Thursday, November 29, 2007

Some Folks Have Decorated

Not me. But some folks.

Hubby and I have a weekly date at the local tea room. Today we arrived to discover the place had been turned into a winter wonderland. I would have taken more photos of all the decorations but they were busy when we arrived and I didn't want to disturb other customers. Later I forgot to take any photos after the crowd had thinned.

Along with the new decorations, they had new holiday menu items. We were treated to a "taste test" for their new peppermint white chocolate scones. I'm totally bummed that I didn't think to take a photo of them. Not only were they scrumptiously delicious, they were deliciously beautiful, all fluffy white with flecks of red peppermint flakes and plump white chocolate chips and topped with pink peppermint whipped cream (which started to melt because the scones were FRESH HOT out of the oven.) It seems like a sweet (ha! pun!) thing to do, to treat their best customers to a free treat - until you realize that it's only a tricky way to ensure I will be anxiously counting the days until I can return and eat MORE delectable goodies.

Here's one of their friendly employees, setting up another table. Doesn't it look festive!

And if that's not enough pampering, they surprised us by specially tweaking our order so that it included all my favorites. We were so spoiled today!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Wizard's Chess?

Nah, just plain ol' muggle's chess. Sam came home for a nice long visit over the Thanksgiving holiday. On a visit to Starbuck's, William and Sam thought they'd play a game.

As you can see, Sam had to play one handed, giving William a slight advantage.

Here's William giving serious thought to his next move. They kept trying to distract each other with clever banter. Such as "I'm setting up another move here. Not sure which move that would be, but I'm setting it up." OR "I've got a plan. You can't see it, but I've got a plan."

Apparently their plan was to PROTECT THOSE PAWNS at any cost! I've never seen this strategy work well for anyone before but then, what do I know, I'm not a very good chess player.

"Hmmmm, I didn't see that one coming."

As you can see here, William has really pushed his advantage. He has considerably more pawns left.

But Sam's not out of the game yet. He's got the wisdom of greater age on his side. Yep, he's really turned it around. He's been pounding away at those white pawns until it's now rook against knight. After chasing each other around the board for a while longer, unbelievably....'s a draw.

White king and black king bow to each other and agree to each go home and eat a lot of turkey and stuffing and gravy and other good stuff..... knowing they'll return to fight another day.

Meanwhile, over on Laume's Studio I've put up some holiday window shopping photos.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

An Ent on the Move?

This must be the season for oversized posts. Yesterday's post was about a giant turkey. Today's post is about a giant tree. Late afternoon yesterday hubby and I saw this headed down Main Street. Keep in mind, those two big trucks in the photo are closer to the camera than the semi and tree.

Look how big the tree is next to the streetlight and the two story buildings!

This is one BIG 'OL TREE!!!!

It turned here down a main side road instead of staying on the main highway. We followed it all the way to where we turn off home, wondering where it was headed. Maybe it was avoiding Main Street because it took up two lanes and it would rejoin the highway when the side road hooked back up with it outside of town? There's no businesses or homes out that way big enough for this monster. I bet it's headed down to Sacramento to be the state capitol tree. I mean, who else would want a live Christmas tree this large!?

Hubby suggested it could be headed to Carson City, the Nevada state capitol, but wouldn't they want to find a tree from their own Nevada forests? It's a possibility though. Who else could want a tree.....we're not delivering a tree to Rockefeller Center this year, are we?

I'm just glad I'm not in charge of setting it up. Can you imagine trying to get it straight? "No honey, keep holding it.... now an inch that way.... I mean to the left.... your left..... no that's too much..... now a squinch to the right...... dang, now it's leaning towards me....." And then putting on all those lights!? Someone get me a chair, I feel faint.

I wonder where it's going?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Godzilla Turkey vs. Megamom

Years ago I wrote a couple of long posts on an e-mail list about my Thanksgiving adventures. It was a long time ago. I don't remember the exact year, but long ago. All the kids still lived at home. Joshua was still alive. William was still only knee high to a grasshopper.

The posts aren't very well written. There are sentences that start with one thought and switch to another thought in the middle. There are typos and mispelled words. I change tense enough to make an English major have a nervous breakdown. But somehow it's become an annual Thanksgiving story. Old friends ask me to post it each year, something similar to the watching of It's a Wonderful Life (not that I'm in any way comparing my story to the genius of Frank Capra's story - I'm just saying it's a holiday tradition). And over the years it's become a small way in which I can still include Joshua in our holiday as he plays a tiny but crucial role in the adventure.

I've always thought that one day I'd spiff it up, make it a real story instead of just a long string of "and then this and then that and then this'es". Give it a critical eye, put a new holiday scarf on it, and make it worthy. I set out to do that this morning and found myself resisting the project. Part of the tradition is that it carries down each year in all it's clumsy, off the cuff, adolescent .... er, ... charm.

And so, with not a single repair, I offer it up to you for your reading pleasure. If you're stressed with cleaning for an impending crowd of friends or relatives, or maybe having a hard time dredging up any holiday spirit yet, maybe this will help get you in the mood for the zany weeks of too much food, too much shopping, and too much decorating in the weeks to come. May all of you be gifted with memories as precious to you as these crazy memories are to me.

Godzilla Turkey vs. Megamom

The story begins about a week before Thanksgiving when my mother calls up
and offers to provide the turkey for our Thanksgiving feast. She has a
friend who raises them on her ranch and it will be fresh and organic.
Great! She says it will be about a 27 pound turkey, will that be enough?
Plenty, I tell her.
Teusday before Thanksgiving my mom arrives to drop off the turkey which,
fortunately, has been dressed out and frozen for us. I had had visions of
having to deal with a dead bird, feathers and all. She says "You have to
help me get it out of the trunk because I can't lift it by myself." Well,
she is a tiny lady. So I go out and take a look, my eyes get big. This
turkey looks way bigger then the 23 pounder we had last year. I can barely
lift it and I struggle back into the house and barely get it onto the
counter before I drop it.
As family members all wander home during the day, each person remarks at how
big this turkey appears. I'm convinced it has to be bigger then 27 pounds,
so I borrow a bathroom scale from our neighbors and attempt to weigh it by
weighing various family members with and then without the turkey in their
arms. We get various results but one thing is obvious - the turkey weighs
more then 27 pounds. In fact, it weighs something more then 40 pounds!

Fast forward to the day before Thanksgiving, here are my original posts, one
before and one after the big day.........

Ok, so late this afternoon I finally buckle down after procrastinating all
day. I start making my stuffing, which means taking out all the old french
bread I've saved, putting them in a big plastic bag on my central cutting
board and then William and I whacking at it with a couple of wooden meat
tenderizers. Joshua comes in the door at that moment and looks at us
strangely. I tell him, "And if you piss me off, YOU'LL be next." Then the
head of the bigger mallet flies off the handle and comes down on top of
William's head. I had know idea that preparing Thanksgiving dinner was so
I continue making stuffing, an entire gallon of it. It fills my largest
bowl. I keep imagining the interior of this turkey. I'm sure if I yelled
into it, it will echo.

