End-of-month chatting

We’re still full-fledged into summer here. We’ve had a few cooler days, but the humidity is still high. Technically summer is here until September 21, and it probably won’t start feeling like fall until some time after that.

Since we don’t have anyone in school (my youngest is taking college classes online year-round), we escape some of the back-to-school hubbub, except that I did happen to be in Wal-Mart during the tax-free weekend just before school started. Though the school supply area was swamped, the rest of the store was fine. Otherwise school being back in session doesn’t affect us much at this point except for avoiding certain traffic areas at certain times a day.

Our big week during the summer was last week, when my oldest son was here for ten days. My husband took the week off, though he did have to do some emails and conferences calls most mornings. Jesse and Jason couldn’t take off the same days, since they work at the same place, but they each had a day or two off to spend time with Jeremy. We celebrated both Jeremy’s birthday and mine that week (I shared about those in last week’s Friday’s Fave Five), had a few outings, played games, and hung out around the house. I think it was a nice blend of doing and resting.

It never gets easier to say good-bye, but this time Jason, Mittu, and Timothy came with Jim and me to drop Jeremy off at the airport. Then we stopped at a nearby coffee shop and sat in their outdoor area to try to see Jeremy’s airplane take off. For Timothy’s sake, Jeremy texted photos of the tunnel to the plane, the inside of the plane, the outside when they had to deplane on the tarmac, etc. I miss the days when you could walk someone down to their gate, sit with them til they boarded, and wave at them when the plane backed away. But this was the next best thing, and a lot of fun. We thought we’d see lots of planes, being so close to the airport. We didn’t, but we did keep track of when Jeremy’s was taking off and saw his plane in the distance.

We had a bit of a shock this month when hospice called and said they were going toΒ  drop my mother-in-law from their care because, by all the standards they can measure, she wasn’t declining. It seemed odd that, if she qualified for hospice three years ago, and she has declined since then, that she would no longer be eligible. My husband met with her doctor, nurses, social worker, and chaplain, and discussed her situation and how she has declined. They reviewed her case and recertified her for another 60 days. I hope we don’t have to go through this every 60 days from here on out. But I guess we’ll have to play it by ear.

Here are some other tidbits from the last month:

What I’ve learned:

  • How to do gifs and stickers in texts. A small thing, and not hard, but whenever I learn anything new technologically, I feel really good about myself. πŸ™‚
  • How to order in Starbucks. πŸ™‚ I don’t go there mainly because I don’t like flavored coffees and pretty much drink just plain decaf with a bit of creamer, but also because I don’t know the lingo. On the way to the airport I grilled Jeremy about whether SB would even have plain decaf and how to ask for the size I wanted. Another small thing, but now I can confidently go in if I am with someone who wants to stop there.

What I’ve been watching:

  • America’s Got Talent (You have to be careful with it, because even though they call it a family show, there are a few acts that should not be on a family show. So we fast-forward through a few things.)
  • Making It. This is a new one that looks like it should be on PBS or HGTV. It’s a competition for crafters. It takes a bit for the dry humor of the hosts to grow on you, but I have been enjoying it. And it has been renewed for a second season.
  • Unbroken. I loved this book and have been wanting to watch the movie for a long time. Unfortunately, they threw in a few bad words (actually before the hard parts where it would have been more understandable). But otherwise, very good. When it first came out, I had heard complaints that the movie didn’t show the influence of Zamperini’s faith. But the movie didn’t cover his whole life: it ended right when he came home from being a POW. And the afterword did share that he “made good on his promise” to serve God and eventually came to a place of forgiving the Japanese, even returning to Japan. There are several neat cinematic touches in addition to the compelling story.
  • Mary Poppins. I saw about half of it with Timothy, and enjoyed watching him giggle in parts.

What I’ve been wondering:

  • Did people really sing songs together while they worked a long time ago? A book I read mentioned a sea shanty being sung by sailors as they rowed, and that prompted the question. According to Wikipedia, they did. There are songs associated with other types of work as well. I wonder if any of these songs are still sung as work songs, or whether recorded music is used when a certain rhythm and synchronicity is needed. It would seem so strange in this day and time to sing with your coworkers.
  • I read a while back that because we have ready-made music available and on so much, people don’t make their own music any more. I think the advent of YouTube may have changed that. But my aunt told me one time that when they were young, they’d gather around the piano and sing as a family, just like you see on old movies.
  • Much has been written about the decline of robust congregational singing, blaming it on the professionalism and loudness of worship bands in church and the lack of singability or unfamiliarity of many contemporary songs. But I wonder if the fact that we don’t sing together as a society in almost any context any more plays a big part in it.
  • On another subject: why do fast food restaurants toss condiment packets in by the handful, even if you say you only want one or two? I know they probably don’t cost much individually, but I am sure they add up! Some we just keep them on hand and use eventually, but others get tossed because we don’t use them beyond that one meal.
  • I also wonder at the tendency to over-notify. I have three different places on Facebook that tell me I have a new post (one is enough!) Twitter shows me new tweets yet also shows me some again “In case you missed it” and then will show me some of those same tweets in my notifications. I don’t sign up for many sales notices for companies because they send them 4-5 times a week. Drives me crazy! Once a week is more than enough. All this over-notifying actually works against those who do it. I have any sales emails sent through a filter so I don’t even see them. If I am going to a place and looking for a sale or coupon, I’ll look through that folder. On anything that lets me adjust settings, I set it so as not to receive push notifications on my phone.

