I've been busy in the garden, reading my histories & mysteries, sewing clothes, teaching, knitting, and all that good stuff. Sorry to have neglected so many of you online, but I lose track of the days during periods like this. We've had a few household changes. We lost Greylady, the elderly Russian blue-mix kitty who delighted us for so many years. Another kitty, Sandy, never was ours, but used to like to visit occasionally. It seems he has now moved on.
My natural father, who I've hardly known at all since I was my son's age - and didn't know well even then, decided to visit near my birthday to celebrate it with us. The weather didn't entirely cooperate. It was unusually hot those weeks, with tropical systems threatening both times he planned to come by, but we did see him finally for a couple of days. Finally got him to our favorite Mexican restaurant but the planned museums will mostly have to wait for another trip. He dropped off his old laptop to the kids as well, which has been well received.
It works remarkably well for being 8 yrs old, and plays a few older excellent edutainment titles we had held on to for our son, but had trouble running on the pcs here when the time came. (one was too old, the others too new). Nice to have Stowaway and The Way Things Work running perfectly again. (TWTW ran on newer systems, but was a bit glitchy/crashy. Some of these links go to updated versions, for your convenience.) Pinball Science & the old teaching disks (Switched-On-Schoolhouse, Dinosaur Hunter, Spanish etc..) ran well already.
I was watching those tropical systems very carefully indeed especially TS Bertha, since the last Bertha in 1996 prompted one of our evacuations because, when it came toward us, our son was still little and endangered by any lengthy power outages. Taking the road north, I encountered numerous little tornadoes on either side of the highway...for miles. We arrived to our haven safely, but you never forget stuff like that, especially given its proximity to my birthday both times. Becka says she will never forget it either! Ironically Bertha did no damage at all in our county in '96, not even lost power (which back then seemed to happen every time a butterfly sneezed.) The old Bertha was supposed to have 120mph winds, but the meteorologists said afterward that these high winds were not on the ground, which explained why it was such a non-event outside of that tornado zone I drove through. I was surprised they never retired the name given the official strength of the storm, but apparently this is tied only to damage. The new Bertha strengthened & weakened & strengthened & weakened, but never made land, so one supposes there will be another Bertha years from now. Hope she's as polite as the last two, especially if she wants to celebrate with me again.
My presents were pretty cool. I got some comfy clothes, some fancy clothes, Crosswords DS, and one of those Nifty Knitter doohickeys. Its actually fun! Will probably go back to handwork in fall, as the weave is pretty open with the big loom set I have, but am working on a dandy summer throw right now. When my natural father was here we saw Journey to the Center of the Earth with him, which proved to be a decent choice for a Verne fan like me. The kids and I also went to see Wall-E (Pixar makes yet another instant children's classic!) & Space Chimps in July, which wasn't bad either.
Hubby and I went out to our favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant. We've been going there since we first dated and the place never changes - which is a good thing, because the people are nice & the food is excellent.
The biggest event of all was the passing of my hubby's eldest brother, which I guess is why its the hardest to talk about - maybe later.
The yard continues to recover, with effort. Still haven't replaced all the plants lost after Hurricane Isabel, but there are some new azaleas in the ground & amazingly the fig tree came back from the dead yet again. This is the third time! Seriously, its the phoenix of fruit trees!
Hubby continues to heal and managed to fix the old family tiller, and though it was a little late by then to get in everything, we did get a garden going this year. It is doing us some good. Its been great having one to work on again - and the fresh veggies were right on time when they started all those recall concerns in the news. We're still more cucumber heavy, than tomato-ish supplied, but that should change soon. The peppers produced well earlier, but we may have lost them to the extreme conditions. The extreme storms skipped us every time, but the heat and tropical-style cloudbursts seemed to be too much for the hot peppers. How ironic is that?