Just like a silhouette, my summer shadow photo today does a pretty good job of outlining the hubby and me. I think it's fun to try different things in the photo apps with my smartphone, and this one is a favorite of summer.
Since January 1, 2012, my goal is to write a daily sentence or two (or paragraph or two) about gratitude of the day and to include one photo (at least) that I took that day (but will add others from time to time). It has definitely been a challenge most days throughout the past eight years, and welcomed the challenge again this year - 2019. I hope you will continue the ride with me!
Except for a few subscriptions (Netflix, Amazon, Spotify), I was not thinking of getting involved in another subscription based product. Then "The Best Daughter" piqued my interest with Misfit Market sending organic fruit & vegetables on a monthly, bi-monthly or weekly basis. I like to shop local, but I thought I'd give it a try for a couple of months to supplement my regular shopping routine (2X/month for now). I received my first box this week, and it was not too shabby, and I like everything I got for the $21 I shelled out for it (and using her one time discount code). By tomorrow, or early next week, I will cook, grill or saute everything in the box.
I'm not exactly sure what areas they serve, but you can check it out here: https://www.misfitsmarket.com/
Their tag line with their products is "Ugly, Sometimes Normal, But Always Fresh." I found my box to be the case (more normal than ugly). If interested and want to try it too, use this code to get my referral discount: COOKWME-TA9QDO
The top word of 2020 has got to be "weird." In the last several weeks, if not months, everyone seems to describe all the happenings going on in the world today as simply, weird - period. I can't explain it, but I think it, so..isn't that weird?
Maybe I'm loopy in the head from swimming a lot of laps (for me), or water logged, and even that's kind of "weird." Here is goes again...that word!
Below: Sometimes the clouds on a sunny summer day can look "weird," but not the Queen Ann's Lace
When "The Best Daughter" opened her car trunk recently, I was mesmerized by what she actually had stuffed in it - and all for fun from the looks of it. In the photo below she pretty much covers all of her bases: a change of clothes, jacket, bathing suit and towel, sleeping bag, frisbee, soccer ball, a few sleeves of tennis balls, golf clubs, golf shoes, tennis shoes, running shoes, tennis racket, sun hat, and some small weights (underneath everything else.)
I bet she could pack a few more things if she needed to, but where do the groceries go? I guess packed in her "trunk o' fun."
The other day I posted about juicy heirloom tomatoes, and nothing has changed with them, but the season is not that long for 'em, unfortunately, so eat them up. But then I cut open a sugar baby watermelon we bought coming back from the beach on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. While at the roadside stall I glanced toward the wooden bin that housed a hundred of them or so and decided to saunter over; the other veggies I selected were placed on the table by the register. When I inquired about the taste and ripeness, the young lady behind the counter said they were delicious. I bought two (how's that for some slick marketing!)
When I cut one of them open the other day, juice was spilling out all over the place. I kind of frantically grabbed a glass and started to pour the watermelon juice into the glass with each cut and slice I made. After the whole melon was cut into small and manageable pieces to eat, I had a full glass of the juice and melon remnants. It was outstanding! And refreshing! And another taste of summer! Try it...you may like it!
I love tomatoes of every kind...but it's those precious heirlooms that have taken a hold of my heart of late. I'm not sure what can compare to the sinking a set of teeth into a ripe and equally fresh that is perfectly seasoned slice of an heirloom tomato? It's the perfect summertime cuisine and screams deliciousness from the first bite.
I hope you lovely readers (who love tomatoes too!) will be sinking your teeth into some good ones too!
Good news to share on Ryan's tongue and mouth: "All looks good," as Dr. Ord articulated in Ryan's appointment with him yesterday.
These appointments never get easier, however, even though you may think they "should." It was the first time I have been shut out of one of Ryan's "important" doctor visits, though I was parked outside the building and sat in the car waiting for the assessment. I perfectly understand why, and I am Okay with the hospital recommendations on who goes into the buildings for the appointments. At 26, he had to go in by himself, and gratefully, is well capable of handling the entire appointment.
Ryan then knew instinctively that I/we would want to somehow be involved in the appointment and offered to FaceTime us from the dental chair. He did not disappoint and is one wise kid, parlaying our angst with using available technology like everyone else is using today.
