Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sweet Sixteen

Daughters are like flowers, they fill the world with beauty, and sometimes attract pests. ~Author Unknown
The father of a daughter is nothing but a high-class hostage. A father turns a stony face to his sons, berates them, shakes his antlers, paws the ground, snorts, runs them off into the underbrush, but when his daughter puts her arm over his shoulder and says, "Daddy, I need to ask you something," he is a pat of butter in a hot frying pan. ~Garrison Keillor
Watching your daughter being collected by her date feels like handing over a million dollar Stradivarius to a gorilla. ~Jim Bishop
Happy Sweet Sixteen, K.!
Love ya, toots!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Barn, er Garage

I love prowling around, looking for things to take pictures of.

I was out in the barn, the Man's territory, this afternoon. He has some neat-o stuff out there.

I love baskets. I took a picture from the floor.
I took a picture from the second story.

Huh. This is what the inside looks like. Gloves and garden tools.

Since I'm not allowed out in the garden, or even near the flower beds for that matter, I've never seen the inside of these bushel baskets before.
I went upstairs and found baseballs in a wooden trunk. Lots of scars on this trunk.

This is an old trunk. I want to know each scar's story. I bet they're good ones.
Wow. Mucho berry baskets. I need to find me some strawberries to put in those baskets. I bet that would make a pretty picture, don't you?

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Man and His Boots

The Man's boots. Work boots. The Man is serious about his footwear.

These make me fall in love with him all over again. Crazy, huh?

But when I see him take such loving care of his "tools," as he calls them, I'm so thankful that he's a taking care of things kind of guy.

This man is not going to throw something away just because it's a little banged up, a little worn.

Nope, he fixes it and makes it better.
I'm a little banged up, a little worn around the edges. He smooths my rough and worn edges and makes me a better person.

He's a keeper.

I'm keeping him.
While the Man was greasing his boots, K. was pestering him. She knew he couldn't retaliate since he had grease all over his fingers.

He got his own, though. She stomped off, several times, over some imagined slight. But she kept coming back to tease him more. She loves her dad.

I coaxed her into modeling for me a little bit while she was poking at him. 100 shots and these are the best of them.

SOOC. I really have to learn Photoshop better so I can fix these pics.
She doesn't always get what I'm trying to do with a pic. The conversation usually goes something like this:

"K., stand in the open doorway and lean your head against the door."

"What door?"

"The yellow door."

"There's no yellow door."

"Yes, there is. Now lean your head on it and smile."

"You mean the wooden door?"

"THE YELLOW DOOR!" She opens it wide to show me that the inside of the door is unpainted wood.

I'm going to lose it.
And before I forget, the Knitwits finished the quilted tote bags on Sunday afternoon.

It was a lot of work. We ate a lot of food. We laughed a lot. Especially when PW tripped the Queen with her power cord and the Queen almost took a header into the wall.

And we laughed when PKB kept exclaiming, "I cahn't believe I made this!" with that funny accent she has.
S. couldn't believe it either.

She has done this project with a group of her friends that quilts and it took them three days to complete the bag. We did it in one and a half days. Go, us!

She had to call one of her quilting friends in Pennsylvania and leave a message, "Hey, it's 4:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. Just wanted to let you know the Knitwits are finished with their bags and walking out of here with them . We drink too much."

Click.

She hung up. She looked at us, we looked at her and the giggling began.
Aren't they gorgeous?
Some of us prefer to knit. That's okay. We're not craft snobs. We believe in mixed crafts.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Over the past few months, I've gotten to know some friends through Facebook. They are loosely related to me, but not really because the connection is through my BIL. They are his aunts.

His dad had six sisters. Now he has five.

Sue passed away yesterday. She had two brain tumors. She was so young.
Even though I had never met Sue, I felt like I knew her. I would read about her family and their lives through blogs and facebook pages.

I would see photos of them, laughing and being crazy together, and just know how much they loved each other.

I could feel the love between these people and my heart would ache for them.
But these sisters and their brother are strong. They stuck together. And when one went down, they all rallied around to pick her up.
I'm so sad that Sue is not here anymore. I'm sad that they lost a wife, mother, sister, aunt, and friend.

The world is a little bit less tonight.


Friday, April 23, 2010

Quilting with the Knitwits

This is S., our quilting teacher. She loooooves to quilt and does a beautiful job.

A couple Christmases ago she showed us some quilted tote bags that she made for Christmas presents and we all wanted one. She refused to make them for us.

She's not very c-o-o-p-e-r-a-t-i-v-e.

We even offered to pay her. Sheesh, ten bags aren't that many to make.

We moved on to Plan B. Plan B was making them ourselves. She graciously offered to do a class and show us how to make them. We jumped right on that. A year and a half later.

Anyway, tonight was the night we got together to piece the outer part of the bags. We had six sewing machines, six sewers, and one gopher. The gopher was sissy. She doesn't sew. I had to sew for her.
But she was very good at getting everyone's pieces as they needed them, ironing most of the sections for all of us and pouring us wine.
S. and I had bought jelly rolls for this project from various sources. Jelly rolls, for all you non-sewers, are lots of pieces of fabric pre-cut into 2.5" strips. We simply cut them into 5" pieces for this project. Sissy did all the cutting this afternoon since she knew I would be doing the sewing tonight.

