Saturday, May 31, 2008

Take Me Out To the Ballgame

Last night we attended a baseball game for our local team, the Chico Outlaws. They played a team from Long Beach, which is in Southern California. Sarah got us the tickets. Our school, the one she attends and where I work, gave 4 free tickets to each student who brought back a signed slip from their parents. We brought, my mom, Sandy along. She is a big baseball fan.
We even got Bay to attend. She was fascinated by.................... her new phone. I have no problem with that, I'm just glad she went with us and was smiley and sweet.
The best part of the game was that the stands were full of kids from school. I enjoyed seeing them away from the cafeteria. It was great to enjoy the kids again, because this past week sucked for the most part. The kids are so wound up before they go on break. They don't want to listen or follow any rules - they want to be FREE. I understand this in theory, but in practice, I resent having to be a hard ass.

Sarah was very excited to find that she was sitting right by her best pal, Zac. They ran up and down the stairs, got autographs from the mascot, Rascal, and they patiently let me take a few photos. Here they are bunny-ears style.
I took so many shots of the sunset. Bay said, "Your batteries are going to run out before the fireworks." She was almost right. At one point the sky was a vibrant orange-pink. I'm sharing this one, which is not quite as dramatic, but shows Sarah's crush. He sat with his family right in front of us. She was so nervous at first, very quiet and un-Sarah-y. Luckily, she blossomed as soon as she and Zac met up. I used this as a chance to talk to her about boys. I want my girls to be confident and true to themselves. I am hopeful that they will chose to spend time with boys that appreciate who they are, their uniqueness. I realize that in reality, they will chose who they chose, mom's opinion doesn't really count, but I'm going to try to influence them subtly. In the past, I've turned myself inside out for love and I really wish I could spare my girls that pain. We had such a good evening. I can't wait to go back.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Love Thursday - Leafy Kind of Love

I found this one on the patio with my neighbor-friend, Alana. This is the perfect time of year to find hearts in nature.
For more Love Thursday photos, check the website. Happy Love Thursday to you!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Post Number 50

Today marks my 5oth post. I've only missed two days in that time, even though I sometimes have absolutely nothing of interest to talk about ...........

Today is one of those lack of interest days. I got up, I argued with my teenager, I got my other kids off to school, I ate breakfast, I went for a run, I got ready for work, I had a weird hot flash, I went by the grocery store on the way home from work, I went home and did some stuff on my computer, I picked up Bay, I met Max's bus, I went back to the grocery store, I took some pictures, I took nieghborhood kid Alana down to try to find her iPod (she found it!!!) in the grass near the school, I started dinner, I put the other computer back together, I ate dinner, and now I'm back on my computer. See what I mean? Pretty normal.

Today I picked up another plant for my patio garden - a zuchini. At the same store, I was able to pick up a tomato cage and they gave me a bottom part for my umbrella. Score!! They were all sold out of the umbrellas - mine was a goner due to the high winds we've been having - and I was trying to talk the lady into selling me the bottom to the display model (which was a broken umbrella) when they took it down. She said, "You know, we might have one in the back," and they did. So I was able to fix it for free. I love Raleys.

I wasn't sure what I was going to write about today, so I grabbed my camera and took a walk around the apartments. Here's a guy doing some roofing. They are doing the entire complex, one building at a time. This is a hard job, especially in a hot place like Chico. I hope they are paid really, really well.
I had to get some shots of clouds. I never tire of the clouds.
I messed around with this one. The deep blue and the white-white of the cloud remind me a little of a Maxfield Parrish print. I was thinking of "Ecstasy." Maxfield Parrish is my favorite artist. Did you know that when he painted, he would sometimes paint 100 layers on a single painting. Wow. Last night my boyfriend mentioned maybe moving to Alaska someday. The thought, in equal parts, interests and scares the stuffing out of me. Alaska. That's pretty far away from all my nieces and nephews. And all the rest of my family, but my first thought was of the kids. I love those kids. I didn't talk to the girls about it. There's no point in it now. I did ask Sarah if she ever thought about Alaska. She said, "It's cold there."

