Thursday, October 30, 2008

where are the girls?

In case you missed it, here is a repeat of a previously posted photo--this time with a wee hint (click on the pic and look for the arrow...)

Perhaps you can spot Audrey in her new big girl bed in this one?

Or in this one?

This last one is easy on the eyes. No searching required.

What could be better than sisters playing happily together?

Monday, October 27, 2008

easy is for wimps

Thirty-one years ago tonight, Jack and I began our life together. Like most, if not all, couples, we've had our share of good times and hard times, treasured memories and events we would both probably like to forget. Right now, we are good together, even though we seem to be in yet another of those learning curve times. If a learning curve was defined as one of those old, round, metal spin-around toys at a playground, where kids get on and hold on as other kids spin it around, we would be taking turns doing the pushing and the falling off and barfing. Those playground times include lots of fun and laughter and an occasional scraped knee or tossed cookie. But usually, the good memories last and the painful memories eventually become the stuff of family urban legends.

In the tradition of many of the bloggers I follow, I will now list 31 things about Jack. I could post many more things, but, well, you know the drill--31 for the 31st anniversary.

1. Any time a mouse has moved its family someplace inside of our home, Jack has helped them all move out. Might not be a big deal to some, but it is HUGE! to me.
2. He is patient. More patient every day.
3. He builds beautiful pieces of furniture from wood--pieces of art that we use everyday in our home that in time will be his legacy, a reminder of the solid true man he is.
4. He knows about everything. If I ask a question, he knows the answer. Like the other day when I asked him which bullet would land farthest away, one shot by a rifle or one shot by a handgun and he said the rifle bullet would be farthest away but both bullets would land at the same time. I remember reading something about that from my few weeks in a physics class a couple of years ago, but until he told me that, I seriously thought it was one of those things I made up in a dream.
5. He is trying so hard to understand the constantly moving target that is me and my thoughts, emotions, and actions.
6. He introduced me to NASCAR and he understands how devastating it was to me when my favorite driver died.
7. He has become accustomed to my quirky style of decorating and definitely gave in when it came to paint colors, and even though he initially had concerns about my eclectic style of design, I think it is growing on him.
8. He said yes when I fell in love with our cabin property and begged him to agree to buy it.
9. He fathered the four most amazing people in my world.
10. He reminds me often that I was and continue to be a good mother.
11. He listens to me. and listens to me. and listens to me.
12. He may deny this, but I think he cares for my cats and our old collie, as long as she doesn't smell too doggy (and by doggy I mean--well, you can guess what I mean).
13. He is a good son and a great example to our boys of the way sons should care for their mother.
14. He has a huge, kind, tender heart.
15. He introduced me to white water rafting.
16. He appreciates and encourages my love of gardens.
17. He is a good son-in-law. He may not agree with my parents, but he still respects that they are my parents and understands the importance of ongoing, multi-generational, family relationships.
18. He bought my Scion for me on Valentine's Day and yes, there was a big white bow with little red hearts on the top of the car.
19. He is funny. seriously funny. Yes, he knows some jokes, but most of his funny revolves around our daily experiences.
20. He helps people all of the time. Me, the kids, the neighbors, his mom, my parents, people at work, strangers on the road and at the store--the list is endless.
21. He supported me completely during the year that my gramma lived with us, helped me and gramma through the acutely painful times, and comforted me when she died.
22. He introduced me to NHL hockey.
23. He likes to go to the movies with me and has, on occasion, enjoyed watching me laugh at the movie more than he enjoyed the movie.
24. He thinks before he starts a project. He plans, thinks, gets a picture in his mind and is not afraid to change midway through if we think of something we like better.
25. He has always, always, provided for our family.
26. He is smart. Common sense, logical smart.
27. He sees, hears, and appreciates the beauty in music and art.
28. He is fiercely loyal--to me, our children, and our parents and family.
29. Wherever we travel, he might be sweating bullets, worrying about the dangers that lurk, but it's like a grand adventure to me because I know he will protect me.
30. Whenever our kids asked how something worked, he didn't just tell them, he showed them. I will never forget the cold, wintery night when he and four-year-old Stu set a glass coke bottle that was full of water on the porch outside to help Stu understand how potholes form in roads.
31. He loves me, after all of these years and all of my ups and downs, he still loves me and wants to be with me.

And, Jack, I love you and want to be with you.