Next comes pie making. Two pumpkins, an apple (because my mom HAS to have
an apple) and a mincemeat just because I feel like it. I'm defrosting
pumpkin and cooking mincemeat and taking spices down from the shelves like
an octopus lady. I realize that the butter is frozen and have to wait while
I defrost it a bit in the microwave, preparing a triple batch of flour for
the crust. This means taking all the fruit out of my second largest bowl
and washing it. About the time I decided to put the butter back into the
microwave for a few more minutes on defrost, I had a suddenly realization.
I didn't own a single pan big enough for the friggin turkey to fit in!

So off I go to Safeway, where I fight the crowds and only manage to find a
pan that looks woefully inadequate for the job. I buy it anyway and head to
the second market in hopes of finding something bigger. They've totally
sold out of every pan they own but the meat manager suggests Walmart, says
he saw some big aluminum pans there. I go back across town a second time
and discover that they had three left just an hour ago but...yep, they've
sold them all. I head for the housewares department where I coerce a young
female employee to climb up on one of those huge ladders and check out all
the pans they have on the top shelves. Nothing. But I do find some
aluminum drip pans that I tell myself at least could protect my oven from
the inevitable drips of squeezing this turkey into anything that will fit in
the oven. I start considering the possibility of having my son saw it in
half with his table saw. At the check out stand I run into a neighbor who
is not cooking this year and offers to lend me a large roasting pan she
uses. Great, I say, hoping for the best, and head back home.

On the way home I realize the last time I ate was at 7:30 am (it is now 8:30
pm) when I grabbed a frozen waffle at my mom's house on the way back from
taking my two kitties to the vet to get spayed and neutered. So I stop at
Jack in the Box for a 99 cent chicken sandwich, wolfing it down (on one side
of my jaw since my other side is still sore) so that the family doesn't know
I ate out. With the kitchen taken over with Thanksgiving preparations, I
left them to eat frozen burritos and cold cereal for dinner of their own

Back home, I'm racing through pie making. I can only safely cook two pies
at a time so I need at least two hours of cooking time available before the
turkey has to go in around l2:30 am and it's now almost l0 o'clock. A
friend calls to chat while I'm mixing pumpkin pie. I had decided to make
one of the pumpkin pies with the recipe on the back of the evaporated milk
can and the other pumpkin pie of the recipe in my LLL cookbook. That way, I
figured, I could decide which one we like best. So as I'm talking to my
friend, I'm measuring out the ingredients from one recipe and then the
ingredients to the second. While I'm busy stirring, between comments about
her decision to drive six hours to her sister's for Thanksgiving, leaving at
3 am, and my comment about how we couldn't invite some friends over for
Thanksgiving because my stepdad doesn't like the husband of the couple, I
look down and realize that I have carefully measured out both recipes into
the SAME bowl and have happily stirred them together. I think I'll call the
results "Blonde Pumpkin Pie."

We both finally realize that I've stopped being able to bake safely, and
she's stopped packing and has flopped down on her bed, so we hang up. By
now the first two pies are almost done and it's almost time to put the
second pair in. The only thing left to do is figure out how to cook "the
bird." The neighbor's tiny son has dragged over his mother's roasting pot,
almost as big as he is, and still too small for the turkey. I pull my
regular enamel roasting pan out and eyeball it over the fowl still bathing
in our tub. Not a chance. The aluminum pan from the store is obviously too
flimsy. Then I remember that years ago I had bought an old industrial sized
enamel serving tray because I was going to drill holes in it and use it as a
flower pot. I dig through the garage and find it, wash off the cobwebs and
dirt and line it up with the rest of the contestants. I few rusty spots,
but nothing that will hurt us.

Four huge pans and not one up to the job. Of the four, the garage find is
the largest and sturdiest, so I decide to take the plunge. I drain the
water, wondering all the while if I should use bleach on the tub before
anyone gets salmonella from bathing in it. Then I realize that there's no
way I can carry this waterlogged thing back out of the bathroom, down the
hallway, across the diningroom and kitchen, without leaving a soggy trail on
the freshly cleaned floor. So I use a bathroom towel as a sling and try to
pick it up. It's too heavy. I go and wake up one of the boys and have them
help me carry/drag the turkey. Halfway there Sam gets disgusted with his
wimpy mom, picks up the whole thing and hugs it to him so he can prove how
much stronger he is then his mother. He also proves how much wetter he can
be then his mother. Of course it's MY fault as he goes grumbling of to
change clothes before slamming the door on his way back to bed.

Now the turkey is in the sink. Or rather, it's bottom is in the sink, the
top two thirds are sticking up out of the sink. William peers UP at the
drumsticks far above him and says, "Boy mom, that's a big turkey." I
wrestle the plastic off and reach down to remove the giblets, which I
discover are still frozen inside the cavity. I pour hot water in and
wrestle it around while trying to explain to William what giblets are and
why they call them giblets instead of guts (because it sounds better) and
why people eat them and no they didn't grow in the turkey in the plastic bag
(haha). Finally freed, I am now left with a turkey full of water, too big
to flip upside down, and no one left to help me lift it into the pan. I try
to lift the turkey and manage only to get it high enough for it to fall
forward and pour the bloody water from inside down the front of my sweater.
That's ok, I'm so hot and dehydrated from the oven and the woodstove being
on all night that it feels good. With a heave and a ho and a prayer to the
fairy that prevents hernias, I lift the turkey just enough to manage to drop
it into the pan with a huge shudder that sends the cats running.

And there it sits, one leg in, the other high in the air like a long salute.
One wing smashed underneath it, the other sort of hanging over the side
like he's leaning over the bar about to say "Hiya honey, how about we go out
for a drink after this is all over." By the time this bird is cooked, that
wing will have all put fallen off it will be so dry and overcooked, sticking
out like that. But, hey, at least it's IN the pan. At least most of it is.

Oh, good lord, I realize, I still have to get it into the oven. Fearing my
propane tank isn't large enough or full enough to cook through both turkey
and stuffing, I decide to cook the dressing separately and wander around the
kitchen trying to figure out how I'm going to season it without the filling.
Remembering bits and pieces of online posts about the best way to cook a
turkey, I grab a bottle of pinot noir and start drinking it straight from
the bottle. One glug for me, one for the turkey. Once the turkey is
totally sloshed and I'm feeling better, I take down a bottle of olive oil
and start rubbing it lasciviously all over the turkey, quoting rude lines
from the last Austin Powers. William decides this is a good time to
dissappear and goes off to play Pokemon. Now, it's just me and the bird.
He's still sitting there, behind me. Now he's leaning out of the pan a bit
more, singing an old Billy Joel tune.

Wish me luck. Maybe this is the real reason that I was led to start weight
training last week.



