Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Throwback Thursday: The ’74 #TBT

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Check out this cute guy. Turns out he was giving me a ride in a shiny green ’74 Chevy.

The curls, the swagger, the adorable guy hauling around his honey. The guy would be my honey, Kevin. The girl would be me.

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Back in the early days of our relationship, we traveled far and wide. Most of that was back and forth to college, Seattle, Tacoma, the mountains, the beach. This trip was over Chinook Pass where we stopped near an overlook featuring Mt. Rainier. Beautiful mountain and cute guy. My mom used to roll her eyes. Yes! She did. Because all I would say was, “He’s so cute!” I think she got tired of hearing those words.

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The green truck has been in and around our family since it was brand new. My then future father–in-law bought it when it was about 6 months old, a dealer model. Love that avocado green! It’s been a favorite color for me since, well, forever. Kevin’s family took it to Ocean Shores each summer, hauling along the Prowler camper. I was so excited when they invited me to go along. Believe it or not, all 4 of us (Kevin, both of his parents, and me) road around Ocean Shores sitting on the long bench seat. Clam digging, crabbing, eating out, beach runs, yard sales, hot fudge sundaes. I have such wonderful memories of the old green ’74.

Let’s not forget one of our first dates. Kevin had just barely received his drivers’ license and asked dear old dad to borrow the lovely green pickup. So we were dragging the ave. Yakima Avenue. We stopped at a stop light, my honey. He was driving so careful. But the drunk lady behind us was not. On our first outing, we got rear-ended! Her car was pretty smashed up. But good old greeny had a tiny dent and bent bumper. The fear of telling dad what had happened was worse than the actual accident. But we all lived to tell the tale.

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After we were married, Kevin and I had it for several years. We also toted along the Prowler when we took our family to the beach. This truck went wood cutting, Christmas tree hunting, and moving people to and fro.

Later, my dad had the ’74 for quite a few years. He loved to tinker with it and keep it running. He managed to fix it up quite nice. After a certain number of years, one had to always carry a quart or two of oil behind the front seat and commit to regularly checking the dip stick during long trips.

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Eventually, my dad gave the ’74 to Bub, as he liked to call our son. Because old green ’74 was showing her age. Bub, a talented and gifted mechanic, a man after dad’s own heart, was nearly the only one besides dad who could keep the old gal running and on the road. And he didn’t mind constantly repairing this and that. Dad and Bub spent many happy hours puttering and repairing not just the ’74, but an entire fleet of old Chevy trucks and vehicles.

Today? The ’74 is still going strong. My honey recently remade the original wood racks that had graced the back for decades. (Literally.) Rust has worn holes in several sections of the fender. Green spray paint has been added to protect and keep additional rust from making holes. There is nearly a hole beneath the drivers’ side feet-rust, water, salt water, sand, dirt, many years of use.

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Ok, maybe she needs a bit more spray paint. But I do love my rust.

It’s alive and kicking. And we are all the more fonder because of the special memories each of us have surrounding this approaching classic truck. Chevy. Like a rock. The heartbeat of America.

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Kevin made this picture frame from the old wood rack rails. A very talented friend painted this picture for Taylor from a phone snapshot. This is the Chevy line-up, folks. Chevy.

What stories can you tell about your favorite Chevy? (I’m not allowed to name any other brands.)

 


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Throwback Thursday: Take Those Wedding Photos!

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“Just one more!” says every wedding photographer. And nearly every person standing in formation for the photo replies with groans.

We finally found our wedding album. It was MIA for a few years. But now we have it. And the precious family photos we had taken are even more meaningful, especially the ones of our parents and grandparents, who have all passed away.

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Should you be at a wedding-online, Zoom, social distanced, streaming-and someone asks for just one more, and “Smile for the camera!,” just grin and bear it. One day, sooner and later, those photos may become treasured memories for the wedding couple and their families.

Reflections on 35 years of marriage.

And, trivia for you, my mom made my dress! First from a sheet-to make sure all the pieces fit, since I had requested my dress be created from 2-3 different patterns-and then from chintz. I might have had the worlds’ least costly wedding dress-until we came to the wide cotton eyelet lace. A wonderful memory of my precious mama. And, another trivia, notice that my dad is smiling. Only in ONE photo, but capturing one of his smiles on camera was indeed a rare treat.

Smile, friends. Make those memories.

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Throwback Thursday: Mama’s Cooking

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I’ve been thinking quite a bit about my mom lately, especially in the car, which usually leads to driving through the tears. I truly miss all those phone calls, hugs, and visits since she passed away in May. She is happy. I will be fine. But I do miss her.

Which is not the main focus of my thoughts. For some reason, perhaps the upcoming season of feasts and gatherings, my inner foodie is on high alert. Mama was an excellent cook. Sure my dad usually had smart comments about biscuits being hard like hockey pucks or gravy being thick enough to plaster walls, but that was just dad. He loved to tease. That was how he showed love.