Like the ring says--always.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

at the zoo

A week ago, Jack and I went to the zoo with Jessie, Cory, the drummer and all of the girlies. It was a lovely fall day, perfect for walking around outside with the girls and some of our kids. Cory has been working on some kind of project--maybe some software or a game or something that can be played or used on an ipod or iphone? For his project, he needed pictures of animals, so he and Jessie planned an outing to the zoo and invited us and we invited Audrey and the drummer.

All in all, it was a lovely outing, the girls seemed to have a good time and we all worked on our animal names and sounds and impressed our fellow zoo-goers. In fact, if you don't count the extra hour or so that Jack and I spent wandering around the parking lot looking for Cory's car (why his car and not our own? too long and complicated for this post) instead of Jessie's car, (yeh, we were looking for a gold hundai instead of a red chevy and Jessie, please, please, please do not apologize for that any more, seriously, it's okay, we found my wallet and we needed the exercise), it was time very well spent.

I must admit that I miss the zoo visits of my youth when my mom brought marshmallows to feed the bears. Yeh, I know, no feeding the animals nowadays, but back then, it was, what the hell, ignore those silly zoo signs because my mom had trained the polar bears and black bears to do all kinds of tricks for treats. Never known as shy or retiring, my mother would open up her bag of marshmallows (specially purchased for zoo animals) and would begin their act (and by their act, I mean mom's and the bears' act). She began with YOOHOO, YOOHOO, WOOWOOHOO--in her loudest zoo voice--until the bears woke up and looked her way (no one can ignore her YOOOOHOOO--you just try to ignore it, I'm telling you, you will fail). Next, she would pull out the marshmallows and wave them at the bears. The bears couldn't help themselves. They would slowly rise and lumber to the edge of their moat, because seriously, who can resist the pull of marshmallows and my mom saying, 'c'mon now, get over here, you can do it'? Then she would use the special signals that she and the bears had developed over the years to get them to sit down, sit up, wave, and stand up. She could even get them to jump into their water by tossing marshmallows into the pool. Her zoo voice echoed through that whole end of the zoo until I wondered if the deer and zebras and penguins were also obeying her command, because I know I was--sit down. Absolutely. Sit up, okay. Wave--as hard as I can. But did I ever get a marshmallow? Nosireebub. I tell you, as a child, I was amazed that not only did my mother have the human world in her control, but she also had the wild animal world in the palm of her hand (at least when it was in a bag of marshmallows and accompanied by her zoo trainer voice).

Where was I? Oh yes--our trip last Saturday. These are photos by Jack. While the animals appeared healthy and happy, as documented in Cory's 220 pics, this is the way I will remember our zoo trip, 2008.

On the carousel

Falling down at the zoo? Not fun

Yes Audrey, it sucks to be the middle kid on the elephant trunk

seriously, water? kids? excellent!

where's Breanne? There she is--

the same look his grandpa Herschel had when holding him

clearly, hand holding has been upgraded to the approved activity list

Friday, October 24, 2008

tag, you're it

My friend, Lisab over at the High Touch Megastore tagged me. This is the simple deal. One-word answers. How long can it take?

Where is your cell phone? purse
Where is your significant other? waiting
Your hair color? natural
Your mother? challenging
Your father? complicated
Your favorite thing? home
Your dream last night? chaos
Your dream/goal? simplicity
The room you’re in? entertaiment
Your hobby? gardens
Your fear? abandonment
Where do you want to be in 6 years? retired
Where were you last night? Audreylicious
What you’re not? certain
One of your wish-list items? cabin
Where you grew up? here
The last thing you did? dined
What are you wearing? denim
Your TV? NASCARish
Your pet? weezie
Your computer? lightweight
Your mood? pensive
Missing someone? grandgirlies
Your car? babyscion
Something you’re not wearing? perfume
Favorite store? Kohl's
Your summer? forgotten
Love someone? many
Your favorite color? green
When is the last time you laughed? therapy
Last time you cried? therapy

And I tag: I'm Thinking..., Wilde Life, cool-stu, and You can find me in the Library. Go ahead, I dare you--honesty or total lies. Whatever.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

picture theft

I totally stole this one from Jessie's site, but seriously, how could I not share it?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

oh the rules

The other day I got a hair cut (very short, very cute) and while I was getting my hair cut, the stylist in the next station over was cutting another woman's hair. The next-station stylist--let's call her Sue--so anyway, Sue was very pregnant the last time I got my hair cut. She was obviously not pregnant this time, and if I couldn't tell by the missing soccer ball beneath her smock, I could easily tell by her conversation with her client. The client asked about her baby and Sue was off and running. The client tried to get Sue's attention back to the hair she was cutting, but Sue couldn't stop herself.