His ideas, I do like his ideas - he is thinking of running a fishing expedition business with a lodge. He said something about owning our own power. Power as in electricity. I'm not sure how that works. He probably explained it, but I was hung up on the idea of it, didn't absorb the details of how. It's a long way off, but still, worth some thought and research. I love having something to research. To me, that's the most exciting thing about the internet - all that information right at my fingertips.

Time to clean the kitchen. Good evening to you.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Sarah and her friends are enjoying the mild evenings. I took this at about 9pm on Saturday evening. The girls were sitting around on a mini-trampoline, playing duck-duck-goose. As soon as I walked out with my camera, they started posing. As you can see, I know nothing about taking pictures in the dark. Sarah and Alana kept coming out with a serious case of red-eye. I've done a lot of cooking over the weekend. Lately, I'd been more in warm-up mode, than full-on cooking. I'm not sure if it's because I'm lazy or uninspired. I've tried a few new things - I made home-made pasta for the first time, but ......... well I end up making a lot of tacos or burritos.

Yesterday, I made tacos, but they were grilled steak tacos and I made some fresh tomatillo salsa. It was so easy. Basically you boil onion, garlic, and tomatillos until tender, then cool. You load them into the blender with a bunch of coarsely chopped cilantro, the juice of two lemons, and about 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, then blend. I put too much liquid in at first and had to figure out something to lump things up a bit. Celery - I quickly cooked and added some celery to the mixture, re-blended, and yum. It turned out really, really good. Now that I know how easy it is, I'm going to make it all the time. It would make a really good marinade or salad dressing starter, too. This picture turned out really blurry, sorry.

Bay wanted some deviled eggs yesterday. I boiled up the eggs, but they were still sitting in the fridge this morning. Sarah and I whipped them up real fast. I was hoping that helping would make Sarah more likely to eat them, but not so much. We did have some fun, though. Sarah picked some parsley from the garden to pretty them up. What do you think?
I want to get things done around the house today. I tried yesterday and it was impossible. It was not a good day. Bay and I got into a big argument and Sarah kept fighting with her friends. I wish I could get some time away - I've never had time away, not in almost 18 years of being a mom. My mom kept saying, "You need some time away....," yeah, that would be nice, but how can I do it? I'd need someone to take my kids and for some reason nobody can take care of Max. It's not like I have a magical talent - I just get it done. He spends much of the day sleeping - only needs to be fed or changed or talked to. He really is pretty easy, heavy, but easy.

Luckily this is one of the easier things that I can flip around and fix in my mind. Max is wonderful, taking care of him is a job that I love to do. Someday I'm going to get that time alone and I'm going to wish I had Max with me instead.

Wow, I sure know how to depress myself. I think I may have PMS.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Romeo Came To Call

Today we had a gentleman caller and his name is Romeo. I was sitting on the couch, the door open to the breeze, and all of a sudden there he was, doggy-grinning at me. He's a working dog. He takes care of the lady who lives behind us.
Sarah talks about him all the time. The man that lived in that apartment before, he had a working dog, but the kids weren't allowed to play or even pet him. His assistant explained to the kids that he had an important job and playing with him would confuse him. Apparently Romeo has different rules.
As you can see, he and Sarah are great friends. Sarah loves dogs so much - she actually wishes she was a dog. I'm serious. Romeo appeared to be posing for the camera. He's very charming.
Oh, there you go, that's the spot.
This visit, this is all I'm up to writing about tonight. Sorry, not very wordy.

Friday, May 23, 2008

I Like the Creek

She's got her shades. She's got her pink milk. My gal, Trinity, is ready for an afternoon at the creek. Shutter Sisters theme for today is an image that represents a place where your soul is most content. I like the creek. It runs through Bidwell Park, in the town of Chico, where I live. I've posted photos of it before - at the Sycamore Pool, up where it runs down through the Basalt rock in Upper Bidwell, but my favorite spot is the one above. The photo of my nephew, Chance, up at the top of my page, in the title, is taken at the same place. I love the way he's blissfully enjoying the sun on his face in that one. During the warm months, we grab a few rafts and head over to float in shallow water, watching the fish and polliwogs swim beneath us. It's so relaxing - a place that I can escape to that is only moments from my home.
Here is a second shot of Trinity, my lovely niece. I have a feeling she's looking at some polliwogs - there are hundreds of them, really big ones. See her little smile? She's definitely enjoying the creek.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Love Thursday - Beloved Brads

This is a photo of my brother, Brad, holding his little boy, also Brad.

