Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Goat Did It

Ate the sign-in sheet.

"If your name is on the top half, sign out; otherwise, never mind.

Katherine made it by one line.

We stayed in a cloud most of the day.

I walked to the Y to play Mah Jongg and went by the library first.  I was returning 3 books, but by the time I got there, I had 6 books waiting on the reserve shelves, so I had a heavy bag to carry. 

I had told Graysen I might be walking by her playground and would look for her, but the little girls who waved at me were second-graders and said the first-graders had already gone inside.

There were seven of us to play, and I held my own.  I'm getting more and more comfortable, but it goes so fast I just want to say, "Time out for a minute and let me think."  I may have actually said that a couple of times.  Abby won the first 2 games, then Anita won the 3rd, and I (surprisingly!) won the last game.  I enjoy it so much more than I thought I would.  Debbie was not there today, and I was a little tense because I don't really know the others as well, but we did have a good time. 

Walking home and feeling smug.

Walking along Center Street on the way down was so interesting.  In the first storefront was a woman playing with two babies - a daycare, I guess.  Next door was a dog grooming parlor, and I could have stood and watched some of that if I'd had time.  Next was a pottery-painting store with several children in there.  Home-schoolers, I guess?  And next to that was a martial arts group of children with their white uniforms on doing whatever it is they do.  Last was the place I get my hair cut, and I wish I had had time to go in there.   All looked so warm and cozy and cheerful. 

I had to go straight to pick up the girls when I got home.  Still those interesting clouds but a nice crisp and dry day.

The girls had time to have a snack and play just a little bit before Emily was there to pick them up.  I've been trying to read a little bit but am too sleepy.  Out of all the books I got, two were ones I had already read, and one was a Toni Morrison one that looked too sad to get into tonight - or maybe ever!  I finished Eleanor Oliphant is Fine, and it was a great one - hard to get into but so good.  I hated to finish it. 

Yesterday I went to Issaquah for a few last-minute things, and you would have thought it was Christmas week from the looks of the traffic.  Pouring rain, road construction, lines of cars everywhere. Thank goodness I'm done now and don't have to go back.  I found some paperwhites to force at Home Depot and enjoyed a phone call from an old friend in the car before I went in. That was fun. The folks inside were busy, so I came out into the garden center and found a guy sitting in a little booth with a heater who was so glad to see me because he hadn't had a customer in two hours and was getting bored.  We had a nice conversation about what kinds of things grow here and all about forcing bulbs.  I found Dollar Tree for wrapping paper and ornament hooks so I didn't have to go all the way to Target and finished all that stuff. 

Except for one gift that I'm waiting for and one to be decided on, I have everything wrapped and ready and stocking things sorted so I can enjoy a peaceful few weeks.  We'll go down to see the tree lighting in Snoqualmie Saturday night, and the girls will have a sleepover here Sunday night.

I've enjoyed talking to Carol, Mike's cousin from Louisiana this week.  We started chatting by email the other day since they lost their mother, Aunt Betty, last week.  She was 95.  It's been almost a year since we lost Mama too, the 10th.  Those two!  You never knew what they were going to say next.  It's been fun talking and reminiscing and sorting out all our children and grandchildren.  I do hope we'll keep in touch better.  We're going to try.  We have so few family members left now, and we're all so scattered.  I don't think they would mind me posting a picture of Aunt Betty and her grandson Dwight.  She certainly loved her family and, according to Carol, was in good spirits last week, looking forward to Thanksgiving.  You just never know. 

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I'm looking forward to the weekend.  I have orders from the girls for 4 doll stockings to be made and one Christmas doll dress, but otherwise I have no projects going.  Emily and I are getting together Monday, I think, to make some Christmas gifts for her co-workers.  This one doesn't involve a bit of glue and smells good!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Christmas Tree Adventure

I texted Emily Friday morning around 10:00 to see if they were going to pick out their tree that day and was told they already had it in the house.  So, obviously I wasn't involved in this adventure, but I do get to enjoy seeing it without exerting myself and getting too cold.  And love seeing how much fun they had. 

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Happy December

I was lying in bed this morning listening to the wind howl and being so thankful to be in a warm place.  I read a weather article about our chances for a white Christmas and then got up to find out it was actually snowing today.  I knew there was a chance, but it's 40 degrees and too wet for it to stick.  It's still pretty though, and I enjoy seeing it swirl around.

The girls are worried that I don't have a bigger tree and that I only have GOLD ornaments.  They have no concept of my life before now and that I had a normal big tree with all the sentimental ornaments for 48 years and that this was my little fun tree - which suits me perfectly right now in this cozy space.  All the other ornaments are dispersed to the younger generation, and I'm left with what's easy and manageable and fits my space.  Besides, I love the warm gold and lights.