She began by saying that she'd had a baby boy. Next she explained how she knew before he was born that she wasn't going to have the time to hold him all of the time, so she had decided that she wasn't going to spoil him by holding him all of the time. (My stylist is asking me to stop cringing at this point.) Sue said that it was going okay after a few weeks of implementing her plan but the baby wasn't really on her schedule yet. (Her schedule, I thought?) One day, she left the baby with her mother-in-law while she ran a few errands. Apparently the well-intentioned mother-in-law made the mistake of falling in love with her son's firstborn child and, well, she broke Sue's rules. She held the baby. Too much. (There is no such thing, right?) Since that day, all the baby wants is to be held. (duh, of course) Sue's husband began complaining to her about this new requirement by the baby and Sue told him that it wasn't her fault, it was his mother's fault because she was the one who held the baby for the two hours he was at her house.

My mind was so loaded with emotion as I listened to Sue. Holding grandbabies is one of the best things I do. I was outraged and sad and concerned and confused and so much more.

And I've thought about Sue and her wee boy for days now. It seemed very important to her that her baby understand the rules from the start. And I'm certain there is a huge mass of parents and doctors that believe it is critical that children be on a schedule and all of that. But I've never been that parent. And if I felt that way when my kids were little, you should see me with the adorable girlies now.

Since that haircut and my eavesdropping, I've thought a lot about rules for kids.

When I was a kid, these were the rules:

1. Children should be seen and not heard.
2. Because I said so.
3. Everything may be subject to rules.
4. The rules are a moving target--okay or not okay, you'll find out later or not or whenever.
5. Discipline will be inconsistently meted out.

When my first kid was born, I remember making a conscious decision to always say yes. Then I had my second child and realized that my plan needed a slight alteration. These are the rules I tried to live by:

1. I love you, my child, always (maybe not a rule, more like a truism), and you constantly amaze and teach me by your brilliance and curiosity.
2. I will consistently and constantly say yes whenever possible and say no only in respect or safety issues. For example, no running in the street, touching the hot stove, painting your sister.
3. I will respect you as the human you are and hope you will learn respect for others by that example.
4. I will try to stay with the real emotion instead of moving quickly to angry when you do something that frightens me or worries me.
5. I will live with you so that you feel safe and loved by me no matter what.

My rules might seem too loose or maybe not really rules at all, but those are the thoughts I tried to keep in mind as we grew up together each day. Many relatives had no problem criticizing my method of parenting, but it worked for me. It was clear in my mind that my kids were smart enough to understand that mom's rules might not be the same as their friend's mom's rules. And that was okay, as long as they knew they had to follow the basic rules wherever they were--no emotional abuse and no physical abuse.

My hope then and now is that each of my children always know that he or she is the most precious thing in my life and that each learned that she or he was capable of choosing, sometimes wisely, sometimes, maybe not so much, but realizing at some point that each action comes with a consequence.

I understand that it might sound like I think my way of growing children is the best and well, it's true. I do think my way is the best. But I know that everybody feels that way about their chosen method and, most of the time, the kids turn out okay in spite of us not because of us.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

couldn't sleep at all last night

Yesterday after work, Jack and I stopped at my childhood home to visit with my parents. (Yes, I have stories about our visit, but those are a post for another day.) We went to dinner with my parents (yes, more tales) and then we got home around 7:30. Jack was tired, so he headed into our room for a nap and came back to the tv room around 9:00.

He told me this morning that he had a hard time getting to sleep when we went to bed around 1:00 this morning. I asked why that was and he thought of two reasons--one, he'd had an hour and a half nap earlier in the evening. The second was that I was talking in my sleep. Seriously, who knew? Most other times, when I've been talking in my sleep, he was unable to determine what I was saying.

But last night, he said it was very clear. I said, "Peek! There she is!"

