Sunday, February 27, 2011

a nice relaxing weekend

I want so much from weekends!  

Chores and errands to do that I do not have time or energy for during the work week. Meetings, activities, church, family and community commitments.  And I really need some R&R.  hahahaha   I wearily look forward to the weekend while at work, but come weekend I wonder if I need to get back to work to get some rest.  Of course, it would help if I could learn to sleep through the night properly!

Friday we had Esther and Jared over. They arrived while Joseph and I were still at work.
They like to play Harry Potter with Benjamin. He has T shirts they use for robes, some nice wooden wands, and a 'silky' cloth that makes a nice invisibility cloak because you can see through it when wearing it. Benjamin says they follow Fluffy (aka Anna) while all of them are wearing the invisibility cloak, they practice spells, look in the Mirror of Erised, and have been known to try Quiddich (but that didn't go well). We have a couple of Harry Potter games they sometimes play. 
 
They were done with Harry Potter by the time Joseph and I got home. Esther was drawing. I don't know what Jared had been doing, but when Joseph arrived, he attached himself to Uncle Joe for a good while.

Benjamin made pizza – apparently the kids told him that it was Pizza Friday. He was going to let them each top their own pizza, but they were involved playing Wii with Joseph then and not to be interrupted. 
 
Playing the Wii took up much of the evening – Mario racing mostly.

Another fun thing - playing with the dog with the laser pointer.  Everyone enjoys it.

As it got to be bedtime, teeth were brushed and night time preparations made. Benjamin blew up the air mattress. Esther decided to sleep on the couch (the ends recline), Jared gleefully spread out his sleeping bag on the air mattress. I took the other end of the couch and the uncles (eventually) went to their own beds. We watched Wall-E. I thought the kids would fall asleep during the movie as we started it past their bedtime already. Silly Grandma. Even after the movie was over and I was dozing off, they were up playing with puppets, but not for long.

They woke up for a bit around 5am, then went back to sleep until a little after 6 when the bird's light went on and the morning sky was lightening.

The kids and Benjamin had already planned on pancakes – hopefully heart-shaped, but while we waited for the uncles to get up, they had Cheerio-like cereal. Later Benjamin made chocolate chip pancakes, but the hearts did not hold their shape. Still tasted good!
It wasn't really long before it was time to pack up so Ruth & Tom could pick up the kids and we all could go to CPR Saturday. 

It amazes me how much CPR instruction and techniques have been stream-lined since we first started going to CPR Saturdays when my kids were kids. Esther and Jared are too small, of course, to actually be able to do CPR, but the volunteers give them and extra manikin and they practice anyway. I think they learn quite a bit. They are incredibly well-behaved at these classes and even though officially children are not supposed to be there, they absolutely no problem at all and this is not Grandma prejudice talking. They spent most of CPR Saturday each with an aunt. 
 
Debi brought some delicious cupcakes for us all to enjoy after we earned our certificates. I was the class dunce. I missed one question. I don't think the others missed any. (No, the children didn't take the test.)

One the way home, the boys and I decided this was the 'someday' that we would go look for the 'castle' next to I-80 that we pass on the way out to Rocklin. One of them remembered that we had passed the Douglas exit shortly after seeing the castle, so we got off there and started hunting. Benjamin was looking on our little GPS for likely places. We wandered unsuccessfully until I was too concerned about 1) running out of gas, 2) needing a rest room, and 3) being hungry. We drove all the way to Costco Expo for gas. Joseph went to Starbucks to use their internet to try to locate the castle. We got Subway sandwiches to take back on the road. We wandered around what we thought might be the general vicinity (but wasn't qutie) a bit until we spotted a mailman. We stopped him and asked him if he delivered mail to a house that looks like a castle. After a quizzical moment, he realized what we meant, told us his wife and he had made the same hunt and gave us some pointers. Back to the freeway, off on Douglas again where I basically adopted the strategy of taking every right turn until we found it ourselves in front of tall white gates with a crown on top. The entrance to the castle! We couldn't see it very well and decided to look for the bridge behind the castle that we spotted from the freeway. Along the way, we found some other interesting park-like areas, crossed a foot bridge not far from the castle, but from which we could not really see it, and finally found the 'bridge' which was actually not a bridge, but the fence at the back of the castle property along a road. What a large piece of land the castle is on! Oh, the fantasies. Benjamin climbed on top of the car to try to get pictures.


Finally back at home we finished making chicken soup from bones from some of the chicken from last week's Kitchen Crew dinner. 
 
The boys decided to skip the Ward Square Dance Activity, but I went. The trouble with Square Dancing is that it is good to have both men and women dancers in equal numbers and multiples of 8 are required. Bishop was there sans ailing wife – just to be supportive of the activity, I guess. We partnered for a little bit. Then he returned to his wife's side and I tried dancing the man's part without great success. My partner wanted out and a late coming couple took our spot in the square. I was thinking about leaving early when I got a text reminding me that my grandchildren had forgotten their toothbrushes. I had noticed that and taken them to CPR Saturday, but forgot to give them to them. So I went home to get the toothbrushes and deliver them to my daughter. 
 