Blessings all around!
Patty was a force to be reckoned with back in junior high and high school, and she is no different today. She was fast as lightning, and took that speed to the track and around Northeast Ohio winning races in the shorter distances - 100m and 200m dashes, much to her delight (and ours as teammates) along with our high school track coach, Jim Zickes. She continues her winning ways with her family and friends, and has resided in Florida for that past 40 years. It was an honor to catch up with her (remember, she's fast!) and I hope you will enjoy her story!
Per Patty's "instructions," I must start out her story like this: "From the projects to living on an island."
That is no joke, because Patty revealed she had a chaotic childhood beginning with being born in 1962 to a single mom (her dad left her while pregnant with Patty), and that she also had two other small children; her brother Paul (age 62) and her down syndrome brother, Mark, who died in 2016 at the age of 56 due to kidney failure. When her mom married her step dad, they had one son together, Timmy (age 56). They were all born and raised on the Southside of Cleveland where Patty and her brothers attended Tremont Elementary School until she was in the 4th grade. When her mom got into a serious car accident and was awarded a settlement, she moved the family to Dawning Avenue and life, and their hearts, were lifted in owning their own home.
During our conversation we realized that we both worked on the Cleveland playgrounds, Patty at Dawning ES; Harper ES and Lowe Pool, and me at Plymouth Park. She also earned some extra spending cash by cleaning the inside of Benjamin Franklin ES. She said she loved working on the playgrounds, and I felt the same way! We both ran summer programs for all sports, especially 'begging' the neighborhood kids we worked with to run in tracks meets put on the city. The summers went by super fast while enjoying every minute of those bygone days.
A self-proclaimed "party girl" and concert-goer by the time we got to high school, she loved going to see all the big rock and roll bands of the day; Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, REO Speedwagon, Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen, mostly with her best friend at that time, Marlene Federico (who passed away several years ago.)
While at Rhodes, Patty was enrolled in the O.W. E. program, and only came to school for the early part of the day so she could get to her job placement in that program. She did get to track practice most days, and, of course, breaking records at the meets! Patty also mentioned that in 10th grade, she met Jesse Messer, who moved to Cleveland from Pine Island, Florida, and only went to Rhodes for that one year (never graduated) and moved back to Pine Island.
After graduation in July of 1980 (we graduated late due to a teacher's strike the previous fall); Patty received a full track scholarship to Tri-C (Cuyahoga Community College), but only stayed two months. College life (even at the local level) was not for Patty. So on a wing and a prayer, she moved to Pine Island, Florida (with her mother's blessing), with another Rhodian, Yvonne Sherlock, because she knew Jesse went back to Florida and loved it there, so why wouldn't she like it was her thought.
All three rented a house together at first, but subsequently moved on after a short while. Patty noted she worked odd jobs and bartended at night, and met the love of her life in 1982 - Dan Holloway on the baseball/softball fields on Pine Island. Dan's a commercial fisherman and actually a fourth generation fisherman and loves the water and everything about it. (I need to fish with him!)
Since Patty does things her own way (it's a good thing!); their son Dan was born on 8/20/83. And you know how gifted Patty is in the sports realm? Well, her kids do not fall from the tree, and all three of her children went to play ball, on full scholarships, mind you earning their degrees! Dan played ball at King University (DIV2) in Bristol, TN, and majored in History and Teaching. He's married, lives near Patty, and has three children: Danika, age 11; Camden, age 8 and Leo, 6 weeks old.
Patty and Dan then married on June 15, 1985.
Their daughter Rachel was born 3/7/86, and is also a teacher in Physical Education and has one son, Brody, age 10. Rachel played softball at Warner Southern (DIV2) in Lake Wales, FL, and suffered many injuries while playing ball. But she's tough, and worked through them to continue to play.
Hannah, born 9/7/2000, is Patty and Dan's third child; Patty laughed and stated they took 14 years off in the childbearing and rearing stages to have her. Hannah is currently on scholarship playing softball at Georgia Southwestern (DIV2) and majoring in History and English. She's thinking of being a teacher too, but has some time to decide. Patty then sheepishly stated that Hannah's softball coaches in her area "cobbled" together a super squad of softball players from Florida in 2016 and, doggone it, if they didn't WIN the Little League World Series that year!! Hannah played second base and scored the winning run to beat Canada in the Championship game! That is sooooo coooolll!! Congratulations are due even four years later!