Well, it's a quiet day after the day after Thanksgiving and I finally have
time to bring you the rest of the story. Now, where did we leave off...oh
yes, it was time to get Mr. G into the oven.

I had to wait an hour for the stuffing to cook as I didn't think I'd have
the time or oven to cook it the next day. Finally around l:30 I pulled the
stuffing out of the oven to let it cool on the chopping block. Worried
about the turkey drying out, I added about a quart of water (which, you will
discover later was a b-i-i-i-g mistake) and then wrapped up everything that
stuck out of the pan in tinfoil, about 2/3's of the turkey. With a heave ho
I managed to get him in the oven without dropping him - whew! Only, it was
so heavy on the oven shelf that I had to put hotpads on my feet and push
with my legs to get the shelf back into place. He just fit with one shelf
taken out and the other one placed on the bottom most rung.

I could finally go to bed....but wait. I noticed that the wall behind the
oven was unusually hot. By now the oven had been on for almost four hours.
Geez, I couldn't go to sleep with the wall about to burst into flames. I
rigged up some more tinfoil between the back of the stove and the wall and
resigned myself to staying up a bit longer to make sure that would do the
trick. I had to wait for the stuffing to cool enough to put in the
refrigerator anyway. I entertained myself flipping television channels and
reading home decorating mags while the wall and the stuffing slowly cooled.
Fortunately the tinfoil did the trick. Still nervous, I went to bed around

At 3:30 I woke suddenly with a panic attack, ran back into the kitchen. All
was well. At 4:00 I could hear Buck outside my window clearly barking "I'm
such a dumbsh*t that I have wrapped my chain thoroughly around the grape
arbor and am now stuck out in freezing temps ten feet away from the entrance
to my doghouse." So I climb out of my cozy covers once more, pull my mud
boots on over my bare feet and go out to extricate him from his self
inflicted predicament. (Normally he isn't tied up. We have him on a chain
because he has recently found a new way to escape from the dog kennel and
it's not fixed yet.) I tromp back to bed and find that my rubber boots have
sealed to my legs because there was no pants leg or sock between the rubber
top and my obviously too fat calves. I break the seal, pull hard, and
release my feet. 4:30 - Buck. Whine, whimper, small bark - Translation:
"Oh mom, sorry to bother you. I have no short term memory and I'm back
hugging the grape arbor." Laume. @*%#^!$%@!*&! Translation: Don't ask.

6:15 Hubby comes tromping in. He thinks he's quiet when he comes in in the
mornings but he's dressed out in snow boots, a nylon coat that rustles, all
his work equipment with the flashlight clunking and the chain clanking. He
drops it all on the floor and crawls into bed, stealing all the covers.
7:00 Joshua taps quietly on the door. He peeks in and says "Uh, is
the house supposed to be filled with smoke!" I fly out of bed, race down
the hall. Yep. Smoke everywhere, the sound of juices dripping merrily down
to the bottom of the oven, seeping out of the broiler and all over the
kitchen floor. Although it's still frost covered outside, Joshua and I
fling open all the doors and windows and turn on the ceiling fans. Happy
Thanksgiving and thank goodness Joshua is an early riser!

In an hour the oven is cool enough to pull the turkey out (this time with
Joshua's help) and with an entire roll of holiday paper towels decked out in
swirling leaves, I wipe up all the grease from the oven, broiler and floor
so that turkey can be returned for several more hours of cooking.

The rest of the day was also one of those picture perfect Thanksgiving with
happy family laughing around the table, delicious food, and help from all
family members. Only one squabble with Sam to mar the day. Everyone teased
me about which pumpkin pie was the best - remember, I combined the two

And Godzilla? It took me an entire hour to clean the carcass after the
meal. With eight hearty eaters, we didn't even make a dent in ONE SIDE of
the breast!!! I used quart freezer bags stuffed 'til they could barely
seal. I froze two quarts, sent another quart home with my folks,
refrigerated five quarts, fed the dog two quarts of questionable (gristle,
skin, leftovers) and froze two more quarts for the dogs. I poured all the
juice into a gallon bottle for future soup stock, hung the wishbone up to
dry, and tossed out the bones.

And when it was all over, my house was still clean, including the kitchen,
the family was stuffed, and all was well with the world. Blessed be to an
exceptional turkey. He will go down in the annals of family history.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

New Bothers, Old Books

Things happen in threes as they say. First it was the kitchen sink.

Last night it was the heater. Although the heater isn't broken. The pilot light went out and we can't figure out how to relight it. We went through this last year after they installed it. It's a very odd set up that's not obvious. Once they showed us how, or rather, once they showed hubby how to do it last year, he remembered and was able to relight it several times over the course of the winter. But he now disavows all memory of this skill, or having even been shown it, and instead he and William cursed and banged their way through a half dozen unsucessful attempts to get it working. I suggested we call the heater company. They pooh poohed that idea - obviously it's too simple to require outside help.

Eventually hubby had to go off to work this afternoon but asked if I wouldn't mind calling the heating company and leaving a message for them to call us when they open tomorrow. Hey, now THAT'S a good idea, wish I'd thought of it. *smacks head*

The third thing is the television. We have this gargantuan television set. My folks gave it to us when they moved out of state, which was very generous of them but honestly I think it was mainly because it's a real bitch to move. They figured we'd only get another year or two of use out of it. We've had far more than that but it looks like it's long life is nearing the end. We thought our cable was going out but the cable guy took one look at it and said "ah, it's the television". Sure enough, the cable works just fine on the tiny t.v. in the studio. (Of course we didn't think to check that before he came.)

Right now it's an on again off again problem. It seems to work okay once it warms up. It starts out though by trying to squeeze the entire image through a narrow band in the middle of the screen. Then it does interesting psychadelic patterns for a bit. And finally the image stretches out and POP, we have a visual Houston. I didn't really much care until I realized I was going to miss my SHOWS. Then I figured out I could watch them on the tiny t.v. if I needed to, the only show I'd miss is Torchwood, which is on BBC, which we get only on the front television through a digital box.

I always knew we'd need to get a new television eventually. We do like our shows and family movie nights with a DVD, popcorn, and family sprawled on pillows all over the living room. We'll buy one of those flat screen ones that, while still having a large screen, takes up a tenth of the space this giant old project screen and cabinet. And yet, I just remodeled my entire living room to work around it! And if I got a smaller t.v., I'd still have to have some sort of cabinet or entertainment center to hold the DVD player and the VHS recorder and the cable box and so on.

Right now I'm torn between the idea of rushing out and getting a new big screen for the holidays (although I wasn't really planning for the expense - I was hoping to splurge on TIVO finally - sigh) or conversely, just letting our television life drop by the wayside for a bit. We've lived with and without television in our lives and honestly don't have a preference. It's the adjustment or withdrawal between the two that is the hard part.