I didn't mean to capture people in my picture, but this is too funny.  I zoomed in and saw that these folks are wearing shorts and look like they didn't get the snow memo either.  They're probably arguing about who's going to make the trip to Starbucks and who's going to walk the dog.  

Layla's climbing tree is going to the garage for December.  She doesn't use it much, but if she does, it puts her way too close to the mantel and garland and stockings.  So far, she's not bothered the tree but is curious about all the new objects sitting around.

I have such high hopes for this month and not getting caught up in anything I don't want to do.  I have all my gifts bought and wrapped - the ones that have arrived.  There will be a few drifting in, but the decisions have been made, and it's now time for everyone to change their minds about what they want.  Too bad!

My morning is perfect so far.  

I'm expecting the Starbucks Holiday Blend coffee to be delivered any day now.  Elise and I look forward to that every year, but this morning's Nantucket blend is quite good.  I've finally learned to drink it black - almost.  I do add about a teaspoon of sugar-free vanilla creamer, and that seems to be the taste I like.

I've brought in my big ole Seattle Times and ready to dive in.

 I usually head straight to the book reviews and make a list of books I want to request from the library and then do the Sudoku.  It's a hard one, kind of like the New York Times Crossword.  I never have the patience to try to finish it, but I do like starting it!  I love a clean slate!

I'm saving the crossword for this afternoon and working on my planner later on.  Another clean slate!

I have a lot I want to get done this week, but my fun things are coffee with Debbie Tuesday morning and Mah Jongg Thursday afternoon.  I guess that will be fun.  I'm still such a beginner that it's a little stressful, but I found an online version and manage to beat the computer sometimes.

I think we go down to Snoqualmie downtown to see the tree lighting Saturday night.  I'll be doing a little layering for that occasion!  There's 97% chance of rain but temps in the 40s.  So there's that.

The girls will be here in the afternoons a couple of days, but they will be completely immersed in the new Christmas things, so I doubt they will need me.

The Advent calendar is ready for them.  Theirs at home has candy, but mine only has an ornament to put in the pocket, so it's a little boring, but they like to dig in the little bag and pull out their favorites first.  It was fun to make and cheery hanging in the hall by the kitchen.

This is their main place during December, and they couldn't wait for me to get out the manger.  We only had about 15 minutes last week to unpack things and set it up on the desk, so they'll head over there as soon as they get here.

I found the Santa salt and pepper shakers here this morning along with some carolers and sledders.  Layla's time-out crate also sits here - and is well used.

The Iron Bowl was noted in the newspaper.  I don't usually open the sports section, but I thought I would see if they had anything about college football.  It was all Apple Cup and the Seahawks, but I found this:

I sewed while the game was on, but Elise kept me informed.  I can always tell what's happening, because she talks to the boys and cheers them on.  "You're doing great.  Come on.  You can do it."  And then her big laugh and scream when something good happens.  She calls me in to look at plays, but after one of them, Alabama immediately scored afterward, so she refused to let me back in.  Once I just appeared in the kitchen, and something bad happened.  I did see the end though, as I walked in to see the missed field goal and all the excitement of the last two minutes.

Poor Emily and Ryan really get into the games, but they had two engagements that cut their watching and cheering short.  Between them, Emily managed to make her victory lap down the street.

The Win-Bins got their beautiful tree Friday morning.  Early.  Cold.  Memories.  So much joy.  I'll add those pictures tomorrow.  

I'd better get another cup of coffee and start on my Sudoku.  I do hear a FedEx truck stopping downstairs.  I can't tell you how much I appreciate Amazon and Target and Walmart and free shipping.  If I need in-person shopping, I'll go to Hobby Lobby and get some wrapping paper and ribbons.  I do have a couple of interesting gifts that I'll have to do in person but more of that later.  

I just saw this on the community page.  I've heard about it and put it on my calendar since they ride by with a block of my place.  Looks like fun.  I imagine Emily will be all over riding on the tractor!

5th Annual Horses Christmas Caroling on the Ridge will be happening on Saturday 12/14!
Our route is below in case you want to come watch. We sing poorly (and potentially not at all) but do bring bells, fun, and ponies to the Ridge. We anticipate being near the Safeway at 2-2:15pm and briskly walking the loop. As always, we welcome any folks who want to walk or ride on the tractor with us!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Rooster Valley Revue

Tuesday was the 4th and last of our Rooster Valley Revues, and they are so special.  The teachers and kids work so hard on them, but there are no expectations, no judgement, just lots of fun and laughter and just a few tears too, knowing this will be the last year.

