Tuesday, May 31, 2011

When the Cat's Away, The Mice do Play

Yesterday morning, on the spur of the moment, we decided to go to Arches National Park.  It is a 3 1/2 hour drive there, but we hadn't done anything fun for the holiday weekend and we really wanted to.  Though most of the day would be spent driving there and back.

We gave our teenage daughter 30 minutes to get ready, and off we went.  Leaving a note for our still sleeping other house residents.  (Engaged son and Charlie's family in the basement apartment.)

We had a blast!

It was truly an amazing experience!  People were there from all over the world.  And the scenery was breath-taking.  Photos just don't do it justice.

After the long ride home again, we found ALL of our other children having a party.  They were barbecuing on our grill.  Preparing food in our kitchen.  Using our pots and pans and dishes.  And helping themselves to our condiments and extra ingredients. 

They all acted rather sheepish.  Saying they thought we would be home much later.  But we let the party go on and even joined in.  However, the messy kitchen and piles of dishes left for me to face this morning were NOT so amusing!  We may have to change the locks and leave the guard dog home next time.  ;)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

I'm thinking today of people that I love.  People who served in the military.  People who are no longer with us.  People who made a big difference in my life.

Bob Coble is one who came into my life in an unexpected way, but made a HUGE difference.

Bob, I'm thinking of you today.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Life at the "Amusement Park"

Life just keeps on coming.  Even when I yell, "Stop!"  Even when I shout that "I want to get off this ride or I'm going to be sick!"  :)

Here are some of last month's really fun amusement "rides":

1.  THE BUZZING BEE:  A swarm of bees made a luxurious grand palace in the eaves of the roof of our house--right outside my bedroom.  We sprayed and sprayed them, but somehow, ignoring death, a few of them found a secret corridor through the wall to be INSIDE!  Buzzing all around my room.  I spent an afternoon chasing them down with a bedroom slipper.  I thought I had smashed them all, but one got away and almost stung Charlie.

2.  THE ESKIMO CYCLONE:  Our dog (an American Eskimo) is still shedding.  Endlessly.  No matter how much I vacuum or how many times I brush him.  I have dust bunnies of fur bigger than the dog.  Everywhere.  All the time.  Don't even try to visit me and sit on the couch.  You will go home looking like you've been tarred and feathered.  Only it will be tarred and furred.

3.  THE STOMACH TURNER:  I got sick with the stomach flu.  Then a week later, I got sicker with the stomach flu.  Then I got better, so I could catch a spring cold.  Then bronchitis.  Just in time for allergy season to hit.  I may never breathe again. 

4.  SURPRISE SPLASH MOUNTAIN:  We accidentally dug through the sprinkler system line while putting in the garden.  Then the dog chewed off a sprinkler head in the backyard and brought it to me proudly.  But it doesn't really matter, because it never stops raining.  So functional sprinklers are moot.

5.  THE ROTATING REVENGE:  The bathroom sink is backing up.  Slower every day.  I don't want to face the clean-out.

6.  THE COSTCOMENATOR:  Our Costco card needed renewing.  The week I had already overshot the food budget.  The week I had decided I needed a LOT of things from Costco and my basket was full.  The week there were LOTS of customers waiting in line behind me.

7.  THE SALT MINE:  The water softener ran out of salt.  Causing the dishwasher to leave a hard white coating over all the dishes and the interior of the dishwasher.  It wouldn't scrub off, even with steel wool.   The final remedy (and not a very successful one) was a gallon of vinegar and cursing the new "no phosphate allowed" dishwasher detergents.

8. THE FLYING DRAGON:  Carpenter ants invaded the family room and the basement.  Endlessly for 3 weeks.  No matter how much poison we offered them.

9. THE YELLOW SCREAMER:  I carefully sprayed off the back porch and patio furniture in anticipation of pleasant picnics and barbecues.  Just in time for the pine trees to bloom.  Now everything is covered with a thick coating of yellow pollen. 

10.  THE WHITE DEMON:  The dog threw up.  All over the living room floor.  Just before some friends came to visit.  Then, he peed.  On me.  And then on our guests.   The ones who left with white fur all over them.   And a special feeling about us. 

I LOVE Amusement Parks.  Don't you?  : )

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Charlie is taking acting lessons

Last night, Charlie and his parents came up from the basement to say "nite nite" to Bumpa (Grandpa) and LaLa.  I had been baking banana bread (because I'm the epitome of grandmotherhood) and Charlie was happy to sample some before he went to bed.  "Bumpa" was eating chips.  After sampling banana bread, Charlie toddled over to beg some chips off of Bumpa.  But as he was going, his pajama bottoms got caught under his heel causing him to slip on the hardwood floor and he fell to the ground.

"Oh Charlie!"  I exclaimed.  "Did you slip?  Are you okay?  Let LaLa kiss it."

