Sunday, December 9, 2018

Birthday Party and Girls' Day Out

I went with Emily, Graysen, and Katherine to a birthday party in Kirkland yesterday for Everly since I know the family pretty well by now.  Naturally, my phone was on the verge of dying and did, but I captured a few photos first.

It was in a bowling alley, the type that gives tokens and tickets and nothing prizes but drives kids crazy with excitement.  When we left, Emily and I looked at each other with relief and made a note NOT to do that kind of thing again.  There were probably six birthday parties going on at one time, and it was just filled with running children, harried parents, pizza, popcorn, lemonade, flashing lights - and a little bowling.

Graysen and Everly sharing the controls of some space ship game to make the most of their tokens.

Harper looks very Space Wars with her gun and the eerie lighting.

 Katherine didn't bowl but did enjoy seeing the space game nearby.  She was content a while just looking around but then got hungry, and when someone brought a huge bin of popcorn over, she took it upon herself to eat half of it, I think.  For me, I just enjoyed being with her and listening to her opinion of it all.

 I really didn't get any more good pictures.  This was when they were actually bowling, before Katherine came to sit with me.  I'm not sure what is happening here, but Graysen is sporting her new overalls, which she loves.  She explained to me that they were called overalls because you could wear them over things.  Makes sense.

 Graysen actually won the bowling competition and got an extra bag of tokens.  She got a strike and two spares, and now Emily is worried that Ryan is going to start taking her to bowling alleys - with arcades!

 It was new clothes day since Emily figured they wouldn't enjoy opening those on Christmas morning.  Nothing could please Katherine more than a jumper with kitty pockets.

AND kitty shoes.  

It was nice to meet new people.  There were just five little girls and their parents, and it was good for Emily to have a chance when she's not in a hurry to talk with other parents.  

I'm not a good passenger normally, and yesterday two days after an accident, I was really not good company.  Emily put me kind of in charge of navigation which distracted me a LITTLE bit.  I knew where we were for the first 10 minutes or so until we got on our second interstate.  I've never been to that area before, but it was kind of nice to see a new town or two.  

On the way home, we stopped in Bellevue - Or Issaquah - not sure - where Ryan's company was having their Christmas party.  No pictures, but someone was taking a lot.  I don't know if I'll see them.  Graysen didn't want to get out of the car because last year she saw Santa Claus through the window and ran screaming back to the car.  This year, she allowed herself to be in the same room with him, but she kept her eyes flickering in his direction at all times, and sometimes I noticed her standing directly behind me to block his view.

They had a hot chocolate bar that the girls zeroed in on.  I had a cup too, and it was excellent with all kinds of things you could add in.  If that wasn't enough sugar, there were other marshmallow and candy things on sticks that they munched on.  Katherine did allow herself to sit - with her parents nearby - in Santa's lap but with the most forced and unhappy smile I've ever seen from her.  Graysen was not impressed enough to do it herself.  We saw a family with 3 crying kids get their picture taken with trickery.  Santa went out of the room, and the children saw it.  Then the whole family sat down to pose for the picture.  Then when they were ready, Santa sneaked back out and stood behind them.  That would have freaked Graysen out even more when she saw the picture if they had done that.

We were definitely ready to get home when we finally got to leave.  It was a fun day though, and I'm glad I made the effort to do it.  

A Little Christmas Cheer

Our little abode is as decorated as it's going to be.  I find myself wanting to display less and less every year.  The little tree is nice and a few things the girls love, but I have another box to donate this year or find out if anyone wants the things.

This is always nice to see even when it's not Christmas.  We haven't even read these books.  It's making me sad that we don't have all those times of cuddling and reading since both girls are in school.  Graysen is reading a little now, and she'll just take the books and look at the pictures and find the words she knows, or figure it out.  Katherine is too busy running wild with the kitty.  I'll try to do better with that, because I'm not ready to accept this!

Just walking around the apartment this morning with a cup of coffee while the wind howls and being thankful for what I have and not lingering too long on what I don't.  But the memories are there, all the old things that bring back happier times.

I did this cross-stitch many years ago and fully intended to do another one or two companion santas - but didn't of course.  He makes me happy.

Eleanor's pine cone candle holders and table.