What I am making:

We had two birthdays and an anniversary this month – but one of the birthdays was mine, so I didn’t make a card for it. πŸ™‚ We also had a baby shower, but since that one has not yet been given, I’ll wait to show it. I don’t think the recipient reads my blog, but I want to be safe. πŸ™‚

This was for Jason and Mittu’s anniversary:


The couple and smaller heart were made using the Cricut. The burlap and lace background was from a pack of scrapbooking paper one of the kids got me for Mother’s Day (or Christmas?) I printed the wording out on the computer and used scalloped scissors for the top and bottom.

This was for Jeremy’s birthday:


The birch trees were cut out on the Cricut and then glued onto grey paper. The fox was a sticker, but made of fuzzy material and with a sticky pad on the back so it was raised. The sign was supposed to be reminiscent of signs you’d see tacked onto a tree (like wanted signs on cartoon. πŸ™‚ Maybe I should have phrased it like a wanted poster!) The little wood frame probably takes away from that idea. But I still like it. And I did find and install a font that looks like carving on wood (something else I learned this month!)

Around the blog:

Besides the book reviews, Fridays Fave Fives, and occasional Laudable Linkages:

It wasn’t deliberate, but the theme for the month seems to be focus.

I discussed what I was reading on my What’s On Your Nightstand post earlier this week. I am particularly enjoying the The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I am listening to the audiobook but may see if the library has a print copy. I am also getting a lot out of my ESV Study Bible. The notes are quite helpful. Plus I just finished Malachi, and they had a lot of supplemental material inbetween it and the start of the New Testament with Matthew.

And that, I think, is about all for this chat. πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading.

(Sharing with “What I’m Into” at Leigh Kramer’s)


7 thoughts on “End-of-month chatting

  1. With interest I’ve your blog. And your fox card is super nice. I love it. Hope everything is well arranged for your mother in law and that they will take care of her faithfully.

  2. I have to address the singing issue as a person with a BS degree in Music ed/piano. Yes our history as a nation DID involve singing while working, you didn’t study slavery in school??? The slaves would sing hymns together…the good ole gospel songs…known as “negro spirituals” but let’s just say black gospel music now…..and the pioneers sang together in the evenings as they had no tv or radio ( think Little house on the prairie). And i really think it depends on your church. Our church, Grace Fellowship/Latham has 3 services. The Sat evening one is more subdued with older folk or ex-Catholics so they don’t sing as lustily for some reason. Yet at the 9 and 11 a.m. Services our congregation really worships!! And we sing mainly the newer contemp hymns as well as the older gospel hymns. 😘

    I’m with ya on Starbucks. My oldest daughter taught me their ways. Ha! And guess what??? You can order online if you get their app and it’s ready for you when you get there!! Makes it easier as everything is right there on the online menu. I usually order their pikes place blend which is a nice medium roast.

    I loved reading about your month!

    Have a blessed weekend,

    • Yes, of course, I studied slavery in school, know and love spirituals, read Uncle Tom’s Cabin, remember Little House on the Prairie and their evenings making music, singing, and dancing, and even Laura and Almanzo attending singing school when they were dating. Families and groups getting together to sing doesn’t surprise me (though we’ve lost a lot of that in modern times). But what I thought was interesting is that there’s a whole collection of “work songs” for different kinds of work – sailors, railroad workers, etc. That’s what’s hardest for me to picture – a group of seamen or other groups of people singing together while working. And I don’t know if we have an equivalent in society today. My husband used to work in the labs of a textile company, and once when he went into the plant, he saw two women folding sheets in time to very loud, rhythmic music. I think that kind of thing has replaced workers singing together.

      Personally we have not had problems with congregational singing in any of the churches we’ve attended, but I have read article after article lamenting its decline and pondering the reason for it. On the other hand, we haven’t attended churches with worship teams, either – we usually have just a songleader and choir. When we were visiting churches this last time, we did visit some with a worship team and band, and it did seem to foster an us (the congregation) vs. them (the professional musicians) mentality. In one, the main problem to me was that the songleader never indicated when the congregation was to join in, and as we looked around trying to figure out whether or not we were supposed to be singing along, about half the congregation was singing and the other half wasn’t. It was very confusing and disconcerting. So I can see how, in an atmosphere like that, congregational singing would wane, but then, like you said, I am sure that varies from church to church.

      But I do think we’ve lost that practice of singing together generally, as families and societies. It’s just not done as much as it used to be. I wonder whether that’s due to the availability of recorded music, and then the decline of singing together led to our feeling awkward singing in front of each other.

  3. Here’s one tip I learned about Starbucks — you can call it anything you want and the barista should be able to figure it out. I just want a small decaf whenever I’m with Starbucks aficionados so I just order a “small decaf”. And then they usually say, “well, we can only do a pour-over decaf right now.” And I nod. But no one ever fusses that I didn’t call it a tall or a grande or whatever “small” is.

    And I feel your fall-what-fall feeling. When temps are still in the high 80s/low 90s, autumn feels a long way away. Only the sun’s lower track across the sky hints at the passage of what always feels like a long summer.

    LOVED that fox card — very striking colors and such a cute fox πŸ™‚

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