Five Favorites #2

I’m linking up again today with Mama Knows, Honey Child to tell you about more of my favorite things!
1.  Aldi

I’d been seeing this little grocery store for awhile, and even stopped there just once out of curiosity and picked up a few things.  But I only recently started shopping here regularly.  While I hate the continuing sprawl and desecration of what little farmland remains along Kingston Pike, I’m at least happy they put one of these in the latest development.  The prices on cheese, vegetables, and some frozen goods are simply amazing.  Now, be aware that this is one of those no-frills places.  You have to deposit a quarter to get a shopping cart (and boy did I look like an idiot the first time I was trying to figure this out!).  And you need to bring your own bags or boxes to put your stuff in.  I didn’t know this the first time and forgot the second time and again looked like an idiot trying to get all my random purchases safely into my trunk during a rainstorm, no less.  But I will remember this time, and Aldi is helping me save money and eat healthy food!
2.   These shoes
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These might have been the first thing John ever purchased off the internet. (Yes, I’ve had them that long!)  They came from Lands End.  I used to wear them almost daily during the winter when Lorelei was little, along with my black skirt and Irish sweatshirt, which I considered my winter time uniform but which my mother said made me look eccentric.  I’m especially attached to these not only because they are comfortable and make all the hiking I’ve been doing lately easier and safer, but because I have so few personal possessions left from back then, and these came back to me somewhat miraculously.  A week or so after the fire, Jake mentioned he thought he had seen them in the basement.  I asked him to go back and brave the ruins (because this was after our salvage operation) and he brought them back to me.  I don’t remember doing it but I suppose I went down there wearing them one day and sat down and took them off and forgot to bring them upstairs again.  Which is good, because otherwise they’d be ashes.
3.  Weigel’s

photo credit: Craig S. via Yelp

If there is anyone in Knoxville who doesn’t like Weigel’s, I don’t know them.  For non-locals, it’s the go-to convenience store in these parts, so ubiquitous that it drove 7-11 right out of business.  All around town you can see former 7-11 buildings that now house a diverse array of businesses.  Weigel’s got its start as a dairy farm and milk delivery, and the milk is still one of the best things about it–you won’t find better prices or better tasting skim milk.  There are three Weigel’s stores within a mile or two of my house so they are super convenient for almost anyone living in Knoxville.  We shop there on almost a daily basis, and one of the things I like best is that the clerks are always always friendly and I enjoy the relationships I’ve developed with the ones at each store I frequent.
When Emily was a baby/toddler I used to leave her strapped in her car seat (parked at the window where I could see her the whole time, y’all, so calm down) while I ran inside to buy milk, prompting her to make this now-famous statement: “When I grow up, I am going to cut with knives, say bad words, and go inside Weigel’s.”
4.  Gardening
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Working in my yard makes me really, really happy.  I come home most days and just stand and stare at my flower beds.  My neighbors probably think I’m crazy.  (Actually they probably think we are ALL crazy and they are probably right.)  I started gardening again last year after a long hiatus.  I didn’t have a lot of energy then so I’d spend an hour in the evenings on it, when it was cooler.  This year I have a lot more energy.  I’ve got a gardening post in the works right now, so that’s all I’m going to say about that.
5.  The X-Files

Again, this is going to get a whole post to itself some time in the near future, but I got the world’s best birthday present this year:  ALL the X-Files episodes, AND the movies.  We are having so much fun watching two episodes every night.  It’s been so long since I’ve watched many of them–and some I think I never saw at all–that it’s like discovering new things about old beloved friends.  And William is watching too, and it’s such a delight to watch him as the story unfolds.  (As, for example, when he found out that the Cigarette Smoking Man and Mulder’s father knew each other.  “That’s BAD,” he announced.)
You can find new blogs to read by visiting the link up here.  What are your favorite things?  You can tell me in the comments!

Answer Me This #8

Back again with another Answer Me This linkup from Catholic All Year!
1. What’s something you intended to do today, but didn’t?
Today has just begun, so who knows?  But I can answer this for yesterday:  I wanted to get my newest plants into the ground.  I have a bad habit of buying plants and then waiting too long to plant them and then they die.  We went downtown on Wednesday to the Farmer’s Market and I got three additions for my herb garden.  Also I have another butterfly bush, and Jake has already dug a nice hole for that.  So maybe today!

