Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fun Monday - I Made It Myself

Sorry to be so late posting, I've been battling much of the day to get these photos to upload.  

Karisma came up with this fabulous idea for Fun Monday.  Her instructions:


I think the title pretty much says it all, but for those of you who may still be wondering, I would like to see or hear about things you have made with your own two hands (or feet, Im not fussy!) We all have different talents and abilities, maybe you like to sew or knit, chisel or sculpt, draw or paint? Whatever your talent is, please share it with us this week.

Da Rules.....

Well there are not any really! But you know, we all know that you made your kids so lets NOT choose them this time. (After all you did not make them with your hands or feet did you?)

I didn't realize how difficult this would be for me.  You see, I have a house full of half-completed projects.  My first challenge was finding something completed.  My second challenge - I'm not really the creative type.  I still recall my elementary school art teacher telling me "you just can't draw" in second grade.  So I am very sensitive about showing my creations to anyone.  My third challenge - I'm a perfectionist.  So I can find something wrong with everything I've ever created.  Again, this makes me a bit shy about sharing my creations.  

As I walked around the house looking for something exciting I created, I pulled out the cross-stitch I started making for Kilowatt the year we met.  It isn't even half-completed, so that went back in the bag.  

Next I found this:

I was in an art class where we were given the vase, and told to carve a picture on it, and paint it.  I had never done anything with ceramics, and have never done anything since then.  The art instructor kept telling me I was taking too long - it didn't have to be perfect.  I eventually completed it and I'm pretty happy with the result.

I do scrapbook, but I couldn't find too many pages that I really felt comfortable sharing.  Mainly because they had people on them who might not like seeing their picture online. I finally settled on this one as a sample.  

Finally, I have to cheat a little bit.  Kilowatt is the talented one in this family, and happily Diva shows signs of having inherited his artist talent.  Here is one of his masterpieces - an advent calendar he made for me after I complained that I couldn't find anything American made in any store, and didn't really like the ones I found anyway.  Isn't is lovely?  He used different kinds of woods to make the doors, that's why they aren't all the same color.  

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fun Monday - Vacations

This weeks Fun Monday Hostess is Alison.  Here's the assignment she's prepared for us.  I'm really looking forward to all the great photos and stories this one should generate!

Vacations...this is the time of year when most of us go on vacations. Show us and/or tell us about your favorite vacation - where you went, what you did, etc. Pictures would be great. Let's all take a trip around a the world via our FM friends!!

I love vacations.  It's really hard to choose one as a favorite.  So I decided to go with my most recent favorite.

In July 2007, we headed North to Alaska to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary.  Kilowatt and I were married in Alaska, at the Alyeska Resort.   Ironically, we didn't visit the resort in 2007 because it was raining so hard the day we were in that area.  Alaska is hard to describe with just words, so I'll let some of my hundreds of photos do the talking.

We started out in this lower 48 city - do you recognize it?

Yes, there is a mountain in the distance.  The city is Seattle, and the photo was taken from here.

Next, we took the Amtrak Cascades to this wonderful city:

After we departed from Vancouver, we sailed North up the Inside Passage.  We stopped first at Ketchikan, where it was raining.  I've give up on ever seeing Ketchikan in the sun.  Next stop Juneau, where it was quite lovely.  We took a photography tour - of course, if  you are in Alaska, what do you photograph?  These:

And these:

And then some of these:

Next stop, my favorite port, Skagway.  We took the White Pass and Yukon railroad over some white-knuckle territory:

Once we reached our final port, we headed inland.  We only saw these at the Alaskan Wildlife refuge, although that may not be a bad thing.  Don't think I'd want to be this close to one in the wild:

We went hiking at an abandoned mine:

Participated in this:

Enjoyed a ride behind Iditarod competitor Vern Halter's dogs:

Finally, on our last day, look who peaked out to say hi.  We took a ride on a Mahay's Jetboat (a tiny one shows in the photo.) I should note here that our last visit McKinley never graced us with a view, so this was an extra special treat.

Sigh... everytime I look at these I want to go back and do it all again!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Kids Say the Darndest Things

I think Jeanne C Riley (country singer) is the one who sang that song... "Kids Say the Darndest Things."  Until you have kids though, I'm not sure you can fully appreciate the truth in this title.  
Diva has shocked me a couple of times.  Unfortunately, it is usually in front of some authority figure.  For example, we recently visited the doctor for her annual physical.  Does anyone else's doctor spend more time quizzing the kids than actually examining them?  Question 1:  do you wear a helmet when riding a bike?  Diva answers yes, I smile.  Question 2:  Do you wear a seatbelt?  Again, yes, right answer!  Question 3:  Do you help Mom & Dad out at home?  Diva says "no."  Follow up question:  Do you set the table (no.)  Follow up #2:  Do you help with your pets? (no.)  Follow up questions 3-10 Do you... (no.)  

