Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Days and Making Memories

It's been a week since I posted anything...hard to believe that I have so little to say!  That's not true...I have a lot to say, at least that's what my family would say.

Yeah, yeah...whatever.

I finished a few things recently.  In no particular order...but mostly reverse order...

Avelyn came over Friday to fix the roof on her yurt.  When we originally cut the fabric, we were going by the directions that were given to us by a yurt maker, but some of the numbers were off.  While I don't hold grudges for giving us erroneous information, I am disappointed that we had such a steep learning curve.  There were several times when we said, "wait a sec...that doesn't sound right."  After doing the math, we discovered where things had gone a little sideways and had to make adjustments.  The yurt roof cover was one of those things.  First the rafters were about 8" too long, then we cut them down on site and drilled new holes with a battery-powered drill at September Crown.  Then we put the cover on which was about 18" too short, allowing passers-by to peek in over the edges and see everything going on people sleeping or changing clothes.  How in the world we managed that, I have no idea.  So, long story short, we had to cut 18" wide curves to add to the edge of the yurt cover.  Hopefully we got it right...  First we sewed the curves end-to-end, and flat-felled the seams.  Then we sewed the length to the cover and began to flat-fell the seams, only to have the sewing machine give out.  The strap that runs the wheel is frayed and needs to be replaced.  The bobbin winder wasn't working, either, so I was hand-winding all the bobbins.  Let me tell you what a fun task that is....

When it's all done and the numbers are set, we're going to write a How to Make a Yurt book using hard numbers and step-by-step directions.  We won't make a million on it, but we might be able to get people to make a good, sturdy weekend home without breaking the bank or suffering the grey hairs that we did.

I haven't mentioned to Kelly that I'd like to try to make another bigger yurt...but I'd have to sell the square Regency tent to fund it, I think.  The other option is to make modifications to make ours 18' across by making longer rafters and adding a length to the khana.  I'm hoping that this will not require making a new tono.  However, it will require a new roof cover and another panel to go the rest of the way around the outside.  Experimentation may be afoot this summer....

I finally finished the weaving project that has been on the loom for the last few weeks that will probably go up for sale at July Coronation.  I didn't have a particular plan for this one, so I'm happy to let this one go.  I wanted to repeat the Baronial and Kingdom colors but on a narrower band, so I omitted a few cards on the ends.  It ended up being about 2 cm wide, and just over 4 yards long.  On Thursday, while Miss Bekah was visiting, I warped up another weave with yellow, red and white to make a weave in Ithra colors.

A quilt job for Judy that has been delivered back to its owner.  This was a fun little project and I did my favorite swirly "Dr. Seuss Feather" stitching on it.  She gave me the thread to work with, a blue King Tut spool.  It worked pretty well, but it's much heavier than I'm used to.  The yellow pieces up in the corner was the test area to get the tension set correctly.  I removed it after taking this picture.  I just couldn't find my seam ripper at the moment.

The kids had a track meet a week ago.  The younger grades, 1-3, had theirs at the school being host to three other schools for 50- and 75-yard dash, relays, and potato sack races.  Ben participated in five different races, receiving five purple "participant" ribbons.  Winning isn't everything...but at least the ribbons were purple...his favorite color.  OK, second favorite.  He had a pretty good day and was a good sport about not placing in any of the races.  He was treated with a grape shave ice afterwards.  It was a purple themed day.
The 8th grade students helped as sitters for the younger ones between races so that teachers could focus on organizing their brood for the various heats.  Mostly I think the 8th graders ate candy and snacks from the sale table.  Ben stopped to cuddle with his big sister after every race, which was good--I knew where to find him.  I was asked to keep an eye on him and help make sure he made it to his events.  I actually ended up losing him for a while when I turned my back for two minutes to talk to another parent, which resulted in 10 minutes of searching before I found him rolling down the small hill from the basketball court to the field.

Memorial Day weekend has arrived and our long weekend is sliding by too quickly.  We are mid-way through and have yet to do anything of significance.  Other than Spring cleaning my bedroom--tossing out a ton of paperwork, changing sheets, and vacuuming under and behind furniture.  There is still a bit more to do, like packing away the extra winter quilts and bagging up the donation stuff behind the door, but it looks a LOT better.