Patty gushed when she told me she has good kids, and I could tell she was smiling and feels s0 proud of all of them. She has good reason, right?
And it was this terrific family, and her husband, Dan, who nursed Patty back to "her old self" after fighting Stage 4 Colon Cancer. This girl, woman, wife, mother and friend to many was diagnosed with her cancer after claiming she had an annoying backache. It was chalked up at first as an UTI, but antibiotics were definitely not helping her situation. When she went back to the hospital, she knew she needed a CT scan, but that "just" revealed she was "bound up" and sent home with other meds that did not work to ease her symptoms.
The very next day, in pain, she called for a colonoscopy appointment, and the results were off handedly revealed to her, much to her surprise. She claimed that "she's never been sick a day in her life" - I believe her.
There are silver linings in Patty's treatment, which she called "12 rounds of shit," in that, her brother-in-law worked for the Cape Coral Hospital and knew just the right doctor/surgeon to help Patty; Dr. Pendaconda. He removed the offending cancer and then some...ahem, and saved Patty's life. Patty was not keen on having a colonoscopy bag for one year, but she reluctantly went along with the program because she believed in her doctor explicitly. A year later and after her 12 rounds of IV chemo, her doctor reversed the bag and she now lives "bag-free." When I asked Patty what her motivation was that kept her going, she quickly said she "fought for her life at every turn." She was never scared and somehow knew that she was going to recover and live and see her kids and grandkids grow up.
And now; for my "lightning" round of questions: Patty's favorite color is blue, and all her kids (and now grandkids) wear or wore the number 12 on their uniforms, unless 12 was taken, and then they'd choose 2.
Her no fail motivational song is LA Woman by the Doors, and also, nostalgically, God Bless America. Patty's guilty pleasure is a glass of white zinfandel wine that she loves to share with her husband Dan, who happens to be the the single most person that changed her life (her mom, now deceased, is a very close second.) She added her kids and grandkids are what makes her tick and her greatest gifts in life, and her favorite place on Earth is Pine Island, Florida (and Cleveland when she visits!)
This would come as no surprise that Patty's superpower is sports - all of them. She noted that she is "hard-headed" and takes after her mom that way, and that's why she is/was so good in all sporting endeavors, and from the looks of it, passed that down to her own kids.
The most beloved item she own is her boat (she can place up to 200 crab pots by herself); considers the Shawshank Redemption her favorite move; would still love to zipline on the highest peak, and still gets butterflies any time her kids or grandkids pitch or bat. She knows...that sports keep kids out of trouble and life is more fun that way! I couldn't agree more!
BSoleille! The bright side of #CelebratingOthers with Patty Whittingslow Holloway!
Photos from Patty
|Son Danny and family|
|Patty, Hannah and Dan|
|Camden, Leo, Danika|
|Hannah, Rachel, Patty, brother Tim and Brody|
|Patty and Dan|
|Brody and Dan|
It was about 73 degrees this morning when I stared down the lane deciding if I was ready to jump in and swim some laps. At least it was sunny and warming up, but the pool was little cool (I like it hot!). With very few people in the pool, I figured it was my time to "Just Do It"- like a Nike ad. I quickly kicked off my sandals, removed my cover-up and I was in the drink within a few seconds.
I'm not sure what the water temperature is (after a few cooler nights in the 60's), but the days of "open swim" are numbered, and I want to take advantage of any day that I can go before the summer swim season if all over. I must admit the water was very refreshing after jumping in and when I had a few laps under my belt. I am ready for the next session!
There is a faint chill in the air and a slight temperature change that signals summer slipping away - much to my chagrin. I love summer and everything about it, and will be sad to see the changes that are inevitable. However, there has been some good reading so far (and it's NOT over until September something) and I have been quite jazzed about that. Between listening to a couple of books, and reading about 15, I'm closing in on 20. It's been a long time since I've done that much book reading and I plan to hit 25 by summer's end. I think I will get there since my assigned 50 games of high school soccer have all been canceled for this school year - or at least in 2020 (games would have started this week.)