I used it a few days ago, but figured out how to lighten it up a bit, so that you could see the back of my nephew better. His shirt is still bunched up from where his daddy boosted him up and there's something about my brother's hand and the visible edge of nephew's pull-up that really gets to me.

Wordless Wednesday - Bailey Watching Casey At Pismo Beach

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sometimes Will Makes Her Mad

Sarah came home from the pool pissed. Can you tell? Will stole her bouncy balls and then he made Karlee cry. She told me the whole story, in great detail. I took pictures the whole time. I was trying to get some of the cool light, but I don't know what the heck I'm doing, so I wasn't able to grab what I wanted. Still, she looks pretty darn cute.
I asked her to please sit on the patio so I could take more. She said, please no more pictures. I said, just for a minute, please?? I guess she was okay with it, because I got this one.
And I said, here, I'll be in there, too. My feet.
I love taking pictures of other people, but for some reason taking them of myself or seeing photos other people have taken of me, well it's painful. I feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. I tried to take some for S today. I got a couple of goofy ones in the mirror and a shot of my legs in front of me. He said, he's seen plenty of photos of my family. He wants to see some of me.

We are closing in on the end of the school year. I look forward to it and dread it in equal portions. I'm going to miss the kids. I always do. When we go back they will be taller - all bright and shiny in new school clothes and uncomfortable shoes. I hope Logan has a good Summer. He seems pretty good these days. No angry tree smacking, so that's got to be a good sign. Right?

One of my closest friends told me that she is getting a divorce today. She has 4 kids. She asked me about my apartments - how many bedrooms? how is the pool? do the kids like it? I told her that it's a great place to raise a family and it is. I've lived here for almost 10 years.

I remember my divorce. Divorce is crazy-making. I sure wish my friend didn't have to go through one. I plan to be there for her when she needs me.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mellow Monday

The park was beautiful today. It's still pretty green, but the heat has made some of the grass turn yellow and it smells like Summer. I did a long loop and a short loop. I saw a beautiful boy at the top of the long loop. He was sitting on a bench with a girl and as I rode boy, I thought, wow, pretty boy - lots of brown skin, blue eyes, curly dark hair.
They had the water blocked off and a backhoe was cleaning the floor of the Sycamore Pool. It smelled so strong of fish, but the only fish in sight were tiny little babies, trying desperately to escape the confines of the damn. I wish I'd remembered my camera. It was an interesting view of the pool.

There were a lot of black and red caterpillars crossing the path. I tried my best not to run any over, but they always are there when I least expect them. I'm not sure my camera would do a good job of capturing them, but again, I can't try if it's sitting at home on the counter. I really need to remember to always take it with me.

This is a shot of one of the bridges. It's the first bridge that I pass when I go in - not over, but pass - then when I do the short loop I go over it. I feel lucky every single day that I get to enjoy the park.

Can you see the orb in this picture? It looks like a moon next to the white tree.
I took this underneath the freeway, also in the park. I took two different shots and they each had different light anomalies. None of the other pictures from that day had the orbs. I was so excited when I saw them. First I saw the one that looked like a "moon." I thought, hhm, I don't remember a moon on there, then I looked at the other one and saw that it had even more, smaller orbs. I can't help wondering if they are spirits, which I know might sound silly. It's a really cool spot. It feels sort of like a fort did when I was a kid. You can hear the cars go overhead and underneath it's cool and shady.