My sewing room needs the same kind of treatment and I've been pecking away at the bins of scraps, cutting them into squares of 2" up to 6" (in 1/2" increments) and bagging them up for scrap quilts.  The baggie of 2" squares is in my car along with a needle, thread and scissors and I have been piecing them while I'm waiting to pick up kids, sitting at the coffee shop before a meeting with a client, or at functions that are not for me (like the cast party for the play).

The other thing I've been working on for the past couple of weeks is scanning old photos, like this one from 2002, into the computer for a photo album for Emma.  I finished one on Shutterfly and will be giving it to her as her graduation gift, but I have many more photos than would fit into one album, and have thousands of photos from the pre-digital age that I am trying to put into a birth-to-five book.  There may be some overlap and I know I'll have to do at least one more album for high school years, which can also include all the grade school photos that won't fit into these first two albums.  I will have to do albums for Cammie and Ben in future years, also.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Play is the Thing

Emma's Middle School put on a great production of Beauty and the Beast to two SOLD OUT shows!  The costumes were great, the choreography and set design was spectacular!  Just think what they could do with a real auditorium!

This is actually the finale of the first show, but gives you a good view of the area they had to work with--just a part of the cafeteria area, blocking one hallway at the end of the room.

Emma played three parts:  narrator, lady with baby, and one of the silverware dancers during the "Be Our Guest" song.

Belle was played by Theresa, who is much more Filippino than French...alphabetically, it's close.

Gaston.  The tallest guy in the class.  Probably shouldn't be looking into a career as a singer, but played the part well, nonetheless.  Le Fou, his sidekick, is a 6th grader who clearly hasn't gone through that teenage growth spurt.  He did a great job!

Awww...sweet young lady with a baby.  She refused to allow Kelly to buy her the two-headed baby they saw at the store, so she opted to bring one of her baby dolls from home.

So sweet.  Look at the sausage curls on her!  It took a TON of hair product and they only lasted about four hours.

The Silly Girls...swooning over Gaston.

Crazy old Maurice!  He's actually Ben's reading buddy.

Cogsworth & Lumiere.  Both did a great job, but Lumiere "lit" up the show!  

Mrs. Potts, played by Emma's best buddy.  She had a couple of solos and did a fabulous job!

"Beauty & the Beast" solo.  

Please be our guest!!

Joseph as "the Beast"

Silverware dancer!  The girl to the right is supposed to be a napkin.  Not so sure about that...

The wardrobe, "Madame de la Grande Bouche" and the french maid, "Babette".

The dance with Beauty.  Or is it a dance with the Beast?

Miraculously, the Beast is transformed into another student, who has virtually no lines!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Highways and Byways

This week has been a big one for driving.  I made three trips in three days to and from Mt. Vernon--about 45 minutes each way--over the last four days, and I get to drive almost twice that far on Monday.

On Thursday, I got a message from my sister asking if I wanted to meet up for lunch in Mt. Vernon.  She wanted to go look at a bike that the shop had in stock--the bike store in Bellingham didn't have what she was looking for but called around and found one in Burlington (the little town next to Mt. Vernon).  We met at Bob's and had lunch, then drove down to the Lane Bryant outlet store and got some clothes.  I got two pairs of pants (shorts/capris), a few shirts and a dress I found that I like that actually looks good on me.  It came with a little sweater in an odd shade of coral, so I also picked up a shrug in black.  Oh, and a bunch of undies.  Afterwards, I needed to head back to get the kids from school and Tara went on to the bike shop alone.

On Friday, I had made arrangements to meet Sharon at Bob's (it's a landmark and makes a good meeting place) to hand over Cammie for a sleepover with Miss O.  Her birthday is actually the day before Ben's, but the birthday celebration was postponed a week when the pony farm was unavailable for a party.

I had taken Ben out for shoe shopping and a haircut on Saturday morning.  His shoes were falling apart and his hair was looking pretty shaggy!  He picked out a pair of tennis shoes with actual laces on them, which means now that he's in second grade, he actually has to learn how to tie his shoes.  Remember the days when you had to be able to tie your shoes before entering kindergarten?  How times have changed....  We also picked out a pair of cowboy boots for horseback riding.  I didn't want to necessarily get hiking boots (they didn't have any in his size anyway) and the rain boots for boys didn't have a heel of any kind (the girl's boots did), and although the cowboy boots were a whole size too big, they were so darned cute on him, I got them anyway.  He wore them for horseback riding and ran around a bunch, having a great time getting dirty.

