For several years, Ted and I have talked about stringing some clear party lights over our patio.  We were stumped by how to connect them to electricity, but we finally took the Big Step and called an electrician a few weeks ago.


While Keith worked at stringing the lights, Jason hooked up the electric.  The window wall in our family room used to be a sliding glass door, so there’s a 3-way light switch on the left of the windows to operate the porch light, which is between the window wall and the bay window.  The other part of the three-way switch is on the right of the bay window.

Jason pulled electric power (via cords, of course) from the family room switch through the brick to the patio just below the pergola.  Because using that indoor switch is inconvenient, he attached a remote switch to his newly installed outlet.  Ted and I can keep the key fob-size remote control in the drawer beside the kitchen door to click the lights on and off as needed.  Cool!  Let there be light!



Our last celebration on this visit to Puyallup was Father’s Day.  It was fun to have four fathers with us:  Ted, Thom, Scott (Katie’s dad), and Nate (Katie’s brother).  Thom and Katie provided all of us with another delicious meal–this time from the grill.  There was German potato salad, corn on the cob, and hamburgers, plus a vegetable tray, a cheese tray, chips, fresh seasonal fruit, and beverages.  Julian made two more batches of his delicious brownies for dessert and everyone had a wonderful time.

The four fathers were the first to go to the dinner buffet.  L->R are Scott, Thom, Ted, and Nate.

Everyone had plenty to eat. Ryan and Jennifer (Katie’s other brother and his wife) were also with us and so was Nate’s three-year-old daughter, Naomi.  (You can see her blonde hair and her pink princess skirt and slippers at the left of Ted’s chair.)

Sefton enjoyed the bubble machine.  When he decided to inspect it to see how it worked, it got moved to a higher location.

We finished the evening with a fire in the firebowl and a glass of wine.  The patio lights Thom and Ted strung provided a warm glow in the darkening evening.  Good times!

June 16 was Julian’s big day–his high school graduation, including a celebratory lunch and dinner.  Katie’s parents, Scott and Carmen, joined us for a graduation lunch.  The ceremony was at 5:00 p.m. at the fairgrounds, about a half-mile from the house, so we walked and avoided the traffic and parking hassles.  After Julian was duly graduated, with all the rights and privileges thereof, we took pictures and went out to dinner in his honor.

Ted and Katie blew up purple and yellow balloons to decorate for the lunch party.  Sefton’s second favorite activity (after books) is gathering and throwing balloons.

Thom and I made German potato salad while Julian whipped up brownies for dessert.  (Julian is up to the licking-the-bowl part of the process.)

Katie made a candy bar bouquet (she’s so creative) and Thom hunted up photos of Julian to display on the table.  Julian is apparently an M&Ms lover like his Grandma Schroeder.

After all his years of hiking and camping, Julian never had his own tent, so his graduation gift from Thom and Katie was a tent and some camping supplies.  Julian loves hammocks, so Scott and Carmen gave him a hammock.  Our gift to him was money–not photographed.

The weather was beautiful and the lunch was delicious.  Julian gave it a thumbs up.

Sefton has his own toddler-size lawn chair.


This graduation was unlike any other I’ve attended.  The graduates were allowed to select seats at will for the rehearsal.  The seats they chose were the order in which their names were called.  There were around 450 graduates seated in four sections of chairs–two sections on each side of the podium  After all the speeches that no one remembers, two people called names in turn, bringing up a graduate first on one side of the podium, then on the other.  This really moved the ceremony along, and it was over in less than two hours.  There was a big screen on each side for a better view of the speakers and the graduates at the podium.

Here’s Julian on the big screen, waiting for his name to be called next.  Unfortunately, the screen on this side was in the sunlight, so the picture is washed out.

Even with three cameras among us, none of us got a picture of Julian accepting his diploma.  Here he is in the foreground, immediately after receiving his diploma folder–diploma to be picked up at the school next week.

This guy was the last to receive his diploma.  He got at least a two-minute round of applause and a standing ovation before his name was called.  He tapped his watch and gave the crowd a thumbs up while waiting for the noise to die down.  After his name was called, he got another big round of applause.

It’s official:  the graduates move their tassels to the left.

Mission accomplished.  The mortarboards are in the air.

Here’s “our” graduate with his little brother.

After the picture-taking, we went out to dinner.  Just inside the door, there was a sign to welcome us. It had four misspellings, but the one at the end of the second-last line was the worst.  Really?  Nobody caught that one?  Fortunately, the food was much better than the spelling.

Julian, waiting for his dinner to be served.  Congratulations and good wishes to our third graduating grandchild!

Ted and I flew to Puyallup for Julian’s high school graduation on Wednesday, June 13 and came back home on Monday, June 18.  During that time, we had three celebrations:  Ted’s and my 49th anniversary (June 14), Julian’s graduation (June 16), and Father’s Day (June 17).

Before we started celebrating, Ted and I had some time to get re-acquainted with Sefton, who is now 17 months old.  The last time we saw him was April 2017 when all of our kids came to St. Peters for my best birthday ever.  Of course, Sefton didn’t remember us, but he warmed up very quickly and was happy to let us play with him as much as we wanted to.

Sefton and me, April 2017.

Sefton, June 2018.  He’s grown so much since we saw him last spring!

The red barn book–one of Sefton’s many favorites.

