This is not an unusual scene in my backyard:
You might get the idea that we are big campers.
Not that we aren’t, but we aren’t.
(I can’t tell you the last time we went camping, which is actually sort of sad.)
We aren’t opposed to camping, it just hasn’t happened recently. Life is busy, y’all.
If you have teenagers, especially teenagers who have older siblings who go to college or teenagers who have attended summer camps where college students work, you may look out your back door and see the very same thing.
(Actually, if you have college students, you are more likely to see this around their college campus. I see hammocks, occasionally, on the Baylor campus, and I know it’s happening on college campuses all over the nation.)
(I would have LOVED to have a hammock, at college, to lie in while studying!)
(That statement assumes I actually studied.)
(Admittedly, I DID have a hammock in my apartment bedroom during my Junior year at Baylor. It was just for looks, though; it held my stuffed animals and Beenie Babies.)
(Remember Beenie Babies?!)
The hammock is called an Eno, short for Eagles Nest Outfitters. They are fantastically light-weight, small and quite comfy. Both of our sons love theirs.
Obviously, our youngest loves his enough to use his around the house, during non-camping days and weeks.
Sometimes, it’s even strung up directly on the back porch…so he can see the tv.
(I wish I had a picture of it; pure laziness and comfort at its best.)
iPhone pic of our son and a couple of his good friends, last Spring:
The kids are even prone to stacking the hammocks, so they hang directly above and below each other!
My youngest and I recently had a conversation concerning Prom: he said he thinks it would be WAY more fun for his group of friends to get all dressed up, take pictures, go eat at a fancy restaurant, then, instead of going to the actual Prom, they should come back to our house, change clothes, go build a fire down by the river and spend the night in Enos.
(with adult chaperones, of course!)
Enos and S’mores! How fun is that?!
Doesn’t his “non-Prom” idea sound fantastic?!
So, if you are in need of an unusual and uber cool gift for your teenaged (or college-aged) son or daughter (yes, many of our sons’ girl friends own and love them!), you might look into getting them a hammock.
(I’m all for a gift that moves them outside and up into the trees!)
Happy Hammock-ing, y’all!
He’s my “new” donkey!
He’s actually not all that new, just sort of new to me.
Abner is a precious two year old Sicilian donkey, who came to me as a gift.
A gift, you say? Who gives donkeys for a gift?
ThrillCam gave him to me for my birthday!!
I know, I know…most girls get blingy things or gift certificates to their favorite store, spa treatments…
I get donkeys.
Let me defend my husband, lest you think Abner is an awful gift.
My husband is an extremely good gift-giver. He always gives items that have a great amount of thought behind them, something I’ve said I wanted, something that has meaning attached to it.
(I, on the other hand, am an awful gift-giver…I try so hard, but it never comes off the way I want it to.)
(Except for this past Christmas! I done good, y’all!! Maybe I’ll talk about that in another post.)
Back to Abner.
Background: two and half years or so ago, before we moved to our little sliver of acreage, out in the country, I said, almost incessantly, that I wanted a donkey when we moved and had the space.
All three of the males in my family would roll their eyes and say how goofy that idea was and immediately break into, “And, in the mornin,’ I’m makin’ waffles!”
(Thank you, Donkey, from Shrek.)
I held my ground. I never let up on the dream to own a donkey.
I even posted pictures on my Pinterest boards, declaring my love for all things donkey. (That, y’all, is commitment.)
My donkey dream did not become a reality immediately.
In fact, it took two and half years to come to fruition.
On November 30, 2014, around dusk, I get a call from my husband who says, “Please come outside.”
I walk out, see the horse trailer, and think, “He needs help with a new cow, I guess.”
As the light dims outside, I see my husband wearing an unsure grin, as he points to the trailer and sheepishly says, “The day is almost over, but, Happy birthday!”
There inside the trailer, is the cutest, most precious, big-eyed and big-eared donkey you could ever imagine!
And, he’s all mine!
It was the most perfect birthday gift from an almost perfect husband.
I am the last person you would want to ask about music. Seriously.
I have no clue what band is the latest thing to hit the scene.
In fact, if you looked in my music library on my computer, you would see lots and lots of 80’s bands and songs.
I’m stuck in the 80’s and I can’t get up!!