So, what's on your nightstand? What's one book you would recommend to put "on the list to read this year?"
BSoleille! (it means: Bee Sunny and it's a word I "made up" in 2012)
My photo shows 10 books, and I sent 5 or 6 I already read to a friend in mid-summer.
It was all Ryan's idea to take the day off and drive out to the beach (still in celebration mode, and who can blame him?) We were giddy to go along and thankful that we live close enough to go just for the day (2 hour drive). Ryan is NOT a beach person, but he loves a couple of things at the beach (and fresh air) that we went happily along with: 1) Thrashers Fries on the Rehoboth, DE, Boardwalk (late breakfast); Vanderwendes Ice Cream (late lunch); and a couple of rounds of miniature golf before heading home late afternoon.
Bill and I went at his pace; even while on the boardwalk and everywhere in between. It was a beautiful day; warm and sunny and a perfect end to Ryan's "weekend." I did happen to sneak down to the ocean and dip my feet in for a few minutes...ahhh!
BSoleille! The bright side of a few hole-in-ones in mini golf - by all of us!
|No tan/sun on our faces...|
I must give credit where credit is due, and this blogpost title is from "The Best Daughter's" sentiment in the birthday card she wrote out to her brother today. I simply love how she captured her feelings along with her recognition of the fight to celebrate birthdays - especially with her five time cancer survivor "baby" brother. I believe we can all agree and wish him all the best today - Happy Birthday, Ryan Nolan Tomoff! You are a "Focused Warrior."
So, it's thumbs up to 26 with immense gratitude to everyone who has played a part to celebrate with you too (there are many!)
The pic below captures Ryan "stretching" to play an arcade game; a nod to Special Love Camp Fantastic this past week (it was virtual) and the thumb's up to LIFE! Yay, Ryan!!!
Typically, son Ryan, "turning" 26 tomorrow, has been out of town on his birthday for pretty much 19 of his 26 years. That "out of town" is Front Royal, Virginia's 4-H Center, and his happy place (of course, besides home!) at camp and Special Love's Camp Fantastic! With all things being canceled due to COVID-19, this camp that takes in around 100 cancer kids (with compromised immune systems) from a tri-state area and DC was no exception to the cancellation policy.
Ryan, the Special Love family that includes the NIH doctors, nurses, and many volunteers that are needed to run camp, have been truly disappointed with no camp this year (I think this would have been its 37th straight year.) We know what an incredible impact this has on this entire community, especially the first time campers, most of whom were diagnosed with a childhood cancer earlier this year. To not be able to participate with other kids with similar stories is heartbreaking for all (they need that camaraderie.) Ultimately, though, it's all about keeping each other safe, and, definitely, keeping the most vulnerable safe which includes those 100 campers.
So, what did that mean for us as a family? We get to celebrate with Ryan this year and it started last night with TOPGOLF. He then golfed 18 holes today with a friend, and tomorrow, his birthday, Ryan plans on cooking for all of us! He will don the RyGuyBBQ hat and grill and smoke up something delicious on his Traeger. I know he would give it all up for a chance to be at camp, but we are thankful that we are not too shabby at "second place."
|Olivia; me, Ryan and Bill and Stephens and Lizdot (back row)|
Once again, 40 years of life melted away when Jim Lack and I conversed recently. I feel so grateful to have these precious moments to reconnect with not only a classmate of mine, but a renewed friendship; through the years and miles that separate us, that never really mattered.
One of my biggest takeaways in with talking with Jim is that he is a huge family man; and that is due to his upbringing, and what he gleaned from his own Dad while growing up in Old Brooklyn in Cleveland, Ohio. Jim was born to Fred (deceased in 2016) and Antoinette (deceased in 2011) Lack in 1962. His three older sisters; Linda, Patty and Diane, were also Rhodes High graduates, but his baby "big" brother, David, graduated from John Adams in 1984 due to busing. They grew up on W. 51st Street, which is still a red brick street - if you are from Old Brooklyn, you know what I mean) and about a half mile away from Rhodes HS.
When I asked Jim about his childhood, he said it was good, even great at times, but let's not lessen the fact that all seven members of his family "shared" a home of 850 square feet! I can't even imagine that, and I thought 900 square feet shared with five people was a bit crowded.
