Friday, September 13, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday: My First in Forever

How do I do this again?  It's been a while!  I guess I'll start with the meme and go from there.

I love it when my Internet life and my real life intersect.

Last night, I met one of my favorite young bloggers--Kate, from Something Ivory.  She and her hubby, who currently live in the deep South, were up North for a family wedding and were able to make time for a visit with my second oldest son and me.  If you haven't discovered Kate's beautiful blog yet (even though I've mentioned it to you several times on this here blog of mine), you should really head on over there.  It's absolutely terrific--uplifting, inspirational, interesting, and full of Grace Kelly-esque charm.

Kate happens to be the wife of son #2's dearest friend from his days at Notre Dame.  Even so, last night is the first time we gals ever met, and I found her to be as delightful a real person as she is a blogger!

Her smart-alecky husband (the Frick to my son's Frack) started out our enjoyable dinner at a small Chinese restaurant in downtown Portsmouth, NH with this challenge: "So...who's going to be the first one to blog about this?"

You know, Kate, I've been surrounded by a pack of highly competitive males for many years now, and winning is important around here.  I haven't seen a new blog post from you come across my feed yet this morning, so I can only surmise that I beat you to the punch. Winner!  (I know you have a busy weekend planned, with wedding festivities and all...but still: winner!)

I said, "Shut up."  And no one washed my mouth out with soap.

Okay, I told you my son's college friend was a bit of a scamp.  At one point during our meal last night, he made some teasing comment and I forgot for a moment that I wasn't dealing with one of my own scamps, and here's what I said: "Shut up!" But not in a mean way--not in a way that would have gotten me a mouthful of Ivory soap and a trip to my room for the night when I was a kid.  Not in a way that would have gotten my sons into similar trouble if they'd ever had the audacity to say that to either their parents or each other when they were growing up in our house.  I said it in a cute way (if there is such a thing); I said it in jest; I said it in a way that reads more like "You're funny and I like you"--or at least I hope that's how the poor guy took it.

I would never in a million years have said those words to my boys when they were young, but I occasionally say them now (especially to son #2, who is a big-time tease and gets a huge kick out of having me say it to him).  My boy assured his buddy that the fact that I'd said it to him means he's now made the cut.  It means he's like family.

Okay, I just read over what I've written so far for Take #2, and I'm a bit ashamed.

I'm a nice person.  Really, I am.  And if we ever meet and get to talking, I promise I will never tell you to shut up.

Teasing is my boys' love language.

If you don't have a sense of humor and you can't take a little good-natured teasing, you're not going to survive around here.  Teasing is the love language of my sons.  They all speak it and they all understand it. It's never meant to be hurtful (even the word "loser," when translated in context, can be meant as a term of endearment).  They have all grown up to be very kind and caring men, but they do love to crack wise.

My boys spent their teen years teasing each other regularly and laughing often.  I've heard that dry, sarcastic humor is a hallmark of the Northeast, where we've always lived; whether that's true or not, it was certainly true of this particular Northeastern household.  While my boys have always been extremely close--teammates, roommates, and the best of friends--they have ribbed each other tirelessly.

This gives me a good segue into Take #4.

My youngest son finally felt like "one of the guys" when my older sons began to tease him like they teased each other.

Our first four sons came along in a tight-knit pack.  There are exactly four years and three months between the arrival of son #1 and the birth of son #4.  Then five whole years went by before we were blessed with son #5, our baby.

One great thing about having a baby come into our testosterone-filled house at that point was that it brought out a sweetness, a nurturing quality, in our older boys that might not have happened otherwise.  They were unfailingly patient, protective, and kind in their dealings with their youngest brother.  And as part of this tendency to treat him differently than they treated each other, they didn't tease him for fear that he would take what they said the wrong way and his feelings would be hurt.

At the end of my youngest son's freshman year of high school, when I was cleaning out his backpack and loose leaf binders to decide what I should keep and what I should toss, I found a hand-written sheet with a simple journal entry he'd written months earlier in his honors English class.  He'd been asked to answer this question: "When did you feel like you stopped being a child?  How did you know?"  Here, in his own writing, is the response.
This is so precious to me!  And there you have it: teasing, the language of love.

Life finds a way!

I feel like Ian Malcolm in "Jurassic Park" with that statement.  But truly, I was reminded of this the other day.