Crazy Christmas cactus is trying to hold onto a few blooms to live up to its name.

A quick view out the balcony door.  I'm surprised the wind hasn't blown this garland down.  Emily did a good job attaching them for me.  Driving up the drive, it's so festive.  Lots of the balconies have lights and garlands or little trees.  I just noticed when I looked at the pictures that the wind has blown over one of the chairs.  Hummingbirds were flying around last week, so we got some new food mixed up and refilled the bird feeder.  Also amazed they haven't blown down.

Little gold tree.  Layla has left it alone so far.  She likes to hide under the table skirt, but a bottle of water sprayed in her direction sends her flying.  She looks so offended when we do that.  Some mornings I find little pieces of things knocked off tables or the desk but nothing major.

I give the girls a nutcracker every year from my stash, so there aren't as many left.  I'm just piling things on there right now, deciding what to do with them.  Just glad Layla has not had any curiosity about this hutch.

This is just a cross-stitch bread cover that I did and like a lot but just never use it.  Maybe if I would make some bread?

A couple of gifts from Kathy from years ago.  Again glad the girls haven't discovered they can open that box, or the mittens would have disappeared.

 I made this for the girls, and they like playing with the ornaments in the bag, but since they're not here every day and there's not candy involved, we don't use it as an advent calendar.  They have a really cute one at home that they don't miss a day getting their candy from!

 In the mess on the counter is still my favorite nutcracker along with the plate holder that Debby sent, which I love and use every day!  I don't have enough Christmas saucers and little plates to fill it so I kept out some kinda Christmas-colored plates to use.

I'm hiding Christmas gifts in the sewing room until I get them wrapped, but I need to hurry.  Yesterday Graysen went exploring in Emily's gift boxes.

 Because it's hard for Elise and me to ever have any alone time, I've made a little corner for myself in my bedroom.  The chair is Mike's granddaddy's.  It was once orange corduroy back when it belonged to his parents, and when orange probably seemed like a good choice.  I had it covered with a blue and beige check many years ago, and it sat unused in a guest room.  Now I have a quiet place for myself.  I believe I see a kitty head at the bottom of the picture.

Some things beside the chair this morning.  Corrie, my angel from the Atlanta airport, has suggested that I write down four things a day about the way I feel when I do devotionals, and I'm trying that in my Grace journal.  I have to admit the tone of the four things has improved over a week or so.  Much more about Corrie later.  The Jodi Picoult book has started off okay and one that will cause me to think a lot.  The Herbal Kitchen?  I just typed a dictated podcast of her not too long ago, and she sounded interesting, so I got one of her books from the library.  I'm not sure I'll get around to that right now though.

I think I'm in a better place now than I was two weeks ago.  Part of that is due to Corrie's caring suggestions.  Another thing is getting out of the house yesterday for fun instead of just duty.  And I made a doctor's appointment for Monday, which I've been procrastinating doing.  Elise has threatened to drag me there.  I needed to get checked out after the accident just to document it, so I decided to combine that with my checkup and prescription refill.  I'm not sure why I'm so reluctant to go.  I've been blessed with good health up until now, and I know I'm due for something.  My out-of-pocket expenses this year have been $90 plus some cough and cold over-the-counter things, and I need that to stay the same.  

I'm ready to stay home and enjoy my day today and let the rain come and the wind howl.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

And the Day DIdn't Get Any Better

I managed to stay out of the cold all day until 2:45 when it was time to pick up Katherine.  I was driving a couple of blocks away from downtown Snoqualmie to get to Rooster Valley, driving slowly, spotting a parking space, and making my way to it when all of a sudden there was a huge crash, and I realized I had been hit, either that or my car had finally blown up.  It's funny how clearly I was thinking and how I was not afraid.  I knew I wasn't hurt - so far - but had to gain control of the car.  I finally came to rest completely up on a curb against a chain link fence. 

The fence owner came out immediately to see if I was okay, and neither one of us noticed the other car at first, and it just puzzled me what had happened.  I was totally stunned, but there was that adrenaline of being so glad it wasn't worse.  When I got out, the other driver came running over, apologizing profusely and seeing if I was okay.  A young guy, just 21.  We were all surprised that the huge sound produced only a long scrape and not really even a dent.  I think his car got the worst of it, although I didn't go check.  Several of the Rooster Valley teachers came running up to give hugs and see if I was okay - in their pajamas.  I heard one of them explaining J for Jammies week to the bystanders.  They stayed until I was able to crank the car and get off the curb, and then I had to pick up Katherine.