I know mama worked hard to keep us fed. She also worked as cheaply as possible, cutting costs, stretching meals, and making most meals from scratch. Even without much in the pantry, Mama was so creative, we still had filling meals. She might have been short on stature, but she was a giant in love and resourcefulness.

Not every meal did I LOVE. I avoided fried grit pancakes with syrup if possible and cornbread milk toast. Eggplant, no matter how much she battered and fried it, did not agree with my taste buds. But she was famous for so many of my favorite foods. I’m going to do a quick brainstorm list and see how many I can remember. Just consider that each dish was made from scratch…

Grits and eggs

Sausage gravy and homemade biscuits

Hash browns and gravy

Tortillas and refried beans

Burritos

Homemade bread, butter, and jam

Spaghetti (my go-to birthday request favorite meal)

The Gasser (her noteworthy casserole, aptly named, which included beans, onions, green chilies, corn, hash browns, corn tortillas, and enchilada sauce)

Chicken and dumplings

Pancakes

Homemade syrup

Jam

Fried bologna and cheese sandwiches

Sliced hotdogs baked with ketchup

Fresh corn (either frozen or on the ear)

Macaroni and milk, the first meal after stomach flu

Homemade noodles

 

Mama was always purchasing, harvesting, preserving, and storing food. I still remember the 50-pound bags of dried pinto beans, onions, and corn on the cob. We had goats, cows, chickens, and ducks. Eggs were plentiful and the milk was sold for extra cash. Nobody can drink that much milk! I was not a fan of the bits of cream lingering in the whole milk, regardless of how much we carefully skimmed it off the top. Unpasteurized to boot! It’s amazing that we survived.

How about you? Did you have favorite home-cooked meals? If you know my family, do you remember any other special foods my mama made?

 

 


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#TBT Annabelle and The Garden

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My little girl, Annabelle! How she loved the garden and being outside and snuggles on my lap. I miss her mama personality. As you can see, Anna Banana owned the garden. The house. The yard. The couch. The bed. The chair. As any true cat does.

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This Throwback Thursday flings us back to when we first started a little kitchen garden in our old house. This triangle plot used to be cement. TOTAL concrete. Ugh! After my honey worked his fingers to the bone removing icky cement, I went right to work, planting tiny rows of radish, lettuce, beans, peas. We added flowers, parsley, thyme, and even strawberries. And every year, I continued to remove bits of broken concrete that worked its way to the surface.

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It bloomed, grew, produced, this little potager, and gave me hours of pleasure. It also transformed over time to include a fence (to keep tiny grands from trampling tender shoots), blueberries, a host of insects and pests, and a wide variety of vegetable experiments and floral specimens. The very best year of production was when our neighbor found and homed a swarm of honeybees. Oh, did we miss those bees when he moved!

Do you have a potager? A secret garden? A weed patch?

I’d love to hear.

 


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#TBT The Anniversary Cruise

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For our 25th anniversary, we treated us to an Alaskan cruise. Princess Cruise Lines really outdid themselves. So many options, so much great food and entertainment. It was a delight to travel with my best friend. Relaxation, sight-seeing, swimming, activities-the offerings were more than any one person could attend. Looking back, our appearance seems much younger than now. LOL.

The first picture was a selfie taken while we were watching an outdoor movie on the top deck. Remember, it was Alaska! Blankets provided, snuggling necessary to stay warm. We were thankful that it wasn’t raining!

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This picture was taken during the fancy dress-up evening on board our ship. After arriving home, my honey treated me to a no-cal floral cake. Beautiful!

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We found this totem pole in Juneau. I love the faded paint and weather-worn wood.

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Panning for gold did not improve our financial prospects. Not one bit.

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If you ever get the chance, do enjoy a cruise! We were fortunate to get a balcony, which really helped when we felt motion sickness. Between the cool air from the slightly open balcony door and the rocking of the ship, we had the best sleep ever.

Next year will be our 35th anniversary. I wonder where we will end up for that anniversary? What adventures have you had when celebrating special occasions? All suggestions will be considered. 😉

 

 

 

 


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Flowers in France #TBT

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Ten years ago this spring, my honey and I spent 3 weeks in France. Most of our time we stayed in Paris, where flower shops and coiffured gardens displayed dazzling blooms. I loved gazing at the gorgeous blooms. And, according to my external hard drive, spent much time clicking photos to remind myself of their beauty.

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The first two photos are favorites because of the price tags. Without those French words and Euro price tags, one would assume the flowers could be found on any continent during the proper season. Well, maybe not Antarctica or the Arctic.

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One of my most favorite memories was taking a day trip to Giverny, the home of Claude Monet. I have been a long time admirer of his impressionistic work. With settings such as these, how could he NOT paint? Breathtaking! If you squint, you can see his featured bridge back beyond the willow trees.

 

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This is a part of Monet’s home. We took a walking tour inside. I don’t have any photos of the inside, I think because we were not allowed to take pictures. It was inspiring to see the places he worked, slept, ate, and enjoyed family life. I would move in in a second!