And it's not like we wouldn't still have television. It just wouldn't be comfortably accessible. It would require an effort to watch something. It might be nice not to just flop down on the couch at night and turn on the television by default. I could have the t.v. on in the studio and get something done at the same time instead. The boys can use the bed in there as a couch for their t.v. viewing but William wouldn't hang out in there with it on all the time like he can in the living room. We might spend more time reading or talking or eating around the table without the BIG screen. Although, it's awfully nice to have it's comforting flicker in the dark of winter, the modern day equivalent of all gathering around a cheery hearth while the winter winds blow cold outside in days of yore. I'm more annoyed at the timing then the fact that the t.v. is going out. I wish this was happening in the spring. Who needs television in the summer, eh? Anyhoo, I'm mulling over my options here.

In the meantime, I said I'd show you my newest book finds. My best bargain yet - ten cents a book.

As you can see, there are quite a few old classics in the mix. One of my reading goals this year was to read some more classics that I hadn't yet read. I was further inspired this summer when I discovered so many fascinating old books in the local library booksale. From another angle, my new Francophile hat (chapeau?) has me interested in reading books written by or about many of the old Bohemian writers and artists who gathered together in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century Paris.

Last year I discovered the pleasures of rereading old favorites and bemoaned the fact that it substantially expanded my Books to Read list. This year my new love affair with old literature has done the same thing - blown the roof off my architecturally sized TBR piles.

Waiting in the wings and making occasional appearances on stage are new intrigues - books about people and times even farther back in history or in other parts of the world. Travel books. Making a comeback after a ten year hiatus, nonfiction. Children's literature has always hovered around the edges of my interest. Young adult books frequently are my choice of reading material.

No television to distract me is sounding like a better idea all the time.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

New Old Things

I went on a huge out-of-town thrift store treasure hunt on Thursday. It was fun. I put up photos of the paintings and art treasures I bought over on my Studio blog and I'm putting up photos of the furniture here. But first, a couple of scarves.

This is what happens when you're your own photographer. This scarf is big and heavy. I think it's a wool blend. It has fringe, which didn't make it in the photo. It's really not meant to be worn with just a tee, but over a big winter coat.

Yes, this photo is upside down. I don't care enough to turn it around. It's just to show you the scarf. It's double sided. I bet Jaye would like this scarf.

This isn't a new old thing, it's a new new thing. It's the lamp I bought on clearance at the furniture store last week. I liked the odd tall slenderness of it. It was marked down because the lamp shade was dirty on the bottom. I think I can clean it off. If not, I'll just add some lace or dangly beads. Hmmm, I might add dangly beads or fringe anyway.

Right after I took the photo of the lamp that showed the unfinished light switch, I put my new switchplate on. Shabby chic, oui?

Here's the first thrift store furniture find. I'm not sure of it's original purpose. Jeff said for stacked wood but it's not wide enough for that. I think it was either for stacking magazines or newspapers in or it could have had a fabric bag that went over the top of the frame and held laundry. I'm thinking I'll either use it for magazines OR folded towels in the bathroom OR fabric in the studio.

This is an oak table, weighs about as much as a Volkswagon Bug. It's HEAVY. In really good shape except it could use a light sanding on top. The "scratches" you can see if you open the photo are just blue paint that will wash off, from being pushed against another piece of furniture in my car. And there's also one small gouge on top, again from being pushed, this time against the cement of the loading dock. I didn't have any control over it, it happened before I could squeak or protest. A little wood putty and stain will hide it. But still, at $20, it's a steal. I have NO idea where I'm going to use it. It's sits too low to use with my dining room chairs. Maybe in my next house.

Here's where the blue paint came from, this adorable little desk. The drawer opens up. The little cabinet next to it is in a high gloss black paint and I might use it as a side table or maybe in a bathroom. $10 and $5 respectively. You see why I had to buy these items, even if they weren't practically giving them away, they're so cute!

Last but not least, I bought this yesterday here in town at our local thrift store. They're covered in dust so you can't see that the surface is in good shape. Not perfect shape, but nothing that screams to be fixed. The mirror frame (sans mirror, which just fits into the front) attaches to the back and has a beautiful curved bottom to it that isn't in view. It needs new hardware and the seat needs new fabric. But it's all solid wood with all the carved trim intact. What era is it from - 1920's? 1940's? It was $35. No, I don't know where I'm going to use this either. Oh, and the little picture was $1. The glass wasn't broken when I bought it - I did that by dropping it. Dang.

I love my new pieces but now I need to stay home for a bit and deal with my mess. I've got a front lawn full of furniture and no place for it in the house yet and no room to store it in the garage without putting some muscle into moving lawn mowers and piles of auto supplies. Ugh. But rain is in the forecast (Thank you PTB for not raining last night!!!) so there's nothing for it but to get busy today, sore muscles or not.

I bought more - some dishes, decorative items, miscellaneous that falls in between the furniture and art. If I don't get distracted, I'll post more photos another day. I'll definitely post the great book finds I bought. In the meantime, click on over to Laume's Studio to see my pretty art pieces.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Morning After

No, I wasn't out drinking. I wasn't on a giant capsized ship either. (I think you have to be fairly old to get that last reference.) I was, however, out shopping. All day yesterday. Shopped until there were no more stores open (well, it was Reno, so I could have found something all night long if I'd wanted but I meant there were no regular shops still open), till my eyes were cross-eyed and my feet were sore. With the price of gas these days, I wanted to get everything I needed to get done done on my two hundred mile round trip big city shopping trip in one run. So that was part of it.

The other part was eating my leftovers at 2 am because I suddenly realized I was hungry after having gone all day with nothing but snacks and coffee. I'm finally starting to get the connection - eating heavy late at night usually ends up being a bad thing. I was also dehyrdrated, so I drank a bunch of tea, but that wasn't the problem.

But mostly it was my age. Menopause, or peri-menopause, or whatever we're calling it these days but referring to the months, nay years, that lead up to the end of our fertility, has been relatively kind to me. More a collection of annoyances than anything. But every once in a while it throws a whammy my way. An anxiety attack. A case of midlife acne. The whole "guess when your period is gonna start or stop - yes, no, yes, maybe, no, almost, no, yes" followed by a crazed clown's evil laugh is probably the worse. Lately I've been having a lot of nightly hot flashes again after I thought they were a thing of the past. My body thermostat is pushed all the way to high and stuck there. I mean, sure, it saves on heating to be able to happily wear tank tops in November but my family shivers under blankets and gives me those Puss in Boots (aka Antonio Banderas) sad eyes in an effort to find a drop of pity in me to turn up the real thermostat, the one on the wall in our house. Hey, they'd probably be happy if I just shut the doors and windows.

I woke up this morning feeling like I'd been put through a commercial washer and dryer and climbed out bruised, hot, and exhausted. I ache all over. My bones and muscles are stiff and sore. In particular I think I have some arthritis in the middle of my back that's been acting up.
My head feels heavy and a headache is looming. My stomach isn't sure whether it wants to try food again any time soon. My sinuses are threatening to fill up. My skin feels like it's been sprayed with a fine layer of spray starch from night sweats. And no uninterupted sleep makes my thoughts feel wrapped in wool batting.

