Alone at Last!

Ethan, Family, Genna, Gracie, Profound Experience, Road Trip, summer

Yesterday was “Move-In” Day at UCA. Ethan was up, showered and dressed by the time I got up at 7 a.m. He had already packed his car on Saturday. We poured a travel mug of coffee and were on our way.

Conway is a relatively short 2.5 hour drive, but a misty rain made it seem much longer. We arrived by about 11:30 and located State Hall, checked in with the student staff, and had all of Ethan’s belongings in his room in two short trips.

He didn’t want to “settle in” too much, as his roommate wasn’t scheduled to arrive until 4 p.m. My kind and courteous son wanted to consult with his roommate about furniture placement, etc. We were able to convince him to let Mom and Grandma help make his bed for a quick photograph (or three).14012253_10209915738672125_249102817_n 14054709_10209915742232214_1374851213_n Ethan Dorm room

Then it was off to Walmart for a few dorm room essentials (ramen noodles, Crystal Light peach tea, and Command Hooks for hanging artwork on the cinder block walls).

We then met up with big sister Grace, who was helping her boyfriend Colin move to Conway too this weekend. We had lunch at the Dixie Cafe and before long, it was time to hit the road.

A quick selfie in the parking lot to mark the moment, followed by hugs, kisses, “I love yous” and goodbyes.  14001826_10209915740912181_998775933_o

I had a moment when I was about to tear up, then Gracie gave me the “moola” gesture (I promised her birthday money) so I ran around to my side of the vehicle to grab my checkbook. At that same moment, Genna had just climbed in the backseat and I heard her exclaim, “Alone at last!” That was it. All laughter and smiles, no tears for this mama! So happy/proud/excited for this new chapter for Ethan. Happy that Grace has met such a kind and thoughtful young man who so clearly makes her happy.  And happy, too, for Genna. Her 3rd child status is finally paying off!

More Summer Reading – The Kite Runner

Books, summer

kite-runner-book-jacketInspired by my friend Sarah Daigle, who was inspired by my beach reading posts, I FINALLY picked up and purchased Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner.  Oh. My. Word. Absolutely my favorite book of the year.

I’ve picked this book up at least a hundred times when browsing Barnes and Noble. For whatever reason, the book jacket’s description of the friendship between two Afghani boys and a complicated father-son relationship didn’t grab me. It wasn’t until my friend Sarah told me, “I am reading the Kite Runner and am in love with language use that reads more exotic than American writers and the dialog is poetic,” that I vowed to give it a try.  She was right.

Lyrical, haunting, hopeful. A book I will read again and again.

Favorite Quotes:

  • “For you, a thousand times over.”
  • “There are a lot of children in Afghanistan, but little childhood.”
  • “Sad stories make good books.”
  • “Not a word passes between us, not because we have nothing to say, but because we don’t have to say anything – that is how, it is between people who are each other’s first memories.”







What I Read on My Summer Vacation

Books, Random Observation

There’s nothing like a week at the beach, unplugged, with sunlight streaming in the windows waking you at 5:30 a.m., to indulge your love of reading.

With the sugar-soft white sands of Seagrove Beach beneath my toes, (and the smart phone smartly left behind in the condo), the only item on my daily agenda was to eat, drink, sun and read. With zero Facebook notification interruptions (and zero games of Candy Crush)  I managed to devour 5 books during our 6 days on the beach.

Below is a very brief recap of what I read (in order) and what I thought…

0726_engagement-bookThe Engagements
by J. Courtney Sullivan.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Details/Topics:  I picked this up in the bargain bin at Barnes and Noble and it was worth every penny of the $5.99 price tag. The book weaves together the story of Frances Gerety, the real-life pioneering ad woman who coined the famous slogan “A Diamond is Forever,” as well as 4 other stories of relationships at various stages. I was genuinely surprised by the way the stories tied together at the end.
Favorite Quote(s):
“I don’t always have to understand the people I love.”
“Scars. A sign that you had been hurt. A sign that you had healed.”

"The Good Luck of Right Now" by Matthew Quick

“The Good Luck of Right Now” by Matthew Quick

The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Details/Topics:  Another bargain bin selection, but I had extremely high hopes for this one as it was written by the author of Silver Linings Playbook, my favorite book of 2013.  It was okay, but definitely didn’t measure up to SLP.  Every chapter is a letter addressed to the actor Richard Gere. Let’s just leave it at that.
Favorite Quote(s):
“Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.”

“God doesn’t do coincidences. You can bet your ass.”


NantucketNantucket Sisters by Nancy Thayer
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Details/Topics:  Another bargain bin selection. (Are you sensing a theme?)  I had relatively low expectations for this book, but thought it would be mindlessly entertaining – a true “beach read.”  I’ll admit I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed meeting these characters and even got a bit choked up at the end.  The story is about two little girls – one a privileged child from Manhattan, the other, an “islander” who’s lives with her blue collar single mother year round on Nantucket.  The two spend their summers together every year and become the best of friends – “Nantucket Sisters.”  Of course their backgrounds complicate their friendships as they get older, as does falling in love – especially WHO they fall in love with.

