Wednesday, December 31, 2008

oh, Shoot!

After years of being cameraless, Andrew, Benjamin & I got cameras for Christmas!
Benjamin with his camera

I would love to share lots of pictures with you, but my system is old and outdated, and very, very slow. I cannot do slideshows like Sariah does.

But here are some Christmas pictures :


Andrew with the Uno Flash game Benjamin gave the family
Andrew with a game Benjamin gave us

Andrew using his Christmas stocking as a sock puppet
Andrew using his Stocking as a puppet

Esther and Jared at their new easel
Esther & Jared at their new easel

Debi & Miriam all cozy and warm in their new scarves and the wonderful blanket Teresa crochet for Debi
Debi Robarts,Miriam Robarts,Teresa Robarts,hom

Ruth with the beautiful jacket Miriam bought her
Miriam Robarts,Hinds, Tom and Ruth

Benjamin exploring the personalized clipboard Ruth made for him
Robarts, Benjamin,homemade gift


Have you seen these people?
The Pelletts

My good friends here (seen as they appeared some years ago), through a series of moves and a bit of miscommunication, lost their storage unit where all their family photographs were being stored. Can you imagine how devastating that must feel?!!

If you know them and have any pictures of them, please let me know so we can get the family copies.

If, by some miracle, you got their storage items or know who did, PLEASE let me know so we can get their pictures back to them.

Justice will be well served

Juror # 1 remains in the box.
Well, actually, he was just dismissed for the weekend, but Andrew has been seated in an actual jury in a trial that begins on the 5th.

In The Box

Andrew got called in to jury duty yesterday. He is back again today - in the jury box. They are still doing selections and he may yet be dismissed, but for now Andrew is Juror # 1.

Coats, Scarves and Sweaters

I had taken Friday after Christmas off as well as Christmas Eve. Joseph went to work. The other guys and I worked hard on our house shifting and actually made some visual progress. When I picked up Joseph, I informed him that we had something now that we haven't had in years - a coat closet!

We all worked on sorting and shifting again Saturday. There is some hope of actually finding the family room someday. Of course, the "office" is filling up much faster than the stuff is disappearing. I had hoped on putting at least one set of shelves in there, but that's not happening anytime soon. I also wanted to put up a rack to hold my Stampin'Up punches, but I can't find wall space!

I unburied my sewing machine - last seen when I made my skirt for David and Teresa's wedding reception. Can't get it to work. That's too bad.

Among other things, I was hoping to sew across the scarf that Debi got. I had crocheted 3 brown scarves with different stitches. I didn’t want to decide which was for whom, so I wrapped them without names and put them in one bag for Miriam, Ruth, and Debi. Debi ended up with one that was much longer than she wanted (but she liked the stitch). They had to be pretty long because the girls wanted pockets for their hands. I was thinking over the head, around the neck once or twice and then arm length – nearly 12 feet. Debi’s was one that I chained the entire length and then crocheted the width, unlike the others where I chained the width and crocheted the length. The girls had seen that stitch on the infamous elf sweater and requested it, and they wanted it in vertical, not horizontal pattern.. Naturally, this is the one that needed shortening. I couldn’t just rip out the amount not wanted. I ended up hand stitching across the scarf, cutting it off, and hoping that I sewed and crocheted it across well enough that it won’t come undone. The seam is buried inside the connection between the pink pocket inset and the scarf and hardly shows. So, MAYBE it will be OK.

Which reminds me of the gorilla sweater. The first half of 2008, I crocheted a sweater for my secret homemade gift. But, I thought it came out a bit too small. So the second half of 2008, I worked on a larger version. As it turned out, the much larger, two-toned, gorilla armed version. Pretty hopeless. I had David try on the first one when he was up for Thanksgiving. He got it on well enough and just thought the waist was a little small. But David is the biggest of my guys, so I decided to go with it. I haven’t heard whether or not it fits though, which worries me that perhaps they haven’t the heart to tell me. Now I am ripping out the gorilla sweater, which takes longer than one would think! I really secured those end joinings! I don’t think I will try another sweater any time soon.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I Think I Must Have Blinked

One minute I was frantically trying to finish up my Christmas presents and the next minute I was back at work 4 days AFTER Christmas.