Have I mentioned how much I enjoy time with the granddarlings?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

about that election

1. This has nothing whatsoever to do with how I'm going to vote, but I think Michelle Obama is a fine woman.

2. This morning I wondered if McCain, knowing tonight's debate could be the last chance for him to jump into the lead, (but only if Obama made a big mistake) would risk confronting him, face to face, during the final debate, about the shady characters he associates with, with the hope that he might break through Obama's gentle, manly demeanor and show the lower forty-eight, as we call them, that, 'see, you can't trust him--he is an angry, young, black Muslim man.'

Dang that Bob Schieffer if he didn't beat McCain to the punch and showed all of us that both candidates feel they have been slandered by the other. I'm thinking that I haven't heard much at all from Biden or McCain or Obama that sounds slanderous. Certainly there are groups that relish their self-appointed role to draw unsubstantiated, poisonous conclusions and shout out their misconceptions from the mountaintops. But more than anything else, I have been surprised, astounded, even amazed by the fervor at Ms Palin's rallies. Where is the civility?

Tonight there was no outburst of anger from Obama and no huge blunder, so McCain will have to rely on the Bradley effect.

And I continue to sense a dread deep inside of me, a feeling of deja vu from the time of Martin Luther King--a ray of hope in that time who was extinguished too soon.

Monday, October 13, 2008

two things

1. Yesterday, I made the best pie ever. The crust was flakier than ever before, the razzleberry filling was perfection.

I must own my feelings about my pies: Every time I make pie, I am certain that it is the best pie ever with the flakiest crust and filling of perfection.

Just so you know, the drummer is a pie lover. It is the one thing I make that he requests, but only when I mention it because he believes in getting by on what you have and never asking for anything. (It can be hard to parent a kid like that--did I get him what he needed? should I have done more? you understand, right?)

He told me one time that he thought he loved pie, but then he tried pie at a restaurant and realized that he only loved MY pie. (Yes kids, that was when he improved his chances to be the favorite.)

Yesterday, I told him I was thinking about making pie. His eyes opened wider than usual, his eyebrows raised, he got the big happy face, and he may have been tapping his fingers on the desk while he sang--yoooooooouuu light up my life, I think it was--maybe. or maybe I dreamed that part.

A few minutes later, when I told him I didn't think I could make pie after all because I had no Crisco, his response was an immediate, deep-voiced "WHAAAAAAT?" I told him I'd make the pie if he'd go pick up some Crisco. He did. I did. We all won.

2. Yellow jacket update. Turns out that yellow jackets are not all that great at pollinating. They don't have the hairy legs that bees have. Other interesting facts are that one queen can product 2000 offspring in her hive in one summer. And when the hive is thriving, some of the offspring become additional queens that add more kids to the hive. One other fact is that when the weather turns cold, all but the queens die. The ladies leave the dead hive to overwinter and begin the cycle again in new nests that they create.

If there is such a thing as good news when talking about a yellow jacket infestation between the bricks and the walls of my house, it must be that the entire hive, except the queens, dies when the weather turns cold, and it definitely turned cold in the past few days. Regular-sized yellow jacket sightings in the house decreased, and several of us swatters noticed and swatted half a dozen larger-sized yellow jackets, which may have been the new queens out searching for an overwintering place. According to our yellow jacket research, hives are rarely reused.

The not-so-good news is that we still have no idea where the nest was, inside of our wall, and we really have no idea if all of the queens evacuated to overwintering sites outside of our house or if we swatted all of them while they were still inside our house.

I suppose these are additional reasons to enjoy autumn and hope for a long winter before spring arrives with possibly more than its usual surprises in the gardens.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

hangin' with audrey

For the past couple of weeks, Jack and I have been given the opportunity to spend more time than ever before with little Audrey. Stu and Shi have a part time gig at a local theatre, which means they need a sitter, and I finally got up the nerve to ask if we could have Audrey at our house after work or on Saturdays during this production run. Shi's mom seems to be available all of the time and Shi and Audrey enjoy time with her, so I've been hesitant to mess with that, but I really wanted more time with Audrey, so I asked and they said, okay.

It has been so great seeing Audrey for several hours a couple of evenings each week and on Saturdays. We also see her on Sundays with her parents. As you may suspect, I think Audrey is a smart, lively, curious, adorable, sweet, talkative cupie doll of a girl. I love her so much.

Time with a grandbaby without her parents is a whole different experience. We get to see her with our grandparent eyes--the eyes that love unconditionally, the eyes that adore her, the eyes that allow her to choose, most of the time, what she wants or needs to do. I know it's difficult to be that person with your own child, because as the parent, you're responsible for all kinds of stuff that grandparents don't have to deal with. Truly, being the grandparent is the best role of all.

