Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Odds-n-Ends

Have you seen the ghost of John?
Long white bones with the skin all gone...
Ooooo ooo ooo ooo ooo ooo,
Wouldn't it be chilly with NO skin on?
Sing with me if you also learned this song in elementary school.

I have a cost efficient costume this year- Elvira with a little Frankenstein thrown in combined with a mummy. Huh? you ask?? Let me explain further- when one mommy goes to bed at 11 only to wake up at 1:20am and lay awake until her three year old comes to her bed at 5am... voila, instant scary costume. And my only excuse is that the costumes need to be finished, treats for the All Saints Party need to be purchased, the ballet bill is overdue, the dinner got left out in the stock pot, a very wet towel was left in the tub and will probably stink in the morning- do I need to go on?

On an upbeat note- it's Halloween and a busy one at that. Art lessons this morning, Saints party this afternoon followed by a wardrobe change and an evening full of tricks or treats. We've been decorating all week and having a blast. Here's one of our favorites- making a tasty jack-o-lantern treat.

Cut faces on a tortilla.
Brush with oil or spray.
Dip in a bowl of cinnamon and sugar.
Bake till flaky and browned.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Long Prayer

Have you ever heard of a prayer shawl? I began this knitting project as a newbie last winter, knowing that I had to work fast for my husband's sick grandfather, George. With each stitch comes a prayer. It's almost like a meditation to focus on someone so intensely while your making this blanket. The three stitches I went over and over for months, for love, mercy and comfort, will be on my mind for a long time.

George passed away in the spring. His vibrant blue eyes would have stood out with this shawl draped lovingly around his shoulders. After he died I tucked away the blanket for a few months not sure of what to do with it.

Well, it's done. Finally, it's done. And it will be boxed up with a love note for grandpa George's sweet and lonely wife, Arlene. And in perfect time for All Souls Day this Sunday.

Memes and Stuff

Oh my, where is this week going? Thursday? Really?? Already???

Okay, before I need to slip away to a morning meeting, I must say thank you to Regina for making me squirm- I mean for including me in on the fun.

So here goes my musical meme (the shorter version)...

1. River, show me how to float
I feel like I'm sinking down
Thought that I could get along
But here in this water
My feet won't touch the ground
I need something to turn myself around

2. See the world in green and blue
See China right in front of you
See the canyons broken by cloud
See the tuna fleets clearing the sea out
See the Bedouin fires at night
See the oil fields at first light
And see the bird with a leaf in her mouth
After the flood all the colors came out

3. Take my hand
'Cause we're walking out of here
Oh, right out of here
Love is all we need here

4. Let's play Twister, let's play Risk. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
See you heaven if you make the list. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

5. Once upon a midnight dearie
I woke with something in my head
I couldn't escape the memory
Of a phone call and of what you said
Like a game show contestant with a parting gift
I could not believe my eyes
When I saw through the voice of a trusted friend
Who needs to humor me and tell me lies

And there it is, my predictable, quick version.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fall Fell

We raked about ten tarps full of leaves yesterday for the compost pile. Not sure if you can tell in the pictures but a ginormous wind came up-knocking twice as many leaves off the trees, scattering all our work. I laughed, my husband "quit" and the kids played.

Super Sunday

Make that Saturday, too. The weekend was so wonderful- the weather, the beauty, the fun. My honey got home late Friday night from Alaska and had lots to share with us. Not getting much sleep, we got up early Saturday morning to host the running group we belong to at our house. That meant posting signs and color-coding maps to reflect three fall-filled running courses. Runners showed up like the cars in Field of Dreams. They just kept coming and coming down the long, lonely road. The kids had so much fun handing out maps and offering water bottles. As soon as everyone took off, I scooted to the kitchen to get breakfast going- I am amazed that we pulled off cooking for 25-30 people.

When the mess cleared we hopped into the car to the local farm and pumpkin patch to get some hot cider and freshly baked donuts. (Not recommended for the one who didn't run and stayed home to cook, oops!) We grew our own pumpkins this year but it's still fun to wander the patch.

And for the rest of the day, I got my much needed mommy break and went to a scrapbooking crop. Six hours of laughing and being creative did me just fine.

Sunday was a prize winner. Warmer temps and sun felt oh-so-good. We spent much of the day outside. My daughter and I had the best adventure walking down to the river and letting the dog swim. That is until Belle got a little too friendly with some fly-fishermen and we had to play Lewis and Clark trekking on river rocks to retrieve my non-obedient retriever. Our stint on the rocks found us hopping awkwardly over slippery stones a good distance until we found a new semi-cleared trail to get back to the road.

We made it back to find the boys having their own expedition in the creek. Sailing leaves down the fast current and collecting lady bugs seemed to be the theme. We stayed out for a few more hours working and playing until our neighbor beckoned us over for some lovely cheese and wine and to take in the sunset.

I know we're relishing all of these Autumnal days in fear that they're numbered and soon the rains will set in. Today is going to be another warm one- perhaps school should move outside??

There was quite a story that went with these leaves- I mean boats.

Now that's a pumpkin. My ninety-something year old neighbor grew this one in his garden. It's not for us-we just hitched a ride.
Okay, corn has been gone from our garden a long time- why does the farm still have it? Why haven't the raccoons got crazy over there?

Not sure if this is the right way to "pick a pumpkin"??

