Holding on to Summer

Whew … a short breather from running around with the school activities and back-to-school night and sports schedules … Thankfully, summer has been extended over here in the east coast … yaaayyy! ¬†We can enjoy a few more days and weeks of warm weather. ¬†It’s getting a little nippy in the late evening and early dawn/morning, but that’s okay.

Over the weekend, I was at a garden bridal shower. ¬†And yes, there were real showers as well, because there were a few sprinkles and drizzles throughout the afternoon. ¬†No matter … it was all good.

The event was held in the Freeman Gardens, in Glen Ridge, NJ. ¬†It’s a rose garden deeded to the town by its owners. I didn’t even know there was a garden out there. ¬†Quaint little patch of land, in between the residential houses. ¬†Unfortunately, there weren’t too many blooms out there at this time of year.¬†I’ll make a note to visit there in the spring and summer next year.

As usual, my eyes are drawn to that one flower that will obsess me for the time I’m there. ¬†And it’s a regular favourite – the echinecea – in the last stages of blooming. ¬†I should add this to my other post on the different stages.


First impression is that it’s a black flower. ¬†But it isn’t …

It’s the echinecea flower, in the last stages of blooming …



Holding on to summer …


Just like we all are …


Harry Potter and the Wizarding World

I wasn’t planning on getting on any rides at Universal Studios, but the boys told me that’s where Harry Potter and the dragons were, and that I had to go with them. ¬†And so we went to visit Harry.

My older son grew up with the books.  He was the same age as Harry when the books started, and he eagerly followed the adventures.  I had to make sure to pre-order the books as they came out, so that they would be delivered to our doorstep the first day it was released.  That was the only series of books that he has read, up to now.  The younger one has not taken to enjoying the reading as much.  I think the movies spoiled it for him a little.

Here’s my impressions of the Harry Potter world.

This is definitely my favourite Рit is seriously impressive and imposing as you walk in to Diagon Alley.  You zig-zag through walls from the outside, and as you turn the corner, there it is.


The dragon Рhuge, imposing, glaring down at you.  And it also breathes fire!  Definitely the best prop out there.

Of course, we had to go to Platform 9 3/4 and take the train ride.  I found the platform better than the train ride Рthat could have been better, I think.

And of course, there was butter beer – no, it was’t alcoholic, or maybe there was a little bit of it, I don’t know – we were too hot and thirsty from standing in line to get on the ride, we just drank it up. ¬†It was more like a shake. ¬†And other items found in the wizarding world. ¬†hmmm … I didn’t get any pictures or souvenirs of that big white owl of his … or the hats and the wands and the cloaks …

This, however, I had to get … yes, I do solemnly swear ¬†…




Summer is Going by Too Fast …

This summer has gone by so fast. ¬†Is it really the last summer weekend? I hope not … I haven’t had enough of summer yet!

Thankfully, the Coach made good on his word that the team would take a break and rest for a while, so it’s been a relatively restful soccer summer for us. I think that’s because most of the boys are going into first year high school now, and there’s so much going on for them. ¬†I’m running around trying to get everything ready – wait, I think I still have to get some neckties. ¬†Justin says the father’s neckties aren’t good at all, and did the father really wear all those ties? ¬†lol

We also took a quick break to meet up with hubby and ended up in Orlando, Florida. ¬†The last time we were there was ten years ago, so they didn’t mind going this time. ¬†But no more Disney World for the boys – that’s for little girls and princesses, they said. ¬†They spent the time going between Universal Studios and the pool. ¬†And did those park prices really go up so high now?? I remember thinking before that $60 per person for a park entrance fee was a lot. ¬†Now it’s over $100??? ¬†yikes!! ¬†I must be getting old …

Hopefully I’ll settle down later and get back to writing and posting. ¬†I’m still a little scatter-brained at the moment … yeah, I must be getting older …

Have a safe holiday long weekend, all!



Heavy Thoughts for the Last Days of Summer

Still around … Just not enough hours in a day … but that’s nothing new, right?

Was it really just three short months ago – if even that much – that we were celebrating the arrival of warm weather and hot sunny skies? ¬†Now I’m pulling out a jacket as I run out of the door. ¬†Good thing I had gloves in the pockets, when it suddenly turned cold out on the fields while waiting for soccer practice to finish!