These are some moments from yesterday--

1. I have a white board on the wall in my laundry room/hallway between the kitchen and bedrooms. Audrey (and every other kid who knows about the white board) loves to draw wtih the dry erase markers. "Color" is an often-heard word, in addition to "chair" because, duh, you need a chair to color on the white board.

2. Audrey discovered a pink, purse-sized hairbrush on the bathroom counter yesterday. She loved brushing my "harr" and her "harr" and "bopa's harr" and was very concerned when she couldn't find the "harr" (hairbrush) among all of the toys we were playing with.

3. I don't have recent experience with little boys, but apparently, little girls love their babies. And a wee plastic baby with a crib or basinet that is small enough to fit in the palm of my hand that I found at a yard sale for $1 (and washed before sharing with the girlies) is highly desireable.

4. Then there's the "baath." Audrey loves to take baths, with a bit of baby wash for bubbles, some foam letters that stick to the side of the tub, a "quack-quack" (because what is a bath without a rubber duckie, especially a tiny one that has a #8 on it...), and of course, a baby.

5. After the baath, we look at booooks together, while snuggled up with her blankie. She constantly amazes me at how bright she is, how many words she is learning, how quickly she repeats everything I say, and how delightful reading time with her is to me.

6. Don't forget the "baa," the stuffed sheep that is about the same size as a live beagle that we bought for Jessie when she was a little girl. It is the perfect size for Audrey to climb up on to go for a ride, or lay on, or drag around.

7. Last night, Jack went to the freezer downstairs and brought up some Haagen Daas ice cream bars (the ones with the yummy vanilla ice cream inside with a thick layer of chocolate and a sprinkling of nuts on the outside) that he and I were going to eat. Audrey was playing on the floor with some puzzles (the animals on the farm, the shapes, and the tools that boppa has) while Jack and I began eating our ice cream bars. About halfway through the bars, Audrey looked up at Jack, and I watched as the lightbulb of recognition went off in her mind. "Keem, Keem?" she said as she stood up, leaned up against his chair and his leg, with her arms behind her back and her cutest, most dimpliest smile aimed directly at him. When he didn't immediately respond, she looked at me and noticed I had one too. She knew I'd share in a heartbeat, which I did. Which she loved. Especially when I let her have the stick with the last bits of chocolate and ice cream.

8. These are some of Audrey's favorite, oft-repeated words:

dog (or puppy)
cat (or kitty)
street (Sesame)
wauterrr (drinking, playing, on tv, in the hot tub. also used when she spotted a girls' swimsuit i picked up on sale at k-mart that is her size.)

9. Yesterday was a real treat because not only was Audrey at our house, but Jessie, Cory, Breanne and Janey stopped by on their way to a wedding reception. The three adorable girls are almost exactly one year apart, so we have a 2 1/2 year old, a 1 1/2 year old and a six-month old. Breanne and Audrey have played together outside before, but yesterday was the first time that I've seen them play together inside. It was hilarious. Breanne is becoming more and more willing to share, just as Audrey is heading into the "MINE" stage. Janey loves to sit and watch the other two.

They all headed into the TV room to play with "mama's toys" and that is when the first funny thing happened. Breanne entered the room and much to her dismay, discovered that there were baaath foam letters that belong in the baathroom and puzzle pieces mixed with other puzzle pieces and even books mixed in. I had not realized how much Breanne likes things in order until yesterday. She busied herself by setting things in order, while Audrey and Janey watched, and then, only then, asked me to get out the doll house and the babies. The girls played for a few minutes with the dollhouse, and then Breanne remembered how much fun it is to run with somebody, so she tried to get Audrey to run with her through the house, which is what you do when you are almost three. But it is not what you do when you are not almost three. Yes, you might run through mama's bedroom into the closet one time, but after that, if your cousin encourages you to run, you might go a few steps, but then, if you are Audrey, you run back to mama, crying out, "Maamaa?, Maamaa?, Maamaaa?, while Breanne runs after you, begging you to come play, come play, over and over. Breanne continued to beg, offering to hold Audrey's hand, grabbed at her hands, pulled at her hands and her clothes, until she collapsed, nearly in tears because Audrey didn't understand yet how much fun they could have together. I predict that next time they are here together, the running will go a bit better.