We went to one of the Hair Master locations and got a haircut from a young long-haired gentleman.  Ben remarked that he had always gotten haircuts from women before, and I said, "Well, maybe the guy will get it right..."  I explained that most of his haircuts ended up with long hairs that the women had missed around the ears.  He assured me that he had gotten dozens of clipper cuts in his youth and remembered those areas that often were overlooked.  It's actually a very nice, clean cut.  Ben was only upset that his scar on his forehead was visible (not a lightning-shaped scar and apparently never burns or prickles when I'm thinking evil thoughts...).  We met up with Kelly afterwards and after three attempts, finally found a sushi place that was open on Saturday for lunch.  The first place was technically open, but the sushi chef was late for work and not answering his phone.  Never mind then...the second place advertised a lunch special, but apparently not on Saturday.  The third place is *not* a favorite of mine, but it was open.

Miss O had the birthday party on Saturday which meant another drive North to the Pony farm to celebrate her 9th birthday.  These two have been like peanut butter & jelly since she was born--I was her sitter a couple days a week from when she was little and when we did shopping excursions together, many people thought these two were twins.  Aside from the fact that they are 18 months apart and have different color eyes, they do have similar physical characteristics.

Only one other girl joined her on her birthday ride--two other friends were sick and couldn't make it.  I know one of them had chicken pox...she wasn't sure about the other one, but she left school early on Thursday and didn't return Friday, so it must be something not worth sharing.

Ben and I went riding, too.  He, in his new cowboy in my old tennis shoes.  Woo.  After riding, he spent a lot of time climbing up and rolling down the dirt hills.  Good boy!

He got to ride his favorite pony, Blaze.  The pony was out on a ride with some Girl Scouts when we first arrived, but returned moments before we began mounting horses.  He was SO excited to get a chance to ride him again.  He says, "It's kinda like he's my horse."  Well, kinda.  Lola owns him (she's pictured here, with Ben).

Cammie got to ride a sweet pony named Candy.  She stopped several times to have snacks on the ride...walking through all that greenery is like a kid in a candy store.

I rode a guy named Hobo on our 45 minute trail ride (which really didn't seem like 45 minutes...I should have checked my seemed like about 20 minutes).  We arrived back at a shelter and had hot dogs and cupcakes.  Mmmm...

Monday I get to drive back North again.  I should probably work on a couple of quilty things before heading up.  Friendship blocks and a quilt for Lauri need to get finished.  Hopefully I can get a little done today for my Mother's Day.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Field Trips and Celebrations

I have to say this new blogger layout is confusing.  I can't find the posts that I started writing, but never published.  I'm sure I started one a week or so ago that I can't locate now.  I have been busy with several things (like you're surprised).

Cammie and Ben advanced to yellow belts in Karate....and there was much rejoicing!  It was a one-hour test for the younger students (the adults--meaning ages 14 and up--have their test at a larger class space about 10 miles away and the tests start at 2 hours in length and get longer when you advance to the blue belt (4th level) and up.  I'm hoping that Emma will be ready to get her purple belt soon--she has to work on one of her forms now to improve the flow and transitions; it's still a little choppy, but she's learned a lot already!  Ben has been working on maintaining focus and building endurance, and with the night feeds he's gained 4 lbs. already (10% of his body weight) and has a lot more energy.

Ben celebrated his 8th birthday...and there was more rejoicing!  We didn't do a whole lot to celebrate--got some presents and cake and the dinner of his choice at home.  It was, I admit, the ugliest cake was a Betty Crocker mix but the cake just fell apart as I tried to frost it.  Not sure where I went wrong, but I had this happen once before with a chocolate cake mix, too.  Maybe I need to use the smaller 8" pans instead of the 9" idea.  Anyone ever had this happen to them before?  Curious.