As usually Christmas arrived a little too quickly for me and was over a lot too quickly. But it was lovely while it lasted.

I was so glad that I had taken Christmas Eve off from work. Bread to bake and fruit to buy and prepare for Christmas Eve supper, last minute shopping to do(Including cross town trips through heavy traffic thinking "He had better like this present!" He did.), and gifts to hurriedly wrap. Somehow most everything got done in time to go to Ruth's for Christmas Eve.

The house glowed softly by the light of I don't know how many candles. Everyone brought something - we had loaves of homemade bread, various cheeses, sausages, and mounds of fruit. We talked a little about the birth of Christ and watched either Luke 2 or The Nativity produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love this sweet moment of quiet remembering.

After we left Ruth's and hauled out the stocking stuff for "elves" to take care of, Joseph and I decided to see how much one could procrastinate Christmas shopping and get away with it. Although there was plenty of traffic, we didn't find any stores open. Big surprise. Fortunately, this was not a necessary trip, but a last minute thought.

Before we went to bed, we agreed that early risers could wake up layabeds at 7am. I woke up in the wee hours and could not get back to sleep, but spent hours trying. I did not wake up the boys! I expected Benjamin and Andrew to wake up fairly early, play with their stockings and watch a Santa-brought movie before waking up their brother. Surprisingly, it was Joseph who got up first, a little after 7 and He got to wake up his brothers. Nice switch.

Our Christmas stockings were, as usual overfull of fruit and chocolate - but no one complains, stickers, and a little toy car. The boys also each got Screaming Monkey Flingshots with which I expected them to drive me crazy, but although they liked them, they quickly set them aside. Andrew and Benjamin each basically got one present from me - a pocket digital camera! I gave myself one, too. ; ) From me and Joseph, actually, as I relied heavily on his expertise. As soon as I can manage time and computer time! I will put up some pictures! : )

It was not the kind of camera Joseph likes though, as he likes more control. However, after seeing how much the rest of us have been enjoying ours, he may change his mind. Especially as we cannot find the paperwork to send his camera in for needed repairs. It is probably not worth it to him to pay to repair it himself, so he may be in the market for a replacement, after all.

I gave Joseph a nifty magnetic wristband for holding tools and stuff. It is so cool, I may put it on my own wish list. Handy for bike repair, working around the house, sewing, probably crafting, and even at work. He holds paperclips on his arm through his sweater even. I also gave him a Network Security Staff shirt he wanted. And a book about How To Live With a Neurotic Cat. fun stuff.

We spent the middle of Christmas day back at Ruth and Tom's opening the Elf Exchange Gifts. I was surprised how interested and excited we all were to see the mystery gifts. Everyone was delighted with great gifts both homemade and purchased. They were wonderful. Hopefully, I can get some pictures up later.

The Hinds had Christmas dinner with Tom's family.

Miriam and Debi came and visited at our house for a bit.

At some point we watched Wall-E.

We just relaxed and enjoyed.

Too soon it was over. And again, I am telling myself to plan better and start earlier next year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

So Well Expressed

When Eva Aurora described the demon on her shoulder, it sounded oh, so familiar!

Do you have a Shoulder Demon, too? Read her post. Power to the Shoulder Angels!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas card

I am taking a break from working on my Christmas cards to show you what you haven't and very well may not get in the mail.

Looks rather simple doesn't it?

I have been working on them off and on for weeks. But I am not nearly done with what I intended to do. Although, my card is a simple one, my problem is that I want to make too many (and I don't start early enough). I know too many wonderful people who have touched my life, and then there are several others to whom I "should" send cards. If you don't get a card in the mail, I prithee, do not be hurt or offended. If you do, do not think I thought of you as a responsibility. What happens will not be entirely random, but....well, somewhat so.

I even had help. Granddaughter Acadia helped with colorizing during her Thanksgiving visit. Grandchildren Esther and Jared; as well as the home team Joseph, Andrew and Benjamin; helped with texturizing the "craft paper" which is to say crumpling the paper bag paper.
Christmas card 08

While the rest of us were working on a soft leather-ish look, Benjamin achieved a nice parchment effect.

And some remained smooth.

Which look I prefer depends on the mood of the moment. I keep changing my mind.

