A “Sense”ible Throw Away

I suppose this particular blog is what they call a “throw away.” It is a simple piece that came about because of something I read earlier in the week. The piece was about easing anxiety by connecting with your 5 senses.

The piece says that when you start to feel anxiety, uneasy you can calm down with the “five senses” or “5,4,3,2,1” technique. It is a way to connect with the present instead of being anxious about the future.

You are to find a quiet place, take a deep breath and then:

5 (Sight) – Look for five things. Look around you and name five things you can see. Say each item out loud. For example, you might say: ‘I see a computer, I see a pen, I see a cup, I see a photo, I see a light.’

Next – 4 (Touch) Feel four sensations. Focus on your body and acknowledge four things you can feel. For example, the hair on the back of your neck or the ground under your feet. As with sight, say each of these things out loud. 

Next – 3 (Hear/Listen) Listen for three sounds. What can you hear around you? Birds, traffic, a ringing phone? Name three sounds out loud.

Next – 2 (Smell) Smell two scents. Take a deep breath through your nose. Name two things you can smell. If you can’t smell anything, think of two of your favorite smells.

Finally, 1 (Taste) Taste one flavor. Toothpaste from brushing your teeth, a mint from after lunch, the lingering flavor of this morning’s coffee. Name one thing you can taste and say it out loud. If you can’t taste anything, name one of your favorite flavors.

I thought of the article when I woke up this afternoon. I woke up to the smell of fresh coffee, which always makes me happy.

Before getting ready for work, I walked outside and my neighbor had cut his grass – yet another one of my favorite smells.

As I walked to my car to leave for work, a slight breeze brought the sweet smells of the lilac bushes toward me.

They seem to grow bigger every year. They are extra fragrant this year. I always feel like their wonderful aromas are not around long enough. I suppose this fact makes me appreciate the smell of them every year.

I was actually quite surprised at this picture I took with my phone…

I love the detail of the flower.

So what is the point of this blog – I don’t know, really. As you go through your day today, pause and enjoy some of the smells of summer.

From Rapunzel to Snow White

As I have mentioned in the past, my daughter loves princesses. When she was born I had to do a crash course in princesses to make sure I knew them all for her! She, of course, is my favorite princess!

She has beautiful hair. It is long and naturally curly. She has these amazing ringlets at the ends. However, with long hair comes issues. She is not too keen on the hair washing and hair brushing process. Because she doesn’t always let us brush her hair, she tends to get snarls and tangles. In recent months, Sam and I have fought her quite a bit about her hair. So we decided it was time to trim it up.

She always talks about her hair being “Rapunzel” hair. She’s pretty much right on about that. It was really long!

We told her that we were going to get it trimmed and asked what princess hair she’d like. Snow White was suggested and she said she’d like that. Prior to the appointment, Sam messaged our hair gal, Shari, and let her know exactly what we were going to do. This way, there was no discussion before the haircut started.

Both Sam and I worried that those beautiful ringlets would be gone forever with the cut. We had to remind ourselves about the fighting at bath time and the snarls/tangles, etc… (Spoiler) We were both happy to see that after we got home, the curls and ringlets were still there.

As Shari pulled bits and pieces of her hair up and clipped them out of the way, I stood and watched as she took the scissors and made that first cut. I’m not sure why this bothered me so much, but it did. I swear it looked like she had taken 10-12 inches off the back!

In the end, she still is as beautiful as ever. Her hair is easier to wash and brush. She is no longer Rapunzel, and is now Snow White.

She did say that she misses her Rapunzel hair …

If I am being honest, I think my Princess Ella is much prettier than Rapunzel, Snow White, or any of those Disney Princesses anyway!

Projects – Done

Over the weekend, I finished up some of the projects on my “To Do” list.

One of them, I’ve blogged about a couple times. I feel like the nook is officially complete. I wanted to get a cushion for the bench, but the size was odd. I really thought that I was going to have to get one custom made, or by the foam and fabric and make my own. However, I found a solution I would have never thought of!

I had to go to Menard’s to get some mulch for the front yard. As we walked through the store, I passed the pet area. I happened to see a dog bed that said 42 inches. I knew that was the length of the bench (and nook itself) because I measured to mark off where the coat hooks were going to go. I put the only one they had in the cart and walked over to where the tape measures were. I knew the bench was 42 x 26, so I wondered if I’d get lucky. I did!

