Saturday, October 31, 2009

Family Bowling

Bowling is so fun. I love going as a family and cheering each other on. For us, it's not about winning.

It's about being together, encouraging everyone, clapping, cheering, laughing about gutter balls, commiserating over that one sticky pin that won't fall.

If I score higher than 90, I am happy with how I bowled. If I score higher than 100, I am thrilled. Today, I was thrilled. So was this son, who bowled a personal best of something over 150!

Our friend and frequent weekender, K, was with us, and he and my husband got all fancy and bowled the second game left handed. They did surprisingly well! They said it was harder to aim, but it looked to me like they got the hang of it pretty quickly.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

New and improved color scheme

My sister's hat, in black and pink. I'm much happier with these colours.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

At the arcade

Our eldest came home this weekend, so this afternoon we took him to the arcade store for some free fun. He and his dad prefer the shooting games to the pinball machines. The girl and I like to play a little bit of everything.

The day's other activities included the guys going to see Zombieland (they all loved it), the girls making popcorn balls, going to the big city library, and eating Thai. A good day.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Knitting for babies is so sweet

I don't have the opportunity to knit for babies very often, but when I do, it is so sweet. Babies look adorable in everything!

The flash washed the colors out, but the close-up shows the baby blue and tan twisted yarn a little better.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lumpy at the pool hall

Lumpy jumped (literally) at the chance to play pool this evening. We were all surprised at his concentration and how carefully he lined up his shots.

In the end, however, victory was not his. The longer armed redhead won the game.

Monday, October 19, 2009

"Good thing I like knitting."

That is what I tell myself when things don't work out, and I have to rip apart the work I've done. Like this hat.

I planned black and pink; then convinced myself that charcoal and pink would look better - more current, softer, etc. That might have been true looking at skeins of yarn, but it certainly is not true looking at the pattern as it works up.

There is not enough contrast between the colors, so the pink looks garish and the grey looks pale. In person, it also appears oddly blue up against the pink, which it does not seem at all alone on its skein.

I am going out to buy black yarn now.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The pedicure

Trixie completely relaxes while having her nails filed with the pedipaws. She looks out the window, licks my hands, yawns. Ho hum, who cares, as long as she is on my lap, she is a happy little dog.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The cleaning groove

Or, cleaning the grooves. That is what the girl and I did at today's church clean up day. We were part of a small team cleaning the expansion joints in the cement floor. You'd be surprised how much dirt and debris can be smashed in there. We were. We used plastic knives to clean them out, then vacuumed the yuck.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Learning all the time

I made butter cookies today. I've made these same cookies countless times over the past two decades, but today must have been the first time I doubled the recipe. (That tin is from those delicious ginger snaps available at World Market that I told you about the other day.)

These are a basic "spritz" cookie, that you push through a cookie press. Shortly after I was married, I asked my mother in law for a cookie press for Christmas. It's one of those things that as a kid I was convinced would be a fantastic thing to own. My mil was willing to buy me one, but it turned out that her good neighbor had one sitting unused, so she gave me hers. It is battery operated, had a one year warranty, but I am still using it nearly 20 years later, and I think of them both every time I do.

(I have never used it for anything except the butter cookies, but I've made them chocolate, almond, vanilla, and peppermint flavored. The recipe is from my mom's old cookie book, which I love, being full of all the basic cookies.)

Fast forward to today. I doubled the recipe. Did I mention there is a lot of butter involved? Yes. Well, today I learned that the dough gets really greasy/buttery as it sits. By the time I was half way done pressing out the cookies, the dough was so slick it would not adhere to the pan, so when I lifted the press, there was no dough left behind. I had to put the whole contraption in the freezer for a few minutes to get it to firm back up.

That was my lesson learned today. Keep dough in refrigerator while it's waiting its turn.

Real Friends

Recently I've attended a few group discussions on relationships at my church. Twice, comments were made about "real" relationships needing to be face to face. Once, the remarks were quite pointed about internet relationships being shallow. The guy who made that comment was talking about Facebook, which, as you know, I am now considering. Obviously, I don't agree that online = unreal.

