I think I need a nap …

Holy-moly, so bored!

Kim has a play date with a friend south of town.  Something about building a fire pit.

Got the mail.  Paid bills.  Did laundry.  Annoyed people on Facebook.

The sun’s shining, it’s a perfect Saturday.  Art Tougeau is still happening today.  There was a parade on Mass St. at noon, and tonight the Lawrence Band Summer Concert Series kicks off in South Park.  There are people everywhere.

Ugly truth:  this chick isn’t bored.  She’s freakin’ lazy.



Maya Angelou ~1928-2014



Staying in the swim …

We’ve recently changed up our exercise routine because Kim needs to rest his ankle and shoulder, so he’s off the racquetball court and I’m out of Aqua Zumba for now.  Instead we’re swimming laps in the early mornings.  Our spring/summer schedule filled up when we weren’t paying attention, so the earlier start every day has been a good thing, and Kim’s owies are starting to like the new regimen.

One of my last class sessions was something I’m glad I didn’t miss — you can’t prepare for serendipities, you just have to be lucky enough to notice all the little nudges that take you through your days in style.

Okay, I need to tell you that when John was just out of college and starting his first career, he got involved with an organization that provided a social life for developmentally-challenged young adults.  His stories were funny and endearing, and it was clear right away that he had a gift for what he was doing.  He eventually went on to exchange his design career for one as an oncology RN, and he’s not only really good at that, his tenderness for his first clients has stayed with me.

So there was a morning a while back when I’d almost skipped Zumba class … again.  But hey, I showed up.  I was in the water warming up when the door opened and a young guy with killer abs walked in, followed by several men of mostly indeterminate age and clearly working under challenges of various sorts.  Nice Ab Guy asked if this was Zumba class and I said yes.  He asked the instructor if it would be okay for them to work out with us and she said of course!  So he helped the other guys tighten their waistband drawstrings, finessed ear and nose plugs, and coaxed them into the shallow end of the pool.  They were none too sure about the whole thing, but their shy smiles were to die for.  The eldest had scars over his back and arms that looked like severe burn damage and I prayed that some inferior human creature hadn’t hurt him on purpose.

The music cranked up, loud as always, and the new guys, with encouragement from a dozen or more mamas, got into it.  Ab Man was born to dance, and obviously to help people who need him.  The sweet guy with the burn scars was so sincere and earnest about trying to keep up with the moves, I had to put my face in the water to camo the tears.  One young guy spent his time looking around, blowing bubbles, and making the water splash big.   He may have had the best time of anyone.  Every glance at one of us asked “Is this okay?  Can I do this?”  When class ended we all told them to be sure and come back, but that didn’t happen before I dropped out.  I hope they remember their time with us as one of the really good days.

I’m lazy and whiny and it’s almost second nature for me to pick the easy way if there is one.  Those guys’ lives are hard in ways I’ll never experience, but they keep going and they’re as stoic as anyone I’ve ever seen.  I hope the people they encounter will be unfailingly kind to them and that even though they’ve been burned by life they’ll never lose those shy sweet smiles and their willingness to be and do and keep on giving.  I have no right to even ask that … but there’s so much they can teach the rest of us and we need them.




This is SO for the birds!

It’s an established truth that no good deed goes unpunished.  We didn’t know until this spring that there’s a gap across the top of our balcony wall.  The birds knew, however, oh, yes they did.  They were already well into their nest-building project before we noticed, so of course we chose to be kind.  And they were just the sweetest, flying back and forth to the trees across the street, bringing raw materials for their new home.

The babies hatched a while back and it’s been impressive to watch the bird couple delivering round-the-clock take-out.  Somebody told us they barely eat while they’re raising their babies.  Probably don’t sleep, either.  They were having an intense argument on the balcony rail this morning … wonder why?

So yeah, the babies.  We were kinda wondering when they might be big enough to leave the nest — and then we saw one standing on a windowsill and pecking at the window.  Holy cow, he was HUGE.  But they’re still hanging around home, we can hear them.  And their parents are still feeding them, worm by worm.  The little shirkers!  They need to convert all that worm pate’ into lift and get on with their lives.