I picked up a decorative pillow and it is now officially complete!

The second project was fixing the swing set for the kids. The main beam on the set that was given to us was a bit rotted out, so my father-in-law told me what to get from the store to fix it.

He came over on Memorial Day and we swapped out the old hardware, drilled new holes, and mounted the new beam. After that, we put up a toddler swing, a regular swing, and a net swing for the kids. At some point I need to paint the bean, but there are a few other boards that need to be replaced first. The kids were thrilled to be able to play on it, though.

As a bonus, my mother-in-law brought burgers and dogs to grill for dinner.

The last, and easiest, project was a small (but important) one. A year or so ago, I mounted a flag on one of the trees in the front yard. The weather got the best of the aluminum pole and it broke and fell off the mount. The flag itself was tattered a bit, too. It was time for a new one. Thankfully, the mount is still in good shape and I was able to fly the Stars and Stripes proudly for Memorial Day.

I wish more people flew the flag at their house….

Weekend Work & Weekend Fun

I haven’t posted in the last 5 days. It is not often that I get time with my entire family, so my focus has been on them.

The weather has been just perfect. Even though we are officially still in Spring, it felt like Summer! We’ve got a water table that the kids love to play at, but we took advantage of the warm weather and set up their new sprinkler.

We picked this huge fire hydrant up at Sam’s Club and the kids love it. Water shoots from the side “plugs” and there is water that spins out of the top. Even my wife knows that you are never too old to run through the sprinkler.

Memorial Day was very laid back and I worked on some projects (more on those in another blog), but Tuesday was just the best day! Sam planned a day at the beach with the family. She also knows how much I have talked about my childhood summer vacation destination ….

As a boy, we spent many summer days in Caseville. I have written about it in the past. Prior to having kids, Sam surprised me with a day trip there. I was like a little kid! I remembered so many places. I have since told her that I would love to take the kids there. So we combined their first trip to a beach with their first trip to Caseville.

Choosing to go on the Tuesday after a holiday weekend had perks! We pretty much had the entire beach to ourselves! It was perfect! We lathered the kids up with sunscreen and before we could get some on ourselves, the kids were running toward the water!

Andrew loved every second of being there. At first he spent his time chasing seagulls, but eventually made it over to the water.

Neither kid has ever been to the beach, so they had no idea just how hard it is to run in the water. Both of them fell almost immediately and freaked out a bit. The main beach at Caseville is perfect for them because it doesn’t get too deep for a while. You can walk out pretty far and still be above water.

Ella was a bit scared after she fell in the water, but I walked her out a bit and held her hand all the way back because she was scared.

The water was cold at first, but that was always the way it was growing up. You know how it is, you go under water and then you are fine. There was a bit of wind that day, which made it a little chilly, but it was still fun to be there with the family. We even tried to build sand castles, but Andrew thought it was more fun to step on them once they were built.

Sam prepared a fantastic picnic lunch for us. She made sandwiches, packed some fruit, and plenty of water, iced tea, and juice boxes. She found this cool beach blanket that was perfect for us.

Of course, once the food came out, the seagulls were very interested in our picnic! Andrew wanted to throw them food, but we stopped him, thankfully. You know once they get a nibble of food, they want it all!

There was a point where the kids were cold and shivering, so we brought them up to the playscape and let them run around a bit. We were both surprised when Ella said that she was done with the beach. She said she would like to come back, but was ready to go home.

One thing we didn’t do was go by the old place that my grandparents had just out of town. We figured the kids were pooped, so we’d just head home. We did, however, stop by the new Caseville sign and get a family selfie.

The sign is a new sign. From what I read, they did a big upgrade to a lot of the signs in town to make them more “uniform.” What’s cool is that on the left of the sign the word “Caseville” is spelled out in the International Nautical Alphabet. You can see it a bit better in this picture of the kids.

After our long drive home, we decided that we didn’t want to cook. So we took the kids to the local pizza place and had a nice family dinner.

It was a fantastic day! Sam and I, however, realized soon enough that we had forgotten to put sunscreen on. Sam’s back and shoulders were just fried and my head was also pretty toasty. So we’ll be keeping the Aloe close by for the next couple days!