But, recently, I have come across a few bands that seem to make it to my playlist over and over.
And, guess what!
They are from the 2000s!! (Yes, I understand 13 years is a long span of time considering how much music is produced monthly….cut me some slack, will ya?)
As I was preparing for this blog post, I realized that if I were going to give reviews on music, I would most definitely need a larger, more descriptive vocabulary. Saying things like, “I like it a lot!” and “It’s just plain good, y’all!” doesn’t cut the mustard.
I knew I would have to dig deep in my soul to find phrases like, “latticework of concordant chords,” and “where labyrinthine layers of effects-laden guitar build to cathartic crescendos,” etc. to describe the music.
That took it out of me.
I can’t do it.
I’m just not that creative. Nor is my vocabulary expansive enough.
So, I decided I would tell you how I use each album. In other words, I’ll attach an appropriate activity to each artist or band–what I might do while listening.
The Civil Wars.
Just about everyone has heard of them, but on the off-chance that there’s someone crawling out from under their own personal 80’s rock, I offer this great duo as my first suggestion.
They just released their new album (See? I still call them albums; that should tell you something…), called The Civil Wars (fitting, no?). I like it almost as much as their hit album of 2011, Barton Hollow.
I am sad to read that the duo is no longer speaking to one another. So, even though we got this latest album out of them, I’m not convinced they will continue to record together. Which is a shame, since they write and sing so well together. I sure hope they work out whatever conflicts they are having and eventually produce another album.
Just think of all the songs they can write about their “break up” and “make up” season! Taylor Swift would have NOTHING on them!
When I’m listening to The Civil Wars, I can usually be found:
1) driving long distances
2) sipping wine or coffee
3) company is over and we are eating dinner and, again, sipping wine
4) working on photos on my computer, alone, in my office, sipping wine
Okay. So, if you like The Civil Wars, then you most likely will love Johnnyswim.
I recently learned of them via another blog.
Boy, am I glad I read that post!
Johnnyswim’s album has 6 whole songs.
But, you get a bang for your buck with those 6 songs!
They aren’t exactly like The Civil Wars–they have a little pep in a few of their songs with very creative nuances (i.e. the bass drum making a subtle heartbeat while they sing…you guessed it… “Heart Beats”).
Activities while listening:
See list above.
Add sipping wine.
Last year I somehow stumbled upon Brandi Carlile (not to be confused with Belinda Carlisle of the wonderfully fun 80’s group, The Go-Gos).
Brandi Carlile falls into the same category as The Civil Wars and Johnnyswim…sort of, but not really.
(See? I told you I’m no good at this!)
Brandi has a folky feel, yet, she leans heavily into some classic country. I told my husband she’s kind of a female Johnny Cash. But, folkier.
She’s described as, “American alternative country and folk rock singer.” (All they missed was gospel in that list!)
Her songs are fun, and thoughtful, with an occasional nod to the past. Check her out.
Okay, so this is what I’d do while listening to Brandi:
1) mow the lawn (No, really! I do a lot of listening to music while on the riding lawn mower! …we have a lot of yard to mow these days…)
2) ride a horse
3) shell peas on the porch, sipping iced tea (Fooled you! You thought I’d say wine, didn’t you?!)
4) take a long road trip …to a dude ranch
My college-aged son, much to his chagrin, has influenced my music tastes as of late.
One of the bands he told me about, about a year ago, is John Butler Trio. I absolutely love this band! I can listen to them almost daily, they’re that good.
(This is where I struggle getting beyond, “I like them a lot, okay?!”)
They are so creative and fresh, in my opinion. A little rock…well, a lot of rock…but with unusual beats and rhythms, and crazy guitar sounds. Please check them out!
(Other bands I can listen to on a daily basis include Coldplay, U2–of course!–Switchfoot, John Mayer, Jack Johnson, and even Mutemath–another older recommendation by my oldest son.)
I can listen to John Butler Trio while:
2) driving–long and short distances
3) working on my computer
5) sitting out by the pool
6) sipping iced tea AND wine
(Please be aware, this band is for adults, as there are a few dirty words on a couple songs.)
At the time I read about Johnnyswim, I was also made aware of Tedeschi Trucks Band.
Oh my. What a GREAT band! Their Live album is like a long, well-constructed jam session!
