Sunday, July 29, 2012

Shhh! Stop Typing So Loudly!

Yesterday was my birthday.  I turned 50.  In honour of the occasion, we had a party out here at the house.
The theme was loosely based around a Mexican fiesta. I bought some party things . . .
Please note my attention to detail.  I have two skull bracelets (Dia de los Muertos) and a couple of Our Lady of Guadalupe bracelets.
The Man of the Place took up the slack in the beer (cervesa) department.  This pile of beer was stacked at the kitchen door.
The weather was lovely the day BEFORE the party.  The day of the party (Saturday) I woke to lovely blue skies . . . . which gradually got darker and by the time 2 o'clock came around it was heaving with rain.  We had puddles where there had never been puddles before.

Ah, never mind.  If we didn't do things because it was raining . . . . we'd never do stuff.
I could not have managed to have this big party if I had not had help.  I got extra chairs and a gas barbecue from Isobella and Michael (friends in the village)  The gazebo -pictured above - was from my dive buddy, Jean.  My son Sean made cocktails - the source of maternal squiffiness - and grilled stuff.  The new daughter-in-law made tray after tray of sandwiches.

My really great neighbours showed up - who are the best neighbours in the history of EVER - and a large number of  friends and my newly married son and his wife were there.  It is great when different sections of your life converge.  Neighbours and village friends were having conversations with my diving pals.
I will confess that I did get pretty squiffy by the wee small hours of the morning.  I took myself off to bed at about 2.

Then it was properly morning.  I was the first up and surveyed the damage. . . .

It wasn't all that bad actually. . . .
I there didn't seem to be any permanent damage and nothing important was broken.  
When we first started tidying up, there looked to be no beer left.  It was said that the beer locusts had infested the place . . . I did find a few stray bottles in the fridge but not much else.  All the food and most of the drink was gone.
We had a couple extra guests in the morning.  
This is where the super fabulous Man of the Place came into his own. He made tea, coffee and pancakes for everybody during the hangover, tidying up phase of the party.
So.  That's me at 50 now.  I feel just exactly the same as I did when I was in my 20's.  The body has changed a bit . . . but not significantly.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Only Good Thing

The only nice thing that has come about since the death of our cat is that the local bird life has come back.
The number of blackbirds hopping around on the lawn bounced back immediately.  There is always a bird hopping around on the grass now.  Lots of thrushes and blackbirds have returned.

Swallow nest in the beams of the tool shed

The swallows are happy.  One of the old nest sites - in our tool shed has been revitalised.  Just this spring Julio caught and killed a swallow.  I found him later sitting on the tool bench waiting to ambush his next victim.   These days the swallows are shooting in and out of the open door of the tool shed with what can only be described as joyful abandon.

One got confused and came in the house today.  All the doors are open as we enjoy a rare dry and warm summer day. I grabbed the bird as it seemed to be in full panic mode in the window and released it back out the same door it came in.

the best nest shot I could manage - 4 eggs

There isn't an easy way to see what stage the nests are in the tool shed.  I know the parents are swooping in and out many times a day but  I haven't heard any baby peeps yet.  I stuck my camera up into the small space and clicked the shutter.  It turns out that there are four white eggs with pretty brown speckles on them.  They are on top of the soft feathers the parent birds prepared earlier. 

I hope this brood is successful!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Paying The Piper

Over the past year or so a few things have started to change.  I reported that the first gray hair showed up.   That wasn't a big deal really.  Some people get those when they are in their twenties . . . I always state that I don't get gray hair, I give them!  Not many more have come forward since that first one.  So that's okay then.  I'm sure they'll show up in their own time.

I developed plantar fasciitis - Okay - Loose some weight, stop going barefoot and do little stretching movements before getting up each day.  The stop going barefoot thing has been harder than anything else.  I love going barefoot - but it turns out that it is hard on my aging feet.