I was okay to drive home.  I'm lately super cautious because of all the crosswalks and pedestrians and my not seeing a couple of them and having to stop quickly.  So I creep through town anyway, but there was that feeling of brief panic when I would see a car come to a stop sign and not stop immediately.  After being in a worse accident in the 80s, it took me a long time before I could relax and not watch other cars excessively.  This was my first accident as a driver and second overall.  The first time, I was in the back seat without a seatbelt and was thrown around and had terrible bruises and lingering neck pain.  I'm very proud of the job my seatbelt did today and have just a little ache in my shoulder, probably from tension.  Just thanking God tonight for keeping the other driver and me from being hurt and for the children not to have been in the car. 

I didn't get an explanation for this little scene, but Emily and I called it "Heading home to Nazareth."

I Don't Want to Do Winter

I went out this morning, and that should be enough punishment to last for several months.  The thought of going out 2 or 3 times a day for the duration of the winter just depresses me.  I know all days won't be like this one - 23 degrees, biting wind, bright sun to blind you while driving.  Some days it will be worse.  It will the 23 degrees, windy, and raining or snowing.  When I used to complain, Mike always said, "Just be glad you don't have an outside job."  That puts it into perspective, but it doesn't make me any more tolerant of cold weather.

It's so much harder to get the kids dressed and out the door too.  Why are hats and mittens and boots nowhere to be found when it's time to leave.  There are some hats always, in their cubbies, but they're never the right ones.  One has a pompom on top, which is great, but another one has a pompom that hangs down a little. No way someone is going to wear a hat with a pompom that hangs down. One has Elsa, and ones has a kitty cat.   Gloves and mittens are like socks, except they always disappear in pairs.  Just nothing there for hands.  I told Katherine this morning that she could wear the kitty hat but that it didn't cover her ears, and they would be cold.  She said seriously, "But when I get to school, all my friends will think I'm a kitty cat."  Gotta go with what's important.

On the drive home from dropping off the last one, the car is warm, and Christmas carols are playing, and I have this really happy feeling of getting a job done once more - even if I do complain.  My main job is not only getting there safely and (usually) on time but making sure they know they're loved and protected and ready for the day.  Graysen always runs to greet her friends on the playground as happy as can be, but Katherine is still a little clingy when I leave her - but not as much any more.  She got in the way of a photo op yesterday and reluctantly allowed herself to be in it.

Uncomfortable grimace and bare tummy.  I think she enjoys going to the circle first thing in the morning.  There's a rug in front of a fireplace with a yellow lab puppy lying on it and Miss Jami getting ready to read a book or talk about something interesting.  She has been shy about playing with other kids on the playground, but yesterday I saw her riding a tricycle with another little girl.  When she got in the car, I mentioned it, and she said, "Yeah, that was Olivia.  She didn't throw me off the bike today."  That's a little progress.

She's the one in pink, pedaling hard.

 I'm also glad I'm not one of the pajama-wearing teachers who DO have to work outside this week.

It's Thursday, so one more day of going out before the weekend.  I am going to a birthday party with Emily and Graysen Saturday, but someone else will be dressing kids and driving.

The Christmas tree is still standing, so I might put the ornaments on today.  I have a miniature tree with gifts under it on a little table, and those were pretty much all over the living room.  Kitty Layla makes us laugh though and cuddles very nicely, so that's worth a few messes.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Winter is Now Here

And we are cold.  I mean, really cold.  It might be in the 40s, but all of us are feeling like it's about 20, even the children, and they usually hardly notice.  It's the cold wind in the face that gets me, because I can layer and have warm feet, but nothing helps that wind in the face.  I saw a sweater with what's called a funnel neck that looks like it might do the trick.   This sweatshirt with the drawstring might work even better.  I could pull it up and tie it over my nose.


I was actually kind of joking about that funnel neck, because I hate turtlenecks and high necks on clothes, but this has gotten me interested.