And back he came to me to get kisses.

Then as he went back to his grandpa to get chips, it occured to him that this was really quite a fine set up.  And he slipped again.

Down to the floor he fell.  Letting out a painful moan and saying, "SLIP!  SLIP!"  Then adding, "Kisses?!?"

I played along.  "Oh Charlie!  Did you slip again?  Come back for kisses."  And I showered his neck with silly kisses.

His parents were watching and started to giggle.  That was all the audience he needed!

Over and over again, Charlie "slipped" and fell to the floor.  Trying different dramatic poses each time and adding new and more pitiful moans.  I don't think a trained actor in slapstick comedy would have been able to be as inventive.

Over and over he "slipped" and over and over again, I played the doting grandma willing to shower him with kisses to "make it all better."

About the 7th time he had a dramatic "fall," I suggested he go to his mamma for kisses.  He stopped and looked at her VERY intently.  She beckoned him over sweetly, but he decided not to go there. 

One can never tell what thoughts are going through a toddler's head, but there were definitely some gears turning while he considered that option.  When he really does get hurt, Mamma is the FIRST person he runs to for comfort and kisses.  But this time, he wouldn't consider it.  Not for anything.

We decided later it was because he KNEW Mamma would see through his scam.  But LaLa?  She was dumb.  ALWAYS falling for whatever Charlie wanted.  She was an easy target.  ;)

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Little Boy's Prayer

Yesterday, I got to listen to a little boy's prayer.  It was the first time I had heard Charlie pray.  His parents have been teaching him to pray every day.  Over meals and at bedtime.  But until recently, it had just been a battle to help him fold his arms and be quiet while someone else prayed.  Yesterday was different.

Charlie is only 20 months old.  But already, his understanding of Jesus and God are developing. 

Of course his mother helps him pray.  But he can fold his own arms and bow his own head, now.  And he says the words his mother whispers for him.  Or at least most of the words.  He does his very best.

"Please bless the food," she whispers.

Charlie says, "Bess" and "Fuud."

"And we are thankful for it..."

Charlie says, "Tank full."

Charlie is very good at following his mommy.  But there is one part of his prayer that he does all on his own.  He lists the people he loves.

His mother starts him out, "And please bless Daddy..."


"And please bless Grandpa..."


Then Charlie takes over and blesses everyone he knows.


"Ray Uul"

"Chin chin"



He goes down his own list of people that he loves and prays for all of us.  Then his mother helps him end the prayer.

"Jee Zuss."


It is comforting to know that this very little son of God is remembering me in his prayers.  His faith is so sweet and so strong and I am sure that I am very blessed because of it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rock Canyon

Yesterday afternoon, my husband and I went for our evening stroll up Rock Canyon. 

The one we used to go on every evening........before WINTER happened. 

Before winter kept happening.

Even earlier this week, the last week of May, winter still threatened.

But yesterday, WINTER WAS GONE!

We set off up the trail through a perfumed lilac forest.  The smell was ethereal.

The grass was lush and green.

Mountain flowers were blooming everywhere.

Even mushrooms were growing!

The most amazing thing though, was our dry creek bed.  The one that turned into a slow, sweet, babbling brook with last year's run off.  THIS year?  Well, see for yourself.  A photo wouldn't do it justice, so I'm posting a video.

I LOVE Rock Canyon when spring finally comes!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Game of Queue

In England when they say, "queue up," it means to get in line. Waiting in line is something that children in kindergarten learn the first day of school.  It is universal.  We all have to do it.  Whether at the bank, the traffic light, the movie theater, or at a school play.

Last night, I went to a high school musical.  (No, not the "High School Musical" ---that would have been excruciating.)  A different one.  My daughter was in it.  It was an exclusive play.  Only exclusive because the director decided the audience needed to be on the stage with the actors.  They have a very large stage and put up risers so about 150 audience members could be there--in the scene with the actors.  It was part of the play's comedic attraction.  But 150 seats is nothing in comparison to the capacity of the whole auditorium.  Nevertheless, this musical was going to be performed in this manner.

I only mention the special circumstances surrounding this performance because of the issues it caused.  Normally there would have been enough seats and plenty to spare.  This time, you had to get there early if you wanted a ticket--as there were no early ticket sales.  And then stand in line if you hoped to get a good seat--as seats were not assigned.  All of this was explained to the student performers and they passed on the vital information to their families and friends.

I got there early.  Bought tickets.  And waited in line.  It was going to be an hour wait, but I was happy to do this.  My husband would join me as soon as he got off work and we would get some great seats!  Also, I brought my kindle.  So I could read.

The queue was down a long sloping hallway next to the auditorium.  A railing ran along it and I found my place in line and leaned up against the wall to wait.  It would be a easy wait, I was sure.

