Monday, February 23, 2009

We took a great hike in Forest Park last weekend. The forest was in a dormant phase, save many "therns" as Avery called them, some flat piggy back plant, the usual Salal and Oregon Grape.

We also saw some interesting things in nature, like lichen shaped like......

And a knot on a tree that resembled an elephant's eye......

Great Movie Alert

We watched Vicky Cristina Barcelona on Saturday and loved it! Javier Bardem is a new favorite actor. What a different character this was from his in No Country for Old Men! He totally blew me away in both movies for different reasons, for being the creepiest villian ever and for being dreamy and likeable and wearing his linen pants and Converse so handsomely. The scenery, too! Barcelona's calling my name, especially if I get to ride down dirt roads on bicycles and have picnics on beautiful hills.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Printing Coloring Sheets off the internet
Chewing the cuffs of her t-shirts
Dancing to classical music
Bagels with cinnamon and sugar on them
Listening to books on CD
Walking into school by herself on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays
The stuffed dinosaur I made her
Forrest, a new pal at school
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, book and movie
The idea of finding a smurf in the woods
Her Keen sneakers

Foods she's never tried before
Static in her hair
When it's time to get out of the bath tub
The word "No"
Wearing Jeans
Getting too much attention for things

I Suck at Blankets

One of my friends recently had a baby and I thought that the perfect present would be a homemade baby blanket.

I had the above fabric already, something bought to make Julia a poncho that I knew was never going to be a poncho. I love the fabric and it's super soft, textured like a microfiber. I had the satin binding to go around the edge from a grab bag of sewing notions I found at Goodwill long ago.

I got out my iron and ironing board, which meant "I'm getting very serious about my sewing project."

Then came the cutting, because I wanted a small square, about 33" to a side, and had quite a bit more fabric than that. I tried to use my yardstick and fabric pencil but that was a joke, the fabric was too fuzzy. Then when I tried cutting it was impossible to cut a straight line. I kept having to correct it. Ughhhh. NIGHTMARE!

When I began to sew the satin binding on the edge, it was pitiful. It looked ghetto, it stretched funny. I caught it in the right spot on top but then underneath it would require another line of stitching to hold the binding down. The whole thing made me so irritable! There was inward screaming.

I was covered with fluff, as was the floor, and midway through I threw the #*$^% thing away and bought a blanket at Target for $12.99.

There. Much better.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I knit this hat for my mom's birthday, which happens to be today. Happy birthday ma! I've been making hats for everyone for birthdays this year. The pattern came from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, was quick, and includes directions for multiple sizes. The green yarn I used is acrylic (I know!) courtesy of Vanna White, I kid you not. Her yarn has the best colors and is super soft and inexpensive.

I also made Julia a hat out of the same pattern, embelishing it with some yarn flowers. I started with the same Vanna green, then used a different acrylic that I chose for the color alone.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Oh heart day. How you came and went with such a flourish.

The kids had great parties at school replete with Valentine pockets full of love (and candy). The above Valentines were the one I made for Julia and the one Avery's teacher made for everyone in her class. So cute!

Avery and I spent the afternoon helping in Julia's kindergarten classroom for her Valentine party and I came home completely wiped out. How exactly am I going to go back to teaching full time? Woah. That's going to be interesting.

My Valentine was sick, but he got me candy, Hershey's Pot O' Gold candy to be exact, when Valentine's was all over and the shelves had minimal offerings. They were like half off! Thanks, hon! (Said with chocolate filled cheeks). I made Valentines for my little Valentines, and my big Valentine's said, "Ceci, n'est pas un valentine." It helps not to PUSH the holiday.

On Valentine's Eve we watched Can't Buy Me Love when the kids were in bed. That movie is so rich. My brothers and I quote it often. "Now that ain't Dick Clark!"

Hope your heart days were pumping full of burning love.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valeri Gorbachev's books seem to be popping up everywhere. M aybe it's because there are so many of them. We've picked up several over the last year at the library. The illustrations are very endearing and distinct, the stories simple and sweet. I just love them. The most recent pick, Red Red Red was a great book for young kids because of the pattern in the story, repetitively building to a grand ending.
"He died from America last week. You'll never see him again. You can talk to him up in heavan. Lord Jesus have brang him away."

These thoughts came out of Avery during her animanted play. Her toys were talking, with her help, about her Bumpa.

I thought of my dad today when I was cutting up vedgies to make garlic pepper sauce from an old issue of Everyday Food. I think he would have liked this and its' many applications. He loved to cook and loved hearing what we were having for dinner, or about the foods we liked to eat. He often leaned on the kitchen counter to watch my husband cook delicious foods.

As I popped blueberries into my mouth I also remembered handing him berry after berry during our visit in mid-January. He would take one and eat it and then have another. It was so sweet.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Life is returning to normal, slowly but surely, though without my dad it won't ever be the same. In my day to day thoughts, it's been good to think of my dad, to remember, to talk about "Bumpa" with the kids, to reread Valentine cards with my husband that my dad filled with his wisdom. He pops up everwhere and will live on bigger than life.

We are keeping close contact with my mom, who is experiencing her truest grief. Time will give her relief from that, but for now, I'm hoping she's collapsing in moaning cries every time she needs to, allowing the sadness she can bear to sit there with her for awhile.

I feel like I've been grieving this ever since it began. Now that my dad is gone, the grieving that is left to do seems to be hiding out a little, lurking in the shadows. I'll take my cue from it. Mostly I felt grumpy about it all. It was too soon. It was something none of us could stop from happening. My dad is gone!

Our celebration of life for him brought some catharsis. My brothers and I each stood and spoke about him and then did an amazing slide show and opened it up for others to talk about him. There were many many flower arrangements and people who represented him from high school to Rotary to work. My mom closed it all out with a sweet poem she pulled from her handkerchief. We've all been to funerals where the person who speaks does their best, but mispronounces names, or acts like they knew the person when they really didn't. My dad would not have wanted that, so I think the way his memorial went would have pleased him.

Freshly buoyed by the support of everyone, we go forward, wearing a strange new vest made of bewilderment, putting on socks woven with threads that seem missing, stepping into rooms a little emptier.

Yet all the while we remember.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

In Memoriam

"And the doors are open now as the bells are ringing out
Cause the man of the hour is taking his final bow
Goodbye for now."-Eddie Vedder

My dad took his final bow yesterday and ended his five month long fight with brain cancer. He was brave, he made me laugh right up to the end. Love you, pops.