On top of all that, I'm probably fighting off that cold bug that Jeff was giving asylum for the last month or so.


But a cup of coffee and a shower will probably help. Moving my muscles and warming them up. Maybe even pop an ibuprofen or two. This too shall pass.

If you want to hear more about the shopping spree, I posted about it in greater detail on Laume's Studio. It was hard work, but somebody has to do it. Snort. Okay, so it was also fun. But I really did do some necessary shopping as well. Hubby asked me to get him some black turtlenecks to wear under his uniform. Apparently they went out of style soon after the Beatnik era. Do you know how hard it is to find black turtlenecks!? I'll be back later, after that shower and unpacking, with photos either here or there.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Little Bit More Football

Tonight was William's awards ceremony.

Here are a bunch of the team. They called each kid's name and they went up, shook hands with the coaches, got those little certificates they're all holding, and stood up on stage until everyone's name was called. They were supposed to dress up for the occasion. Most of the kids took a "Define 'up' " attitude toward the request. As you can see William, in the black t-shirt, didn't get the memo at all.

It was even worse when we first arrived. He was wearing a white t-shirt with a giant hole in the side. I mean giant. You could have passed a small pig through it. I hadn't noticed until we walked into the brightly lit auditorium. He'd worn it to school all day and hadn't once noticed the extra "air conditioning". He asked his dad to run him home to change and still he only managed to upgrade to a complete t-shirt. Sheesh.

Last year William was one of a handful of kids to get extra recognition and a trophy. The coaches voted him "Best Lineman". This year the coaches had the players vote and William won another big ol' trophy, again for "MVP - Lineman". He tried to race up and back to his seat quickly but at least he remembered to shake the coaches hands this year (he forgot last year). I yelled for him to pause so I could snap this photo first.

It was the last trophy left on the table. Before announcing his name the coaches said lots of nice things about how this player was a "fine young man" and "will do anything you ask him to do" and "always puts 100% in everything you ask of him" and stuff like that. I teased William afterwards, saying that when I heard all those great things I thought "Well, I guess William's not getting a trophy this year!". I mean, at home if I ask him to take out the compost I practically need the United Nations behind me to convince him it's a reasonable request.

Nah, I know he's a good kid. A great kid. (although it's true it's like pulling teeth to get him to do his chores.) I think it's really cool that he was recognized by both his coaches and his team members. I'm a proud mama.

He's got a little (little!?) football shrine in his bedroom. I told him if he keeps this up we'll have to buy him a larger shelf to hold all his awards.

Monday, November 12, 2007

November Mood

Where October is all about the last hurrah of nature - colorful garden harvests and foliage in vibrant oranges, reds and yellows, November to me is all about monochrome. The warm blankets of snow, the colorful holiday displays haven't arrived (well, mostly - someone down the street already have their house decked out in twinkling lights!), pushing away the winter dark and gloom yet. The landscape is stripped bare, simple, quiet and reflective.

Today I took some photos of an old, overgrown yard around the corner and down the block from our house. Although I know someone lives there, I've NEVER seen a person or a vehicle or a light at the place. It's more like a friendly little ghost lady house.

We had a big ol' flag flying today. This house put up a smaller, quieter, but equally heartfelt tribute to the veterans.

This is what caused me to stop to take the photos. I loved the golden apples clinging to the bare branches, like natural ornaments already decorating the tree.

You might see it better if you double click to open the photo, the yellow really stood out against the gray November sky.

Just under the apple tree, in a carpet of fallen apples, was this.... wood "burl" of some sort.

A little farther back, quail pattered about in search of dinner. I used a telephoto lens but before I could snap the picture they had noticed me. "If we stay completely still, she won't see us and she'll go away." It was as if we were playing Red Light Green Light. I turned the camera at them and they FROZE. They did a pretty good job of looking like scattered rocks.

Speaking of wildlife, last night when I was going out to my car, a car turning around the corner caught two deer who were standing in the road just a few yards away in it's headlights. As I got in my car, continuing to watch the scene, the car came to a halt and the driver honked his horn at the deer. Do you have much experience with neighborhood deer? Well, here's the thing. They don't really percieve cars as "beings". People, yes. They'll watch people or dogs and if you get too close, they'll move off. But cars are just moving rocks to them. Honking at a deer to make it move isn't much more helpful than honking at a tree and expecting it to move. Clearly this driver was either new to the area or completely non-observant. The honking continued all the while I got in my seat, put on my seat belt, and started my car. By the time I'd turned onto the road the driver in the other car finally decided to do what was the logical thing he should have done in the first place, he slowly eased his car around the deer, who watched the car go by without so much as a flip of a tail or a nervous twitch.

Last night was the kind of cold, clear, November night that makes the stars sparkle like holiday lights. I took Rosie out late so she could pee one more time before we went to bed and while staring up at a few diehard leaves that glowed like ghostly handprints stamped against the dark skies, an owl hooted so loudly I jumped and startled. Another owl answered the first and I realized they were across the street in a small copse of firs. We went back inside but even with the windows shut, the curtains drawn, and the sound of the wall furnace going off and on, the owls were loud enough to wake me up all night long. I don't know what was going on but it must have been some owl party!

I went window shopping today to get some decorating inspiration and some holiday ideas. If you'd like to see some of the lovely displays I photographed, check them out on Laume's Studio.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Odd Little Things

I have lists. Generally I just juggle them in my head, no pen and paper involved. I can remember that today I want to finish packing up the sorted video tapes, write some blog posts, go to Walmart for black plastic bags, the supermarket for groceries, pack up some Halloween decorations, give Charlie his pills, and work on cleaning up the studio some more. But if they're big lists or important lists or I'm just starting to feel overwhelmed, I write them down. I have grocery lists and holiday to-do lists and creative to-do lists and packing for a trip lists and books to read lists and on and on.

But then there are those ideas or projects that are so tiny and fleeting that I never remember to write them down. In fact it would seem silly to write them down. Sometimes the idea wanders through my head and I just watch it, like I'd watch a deer walking across the road at dusk. Oh, how pretty. That's nice. I let it pass by unnoticed. No, a deer is too big. Maybe they're like little bunnies. Cute but innocuous. (unless they eat your garden greens down to tiny stubs of course) It doesn't really matter if I remember them. Sometimes though these thoughts are like an intermittent problem, like a hole in your shoe or a leak in your roof - you don't remember at all until the next time it rains. They're important but...

And so I don't remember to check for that book at the bookstore unless I happen to drive by the bookstore. I don't remember I wanted to pick some autumn leaves until I'm bagging up all the soggy, color drained ones from my yard. My timing drives me nuts. I know there are things I need to do that I can only do on this side of town or when I'm in Reno or only before 8 p.m. and I never remember those things until I'm back on the other side of town or I'm already driving back home from Reno or after 9 p.m.

This morning I had a whole herd of this sort of thing pass through my consciousness and so I thought I'd try to fence them in by writing a list. The irony of course is that the list won't include all those thoughts that are so far off the radar right now as to not register. So it's not a real useful list. But it might be entertaining at some point in the future to look back and see what sort of Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontails were hopping around my brain.

Things to Remember
  1. Rent Chariots of Fire so I can see the scene where they run up Arthur's Seat
  2. call my sister before it's too late in her time zone
  3. buy some new switchplates for the living room
  4. find a new sugar bowl (old sugar bowl dropped out of the cabinet breaking both itself and the plate it landed on)
  5. Burn some of the boxes sitting outside in the driveway (they've been rained on and aren't worth saving)
  6. check what the monthly interest amount is paid down to on our property
  7. uhm..........
See! I already forgot the rest of them. They won't stop hopping long enough for me to remember them. Oh well. I've certainly got enough to do just choosing between tasks that I haven't forgotten about.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Feeling Scarfy

Halloween, Samhain, and Dia de Los Muertos are over, although my decorations are still up. Thanksgiving is happening at my son's house this year. Yule and Christmas are much too far away to start decorating for. So I'm stuck inbetween holiday seasons. Instead of holidays, I'm thinking of travel again even though, alas, our plans to travel this spring have been postponed due to an overabundance of miscellaneous spending and unexpected car expenses. We want to get back to a debt free space before piling more debt on our cards. I know, very unAmerican of us.

I'm not disappointed about it though. Instead it's making me feel more determined and inspired to make it happen. And it coincides nicely with my determination to buy less (due to not only expense but clutter issues) and spend more time creating instead of consuming. I've done a bit of window shopping to see what sort of holiday decorating the stores have up already but I haven't wanted to buy anything. Instead I'm thinking of how much my style has changed over the years and how I want to dig out all my decoration boxes and reduce it down.

Oh, not true. I'm lying. Not on purpose, I just forgot. I bought some giant candy canes at the dollar store as over the years we have lost some of the ones we already have and I know from past experience that these things are snapped up quickly. And I also found a bag of little treasures at the thrift store this afternoon but I don't really count second hand purchases. I know, they still take up space. But since I didn't buy them new, it's easier to use 'em or lose'em without feeling I need to keep them because I spent money on them. Does anyone else have any of these wierd little "rules" - kinda like the diet rules - if you eat it standing up, it has no calories - that sort of thing? (You can see the thrift store finds if you want over at Laume's Studio.)

Still, budgeting or not, we tried the new French restaurant in town last night. Yes, you heard me. Podunksylvania has its very own French restaurant now. First a French decor boutique, then an English tea room and now a French restaurant. I'm loving it although I'm also wondering when it's all going to go out of business and we'll be back to nothing but Walmart and burgers and fries in this small western town.

I found out that the reason we have a French restaurant in town is because a Parisian chef found his way to San Francisco where he owns and serves up $100 plate cuisine and then, it's a small world after all, met and fell in love with a local girl. So Yah for us!

We pretended to be somewhere European. I wore one of the dozen new scarves I brought home last week. Oh, yeah, did I forget to mention that? Apparently people buy or are gifted with beautiful scarves and then, because they don't wear them, purge their wardrobes. I just discovered they all end up at thrift shops. I loved the ease of scarves for both warmth and wardrobe spiffing even before my visit to Paris but I can't pretend that the french scarf habit isn't factored in now to my love of scarves. Last week they had a $1 a bag sale and I brought home all sorts of pretty new ones. But I digress. I tossed on a scarf, a pretty sweater, a hat, my black windbreaker that has really been to Paris with me, and off we went.

The food was really good, the service was fine. We'd just bought and watched (I rewatched) Ratatouille so of course there were jokes about rats in the kitchen. It was really cute because although the cuisine was definitely first rate, the "ambience" was Paris sophistication meets Cowboy hometown. The young guy who was our waiter tried to pronounce the specials, counted heavily on us not knowing how the words sounded either, inserted a knowing nod of his head and a "It's very good" when he couldn't think of anything else to say and finally he gave up being fancy schmancy to comment that he knew hubby and son from the local gym. The best part of the evening though was that William was really chatty and animated, enjoying all the pretending and reminiscing about his world travels. It was a bit pricey, but it was worth it for such a nice evening as a family.

More French dreaming, look what I found at the local market.

Although I love what I call "Paris shabby chic", I've always considered scattering Eiffel Towers around one's home as sort of a cheat way of decorating. They're very popular nowadays. You can find them as paperweights, garden sculptures, bookends, on the face of clocks, and of course posters galore. I've deliberately avoided bringing any of them home, the only Eiffel Tower in my house is the tiny one we hung on the tree last year. No, two we hung on the tree, a friend bought me a second one. But I couldn't resist this one. It was filled with yummy peppers and was discounted so they cost no more than a regular jar of 'em. And while I'm mentioning things I found at the grocery store....

Okay, I know it's really just like adding flax to the recipe - it's a roughage thing. But still, they've got to know people would do a double take and maybe buy it just because it's, well, funny. Not that it was anything I used to do back in the 70's but hey, I did live in the San Francisco Bay area so I knew lots of people who baked .... uhm.... enhanced chocolate brownies on a regular basis. Groovy, man.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Bookish Musings

I found this Meme over on Deb's Red Shoe Ramblings and decided, since I was feeling lazy about blogging and feeling bookish, this would be a good solution. I'm going to answer the questions first before I go back and read what Deb says, because sometimes we do that twin thought thing and I don't want to be influenced by her answers first.

1. Hardcover or paperback, and why?

I love the idea of of a hardcover. It feels more "bookish". Some books I read over and over again and a hardcover is necessary to hold up to the wear and tear. But honestly, sometimes hardcovers are heavy and more importantly, BIG. They look more intellectually impressive but they take up more space on the bookshelves. So except for occasional special books, or special circumstances (if I find a hardcover on sale below paperback price, used, or at a thrift store), I'll buy paperback. I like trade paperback prices better, but for reading, I like the size and feel of the larger quality paperbacks.

2. If I were to own a book shop I would call it…

Hmmmm. I'm surprised to discover I've never pondered this before. I've considered names for farms or retreat centers and also quilt stores. I've never thought of what I'd name an antique store, health food store, or bookstore, although I've considered owning the latter three as well. So, with just a few minutes of consideration - maybe The Book Corner. Because I always think of curling up in a cozy corner with a book. Of course I'd have to have my store on a corner then. Or maybe Rainy Day Books. Same reason - what's better on a rainy day than a hot cup of tea, a cozy corner, and a book. I have a character in one of my novel ideas that owns a bookstore - that might be a good name for it. Or how 'bout something a little goofy like Between the Covers. Nah, I might get people looking for different sorts of pleasures. Dang, now I'm gonna have this idea bouncing around in my head for years. Until I come up with something perfect.