Because shit!  I mean holy shiites, Batman, it’s unreal.  It’s everywhere!  Trailing down the brick, splattered all over the deck, piled on the railing, splotching up the chair cushions, frosting all the herbs and flowers.  I’m out of adverbs, but it’s disgusting, unhealthy, and nasty to the max.  And there’s not one thing we can do about it unless we want to be monsters.  In light of which I’ve pictured myself getting a ladder, reaching into the nest, grabbing the first little cheeper I see, and teaching him to fly.  From four stories up.

So as I was saying, not a thing we can do.  Mr. & Mrs. Bird clearly tabbed us as gentle souls on their first pass and it was over before it started.  They’ve won this one, but rounds two and beyond are ours.  Except that I think I heard more birds on the north end of the gap this morning.

Well, shit.



More Memorial Weekend 2014 …

MemDay Collage

A Memorial Day tribute.

Robert Latta, US Army Infantry, S. Viet Nam. My husband for 34 years and John Latta‘s dad.

Kim Smith, US Navy, USS Somers (destroyer), coast of N. Viet Nam. My husband of 10 years and happily counting, and John Latta’s stepdad and friend.

Memorial Weekend 2014

My grandpa enlisted in the Army at the age of 17 and served at the front during WWI.  His six sons were all military men, Army, Navy, or Marines.  The three Marines, 18, 19, and 21 were in the Korean Conflict at the same time, in the same general location, and under miserable conditions.  All seven returned home intact in body and went on to raise families of their own.  Many of my cousins have also served with honor in the military and none have been lost to war — cause for much thankfulness as we remember all those who have been.

Reese Family


It’s Make-It-Up-As-You-Go Thursday!

What a fun day so far.  Kim and I swam laps at 7:30, came home for coffee and breakfast, soaked in the spa tub, and then on his suggestion we rode our bikes over to his barbershop on Mass St. and I got my hair cut.  There are two long-time shops side by side, owned by one family, and they’re the real deal.  The only change from the good ol’ days is that now there are women barbers alongside the men, one of whom welcomed me into her chair and gave me exactly the cut I wanted.  I could have gotten it for only $6 plus tip since I’m of the senior persuasion, but it seemed cheap and cheeky to mention it, so I paid the going rate of $10.  You cannot beat that, try as you might.  Ten minutes in the chair, happy talk every second, and I’m on my way.  Next to me a young dad was getting his head shaved for the summer, followed by his little clone doing the same.  The two long-haired daughters giggled uncontrollably when I asked if they were having all their hair cut off as well.  One said, “No!  Girls don’t NEED haircuts!”  Sadly, I am no longer a girl.

We went two doors down for raspberry lemonade smoothies before riding a few more blocks to the salon so Mama could get a pedi.  With my shiny new watermelon toes we circled around to the optometrist’s office to schedule an appointment, then home.  Everything is an explosion of green, and the flowers and bushes are going crazy.

And now we’re waiting for it to rain, hopefully soon.

Tonight we’ll meet friends across the street at Pachamama’s to listen to jazz.  On the patio if it’s dry, indoors if it’s raining.  Clearly it needs to rain NOW rather than later.

Have a safe and happy Memorial Weekend!  And may all the right parts be rain free.  Speaking of “free,” there’s a reason …




Every once in a while, time stands still …

Sometimes I love people beyond words. There’s a tiny girl in our neighborhood who is learning to walk. Every day now we see her out with her dad or mom, pushing a little Fisher-Price cart, slowly making her way down the sidewalk. This morning I was on the balcony dead-heading flowers and here she came with her mama. They waited ’til the coast was clear, then headed across the street our direction. About the time they reached the mid-point, a police car approached from the east and stopped well short of the intersection … and waited … and waited … and then when Little Miss had safely reached the curb the car rolled ever so slowly up the street. Nobody hurried her, not a shred of impatience was displayed down there on that ordinarily busy street. Something very important was taking place and everything else could wait. You rock, Lawrence, Kansas, you really do.




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