Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick or Treat

It was all treats and no tricks for us tonight.

We gathered at about 4:30, got costumed up, and were ready to go the the mall, where it was dry!

But first the formal portrait on the porch: Jill, Isaac and I reprised our costumes from last year.  Aunt Jan modified from a great blue heron into a yellow legs shore bird.  Irene was the star as, what else... a peacock!

 Jill created Irene's costume this year.  Irene was thrilled with her mother's handiwork.  I was also impressed.
 Various shops offered treats.  We were there early, but the crowds soon grew.  It was fun to see all of the little kids, and quite a few of their parents too, in costume.

 Tom kept busy taking photos.
 After making the rounds for close to an hour, we went to the food court for dinner.

On the way home we noticed that the rain had stopped!  I suggested we go to a neighbor's house for real trick or treating.  The kids and I ended up working a couple of blocks, hitting a few friends houses and others in between.  Real neighborhood candy begging is the best!

Walking back to the house we met a large group out on the street and encouraged them to come to our house.  Jill was busy lighting the jack-o-lanterns.  We got the candy and treated our one of only two groups to find our house.

By eight o'clock everyone was on the way home, and we settled in to watch Charlie Brown.

It was a fun Halloween.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin Carving

Sunday didn't bring much success for our favorite sports teams, Corey's Denver Broncos being the exception, but our jack-o-lanterns turned out quite well.

The kids came over during halftime of the Seahawks vs Lions game. I fixed a big dish of macaroni and cheese and finger fruits and vegetables, which we ate in front of the TV while we watched the Seahawks fall to a last minute touchdown. 

Then we got to work on carving our pumpkins, while continuing to nibble on the lunch leftovers.

 I cleaned out Irene's pumpkin, leaving a bit of the work for her, but she would only touch the "guts' with a big spoon.  Then while she planned her face, I carved mine, which Irene is showing off for me. We have no idea what it is, perhaps some mythical half human half animal creature.
 Jill's creation.

Corey worked on Isaac's while Jill helped Irene.

 Done!  Time to get the candles lit and display them on the hearth for the formal photos.  Corey tried out the panorama camera on his new iPhone.

 We were done and cleaned up by 3:00.  The Gibsons went home to clean house and have a little down time after another busy weekend.  Tom vacuumed and I mopped the kitchen floor.  At some point we all settled in front of our TV sets.  The World Series started at 5:00, not that we cared much, but it turned out to be the last game. The Broncos were in Sunday night football, and I think they won big time.  when I checked in they were way ahead.  Corey probably had to watch on his phone, because the TVs were turned to ESPN at 6:00 for the Sounders match against the LA Galaxy.  The Sounders lost in a heart breaker with an 84th minute LA goal, final score 1-0.  Playoffs start on Friday for Seattle. Then we had time to catch the end of the baseball game.
 This morning we moved the jack-o-lanterns out onto the porch.  Everybody will be here for Halloween and the Gibsons already had two on their doorstep from the Boy Scout event.
 Color is happening fast here now.  The full moon maple turned from green to orange in just a couple of days, just in time for Halloween.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Rainy October Saturday

While it was cheery inside at 9:00 this morning,

 it was dark and dreary outside.  We had been able to get outside to begin the fall cleanup on Thursday, but since then we've had rain.  The work still awaits.

 Yesterday the grand kids spent the afternoon with us.  We never know what will trigger what kind of play or activity.  Yesterday it was a kitchen stool and the pull out cutting board that inspired Irene to set up the "Snack City" eatery.  Isaac thinks he will be bored, but he always gets pulled into Irene's staging, and before we know it, he is also fully engaged.  Snacks for sale included items I found in the pantry - peanuts, pretzels, Gold Fish, and candy.  It was a successful business until Irene ran out of customers, and declared it "done".  That was good, because I had already had two servings of snacks.

But back to our rainy Saturday.   Tom and I were off to a garden club meeting from 10:00 to 12:00.  This is a new group, and our second meeting, so we are still getting organized.  There are now six of us, which considering how much we like to talk, is probably enough.

Back home we found Jake lounging on the couch, watching soccer. He had come to take Tad to the airport and then wait around until his flight later in the day.  They are headed to LA for the last Sounders match of the regular season tomorrow at 6:00.  We'll be watching on TV, although being in LA sounds pretty good right now.  

This afternoon I made pumpkin cupcakes for our pumpkin carving gathering tomorrow.  Jill and Corey and the kids will be coming over during half time of the 10:00 Seahawks football game.  We'll have lunch together and then carve our jack-o-lanterns.

While the cupcakes were cooling I butchered my pumpkin. " Oh, I didn't know you were going to kill it!"  I do love that line from It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. 
 It's a big pumpkin so I wanted to get the prep done ahead of time, and besides I wanted to toast the seeds for tomorrow.  Jack will get a face then.

I sat and read for a few minutes, and then got the cream cheese frosting made and frosted the cupcakes.  Yum!  good lickin'.
 I watched a little football and a little soccer and read my novel a bit more.  The outside looked the same at 5:00 as it did this morning, but via Facebook we saw that Jill and Corey and the kids did get to the pumpkin patch while the rain lightened up this afternoon.

I hadn't decided what to do for dinner, but sort of wanted to try a recipe I found in Sunset Magazine.  Somehow breakfast for dinner sounded very good on a rainy night, so I made Pumpkin Apple pancakes.  Oh my gosh, were they good!  Especially with the real maple syrup we brought back from Vermont.  Here's the link, in case you want to try them.