Saturday was almost over. I ate chicken soup and brownies. We had family prayer, scriptures, and Reading Club (Levin Thumps and the Gateway to Foo – we got a whole set of Levin Thumps books for Christmas)

Naturally, again, on the one day I could sleep in this week according to the schedule, I woke up early. When I gave up on sleeping, I decided on a nice shower followed by a soak in the tub – love water therapy! - and a book. Eventually, I had to get going because I have some major planning and organizing to do. My Sunday appropriate (I think) projects for today and many, many days not only Sundays for some time to come – Andrew's Home-coming and Benjamin's Eagle Court of Honor. Not to mention birthday season is beginning.

Andrew comes home from his mission the last of April. His homecoming has been complicated (as so many things in my life now, alas!) by family dynamics. There are people who would rather not be around other people and some who WILL not be around others except in fairly public situations. Andrew is a very loving soul who wants to include all his family. I get to figure it out and, once I get his OK, implement it. Right now I am looking at (public) airport welcoming followed by (public) picnic or buffet unless he comes in late in the evening. (Partial) family gathering meals that weekend. (Public) open house a week later. The Open House – at home? Or at the church? With the world greatest DJ or no music? Can Wojohowitz work in the house?

Benjamin (and I) chose to wait his Eagle Court of Honor until Andrew will be here. The next thing was to decide whether to have the Court of Honor when family would be gathering for a reunion later in May. That wasn't working out for the out of towners anyway, so I ditched that. 
 
Benjamin's Eagle Court of Honor will be 2pm Saturday, May 14 at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center amphitheater which he renovated for his Eagle Project. 
 
I need to write a zillion letters to various important people in hopes of getting letters from them to him. I need to request a flag to be flown over the US Capitol on the day of his Court of Honor. I need to plan the program and ask the participatants, invite everyone, make programs, plan refreshments. I think the refeshments will be the easy part. After considering doing a picnic for everyone or a party with refreshments, I think I am just going to have cupcakes from Sweet Petites (of course!) and maybe milk. I need to figure out what I need to do!

May is going to be a very busy month.

My “lazy” Sunday morning before afternoon church is about over. I need to go start dinner.

I hope I stay awake in church! I want to worship, learn, and enjoy good fellowship.













Monday, February 21, 2011

; )

Oh, this Sophie girl! Last night she discovered Hulu and got all excited about watching “Harry's Law” which is on way past my bedtime. So what happens? she just has to watch an episode even though it is again already past my bedtime. “But we can sleep in tomorrow.” Yeah, right. We all know that just about the only time my body/brain shows any interest/ability to sleep in is on rare occasion on a work day when, of course, the alarm goes off at 5:15 – no snooze time allowed. I rather set the alarm for the last possible minute than go through the snooze routine.

My knee is doing much better although the diagnosis is arthritis and I am going to have to learn to deal.

Kitchen Crew Thank You Dinner

You probably recall that this summer generous men from my church (the Perkins Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) donated many,many hours of their time, skills and labor to transform my kitchen from this to this . Ever since then it has been my desire and intent to have a little dinner  for them and their wives to thank them.

I have never been skilled or comfortable as a hostess – only partly because of the horrific house conditions and also because of my general lack of basic hostessing/homemaking skills. However, my kitchen crew, some painting – much done by David and Teresa, and Benjamin's amazing sorting, eliminating and organizing have radically changed the house (although much more needs to be done). And I HAD to do something to thank these people! A dinner from the new improved kitchen seemed like the appropriate thing.

But life is life. There was Benjamin's Eagle project (check out my blog for most of October 2010) the holidays, and extra people living in the house. Well, life finally settled down as much as it probably ever will and it was getting to be an embarrassingly long time since the good deed was done. It was time to go for it.

One of my guests is on a very strict heart healthy diet. I have been at many functions where food was present where I have heard him sigh that there was nothing he could eat. Another guest is one of the most awesome women ever – now all these people are truly wonderful and amazing – but this woman is unbelievable. One time, to console me and convince me of her imperfections and humanness, she told me comfortingly that she doesn't type very well. Oh, can you imagine how that relieved my inferiority – especially over her amazing homemaking skills?! One of her children once said in Testimony Meeting that she felt sorry for everyone who didn't have her for a mother. No one could possibly disagree.

So, here I am inviting these incredible and much closer to perfect people into my house – which much as they and we have improved it is a very long ways from Better Homes and Gardens! And cooking for them! This is scary stuff.

My daughter Debi was wonderfully helpful in helping me get going and plan a dinner menu – even though actually, I don't think I cooked anything she suggested. Without her sounding board, however, I don't know if I would have ever figured out what I wanted to do or even picked a date.