So the doctor says "what do you do at home?"  Diva says "I watch TV!"  Doctor gives me evil eye.  I turn very red while thinking about the discussion we'll be having in the car on the way home.  For the record, Diva earns her allowance money by cleaning the litter-boxes, helping hang up clothes, and occasionally setting the table and running the vacuum.  

Then there was last winter.  We went on a lovely cruise with some friends for school vacation week.  We visited Tortola and Samana, where the snorkeling was divine and we saw incredible sea life, including a huge starfish up close and personal.  On the ship, we saw a family of acrobats that were spectacular, and Diva got to talk with the kids in the show.  Plenty of wonderful experiences to remember.

The last day of the cruise, we were laying by the pool in the sun.  A lady sunbathing nearby us undid her bikini top to avoid tan lines.  She was a bit older and heavier than your average bikini wearer.  Anyway, something nearby startled her, and she sat up fast, forgetting about the undone bikini top.  You get the idea....

So, on the first day back at school when the teacher asks each child to share something they did over school vacation, what do you think Diva shared?  I was afraid to answer the phone for weeks after that in case her teacher was calling.  

 And then just this week, while driving her to dance, Diva asks me how much someone working at McDonald's makes.  I tell her an amount, and she says "well I'm gonna get the he-double-hockey-sticks down there and get me a job."  After driving back onto the road, I ask her "what was that?"  She gleefully repeats her statement.  I explain that we don't talk like that (at least no authority figures were with us!)  She says "but that's what I heard on TV."  

That settles it - more chores and less TV!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Fun Monday - Collections

Hulagirl inspired me to start blogging.  I've read some of her Fun Monday posts, and thought it might help me get a little more consistent about blogging if I tried to participate.  When I headed over to this week's host, Mariposa's, I saw that this Fun Monday could have been written for me!

Here are her instructions:
We all have them...and if you don't, you just may not realize it. For some reason or another we all collect something and we collect it for reasons that will definitely make for good reading. So on Monday, I want to see your collection. If you don't have or don't want or CAN'T (wink) show us a picture, then tell us what the collection is in 10 words or less. Then tell us why you started collecting it."

How many of you guessed from this photo what it is I collect?  If you guessed scrapbooking supplies, you are close, but that's not quite it.  Take another look....

I collect storage containers!  I started collecting them to store all the other stuff I collect, but I got hooked on the storage itself!  In this photo is merely a small portion of my storage container collection - 23 pieces, to be exact.  My collection ranges from the inexpensive pieces by Rubbermaid, to the more expensive overpriced by Longaberger, to the high-tech by Maxtor and Western Digital (hard drive manufacturers), to the truly large pieces like the custom cabinet shown in the photo.  

There's a good story that goes with that cabinet.  Kilowatt started building it a number of years before I met him, as a gun cabinet.  When I met him we stored it for quite some time unfinished in our spare bedroom.  As my collection of papers, brochures, books, etc... grew, I eyed the base as a good storage place and he finished that off.  But then I needed to expand upward - and thus the top of the 'gun cabinet' became my 'brochure & paper cabinet.'  

I'm serious about my collection. The Container Store is bookmarked as a favorite.  I own and use packing cubes when traveling.  I have a storage bench inside my door for shoes, gloves, and hats.  I was a Longaberger Collector's Club member (and I use those baskets).  I should consider buying stock in Rubbermaid.  

Please feel free to leave tips for me on new storage containers I might need to add to my collection!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

He smiles!

A couple of years ago I began volunteering at a therapeutic riding center.  My motives were totally selfish.  I needed to get some exercise, and I love horses, and this was a chance to be forced to get exercise and hang out in a stable.  

If you are not familiar with what a therapeutic riding center is, visit the UpReach website for an overview.    

Many riders require three volunteers - a leader and two side walkers, as well as an instructor.  For the last several months, I've been with D, a wheelchair bound, non-verbal male who I would estimate is in his mid-thirties.  It is a challenge working with someone who does not communicate.  How do you know if they are happy, or sad?  Or if something you do hurts them?  

Last Tuesday was one of those picture perfect days in NH.  The sun was shining, it was 70 degrees, and there was enough of a breeze to keep the black-flies (also known as the NH state bird) away.  We decided to head outside for a trail ride.  Yes, a real trail ride, back through the woods.  Over the years UpReach has cleared a wide trail, and even built bridges across small creeks, so riders can enjoy some time out with nature.   