RVFS has doubled their attendance this year and added a new building, so what was already a big deal is now even a bigger deal.  The usual church where they've gone before was not available, so we drove to the Si View Community Center which has a real stage and a big gym, but there still were not enough seats for everyone.  I was lucky enough to get there early enough to get a parking place pretty near by and a seat.  Half the people had to stand up until the preschoolers finished, and then most of that group left.

Katherine's friend Cora was right behind us, and they got to have a little fun together while waiting.

The preschoolers were adorable with their little yellow duck outfits and turkey shirts.  My favorite was the Turkey Pokey.  "You put your right wing in, you put your right wing out..."  on on through the drumstick, wattle, stuffing, and tailfeathers.  

I was too far back to get any good pictures of Katherine on stage, and the videos are pretty rough, but they make me smile.

I knew Katherine was the cat in Farmer in the Dell and was a mouse in Little Bunny Foo-Foo, but I didn't know what else to expect.

The little square dance was so sweet.  Kate's skirt is a little long, and her partner's hat fell over his eyes, but she wasn't about to let go of his hands to fix it.  Poor thing.  

The Farm Animals Gruff goes on and on starting with the worm crossing the bridge and ending up with the farmer, and the kids do a great job.  Katherine is the horse, and I was surprised at how confident she was.  She's come a long way from the little shy baby last year to being outgoing and having a lot of friends this year.

Happy Trails is the song they sing at the end of the school day every year, and it never fails to make Emily and me cry a little bit, especially this last year and seeing how earnestly Kate is singing all the words.  Sweet girl.

I got this great picture from Facebook of the hard-working, patient, and very much fun-loving teachers.  We're so lucky to have the girls be taught and loved by these ladies.

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Thanksgiving 2019

What a great Thanksgiving!  It was perfect from beginning to end.  We're finally able to pull off holidays with the kind of fun and laughter that Mike wanted us to have with just a few times of bittersweet memories and just a few "it's just not fair" thoughts.

A few times this week, I've had this feeling of sadness at things not being the way they used to be.  In a way, even though it was stressful at times, I wanted to be preparing for a houseful of people and dogs and lots of food, making sure there was plenty of hot chocolate and coffee around and cooking extra desserts and everyone's favorite things.

But then I realize I like the place I am now.  I'm the one who shows up empty-handed at Emily and Ryan's house and has nothing to do but just sit and listen to the girls chatter and hear them laughing over last-minute preparations in the kitchen.  

Emily said she was proud of me because I actually CHOSE to walk to their house in 30s weather.  She said she knew I would come around eventually.  I'm not that brave though.  There was sunshine and no wind, so it was a pleasant walk.  Throw in that rain and even snow, and I'm inside by the fire!  

The girls greeted me by showing me the place mats and place cards they had worked so hard on.

 And still working on them.

 I then went into the kitchen to meet this big boy.  They had ordered a fresh turkey from a butcher, but when Emily got there to pick it up, they didn't have the one she ordered, so she had a get a much bigger one.  It was cooked to perfection by Ryan and delicious.

Emily was working on the Brussels sprouts.

Which ended up looking like this and was my favorite dish.

While lunch was being finished, I let the girls open their 2019 ornaments from me.  I used to give the adults one too, but now we're just treating the children.  More pressure off of finding just the perfect meaningful ornament!

Graysen is into penguins this year, so that's what she got.

And Katherine got a white kitty and a baby seal.

"Oh, I love him SO much!"

Then it was snuggles on the couch with Mimi and Aunt CeCe.

They promise this is fun!

My favorite place in the world to be!

Katherine needs so many friends to share her place!

It was such a good lunch and so much laughing.  The girls had sweet and thoughtful prayers before we started and managed to eat a few bites.  They had just as soon have had hot dogs.  The rest of us just loved being together and having a good time.

This was my plate.  Emily also made dressing, Caesar salad, and cranberry relish, which were good also.  Two good cooks in this house.  Dessert was all the fruit you want, but no one rushed to have any!  It was just the perfect amount.

I love the age of the girls now.  As soon as we finished, they were upstairs playing and chattering and leaving us to clean up the kitchen in peace.  Such a change from their baby days.  Cleaning up was even fun, and Elise and I left in a bit to leave them to their afternoon.  So thankful for these folks.

After a brisk walk home, I was ready for a cup of coffee and finishing my good book:  A Nearly Normal Family.  Very appropriate!  Very good book too.