Whether I manage to get you a card or not, I send you warm and sincere wishes for well being and happiness today and always. My life has been richly blessed by good people - wonderful family, real person to person friends, good acquaintances and associates, and friends I have only met online. You all uplift and enrich my life.

"Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world -
stronger than hate,
stronger than evil,
stronger than death -
and that the blessed life
which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago
is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love?
Then you can keep Christmas."
Henry Van Dyke

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What He Said

Tom told us about a little conversation that he and his children had Saturday. It had something to do with Ruth is a mom and I am Ruth's mom and now I am a grandma. Esther said she was going to be a mom when she grows up.

Jared said, "When I grow up, I am going to be Uncle Joe."

What She Said

Please read Sariah's post and do what she says.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Come, Let Us Go Up and See This Thing Which Has Come To Pass

“Come up and see our Festival of the Nativities. You would love it.” Sariah invited.

Every year, the first weekend in December, their stake (group of wards - similar to a diocese?) puts on a Festival of Nativities. Hundreds of nativities on beautiful display; a Joseph’s workshop where kids can make a craft or color; a “Little Town of Bethelehem” a cleverly decorated room, including starry sky, with hands on nativities and puzzles, dress up and life size manger scene where children of all ages can “be there” or have their picture taken; musical performances by community groups; and, on Saturday, a live Nativity. This was the 8th annual and it is growing every year. It has gotten so big, that the wards (congregations) that normally meet in that building are kicked out for the weekend and meet with other wards.

What a good excuse for a visit! And how sweet that the Rosers actually wanted us
to visit them within days of them visiting all of us down in Sacramento! Acadia gave up her room and slept on the floor in Rori’s room. I know the girls sometimes like to have “sister sleepovers,” but it was still very nice of her. They even let Anna come. Not only that, but when we got ready to leave Monday, Sariah said that Anna could come again – despite her barking at and threatening their friend and my siblings who came to visit while we were there. She even barked at Ryan a couple of times. Other than that and wagging her deadly tail, which is at an unfortunate height and strength for toddlers, she was pretty good.

We had a lovely time. Visiting, hanging loose, playing Wii, enjoying the Nativities, eating Sariah’s good cooking. Not worrying (much) about all the things we have to do at home.

We enjoyed the journey, too.

Three young men, a big black dog and me in a little Chevy Cavalier. You wouldn't think it would be a very pleasant road trip, but it was. Ben sat in the back seat in the middle with Anna next to the window. She laid her head on his lap and and he used her for a drawing desk or a pillow. He made sure we knew when she needed a pit stop. What surprised me was Andrew and I didn't spend hours singing. I think Andrew was trying to be nice to Benjamin.

On the way home, somewhere near Roseburg, OR, all southbound traffic was stopped for miles. We were held up for 2 hours. I was grateful that nobody had been eagerly anticipating the next rest station! We played Uno, Joseph read aloud from Hackers and Painters (or is it Painters and Hackers?), Andrew passed notes with highschoolers in a bus in the next lane until the bus driver told him to stop (why??). Whenever I get stuck in traffic like that I am thankful that I am merely inconvenienced, and not part of the cause. A little prayer of thanks for our safety, for emergency responders, and for blessings on those involved.

We decided that we really enjoy the first half of the trip a lot, but after that it gets a bit long. And there are so many places we would like to stop and see! We would love to take 2 or 3 days driving up and/ or back, but who knows if that will ever happen? We never have too much visiting time, either.

I am learning that sometimes it is good to do the things you want to do, to take time to enjoy, even though I “don’t have time” and have too much to do. We enjoyed and were refreshed by this little visit. Thank you, Sariah! (and Ryan, and Acadia, and Aurora, and even Simon)

But, I really do need to get on the stick! I have gifts for my out – of – town children and in-town girls, but not my guys at home! Nor have I made, let alone addressed my Christmas cards. And don’t talk to me about meaningful personal messages!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The particular human chain we're part of is central to our individual identity.

Elizabeth Stone


Sariah and family arrived the Saturday a week before Thanksgiving and did their usual juggling act between his and her families and a few visits with friends.   I think they did pretty well with it. 


It was great seeing them!  The girls have grown so much! And get prettier every time I see them.  Acadia is tremendously popular with her young cousins and very patient about it.  She is helpful with her little sister and volunteered to help with many things.  She helped me work on my Christmas cards – still a ways to go!  And helped David roll the dinner rolls for Thanksgiving dinner.  I never saw her acting grumpy.