At this point (day 3 of the trip), I’ve run out of books. Luckily, my niece Sadie had brought a book with her which I quickly snatched up.

suemonkkiddThe Invention of Wings by  Sue Monk Kidd
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Details/Topics:   “Handful,” a young girl slave, is given as an 11th birthday present to her Master’s daughter, Sarah Grimke. The story is told with each chapter alternating between the two characters’ perspectives. Handful holds on tightly to her mother’s stories of when their ancestors in Africa had “wings,” while Sarah, aware of the injustices of the time, discovers her own wings as an abolitionist and feminist. Sue Monk Kidd was inspired by the real-life Sarah Grimke.
Favorite Quote(s):
“If you must err, do so on the side of audacity.”

“She had the look of someone who’d declared herself, and seeing it, my indignation collapsed and her mutinous bath turned into something else entirely. She’d immersed herself in forbidden privileges, yes, but mostly in the belief she was worthy of those privileges. What she’d done was not a revolt, it was a baptism.”

Now I’m out of books again… luckily Genna enjoys one of my favorite genres, Young Adult.

220px-Aristotle_and_Dante_Discover_the_Secrets_of_the_Universe_coverAristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe  by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
My Rating: 4.5  out of 5 stars
Details/Topics:   A coming of age story of two Hispanic boys, their friendship, their families, and self-discovery.
Favorite Quote(s):
“Maybe the problem between me and my father was that we were both the same.”

“Yeah, I had all kinds of tragic reasons for feeling sorry for myself. Being fifteen didn’t help. Sometimes I thought that being fifteen was the worst tragedy of all.”

“Scars. A sign that you’ve been hurt. A sign that you have been healed. Had I been hurt? Had I been healed? Maybe we just lived between hurting and healing.”






Silver Linings Surgeries

Christmas, Family, Mark, Profound Experience

Follow my blog with BloglovinMost of America will remember Christmas 2015 as the Christmas of #MakingaMurderer. (Yes, we were sucked in by the phenomenon too, and of course I have strong opinions!)  However, we’ll remember Christmas 2015 a little bit differently.


Christmas Eve with my patient patient “Lefty.”

At Casa Dilday, our holidays consisted of pre-op appointments, lab work, surgeries, and LOTS of hours spent in matching pajamas in our matching recliners. (Oh, and throw in one ambulance ride trip to the ER just for excitement!)

Mark’s surgery had been planned for quite some time. He suffered a torn rotator cuff about 18 months ago and was scheduled to have it (along with a torn bicep tendon) repaired in late December. We were NOT, however, planning synchronized surgeries, nor double the doctors bills.  But – regular blood work at my annual physical showed one teeny tiny gland wasn’t working properly and needed to come out.  I never knew that “parathyroidectomy” was a thing.

Although I can think of lots of things I’d rather do than go under the knife for Christmas, being the “glass half full girl” that I am, I’ve compiled a list of the silver linings that shine through in an experience like this.

  • We are healthy. These procedures were minor in the scope of things.
  • We are loved. Our family, friends and neighbors SHOWERED us with meals and other offers of help.
  • We are insured. Enough said.
  • Paid sick leave. Seriously. Knowing our jobs were not in jeopardy and we could take the time needed to rest and recuperate was a comfort. It made me think of all of the hourly workers who are one illness away from catastrophe.
  • Teenagers. Ethan got his driver’s license just in time to be our everyday errand boy. It was a life saver. Having Grace home for Christmas helped too.
  • Downtime. Getting Mark to “chill” is virtually impossible. Tethering him to the “Iceman” for hours on end forced him to take a load off. After the crazy year I’ve just had at work, I needed a little downtime too.
  • I love our home. Being at home for two solid weeks was a JOY because of all the renovations Mark completed this fall.
  • Marriage.  When we were married 23 years ago we didn’t opt for the traditional vows, so we never actually said “in sickness and in health.”  But I think its sort of implied. We did promise “in all circumstances of our life together to be loyal to you with my whole life and all my being.”  I think we passed this test.




Book Review: Loving Frank


Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (The writing was good, but I didn’t care for or about Mamah and Frank.)
Why I Picked It: The November 2015 Book Club pick.  Coincidentally, the Bachman-Wilson home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright opened this month at Crystal Bridges. I see a day trip in my future! loving frank

Details/Topics: Historical novel based on Frank Lloyd Wright and  Mamah Borthwick Cheney’s extramarital love affair.

I was pretty disgusted by both characters’ choices throughout the book, so I couldn’t connect with them or feel empathy. It was kind of a chore to get through the book…but worth it in the end

Favorite Quotes:

“It’s the heart of his dilemma,” Mattie muttered. “The man’s values have flown right out his abstract windows.”

“She would take her grace where she found it.”