And the best part of the cousin thing was when Breanne was leaving, and I suggested that they give each other a hug. Both girls lit up, turned toward each other, and ran together. For those few moments, before I could say anything more than, "Uhhhh" they ran towards each other, and then collided with each other in an embrace. Luckily Breanne has a fairly good sense of balance or they might have both bonked heads and fallen to the floor in tears. I'm pretty sure that would have affected not only the future of cousin hugging, but would have definitely slowed the cousin running too.

I am so glad for the gift of grandbabies and time spent with them.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

My friend Sugar is married to a guy named Fenton, who in addition to his regular day job, makes videos for weddings and probably whatever else people want videos of. He's one of those silent types--or at least that's how he is when I'm around. It could be fun to speculate about the reasons for his silence, but that is not the point of this post and it would probably irritate him anyway. (And you, internet, know that I am, if nothing else, totally not about irritating others--although I am doing good work [therapist quote] at balancing the irritating/pleasing levels. Did I mention that she's a great therapist?)

Anyway, the point of this post is to introduce you to Fenton's video blog, so you can check out his digital abilities and tell all of your friends about how great he is and, of course, keep him in mind when you need a video memory.

I especially like his montage skills and he's got some pretty cool stuff in his videos too. Check out his site and let me know what you think--hey, maybe he'll talk more around me if some of you, your children, grandchildren, beloved or betrothed give him a call. Seriously, think of anniversary gifts, birthday presents, Christmas gifts--what would be better than a video for your loved one of some of your good times together--not just weddings, but vacations, parties, OMGOSH, the options are endless!

did i mention the bees?

I know, most would assume that gardens love bees. And we do love bees in these gardens. We wouldn't have these gardens without the bees.

Yellow jackets are a different kind of buzz. Yes, yes, I know they are good at collecting pollen and spreading it around. But just as nobody likes to find one of them in a soda can or on a burger at a late summer barbeque, their decision to build a home inside of my home was going too too far.

The list of buzzing things that are allowed inside of my house is short. very short.

You know all of those photos I've posted of the sage in the gardens with the bees flying around? Turns out some of those bees were yellow jackets that found an opening into my home (made by the previous owner, yet another of the intriguing yet annoying puzzles he left for us--IDIOT!) and those yellow guys have had all summer to build some kind of huge hive behind the bricks on the house, hidden by the lovely sage, until a couple of days ago.

While I am not a fan of pesticides, all of my compassion for the wee living things goes out the window when the wee things are yellow jackets and they are congregating too near to the places where the grandbabygirls might play. I headed to the Home Depot and bought two big cans of the stuff that sprays yellow jacket killer for up to 27 feet. Seriously, 27 feet! I sprayed the hole in the bricks from only three feet away, all the while surrounded by their buzzing brethren. I planned to wait until dark to again spray inside the hole when all of the little bastards were sound asleep in their hive holes. But Jack and Jr sprayed it again before I could, and then they filled the hole with foam--that spray kind that starts out little and immediately grows to ten times its size. (It reminds me of watching yeast rise in high speed, but this foam was charcoal colored, so the yeast vision wasn't happening.)

Since then, Jack's workshop in the basement has been under siege by the yellow jackets. Jr claims to have killed 100s in the past two days, although he does admit that now they appear to be flying in ultra-slow motion as if they'd spent the last few hours in a glass of beer--or yellow jacket killer.

We all hope that the last of them have slowly swirled to the floor. But Jack and I are strongly urging Jr and the drummer to begin the long-awaited demolition of the basement in preparation for the upcoming remodel sooner rather than later to see if they can locate the hive for one final spray.

From 27 feet if necessary.

let's talk tiny feet and purple boots

Don't you just want to nuzzle these toes?

The adorable sweet Janey just realized somebody got some purple boots and it wasn't her...

But seriously, who wouldn't love purple boots?

And seriously, who couldn't love this beautiful girl?

and i thought she looked just like her mom

I can see so much of Jessie in Janey sometimes, but...

I'm thinking otherwise after seeing this photo of her dad...

fresh from the bathe

if you look closely you might see her freckles...

and you might see her two little brand new teeth..

