Day 320-Summer Explosion of Color

Afternoon everyone and once again, I am not in the mood to think about yesterday or yesteryear, I want to show you the massive explosion of floral color we have going on in my backyard and neighborhood. It is like the crepe myrtles went nuts this year, and I just have a small sample of the beauty that is in my neighborhood.

This one is from across the street at Stephanie’s house. They are like this all over our combined neighborhoods, a fireworks display of every color that they must come in. I need to take more pictures and pass them along.

Just white, but massive!
A close-up

The rest of these are from my own back yard, the crepe myrtles are my neighbor’s, we get to enjoy the view over the fence of the variation of colors. You can’t really see the fifth color, so I’ll provide a close-up of that one.

5 different colors in one yard!
There are 3 colors in this pic

The next two are my very own beauties, I should have taken the Bougainville when it was bloomed out and pretty, it is currently needing to be transplanted, so I omitted that one.

My hibiscus exploded this morning!

The next one is my wild lantana, and it is not doing as well as last year, but still looks beautiful to me.

I love the color variation of this flower.

I hope you enjoyed my little flower show more than the usual Throwback Thursday. I will try to remember to capture a few more of the gorgeous crepe myrtles tomorrow and post them at a later date. Unless I’m pressed for time, I plan on writing a story for Flash Fiction Friday tomorrow, but I’m trying to get things ready to host Bunco Saturday night, so we shall see! Join me then, I’ll be waiting on the patio! 

 

 

 

Day 319-Wellness Wednesday-Natural Mosquito Spray

This post may contain affiliate links.

Evening peeps, how are you today? Sorry it’s so late, I had a post from earlier but it was sabotaged by computer problems and I finally gave up.

I’ve decided that wellness Wednesday can cover more material and I won’t be stuck trying to talk about technical medical stuff-as if I have in the past, ha!

Pesky mosquitoes!

Anyhoo, I’m sure that you would like to know how to make your own mosquito repellant at home right? It’s super easy, cost effective and best of all, totally natural and free of harmful chemicals. They smell so much better than the repellant in a can you buy from the store too. All you need is a glass colored spray bottle like these from Amazon.

You need to have colored bottles to store essential oils in so they don’t degrade. Then you simply mix up your essential oils with distilled water or vodka and spray all exposed areas. Here is a great recipe to try, although you can use several different kinds-find your own favorite blend. Start with 4oz. of witch hazel mixed with 4 oz. distilled water. Add 30-50 drops of your favorite essential oil, or a blend of two or three. I like peppermint, lemongrass and tea tree oil. You could also try citronella and lavender. Lemon and eucalyptus mixed with mint. Try em all!

You can find several recipes on Pinterest or experiment with what you have on hand. I would use good quality, 100% pure essential oils for the best results, but there are some who’s price are lower than others, while still maintaining quality. Since you have to use so much per recipe, I would opt for the lower priced ones. Get them from your local health food store or even some drugstores are carrying decent brands, otherwise, shop online from one of the many sources there are these days.

Do try one and let me know how they work for you!

 

Day 318-MET-I Never Knew My Father, However, My Dad Is My Hero

Welcome to another installment of My Essay Tuesday, the day I write an essay on some aspect of my life, past or present.

My Dad, on his game.

I never knew the man who sired me, my mother never wanted me to. I guess he was a pretty bad guy, then again, I only have her word to go on. The story is, she had a relationship with this man, got pregnant with me and before she could have me, he was sent to an overseas post. In the meantime, she discovered he had an entire other family, wife and kids that she never knew about! She said that he tried to come see me and sent gifts after I was born but she wanted nothing to do with him after that, I grew up never even seeing a picture of him.

When my Mom met my Dad, he stepped into her life and stepped up to the plate, adopting me as his own and then three years later they had my brother, Kevin. My Dad had met this other man and even threatened his life if he ever bothered my Mom and me again, so the story goes. It’s not that I don’t believe her, I mean my Dad backed up the story, I just know how she could skew the truth when it suited her purposes. Either way, if it is true, then he is someone I am better off having never known. Still, I was curious of course, never having known what he looked like or why I might have some of the traits I do, as any child would naturally be.

Like, is he responsible for my love of music, he was a drummer so I heard. What about my height, they called him “shorty” so my guess is yes. I’m four foot nine, about 100 pounds, give or take a pound. Was he handsome? I will never know, yet I know my mother had good taste in men, even though her luck was not great until my Dad came along and rescued her, just like my husband rescued me. We were alike in our struggles with men, I had a habit of picking bad boy loser types and evidently, so did she. My mother went through a marriage that ended in divorce, the fiasco with my “father”, a rape that produced a child, for which she was sent to a home for unwed mothers until she had my half sister, and then my Dad walked into her life. He was her hero and I consider him mine as well.

