Saturday, November 28, 2015

Transitioning Again

Thanksgiving is over.  It's time to prepare for Christmas!
We made wreaths at my sister's house after thanksgiving dinner. Mine is now hanging by the front door. 
Tom has a start on the outdoor lights. 
The house is stripped down of other decorations and collections, everything is cleaned and dusted and vacuumed. Well, there is that one Santa on the mantel, purchased this June in New Orleans.  It is made out of a Cypress knee. (Look it up if you don't know).

The rest of the Santa collection plus all the rest of the decorations are now down out of the attic and await in this stack of tubs in the garage.  I'll start on that tomorrow.  It will take a couple of days. Then there will be the tree to put up.  
After the decorating, it will be time to make by baking list, collect ingredients and begin creating cookies. I'll have to compose the annual Christmas letter and decide what kind of card/photo card to send with it. 

Of course, there's shopping.  I do have a start on it, and I tend to do a lot of it on line.  We don't buy for a lot of people, so we spoil the ones we do buy for. 

Are you beginning the preparations, have you already done them, or are you just much more low key about it than I am? 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Going Outside

It was a cold, frosty morning as we made our way through the neighborhood streets to our usual Friday morning breakfast. A cold mist hung in the air over the valley below, obscuring the features of The Mountain. 
 After an enjoyable visit with our friends, we chose to Go Outside to spend the rest of the morning. Thanks to REI for encouraging all of us to forget shopping and instead go out and exercise and enjoy the beauty of our natural surroundings. 
 It was still frosty in the shady spots and we drove down into the valley to a portion of the Green River Trail near the River Bend Golf Course. Instead of our usual route down stream, we decided to explore upstream. We stopped at The Old Fishing Hole park to check the trail map and saw that we could make a loop with bridges on either end for crossing the river. 
 We were soon in farm land. 

 The remnants of the pumpkin patch are left to feed the soil. 
 Strawberry fields forever. 
 Big old trees along the road and a windbreak along the river. 
 Crossing over, as we make our loop and headed back on the other side of the river. 

 After more that four miles we approached our starting point.
 Not many golfers out, but we greeted other walkers along the way. 
 Once more over the river, and back to the car. 

We walked a total of 4.32 miles, in about an hour and twenty minutes, including stops for photo taking, not too bad, and fast enough to get us warmed up and keep us warm. 

They call this Black Friday, and yes, I know why, but how could one think of it as "black" on a day like today, with such a glorious blue sky, and the world of nature to enjoy so close at hand. 

Now I'm ready to put away Autumn decorations, clean and dust and wipe down surfaces, and prepare to begin decorating for Christmas. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Giving Thanks

For the beauty of the earth; 
For the beauty of the skies, 
For the love which from our birth 
Over and around us lies:
Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour 
of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale and tree and flower, 
Sun and moon and stars of light:
Lord of all, to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love, 
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends of earth, and friends above, 
For all gentle thoughts and mild: 
Lord of all to thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.
                     (Hymn: For The Beauty of the Earth - Pierpoint)

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!
May your blessings be abundant, 
And your gratitude acknowledged. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Grandparenting, PS

Well, I have to add to the previous post.  I am proud of myself!

Isaac did not do well on a math test.  For homework he had to correct his errors, explain where he made his mistakes and give the correct answer.

As I was making dinner he was sitting at the kitchen table struggling. So when dinner was done I asked him to show me his test and explain the missed problems to me.  

Now, I have no idea how to do these pre-algebra problems, and negative numbers have never made any sense to me.  But after discussing each problem, including allowing ourselves to say "when would I even need this?!", we worked through them, and with Isaac's knowledge of the "rules" and my problem solving skills and logic, we did it.  

I think Isaac feels better, and I am right proud of myself!


This was the last weekend for youth soccer for the year. 
What a pleasure it was to be back under blue sky after all those rainy games over the last several Saturdays!
 Irene and her Mud Dogs team were a lot less muddy this time. 

 Not everyone on the sidelines was always glued to the action. 
The Mud Dogs ran away with the victory to end a winning season.
We had time to go home and warm up and have lunch before going in another direction to Isaac's game. 
 Here we had not only blue sky, but a mountain view!

 Isaac teamed up with his cousin Carson to head off the opposition. 

 The Green Dragons have struggled this season, but there has been improvement, and while they lost their final match, they did score several great goals.
The field lights were on and the mountain was going pink under a rising moon as we made our way home. 

Sunday morning was cold and clear again and Tom and I got our walk in and a few outside jobs done before Jill brought Irene over to us. Jill and Isaac joined Jake at the Seahawks game, and we were responsible for getting Irene sent off to her Colorado Grandparents. 
We kept in touch via texting and Facebook, of course. 

