Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Weekend----Or maybe I should call it a memorable weekend? After all the excitement of the past two days, today is an anticlimax.

On Saturday, I was suppose to have two nieces here at 8:30. Their mom had to work and their dad had an open house. Okay--psyched myself up to do this even though I'd rather have gone to my niece, Mariah's Confirmation. At 4 AM, the day hit the skids into "Brace yourself, Houston, we have a problem." My niece, Sarah, had gone to the hospital to have baby #3. Okay. . . so I woke up not to two nieces but two nephews and a niece. At 7 AM. (Is it Monday yet?)

So---due to the unexpected, we had no suitable breakfast in the house. Sent Mom to the store while I took Drew, 2, Kris, 4 and Taylor, 4, next door to jump on the giant trampoline. We were so involved when Miah got up and joined us. The raisin bran arrived and we trooped next door. Wondered, in the space infintisimal seconds when I could think, where the first two nieces were. They arrived about noon so we joined, Stephi, 4 and Sammi, 3 to the mix. (Are we having FUN yet?) Another couple of hours and Mariah, 7, arrived after her big morning. If you are keeping score, that's five kids UNDER five and two over. Before long, Jarrod, finished watching cartoons and came out. We got out the slip and slide--the kids got wet, they got cranky, they ran in eight different directions.
Eventually, I escaped to the store for lunch--chicken nuggets and popsicles. The kids had a nice picnic outside and Drew fell asleep. Josh came by for Stephi and Sammi and the kid count dwindled. Later that evening, we had a mini-party for Mariah's Confirmation--cake, balloons and ice cream cups. Since I got out of shopping for the BIG EVENT on Sunday, I didn't mind.
Except by the time I got to bed I realized the only time I sat down all day was to drive to the store for the chicken nuggets. My feet felt like they'd grown rocks.
For weeks we'd been trying to plan a family May crowning (Catholic event to honor God's Mother) and since you have to feed people when they drive all this way---a cookout. After Saturday, all I wanted to do was sit, but it didn't turn out too badly.
I lost count of the people who came but we had a crowd. We'd decided to do most of the socializing next door at Sister #2's house--so all the food, the grills, the MESS, were centered over there. Some of the teenaged cousins did slip over her to play Monopoly at the kitchen table away from the baby element. And I did have one scary moment when someone opened my bedroom door and let my most skiddish cat out! (She's mostly a bedroom, one person cat. Doesn't like people, noise or leaving her comfort zone. Why she left the room is beyond my mental capabilities.)
Later in the day, some of us gravitated over here. The little girl cousins formed a club called "The Pinks." All small boy cousins who wanted to play were given girl names. (I am so not going there! They were quiet!) They wanted to create M and M people on the computer so I let that go on for a bit.
Then we trooped back to the "neighbor's" for a bonfire and s'mores. Miah and Anthony in the picture by the last hurrah of the night. The boys were thrilled to have two cousins over for the night. Mariah got a girl cousin to go home with her.
Monday, After doing two loads of wash and editing a bit, I am sitting in a QUIET, empty house wondering what to do with my holiday. Everyone else went swimming at Sister #3's. I am soooooooooo glad there wasn't room in the car for me! Happy Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I tried to come up with a classier title for this piece. Graduation goofs. Pomp and circumstances beyond control. But then I decided simple is best - yesterday was Tuesday and it turned out to be a weird day.

We didn't do school because Sister #2 came home early. Instead I spend the morning running errands with Mom. For about a week I'd hoped to get to Brad's, the biggest garden store, to search for herbs. They had some nice plants (owie prices) but I went ahead and splurged on thyme, sage, chocolate mint, spearmint and oregano. I use a lot of sage and oregano.

The vegetable flats were on sale for $10.99, so we got exotic things like red onions, habanero peppers, chocolate beauty peppers, celery, broccoli and beets. The boys grow the peppers to enter in the fair. I'm trying my hand at some container gardening this summer.

Got home and spent the rest of the afternoon working on various writing projects. Then it was time to go to Austin's graduation. For those of you who don't know him, Austin is my great nephew. He's Justi and Tim's son and is five years old. Kindergarden graduation.

There is something "off" about five year old graduating in the first place. I see it as some gigantic conspiracy with the cap and gown industry to get more dollars from what is probably not a best selling item. Not enough people graduating in May and June? Let's start a new trend---let the little people graduate too! Sometimes I wonder where this will lead. Graduating from 1st Grade? Second? Preschool?