[Plus I was helping K. and my niece re-purpose a t-shirt into a shrug. You can get the directions for that project here.]
PKB is reading the instructions, trying to figure out what she's doing.
B. is measuring her stitched together piece. She and I must sew a generous 1/4" seam allowance since we both came up short and had to add an extra row. My fancy-schmancy sewing machine can't fix that.
We're not quite finished. Actually, we're not even close to finishing. We have to go back on Sunday.

Teacher said so.

Coffee House and Government Spending

J. and K. played at a coffee house tonight at a local university. It was a kick off for spring weekend and sponsored by Intervarsity, a Christian student-led ministry working on college campuses. The coffeehouse was offered as an alternative to the other party options one finds on college campuses during Spring weekends. You know what I mean.
Jordan's girlfriend, P., came with us. We needed someone younger in the group. Both sissies came, my niece and the Man were there, and me. The parents of two other band members were there as well. That made nine of us.
There were 15 people in the audience. It's a good thing we decided to go listen to them play.

We thought about not going. Lots of phone calls between parents trying to decide whether we belonged at this event or not. We didn't want to feel out of place on a college campus, surrounded by youngsters, trying to look hip. It could have gone badly. We could have humiliated our children. That's fun too.
They had three other friends with them. Most of them are part of the worship team at our church.
What a hoot it was. The keyboard kept giving off random little "explosions" every now and then and A., the keyboardist, never knew when it was going to happen.

Her music stand wasn't the sturdiest of things and her music kept flitting all over the place, falling on the keys, the floor, the amps, just about anywhere but in front of her. She was a professional and just kept smiling and playing.

Of course, her music was flying about because we had to open the windows and it was a bit breezy. We opened the windows because the blasted HEAT was on and blowing wildly out of the blowers. It was near 70 degrees today.

These are our tax dollars hard at work, heating state buildings at the end of April during 70 degree days. I'm writing to the governor. I just found some waste in the state budget. See? That wasn't so hard, Governor. I can save us thousands of dollars in one fell swoop. TURN THE HEAT OFF WHEN IT'S 70 DEGREES OUTSIDE.
But I digress. I'll get off my soapbox now and get back to our main programming.

The band finished their set in 30 minutes. They were supposed to play for 45 minutes. That means they had to find "filler" songs. Songs they're not too comfortable with. Songs they make mistakes on.

K. missed the spot she was supposed to start singing. See the smiles above.
She started singing and then abruptly stopped when her brother said loudly, "Not now!" Then the smiles turned into giggles.

The audience had a good time. I saw several students bopping along to the music, toes tapping and drumming hands on the table tops. They liked the music. All six of them. Well, maybe ten by the end of their set. A few students came in late. I think they came to hear the next act though.
Can't resist shooting some bokeh. Time for bed. Good night.

And it was. A good night.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Girlie Visit

Middle sissy and my niece are visiting from somewhere far away. At least, far away from us. My niece and K. have this week off from school so they came to hang out for a few days.

We have some serious shopping planned, and some thrifting, and some birthday celebrating to do. The Man had a birthday today.

He asked for a frying pan and vitamins.

I'm not sure what that says about him. Or about me for that matter.
K. and sissy have fun together. K. tolerates her hugs pretty well, don't you think?

And see that robin's egg blue sweatshirt sissy has on? That's K.'s

Sissy stole it from her. She says she'll return it but I'm skeptical. She's always trying to take our stuff. I told K. we'll have to go back to Coronado Island off San Diego to get sissy her own robin's egg blue sweatshirt.

Sissy is sneaky that way. Somehow we always wind up supplying her with copies of our stuff.

Huh.

I have to pay a bit more attention to that.
These four girlies were pretty patient while I was snapping away. Except for sissy. You can tell by her face she's getting a bit i-r-r-i-t-a-t-e-d with me. But she held a smile for the picture.

Good sissy. She knows better.
More crazy daisies that make me crazy smile.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Meet PKB. She's in my knitting group on Wednesday nights. This woman is one of the funniest people I know. She makes me laugh. She talks funny because she's from the Boston area.

They cahn't speak properly.

They refuse to pronounce r's. As a matter of fact, they drop them entirely. Remember "Pahk the cah in Hahvahd yahd," from My Fair Lady?

We love to tease her about her accent. Really, we love to tease her about EVERYTHING. She tells us the funniest stories about her life and we wouldn't change her a bit. She picks out odd colors for sweaters (kelly green?) and we tell her, "NO!"

She's been knitting the same yarn for at least two or three projects now. She just keeps making mistakes and bringing them in to our teacher, who promptly frogs them. This explains the picture below.
We finally convinced her to give up on the sweater pattern she was using and try a new one. She miscounted that one the next week. It had to get frogged too. At first we thought it was the pattern. Now we think it's the yarn.

But it's definitely not PKB. She cahn't make a mistake.

Her husband is a very important person at a local college and he gave her tickets to see Desmond Tutu this afternoon. No one else would go with her, except me.