Sunday, October 5, 2008

warning to gentle readers who have aging eyes

Beware if, while vacuuming the dining room, you spy a pea-sized crumb of that delicious devil's food cake you made a day ago, lingering on the dining room tablecloth, begging you to snatch it up to enjoy that last little morsel. If you have the aging eyes, don't fall for it, because it is a trick. It is not going to be a yummy taste of chocolate, but instead a dried out piece of shephard's pie that was really tasty the day before, but not so much now, especially when you expected moist, delicious chocolate cake.

Just trying to help, that's all.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

at long last

A few of the pictures from New York--

This is view from the little window in our hotel room and the view through the big window in our room on the 22nd floor of the Marriott East in Manhattan. We got this view for only $499+taxes per night. So glad the company sent me to a conference at this hotel...

This is the view from our window at night--if you looked carefully you could see the Chrysler building--

Yeh, not quite the same as the one I posted here

And, finally, a pretty good photo of Jack and me at the Yankees' game. (I think I figured out the best angle to be photographed from--high above my head--can you see how thin my neck looks? Or maybe it's just that I don't have on my glasses right now...)

Anyway, see that happiness on our faces? I think this was the best vacation we've ever had together.

Jack would probably say that his favorite vacation was the first time we went to a NASCAR race--it was in Phoenix and we got on a 7:00 am flight and drove our rental car to the track as the sun was rising over the mountains of Phoenix. We could hear airplanes flying overhead, and since we couldn't see them, we figured there must be an Air Force base nearby. We walked from the parking lot, entered the gates, and headed up the steps of the grandstands. While Jack is pretty good at containing his excitement, I am not, and I seem to remember skipping and twirling and dancing and squealing and giggling my way up the stairs. As we reached the top of the stairs, I swear I heard the music from Days of Thunder swelling and growing and we looked down at the track with that music and the beautiful sunrise to realize that the sound of jets was really the sound of those 700 hp engines speeding around the track--and they were only going at practice speeds! It was one of those moments that stay with you forever, like when your kids are born. And then another one of those moments occurred when I realized that the black #3 car was right in front of me, in the pits, less than 20 feet away and the guy I had been watching race on tv for almost 20 years was sitting in that car. I still get the chills just remembering it.

Okay, so maybe Jack was right, Phoenix was the best vacation, but we had a pretty good time in New York too.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

staff meetings--yeh it happens

Just wondered if any of you, internet, have been in a recent staff meeting in the legal department where you work and noticed that the top boss attorney was tapping his green tea bottle on the table right next to the conference line phone, which from past experience you know makes it hard to hear on the other end of the phone, so you whispered in your stage whisper, 'stop banging on the table so Jennie can hear the call on her end of the line,' and the top boss attorney said, 'what?' and you said a little louder, in your school teacher voice, 'STOP BANGING JENNIE!' and immediately, even before the last syllable left your mouth, knew that you had just said the most inappropriate thing in the world, the thing that the three men in the office at the meeting could not stop laughing at, all the while getting more and more red in the face, even giggling minutes later and again later throughout the meeting, knew that you said the thing that caused Eileen, the very gentile, southern belle, to leave the room to hide her blushing face and weeping eyes, and one of the men, trying to help you feel better, said it wasn't as bad as the time in his church that a woman became very emotional during her talk and apologized for being such a big boob and the next speaker, a man, said don't worry about the crying, sister smith, we all love big boobs?

the constant change in the gardens

There have been a few changes of late in the gardens. After all, it is autumn--noticeably cooler in the mornings, warmer in the afternoons, darker later in the morning and sadly, darker earlier each evening. The blooms of summer are going to seed, their leaves are drying and will be crispy before long. On a recent trip to the cabin property, Jack and I noticed that the aspens are bright yellow, the maples are flaming red, and the oaks are still green. I've spent several hours at dusk this week trimming back the perennials--daisies, coneflowers, russian sage, salvia, lavender--and Jack and I spent a couple of hours one evening pulling up the blessed sunflowers that were started by one seed dropped by one bird. There are large piles of trimmings and sunflower stalks around the gardens that need to be gathered and composted. I still have half a dozen perennials to plant and several others to divide and move about the gardens to fill in bare spots. There's also a new bed that I finally found the time to clear out and prepare for planting, but I can't seem to settle on a plan for that space. If it doesn't come to me before the snow flies, I'll have all winter to think about it. There are pine needles and leaves to gather and mulch to put down. Like a child in the evening, my gardens need their dinner, their cleanup, and a warm blanket for the long night of winter.