Mount Si had a little dusting of snow yesterday morning.

Katherine has Pajama Day at her school all week, and she's loving it.  She wore her Paw Patrol nightgown on Monday that Grandma and Grandpa Bindert sent her, and yesterday had five pairs of pajamas laid out in a row.

This is what happens when you have hand-me-downs - a full wardrobe of Christmas PJs.  I embroidered some of these when I was living in Montgomery, so they do have some age on them.  Just glad I didn't get carried away with the monogramming.  That's Graysen's foot showing off her dog bone Christmas socks.

When I got upstairs, Katherine had put the day's outfit up on her bed and told me that was a stack.

Graysen was showing me her class assignment - to disguise their gingerbread person so the fox wouldn't eat it.  

The things they think and say are so funny, just things you never even think about.  I was asking about what some other disguises were, and the only thing she said was, "I was a little bit scared because people were saying there was a real gingerbread man on the playground, and I didn't want to see him.  But Rachel told me there wasn't, so I wasn't afraid any more.  I reminded her that the Gingerbread Man was just a story and not real, like TV movies and cartoons weren't real.  She said, "Oh, but Gingerbread Men are.  Last year at pre-K, we put our gingerbread men in the oven and were working on our calendar (what a memory!), and when it was time to get him out, there was just a note saying - I saw what you were working on and knew you were going to eat me, so I ran away.  Here's a clue.'   We all went downtown to look for him, and I was afraid of seeing him."  I also reminded her that when she found him, she ate him, so that wasn't real.  She just smiled at me knowingly.  Katherine was sitting there listening to the whole thing and storing up who knows what anxieties about the gingerbread men to go with her fear of nutcrackers and Santa Claus.  

They found a perfect tree and decorated it Monday night.  Emily sent me so many pictures.  I think they had a pretty good time.  I'll try to download some.  

Monday afternoon, Emily came over to help me decorate my balcony, which is much easier than all those wreaths and garlands I used to hang on various houses through the years.  I had a hard time doing it myself, but she whipped it out in a few minutes and then did a Christmas cheer to celebrate.

She does get into the spirit of things.

I had made the sausage balls I promised for Thanksgiving and failed to do, so that lured Ryan over here in a hurry, and I got him to bring up my Christmas decorations.

I put the tree on the table, and the lights went up without Layla seeming to notice. It needs  a lot of work, but we'll see if she jumps up and turns it over before I add any ornaments.  Nothing shows light misplacements like a photo.

I had to shoot Layla once with the spray bottle of water, and she hasn't been back in that area.  She tries so hard to understand, and we do have her using her scratching posts more than the ottoman finally.  After a hard afternoon with the children, this is what she wanted to do.

The activities yesterday included putting her under a plastic box and hand-feeding her treats.  

This carpet and kitchen floor are awful, but even though I've been here 3 years, the manager says they won't replace it until I leave.  Thanks a lot!  

It's 4:00 a.m., so I think I'll go to bed - for the second time.  The first sleep was from about 6:00 p.m. to 10:00.  I got up and got a glass of tea and worked on a court dictation and some other things, so now I'll go sleep another 3 hours.  If I can.  I know it's not healthy, but when I have to sleep, I have to sleep.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Can't Live Without Them

My StoryWorth question for this week was:  What Things Do You Think You Cannot Live Without.

At first, I seriously named the things that I can't physically live without and then started thinking about the things I would find it hard to live without and be happy.

So I made quite an extensive list.  I'm finding it hard to keep myself in a happy place lately, and so naming these things made me seem not quite as bad off as I  see myself some days, so I thought I would copy them here, so I don't lose my ability to see my blessings.

And it beats complaining.