And I started scanning in some old pictures that I didn't have digitally.  And there was very little fanfare.  However, I have come across some very cute pictures from back then.  Little Emma, age 4, and littler Hollie, age 3.  Altogether now...Awwwwwww!  This was taken at probably the coolest playground in the world, a little elevated cottage in Whistler with ladders and slides to get up and down.  Totally cute and some really spectacular woodworking skills, here.

I also got my first pair of reading glasses--this seems fine for doing work on the computer but is utterly useless for trying to read the clock from across the room, which I couldn't very well do without glasses, either.  The digital screens on the oven and microwave are too small for me to read from the dining room table, and the only other clock I can see from there is the very small mantle clock in the TV room.  I can usually tell what time it is with that one, even though the face and hands are quite small--it's the contrast.  As some of you know, I have an eye condition known as amblyopia, also known as "lazy eye".  This is often characterized by crossed eyes, or one crossed eye (which I can do on command, but only at parties), but with early intervention can be corrected to a point, and mean that one eye is just weaker than the other.  It's not the shape of the eye that causes the problem, but the nerves that connect the eye to the brain that sends confused signals.  I can't easily explain what it is that I see compared to what normal eyes see, since my eyes have never been normal.  The best I can do to explain it is say that my right eye (the lazy one) has a series of blind spots--just little dots, mostly around the focal point--where information just disappears, like a black hole (although it sometimes appears grey to me).  The edges of the letters are crisp, not blurry, but things are hiding behind some obstructions.  If I'm reading a standard type book or newspaper and close my "good" eye, an entire letter can disappear right at the focal point.  Looking at my screen now, the word "focal" has a grey area over the middle three letters, so all I clearly see is f and l and some vaguely round letters in the middle.  Could be "fecal"...could be "focal".  That can really change the direction of a conversation....  My eye has to shift left and right to see it, which makes reading rather slow.

One thing I did discover is that in Washington state, they give each driver an eye test when they renew their license.  When you look through the little viewfinder, there are three sets of three letters.  The first three test your left eye, middle three test both eyes, and the last three test your right eye.  For most people, they don't even notice.  For me, the test gets exponentially more difficult--

A X K   R G H  uh... I?  (eyes darting furiously back and forth) M...I think... geesh.  Q?  Could be Q...

I also can't see 3-D; I've been to the movies and the glasses do very little to make the action "pop" out at me.  Mostly I just get tired of watching a blurry movie and toss the glasses aside.  I tried one of the new 3-D TV sets at the local electronics store and I couldn't see any difference with or without the glasses.  I don't know what all the hype is about...I guess it's like trying to get a deaf person to appreciate the subtle nuances of a classical musical piece.  Eh.  Whatever.

The school year is winding down--Emma has 4 more weeks as an 8th grader and then she's done!  The other two kids have another week of school while she gets to sleep in and spend a lot of time chatting with her bestie on her instant messenger thing that she closes every time I walk up behind her.  Little does she know that we're on a network and we can look up all kinds of activity....she's a good kid, though.  :)

Kelly's birthday was in the middle of the week, so we celebrated on Cinco de Mayo with good seats at the Sounders game.  It's really fun to have good seats right behind the players' bench--here they are in the pre-game huddle.  What's really spectacular is the energy from all the fans.  This game had 38,600 people in attendance and I'm not sure if it was our seats, the weather, or the ECS in full voice, but the chanting and singing was spectacular from the Brougham End.  Later we got to see it on TV and got to listen to Arlo White, the former Voice of the Sounders, who now broadcasts on NBC.

And wouldn't you know it, we ran into friends...Tom wrote to Kelly and said he was planning on coming to the game.  What we didn't know was that he had seats almost right in front of us!  What are the odds??  Tom was at our wedding a million years ago...although his hair was much longer then.

Monday I went with Cammie's class up to Pioneer Park for a field trip, which was great fun, and today after taking Emma down for her PFTs, I ran a Girl Scout meeting where they sewed some quilt blocks, just like they did at the Pioneer Park trip.  It went fairly well, although many of them would have preferred using a sewing machine rather than hand sewing.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to spend a little time sewing the rest of the quilt blocks together for the Road to the White House swap we're doing with the online group.  I have one set finished and three more to go--two of those sets are partially sewn but it'll take a day or two to finish, I think, especially with frequent interruptions of shuttling kids, laundering clothes, and cooking meals.  Could be worse.