I was two and a half when he adopted me and he is the only Dad I have ever known, therefore he is my Dad in every sense of the word. I was raised with my brother, I knew I had three sisters from my mother’s first marriage, yet I never understood why they didn’t live with us. We saw them from time to time, when either they got to visit us, or we made a trip to Biloxi (my birthplace). No one ever told me the story except to say they lived with their daddy and their new stepmom. Then when my mom passed away, none of them, and I have four, came to her funeral. Wtf??? I was beside myself with anger and grief. I did not and still do not understand what could be so bad that your children don’t come to your funeral. My mom had her faults but I loved her and now, I don’t want to hear the story and have my view of her ruined forever.

Now, that family that my “sire” had at the same time he impregnated my mother? Don’t know them, don’t feel related to them, but my mother always worried that I might meet them someday, being the world traveler that I was. I only know his last name was Foster and trust me, I have never met a guy with that last name. She thought it might be just my luck to accidentally meet and even possibly date my “brother” but luckily, that never happened. I’m not even sure how many other kids this man had. According to Mom, he also had a bad temper and would beat her if she didn’t give him her money when he wanted it. Yeah, not a good guy at all.

Now I’m at a time in my life when I’m spending a lot more time with my Dad than I ever did, could be getting to know him even better and here is, hardly able to speak anymore because of some problem no doctor seems to be able to figure out. I finally got him good hearing aids, but that didn’t fix his speech. He is tired of going to doctors and I don’t blame him, or he might go to a speech therapist. He tried that once a few years ago, it didn’t do much to remedy the situation. My dad is a saint, I wish I could help him but I just try to spend quality time with him, take him to see his doctors and help him around the house. He took care of my mother through years of her illness, never complaining although that’s all she ever did. He worked and took care of her until he was eighty years old! Now he should be enjoying his retirement, and I guess he is, but he would love to be able to speak better. It’s like he has had a stroke or has Parkinson’s, yet the doctors checked him for all that and cannot find anything wrong.

I love my dad and wouldn’t trade him for the world, he has been my teacher, a friend, and my supporter. He is generous to a fault and true to his faith. He was in the Knights of Columbus, and still attends church when he feels well enough. His eyesight and coordination may be starting to bother him, he prefers I drive him around unless it’s a close place and I have no problem with that. My oldest boy lives with him, an arrangement that suits them both. When the time comes for us to do something different, he would be welcome living with us, although I can’t ever see him wanting to leave his house. I will get him a nurse or whatever he needs when the time comes but who knows? He may outlive us all.

 

Day 317-Ooops, I Did It Again!

No Monday Motivation today except to say sorry for missing yesterday’s post! I guess I got so caught up in having a wonderful Father’s Day with my Dad and family, I simply got to pooped to pop. I went to bed early and forgot all about blogging. Oooops! Well, there is a third time missed out of a whole year. Record broken, hopes for a solid year with no misses dashed. World didn’t end though. 🙂

How was everyone else’s Father’s Day? I hope you all had a marvelous day with family/friends and Dads! I had actually taken a couple of pics, however, they were so awful that I deleted them! They were not shareable, as I caught them both off guard, unsmiling and no one wants to see that, lol! Trust me when I say, they both had a good day (my Dad and my hubby) and enjoyed some dinner and a few rounds of pool, not to mention some time in the pool. (my hubby anyway)

We had Chris here for awhile, then he got called into work, poor thing. Josh at least called and Sean showed up better late than never. I will not go into my feelings about any of this since neither father was too disappointed.

My brother-in-law smoked a delicious pork shoulder, my hubby made his famous potato salad and my sister-in-law made a macaroni salad. There was also grilled corn on the cob and various sausages grilled by the hubs. All were yummy, I took a small bite of everything and of course had no bread or cake. I did enjoy a bowl of fruit meant for strawberry shortcake with a small dollop of whipped cream on it. Dave mixes strawberries, blueberries, and nectarines with a bit of honey and that was plenty sweet enough to serve as my dessert. What was your favorites from yesterday? I can’t wait to live vicariously through you all.

Have a great day and I will see you back here tomorrow! (God willin and the creek don’t rise)

 

Day 316-Free Days-Do You Like Ceviche?

Sometimes in the summer, we like an appetizer we first tasted in southeast Tx called ceviche, a mix of citrus juice, raw seafood (like tuna steak or shrimp), tomatoes, onions and avocados with jalapeño peppers added for some heat. The interesting thing is, the lime juice (our preferred juice) cooks the raw seafood in the time it takes to mix the ceviche and get it to the table. It is so fresh and delicious, surprising me in the fact that I never thought I would so enjoy something made with “raw” tuna.