When I took this picture on friday, a dad I know came flying onto the blacktop right in front there. I may have said that before. Sorry, if I'm repeating myself. I love how riding a bike brings out the kid in people.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Brad's Birthday

Yesterday was a perfect family day. We have a few May birthdays - my brother Brad Sr., my daughter, Sarah, and my nephew, Brad Jr. Yesterday we celebrated little Brad's day. This was an opportunity for my family and my sister-in-law Shawna's family to get to know each other. Which we sort of did. We've known them for years, we just haven't spoken very much. They are very nice people. It's not easy for me to get Max places, so I usually have everyone over here. I've never invited Shawna's family, but I think that is what I will do next time. I wonder what they are doing for the 4th of July? Anyway, on to the party..............Shawna made the cutest Diego cake. It tasted pretty good, too. Brad got some great presents - Diego was a theme - he received this Diego to the Rescue type kit, pretty cool, as well as these two Dinosaurs that move and make "roar" sounds, he got a lot of outfits, and Matchbox cars. I think he was very pleased. I got him a sprinkler toy, which worked out well for pictures. Almost everybody spent at least a little time in the water, it was so hot outside. There's Sarah above and my niece, Ashlee below.
The birthday boy was so busy, I tried to catch him all day. Here he is for a split second.
I caught the Brads relaxing for a minute. I love seeing my brother's tan hands against his boy's little white arms. He has this ivory complexion with super rosy cheeks - such a beautiful boy. Something about the way they are here, I really love these boys.
Shawna was very busy, you know how it goes when you are hosting a party. It was such a lovely day. I can't wait to spend time with them again. This was my last shot of the day. Look at that face. He's enchanting.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Last Minute Entry

Super busy day. I'll write more tomorrow. I spent a wonderful day with my brother's family celebrating my nephew Brad's 3rd birthday. Isn't he a lovely little boy?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Stuff

I'm going to make this really fast because I've been having internet trouble off and on all day. I tried to update earlier and lost my connection.

Anyway, today I rode my bike down to Sycamore Pool, in Bidwell Park. The pool is made when they dam up the creek that runs through Bidwell Park. Once a week they let the dam down and clean it out. It's pretty cool. I've got some other pictures of it - I took them last Summer when I had my nephews for a week. During the Summer, lifeguards are on duty and the park is full. I went through fairly early in the morning, but one guy was just drying off after a swim. I was tempted to try to get his picture, but I didn't want to seem like a stalker. Taking all these pictures, it's so new to me. I'm not sure what is okay and what isn't. In the past, I was taking pictures of my family or my friends - I already knew it was okay with them.

Here's a long shot, the dam is all the way down on the right. There's a bridge just after the dam and when you look on the free flowing side of the bridge, you can always see big fish. S has these special fishing glasses and a few months ago we walked down there and looked for fish in the pool. The glasses are polarized or something like that. He loves to fish - it makes sense that his sunglasses would be fishing glasses.

He's called a few times lately. I don't know how long that will last. I want to think that things are moving back to normal, but I've thought that before. I've found that at a certain point, I start building walls. That sucks. I don't want to be that kind of person. I want to be genuine and open, but I'm not feeling that way. I'm feeling guarded and hesitant. I don't think it's permanent, this wrong-me. I think it can be fixed, but some of that good that we had a few months back, I can't ever get back. That was some serious faith and trusting on my part, something that I have never given in quite that way - not even the first time we were together, when we were kids.

Oh, well. Time will tell. And tomorrow I've got a party to go to - my nephew Brad's birthday. I'm pretty excited.

That's about it....... so happy that my connection held out this time.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Love Thursday - Mother Love

Today is Love Thursday at Shutter Sisters. Here is a shot of my daughter and I at Pismo Beach here. We had a wonderful time that day, while on a camping trip with my sister's family.

Wow, Sarah is basically the star of this page. I need to get more of my other kids in here.

Wordless Wednesday - Happy Birthday Sarah!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sarah is Growing Up

Ten years ago today I was in labor with my daughter, Sarah. She tried to come early, so I was given bed rest and meds to stop my contractions. That worked so well that she stayed inside a week or so over-time and I had to be induced. I tell her this story every year - I tell all the kids their birth story every year and they are all 2-day story kids. Not a one of them came out easily. I start on the day before their birthdays, telling them what happened on that day - I started labor, I walked for hours, I kept going by the hospital to see if my early labor was progressing, etc.