I have the very brownest of thumbs, but every summer I optimistically plant geraniums and/or impatiens in my big pots out in front of the house and try valiantly to keep them alive (with mixed results).  But we've been away from home more than ever this summer (often for weeks at a time), now that most of our chicks have flown far from the nest and we must travel all over the place to see them.  So I figured I'd have even worse luck than usual, and--please don't judge me!--I decided to plant fake flowers in the pots this year instead of real ones.  From the street, you can't even tell they're not the real deal, I swear.  And they need no attention, which is exactly the kind of plant life I like best.

Last week, I was weeding the pots (because even though the flowers in there are phony, the weeds that have taken up residence beside them are very real indeed, and they are flourishing!), and what do you think I saw?  Some real red geraniums poking up through my pink and white poseys posers.

I really don't know how this happened!  All I can figure is that when I pulled all the decaying dregs of last year's geraniums out of the pots, after they'd been stored in the garage all winter, some little vestige of life must have remained in the potting soil and by some miracle, took root and produced new flowers.  And geraniums aren't even perennials, are they?

Amazing!  Life found a way--with no help whatsoever from the worst gardener who ever lived.

I recently gave my house a mini face-lift.

We have lived in our home for almost 23 years.  When we bought it, it was nearly completed but had been sitting for several years in foreclosure, because the builder had gone bankrupt.  We were the first people to live in it, and although many things were finished (the bathroom floors and vanities, the kitchen counter tops and cabinets, the hardwood floors in the living room, dining room, front hall, and up the stairs), we were able to make some choices before we moved in. We had the whole upstairs carpeted, and at the last minute, the carpet guys asked if we wanted them to put a runner up the stairs as well. Sure, we thought; with four active boys (at the time), that might come in handy for softening falls and keeping the noise level down.

The carpet up the stairs served us well in its time; but I'd been noticing lately that it was getting very worn and stained, and I thought it might be time to rip it up and expose the lovely oak I knew was underneath.

It's frightening what you find when you rip up a carpet--a carpet that you've been vacuuming religiously for over 20 years.
Yes, that's a pile of sand and dirt.  And it's probably been there for years and years.  Holy shnikeys!  But this is what the stairs look like now.

I could probably use a mini face-lift, too, at my age; but I'll have to settle for simply eating healthier.

I've never been one to eat the daily recommended amount of fruits and vegetables (you know, the number of servings on the healthy eating food pyramid).  But my second oldest son has started "juicing," and it's gotten me motivated to do the same.  He has this great machine that takes whole chunks of fruits and veggies (with the skins, seeds, cores, and stems on them!) and grinds and squeezes them into juice in a matter of seconds. Some of the combinations my son comes up with (most of them) taste pretty nasty to me.  Let's just say I'm not yet a huge fan of kale.

But I concocted my own recipe for breakfast yesterday and it was absolutely delicious:

1 large carrot
1 whole lemon
1 whole Granny Smith apple
about 8-10 strawberries
3 big slices of watermelon

I could drink this juice every morning.  In fact, I just might do that.
But I'm not going to stop having my dark chocolate chaser (because with all those antioxidants, that's a health food, too).

Now head on over to Jen's for more.  I'm on my way now!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. The stairs look great, Laura! We've been doing similar projects around our house as well. Just finished the kitchen and family rooms. The next step is the floors!

    God bless!

    1. Sarah Therese, please forgive me for dragging my feet on those questions for the Scrumptious Blog nomination. I don't know why I'm procrastinating. I'll try to work on that over the weekend. (This post was so long--I think I'm taking Saturday and Sunday off!)

    2. It took me 3 months to respond to the post I was originally tagged in, so believe me: I understand. *smiles* Have a wonderful weekend!

  2. Love love love this!!! You did beat me to the punch!! My post on our lovely dinner together will come next week, for sure, so look out for it :) It made my day (my week!) to be able to meet you, and you were even more delightful and lovely in person than I had expected.

    And don't worry--Steve was beyond thrilled by your teasing :) Just like your boys, teasing is his love language. He enjoys getting it just as he enjoys dishing it! Keep it up!

    (Your stairs look beautiful, by the way.)

    1. It was so much fun last night! Thanks again for making that effort to come our way so we could meet.

      I've changed a few words since you read this post. I fear my OCD tendency to edit everything to death (even simple e-mails!) has gotten a bit out of hand...but after our talk last night, I know you understand. :)

  3. I love all of these! We are so much alike in so many ways. I too love plants of the silken kind!! LOL

    1. I feel so much better knowing I'm not the only one who prefers pretty silk flowers to brown and dying real ones. :)

  4. I think I may go the fake flower route once we settle down, at least for a few years. :)