There are many things going on in my mind these crazy days of summer - lazy and hazy, as the old song used to say, do not apply. For me, the 4th of July is the beginning of the downward slide back to school days and a bit of routine again. At least we can hope.
Livi's been taking a reading class this summer, three days a week, for an hour. One day she brought home a book to read that brought back such memories. I remember this book so clearly from my childhood, and I haven't seen it since. I hadn't thought of it in a long time, but I enjoyed reading it with Livi. Does anybody else remember it?
Each brother had a special physical gift and they traded places with each other to save their lives. It was a fun blast from the past.
These reading classes are held over lunch hour, and the kids eat lunch with their teacher. This is where the rant part comes in - free lunch is offered at several schools here in town. It is a nice thing for the kids - they get to see their friends, eat a good lunch, and it is free. But really not free. I could be called a hypocrite, because I have taken advantage of it on the days I have the girls. But I just don't quite get how this is possible when we are a trillion dollars in debt as a nation. But what bothers me more than that is the waste that goes along with the "rules and regulations." For instance, I wanted to take one lunch for the twins to lower waste. But they told me I'd have to buy a milk for the other one if I took only one lunch for two kids. I clarified with them that they'd prefer I throw away a lunch in place of giving me an extra milk. Adults have to pay $3.50 for the same lunch, which is fine. But you can't eat any of the kids' food rather than throw it away. And you can't take anything home with you, rather than throw it away. Seems a tad wasteful to me.
Changing subjects -- I think I started something the other day that has gotten pretty big. At least, that's what I suspect. I called the city because the street we drive down many times a week was looking very scruffy. When the houses were built and the street was put in, the homeowners along this street put their fences about 4 feet from the curb, and I guess the city landscaped it. It looked nice for years, but eventually the "decorative" rock began to disappear, the black plastic under it began to show and shred. The bushes and trees began to die, and nobody was taking any notice of it, seemingly. It was so ugly. There were also a couple of pine trees that Dwight had noticed were infested with a bug. I was so pleasantly surprised when they were out within less than week, cleaning it all up. It looks so much better. They also noticed some really bad sections of sidewalk that they replaced. Ever since, they have been out there every day putting in new handicap accessible curbs at the intersections. I wonder if, when they came out to check out the trees and bushes, they realized nothing had been done on this street for a long time, or if they already had this work scheduled. Either way, it's been a good thing.
Veering off the path even more - I have quite a few authors I follow as they write a book most every year. Mary Daheim is one of those - her books have been alphabetical, and she's been writing this series for 20 years now. She is up to V, Alpine Vengeance. I love it that you can go to a favorite author's web page and actually e-mail them a message. I have had several answer my messages. I wrote Mary with a comment about the latest book, and it began a lengthy back and forth conversation. She's quite the character and I'd love to meet her IRL. She surprised me with her willingness to not only answer my questions, but give me lots of insight into her journey through this series. What fun.
My family, meaning my birth family, has always had a favorite pasta salad for the summertime, particularly picnics. It must have originated with one of my grandmas, probably my mom's mom, Grandma Wildman. It is made with ring macaroni, made by Creamettes.
It's a simple salad with tuna, peas, celery, a bit of onion, and some Miracle Whip. And of course, a bit of sate, or my preference, seasoned salt. We have never been able to find the rings out here in Colorado, so any time we went to Minnesota, we'd pick some up and bring home several boxes. A few years ago they changed the shape of the box from the rectangular box (like Kraft Mac and Cheese), to this square box. That was okay, as long as the product was the same. When I didn't have any, I made the salad with little alphabet shaped pasta, but I haven't even been able to find them lately. Last summer, we picked some up when we were in Minnesota, and then my aunt sent us several boxes each (Mom, sis, and me). Now, the bad news - my aunt can't find them any more in Monticello, Minnesota. So so sad!!
We love this salad so much that my brother, who rarely gets it, putting a forkful in his mouth, stated, "Savor every mouthful!" Nothing fancy, simply delicious.
As promised, an update on the Dwight Carlson Park - come on over for a cookout any time! I have a couple of boxes of rings left, so I could make a ring macaroni salad - which our family calls "Minnesota salad."
The last iris of the year - one we never saw before - absolutely gorgeous.
I'm not very good at coming up with analogies with life in nature, but these shots of flowers and rocks brought these thoughts to my mind. When I saw this tiny yellow flower growing from this big rock, I immediately thought of how tough life is at times and how it sometimes feels like we're living in such a tough spot. But the fact that the flower is surviving and even thriving in this hard place gives me so much hope. Sometimes lately I have felt like this little flower! And God has helped me grow in this rocky place.
When I saw these beautiful flowers climbing this rock as they grow and spread, I realized that's how it is to get as close to the Rock of Ages as possible.
Hayley told me to take this picture - she has a good eye, don't you think?
Have a wonderful Fourth of July!