I met her at her house and we drove into Symphony Hall together. There was a LOT of traffic going into the city. We had about 15 minutes to be IN OUR SEATS and we were sitting in a virtual parking lot outside the building, waiting to get to the parking garage. She got in the wrong lane because she was trying to find a shortcut into the parking lot. What she found was the lane leading us back onto the freeway.

Uh oh.

Now we have to appeal to the mercy of the other drivers to let us back in the lane we just left. We looked like some of THOSE people. You know? The ones who jump out of line only to drive up a bit and then cut back in? The ones people don't like and generally honk their horns at? That would be us.

[I'm going to have to rethink my opinion of THOSE people next time I see one. They might be stuck in a car with a friend who thinks she found a shortcut only to find out she really didn't. They might be very friendly and apologetic.]

So we finally get into the parking garage and she says to me, "You have the tickets, right?" She had given me something when we left her house so I pulled it out and there was only ONE ticket in the package.

Uh oh.

Now we have to find someone she knows and appeal to his mercy to get her in to see Desmond Tutu. We walk up to the front door and the gentlemen standing there is waiting for our tickets. PKB looks at him, starts to say something, and then closes her mouth. The man says, "Will call tickets?"

PKB looks him boldly in the eye, says, "Yeah, whatever," and marches us in the direction he's pointing. We don't have will call tickets. We don't have a ticket for her at all.

At that moment, she spies the man she's looking for and tells him our plight. He magically makes a balcony ticket appear and tells her to use it to get into the Hall and then she can sit with me.

Whew.
Archbishop Tutu is the smaller man sitting in the center of the photo, dressed in black with no colored "sashes" around his neck.

He spoke about the HIV health crisis in South Africa, about poverty, about hunger, and about all the money that countries spend on weapons of death and destruction. He spoke of how a small fraction of that money could be used to feed, educate, and keep healthy all the children of the world.
After he finished speaking, PKB and I had dinner at a Lebanese restaurant and spent an enjoyable hour chatting with each other. By the time we finished dinner, traffic had cleared out and we had a smooth ride home.

Where she found the tickets, on the floor.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Driving Miss K.

All I do is drive, drive, drive.

I drive to work, drive to run errands, drive to the grocery store, drive to sissy's, drive to meetings, drive teens all over creation, drive my husband crazy.

I need a chauffeur. The Man won't apply for the job. He's already the gardener and the chef. And the housekeeper sometimes. I'm afraid being the chauffeur could put him over the edge.

K. went to the movies with some friends tonight and none of them can drive yet. As a matter of fact, one of the boys was a freshman. A freshman. He won't be driving for two more years. That does me no good.

Although, now that I think about it, she's not allowed in a car alone with a boy for quite some time, missy.

That means you-know-who ends up driving, at least one way. Some nights I drive both ways. I always offer to pick up. I like to make sure they all get home safe and sound.

I think 9:00 pm is a good curfew. K. doesn't agree with me.

I say, "You can't date until your 21." She laughs. Do you see the pattern here, people?
I might like driving more if I lived here - the isle of Corfu, Greece. I would flat out refuse to drive in the first pic - Rome, Italy. That place is full of crazy drivers, if you can even call them that. I don't think they actually test their driving abilities before licensing them.

I think the test is, "Are you breathing?"

"Yes."

"Great, here's your license."

[Except they have this conversation in Italian.]

Just a few more months and K. will have her license. Then the fun really begins. Ugh.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Even More Random Thoughts

This is K. ignoring me. She gets mad when my camera comes out.

Then she becomes u-n-c-o-o-p-e-r-a-t-i-v-e.
She tries to hide from me. I'm a patient person.

Well, not really. But I can be when I want to be. And when it comes to getting pics of my kids, I can be pretty darn patient.
This is K. giving me a l-o-o-k.

She thinks she can scare me off. She should know better. I don't scare easily. Unless you're a spider. Then I run away tout de suite (this was for you, Deb!)
And look who won the battle! I got a great pic of my sweet K.

Crazy daisies. That's what the store called them.

They make my heart smile.

Right now I can't get enough of flowers. They're blooming everywhere. I've got them in pots all over my house, the porch, the patio, windowsills. Really, anywhere I can put them.

And I don't just limit myself to flowering plants. I'll keep them even when others would get rid of them. I get my money's worth out of these things.
Pitiful, isn't it? I just don't know when to throw them out. I feel bad for them.

It feels like I'm saying, "Okay, you're not pretty anymore. Time for you to go." I just don't have the heart to throw them out. Then I don't even notice them. They blend right into the background and it's not until the Man says, "Oh, you've killed another one," that it gets taken care of.

Can you see the pretty felt ball garland in the background?

Gee, that was kind of random. But isn't it pretty?


I posted the link to this project in a previous post but I'll post it here again. This went together pretty quick. Good way to pass an evening watching a movie with the Man.
Roses I can't bear to part with. We've had some cold nights and the ends got cooked a bit. I tell people I'm drying them. It sounds good.

I think they still look pretty. Plus, I haven't gotten my $6.99's worth yet.