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Halloween Houses- The Copy Cat Version

Loved this idea from the Crafty Crow- here's our rendition. They were fun to work on but the most fun was had by listening to "Sounds of the Seasons" on cable and laughing at the goofy music (some of it was not music- just screams). The favorite of the day...The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out... All this fun was backed up by mom opening the Halloween candy bag and allowing budding artists try it out.

What an awesome idea to tape the sides for a nice, clean border.

There were three spooky houses in the works but one artist abandoned his post. Flaky artists :)...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Writing Prompts

Sometimes you need to play in the leaves for hours on end (four for the record) in order to feel inspired. Coming in from outside, leaves tangled in her hair, my daughter quick grabbed a pencil and paper and went to work.

Leaves are beautiful yellow and brown,
Fall is no reason to wear a frown.
Playing and watching the leaves fly by,
Fall is the season for pumpkin pie.
Acorns and nutshells and squirrels in the trees,
Standing in Autumn's cold blowing breeze.
Jumping in leaves and for all of those reasons,
Fall is simply my favorite season.

Taken by my daughter while laying on the ground looking up toward the sky. I love a child's perspective.

Throwing leaves up over and over and over again. It never got old.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Another Delivery

I have this great neighbor who goes to eastern Washington to visit his children who, to my benefit, have fruitful farms. This time he brought back red pears. Red pears! I've never even heard of them before. And they are just as delicious as can be.

Harvest Time

After co-op yesterday we spent the afternoon in the garden harvesting squash, onion, carrot, pumpkin and corn stalks. These are beautiful days my friends...

I hate spiders but I still admire their work. Look at this sac!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Autumn Again

Yesterday the rains came hard at times. We all watched out the window as leaves swirled through the wind like magic. "Look, mom!" they yelled several times. Such an awesome sight to see gold and red flying all around with a dark sky backdrop. So while we kept shelter inside the entire day- I did snap these the other day while we planted tulip bulbs.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Saturday's Splendor

What a gorgeous weekend up here in the Pacific Northwest. We lucked out because today looks to be doom and gloom.

We found ourselves celebrating the little guy's birthday on the farm. It was the most perfect day- 60 degrees and sunny- just what you want for the Fall Harvest Festival.

The farm has a million scarecrows in every nook and corner. Behind us are The Wizard of Oz crows. Caw!

Don't you take the "cool bus" to school?

Speaking of school...there was education to be found! The old homestead house was full of period stuff to learn about. Behind it was the working farm, outhouse, water well and more. If I worked on the farm- that's where I would be. The lady in the rocking chair knitting and explaining what the Sears catalog was used for.

The daddy pile up.

Flying pumpkins. My kids went around and around more times that day. Between kettle corn, birthday cake and the rides-I am amazed no stomachs protested.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Don't Let Him Fool Ya

When asked how old he is, he tells everyone six...sometimes ten.
Don't let his savvy talk fool you- he's three. Officially.
Happy Birthday, Little Bear. We sure do love you.

The train cake last year was such a disaster, you would have thought the little guy made it himself. He wanted the same cake this year but this time mommy made it from scratch and noooo crazy frosting.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Comforts of Fall

Because everyone else was baking pie....And between the acorn/spaghetti squash baking and the apples and cinnamon- my house smells divine.

After Apple Picking
by Robert Frost

My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still.
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples; I am drowsing off.
I cannot shake the shimmer from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the water-trough,
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and reappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
And I keep hearing from the cellar-bin
That rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking; I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall,
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised, or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


When you have a glorious fall day with the sun shining down and the leaves screaming on trees, you must put down your pencil and go outside.

We went for a walk yesterday (my first walk since August!!) and stopped to sketch berries, leaves and the river. We found many mushrooms, spiders, snakes, and birds. We were so excited to hear and then see a red headed woodpecker, not native to these parts.

The squashes are all seasoned and in the oven baking this morning and the rain is swift and steady. Chances are there won't be a recess today like yesterday- but we'll keep close watch for the next one. Fall is such a cozy and welcoming time of year.

We found these maple leaf suckers in Canada- perfect for a walk through the trees!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Issue

My article Running With the Big Dogs has been published. You can check it out here.

Have I mentioned that I miss running?

The Royal Vic

We're back from Canada and I'd like to say refreshed and relaxed- but not quite. Our time away was just too short and with having to be up early both days, we even lost sleep.

But it was fun.

The Royal Victoria Marathon was a great experience. So professionally put together and what great motivation with runners from all over the world. There were records broken that day, too. An 80 year old completed the marathon. A half marathoner ran after a double lung transplant. An older gentlemen finished his 500th marathon. Unbelievable to me. And boy did/do I want to run...

Still dark and almost ready to run. Brrrr.

Josh wasn't trying to break records- just having a good race.

Not sure what to do with my time, I sat on the steps of Parliment and watched and waited. What a beautiful spot.

Friday, October 10, 2008

We're Off

My husband and I are off for the weekend. Sadly I'll be on the sidelines cheering him on while he runs the half marathon. I was so looking forward to running this race.

I'm sure it will still be a lovely, much-needed weekend away. You have a wonderful one, too!

Off to the Farm

Just up the road is a terrific seasonal farm open for just a few months a year. With my mother visiting from Phoenix, we took her to see what real autumn is all about. Hay mazes, animals, a pumpkin patch, market, fresh apple cider, scare crow dress up, even a spot for a truck lovin' two year old to get lost for hours.

This weekend there will be live music, candy apples and promised sunshine- a great place to go back with a picnic.