The recipe says it's four servings, but there are none left.  Tom did eat more than I did, I promise, and he doesn't even like pancakes.   I am going to have to be very good next week.  Any left over cupcakes will have to go into the freezer - out of sight, out of mind.

I can't believe October is almost gone.  I feel like the lyrics to the Barry Manilow song When October Goes, "Oh, how I hate to see October go."

But what's left of it should be fun!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Finding Aunt Ruby

She wasn't ever lost, just to some of her extended family.

Ruby May Norquist is my aunt by marriage.  She was married to my  Uncle Chet, who was my father Henry's closest brother.

The Norquist clan was a rather wild bunch back in the day.  Grandpa Olaf immigrated to this country from Sweden as an infant in 1879.  Grandma Emma was of Norwegian descent.  Grandma was a wonderful woman, a real survivor.  She bore 13 children, raised eight of them to adulthood, lived to be 99, and survived Grandpa, who was a crotchety old Swede nobody really liked, including Grandma.

Aunt Ruby married my Uncle Chet after a failed first marriage.  She brought two children with her to that marriage.  Because they did not live nearby, I didn't know Ruby's children.  She and Uncle Chet didn't have any of their own.

I remember Ruby as being sort of quietly on the outside during big family gatherings.  She was a very devout Christian even back then.     She and my mother seemed to form a fairly close relationship, and Dad and Chet were very close.

Uncle Chet died under very tragic circumstances in 1990.  I think his funeral might be the last time I saw Aunt Ruby.  My dad died in 1996.  Mom and Ruby must have corresponded for a while after that.

In her last years of life, my mother wondered what had happened to Ruby.  Ruby was older, and often seemed in poor health, and Mom wondered if she was still living.  Mom thought she, herself,  might be the last of that Norquist generation.  

Mom died close to a year ago now, not knowing.

Then last week, I got an e-mail from my brother.  He had received an invitation addressed to our mother, Violet Norquist, and forwarded to him.  It was for Ruby May Norquist's 100th birthday!

At last, we found Aunt Ruby!  

On Sunday Tom and I went to the Lighthouse Christian Center in Puyallup, WA.  It is a big modern church complex, with lots of community action.  It appeared that the whole congregation had stayed after services to honor Ruby, who we discovered to be a true pillar of the church.

I did get a few minutes during a break in the program to talk to my aunt.  She was very pleased to see me, after I introduced myself.  I had RSVP'ed to the invitation and let the organizer know that Mom had passed away.  That news was shared with my aunt ahead of time.
 What a remarkable woman she is.  She can see and hear and think clearly and walk!  I confessed to her that we didn't think she was even still alive!  Here you see me reacting as she tells me that ten years ago she was in hospice care and not expected to live.  And the two years ago, the same thing.  I think she would tell you she prayed her death away.  She said she had quite the stories to tell.
 The program was continuing, so I didn't have long.  She said we could talk later, but that didn't happen.
 During the buffet lunch we found some of her family.  They were children and grandchildren of her two children, who were not Norquists.  We met the young woman who calls her Grandma, with whom Aunt Ruby lives.  
 Here at the table are some of those folks, related to her daughter Arlene.
Ruby blew out her candles and cut her cake.  Then there was an open mike.  I took the opportunity to share who I was and how happy we were to have found Aunt Ruby.  

We didn't get another chance to talk, and the program went on and we had to leave for another engagement.

I have Aunt Ruby's address and will send her a letter and maybe a few photos.  She wants to know about my mother, and I will be happy to share her story.  

And Mom, we found Aunt Ruby!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Saturday in West Seattle

We headed out this morning a little after 9:00, we didn't know just what all we would be doing.  We had several fixed activities  and the rest we would make up as we went along.  It all depended on the weather.

It was cold and windy when we arrived at Riverview Playfield in West Seattle.
Long gone are the bats and mitts and baseballs.  The dugout is left to the rustle of leathery leaves.

Now it's soccer season.  Isaac and the other Wolverines kept warm by playing hard.
 That's it, Isaac.  Win that ball and drive to the goal.

 We visited with Corey and Tom's sister Jan while we cheered on our team.  Afterwards. Jan and Tom and I headed for the nearest Starbucks, and visited and warmed up over coffee.

We were meeting Tom and Jan's cousins April and Karen for lunch at noon in Fauntleroy, near the ferry dock where Karen would be arriving from across the sound.  We still had about 40 minutes and I really wanted to go walking at Lincoln Park, next to the ferry dock.

 It was still cold, but the mostly clear sky made for a beautiful scene.  Lost of other folks were enjoying the walk too.

 Too soon it was time to head back up the hill.
 We met up for lunch at Endolyne Joe's, a fun restaurant in an old neighborhood grocery store that may have had other lives dating back to the 1920's.  Good food and good visiting followed.

It was still decent enough weather when we left the restaurant, so Tom and I headed back east to South Seattle Community College and the arboretum there.  I needed a good dose of fall color.  I found it there.

I took a lot of photos, so with out comment, just enjoy the examples of form and texture and color here in this garden.

 Recently opened here is the new pavilion of the Seattle Chinese Garden.

 Through the rear gate is a peak-a-boo view of the Space Needle.
 The grounds are still under development.  These things take time, and fundraising.

The weather was threatening by now, and it was time to head home,
 right through this amazing tree tunnel.