Never Seen One Before

This afternoon when I got up for work, I sat by the window in our living room with my cup of coffee. On the baseball field behind our house, two teams were playing one of the final games of the season. Ella was sitting on my lap, and Sam was on the floor with Andrew.

Suddenly, I saw a bird that I had never seen before land on one of our outdoor chairs. I stared at it for a minute because I though it was the weirdest looking robin I had ever seen. Only it wasn’t a robin. It had a red chest like a robin, but it was blue!

I called Sam over so she could see it too, but it flew away before she got a look at it. All the way to work, I felt like I must have seen it wrong. Was it really blue? Yes. I was sure it had to be. Thank you Google – I wasn’t seeing things.

Come to find out, I saw my first ever Male Eastern Blue Bird. Google says that they “are vivid, deep blue above and rusty or brick-red on the throat and breast.” When I saw a picture, it confirmed that it was the bird I saw.

Sam and I have talked about getting a bird feeder to put near the back of the house. I think the kids would love watching them. All those birds will certainly drive our cat crazy, too. Oh, and we’d have to make sure it was squirrel proof. We have plenty of those chubby critters hanging around. (I wonder if I have told my squirrel story on here before… I may have to check the archives!)

When I think about birds, two things come immediately to mind: (1) Wallace Wimple from the old Fibber McGee and Molly radio show. (He sounded like the cartoon character Droopy and often spoke of his Bird Book) and (2) Monty Python’s Book Shop sketch. The first photo above and the next one are totally taken from the sketch.

If you have never heard it before, you have to listen to it. It is one of those very well written and very funny comedy sketches. John Cleese is brilliant in it and it was one of his favorite sketches.

Here it here:

Grab a Piece of Paper …

Who knew that there was a holiday that celebrates aircraft made from paper?!

Go ahead, grab a piece of paper and make your best paper airplane! Toss that thing in the air and see what kind of flight you can get out of it! If the boss asks, tell them you are not wasting time or fooling around – you are celebrating a special holiday!!

Just don’t put out anybody’s eye!

Taxi up to the runway and fly!!

Angry at the Queen – Dairy Queen!

A lot of people are angry after hearing that Dairy Queen has discontinued their Cherry Dip Cone! The item has disappeared and reappeared from the DQ menu for a few years now, but it seems that it had officially been discontinued according to an MSN article.

A Michigan Dairy Queen shared the news on their TikTok page. “Unfortunately, today I have some bad news, and I feel like a lot of people will be upset about this. I don’t know when or if it’s returning, but Dairy Queen is discontinuing their cherry cone dip,” the narrator of the video says. “It’s already sold out in our warehouse, so once we deplete the inventory in the store, we’ll be sold out until further notice.”

When a local news agency reached out to DQ for some answers, they issued a statement:

“At this time, the Cherry Dipped Cone at Dairy Queen is being discontinued,” DQ confirmed in a statement that seems to allude to the possibility of the item returning in the future. “Fans should check with their local DQ restaurant to learn which flavors are available,” concludes the statement.

For me, the Cherry Dip allowed me to enjoy the best three flavors. I loved getting the chocolate vanilla twist cone dipped in Cherry. I truly hope that it is not gone for good.

Post Weekend Update & Trivia

Before I get into the events of the weekend, I thought I’d throw a funny Jeopardy question your way. The answer, which will be easy for those who follow this blog, will appear at the end of this post.

Saturday morning was nice. The entire family spent the morning together. At one point, Sam, the kids and I were all snuggled up on the couch watching TV. I can’t even begin to tell you how nice that was.

There was plenty of outdoor playing and walks around the neighborhood.

Sunday, Sam was sleeping and it was, what Ella calls, a “Ella, Bubby, Daddy Day.” I had to drive Sam’s brother to his football practice and then I planned on taking the kids to the park for a picnic. On the way, my eye caught a Dairy Queen with outdoor seating. So instead, we stopped there!

By Ella’s reaction, I think it was a good choice!

After our picnic lunch, we went to a little park that is enclosed. The kids could run everywhere and play on anything. I played with them and actually got a minute or two to just sit back and enjoy watching them play.

Funniest line of the weekend – and also one of those things you never thought you would say out loud: (Sam to Andrew) “Bubby, don’t put the Playdoh in your nose!”