The graduation took place an hour away so I left in plenty of time - I thought. (Always a sure indication you haven't left soon enough.) Scrambling though town I searched in vain for a gas station where the gas was less than $3.49 a gallon---angry at myself for not filling up that morning at $3.15.

My directions were to go to the OLD high school which was now the NEW elementary school. It was the high school were several of my nieces and nephews graduated. Okay, I could find it. I thought. The OLD high school was still---well, the OLD high school. I walked in on an Awards Ceremony (what a heck of a place to put a door!) and saw no five year olds. Outside, I grabbed a bystander and asked where the elementary school was located. The other side of town. (It's always the other side of town when you're in a hurry. )

I was already late but since it was a small town (only two stop lights), I managed to find the light, make a turn by the water company and did find the elementary school. The streets--all one way--were clogged with parked cars. I drove around the school twice, looking for somewhere to park and ended up turning illegally down a driveway and shooting across the soccer field to a clear patch of grass. It was a long walk back to the school and was now 7:15.

Figuring I'd missed most of the graduation, I hurried Mom along and we got to the gym. The old fashioned, un-air conditioned, pre-1950's gym and discovered we hadn't missed much but the incoming procession. There were 90! graduates. Being a great grandmother, Mom got to sit on the folding chairs for the elite guests. I stood near the door. I did try to get up on the bleachers but they were packed with wall to wall people and it was HOT! LIke people sweating and fanning themselves with programs hot.

I got there in time for the "musical" part of the program. The kids sang "Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue," while counting on their fingers. They did a cute version of "The knee bones connected to the. . . ." and two other garbled songs I couldn't understand a word of.

Then came the "diplomas." Each child's name was called and his or her teacher would squat down beside the child for a photo op. Some of the teachers were smarter than others in their clothing choices. Let's put it this way--you can see a LOT when someone is squatting on a stage.

After that they had a slide show---we waited and waited and waited--while the Power Point thing goofed up. Eventually they did get it running and we saw some cute pictures of a year in the life of a kindergarden class. (For sale at $7.00 bucks in the back of the gym.)

Despite the hassles, the little kids were cute in their caps (no gowns) and dress up clothes. The little girls wore their best dresses and some of the boys were in nice shirts, pants and ties. Sniff, they looked all of six or seven! How time flies. . . .

While I'd like to have a picture of Austin on this blog, I can't. When I got there I realized the batteries in my camera had died! The end to an imperfect day! Thankfully, his mom had bought a disposable camera for the ceremony.

I did hear some good news when I got home. My friend, Erica, is a finalist in the Genesis writing contest!!!!! Hooray, for her! I'm sure the competition was stiff so this is a great accomplishment. She won't know if she won the contest until later in the year. Finaling in the first round is a bit like winning the state beauty pageant and now she's going on to nationals---writing wise! Let's keep hoping for more good news!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Job Well Done

This morning I finished my first ever landscaping job for someone else. Hopefully, the picture does it justice. I had to stand sideways to get a full shot--the yard being very small and my back getting poked by a huge, prickly evergreen bush. The pictures show a slanted/sideways view. When I stood in front of the arbor it all looked straight and matched (even though the space was not a complete circle.)

It took less time than I anticipated. Going to find a Home Depot was the major challenge but once there I got a terrific bargain on the black satin mulch. Even brought home some mulch and flowers to spare for my garden. Guess what I'll be doing once it cools off here a bit?

Can rest tonight with the job behind me and extra cash in my pocket.

Sure will sleep better than last night when I had dreams about the work ahead. Dreamed I arrived and found huge slabs of rock all over the space and I had to clear them away. Got to it and dragged a half a ton of rock into a neat pile by the fence. Then I realized that the slow seepage under the rocks had sprung a giant leak and OH NO...the space under the rocks was a swimming pool sized HOLE filled with water and the ugliest giant carp I'd ever seen. No way could I empty the pool and harm that fish--even if he was scary.

But then, I turned around and found a small circle of dirt and I realized I had way too many flowers! I'm glad the reality came closer to the nice part of the dream. You can't see it all in the photo but there are a LOT of flowers in there--some hadn't bloomed yet. I'd like to see it once all the plants start blooming and spreading out.
As I was planting, a bright yellow butterfly flew in and landed on a purple flower. I can hear him going back to the other butterflies he knows, "Hey, guys, there's a new place to eat in the neighborhood."

Friday, May 11, 2007

Today was HOT! Think middle of summer heat and you'll have an idea. Today also begins the countdown. We now have only TWO MORE DAYS of LOL school before summer break. While there are some things I'll miss--lots of uninterrupted time to write, or read or hide somewhere in the car where NO ONE knows where I am--I will not miss the drive.