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The flower gardens are all that-and more! One could spend days exploring and not see it all. Actually, I want to return one day and spend the entire day soaking in the beauty.

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Oh, the flowers that grow! Below you can see the green bridge covered in tourists. Alas, I attempted photos without the crowds, but you can see I created a false impression. 😉 Plenty of others had the same ideas we did about a day in the country.

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Have you been inspired to travel some place special? What captured your imagination and led you to visit and explore?


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Throwback Thursday: Disney with Hot Flashes

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Four years ago, my honey and I took a trip to Disneyland.

We drove. I was smack in the middle of horrid hot flashes. The AC quit just when we hit LA traffic. Record temps for October visited the area. Sweat was my constant companion.

Why this photo? I look slim! And mostly happy. And tall. Though I’m holding my shoulder weird, no idea why. There’s probably a build-up of sweat on the opposite shoulder or my shirt is soggy and I’m trying to make it not touch my body. I can’t remember if this is Minnie’s or Mickey’s house. Mickey’s I think, on the way to the cartoon room where we watch oldies while waiting our turn to see Mickey. If you look close, you can see my red, sweaty face. This was taken while inside an air-conditioned attraction. Sad.

Despite miserable menopause (M&M, but not the good chocolately kind), well, Disneyland! Disneyland is always fun, though this trip I had to learn new coping skills for heat, salty sweat, despair, damp clothing, and general crankiness. But…Disneyland!

If you happen to need special tips for visiting the Big D during the Big M, I’m reblogging  my favorite tips on Friday. Best wishes to you if you need these tips. My sympathies go with you.

 


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Throwback Thursday: Rust

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Rust certainly equals a throwback in time. Metal, rain, wind, snow, sun, exposure. All combine to wreck havoc on sentimental objects, mellowing newness and transforming it into works of art.

Paint disappears, patina wears thin, and intrigue grows. Who clasped this lock here, tossing away the key, for an eternity of unbroken love? Who was in love? Was the effort in memory of an absent love or did both in love grasp and click the lock to make a commitment?

How many throwback Thursdays have passed since each was locked? How many days, weeks, months, years of weather and life have drifted by like the waves on the shore and gulls on the breeze? How many throwbacks before rust came to visit?

Rust calls me. Not pristine, though new is surely beautiful. But wear and tear, peeling paint, bleed lines of red. Time lends character. But is time kind to the hands who attached the locks as signs to the world, shouting, “I love you!”? Is there still love?

Hope springs eternal. As rust makes for interest, time grows and deepens love. If we but let it. And work for it.

Hope for love.


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The Beach, It Calls to Us #ThrowbackThursday

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The beach and the Quantrells, we go way back.

This is significant because for most of my growing up years (1st-9th grade) my family lived in Arizona. It’s pretty difficult to find a beach (ocean, salt water) within the borders of this southwestern state. Not that I’m complaining! I loved the desert years.

(Heh, heh. Still live in a desert. Just one that is located in eastern Washington.)

I started going to the beach after I met my future husband, Kevin. His family always vacationed at the beach. Specifically Ocean Shores, Washington. Sure they traveled up and down that portion of the Pacific Ocean coastline, but the majority of beach time was spent right there.

Lucky me! I was invited to traipse along on summer vacations. It was a little cozy in the Prowler camp trailer, barely 6 inches of space above my nose. A little tight, a little close.

Fast forward a few years, and the new Quantrell family continued the tradition by hauling both babies to the Washington beaches surrounding Ocean Shores. They went as babies, toddlers, preschoolers, children, teens, and adults. We’ve taken along dogs, relatives, friends, family, bicycles, toys, fireworks, s’mores; you name it, it was probably in our truck, camper, or tent.

This photo shows the four of us enjoying the beach via beach grasses and dunes. Some of my favorite memories and experiences happened at the beach.

I can’t wait to go back with my grands. They need to experience MY beaches!

Where is your favorite childhood vacation location?

 


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Writing for Preschoolers: It All Began When My Babies Were -Preschoolers #ThrowbackThursday

When did I begin writing for preschoolers? WAY back when.

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I’m so glad my honey took this photo. This was my first trip to Birmingham, Alabama, to attend a writer’s conference and begin writing curriculum and products for Mission Friends (preschool missions education materials).

Chelsie was three, Taylor was five, and I had dark hair (and hair, period). Judging by how old they are now, I’ve been writing for Woman’s Missionary Union for about 28 years. Time flies when preschoolers are having fun and this writer is loving every minute of the journey.

What a blessing it is to remember this opportunity from the Lord! I so love preschoolers. You know, that age is one of the funnest ever! (I know, I know. There are other ages that are also super fun. Okay, you caught me. I adore them all.)

Sweet babies, fantastic supporting husband, and dreams for endless learning activities. Now my babies have given me five grands, with three going to school this fall and only two still at home.

Enjoy those moments, mama and daddy! Those babies are gonna grow up too fast and before you know it, you’ll have a lap full of your own grands.

How about sharing a Throwback Thursday moment of your own?