We were at a little seafood place called Steve’s Landing in Crystal Beach when we first tried it, instantly smitten we decided we must learn how to make it at home. It perfectly suited my way of eating (except for the chips) and became my favorite “take to the beach” snack. While everyone else was chowing down on potato chips and dips, I was happily munching on my ceviche and Tostitos. Yes, the chips are a cheat, I was on vacation, don’t judge. Lol.

Dave must have developed a hankering for some while at the grocery store earlier, because next thing I knew, we had fresh tuna steak and he could now mix it with the fresh veggies he bought at the farmer’s market this morning. This was the delicious result.

David’s Yummy Ceviche

Have you ever tried this dish? It’s origin is Spanish and there are many variations of it all over the world. The trick is that you must prepare it from the freshest ingredients to prevent food poisoning. Since you are not cooking with heat, you are not necessarily killing worms or bacteria, not that we are ever in danger of either of those things. We make it the day we purchase the ingredients and keep it refrigerated until time of consumption. At the restaurant, cilantro was added but we are not huge fans (unless it’s in our hot sauce), so we don’t use it in ours.

Well, that was it for our appetizer, now we are looking forward to a yummy dinner of ribeyes, sweet potato and salad. I’m a lucky girl to have such an accomplished chef in my house! He really should open a restaurant some day. 😊

(If you have trouble enlarging the pic, go check it out on my Pinterest board under Kimmy’s Patio)

 

Day 315-Flash Fiction Friday-A Child's View

Cindy Lou woke up, climbed out of bed and after donning a romper, tip-toed out the front door, reveling in the feeling of the soft, cool grass on her bare feet. She had no cares about what might be in the grass, she was just a little kid. Flies and bugs didn’t bother her as she cartwheeled her way across the lawn. Mommy would be out here soon enough, bothering her to put her mosquito spray on, lest she got bites that swelled the size of fifty cent pieces.

Her dream, at the ripe old age of six, was to be in the Olympics as a famous gymnast. Mommy had enrolled her in a summer program where she and her big brother would get to go tumble and jump their days away while Mommy worked at the store. It was so cool, they got to have snacks when they took a break, and she could watch her brother do his exercises across the gym from where she and her group practiced somersaults and cartwheels. Cindy Lou loved every minute of it, almost as much as she loved going to school, but that was over for a while Mommy said, she would get to go back next year and start the second grade.

Donny was eight, he had been in gymnastics already for two years, he was so much more advanced than she, sometimes at home though, he would show her some of the neat tricks she would be learning if she stuck with it. This year, they would get to watch the Olympics on tv, the timing could not have been more perfect. Watching the others that were already living their dream, would inspire Cindy and her brother and make them work that much harder in the gym. Mommy said for them to have fun with it, just don’t get their hopes up, going to the Olympics took lots of money. Cindy didn’t understand any of that, she just wanted to tumble, run and jump her way through summer and do the best she could in her classes.

Cindy had a sweet coach named Brianna, she would gently teach her all the moves and then Cindy and her team were supposed to copy her. Once they completed all the exercises Brianna showed them, they got to jump in the foam pit. That reward was better than candy! They all loved jumping into the huge blocks of foam, bouncing around and then climbing out. They looked forward to doing it so much, they tried extra hard to performing the moves she gave them perfectly. If they performed well, sometimes Brianna would give them extra time to play around in the pit, or even let them jump on the trampoline. Man, she loved this place! Maybe some day, when she got really good, she would get to jump from the trampoline into the foam pit…that would be epic!

Cindy Lou looked up from her spot in the yard to see Mommy walking out the front door. “Cindy Lou, did you spray first young lady?” She replied, “No ma’am. I was just wanting to practice my cartwheels a while and I forgot, I’m sorry.” Mommy snatched her up out of the grass and inspected her legs. “Oh my goodness, let’s get you in the house before you swell up like a balloon! Just look at the welts already!” Cindy Lou knew what was coming next, a dose of that yucky medicine that made her super sleepy and pink lotion splotched legs for the rest of the day. Thank the stars it was Saturday since she would be napping pretty soon and thank goodness Mommy came out in time to scoop her up before she went into anaphylactic shock, she was allergic to mosquitos after all.

Day 314-Because Of You

Today I am not going to do my normal Throwback Thursday instead,  I want to thank everyone who has given to my PKD walk or otherwise supported the Foundation and ask that you join me again this year as I prepare to walk again this fall. This is one of several posts you can expect before October, I will try to make future posts more exciting and fun!