Apparently the rules of waiting in line are not as universal as I thought.  The family in front of me had brought a teenage son and several young children.  A boy about 10 years old could not stand still.  I'm not talking about holding perfectly still and quiet.  I've never been that picky.  But this child was practicing ninja kicks.  Over and over again.  At his older brother.  Back and forth across the hallway he would attack.  And every time, his older brother would fool him, and down on the floor he would fall.  Sometimes both boys falling to the floor and wrestling.  And other siblings joining in.  Up, down, back, forth, round after round, and repeated again.  Had I realized at first, I would have given them a wider berth.  But as I hadn't, and people were now lined up behind me, there was nothing I could do but twitch each time a sneakered ninja foot hit the railing or flailed in my direction.  I didn't get any reading done at all.

Close to the time they would let us into the theater, my dear husband arrived.  He took his place between me and the ninjas.  For the remaining 5 minutes, he was my hero.  A buffer between me and the warriors. 

Then they started calling out numbers.  Apparently our seats were not assigned, but our tickets still had numbers on them and we were going to "board" the stage like boarding an airplane. 

"Those with ticket numbers between 1 and 20 may now enter the theater."

(Why did I have to wait behind the Ninjas?  I could have been sitting in the lobby!)

We had tickets 45 and 46.

When they finally called for tickets 40 through 60, we eased forward with the rest of those still in front of us.  Everything was orderly now.  The Ninja family had early tickets and were long gone.  As I was about to hand our tickets to the usher, a lady pushed my husband aside and handed her tickets first.  And then her children squeezed BETWEEN my husband and me.  She didn't say "excuse me."  Her children didn't either.  She simply wanted to get in before us.  And so she did.

Had none of these people ever been to kindergarten?  Did they not know the game of queue?  It is an easy game.  I will list the rules.  Feel free to make copies in case you are ever in a similar circumstance and want to hand them out.  ;)

Rules of Queue:

1.  Wait patiently.

2.  Bring something to do.  (Bring something for your children to do, too.  Something calm and quiet.)

3.  Don't cut in line.  But if you feel you must, do so discreetly.  Don't push and shove and squeeze between people.  Apologize.

4.  If you are in charge, don't put people in line if there is no need for it.

5.  No Ninja kicks.  Ever.  Not even little ones.

Monday, May 23, 2011

They're LEAVING!!!

Yes, it's true.  Charlie and his parents are moving!  We received the news last night.  They are on their feet financially now.  And away from the nest they are flying.

They've found an apartment nearer to campus.  A fun apartment.  Around other young couples with children.  Around other young married students.  Around other people's beloved grandchildren.

WHATEVER will I do???

SIGH.  I will miss them.  They will be a whole 3 minute drive away, and things will never be the same again.

I keep hearing music in my head from "My Fair Lady."

"I've grown accustomed to [his] face..."

His sweet face.  Calling out "LaLa?" as he wanders up the stairs to find me.  His sweet face.  Saying "Bye, bye" as he heads off somewhere with his mamma.  His sweet face.  Requesting "Outside?  Swing?  Slide?"  His sweet face.

But I also hear other music.  The sound of a whistle on Charlie's father's lips.  The humming of a tune.  A broad smile on my daughter's face.

So I am happy.  It is not easy to live with your parents or in-laws.  I am happy this little family gets to be out on their own.  It is time and they are ready.  And I will still be able to visit and hear my sweet grandson call out "LaLa" when I arrive.  I can still swoop him up for a big hug!  And I'm sure he will still come over to "swing"  and "slide."

Besides, a certain young newlywed couple will be needing a place to live soon.  We now have room.  And I love them, too.  ;)

*some photos in this entry are borrowed without asking.  Thank you Nicole and Lizzy.  ;)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The End of the World

Not last night, but the night before, 44 robbers came knocking at my door....

Well, actually it was 44 stomach flu germs.  And for some reason, I let them in and told them to make themselves at home.  I got sick.  Very, very sick. 

I HATE getting sick.  And getting sick one time right after another, I hate even more.

But the process of being sick and then getting better does cause one to think.  In the worst throes of sickness, one pleads with God for relief.  (PLEASE don't let me throw up.  PLEASE!)  Personal histories are reviewed.  (I've been good.  As good as I know how!)  Deals are made. (I'll be even better.  Really I will!)  Just get me through this night.  Let me live.

It's kind of funny that yesterday was the big "Rapture Day."  People all over the web were making funny jokes.  Talking about how the end of the world would come.

But I was having my own private rapture.  My own private end of the world. 

Each of us do or eventually will.  Whether for a temporary sickness or for our final hour.  All of us will come to God, will review our status, and will attempt to make deals.

This time God let me live.  And I am ever-so-grateful.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Marrying Off A Son

Marrying off a son is surely different than marrying off a daughter.  The wedding is in June, and so far, I haven't had to do anything other than compile the list of names of who to invite.