Rori is an adorable, lively 2 year old.  I was afraid she would be shy around all these relatives she hardly knows, but she seemed quite comfortable and confident.  Although, she was much too busy playing most of the time to care who was around.


Esther and Jared were delighted to have their cousins visit and stay with them – especially Cadi, whom they greatly admire.  For the most part, they were kind and generous hosts.


We at first expected David and Teresa (they stayed with us)  not to arrive until late in the evening, but sadly for one of T's co-workers, travel plans were delayed, so the co-worker worked Wednesday and happily for us T got off, so they came in the middle of the afternoon.  They picked up Joseph from work to maximize his David-Joseph talking time and minimize the amount of vacation time he had to take off.


Thanksgiving Dinner at Debi's was great with a lovely table set by Debi and decorated by Teresa and lots of yummy food from everyone.  It was good to have everyone together, something that can't happen very often anymore.  It is fun to see the siblings all enjoying each other so much.


Another rare treat was spending the morning with Debi after popping the turkey in the morning.  I had planned to go home and do what I don't know, but when Debi indicated that I was welcome to stay, I was happy to do so.  We just sat and talked.  Fun stuff


Friday morning David and Teresa left. : (   then the guys and I went to Apple Hill – finally!  Did a little Christmas shopping. ; )   Sipped cider.  Very pleasant.


Saturday was another day for Rosers to spend with us.  Game day pretty much all day.  Monopoly, Lord of the Rings Risk, UNO, Cranium, Clue, I don't remember what all.   I mostly worked on my cards. But I did play some UNO, even some Killer Uno.  A good time was had by all.


All the visiting was over much too soon.


Christmas is coming much too sooner!  I need to get some elf magic going!


The time to relax is -- when you don't have time for it.

Sidney J. Harris


Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve, between email conferencing with my study group about a quiz due on Thanksgiving (!*###*!), trying to find space for the guest bed for D&T, minor gift panicking, working on veggies for T-day, and I cannot remember what else, we FINALLY went to lunch at Sariah's best friend Heather's who has been inviting us since we baby and house sat for her a couple of years ago.  45 minute drive each way, plus lunch and visiting time.  Time I could not afford, but oh, so delightfully refreshing.


Heather grew up in pretty comfortable circumstances and married well.  When she and Sariah were friends in high school, I thought she was a bit spoiled and worldly, but nice and a good friend.  Well, the "spoiled little rich girl" and her husband have adopted 7 children from 3 different families, some with special needs.  They are incredible.  Their home life is crazy busy – therapists coming and going all day everyday, doctor appointments, the kids who are in school are in 4 different schools -  but the home atmosphere is relaxed and happy.  It is clearly a loving home.   A joy to know people like this.


Lunch with Heather's and Sariah's families was a relaxing interlude in a busy day week season  life.


The great art of giving consists in this: the gift should cost very little and yet be greatly coveted, so that it may be the more highly appreciated.

Baltasar Gracian


I haven't written about problems with my gifts for over a week, but then I haven't written about anything for a week.


The overweight gorilla.    I finally decided (with the help of secret consultants) that attempt number 1 MIGHT not be too small after all, while attempt number 2 is totally hopeless.  (I will unravel it some future day and maybe make slippers  as #6 has requested.)  Oh, Eva Aurora, I only WISH that I had made an afghan.   I attempted an article of clothing.  Big mistake.  Too late now,  It is wrapped and "secretly" delivered.  It's the thought that counts, right?  It was made with more love than skill, that's for sure.


I had hoped to have all my out of town gifts ready to deliver when everyone gathered for Thanksgiving.  I managed the gifts for the two SLO people.  Plan B was to finish the northern gifts before that family branch left early Monday.  Not.   Plan C is to get them ready to take up with us when we go to visit and see their Stake's Festival of Nativities this weekend.  Frankly not looking al that good, but we haven't started the car for the drive yet.


Then there's the in-towns!  I have, so far, gifts for gals, but not for guys. Especially, the home team.  Of, course, the best of my few ideas of what I would like to give them are a little unreali$tic. 
Only 3 weeks (with a fairly full schedule as usual) until Christmas!  bah, humbug!