D rides Frodo, a Belgian cross who looks somewhat like a big teddy bear, and likes to nibble on his leader's nearest body part when something makes him unhappy.  Like most horses in therapeutic programs, he is calm and extremely intelligent.  

Our trail ride starts by climbing a pretty steep hill.  Then back through the woods we go.  Imagine how much fun it must be for someone who spends their life in a wheelchair, with people looking down at them, to be on top of a horse, looking down on everyone else.  

Imagine being unable to move without assistance.  Now imagine the thrill of being out in the woods, seeing sites that you can't see from the back of a handicap van, or your apartment.  What must it be like?  

It must be wonderful, because for a fleeting moment, I looked back, and I know I saw it.  D smiled.  

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Greatest Mother's Day Ever

I'll admit it - I take shameless advantage of Mother's Day.  Anything I buy in the four weeks preceding Mom's big day is a "Mother's Day Gift."  I usually manage to score a couple of dinners out as gifts.  And girlfriend time too!

This year we are still reeling from the price of heating oil.  Plus the 'maintenance monster' has struck, over and over again.  So holidays this year will be a bit more subdued than usual.  And let's be honest, I really don't NEED anything.  

Diva's art class did some really neat drawings, and a company makes them into more practical items.  The Grandmother's got pot holders.  I ordered myself a set of coasters:

Sunday morning, Diva keeps telling me to stay in bed.  Kilowatt asks what I'd
 like for breakfast.  Ahhhhh... Mother's Day.  Diva eventually comes up to get me.  She has made a lovely card all by herself - not bad for a ten year old, huh?  A little bling too:)

I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and the chance to read the entire Sunday paper.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day here in NH, so Kilowatt washed and cleaned my car (now that's a present I NEEDED!)  He even shampooed my floor mats!

Diva locked me in my office to prepare her big surprise for me.  When I was led out (eyes closed Mom), imagine my surprise to see the lovely day spa she had set up in our living room.  She had brought out a bottle of wine and a wineglass (there's probably a law against that, but don't worry, she doesn't know how to work a corkscrew so it was safely closed!)  And set up a lovely 'massage couch' for me.  

After a lovely hand and foot massage, and spa snacks, I was greeted by the "complimentary cat" that goes with the spa.  As I relaxed and enjoyed the moment, I heard the sound of cutting coming from the kitchen.  I was torn between the desire to run in and supervise (no trips to the ER were in my plans) and the desire to let my little girl prove she could do it alone.  Knowing Diva is a practical kid, I decided to take my chances.  

In came the combination eye treatment & snack - sliced cucumbers.   Lucky these can be cut with a butter knife!  

Gourmet breakfast, a luxury spa day, and a complete detailing of the limo -- who could ask for anything more?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Big News

Have you ever had really, really big news you wanted to share, but were afraid to?  Maybe its fear of commitment - if I share it then I have to do it.  Maybe its fear of failure - what if I tell everyone and then fall flat on my face?  Maybe its just the desire to hold the news secret for awhile, and savor it privately. 

Actually, I'm going to pick D - all of the above. 

I suppose I should build suspense, maybe make a guessing game out of this.  Give a few clues and invite you back.  But as seldom as I've been posting recently, you might find it hard to patiently wait for my next post!

So, my big news - I've been accepted into the PhD in Accounting program at Bentley College!  Those of you who know me may recall my words from 2006 "I don't think I have another degree in me."  I guess I was wrong!  

I should have all kinds of interesting new tales this fall... 

Friday, May 2, 2008

So Much for That Idea

My plan to blog at least three times a week has been scaled back a bit.... maybe I should start with something less ambitious, like three times a month.

April was a wonderful month here in New England, with the snow finally melting.  During our April vacation week the sun was out and the average temperature was in the high 60's -- making for some very happy campers in my family since we didn't travel any further than Boston.  Our trip to the Franklin Park Zoo was a big hit with Diva.  I couldn't decide if I should laugh or cry as Diva and her friend declared themselves too old for the carousel, but then promptly 'dared' each other to ride it 'as a joke.'  They demanded I delete the photo I took of them on it, hmmm....., maybe I should post it here.  

Diva performed her first vocal solo at the Palace Theatre - she was a bit nervous.  She sang "Play with Your Food" from the musical Honk, Jr.  I can't imagine myself singing in front of an audience with a microphone at age 10; I was very proud of her.  

Well, I'm not feeling particularly creative tonight, so this is it.  But at least it's a start, and I'll be back soon!