3. My favorite quote from a book (mention the title) is…

I have a lot of quotes I love but the one that came to mind first is a recent read. If you've read the book, you'll remember this line in it. If you haven't, well, I don't want to spoil it for you.


4. The author (alive or deceased) I would love to have lunch with would be …

Oh gee, there are so many I'd love to meet and even better if I could pick their brains about process and inspiration and... oh, how to choose! Shakespeare. Or if we aren't bringing anyone back from the grave, then Laura and Joshilyn and Lydia and... and... I'm sure I'm probably missing a blogging buddy but - wouldn't that be awesome to all get together. I suspect that intellectual discourse would quickly slide into silliness, mojitos, and way too much chocolate but it would still be the best time ever.

5. If I was going to a deserted island and could only bring one book, except from the SAS survival guide, it would be…

Awww, man! That's too hard. Can it be a book series? Then I'd probably choose the seven Harry Potter books. Because the characters seem like real people to me so maybe I wouldn't feel so all alone. If I truly could only bring one book than maybe it would be something in another language so I could spend hours and hours trying to master the language. Something I hadn't read before but something long and poetic.

6. I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that…..

Lit pages on a book better than a booklight. Or oh! No! I know what I'd love - something that would allow me reference access when I get lost. For instance, the murder mystery I'm reading now has a lot of suspects that have only been mentioned on one or two pages. A name popped back up twenty or forty pages later, and left me thinking "Which character was that again?" I really couldn't remember and it bugged me so much I flipped back through the book until I found the name and refreshed my memory. It doesn't happen every book, and it's usually not caused by poor writing but by too long a gap between reading sessions or from reading when I'm too tired. Sometimes it happens when I'm reading a series and a lot of time goes by between books and I can't remember the back story. Then I have to go back to the previous book and scan the story. Of course this only works if I still have the previous book in my possession. (one reason I like to own series rather than borrow them from the library) It happens often enough that it would be nice to just be able to, oh, scan the name with some sort of computerized pen and have the other pages the name is on listed.

7. The smell of an old book reminds me of…

My childhood, my grandmother's books, libraries, wizards.

8. If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title), it would be…

Another tough question. A lot of my favorite characters lead dangerous, difficult, or lonely lives which is, of course, part of what makes them fascinating characters. Characters from one of my favorite fantasy or mystery series get to meet cool supernatural beings or visit exotic places but it would be a lot less fun to find all those corpses or get beat up, chased, or almost killed than it is to read about it. I wouldn't want to be Harry, but I'd like to be Hermione. Maybe Grannyweatherwax - although I'm not in a hurry to be any older than I already am!

9. The most overestimated book of all time is…

Not sure what is meant by "overestimated". Do you mean overly acclaimed? I don't know. I can't think of any specific novel. I can think of several movies. I know The Atkin's Diet is a book and I've just given up trying to explain the difference between a good carb and a bad carb to the Atkin's Cult people. I guess I should mention The Bible. Although it's arguably influenced more people throughout history than any other one book, and it's a useful and comforting guide to many, it's also been misinterpreted or misused by a great number of people with grave results.

10. I hate it when a book….

has a character act out of character to force the plot forward. When I get to know and love a character, particularly one that I've been through more than one book with, I know when a character is being "used" and it's hard to move past that.

Okay, now I'm off to read what Deb said in her list. If you play, please let me know and I'll come read your list too.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Great ReDo - Before and After Photos

I've been posting for six months about my ongoing painting and decorating projects. I'm still not done, but I've got the bulk of the work completed in the living room and dining room. Everything was clean and decorated for Halloween. Not perfectly mind you. There are boxes hiding around the corner in the hallway. The shelves and desk aren't cleaned off in the dining room yet. But I've decided that this is about as close to perfect as it's likely to get for a very long time. So it's time to show you some before and after photos.

Here's the dining room Before photo. The wall in the back is the family office and music center. Originally only the low shelf from under the window and the desk were supposed stay in the room, against that back wall, and of course the table. Things didn't work out that way but eventually the office will be in what's now William's room, so this is good enough for the time being.

Here's two After photos. The glass fronted cabinet that was in the living room ended up in here and I think it's more of a dining room piece anyway, so that worked out well. Eventually the desk and small shelf under the window will be gone. The desk and shelves are still a mess, but they're in the spot they'll stay. The walls are now clean and green but I still have to paint the ceiling in here.

And there are new drapes. Again, not the ones I'd planned for here. These were going to hide some shelves that are now where the woodstove used to be and what will ultimately become a closet again (it was a closet before the original owners put in the woodstove). But they looked better in here and toned down the green. You can't tell in the photo (maybe if you click to enlarge it) but the drapes have brown, tan, and green polka dots on them.

And now, on to the living room. Here are some Before photos. Again, things didn't go exactly as planned. Some ideas didn't work as I'd thought they would and on occasion plans took an unexpected but better turn. Compromises had to be made and ultimately I decided I'd rather sacrifice some of my original intent, making things more spacious and open, for a look that was cozy and busier but met the real needs of our family for seating and use. After all, a living room is first and foremost a place for living in, not a museum room to show off to others.

The end result (and there's still a bit of tweaking to do, as well as decorating - much of the decorating in the photos are Halloween vignettes) isn't what I had in mind when I started. I kept judging my choices against the "ambience" I wanted however, and I think the results have the look, feel and mood I wanted.

In the photo above, the old couch, drapes (although I like those drapes and plan on hemming and using them again, maybe for summer), rug, and lamps are visible. Notice the book shelf along the top of the wall.

Here you can see the built in white shelving that ran the length of the opposite wall as well as half the built in shelves near the fireplace.

Here's a view that shows the rest of the shelves on the fireplace wall.

And now for some After Photos.

A new couch. No built in shelves left but on the back wall is one of the two new glass fronted bookcases. A coffee table has been added. And a new lamp. The upholstery fabric on the furniture is all just tucked in for now. Eventually I want to cut it to fit. Oh, new drapes too. I bought two velour blanket throws (total - $14) to make do until I hemmed the old drapes but I like them so much they will stay up all winter. They look like velvet! When I say new by the way, I mean new-to-me. The fabric and "drapes" I bought new, but the rest is all from antique or thrift stores. I tallied it all up in my head quickly a few weeks ago and figured the changes - couch, love seat, bookcases (not counting the cream colored cabinet I already owned), coffee table, upholstery fabric, drapery (for both rooms), paint (for both rooms), lamps, and miscellaneous (painting supplies, hardware and wall plates), the two upgraded rooms cost around a thousand dollars.

Like that HGTV show, what's it called, Design on a Dime? Except without the cute, young carpenters and saucy interior designers to give me a hand. Well, I did have my son Sam help me with a couple of things - he's a cute, young carpenter. And hubby grumbled his way through helping remove some old wall heaters and painting half a ceiling. I didn't get much help but I'm feeling sort of smug about that actually.