Sarah was born early in the morning on the 14th. I pushed her for a couple of hours - the other kids slid out easily - she was so big, that her little collarbone broke on the way out. The room was full of activity and they ran out of the room with her as soon as possible. I can remember being scared, but also thinking that she looked so full and strong - no baby with newborn buns that filled out wasn't going to make it. Honestly, the girl was born with a JLo booty, lucky kid. She weighed 9lbs and 14 ounces, only 2 ounces shy of 10 lbs.

My baby turning ten, it's not a completely comfortable thought. She's so big, so grown-up - I really don't have a baby-baby anymore. I hope she never loses her spark, it's so easy for a girl to lose her spark as she gets older, always someone out there wanting to dim it for you. I love it when she does things like this:

That's her older sister's Marilyn Monroe Halloween wig. She wore it every afternoon for awhile. She made up an alter-ego and tried to get the other kids to buy that identity. She couldn't understand how they knew it was really her. That really tickles me.

Last week, her class attended a living history day at a museum up in Paradise. They were taught skills that early Butte County pioneers needed to know in order to survive. They made candles, cooked stew, panned for gold, shaved (this part she found hilarious), made rope, sewed, and made a small loom for weaving. She had a blast. I was able to attend the same event with Bay when she was in the 4th grade, but I had to skip Sarah's trip. This is what she wore to event:
I took that picture before school and she was acting especially goofy. Goofy is what she does best. Well, that and math. I am so lucky that I get to be her mom.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Tell Me A Story.........

I wasn't able to get out with my camera today, so I'm sharing some images that I took on Friday.

First there's Sarah after our bike ride. She was pissed. I never figured out exactly what was bothering her. I suspect she was mad at the World. It happens sometimes. As she gets older, I'm afraid that it will happen more often. Sarah turns 10 on Wednesday. Meggie and Will were singing me a song and telling me a story. Meggie is adorable. She is Karlee's younger sister - you met Karlee on Friday. She calls herself Super Meggie and usually dresses boy-style. She's pretty in pink here. Will is peeking in the corner. The kids love it when I get out the camera.
It looks like she's getting to the good part............. And now Will adds some additional flair. :D
We have some serious wind today and later in the week, starting tomorrow, we are going to see record high temperatures. Some will possibly reach up into the 100s. Wow.

I'm sorry. I don't have a lot to say today. Something very sad happened up the hill from us on Mother's Day and I can't get the poor Mom involved off my mind. She lost two of her children in one day - ON Mother's Day. I keep starting to tell the story, but I delete it. I start again, delete again. I cannot delete it out of my head and I don't feel that it would be fair to fill your head with it, as well.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Many Happy Returns of the Day!

Happy Mother's Day! Mom and I never made it to that hike, but we did have a wonderful day all the same. We took our time making brunch - eggs, potatoes cooked with smoked sausage, banana muffins, fruit, and champagne cocktails. We laughed a lot and sat on the patio underneath my new umbrella. It was my Mother's Day gift to myself. Mom brought me some flowers and I had some for her, as well. She gave me two geraniums - white and deep pink. I gave her a pot of little orange flowers - they look like a tiny petunia.

Mom is talking to my sister on the phone here. Robin, my sister, had surgery on her foot friday and she is having a hard time. I love my sister. It's hard to think of her in pain. She's such a wonderful person - the most generous woman that I know. Mom is pretty cool, too. She's dead-heading my flowers while talking. She took Ornamental Horticulture in school, so every time she visits, she goes to work on my plants. They love the attention.
We made some great drinks today. We started with champagne. Then, we added oranges. Then, strawberries and blackberries. Finally, I got out the cranberry juice. Not a bad combo in the bunch. Yum. Sarah tried the fruit combo, but she drank it Sprite, not champagne. It looks like she likes it.
This is the final picture of the day. I'd say these two are equally crazy about each other. I can't wait to send this one to Mom. It was a perfect day.