Real name?), who is hilarious.

While a lot of the conversations were so witty and wise that they seemed unrealistic, I’ve heard some pretty smart-ass, messed-up kids that really are that funny/tragic.  Unrealistic was the part where the camp counselors don’t seem to be watching the kids very closely….

We find out Zander’s tragic secret (the reason she is at camp).  Her friendship with Cassie saves her (Cassie).  Grover and Alex are a hilarious duo.  I laughed one minute, cried the next…  Everything ends predictably, but happily, and they all agree to meet up back at camp next year.

The author, Rebekah Crane, writes the dialogues well, keeps the scenes moving, and develops these characters into kids we’re really rooting for.  As mentioned, I’ve been around a lot of kids with emotional problems and I wish they all could meet a Grover, though they would probably dismiss Zander as too “prep” for them.

I love happy endings, but these are kids, and I find myself wondering how things turned out in the long run.  If Ms. Crane writes a #2, I’ll be right there to catch up with them.

Next up on the challenge:  Read a book with a color in the title.

Peace

 

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