Did you ever buy something you just love and then can’t find it again?  Did you ever get so delighted with a purchase that you had to tell someone?  Did you ever meet someone who impressed you with his or her commitment to quality?  All three things happened to me just before I went on my camping trip.  (Spoiler alert:  remember last week’s Photo Friday.)

I bought these great pair of flip-flops in Hilton Head.  I was attending a conference and the flip-flop sandals were an end-of-season-great-price in the resort gift shop.  The flip-flops were $30.  On sale.  It was 10 whole years ago.

What? You’re probably asking.  $30 for a pair of flip-flops?  I hate to shop; I’m not that woman who moans when she smells good shoe-leather. (That’s my sister, Deanna.)  Still, every once in a while, I decide to treat myself to something purely unnecessary; something that makes me feel pampered; something a wee bit extravagant.

This year, one of the sandal toe-ribbons on my flip-flop broke.  Oh how I love that gentle gross-grain ribbon between my toes; no break-in-my-flip-flop blisters to welcome me to summer.   Okay, maybe it is time I gave them up anyways.  The fabric is getting a little tattered looking.

My 10 year-old sandal; the one with the ribbon still intact. Okay, it IS a little worn out.

 

Yes, I was wearing the same sandals for the past 10 years.  A quick trip in the washer, and dried in the sun, and I am set to go again.  Good as new.  Lucky for me, the leather Peanut still proclaimed loud and clear:  Eliza B.  So for $30 over 10 years, that’s just $3 a year.  A pretty good deal.  One I want to repeat.

Shhh…  Keep this a secret.  Part of the allure is Blackberry Farm is the unhurried pace and its freedom from crowds.  Blackberry Farm, Old-fashioned fun; the brochure lives up to its name.  The warmer weather gets me thinking about planning a trip to a simple place and time.

Located in Aurora, Illinois, Blackberry Farm is an easy drive from Chicago or the far Northwest Suburbs.  A quiet, easy-paced hike through a picturesque farm promises to delight toddlers, younger children, and grandparents.  Children older than seven and parents anxious to “do” something might not be quite as enamored as those of us who enjoy strolling along and taking as much time as needed to move piles of corn with toy trucks and tractors.

If you read my other blog, Once A Little Girl, you know I hate weeds, but I like to garden.  I love flowers.  I even love wild flowers.  With that kind of love-hate relationship, things can get out of hand pretty easily.

With my love of nature, of course I recycle.  I got involved in “being green” back on the very first Earth Day.  Yes, eco-nuts predicted global warming way back in 1970.  I remember a passionate environmentalist exclaiming, no one will listen for another 30 years, and then it will be too late to reverse the effects of green-house gasses.   I tore soup can labels off at the check-out counter exclaiming:  “Save the environment.  End needless packaging.”

Most of us recycle these days.  It’s easy.  Just put newspapers, cans, bottles and plastic in the recycle bin.  My village makes it easy; we don’t even need to sort anything.  Still, I came across an idea that fits with my green thumb (and mind) and it saves me money.

I hired my grand-daughter, Emma to help me out.  She’s happy to work for free, still, it’s fun to reward a hard worker like Emma.  Sure, it’s not enough to stimulate the economy toward recovery, but I might help Emma buy her Adele songs from iTunes.  Besides, doesn’t every bit help.

I found a way to have weed free flowerbeds, and recycle my newspapers.  Best of all, it’s easy as 1, 2, 3, 4.

Step 1:  Lay thick layers of newspaper over the area.

Did you ever meet someone, who immediately left an impression on you that you knew would last a lifetime?  That’s what happened when I met Emerson Doering.  Who wouldn’t be impressed?  The lanky, young blond pulled a pear tree across a lot on a piece of cardboard.  The tree was no sapling.  Emerson dragged a tree with a 3” diameter trunk the length of a football field.

Holy smokes.  I believe Emerson Doering can do just about anything.  So, it’s no surprise that she’s impressed me again as an outstanding fiction writer.  I jumped at the chance to talk with her about her new thriller, KNOCKDOWN. Her characters are so believable, they are with me yet, and it’s been a couple months since I “turned the last page” on my Kindle edition.

A few of Emerson’s writer friends challenged her about

Harold Cole Watkins, PhD, overcome with remorse, killed himself one rainy night in late 1937.  A few months earlier, Dr. Watkins was on cloud nine. His new, sweet, raspberry-flavored, Elixir Sulfanilamide made it possible for parents to administer the bitter sulfa medicine to their children sick with Streptococcus infections, commonly known as strep throat.  A few months earlier, Dr. Watkins was on cloud nine. His new, sweet, raspberry-flavored, Elixir Sulfanilamide made it possible for parents to administer the bitter sulfa medicine to their children sick with Streptococcus infections.  Sore throats.

A pharmacist employed by S.E. Maassengil Co., Dr. Watkins met the company’s goal in response to public demand for a liquid form of the hard to swallow pill.  Now, over a hundred people were dead, most of them children.  Some children died in their mother’s