Moonrise Kingdom

Saw Moonrise Kingdom Saturday with Joshie and Lauren at the Kentucky Theatre. Typical Wes Anderson film about teenage angst. Probably would have appreciated the film more if I could have heard the dialogue better. Love the Kentucky Theatre but the sound quality was substandard for this film showing. Costumes were perfect. Appreciate Ed Norton but thought Jason Schwartzman would have been a better fit for his role. Glad I saw it. Might see it again. I would recommend skipping the big screen for a Netflix or a Redbox rental.

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Brave

Saw it. Loved it. Bawled through the end of it. Avoid seeing this movie if you have recently lost a loved one. Happy the emphasis was on family relationships instead of romance. Enjoyed all the characters. Laughed out loud in parts. Appreciate Kevin McKidd was the voice of Lord MacGuffin. Think they should have renamed his character Lord McKidd or just Kidd which sounds much better than MacGuffin.
If you are trying to escape the heat and humidity buy a ticket, a large Coke and settle down in a cool, dark theatre for this flick. You won't regret it.

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Feast Your Eyes...

on the new Trader Joe's in Lexington, Kentucky! This morning I had the opportunity to attend the Grand Opening celebration which, I am happy to report, was well attended. There was a live Bluegrass band, flower lais everywhere and complimentary product sampling too. I tried Trader Joe's Cookie Butter for the first time in my life and liked it. If I had the metabolism of Michael Phelps I probably would have purchased some.

Nonetheless, I did not leave empty handed. I purchased low fat chocolate cat cookies and a jar of almond butter flavored with sea salt. I normally go for the ginger cat cookies but discovered, while comparing the nutrition labels, the chocolate cats had less calories and fat than the ginger cats. Who knew?!

This morning was also the first time I had shopped Trader Joe's since residing in D.C. I miss my trips with Stephanie to the location in Tysons Corner, VA where I would stock up on pumpkin seed granola which is amazing with light vanilla soy milk and fresh peaches.

Although I have mixed feelings about being home, I am grateful for the opportunity to witness Lexington's commercial growth and hope Trader Joe's is here to stay.

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"Put Some Pork In It"

Like any other Southern gal I love good bbq coupled with some down home sides. Double H BBQ in Lexington, Kentucky provides both. The pulled chicken "meal deal" is my personal favorite. The chicken is lean and juicy lacking fatty grissle occassionaly present in bbq. The sweet potato fries are homestyle with a dash of cinnamon sugar instead of salt and the baked beans are some of my favorite. The corn pudding and green beans (taste just like Granny's) are also good. The potato salad is a mixture of new potatoes and eggs with a dollop of mustard. Although potato salad is not my thing, the large chunks of potatoes and eggs are a sure indication its homemade.
Located at 1244 Versailles Road this joint is currently open for lunch only. Although, it has plenty of seating the service is so efficient it could also be classified as "fast food." Located within minutes of downtown and UK's campus, it's ideal for folks who want to escape the office without fighting traffic.
If you are thinking about stopping by, say, "Hello" to Nan.
 Tell her Boo sent you.

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Photo of the Day

I am a creature of habit. I thrive on routine. Everyday, without fail, I visit National Geographic's website to check out the "photo of the day." I enjoy seeing pictures of exotic places, peoples and cultures I hope to experience but may never have the chance to in my lifetime. These images, while visually stimulating, are a powerful reminder of the world that exists beyond my own.
Today's image was especially meaningful to me. The photo, according to the caption, was taken at the Roman Amphitheatre in Jordan. I have actually been to this amphitheatre! I have climbed the ancient rows of stone stairs and walked around the top gazing out on the surrounding metropolitan landscape. I remember the sights, sounds and smells of the city and I wonder, with longing, if anything has changed since my visit. Change is inevitable and yet this Roman amphitheatre has survived change for thousands of years. How many people have tread this single spot and will my feet stand where this woman does years from now? I certainly hope so. Until then, my daily dose of National Geographic will have to do.

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My Fitness Pal

Earlier this week I learned about an app that aids individuals in tracking diet and exercise in the ever challenging pursuit of developing a healthier lifestyle. The app is called My Fitness Pal. It was easy to find and is accessible online at http://www.myfitnesspal.com/.
I started using it today to track my caloric intake. I am anxious to see how well I do at staying within my boundaries to accomplish the goals I have established for myself. Only time will tell. If you are looking for an intuitive fitness app My Fitness Pal is definitely worth checking out.

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This week...

 Anthropologie announced plans to open a store in the Lexington Green shopping mall answering my longtime dream of a Bluegrass location. Long overdue, Anthropologie is scheduled to open their doors early 2013. According to a recent article, the store will be located in the space currently occupied by Disc Jockey. It is anticipated four to five additional retail stores will be joining the Lexington Green retail family. Although nothing has been confirmed, it is rumored one of these mystery stores will be Urban Outfitters. Could it really be true? First Trader Joe's. Second, Jason's Deli and now Anthropologie? Now all Lexington needs is a Potbelly's and life will be complete. Sort of...

