Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve

Which, in our house, always means:



This year we tried out "family time" for his actual birthday. (The next day, we had a New Year's Day dinner and our friends sang to him then.) So we did things he wanted to do and ate food he planned.

For his cake he wanted cupcakes.



G-girl being goofy while D-meister opens his presents. Make no mistake: he fully knows what she is doing.


Big Brother wanting to "help" with the Transformers.


Our youngest is five now!
I still remember our first December in this state, when we welcomed him into our family.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Boo Boo and the Beach

We were blessed with a beautiful sunny day shortly after Christmas and took the new puppy down to our beach. We had a hard time getting him to leave!



A Boy and His Dog


Another Boy and His Hyper Dog

Run it Off! Run it Off! GO GO GO!


I want to go back!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day 2009

On Christmas morning, I had a camera under the tree so I was able to take pictures this year.



That's a LOT of marbles!




G-girl is quite the outdoor enthusiast. Can't have too many flashlights!

Wedgits!


Is this a big giant dollhouse?

It is!






D-meister is a self-assured little dude.

N-man loves the Boo Boo




P-Daddy and N-man putting together the giant legos set

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New in our world

Some new things to ring out 2009


Mortgage Satisfaction



8 laying French Hens (pun brought you compliments of N-man)


and a fuzzy 9 week old Labradoodle, King Boo Boo Bear

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Dog Romulus

My dog Romulus was born to a breeder in Summerville, SC. How exactly he came to live in my cousin's trailer in a park, I do not know. I do know that heir 18 month old daughter wanted a dog, so they decided to spend 300 dollars on a miniature --male-- apricot poodle they named Maggie.

When they decided they couldn't buy both dog and people food, they gave him to me when he was three months old. The rest of the family was happy to hasten this process, as I was 20 years old, attending a woman's college and making noises about wanting a baby. (I-don't-need-a-man-to-have-a-baby-and-I-can-definitely-still-travel-to-Africa-with-the-baby-strapped-to-my-back-thinking-it's-cool-all-the-while kind of noises.) I named him Romulus because my first dog was to be a Doberman pinscher, and I thought it would be rude to not apply the name I'd already chosen.

Romulus attended that same woman's college with me. He lived in the dorm room I held in the senior dorm. I had a job, two majors and a position editing the school paper, so I was gone a lot. I left a key accessible to anyone, and he was basically the dorm's pet. He would hop into a shoulder bag (my precursor to baby wearing and SO before stoopid Hollywood girls), allow himself to be zipped, and would then magically appear in a sunny dale somewhere he could run, frolic and be petted by gaggles of college women.

Even when I couldn't afford books or clothes, I made sure Romulus had real-meat dog food for the first year of his life.

He marched on Washington DC and on Roanoke Virginia in gay rights marches. We were there. He even helped out by humping someone else's dog, much to the delight of some prancing lot of gay dudes.

Romulus sat with me and the rest of the pack of illicit dorm dogs on the hill overlooking my own college graduation. I was short two credits and didn't march, but we were there.

Romulus was addicted to tennis balls. I can't think of a time, when he was hale, that our arms outlasted his desire to play fetch. He would even play fetch with himself, or other dogs, by throwing the ball himself.

My dog rode the bicycle with me (feet on the handlebars) and would climb up playground ladders so he could slide down the slides on his butt. He loved to swim, once he got over his initial fear of water. He loved it when we lived in houses by the beach, and didn't mind the sand burrs until it took me hours to get them out of his cotton coat. He earned his middle name "Snack," by really not heeding what body of water he dove headlong into-- whether it had alligators or sharks, it made no difference to him.

He was an intense, instant and accurate judge of character. He disliked hunters and crapped on the bedspread of a roommate who was stealing from me-- right in front of the both of us-- while staring her in the eye. He was still doing people-judging when we met Niki. He wanted her to cuddle him in her lap, and would jump right up, not really caring that she doesn't like that.

My dog Romulus slept with me, under the covers, for the first five years of his life. When I moved in with my future husband, he promptly ditched me and started sleeping on Paul’s side of the bed--- but would wait until he thought I was asleep before crawling over there. Paul attributes this to his ability to scratch tummies while he sleeps.

He knew my Grandparents. He knew me before I knew my husband. He met my children when they were born. He kept his affection for small dark confines until he died today at the age of seventeen.

Romulus was the last to go out of our family pack of four dogs. He was an emotional, moody and fricking brilliant dog, and reeled from each loss as they passed on to the Rainbow Bridge. Now they are all together, and he'll know it's them because he can finally see again.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Entrepreneur Rides Again


Our daughter is still committed to buying herself an airplane ticket. She does want to see some family members, but I think the primary interest at this point is riding the clouds. To that end, she has launched her very first CafePress store.


Before I did one. Whoops.


So please do visit, and if so inclined, help a driven little girl in her own personal fundraiser!

http://www.cafepress.com/grahamartistic

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The White House Garden

http://www.whitehouse.gov/video/Inside-the-White-House-The-Garden/

I was such a happy camper when Michelle Obama put this in. As my own garden is coming to an Autumn Pause, I went looking to see how the White House garden was doing. According to Time magazine this month, the WHG has produced 250 pounds of food this summer.

This video jazzes me in so many ways--- the ties to the Victory Gardens I tried to model this year; the ties to Jefferson in Virginia; the obvious reasons we should be gardening and eating with our family.

It's something peaceful and optimistic to consider while everything else political rages on about us.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

August is the month of the Busies!

canning

planning the "school" year

camping

canning


did I mention canning?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Food not lawns, baby!

The squash are taking over the spaces between the gardens. It actually works for the salad garden; the leaves provide a nice shady spot so the salads haven't been bolting.