A sensitive Jim revealed how close he was to his Dad while growing up, and that they secured a very strong bond to each other from a young and tender age. His fondest memories of he and his Dad were on Saturday mornings when his Dad would announce to Jim to get ready because they were "going bummin." This involved Jim's Dad's love of driving out into the countryside, special landmarks, the flats and downtown Cleveland, or anyplace that Jim's Dad was able to share the history of his beloved city - inside and and out, and, according to Jim, that "history" was according to Jim's Dad. Jim loved all of it, and these outings made a huge impact on his young life and the gentle manner he bestows today.
Although Jim went to two different elementary school (Mark Twain and Memphis); we met up in junior high at Charles A. Mooney, and then JFR. Another sports lover and player; Jim played basketball in 8th and 9th grades along with Track&Field at Mooney; and played basketball, baseball and football at Rhodes. He loved his high school years (claims; "he had a ball"), especially playing sports, but really loved baseball and had been playing that sport since age 9. Jim stated he took "hard" classes every year except his senior year, and if he had the chance to do it all over, would continue with those "hard" classes (i.e. physics, chemistry, calculus.)
After graduation in 1980, Jim earned a Liberal Arts degree from TriC (Cuyahoga Community College), but jokingly referred to those times as some beer drinking thrown in the mix as he was more concerned what was happening after class than what he was learning in class. Oh, to be young again, right? Once he decided to take the next quarter off, and then another quarter off, earning a four year degree slipped away from him. But, never fear, Jim jumped into working in the Cleveland area; mostly working as a warehouseman for Seaway Foods in the early to mid 1980's. By 1984, he had the realization that he could no longer work like that for the rest of his life, and decided to make a change.
Jim acknowledged that he has always had an interest in flight, airplanes and the military. So, he made the bold decision to talk to an Air Force Recruiter (Cleveland office) and signed right up in the fall of 1984. However, at that time, there was an option to have a delayed entry and Jim took advantage of that; entering and starting his service in March of 1985.
Thinking back, the mid 1980's happened to be the start of the computer age; most notably with the PC (and Apple PC.) It was the dial-up system then and not very "efficient", but still very compelling to many. Jim revealed that he took all the tests, including the aptitude tests provided by the Air Force where his results indicated he had the aptitude for electronics. Jim said he was thrilled with the results, but really wanted to work in computers with the Air Force. However, since those (very few slots) were not available, his recruiter guaranteed he could get Jim into the electronics programs they already had in place.
During his six weeks of basic training at Lackland AFB in Texas, everything went well, including obtaining his number one choice after said training - working in computers! His nine month training in computers took place in Biloxi, MS, and Jim never looked back. He said he loved being in the service, and finished his five years in January of 1990 at Eglin AFB in Florida (and near his favorite place on Earth - Destin, Florida.) Maybe the timing was good, or bad, in leaving the service at that time, depending on how one looks at the August 1990 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. Jim's unit got called up, but he had already stepped down and fulfilled his tour (but would have liked to be with his unit who trained day in and day out for that exact scenario!) And knew the Middle East a bit (Saudi Arabia) for a three month deployment.
Instead, Jim returned to Cleveland, Ohio, to his wife, Barbara, and began working for a short stint at Xerox. Due to Jim's excellent grasp of computers, he left Xerox then worked for 12 years as a field technician for Intergraph, a company out of Huntsville, AL. By August of 2002, he got out of the hardware business at Intergraph, and "luckily" got a great job with the Rocky River Public Library where he still works today as a Technology Support Manager. I asked him if he checked out lots of books, and he replied he does on occasion; he liked non-fiction, technical journals, and anything airplane related.
As I mentioned, Jim is a family man through and through. He met his wife, Barbara, who hailed from North Olmsted, OH, on a Friday; November 13th, 1981, at a house party. They hit it off right away, and starting dating. Jim knew she was "the" one. They got engaged while he was in the service, and were married on June 6, 1986. Jim gave all the credit to his wife and her stellar planning of their wedding, and sheepishly remarked that he planned the Honeymoon in Bermuda. I'd say they are a great team, don't you?