The things that give me pleasure nowadays are:

A quiet place to sit and think and read - and nap.
A warm clean bed to get into every night.
Children who love to read and love to have me read them stories.
Kissable cheeks and hugs and expressions of love from my babies.
Family members who are so comforting and comfortable to talk to honestly and without reservation.
The library and being able to get any book I might want to read in a very short time, sometimes the next day.  
Money.  The security that Mike left me so I won't have to be dependent on others and the ability to earn a little bit more.
Coffee and mocha creamers and the quiet time to be able to drink it any time I want to.  Cinnamon roll coffee during the holidays.
Technology and the little bit of it that I understand that's changed my life.
Phone that I fight with but that allows me to be in touch with anyone almost any time.
Computer - my new one that allows me to work with pleasure now and go anywhere I want to and learn anything I want to.
Friends, although very few of them that I really talk to any more.  Enough though and good ones.
Necessities when I need them - toilet paper, soap, toothpaste, deodorant, lotion.
A safe place to live.
Warm/hot showers and clean towels to dry off with.
The ability to have comfortable shoes and clothes and warm coats and gloves.
Smiles and kindness from strangers.
Laughs and giggles from children - my babies' the most precious.
Good schools for the girls with excellent teachers.
A snuggly kitty cat and good memories of all pets I've loved in the past.
Logic problems and puzzles.
Freedom and the ability to live without fear.
Inside jokes with family.
Conveniences like the microwave, dishwasher, instant heat, car, credit cards, ATM machines.
Ability to fly without too much anxiety.
Good care to keep Mama comfortable.
Memories of parents, grandparents, in-laws that make me smile.
Memories of Mike that keep me going every day and the ability to talk to him when I have a problem.
Faith in God and faith in myself, although shaky, that is still there.
A mind that lets me learn new things every day and shows me new ways of looking at things.
A good sense of humor.
Weather - all kinds except extreme heat and cold.  Rain (luckily), nice windstorms, thunder when I can get it, a little snow (but just a little), springtime warmth.
Comforting things, like my soft throw, down comforter, fuzzy warm socks, my favorite coffee mugs and favorite coffees.
Good health - for the most part - and the ability to get out of bed every day.
This is a long list, but I know there are other things I enjoy and can live without - but would find it hard.  I guess a blessing list.

Now for the complaining!

I've gotten more forgetful lately, and it's bothering me.  I know it's having too much on my mind, because my thinking is usually clear.  I just really started doubting myself these past couple of days.  Yesterday, we forgot Graysen's backpack and lunch box.  I know it's up to her to pick it up on the way out, but I'm still supposed to be there to remind her.  We still had time to go back and get it and arrive at school on time.

Yesterday when I took them home at 5:00, I forgot her backpack at the apartment.  No problem.  I would just take it over to the house the next morning.  And, of course, I ran out this morning in such a hurry that I forgot it - because I had hidden my glasses from Layla who likes to knock them off the table - and then I forgot where I hid them, so I was running a bit late.

Again, no problem, we would stop by the apartment on the way to school and pick it up.  We got all dressed and out the door and halfway there when I realized I had not only left Graysen's lunch, library books, and water bottle but also Katherine's lunch box and water bottle on the couch.  So back to the house - talking all the time about how it was okay, we were not going to be late, Mimi is just having a crazy day.  

Ran in, got all those things, went to the apartment and brought down the backpack, packed Graysen's lunch and books into the backpack and got her to school on time.  Then delivered Katherine (over protests) to school.  But got honked at because I refused to turn left in front of an oncoming car and made the car behind me have to wait an extra 10 seconds.  I knew I could have made it, but it seems rude to me and a little dangerous to cut in front of a car going full speed, and I shouldn't let it bother me, but it just added to the morning's doubt.  After I took Katherine in and left her happy in her fox dress, I just sat in the car and cried - not much but just let the whole stressful morning out.  

At times like this, I forget all the good things and just concentrate on the bad, so it was good that I decided to get my StoryWorth writing out of the way before Sunday.  It does make me realize all the good things I have in life.  

Just to end with a funny.  The girls and I turned Layla's Chewy box into a fort with little windows and toys inside, but she hardly ever used it, and it's really not pretty in the living room, so I decided to take it apart and put it in the recycle bin.

But, of course, cat-like, it was much more interesting to her in the current state.

Too bad, Layla.  You've lost your fort.  She had to go in Time Out yesterday, her carrier, because Katherine was trying to paint, and cats and little cups of water do not go well together.  

She also stayed there during lunch, because that little tray is where the girls like to eat, but didn't seem to mind it at all.  She never fussed about it and just sat there and watched us.  Maybe she needs a Time Out from people sometimes.