Mailbox Herb Garden earlier this year
Mailbox Herb Garden earlier this year

2. What’s your favorite grilling recipe?
People have recipes for that?  I just put the usual spices on whatever it is and give it to John.  I don’t operate grills (and John doesn’t operate stoves).
3. What movie did you see most recently?
The last movie I saw in the theatre was Godzilla.  William is obsessed with Godzilla (I mean really obsessed–like he can reel off way more than you ever wanted to know on the subject, and he actually owns a bunch of the videos which we can either watch with subtitles or horribly dubbed).  He had been counting down the days for months.  It was entertaining, but the best part was sharing in his excitement.
4. Would you say your tendency is to over or under react to medical situations?
Honestly, I think I react correctly to them.  Most people would probably call that under-reacting but it all depends on perspective, doesn’t it?  Possibly because there were so many years that we had to pay out of pocket when we took the kids to the doctor, after once or twice of being told that “It’s a virus and there is nothing I can do; it has to run it’s course,” I developed a wait-and-see policy.  (Also, my kids are extraordinarily healthy–I am not exaggerating when I tell you that the last time Emily went to the doctor for illness she was TWO YEARS OLD.  And they’ve each had maybe one earache and no strep throat ever.)  I’m also pretty calm in general about medical things–like when William had his first (so far only) seizure, which is a pretty frightening thing to witness, I just said, “Wow, I think that’s a seizure.”  I didn’t freak out about it.  I recommend this book:
how to raise a healthy child
5. Do you squeeze the toothpaste tube or roll it?
I don’t think they will really roll any more, will they?  Not the way they used to when they were made of metal instead of plastic.  In any case, I was always a squeezer, although I used to squeeze around the middle as a child and probably wasted all kinds of toothpaste.
6. What are you doing for Father’s Day?
We all went to Mass together, including the one big kid who is currently a submarine Catholic who surfaces for special occasions.  Then we met my father, his wife, my sisters, and their families for brunch at a restaurant recommended by my sister, and that we had wanted to try.  It’s a pretty cool place with an interesting history.  It was originally a roadside place back when Kingston Pike was heavily traveled by vacationers.  Then the road was diverted, and the whole time I was growing up it was an upscale gift shop where you went to get really fancy wedding presents.  A few years ago it went out of business and was resurrected as a restaurant, albeit fancier than it was in its heyday.  I enjoyed my crabcakes on fried green tomatoes topped with poached eggs and hollandaise.  My little ones were not so thrilled as the french toast was made with blackberry bread and there were raisins in the cinnamon rolls.
And there you have it!  You can visit others who linked up here.

Along Came a Spider

Back in the summer, a writing spider took up residence in a bush in my garden, just outside my front door.  Now I’m the kind of person who runs screaming at the sight of even small spiders, and this one was big.  But William loves spiders, and so we left her alone.
spider 12
spider 10One day our spider was not in her usual spot.  A quick survey of the area around her web  turned her up in a nearby bush, finishing up her egg sac.
spider 7Now I’ve read Charlotte’s Web, so I know what’s supposed to happen to a spider after she completes her Magnum Opus.  So when the spider disappeared shortly thereafter, at first I was sure she had died.   But instead the next day she turned up on the garage door.  This was not a very good place for her, since I need to be able to open that door to take out the garbage.  By now we were so attached to our spider friend that I left the garbage in the garage a whole extra week because I didn’t want to disturb her.  But that couldn’t go on forever, so the following week I enlisted William’s aid in moving the spider.
He scooped her up in a shovel and deposited her on a nearby bush, and we hoped she’d be okay.   The next day she had already started a new web, this time on the other garage door.  She spent a few weeks there, and every morning when I would return from taking William to school I would take the opportunity to photograph her and her shadow.
spider 6spider 5spider 4spider 3William had been frequently feeding the spider, which he had claimed for his own.  We think that may have been the reason for her long life.  But then came the day she was missing from this web too.  I was sure this was the end and felt silly because I was missing her.  But then a sharp-eyed friend of William’s spotted her in a new location, above the garage under the edge of the roof.
spider 1She built a beautiful web here in which to spend her final days.
spider 2Some time during her sojourn with us, Miss Spider deposited a SECOND egg sac.  So even though she finally disappeared for good a couple of weeks ago, it looks like at least some of her children will be around to entertain us next summer.
spider 11