A few months ago a spot appeared in the middle of my right cheek.  I thought it was just a patch of dry skin. It peeled off in one big chunk.  I didn't think anything of it . . . until the patch returned and peeled off again . . . . and again.  This little dry but pink spot on my cheek just go away.  Did I mention that it is right in the middle of my face?   I have many acquaintances who work as GPs here in the area.  Each one I asked about it said it was a solar keratosis.  

They are mostly benign .. .but about 1 in 20 tend to go bad (cancerous) so I have to watch it.  I also have to keep a sharper eye on all of my freckles and moles.  All those summers at the pool and in the corn fields plus years of topping up my tan have taken their toll.  I don't get much sun exposure now, but the damage has already been done.   

All the years of getting sunburned and not wearing sunscreen are catching up with me.  I never thought I'd have to deal with stuff like this but some of these summer-in-the-sun-chickens are coming home to roost.   Good thing I have lived in Scotland for the bulk of the last twenty years.  It is hardly ever sunny here.  I'm much better about wearing a hat outside and I am now a sunscreen person. When looking on line at solar keratosis, most information says that they show up in patients over the age of 50.  Well, I can tell you now that this one is a little early!  Not freakishly premature but early.  I've got about 12 days left.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Big Day

Then after all the preparation and excitement, the day of the wedding arrived.

What was particularly nice about it was that there were no big hiccups.  Everything went smoothly.  If anything didn't go smoothly, nobody really cared.  The big stuff was taken care of.  Nobody had to sweat the little stuff.

The bride was there

The groom was there
Guests were piped in
Family showed up
Friends showed up
There was cake
There was dancing
There was love.
It was a spectacular day.
The new bride is a delightful addition to our family as I know my son is a welcome addition to theirs.

Monday, July 02, 2012

The Day Before the Wedding

I wanted to get up to Peebles in the morning on Thursday.  My eldest son and his wife had flown in from Chicago the day before and I was desperate to see them.  I still had to finish icing the wedding cake, get the dog to the kennel and pack a suitcase.  I wanted to have it iced on Wednesday but then . . . I found I was baking a whole new tier instead of icing it.

I also want to mention that it is pouring down with rain too.  The weather forecast for the entire week was rain rain rain.  By noon I was starting to feel wound up.  The groom had called The Man of the Place at work asking where everybody was.  He seemed to be surprised that my husband was at work and that I was still at home. . . . .This call had increased my anxiety levels.  I wanted to be on the road!

So - in the end.  The lovely lovely woman who runs the kennel in the village took mercy on me and actually collected Polly for me.  I finished the cake and got it into boxes in the car.  I got a suitcase packed and all of the junk you need for a wedding, got George and his bags into the car and I was on the road at 1 in the afternoon - with wet hair.

Peebles is only an hour and 20 minutes from our place.  I dropped George off on Peebles High Street.  He was meeting his brothers at the kilt hire place to collect his kilt and jacket.  Though I wanted to come in I had to get the cake to the hotel so I couldn't stop and say hello . . .  That was VERY frustrating.  I wanted to see my eldest son . . . I was so near him, but had no time.
Off to The Barony Castle Hotel.  I was greeted in the car park by my eldest son's wife and the bride to be.  What happy timing!  They helped me get the cake into the hotel and that task was then out of my hands.  I was still in jeans and an old shirt smeared with cream cheese frosting.   
I joined them at the hotel bar.  They had proper drinks and I had coffee (still had driving to do).  We had a rare bit of actual sun for a few minutes.

I went from the hotel back into Peebles and finally saw my boy!  I will tell you now that I wept.  I haven't seen Ian in far too long.  I almost didn't let him out of my sight for the rest of the evening.  My nose stings a little thinking about it.
Because he lives in Chicago now, having all three of my sons together is a rare and treasured thing.  I didn't let them out of my sight for the rest of the evening.
We all had dinner together.  Then I left them to go and do their last minute preparations and have some "brother time" and I went off to find a bed.