PKD Foundation

Those who know me and follow my blog have all heard my story, but for those that might be new here, PKD stands for polycystic kidney disease. Currently, my status is that I have too many cysts to count, yet they are not bothering my kidney function and I am otherwise healthy. I may have bad knees and arthritis and normal aches and pains, but that’s no different than any other 56 year old! However, as far as insurance companies are concerned, my condition is considered fatal therefore, I cannot get life insurance. Thank goodness that right now I am covered by my husband’s insurance or I might be up a creek.

It is because of you and your generous support that important research has been able to take place, research that will one day bring a cure to this debilitating and potentially fatal disease. My mother had it and died from it, I also have it, but currently,  I am not in any danger and my labwork looks wonderful, praise the Lord!

You can help me by joining a walk close to you, volunteering your time serving at one of the walks or donating money for research so that we can someday find a cure. My local chapter will walk again this October and we are currently taking donations. Be a hero again, help us beat last year’s goal and know that your dollars go 100% to projects like the ones involving 5+ potential PKD treatments now in clinical trials. Last year you helped us reach the goal of 2.5+ million dollars in science and research funding and walked the road with thousands of patients and families in 60 local US Chapters.

Register today at walkforpkd.org and if you choose to support my team, great! I am in the portal North Texas Walk for PKD as Kim Smyth (I don’t actually have a “team” yet but I will by Oct.!) Thanks in advance for any help or donation you are able to give, I realize there are many causes to support out there, I appreciate you considering ours.

If you have questions or comments, please feel free to let me know. See you mañana on the patio!

 

 

Day 313-MET-How I Reward Myself For a Job Well Done

When I have a long day of writing tasks in front of me, or a heavy load of housework to be done or both, I have found that what motivates me is looking forward to an episode or two of my latest obsession…whatever series I’m addicted to at the moment on Netflix.

I have done this a few ways, either I wait until evening time and watch with my hubby, or I take a break during the time I have at home alone. Say I’m washing clothes and cleaning house before I start writing for the day. I might sit down while folding clothes and watch an episode. Then I move on to the next task, looking forward to the next break so I can catch another episode.

I’m pretty sure there are enough series to keep me watching something for an eternity, but here are my latest obsessions: The Walking Dead, Orange is the New Black and Queen of the South. With several seasons under my belt of each of these series, I’m fully vested in finding out what comes next and how they all end. My sons were the reason I got started with series like these in the first place, shows like Sons of Anarchy, which started on a regular network, can now be found on Netflix, along with another great series, Breaking Bad. I never finished that one, some day I need to go back and start it from the beginning and get through it to the end.

A scene from my current favorite Netflix series-The Walking Dead

I’m making my way through season 4 of The Walking Dead right now and season 5 just came out of Orange is the New Black…I can’t wait to see that! My hubby isn’t into either one of those, so we had to pick a series we could enjoy together (now that all of our regular network shows are reruns for the summer) and that is Queen of the South. It is about two Mexican drug cartels who are warring with each other and the girl who gets unwittingly shoved into a position where she finds herself in the middle, just trying to survive. It is awesome and like the other series I’m watching, new stars are popping up every season.

I resisted watching The Walking Dead, in the beginning, so now I’m having to play catch up. It’s fun though, and totally worth it, this show is the bomb I’m telling you! so much action, intense characterization, great story line-I didn’t want to watch it because I’m not into zombies. Well, it turns out that zombies are really secondary to the show anyway, yeah, there are some gross parts as they get their heads chopped off or a knife driven through their brains, but I just look away when that gets too bloody for me. Oh, who am I kidding, I’ve loved horror shows since I was a little kid. I’m not bothered by much, yet it does get pretty intense from time to time. There is drama, romance, and comedy tied up in there too. Something for everyone really.

So I suggest you get yourself a Netflix account, find a series you can love and follow and use that as your motivation to get things done. Then you can reward yourself with a nice, exciting episode and revel in your guilty pleasure, if only for a little while. Everyone needs a break sometimes, right? Oh and that thing that all the kids say? Let’s watch some Netflix and chill? Well, that’s dead right? Doesn’t apply to me anyway, most of the time I’m enjoying my Netflix alone with a snack and my puppies curled up next to me in my comfy chair. That’s just how I roll.

Day 312-Motivational Monday-Are You A Worry Wart?

Morning, folks! Are you guys guilty of worrying? I know I have been, especially this weekend. My son was traveling from Ohio to Texas via Greyhound…need I say more?

As a believer, we are not supposed to worry, yes I know that is hard. We have to remember that we are not in control, God is. Which brings me to my quote for the day.

Part of my worrying comes from just being a mother, part has to do with my status as a control freak…I get to thinking I can handle it all, whatever is thrown at me. We can’t and shouldn’t try to do it all ourselves. We need to trust that God knows our plan and turn whatever is bothering us over to him.

Worrying leads to stress, which can make you sick. Just try to stop worrying and start praying, God knows what is in your heart and on your mind.