I finally decided on roast chicken. Scratch that. After considering price and logistics, I opted for Costco rotisserie chicken. (I also kept bugging poor Daneece about what her husband, our Bishop and my kitchen instigator and electrician, could eat) Anyway, chicken from Costco, wild rice (or actually Bistro blend from Winco which personally my boys and I decided is not really worth $3/pound and not as tasty as brown rice, although prettier), asparagus, green salad, and last day addition, Waldorf salad (which was quite a hit). And the grand finale, Triple Citrus Cupcakes (emphasis orange) from Debi's Sweet Petites. Bishop was able to enjoy everything except the cupcakes.

Saturday was a trip to Costco and Bel Air in the morning for fresh ingredients and everything else we needed except the chicken, early food prep, cleaning (not as much as I hoped and intended of course) (and hiding small loose clutter like bills I need to pay today – now, where did I put them?) and setting up. Benjamin, my wizard organizer, did almost all the set up. Dinner was to be in the family room in which the overhead lighting completely does not work. He set up the tables and put bedsheet table cloths on. A couple of tall tapered candles (real) and a scattering of battery tea light candles. Some fake flowers from the 99 Cent Store. It actually looked pretty good. Debi brought over matching unchipped dishes and glasses and Ruth brought over her nice silver. I had to dash over to Costco to pick up my pre-ordered chickens – the longest part of the trip was standing in line at check-out of course - and then hurry home to cook the rice (another nervous thing. Debi cooks hers for 2 hours. The on-line instructions were for 3 times the water and little less than an hour. Thursday's practice told me that was much more water than we need so opted for little more than the 2 to 1 ratio for regular rice and that about an hour would do) and cook the asparagus. How soon to start the asparagus? Don't want it over cooked! And don't want it to get cold. Although, I like cold asparagus.

At one point as we frantically prepared, Benjamin leaned close and said, “Let's not do this again!” I wholeheartedly agreed.
Somehow, miracle of miracles everything was ready right on time. The guests arrived promptly and close together. They were, of course, gracious, delightful, and appreciative.

As I welcomed them and started to say my little thank-you, naturally, I started to break down. They enjoyed that. It shortened any little speech I might have made.

Dinner was a total success. No shortage of pleasant conversation and everyone seemed to enjoy the food.

Still, I was glad Sunday to see all my guests still alive and well at church – not off dying of food poisoning!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Oh Knee, Oh My – wah, wah, wah


 Feeling a little sick lately, I think from lack of sleep and discomfort stress, not a bug.

Sometimes I have trouble sleeping because my crazy brain is running around and doing a lot of nothing, but doing it too loudly for me to sleep. But that's not what's getting me right now.

This week it has been pain in my knee and sometimes my hip and leg that drives sleep away.  It is not really agonizing, but it is uncomfortable enough to be decidedly unpleasant and to keep me from being able to sleep.  Such a pain!  Sunday night it was long after 3 before I got any sleep.  I kept changing positions, put heat on it, took ibuprofen, tried moving to the couch (I don’t know why I thought that might help) – all to no avail.  Sometimes for a brief moment, I would think I had found the magic position, but then the pain would be back in full force. 

By the time I got home from work Monday, I was miserable.  Joseph and Benjamin were very solicitous, especially Benjamin.  Heat seemed to relieve the pain.  I put my towel in the microwave for a couple of minutes to warm it up.  That seemed to work pretty well, but it cooled quickly.  I decided to rotate towels.  I got a fresh towel and put it in the microwave for 3 minutes.  Benjamin took it out.  It was burned on the bottom.  Then we unfolded it and the burn was bigger on the inside – AND GROWING!  We quickly dumped it in the dishpan.  I think it was about to burst into flames.   Wow!  I think the 2 minute towel didn’t act like that because it had some moisture in it from my last shower.  The 3 minute towel was off the shelf.  Do not try that! 

Benjamin found some extra pillows to put under my knee and a heating pad.  I slept much better.  I would heat up the heating pad, then turn it off and sleep for a couple of hours.  Wake up, turn on the heating pad for a bit, then turn it off and sleep again.  

That helped a lot for a couple of nights, but the last couple of nights have been somewhat rugged. The heating pad seems to have lost some of its magic.

The lack of sleep has me feeling nauseous and generally unwell.  grrr.   When I am doing something, especially something interesting, I am usually only aware of my knee in the background.  (Although it seems to be bothering me more and more.) But try to sleep!

Surprisingly, my knee bothers me very little on the bike commute.  I take it very easy, though, even more so than usual.  It is actually a very pleasant ride – most of the way, most of the time.

It also doesn’t usually bother me very much when I am sitting at my desk working.  Usually. Does that mean my work is actually interesting???   Walking is a little more uncomfortable and standing very.

When I start out in the morning, it feels bad and untrustworthy.  Biking to work after the first little bit is pretty good.  At work is ok, as long as I can sit and not stand.  Biking home I am tired and starting to feel the strain, so I am a good bit worthless when I get there.  My poor boys. 

I have an appointment to see my doctor Monday.    

For awhile I thought it was getting better and felt a little foolish about my upcoming doctor appointment.  Although I do have other matters to discuss – trouble sleeping, and tooth problems related to diabetes.  : (

But it seems more recently to be getting worse again.  I hope we can figure something out when I see the doctor!