A morning wake-up story with Grandpa.


Thom always loved Grandma Schroeder’s applesauce, made with maiden’s blush apples.  A number of years ago, Thom planted a maiden’s blush apple tree so that, someday, he could make applesauce like Grandma’s.  The tree is not yet ready to yield applesauce, but it is old enough to bear small apples, and each small apple has a maiden’s blush.


When Thom and Katie got home from work, it was time to go out for dinner to celebrate Ted’s and my 49th anniversary.  We decided on a nearby Italian restaurant, toasted the event with a bottle of wine, and enjoyed a delicious dinner.  The waitress was an experienced mom–she brought out Sefton’s pizza before the rest of us even had our appetizers.

Ted and I are ready for the next 49 years together.

I agree with those economists who insist that “trickle down economics” does not strengthen the economy.  (Didn’t we learn that during the Reagan presidency in the 1980s?)

“Trickle down economics” insists that by making the rich richer, those wealthy folks will take the extra money and invest it in business and manufacturing to create jobs for the middle and lower classes.  Facts show that, although this is slightly true, the wealthy invest most of the extra money in their already fat portfolios.  On the other hand, “trickle up economics” posits that if the middle and lower economic classes are given more disposable income, they will spend it, thus creating a need for more goods and, therefore, more jobs as well as increased profits for the big companies (i.e., the wealthy folks).

The economists with whom I agree don’t seem to make a lot of noise, but at least one cartoon artist is on our side.  Yeah!

Back in May, when I was taking a walk, I noticed that a good Samaritan had planted irises around the rocks that border one of the common grounds in our subdivision.  We have over 70 acres of common grounds in our subdivision, and I saw no other irises or other flowers in any other areas.  I therefore assume it was not the Beautification Committee, but someone who lives in the area, who planted these just for the love of springtime beauty.  Thank you!  I enjoyed seeing these flowers every day they bloomed.  Given the hardiness and the rapid proliferation of irises, there should be even more beauty next spring.

Kathy gave us some wind chimes many years ago and we hang them on the patio every summer.


When I saw these cartoons a few days ago, I pondered our wind chimes for a moment.


After my moment of pondering, I thought:  (1) our wind chimes aren’t very loud (they “ding,” rather than “bong” when they strike); (2) it’s not usually very windy here; (3) our closest backyard neighbor is about 100 feet away; (4) there are trees between our houses to muffle the sound; and (5) no one in the neighborhood has ever brought up wind chimes in conversation.  I decided to continue to enjoy our wind chimes.  Thanks again, Kathy.


This is how I felt for three weeks.  I had abdominal pain that kept getting worse.  After 11 days that included several calls to the doctor and one office visit, Ted took me to the ER, where the diagnosis was a partial blockage of the small bowel due to some inflammation,.  The treatment:  rest the bowel to reduce the inflammation, which meant two days with nothing by mouth, one-and-a-half days of clear liquids, one-and-a-half days of full liquids, then a day of soft food and a discharge after six days in the hospital.

I had the misfortune of meeting two people who need to practice their IV skills.  Both had to ask someone else to put the IV in my arm, and the second person in each case did just fine with no pain or bruising.

At least if you’re only going to get clear liquids, the nutritionist makes the tray attractive–two flavors of broth, two colors of Jell-o, and two colors of juice.

When Ted brought me home, the first thing I saw was a dozen long-stemmed roses to welcome me back.  I think he missed me.


After leaving the hospital, I had only five days to recover before Ted and I planned to fly to Seattle for Julian’s high school graduation.  I was feeling very weak and tired from 15 days of 24-hour pain and a week of minimal food, so I checked with the airline about a refund for the tickets.  I learned that a refund was possible up to the time of departure with an email and an attached letter from my doctor.  I called my doctor and Ted picked up the letter, just in case we needed it.  Tuesday evening, I decided I’d be able to make it, so we texted Thom to be at the airport.

Wednesday–our flight day–was very long.  We had workmen at the house at 8:00 a.m. and were busy all day.  Our 7:30 p.m. flight was delayed an hour-and-a-half, and by the time we got to bed in Seattle, it was 3:00 a.m. St. Louis time–a 19-hour day.  Thom and Katie had to work Thursday, so Ted and I slept late and took it easy all day.

The weekend with Thom’s family was wonderful.  We celebrated Ted’s and my 49th anniversary with dinner out on Thursday evening; we celebrated Julian’s high school graduation on Saturday; and we celebrated Father’s Day with four fathers (Ted, Thom, Katie’s dad, and Katie’s brother) on Sunday.  Monday was another long travel day.  Thom took us to the airport at 7:30 a.m. and we got home at 9:00 p.m. Seattle time–a 13.5-hour day of travel, including another hour-and-a-half flight delay.

I’m still a little run down after being in pain from May 23-June 6, then following that a few days later with a six-day trip that included three celebrations and two long travel days, but I’m resting up this week to be ready for fun with our other kids and their families when they arrive next weekend.  I’m so glad I was able to attend Julian’s graduation, and I’m looking forward to next weekend.  I’m even happier that the last month is behind me, and I’m looking forward to a “normal” rest of the summer.

This guy has been visiting us regularly.  We haven’t seen him in the water yet, so maybe he’s only sunbathing or looking for girl ducks in swimsuits.