I've had shallow relationships that were live, in person, face to face. Who hasn't? I don't understand why it would be any different online. Most people you know in life will be casual acquaintances. To me, that is okay. It's nice to know people, be friendly with them, enjoy their company occasionally. Wouldn't it be strange if all your casual acquaintances suddenly started acting like your very best friend? Creepy. Like a bad movie where brains get eaten in the end.

Friends are another thing entirely. What a blessing - wherever you meet them!

Remember way back before the internet existed and people wrote letters with pens and pencils? I wrote letters to family and friends, but never had a penpal. I knew people who did. I knew a girl who married her international penpal. I wonder if their parents freaked out about that? I remember a friend telling me about her parents' courtship. WWII - her mom's parents encouraged her to write to her brother's best friend, because he was in combat and her brother told his parents that his friend didn't receive much mail. They were married after the war.

That's a digression.

What I have really been thinking about is friendship and the internet in my life. The internet has allowed me to keep in touch with family and friends who are far away. The whole point of the blog is to keep in touch, especially with photos. I wouldn't remember to tell anyone I got my hair cut, much less send pictures. Often, when I get on the phone, I'm so busy asking about them, I forget to tell about us. I'd much rather hear about what others are doing than talk about myself. (I know, sounds funny coming from someone with a blog, but that is why I blog.)

The internet has also made it possible for me to meet people who have become friends in the truest sense. Friends who will go out of their way to see me if I'm even on the same coast as them. Friends who check up on me when they don't hear from me. Friends who pray for me, laugh with me, encourage me, know me, and love me. As I do them.

So to my friends - however I met you - consider yourself real.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Stalker Mom?

I am not on Facebook. I've thought about it mostly (okay, only) when someone I know says to me, "You should join Facebook!" Then I dismiss the idea and forget all about it until someone mentions it again.

This evening, though, my son told me my other son is now on Facebook. So I'm thinking of joining, just to be his friend. Does that make me a stalker? (I got texting when he moved specifically so I could text with him.)

What do you think, son?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I bought this lovely little bowl at World Market this weekend. I went in to buy some food and snatch one of those gingersnaps on sample. (If you have not had them, go try one. They give free samples of them on weekends. Yum.) While there, I checked the clearance merchandise, because you never know. I spotted this celadon glazed rice bowl with elephants. Celadon and elephants at less than half price - how could I walk away from that?

I bought it, knowing it matches nothing in my house. Nothing. I am nevertheless unreasonably pleased with it.

Since buying one bowl that matches nothing in my house was already an indulgence, I decided to go all out and fill it with chocolate and keep it in my room. My own private stash displayed in celadon elephants.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Toy Story 1 & 2, 3D

Due to schedule conflicts, we were not able to see the movies all together. So yesterday, three of us went, and today the remaining two went. (The important pairing was my oldest and his little sister. They are movie buddies. He takes her to the movies more often than her dad and I do.)

I think 3D is a brilliant idea for getting people back into movie theaters. I rarely go to the movies anymore, because we have a giant tv at home, but 3D does lure me in.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Snow on roses

A little more than a dusting is on the ground, and it is still gently falling. Snow is snow, but frozen roses are worth sharing. They look and feel like they were dipped in glass.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

UFO's resolved

UFO = UnFinished Objects

Today I got out the sewing machine. I've only been thinking I should do this since January. I had knit a small bag back in Jan., and wanted to line it. It's been sitting in a drawer ever since.

Until today. Today, I actually did it. It turned out nicely. I really like the frog print lining.

Before I did that, I mended a pair of pajama bottoms that were resting on top of the sewing machine. These used to fit my son, but that was at least six years ago. I thought they'd now fit my daughter.

After finishing the bag, I made a top to match the pajama bottoms. (The boys never wanted matching tops, but the girl likes things to match.) I am pleased with how it turned out only because I had to be very creative with laying out the pattern due to not having quite enough fabric for it. I altered it a bit, to make it fit with the fabric at hand.

Unfortunately, the pajama pants are several inches too long for the girl, so I will have to cut and re-hem them tomorrow. I left the sewing machine on the dining table so I won't let it go another ten months.