Irene traveled as an Unaccompanied Minor, so check in is a bit more complicated. Her flight was scheduled for 3:50, so we were there by 2:30, went through the slow check in process, and the long lines at security. Lots of families were traveling on Sunday. It's parent conference week for our school district, so elementary kids have no classes.

We had time to stop at a Starbucks in the terminal and enjoy or goodies as we waited at the gate.  The flight was delayed so Irene and I shared my ear buds and listened to the Seahawks game on my iPod radio. 
 We kept Jill updated as Irene finally boarded, and we watched as the plane sat at the gate. Part of the "Escort" process is to wait until the place takes off. 
 Finally her plane was in the taxi-way, and then we had lift off as the sun faded behind the purple Olympic Mountains. At the same time, the Seahawks game ended in a victory. 
This evening we are hosting Isaac for dinner while Jill has evening parent conferences.  Isaac will be finished with classes on Tuesday, and then he will fly away too. 

The kids will be with their Dad and his family for Thanksgiving.  It's hard for them and for Jill to be separated from each other for this holiday, but it sure beats giving them up for Christmas. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

I'm A Winner!

Last Wednesday I had lunch with some of my retired co-workers from McMicken Heights Elementary. We met at ACME Bowl, where we could have space for our table of nine, and hear each other's conversations.

However in the middle of lunch there was a very loud announcement notifying us that we were attending the 10th birthday party of the bowling alley/restaurant! Who knew?

As we visited, an employee came around to distribute tickets for the prize drawing.  We dutifully filled them out, thinking we might win a few lines of bowling. 

We ended up spending nearly three hours there, visiting and eating complimentary birthday cake! During that time, one of our group won a prize drawing, a $50 gift card for Macy's. Cool.  Real prizes, even!

Shortly before we left an employee came around again with a few more tickets so I filled out three of them.

Tom and I made some stops on the way home, and when we finally got home, I found a message on my home phone.  I had won a prize and needed to call in to claim it. 

I did. They sent the prize to me in the mail, and it arrived on Friday, a $50 gift card for Best Buy!  Since I never win anything, it felt great to be a winner for once!  

I'm sure we'll have no trouble spending it. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Are They All Down Yet?

We had a serious wind and rain storm in this region on Tuesday.  Some folks are still without power, and there is still some flooding in the river valleys. Falling trees cause a lot of trouble here, and in fact three people died when trees fell on their cars. 

We were lucky and escaped with no damage or power outages. Since the storm, we have been getting clearing weather. Thursday afternoon, sun shining, air cold and crisp, nothing else on my schedule, I cheeked to see if it was time to rake the leaves on the lawn again. 

Are they all down yet? 
Well, not quite, but almost. 

I got to work. 
It always feels good to have things cleaned up, even if it doesn't last.

And the fresh air and exercise are great too.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

My New Old Phone

We have had our smart phones for over two years now. Yes, we are as addicted as I feared we might be, just as bad as any teenager. 

But we are not alone.  When we go to breakfast with our retired teacher friends each Friday morning, invariably the phones come out, to share a photo or a post on Facebook or to Google something we want to know the answer to. We laugh at ourselves as we are doing it, of course, and one of our dear friends, who is losing her eye sight to macular degeneration says to us, "You know, if you put those phones away we could have a real conversation." We are slightly chastised, but not enough to stop us. 

Yesterday I had lunch with retired teachers from my old school and it was the same thing, phones out to share photos or post on Facebook, and to use the calendar feature to record our next monthly lunch. 

My sweet little blue iPhone 5c has had a few bumps and bruises, like getting knocked off the end table onto the hardwood floor. The result is that it was beginning to come apart.  Since I have damage insurance on the phone, I took it in to Sprint and was able to get a replacement at no cost. 

Yesterday I picked it up and the technician began the process of transferring data from my old phone to the new one. It was getting late so she suggested we could hook up to WiFi at home to complete the restoration of apps. 
Well, when I got to looking at my replacement phone, which looks just like my old one, I saw that it had Tom's background photo, his photo albums, and his apps. The Internet wasn't working and neither was the email. I fussed with it for a while, reinstalling the email, and then finally gave up and cooked dinner. After dinner, miraculously, everything was functioning.  I guess it just needed to settle in and feel at home. 

I lost my pretty rose  photo that was my background, so I just took a photo of the flowers that were on the kitchen table in front of me. 
Then I got rid of some of Tom's apps and reinstalled a few of my own that were missing.

Now my new  phone is my old one again. 

And speaking of apps (applications), here is a cool one that we have been using on our walks. It's called MapMYWalk, and it uses GPS to map the route of the walk, keep track of mileage, steps, and calories burned, and gives you your splits for minutes per mile. 
While smart phones are not essential to our lives, they sure do make it more fun.