He found the green beans.



Jungle Predator. Watch out.... he might kiss you!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Good things about the heat wave

1. I am losing sweat weight. Keep hydrated, people!

2. Tomatoes, sunflowers and squash are having a FANTASTIC time. This will round out the garden nicely.

3. From the kids perspective: unlimited otter pops are a fantastic thing.

4. An excuse to use water in spurious ways, like slip n slides!

5. Gazpacho

6. Vichyssoise

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The art, it's always here for G-girl.

A happy heart-shaped beach find.





G-girl still loves model work. They're getting smaller and more detailed.

Monday, July 20, 2009

PacSci

Our friends offered us free admission to the Pacific Science Center so we took a cool day of it. We rode the ferry into Seattle, which never disappoints us-- we accept it as a form of mass transportation, but we still dig the boat ride. It was a fun day, full of antics, to be certain. Thanks ladies!

Quintessential D-meister


If only we could use this to power our home turbine....



The tongue of concentration.


N-meister in particular, could have spent four times as long there. Still really into science and understanding, he didn't just enjoy the cool whiz-bang affectation of the center, he kept trying to go one layer deeper. Love that!

It's trying to get me!






"Don't touch the butterflies" proved to be an intensely difficult directive to follow.



Waiting for the van to be returned. Hesitate to think about what creepy bench guy was waiting for.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Oldie but goody--

10 ways to garden with your partner and stay together

from the Seattle PI, 2003


1. Eliminate the competition.

The most important thing is to avoid getting your partner interested in gardening in the first place. Then you get complete control over the garden.

2. Divide and conquer.

If your partner is keen on gardening, divide the garden down the middle. Better yet, try to interest your partner in mowing, weeding and general maintenance. That will free up your time for the really fun stuff.

3. Hoard the good stuff.

Spend at least a quarter of your free time going to nurseries. This will allow you to find those rare and attractive plants that will make your side of the garden look better than your partner's. Don't even hope to have any money saved to see you through your golden years.

4. Avoid the cutting edge.

Hide pruning shears from your partner until he or she promises not to turn any more plants into balls and doughnuts.

5. Don't throw the rocks.

Use super huge boulders in the garden. There are two ways to do this: Have them delivered and placed by the quarry where you bought them, or rent a truck and a backhoe. The backhoe method is much more fun, but remember: Place the rock in the garden, not through the side of the house, particularly if your partner is inside.

6. Secretly encourage sharing.

Use your partner's gardening tools with reckless abandon, but only when he or she is not home. Get them as dirty as you like, but wipe the evidence away before your sweetie comes home.

7. Subtle is good.

Enlarge your garden space by chipping away at the lawn. Do this by removing a few feet of turf at a time, and quickly filling in the new garden space with relatively mature plants. Hopefully he or she will not notice until the next time you set up the croquet course.

8. Acquire new lands.

Be quick to search for and claim new areas that become open. While my wife was away one weekend, I dug out a large camellia that she wanted removed. She was delighted until she realized that I had already filled the entire area with my new acquisitions.

9. Don't overlook concrete.

Cram every open space with containers before your partner has the same idea. That will give you somewhere to plant all of those incredible rarities that you couldn't resist buying and have absolutely no space for in the garden. Don't expect to ever park in the driveway again.

10. Claim bragging rights.

When neighbors and friends come over, lead them to your garden areas and wax poetic over the design, plant combinations and rare treasures. Be sure to denigrate your partner's side, particularly if it is gaining more compliments than yours.

If you follow these tips, don't throw away the marriage counselor's phone number. You will certainly need it soon!

-- Ciscoe Morris

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sons of Maxwell

I'd never heard of the Canadian duo Sons of Maxwell, but I am betting that you will soon, if you haven't already. While they were touring the United States, United airlines trashed one of their guitars, a 3500.00 Taylor. After trying for a year to get recompense, Dave Caroll gave up and went after United in the public sphere. Within a week of unleashing his youtube video, United agreed to replace his guitar. Funny how that works.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

When Chickens Attack

The desperation to get the chickens in their tractor-- outside-- reached a fever pitch about a week before we actually got the feat accomplished. Poor P-daddy's knee took a whallop so the project and the husband were out of commission for a while. The tractor is still not technically finished-- it needs a proper roof-- but it's well and done enough for the chickens to be quite happily outside.

For about two weeks prior to that, they were inside at night and then we would put them outside in a "play pen," a range shelter we cobbled together out of a soccer goal and unrolled chicken wire just leaned against it. The chicks grew so fast for we inexperienced poultry tenders; the unhappy limbo for us came in the time during which they lacked enough feathers to be outside at night but they had so much energy and poop that they made our home miserable when they were inside.

We finally gave up on the brooder box entirely when they were about a month old, and just barricaded off the breakfast nook with baby gates and plywood. We spread a gigantic tarp over the linoleum, covered that with pine shavings and just ignored it. Or tried to-- while they happily accepted dominion over our table, they also began roosting on the baby gates themselves, perched about 5 feet in the air. Sometimes their combined weight would take down the gate and defeat the whole setup. P-Daddy was most unhappy.


One of the books I read while embarking upon my self-directed, intensive get-er-dun course on raising chickens serenely suggested that like the author, the reader would probably raise the first batch of chickens in a box in the kitchen. The author sagely noted that "the dust they raise can be considerable" and that the rest of his broods were raised in the garage. This, my friends, is called UNDERSTATEMENT.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Fourth of July

It was beautiful. 70 degrees, low tide and friends for the Henderson Bay fireworks.

Midnight Sun







From Mr. C-family, who lit the beacon of Amon Din: