Sunday, June 29, 2014

Jeff's weekend at his happy place

Jeff is always hankering to spend a weekend out at Vista House, so this weekend, we did. 
We headed out around noon on Thursday. I wheedled him into a stop in Sisters at Drawstrings of Malibu, where I stocked up my summer wardrobe. Cotton and loose are my buzz-words of the season, and their clothes fit the bill quite nicely. I even found some dresses that fit and look cute, so I bought four of them in different colours, thinking they were only $19.99 each, like the shirts I bought on the clearance rack. 
As we drove out of Sisters, I checked the receipt, thinking the total was a little high. Sure enough, the dresses were twice that. 
Jeff said, keep them. 
I said, no! 
So we turned around and I returned two of them. 
Jeff said, you should have kept them.

Jeff spent all of Friday up in his man-cave, doing reports for his job, so I worked on some projects and dinked around on facebook. The weather was kinda gloomy anyway, so I didn't feel like I was missing anything.
I sewed up some tote bags out of feed bags that have been haunting me for months. I discovered that the bags wash up rather nicely in the washing machine, and that sped up the process. I love these bags, they are so strong and only cost thread and a little time.

Saturday dawned sunny and mild. I walked around the track with my neighbour, who gave us some Russian sage starts from her garden. (Jeff is getting into local flora and has great plans for inundating our property with perennials that will crowd out the cheat grass and tumbleweed.) 
Then we went into Redmond to the farmers' market/street fair, which was disappointing in that there was no produce at all, so we drove on to Sisters to the Freedom Festival.
While we drive around in this part of the country, I crochet dishcloths from cotton yarn that I pick up at garage sales. I have a craft debt to pay to a few facebook friends and I'm pushing to get it finished, so my stash increased a lot this weekend. 
They are kinda ugly, but very useful.

There is something going on at Creekside Park almost every weekend in the summer. This was a patriotic sort of event and I think it might be its first year. Most businesses in Sisters rely on tourism for their income, and it's a grand place to visit in the summer. 

The stalls were no great excitement, but we did buy some fudge because somebody who is not me tried some samples and couldn't live without it. 
We sat and listened to the Blonde Divas for half an hour. Their music was old-time (think Andrews Sisters) and thoroughly enjoyable. They asked for the oldest veteran in the audience, which turned out to be an 88-year-old man who had been in World War II. He told us that he had heard the Andrews Sisters in a USO tour when he was overseas and actually got to dance with one of them.
And their last song was Good Bless the USA, and everyone within earshot stood in respect.

We wandered around some galleries for a while, which is one of my favourite activities, but Jeff started to get a migraine so I told him to go sleep in the car while I carried on.
Sisters is visually very interesting, with a feast for the eyes every way you turn.
What looks like quilts blowing in the wind is actually a mural on the side of a building. Sisters hosts the world's largest outdoor quilt show on the second Saturday of July every year. I hear it is crazy, but I haven't braved it yet.

I was wondering where the name of the town originated, and then after I Googled it I felt dumb. It is, of course, named after the Three Sisters, nearby mountains.
The road through town has just been upgraded. The buildings are well-kept and keep to the Western theme.

Jeff joined me after a while and, in one of the galleries, we ran into a guy who was doing a trade bead show. So here's a thing I never knew existed. There is a whole culture of people who collect old-world trade beads.

These are actual beads that were used for trading all over the world. Many of these beads are over 500 years old and are worth hundreds of dollars for a strand. The historical aspect is fascinating, and the guy was a source of good stories. Many of these are found in archaeological digs, but sometimes they turn up in grandma's attic and the family has no idea what they have. I will never look at old beads the same way again.

After spending an hour talking to the guy and his wife, I wanted a strand of trade beads so bad I could taste it. But I knew it was a frivolous desire, so I stomped on it and resisted the urge. But one of these days it may resurface and I will be doomed!

Around almost every corner is some sort of art work.

Some of the restaurants even get into the act.

Sisters is in the high desert, but many fountains and water features help to lessen the harshness of the environment.

We headed home a little earlier than planned so that Jeff could sleep off his migraine before we went to the annual party that is thrown by our neighbours up the road. Last year, we didn't go, even though we were invited, and the loud music kept us awake until midnight. Jeff finally called them and asked them to quieten down, which they did immediately. 
I was hoping they didn't remember the incident.
Jeff enjoyed talking to all the military vets and playing horseshoes with the youngest son.

I sat quietly on the deck and worked on my crocheting, happy to listen to the good music until dinner was served. There was lots of excellent barbecued chicken, and moonshine. Yes, real moonshine, from Mississippi. Or so we were told.
We went home before dark, as did most of the folk older than twenty, but the music continued again till exactly midnight. We could hear it even with all of the windows closed.

Today, after church, Jeff hung our new flag,

admired his Coastguard windsock,

and painted the trees on the sign green.

Then he did some wood carving on the front porch,

while admiring the view.

He's a lucky man!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Summer is a-scurryin' by...

My sneezing and snorting allergy reactions are well-earned tonight, although it doesn't make them any more pleasant to endure or witness. 
The double dose of Allegra worked pretty well this morning, when I was being nicely well-behaved indoors, doing music therapy groups and piano lessons. 
I had promised to take Jenny and the boys out to pick strawberries, and even then, I was symptom-free. 
The boys loved the berries and the field smelled delicious. 

It was a glorious day, clear skies and not too hot, after some cloudy and rainy days. The berries were a bit worse-for-wear from the rain, but we got enough to suit us in a short period of time.

We swung by Heirloom Rose Gardens on the way home, as Jenny had never been there. The roses were also looking a little bedraggled, but we found some pretty ones anyway.

I love to wander around their gardens, coveting more of their blooms than I would ever be able to fit in my flowerbeds. 
Did you know that there are many different kinds of rose scents? Some are kind of spicy, others are almost cloyingly sweet. Today I smelled one that was the definitive rose fragrance, like the best quality perfume. 

Then the boys got rowdy so we went home. 

And they were wild on the way home so I threatened to make them get out of the car and walk so they were quiet for a long time. And they said, "Thank you, Nana," very politely when they got out of the car at home.

And then I went on a bike ride with a friend and a group. And I didn't take any pictures, but it was gorgeous. And, apparently, pollen-ridden, because I had sneezing fits all the way home.

And then I noticed a lot of ripe raspberries on my vines, so I went out and picked a bowlful and sneezed some more.

And now I am very tired and tired of sneezing, so I am going to take a much-procrastinated shower and read in bed. Tomorrow, I will make jam.
Hope your summer is going swimmingly.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Nana's slice of Heaven

Sometimes I think that Heaven is a slice of the perfect chocolate cake.
But in the third week of May, Heaven was in North Carolina, where I was spending time with the three little southerners. 

I left home at 4 o'clock in the morning on May 14th and made it (with my two suitcases full of clothes for the littles and carry-on full of my clothes) to long-term parking and then to the airport itself in good time, only to find out that the flight was delayed for a couple of hours due to the plane arriving from Denver (where they had a foot of snow) being delayed. This meant I would miss my connecting flight at Chicago Midway, but I managed to get a later one booked and, when I asked the ticket agent if she thought it would work out okay, she assured me that she was "absolutely sure that I would have no problem in Chicago." 

That could go down as the most famous last words ever. We were re-routed to St Paul, Minnesota on the way to Chicago, where we sat for several hours wondering what the heck was going to happen to us. There was a small incident in Chicago (just a little smoke) that shut down traffic at both of the Chicago airports for several hours, effectively disrupting traffic across the whole country. 

I won't bore you with the whole story, but it was a horrible day for everyone, like those awful stories you see on the news in the winter where airports are full of people being stranded for days. I was lucky enough to make it to Annie's place at 4 o'clock the next morning, but she had to drive almost seven hours round trip to pick me up in Charlotte. 

The next morning, the parents left on a much-needed holiday while I held down the fort for a few days until Jeff arrived on Friday evening. Here's a smattering of photos from the week.

Elsie was preparing for a dance recital. Victoria puked all over herself and her car seat just before we pulled up to the dance studio, so that was fun. Hence the lack of clothes.

Somebody was fighting sleep. And it wasn't me!

Elsie and Gabe love to play the piano together. Elsie can turn right to her favourite songs. It's kind of freaky, considering she can neither play the piano nor read.

We gave the kids Radio Flyer tricycles a few months ago (thank you, Amazon) and I loved watching them riding up and down the path. Elsie is a vision in pink.

I took some bags of Annie's organic graham teddy bears with me for treats, and sometimes we just sat and ate them.

And one night we had cookies and milk for dinner.
Yes, we did.

Several times, we all piled into the stroller (except for me) and went for a walk.

One afternoon, we were very excited when a convoy of helicopters kept flying around in formation. The house is fairly close to Fort Bragg. Look at this beauty.

The older two loved all the clothes I took for them. I bought them all used through a facebook page to which I belong. One day, we had an impromptu fashion show.

Aunty Jenny sent some music CD's that had books with them, and Elsie sat and listened to every one of them, accompanied sporadically by her younger siblings.

Is this not one of the cutest smiles you have ever seen?

Nana and Papa only lasted through half of the dance recital (a sad habit of ours, but what can you do when they last for three or more hours?) so we took the younger two home for the duration. Edwin was jealous! 
Here we are, saying goodbye.

The kids like to dance before bed while Annie plays something like "The Spinning Song" for them.

Annie took us to the park on base the day before we left. The kids had a blast. I was tired.
Victoria loves to swing and sits all the way up the front of the swing and wiggles her legs with glee.

Elsie is fearless and climbed the whole caterpillar, or whatever it is. Luckily, I took some little shorts for her to wear under her skirts, 'cause that girl loves her Janie and Jack outfit.

Gabe is smaller and couldn't quite make the whole climb on his own, but he still thinks he's pretty cool.

We stopped to see the planes.

And then it was time to say goodbye.

That face, I just want to cover it with kisses. All the time.

The plane ride home was uneventful, thankfully, and, even though Jeff and I were on different airlines and left from different airports, we arrived at PDX within minutes of each other.
And now I am missing them.