Three years ago, I was frantically shopping for silk flowers for centerpieces, planning and replanning the menu, figuring out bride's maids' dresses, trying to decorate the church multi-purpose room, and regularly having disagreements with my daughter.  It was a stressful time.  A very stressful time.

But when you marry a son off, those responsibilities go to the bride's family.  Thoughts of decorating haven't even entered my mind.  Invitations---also not my worry.  The only worry about bride's maids' dresses I have is how will the ones chosen fit my teenage daughter, as she will be in the lineup.

With all this lack of worry about the wedding, I find that deep inside, I am really more worried.  Worried about things that weigh a little heavier.

Will my son be able to support a family?  Does he know enough about how to manage money? 

Will he finish school?  Can he work AND study AND do all the things necessary for a happy marriage?  Or will it overwhelm him? 

Does he know enough about personal communication?  Can he sit down with her and talk about the important things?  Will they be happy?

Will he stay close to God and let Him guide?  For surely their life will have trials and troubles and they will need Him.

Sometimes having superficial worries helps to cover up the deeper ones.  This time, the deeper ones have come right out in the open.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rainy Day Colors

It has been raining all week long.  I was most disappointed to find it raining yet again today.  Everything so gloomy and gray.  But then I remembered something an artist friend had told me long ago.  Rain makes the greens greener.  And so I set out with my camera and a raincoat to capture some of those greener greens.  I was happily surprised to find some other vibrant colors, too!

Who says rainy days are GRAY???

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Little Man Plants a Garden

It was such a nice warm weekend.  Charlie was dressed for green on green.

The grass was soft and fun.

Charlie offered me his signature smile.  (my favorite--kind of crinkled up to one side!)

Playing in the grass was pretty nice, but all the adults were digging in the garden.  It was more than Charlie could handle.  He HAD to help out.  At first he found a flat rock and pretended it was a shovel and he moved some dirt around with it.  "Dig-Dig!  Dig-Dig!"  he kept saying.

Pretty soon, he wanted to help out for REAL.

The Little Man and his tools! 

It was hard work, but after lots of "dig, dig," we finally had a garden planted.

Thanks for helping Charlie!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Unique Coffee Table---Revisited

Yep!  Someone else is getting in on the coffee table action.

Personally, I think this version of the furniture is even MORE amazing than last time!

Look at the asymmetry, the texture, the form.  Just BEAUTIFUL!  ;)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Weed and Feed

So the conversation went like this.

Husband: "I'm going to pick up some weed and feed at Home Depot today."

Me:  "You're not going to kill the DANDELIONS, are you?!!!?"

Husband:  "Well, yes.  That's the whole point!"

Me:  "Oh....but don't you think the dandelions are PRETTY?!!?"

Husband:  "No!"

Me:  "Well, I know a whole YARD full of them wouldn't be, but just one at a time?"

Husband:  "NO!"

Me:  "But they are free!  And so very bright and happy!"

Husband:  "They take over the yard and ruin the grass."

Me:  "Can't you say ANYTHING nice about them?!"

Husband:  "No. (has my wife lost it??)"

Me:  "You HAVE to say something nice about them!  I blogged about them yesterday and how I wanted to be just like them!!!"

Husband:  (Laughing his head off)  "Okay.  Dandelions are Dandy."

I pouted the whole way to the store.

He still got the weed and feed. 

Friday, May 13, 2011


I have always loved Dandelions.  Ever since I was a little girl.

They are so very lovely.  They grow everywhere.  And you don't have to put forth any effort.  They are FREE!

They bloom where they aren't wanted.

They bounce back even if you cut them down. 

They are pretty even when they feel small. 

And when they are just about DEAD, they are still willing to scatter seeds of sunshine!

When I grow up, I want to be a dandelion.

Thrift Store Thursday

I love thrift stores.  My husband hates them.  He thinks they smell funny.  He never sees anything he would like to buy.  "Just a bunch of junk."

But he just doesn't have an eye for the good stuff.  I love vintage.  I love retro.  I believe every household should have a healthy costume collection.  And I love finding unique decorating items.

I had a lot of fun at the thrift store this week!  Here are my super-cool finds:

#1.  A custom made wool dress from the 60's!  Bright ORANGE!!!

It just fit my daughter. 

She put on some gogo boots and got a little GROOVY! 

Here is another place you can look at groovy 60's clothes and patterns.

#2.  A delicate handmade cornucopia from Italy.

I can't wait for next Thanksgiving's table decor! 

#3.  Rockin' 70's Rainbow Suspenders.  (Who doesn't want a pair?)

#4.  A Danish Modern Bird Candelabra.

I absolutely LOVE anything Danish modern.  And this my favorite find.

(You can find some other versions here.)

Once I get it oiled up and filled with candles, I will find the perfect place to display it.

Not a bad day for vintage fun!