My mind these days is in constant scrambles and rambles. ¬†We’re dealing with the sudden and unexpected illness? of an aunt, and suddenly facing situations and decisions that we normally don’t think about. ¬†She’s in a coma, resulting from a brain aneurysm, stroke, heart attack … We have no idea about DNRs, powers of attorneys, wills, how to pay her bills, transactions … My uncle has pulled me in to help him go through her papers, belongings, anything that might give us any information, and very, very reluctantly, I looked through drawers, all the while thinking that I was intruding. ¬†The hospital has been bringing up the topic of family discussions on what to do … long-term care? ¬†where? ¬†how? ¬†Or the other option, which is that if she never wakes up from the coma, how long do we want to keep her on life support? ¬†Or, what if she recovers but she cannot function at all? ¬†What to do? ¬†The siblings – eight of them – will need to sit down together and discuss, and come to an agreement. ¬†And I suspect that I will have to sit there with them and … do what? ¬†I don’t really know what. ¬†Provide support, explain what the doctors are saying, what the hospital wants, what possible actions to take next … ¬†Right now, prayers is all we have, until we’re ready to take that step.

From a lifetime of aunts and uncles looking out for me, it is now my turn to look out for them. And while we had discussed these topics informally before, it’s one of those discussions that nobody wants to really deal with, and so the talks move on to other things … Except in times as such as these, when in hindsight now you know that you should have sat down and gotten things in order first …

Which has also led me to thinking about what to do in our family … so that the boys are not left feeling lost and stranded, that the floor has fallen out from beneath your feet and not knowing what to do or how to start or where to start … So as a start, we’re going to have to get a power of attorney soon … Then work on the will ….

This was going to be a post about the end of summer, my doodles and other lighter subjects, but has¬†evolved into more serious matters ¬†… I guess somewhere in the back of my mind I needed something to get my thoughts back in order …. doodling to distract from the current stresses, and writing to put my mind back on track …


Thanks for listening, and enjoy the last weekend of summer!

The Palm Tree

Driving back to the hotel, I looked out the window while at a traffic light, and my eyes found this palm tree, silhouetted against the late afternoon sun.

palm tree


Nothing special … I just liked the look of the almost symmetrical pattern of the leaves and branches! ¬†Plus, I needed to start up my 365-project theme again. ¬†There must be other trees that I’ve taken photos of, but not posted about. ¬†Anyway …

Such delight in a simple thing as a tree on the road.




Rites of Passage

While exploring the desert dunes and tracks during one of our visits, my oldest son asked if he could drive the car.  He was only seven years old at that time.  There was nobody else around us so hubby sat him on his lap while he worked the pedals.  Christopher took the wheel and steered the car.  And so began a tradition.

At the age of seven years old, Justin sat on the father’s lap, just as Christopher did, and steered the wheel of a real car, for the first time. ¬†Such concentration! ¬† ¬†He kind of ran us off the road a bit, says the father, but I didn’t notice … either I was too busy taking pictures and video, or I just wasn’t looking where we were going!

justin drives 07

And whatever the older brother does, he has to do the same thing, of course.

But he doesn’t like it that he has to ride with either the father or the older brother when it came to riding the jet-skis and the ATVs, or any other motor sports.

Decidedly not happy that he has to ride behind the father on the ATV the first time …

… but doesn’t seem to mind it so much the following year …

But he did get to ride his own horse, Pebbles, who he said had to stop and eat and munch on each shrub as we passed by …¬†And he did get tall enough to drive a go-kart by himself … well, it looks like he had stretch those legs a bit to reach the pedal, but no matter, he was driving his own cart …

And so this year, in his last days as a twelve-teen (as he calls himself) before officially becoming a teen-ager, he was finally old enough and big enough to ride solo.

A little tentative and hesitant as he gets the feel of steering and working the pedals on his own … no goodbye wave, because he wasn’t letting go of the handles … but by the second day, there he is standing on the jetskis again!

And we have come full circle now, as he takes the wheel for the first time, out on the desert dunes and tracks …

justn drives 2013

He turns thirteen this weekend. ¬†Another set of milestones to look forward to in the coming years …