Susan Tedeschi’s voice. No words.
Yes, amazing would be a good word.
She is a mix between Bonnie Raitt and Janis Joplin, and oh-so-good. Lots of bluesy soul and depth.
Her husband and lead guitarist is Derek Trucks. His music history is pretty amazing, itself. Do a little Google on the guy.
I am determined to see this band in concert, at some point in my life. I have a feeling they would be sooo much fun to see perform live.
(By the way, is it Te-DESK-ee or Te-DESH-ee??)
I listen to this band while:
1) driving long distances–their Live album is long and full–it’ll fill your car with a great groove
2) sipping wine, while hanging out by the pool, with friends
3) cleaning the house
4) folding laundry
5) mowing (Yes! I DO mow a lot, thankyouverymuch!)
8) well, just about anything, honestly
Ben Rector needs an honorable mention, as well. I really like his fun style–he’s kind of peppy, light, has catchy tunes. You’ve probably heard his work without even realizing it. I believe he has a couple songs on commercials??
And, don’t forget Mumford and Sons!
Oh! And, as someone who prides herself on not purchasing tons of music from American Idol, and the likes, I must admit, I broke down and downloaded Phil Phillips album.
Love it. Honestly.
It’s just plain good, y’all!
P.S. Tell me what your favorite band/singer is!
When my mother turned 60, she and Daddy took my sister, my uncle, ThrillCam and me to Italy. It was the trip of a lifetime. Fabulous scenery, history, and, of course, food.
Oh, the food.
But, that’s another post.
One of my most treasured memories of that trip was the day we got “lost” in Venice. My mother, sister and husband went with me to find a little Venetian shop that made masks. I was on a mission. I wanted an authentic, handmade Venetian mask.
We walked down long, skinny alleys, over small bridges, and through school yards, all while laughing and snapping pictures of quaint doors and windows…and lots of laundry-on-the-line shots. It was fun being lost in Venice. And, oh, so memorable.
Look what just arrived in the mail, yesterday!
My new Ollo Clip for my iPhone!
What’s a Ollo Clip you ask?
It’s a 3-in-1 lens adaptor for your phone. (I used my phone camera for all these shots.)
This puppy lets me take fisheye, wide-angle, and macro shots with my phone-camera!
You just slip the adaptor lens over the corner of your phone camera and snap away.
Here’s a shot of my backyard with the phone camera unadorned.
Here’s a shot using the fisheye lens:
Here are some more examples…
I shot my Lantana up close with my phone camera and I just couldn’t get the macro shot I wanted. It just blurred from being too close.
But, with the macro lens I got a couple close ups.
It was windy outside, so it made it harder to focus that close, but I managed.
And, here’s one with the fisheye lens!
They aren’t perfect. Nor will the Ollo Clip cause me to replace my Canon, but it will make my foray into Instagram a little more interesting and fun!
(I still haven’t read the directions on how to change from fisheye to wide-angle, so I’ll try to remember to give some examples of that later.)
I have only one complaint, though. To use the Ollo Clip, I have to remove my Otter Box (protective case), which always makes me nervous.
But, all in all, I’m excited to have a new gadget to play with.
Have a super Friday!!
(photo credit: Wikipedia Commons)
My friend Andy Bondurant over at The Collective recently shared a video that I found enchanting.
(I call Andy a friend, but he’s never even met me. He has no clue who I am. But, because he is in my home on an almost daily basis through his blog and Twitter, I feel we are friends. It’s very one-sided, but that’s okay. I’m happy with the arrangement.)
So, have you been seeing a TON of the KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON signs on Pinterest, t-shirts and the likes? I certainly have.
There are even different versions and spoofs of the saying. (All of the following posters are available for purchase, just copy and paste the URL.)
Or, how about:
And, finally, this:
(you can purchase this at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/JulienDenoyer)
I really hadn’t thought why the saying is suddenly so popular.
In fact, it didn’t really appeal to me, mainly because I was seeing it EVERYWHERE. It was and is all the rage.
But, Andy brought my attention to a video that explains the background of the original saying.
And, now because I know the backstory to it, I love it!
I would give anything to have one of the original posters…
Check out the video. Kind of cool.
Keep Calm and Carry On,