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"Southern Whisker Wars"

This afternoon while getting my daily Garden & Gun fix, I noticed an article posted on the Southeastern Beard and Moustache Competition held annually in Charleston, SC. Another reason to love Charleston. The article posted http://gardenandgun.com/gallery/wildest-whiskers-south displays pictures of several contestants (which is totally worth the three minutes it will take you to scroll through the photos and read the article). I thought this picture of Chad Roberts was the most creative. Trying to imagine how this man sleeps, eats, works, showers, kisses, etc. with his creative arrangement of facial hair is mind blowing. *Sigh* Men.

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Catfish Alley


A few weeks ago I started following the "boards" of a fellow Kentuckian on Pinterest. I quickly noticed she loves the South and she loves to read. Sound familiar? Many of the e-jackets she pinned were books by Southern authors or novels classified as Southern lit. Like myself, this woman is also on GoodReads. Taking a chance, I sent her a friend request. To my delight, she accepted. Access to her bookshelves introduced me to many books and authors I have not even heard of, let alone, read before.
Catfish Alley by Lynne Bryant was among her books. Reading the book summary and reviews I knew I had to read it. Although I am only half-way through the story I am already under Bryant's spell. If you are looking for a good read this summer consider a trip to Catfish Alley. Grace Clark is one of the best storytellers in town.

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Boo's Berries


For the past three years I have been talking about planting blueberry bushes on the Cat Farm. A few months ago, Tracy suggested we check out a new hardware store in Berea called Jenkins. Jenkins purchases all of the plants they stock from local farmers. We purchased three Bluecrop bushes which are large and bear fruit between the end of May and mid-June. We also purchased three smaller Elliott bushes which yield fruit between mid-July and the end of August. Elliotts produce a lot of berries, which is why we bought them and although none of the berries are ripe yet one of the Elliotts has a ton of berries.
This afternoon Joshie and I decided to pick ripe berries on one of the Bluecrops. We were both pleasantly surprised with our first sampling. The berries were perfect. Firm, juicy and sweet. Just the way blueberries should be. Dad was so impressed he has vowed to buy more in the fall, which is the best time to plant blueberry bushes. Eventually, I would like to have over a hundred bushes. I would also like to plant blackberry and raspberry bushes too. Add bees for pollination and the Cat Farm will be one step closer to self-sustainability, which is a goal of mine too. As produce prices continue to climb it is comforting to have a food source located just outside our kitchen door. Between berries and veggies we are looking forward to this fall's harvest.

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Thirteen

Happy Birthday to our two girls! Mary and ZuZu haven been part of our family for thirteen years this month and we pray they will be with us for many more. Both have brought so much happiness into our lives and, in their individuals ways, have taught us about love, forgiveness, acceptance and what it means to be family. The Cat Farm wouldn't be the same without them and neither would we. We love you sissies!



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Mother's Day Prayer


"I believe we move and have our being in the presence of heavenly messengers and of heavenly  beings. We are not separate from them...We are closely related to our kindred, to our ancestors...who have preceded us into the spirit world. We can not forget them; we do not cease to love them; we always hold them in our hearts, in memory and thus we are associated and united to them by ties that we can not break...If this is the case with us in our finite condition, surrounded by our mortal weaknesses,...how much more certain it is...to believe that those who have been faithful, who have gone beyond...can see us better than we can see them; that they know us better than we know them...We live in their presence, they see us, they are solicitous for our welfare, they love us now more than ever. For now they see the dangers that beset us;...their love for us and their desire for our well being must be greater than that which we feel for ourselves." - President Joseph F. Smith

I pray this is true today and always. I love you Mom. Happy Mother's Day!