Boy, does he keep us on our toes! While we were out in the back yard the other day, he picked up one of the dandelions – not the yellow ones, the white ones – and stuck it in his mouth. All those things were on his tongue and I am really surprised he didn’t throw up! Urgh, just thinking about it makes me nauseous!

Two of my favorite pictures from the weekend

First, Ella looking like a movie star! Priceless

Second, Andrew wearing what his sister picked out for him to wear…. one of her dresses!


Project Update

I took advantage of the kids falling asleep early Sunday night and figured I would prime and paint the nook I was working on.

This is what it looked it before:

We used OSB board this time, and after painting I wish I had used just regular shiplap. It still looks good. It has a rustic look to it, I think. We need to get a cushion for the bench seat and a decorative throw pillow to go on that, but it is painted and coat hooks are in place.

The angle at which I took this picture makes the hook on the left wall look higher than the others, but they are all on the same line, believe it or not!

The kids seem to think that this is a new play area now, or at least a spot for photo ops.

I’m so glad to have this project 98% finished. I have a few touch ups to do, but it is mostly done. I also love having the baskets under the bench.

All in all a very productive and enjoyable weekend!

Your trivia/Jeopardy answer? Of course, you knew it was …

The Three Stooges! A 1936 classic!

What If There Were No Sides At All? – New Bryan Adams

In reading through the blogs I subscribe to, I came across a recent post from Lesley at https://aeschtunes.com/ . Bryan Adams has released a powerful new song that I hope makes people (and governments) think.

The video can be found on YouTube and I will share in this blog, too. The description accompanies the videos says, “This is an anti-war peace song written with aim to provoke thought and perhaps even encourage governments to sit down and talks peace.”

Lyrically, the song is simple – and deep. It proclaims a message of peace.

What If There Were No Sides At All

What if there were no sides at all
What if there were no sides at all

Just a big blue ball – floating in space
It’s a beautiful world – but a dangerous place
It’s perfectly round – it’s perfectly clear
There are no sides – on a perfect sphere

What if there were no sides at all
What if there were no sides at all

Don’t make me hate – don’t make me choose
Why should one side win and the other side lose

I don’t understand – why take sides at all
There are no sides – on this big blue ball

We tell ourselves it’s a stand we take
But there’s no sides except the ones… we make

What if there were no sides at all
What if there were no sides at all
What if there were no sides at all

In her piece about the song, Lesley says that the song reminded her a little of the Beatles. I felt the same way. It does have that John Lennon “Imagine” and Ringo Starr’s “Peace and Love” vibe to it. Today’s songs often clock in at 4 or 5 minutes, but this song sends a powerful and thoughtful message in just over 2 minutes.

As a former radio guy, I know that there are times where songs like this are often avoided by programmers. I truly hope that this one gets some airplay – not just here but world wide. It is one of the great “What if” questions.

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve heard new stuff from Bryan Adams, and I am grateful to have stumbled on Lesley’s blog about it. Give the song a listen …

Rockin’ Some Felt

Last month, I mentioned that Disney+ would be airing a new Muppet show. The show focuses on the original house band of the old Muppet Show – Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. I’ve been holding off on watching it because I just wasn’t sure what to expect.

One of the silliest reasons to not watch is knowing that the voices are not the originals. Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, and Richard Hunt will forever be connected to these characters for me. I just wasn’t sure I could get past this. I decided to check it out this weekend and I have to say, it isn’t bad.

Season One of The Muppets Mayhem consists of 10 episodes. I have watched 4 so far and I don’t hate it. The premise is that the band has been touring non stop for years. They were supposed to make an album for a small label after the tour, but that tour continues. The label seems to be ready to close their doors, when an assistant stumbles on the paperwork showing the band owes them an album. In hopes of saving the company with one big album, she’s off to get the band in the studio.

Like many of the great Muppet movies, and the Muppet Show, there have been some really neat cameos. The cameos can appeal to people of all ages – Zed for the younger folks and Cheech and Chong for the older folks. The show is funny, and emotional, too. I am actually pretty impressed and glad I started watching it.

We’ll see how I feel after episode 10, but if the rest of the episodes are like what I have seen, I will be awaiting Season 2!