It's not an awful drive usually. There is plenty of time to think or sing or pray or listen to the boys chatter. It's just that sometimes it is VERY VERY LONG. LIke the afternoon Miah fell asleep on the way home with the Alabama tape doing repeat on one song, "I'm in a Hurry and Don't Know Why." It played over and over and over --54 times. Why didn't I pull over somewhere and shut the darned thing off? Well, I was in a hurry and don't know why....

Check out to see my article in the May issue, "History without a Book." It's about Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum in Michigan. My friend, Maribeth, also has a cool article on George Washington.

Looks like I'm about to succumb to another writing contest. Found out I still have time to enter Smartwriters again. I printed out the entry form tonight.

Recently received my crits back for The Sandy Writing Contest. I sent two chapter of "The Cattle Rustling Catastrophe" and a one page synopsis. Got some great advice from one judge on the synopsis. I hadn't realized I left the ending open ended so it seemed Jenny didn't save the day. I was grateful to know it appeared that way to a reader. It helped to know the synopsis needed to be fixed for the contest AND I had a revelation about the ending. Hadn't quite figured it all out yet. So now I know I have to put the bull named Beau in MORE and SOONER.
After my last post on 8 random facts about me, I realized there was a LOT OF GOOD STUFF I didn't use! Wanted to play again and again and again. I've been driving down the road things--why didn't I write THAT? That's so cool.
Several people have also asked about the fried green tomatoes. Kaye says she gets some at a restaurant and I'd LOVE to try those! Mine are pretty much from scratch---yup, I actually grow the things and pick them off the vine. Some stores in this area do sell green tomatoes once in awhile but not often.
Here is a generic recipe--adjust to your taste.
Green tomatoes,
flour (any kind or corn meal)
oil (I prefer Olive but anything will do.)
Slice the tomatoes, dip them WET into the flour--add a bit of salt and pepper to your flour to taste), fry them in the oil. You can fry until just tender and a golden brown on the edges or do the burnt variety---almost blackened and limp as squash. I like them both.
My favorite food to eat with green tomatoes is cole slaw--they just compliment one another. Now I'm hungry!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Today I got tagged by Erica at
Here are the rules to this game. . . .

1. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves
2. People who are tagged write a blog post about their own 8 random things and post these rules
3. At the end of your blog you need to tag 8 people and post their names
4. Don't forget to leave them a comment and tell them they're tagged, and to r ead your blog.
Okay, here's my random list.

a. I once got my foot caught in a cable car track at Disneyland.
b. I owe lots of vintage series books that girls read a LONG time ago--like The Little Colonel series and The Camp Fire Girls.
c. I have seen "Gone With The Wind," "The Sound of Music," and various other movies over one hundered times. I counted. I have also seen "101 Dalmations" and "Peter Pan" the original cartoons more than 500 hundred. After that I STOPPED counting.
d. My all time favorite food is fried green tomatoes.
e. One of my favorite things to do is enter sewing, flowers, photography and baked goods in the county and state fairs.
f. I have too many blue, red and white ribbons to count.
g. The first thing I ever had published was a letter to the editor denouncing the ERA.
h. I've made more than seven quilts.

Now I tag (If I KNOW 8 people)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Boing, boing, boing----the weather has finally warmed up here. We got up into the 80's today! I was actually HOT.

A few days ago, BIL #2 put up the giant trampoline given to the boys by BIL #1. It took a lot of stretching but they managed to get it attached to all the springs.

Miah and Taylor had fun bouncing up and down until they were dizzy. We put baby, Emma, on for a bit. She loved the motion and got quite brave at running from one side to the other, swaying like a

sailor at sea. MacKenzie, another baby cousin, got a big grin and cried when she had to get off.

Almost wish we still had the giant netting that goes around the trampoline--you could put the babies in there--big and small--and let them play!

School is almost OUT! When did that happen? And where did my lovely, long, hours of working go? Time to fashion a new routine for the summer with lots of porch swinging and ice cream.

We made our second trip to the garden store today. The boys got a flat of annuals to plant in their new gardens. I decided to go minimal and bought two carnations and a sweet scented mini rose named, "Cupcake." It's a pinkish yellow and cute as a baby rose!

The "Cookies and Milk" page is up today at: I did a craft idea and word scramble this month. The girls and I have decided to allow two to write big articles and one to do some smaller activity. Time to put on my crafting imagination and thing of other crafts. June is Mystery month because everyone loves a good mystery!