After the pajama top success, I sewed myself a pair of pajama bottoms from an old flannel sheet that had lost its elasticity.

I don't enjoy sewing like I do knitting, but it is not such a horror that it should be avoided the way I do. I think it may be a space issue. It's a bother to get the machine set up, and then have no place to eat or do school. I can't leave it out, so I avoid taking it out, even though I always have projects in mind.

The thing I really want to learn is how to put a zipper in place.

Relaxing Retreat

I enjoyed the retreat last weekend. It was good meeting and getting to know people I'd maybe only seen in passing on Sunday mornings. The most fun, for me, was playing games both nights. I love playing games. Fun games, not monopoly or chess.

The weekend's theme was "relationships," and the planners did a great job of making sure we all had plenty of time to hang out with each other or rest and relax, whichever we needed.

These photos are from a hike we took on Saturday with some others. As you can see, the girl had a great time slipping about in snow and mud. All the kids did. Some were very muddy by the end of it, others only moderately so.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Lumpy's mountain retreat

On Friday, after we dropped our bags at our room, we took Lumpy for a hike around the Y facility. (Lucy opted to stay at the lodge, napping through her ice cream rush.)

As always, Lumpy found everything delightful. He enjoyed the scenery from every angle. (That shot is totally unposed. Lumpy jumped off his perch and landed just like that. He is so funny in person!)

He found this thing to climb. It was perfectly sized for a small monkey, as he happily demonstrated. What anyone else would do with this, I do not know.

Mostly, he just looked around, not seeing moose, bear, or mountain lions.

It was a bit cold for a monkey, so he warmed himself at the fire when we returned to the lodge.

That night, he insisted that "monkeys don't sleep in beds or on chairs when they are camping." We pointed out that we were not camping. The "lodge" was exactly like a hotel, but he was determined to consider the retreat a camping weekend. So he slept in a hat-hammock, and we were all happy with that compromise.

The best way to scare off wildlife

is to put signs up telling everyone to watch out for them.

This sign in our lodge warned us that we might encounter mountain lions, moose, or bear. If you click to enlarge it, you will learn what to do should you meet any of these animals. This might be useful knowledge if you go someplace which has not scared off animals by posting warning signs.

The only wild animals we saw this weekend were mule deer and one gorgeous red fox.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Apple pie and ice cream

We always appreciate friends telling us about favorite places to eat. Last year, one friend did even better and brought us a pie from Lewis Sweet Shop. Now, whenever we drive up to the mountains, we stop there for milkshakes or pie.

This weekend, we had milkshakes going to, and bought an apple pie coming home to share with the boys. Lumpy had a great time while we waited for our shakes. He met some friendly pigs.

Lucy was more interested in the ice cream. Have you ever seen a thicker shake? If you are driving, you can order a thin shake, which can be consumed with a straw. They ask when you order a shake, "Thick or thin?"

If you get a chance, stop there some time. They serve non-desserts, too.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Change of Plans

Instead of going to see Toy Story 1 & 2, 3D on Saturday, we are taking the monkeys up to the mountains for a little retreat. (The boys are staying home with the dogs.)

I asked my husband to take my picture with the monkeys. I was rather rude, telling him that I wanted to look decent in the photos, so not to take one slapdash shot and be done. After pointing out that the first three chopped my head off, he took a few more.

In all fairness to him, I have to admit that I am one of the least photogenic people alive. One of the many reasons is that I involuntarily close my eyes when the flash goes off, as evidenced by this photo, in which my daughter joined me.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Trixie has become my household thermostat

Once again, she was sitting on my lap, shivering away, so I decided to look at the thermostat. 62F and the sun hadn't set. I put her red sweater on her. Then I thought, "Maybe I should turn on the heat, since we have people coming over tonight."

My own family tends to get told things like, "It's winter; it's supposed to be cold," and, "Use a blanket," but company gets the furnace turned on.

Trixie let me take a couple photos, but she was really thinking, "Let me back on your lap, Mom!" That's where she is right now, happy as can be.