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Boo and Bees

As many of my friends already know, my adventures in beekeeping have begun. In February I joined the BBA where I met other beekeepers in the area. During the first meeting, I was introduced to several wonderful people who offered to be my mentor.
I decided to check out some hives of an old acquaintance a little over a month ago. Although the gentleman was very kind in taking time to show me his hives, he failed to equip me with a veil or suit to prevent stings. While checking out one hive I accidentally walked in the bees' flight path. This was my first mistake. My second was shampooing my hair with tea tree shampoo. I was under the impression tea tree shampoo repelled bees. This is false. Before I knew what was happening I had bees crawling through my hair and buzzing in my ears. Without thinking I swatted at a bee that landed on my nose and ended up with a nasty sting right on the bridge, between my nostrils. For those who have not experienced the pleasure of having a bee sting you on the nose please allow me to explain what happens as a result. My nose immediately gushed snot and tears streamed down my eyes. I couldn't stop it. While I diligently dabbed at my nose and eyes, my host grabbed at the bees swarming in my hair crunching them in his hands. The buzzing noise was replaced by a crunching noise as bees "met their maker" in my locks. Couple this with pain and the sensation that your nose is swelling and you have an idea of what I was experiencing.
Call me crazy, but a week later I decided to try again. I accompanied another gentleman to a farm located a short distance from our own to observe and assist with the installation of twenty hives. This time, thankfully, I wore a suit, veil and gloves while working with the bees. I have to admit, it can be very intimidating working in a bee yard surrounded by thousands of bees. In order to remain calm I concentrated on each task. Remove brick. Remove hive lid. Remove frames. Spray bee package with sugar water to calm them. Uncork queen cage. Place in the bottom of the hive. Etc. Soon the buzzing of the bees fades to a pleasant background noise.
After observing the installation of nineteen hives, I was able to install one hive all by myself! I am happy to report I didn't make any serious mistakes and the hive seems to be thriving. I was so thrilled with my work I asked my mentor to take a photo of me beside the hive.
After this photo was taken I got my second bee sting while removing my gear. A bee stung me on the palm of my left hand. A word to the wise, if a bee ever stings you do not attempt to remove the stinger with your fingers. Instead take a knife and scrape it across the stinger. I had no idea this was the protocol for removing bee stingers. So, I attempted to remove it with my fingers and Voila! I ended up with the venom sack in my palm. I don't know what is worse, being stung on the nose or the palm. I could barely make a fist for two days.
Last week we returned to the bee yard to check the hives. Although a few had some problems most of them seemed to be doing alright. I was able to see pollen, nectar, larvae and brood in the cells. I also saw a queen lay an egg. It was really cool! And, I didn't get stung! The key, I believe, is waiting until you are far removed from the bee yard before removing your gear.
I am not certain when I will return to the bee yard but I am hoping it will be sometime this week. Either way, this aspiring apiarist hopes to remain sting-free for the rest of bee season.

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You Ain't Alone-'Bama Shakes

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Spring...

arrived early to the Bluegrass this year. Following a mild winter, an answer to prayers, Kentucky experienced unseasonably warm temperatures for this time of year. Winter normally stretches its icy fingers into March but not this year! One week snow and ice blanketed the ground followed by a week of sunshine and blue skies.
Spring brings many things to mind...Easter, rain showers, cleaning the house after a long and dreary winter, cooking out, laying out, starting a garden and flowers! Growing up each Spring I accompanied my Mom to Wal-Mart or a local nursery to pick out flowers to plant in the decorative cement flower pots we kept on the front porch of our modest Ranch house. My Mom rarely deviated from the red geranium and white impatient flowers she felt complimented our red brick home. Since that time, I have tried to honor her tradition by planting flowers of my own. Although my Mother seemed wed to a geranium/impatient combo I am not. I love flowers of all shades and types. I enjoy selecting different types of flowers each year to plant in our pots. Some combinations are better than others. Some flowers last longer than others. However, I enjoy the act of selecting, purchasing, planting and caring for the flowers all the same.
Instead of going to a nursery, like I did last year, I decided to check the flower selection at Wal-Mart. I am so glad I did! Standing next to the most beautiful flowers in the lot was a lovely elderly lady. She seemed friendly, so I started a conversation with her about the flowers she was looking at. I confessed my knowledge of flowers was limited and wondered if she could offer her opinion on the matter. Not only did she help me choose the prettiest flowers she also showed me how I should arrange them in the planters. I introduced myself, asked her name and thanked her for her help.
I saw her again as I was checking out and told the cashier of my experience. She said Dorothy came in the store all the time and knew her stuff. Before reaching the car, two individuals commented on how lovely my flowers were. I have Dorothy to thank for that.
My parents used to chide me about talking to strangers and I always try to exercise caution when doing so. However, I have found there are many people in the world who know a lot more about certain things than I ever will. Dorothy, due to age, experience and interest, knows a lot more about flowers than I do. I knew she could help me and I needed help. However, I didn't realize how much my asking for her help would help her. I thanked her for helping me but she thanked me for the opportunity to do so. I could tell it meant a lot to her that I sought her guidance. Both of my grandmothers have passed but, I believe, when I need a grandma or a mother or an aunt or a positive adult influence in my life it will be provided, if I am receptive. What could have been an uneventful trip to Wal-Mart turned into a lovely encounter with a temporary grandmother whose kindness and guidance made me feel loved and less alone. A tender mercy, if you will, from a loving Heavenly Father who knows how much small experiences, like this one, mean to me. Thank God for Dorothy, thank God for Spring and thank God for beautiful flowers!


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Dear Mom-



I know how much you loved this song. I love it too. I'd like to think one day we'll chase the same rainbow's end. Until then, I miss you my huckleberry friend.

Love you forever-
Sissy

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