Later on that day, Katherine was mad with me about my insisting she pick up her toys.  K:  You're mean to me, Mimi.  I'm going to tell my Mama, and she's going to be sad at you.  M:  That's okay.  Mama wants you to pick up your toys too.  K:  Well, then I'm never going to eat breakfast with you again, and I'm never going to eat that soup you gave me for lunch.  I'm only going to eat Paw Patrol cookies here and bananas and apple slices and yo-gret.  And a foot stomp for emphasis.  

I love her so much and try not to be too mean.  

Monday, November 26, 2018


It was such a busy and happy month, and once more I neglected to document things.  I did better when I tried to write at least one sentence a day.  Even though most of it was boring, I got me here to post the important things.

I'll see how much time I have today and get a few pictures posted.

It's windy and rainy and 49 degrees, a good day to stay inside. On Mondays, Emily works at home, so she does the delivery to school, and I do the pickup.  Sounds fair to me!

This was my summer-looking balcony this morning.  This geranium is just the cheeriest.  Too bad it's too chilly to sit out and enjoy it.

The Christmas/Thanksgiving/whatever cactus blooms whenever it pleases.

We've only had one freeze so far, but it's coming this weekend, so I'll gather it back up and bring it in.  I might bring in the geraniums too.

That kitty cat I was wanting came to live with us this month.  It got too confusing for me to look at shelters on line and figure out where they were, so Elise finally took matters into her own hands and drove to the Bellevue shelter and brought home Layla.  Graysen named her on sight after a sweet friend she had last year.  It's fine.  She seems like a Layla.

I've had gray tabbies off and own since 1967 and kind of wanted a different color, but this is the one who reached out to Elise and won her heart.  And we're so glad she did.  I've never seen a kitten come into a home and just be comfortable stepping out of the carrier.  No ears back, no running and hiding, no fear at all.  

The girls were here when she arrived, and we had to keep them from rushing up to her, but she didn't seem to mind.  It's like she had been waiting for little girls to love all her life - all 9 weeks of it!  I know the girls had been waiting for a kitten for a long time.

She's so patient with them and is content to ride up and down the hall in a plastic box pushed by Katherine, just sitting there and enjoying her trip.    This is the first day she was here - not bothered by anything, even constant chatter and giggling.

I ordered her cat food and litter from Chewy along with some toys, and it paid off, because as I left Friday, this nice strong young man was bringing up this 50-lb box - running - and one more time I won't have to bring it up those stairs step by step.  

For me?

She plays with her scratching pad, ball-chasing apparatus a lot - mainly when we're trying to sleep, but that's okay.  She's a little afraid of the feathers on a wand, but the laser is, of course, an obsession already.  If I pick it up and jingle it a little bit, she magically appears and looks at the floor waiting.  I have to keep it in a drawer, because she'll go and drag it off.

We really do love her.  She purrs very loudly and head butts you and just sits and looks at you sometimes.  I have to be careful walking, because right now, she takes every step I do, darting in front of me.  I think one step-on will get her changing her habits.  Graysen took the Chewy box and made her a castle with her toy and blanket inside and all kinds of embellishments, but here's where I saw her sleeping last night.  That can't be comfortable.

Oh, and puzzles.  Emily and I can't have a holiday season without thinking we can put together puzzles.  We overdid it last year and did not apologize for it.  We'd prefer to do them together, but there's a limit of time we have to spend together, so I brought one of them home to work on.  BIG mistake.  There's no way a cat can not pull all the pieces onto the floor.

I decided to put this one out on my table before the Christmas decorations come up and work on it here and there.

Whoa, 2000 teeny tiny pieces!  The first time I worked on it and tried to find the border pieces, I woke up the next morning to find them scattered all over the table and floor.

So this is my solution.

But not good enough.  This is what I found this morning.  Unfortunately, cats do not honor boundaries.  I'll be pulling out the rest of my cutting mats. 

It's a losing battle and a mindless activity for sure, but I do enjoy spending a few minutes here and there searching for a particular piece.  It keeps me from the depressing news I can't help be bombarded with on Facebook and Google News.

That's all my time today.  I have to get myself out in the rain to go pick up sweet girls.  Looks like a hot chocolate and kitty-playing afternoon to me.