Their first daughter, Brandy, was born in 1991. She graduated from Miami of Ohio (International Relations), is married to Paul, and they have a daughter, Brooke, (and Jim/Barbara have their first grandchild), born February 7, 2020! Their second child, Jordan, was born in 1994 eight weeks premature and with a chromosome disorder. According to Jim, he's a great kid, even though he has limited verbal skills (knows ASL), but they know what he likes and what makes him tick at every turn. Jordan loves the water, is not afraid of any ride at Cedar Point Amusement Park, and has been his sisters greatest cheerleader through all of their sports. He's included in everything, and makes this family smile and laugh through thick and thin! Their last child, Bailey, was born in 1998. She graduated from Akron University with a Marketing Degree, and is a track star. She has done extremely well as a Zip on and off the track and currently works for an utility company in NE Ohio.
With a busy family of three kids, Jim and Barbara were always on the go supporting their kids in all their activities (and Jordan's therapies when needed.) Barbara currently works, and loves, her garden department job, at Home Depot, and previously worked in offices and as a "stay-at-home-mom."
Jim Lack, a blue loving guy who says his wife is the single most person that changed his life, is happy and content and lives in Brunswick, Ohio. His guilty pleasure is candy (chocolate); and he loves to make people laugh. I think this may come off his "superpower" of entertaining his kids because he was proud to say, they are the greatest gift(s) he has ever received. His "no fail motivational song" is Standing on Top of the World by Van Halen. I'd venture to say, Jim is standing on top, especially with a loving wife and wonderful family he so proudly discussed with me.
Lastly, obtaining a private pilot's license is still on Jim's bucket list (I really hope he goes for it!), his favorite movie is: It's a Wonderful Life and what the world needs now is for people to get along. Jim is sending the world more positive vibes, so let's all join him in this endeavor!
BSoleille! #CelebratingOthers with Rhodian Classmate of 1980, Jim Lack!
Photos below provided by Jim
|Barb and Jim|
|Barb/Jim - Military function|
|Last deployment exercise - Gulfport, MS|
|Family Vacation - Destin, Florida|
|Family pic - Brandy's Wedding|
|Jim and Barb Wedding Day|
|Jordan and Jim - Marine Week 2012 - Cleveland|
|Jim's first solo flight|
A couple of days ago, I was all about vegetables and tomatoes. Today, I'm all about floral and fauna, and my neighborhood right now does not disappoint. The crepe myrtles are currently at their peak, and beautiful from all angles, but the sunflowers are equally stunning! While on a walk with my neighbor (recovering from shoulder surgery), we took it easy, walking slowly around the block and admiring all the front yards with growing and blooming flowers, and even wild mushrooms popping up in the yards as well (and perhaps not really welcome). Even the humid air here in the Mid-Atlantic has a tinge of sweetness to it all thanks to everything in bloom.
The abundance of vegetables, especially tomatoes in August, is off the charts. And that is just in the DC/ Maryland/Virginia areas. If you have canned (maybe it should be called glassed, no?) any vegetable or even jam, you know how delicious and fresh the taste is - and a wonderful addition to the pantry throughout the rest of summer and into the fall when used in soups and stews...that's tomatoes in the soups and stews, not jam.
So a huge shout out of Thanks to my canning buddies, Patty Lubin and Marilyn Eichner, for without them, and Patty's gracious hospitality in using her kitchen, I would not have 18 quarts of the liquid "gold." I typically dole it out sparingly in my cooking needs, but when I use it, everything tastes just a wee bit better, and most importantly, a lot fresher.
I'll wait a couple of months when the weather cools to make that first pot of chili and break into my canned tomato stash. My mouth is watering even thinking about it!
BSoleille! The bright side of including roma tomatoes in our canning this year.
Summer: my favorite time of year, not only to swim laps and feel the warmth of the water going over my back with each stroke of my arm(s), but also with the swing of a racket and ping of the ball sailing over the net to my "opponent!"
Today, even on a blazing hot afternoon, I was grateful to hit around with "The Best Daughter" and Lizdot Verrecchia at the Crofton Swim and Tennis Club, and "hone" my ramshackle skills for an hour or so with them. I can't wait until I get back out on the court once again!
BSoleille! The bright side of the two young ladies with the same shades! Did you notice?
|Dave, Madyson and Heather|
|Dave on right with his siblings and parents|