The chair in the back is my green chair with the fabric I was going to use on the loveseat on it. I like the green on the loveseat better and the bright circles on the chair. I thought I'd bought one upholstery fabric too many but it turned out I used it all. There in the corner is the globe lamp I (and Sam) made and you can see there are no shelves on the wall that the entertainment cabinet is on. My stepdad made that cabinet by the way, isn't it nice! Eventually when our old big screen television (which my folks also gave us) gives up the ghost, we'll buy a flat widescreen television for the wall and I hope to use this large cabinet as a armoire in the bedroom or studio. I was originally going to paint the fireplace bricks white but I ended up with no white furniture so I'm glad I waited. The dark bricks need a good scrubbing, but they fit the room better.

Here's the rest of that wall. I didn't get a photo of it all in one. The small cabinet (VHS tape and DVD storage) on the end of the wall might stay or it might switch places with a taller cabinet from the studio. I have to move the tall cabinet out of the studio regardless, so it will come in here and audition. If it works, I can move the small cabinet into the studio. If it's too big, the small cabinet will stay here and the tall cabinet will get stored in the garage for now. That odd three ringed thing on the corner of the wall is our ugly but well loved cat tower.

One last photo that shows the other end of the front wall with the front door, another "new" antique blanket cabinet, my favorite maple display shelf (used to be my mother's), another view of the new rug, and the other bookcase. I was originally bummed to move the cream colored cabinet off of the brown wall into the dining room, but I really like this too, so all's well. I painted the long shelf above the door white.

Oh, I guess one more photo, straight on from standing on the fireplace hearth. I think if you click on this one you can see the pattern on the couch fabric really nicely. The dark space to the right of the tree is a green drapery (originally purchased for the dining room window but better here) and behind it is an opened corner space that used to house the woodstove. Eventually it will be turned back into a closet but for now it has two shelves and stores larger books and our music CD's and Cassettes.

The Halloween decorations will come down now and I'll switch them directly for Yule decor. After the winter holidays I'll finally dig through the boxed knick knacks and stacked photos (those boxes I mentioned were still hiding from my camera in the hallway) and see what will come back in the room. The longer it stays packed, the easier it will be to get rid of excess I don't really want anymore.

That's it for now. I have more rooms to tackle and more stuff to sort. I wish it was all over and done with, I'm ready to spend my extra time on art or writing or just relaxing and enjoying my new space without guilt that I should be doing something else. But I'm happy with what I've accomplished so far. So, what do you think?

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

A Handful of Farewells

Early Thursday morning Lisa and Joli packed the car and left. They were happy about the thought of getting home to their own beds and pets and of course the arrival home of DADDY, but it was still hard to see them leave. The house was so quiet without Joli's constant singing and chittering. But I can't be too sad as they'll be back soon for the winter holidays and I don't have much time to get the Halloween decorations down and try to be more organized for this next round of celebrations. I'll have to be more organized as I'll have not just Lisa and Joli but a whole house full of kids and grandkids. Where are we gonna put everyone!? I don't really know, but what a nice problem to have - a house overflowing with loved ones.

And speaking of Halloween decorations coming down, farewell to the pumpkins, skeletons, candy and everything spooky and haunting. Well, most of it anyway. Some of my witches, which I don't really think of as being specifically Halloween themed as witches celebrate year round, will stay up.

I started out at the beginning of last month so stressed about getting everything done, not having finished putting things back in order from the painting and remodeling, but it turned out, with lots of help and enthusiastic support from Lisa, to be a wonderful month of holiday fun. I still have plenty left to do, but except for a needing to switch a dresser and cabinet around in two rooms, the rearranging part is done. If I don't get distracted (snort! fat chance) I should be in a lot better shape to get organized for December. Thanksgiving is already taken care of as Sam plans to host it at his new home.

Last but not least, last night was a farewell - William's last football game of the season. It's been a season full of drama. We lost a lot of important players from last year before the season even began due to a variety of circumstances and we lost even more to injuries and bad grades as the season progressed, including our star quarterback (torn knee ligaments and a cracked femur!) and William's best buddy on the team (grades - tsk, tsk, tsk James! William's grades are passable but could be better too. Maybe I'll start having study dates for them at my house.)

We had a lot of away games this year, which is tough because there's so much long distance traveling involved, and we also played a lot of teams that were in higher divisions, bigger schools with larger teams. We only won three games all season and yet the kids kept a positive attitude through it all. William's position was changed several times and then with the shrinking roster, he ended up playing multiple positions.

Here's William (#66) last night going out as one of the Team Captains. It's an honor to be chosen. They go out for the coin toss and shake hands with the Team Captains from the opposing team. He was selected three times. They don't know they're selected until right before the game starts so we don't know ahead of time. The first time I got chatting with some other parents and didn't see him go out. The second time I was late and didn't get to the field until about 30 seconds into the first quarter. So he was happy I got to see him go out this last game.

He also plays offense, special teams... I guess it's easier to just say he doesn't leave the field except for a few extra point kicks and I don't even think he came out for those last night. Here he is on the offensive line.

They line up all still and then SNAP! BLUR! Watch carefully or you'll lose track of where the ball goes. Even when you concentrate, sometimes they do such a good job of faking the ball that you follow the wrong guy. Along with watching the ball, I have to watch William too. It's easier on defensive plays because William's job is to tackle the guy with the ball so they're usually close to each other. In the photo below William is the last purple blur to the right.

Last night William got quite a few good tackles (but he complained he didn't get one last sack - what a spoiled boy!) and it was made even more confusing by the fact that the other team's star player and ball carrier was a kid with our same last name! So several time over the loudspeaker you heard the announcer say that the person who RAN the ball was tackled by, uhm, HIMSELF? Everyone was very entertained by that. But coaches on BOTH sides of the field kept yelling out to "him" and you could see William looking around confused, not sure when he was supposed to pay attention to the call and when it was the other kid they were calling for.

In the end, the score was 21-6. Here are the kids after the coach's last talk to them, raising their helmets together for the last time. Tired, dirty, and ecstatic to end the season on a win.

Here's William leaving for the locker room and showers. He walked away a JC player and when he came back out he was, yes cleaner but, more importantly, officially now a varsity player.

I love football season but with all the away games this year, I admit to being happy for the season's end. But wait....

William announced on the way home that he's decided to be on the wrestling team. Which starts immediately.

Uhm. Hurrah? (of course hurrah, but give me a bit of time to adjust to the news, okay?)

One more thing before I dash off to get aforementioned football star a photo album for a school project. After the game we went to Sam's house and we all played on his new video game - Guitar Hero. I'm not at all into video games but Oh. My. Gawd! SO FUN! Rock out! You gotta try this! Of course Sam was wailing away on the DIFFICULT setting and after a few songs William had totally mastered the EASY setting while I was still struggling to hit all the notes but hey, at least I beat the pants off hubby who took a deep blow to his air guitar reputation. Snicker.