Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day Camp

Last week was Summer Camp week around here!  We all looooovvvvvveeeee this day camp!  It was Scotty's first time, but Tommy's been going for a few years now.  I was cracking up when I caught Tommy "showing him the ropes" the week before camp started:  "Now, if somebody says they want a 'waterfall', they'll hold their mouth open like this, and you pour water from your bottle like this...see, nobody gets germs!" 
 This year, Tommy moved up to the Big Kid camp, and they sleep over in the canyon one night.  So. Much. Excitement.  Tommy wants to go TWO weeks next year so he can sleep out for TWO nights instead of one. 
Here's Scotty's camp counselor (with all that energy!) and one of the many junior counselors (with those striped socks!) and they all have silly names....this is Aardvark and Tommy's main counselor was Gobbles and there's also Redwood, Cinnamon, Tree, Otter, El Gato, Thunderbolt....well, you get the picture.  All the counselors, counselors-in-training, and junior counselors start out as campers.  For years, just like Tommy and Scotty, they went to the day camp.  Once they reach about 13 years old, they can go as junior counselors.  As they get older, they can get paid to go as Counselors-in-Training, then they get paid as Counselors.  It's such a great system!  It's one of the most wholesome, lovely experiences.  It's an outdoor camp, and they have camp songs and hikes in the canyon and they tie-dye t-shirts and they come home filthy and happy and exhausted. 
One evening they have a potluck and a skit night.  It is so FUN!  They sing songs and do funny little skits that they've worked on during the week.  This is Scotty's group, and they sang "The time of  ____ Camp" to the tune of "Time of the Season" by the Zombies.  Tommy's group sang a camp-i-fied version of "I'm a Believer" (in my head?  by the Monkees!) while Gobbles accompanied them on a ukelele.   I mean, stop it, amirite?

If you don't listen to This American Life, you are really missing out on something wonderful.  Here's a link to one they have in their archives about summer camps.  It captures the camp mystique, I think you'd agree.  There are camp people and not-camp-people.  I'm so glad my boys are camp people!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Kings and Queens

So this last weekend, Tommy starts yapping at me about how I need to make him these things, for this idea he has.  This kid can talk.  Did you know I was voted "Most Talkative" in my Junior High School yearbook?  Um.  Yeah.  I now know how everybody else on the planet felt about me yammering nonstop about nothing.  I feel like finding my 7th grade pre-algebra teacher, Mrs. Walker, and sending her a cookie basket. 

People of earth:  I am sorry.  I am so, so, so sorry.  Rest assured that I am suffering for all that I put you through.

Where was I?  Oh, yes, Tommy had this idea, where he rattled off nonstop directions and specifications for this army of knights and peasants that I need to make him and even horses for them to ride because there needs to be a good king and queen and a bad king and queen and there's going to be a war and can the horsesbewearingthosebannersyouknowthatareroyalandthepeasantsneedtobe....OH MY GATO!!!  Zip it, why can't you?

Instead of losing it (or was it in addition to losing it?  I can't remember...) I suggested that he might want to write or draw the details, so I wouldn't forget them all.
(For the record?  How much do I LOVE the way he wrote "random" when he didn't care about the colors?  SO MUCH, that's how much I love it!)

So, in sum:  6 knights, 2 kings, 2 queens, 6 horses (3 brown, 3 black, and "make sure they can stand up and the people can ride them"), 5 boy peasants (green) and 5 girl peasants, plus two horses for the kings. 
I haven't put the arms on this Evil Queen yet, but you need to see the depths of my commitment to this project.  She has an evil face and a felt crown and she's knitted and stuffed so she can, eventually, ride a royal pony.  I am using (and so thankful for!!!) this free pattern from Wee Folk Art.  And if you have an hour or two to kill, their free pattern section is wonderful and inspiring and, of course, completely free.  Love you, Wee Folk Art!

So far he adores it ("put the arms on!  and i need a horse!"  I can hear, son, I can hear.)  but Erik and I got a big laugh tonight when we decided that, by the time I get around to finishing twenty of these that he will have long forgotten about the idea anyway!  haha  Oh, how we laughed!  So, to hedge my bets, I'm making just enough for a battle to get underway...a good queen, an evil queen, two knights and two horses.  For the horses, I'm going to use the pattern from Alicia Paulson's book because, unbelievably, she has a stuffie horse pattern in it.  You just never know.  We'll see how he gets on with that ensemble, and then we'll make a decision about moving forward!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Freshly preserved blackberry jam...and plenty of prepped and frozen berries for a future batch!
Triple berry crisp...yes, again.
Oliver & S free skirt pattern ~ too easy!  And look at the fabric my sweet friends picked out.  I think it's rad!  One down, one to go.  My friend Dana dropped off her six-year-old daughter Cassidy for a 'play date'....with me!  I helped her sew a skirt, she dug up a Starling purse I had on ice (added a felt star and called it her own) and left with a sewing machine that was in my shed.
A very complicated knitting project for Tommy.  All of his ideas are very complicated, in fact.  He's a big dreamer, a grand schemer, and I'm sure gonna jump through every hoop I can to make it happen.  And that includes knitting with black yarn in July.  Ugh.
And, my interest in my 'bee situation' led me to do some searching for bee's wax candles, resulting in this sweet Etsy find of birthday cake candles in various sizes and colors.  With two (count them!  two!) birthdays in August for these boys, it seemed like just the right way to spend ten dollars.

I hope your weekend was equally (no, even more) wonderful.  I've been waking up feeling instantly grateful for a full and happy life.  I recommend it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Comfort Food

When my sons have grown into adults (and please, don't make me cry thinking about it)
I will not be very surprised at all if I find out that their 'comfort' food...their 'little bit of home' food...
turns out to be pancakes.

I think we make more pancakes than anybody else on the planet.
Scotty said, "Can you make pancakes?" and you know what?  I did NOT feel like making pancakes.
So I started making some mealy-mouthed excuses and he shook his head and said,
"No, mommy, you just take some eggs and some milk, like this..."
And he went right into the refrigerator to dig up some ingredients and it made me smile.

It also made me cook some pancakes.  Wasn't I just writing about penguin-shaped pancakes?  
These are round.  Plain old round pancakes.  

Can you name the movie?  (hint:  an all-time favorite of mine!)
Person One:  "Do these blow up in to funny shapes at all?"
Person Two:  "Not unless you consider 'round' funny." 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Making Something Out of Nothing

I've gotten 8 or so cucumbers from the garden so far.  They are SO BIG!!  I blame credit the bees for this.  I loved what Gina said about walking through the gardens and "just seeing what needs to be done".  A few years ago, when I first started gardening for production, I very much worked off a 'check list' of when to plant, what to do, etc.  As I get more used to the whole process, so much more comes from experimentation and intuition.  That's what caused me, several weeks ago, to put up a 'trellis' (repurposed some wire shelving) for the cucumbers to grow on.  For the most part, the cucumbers coming off the trellis are straight (see cucumber Exhibit A in the foreground) and the ones that are still sprawling around the bed are coming out crooked (such as cucumber Exhibit B in the background).  Note to self:  More trellis next time, please.  Of course, it's not a perfect system.  My "intuition" is what makes me think, every single year, that this seed will never turn into a seedling, but if it does, it will never turn into a plant, but if it does, it will certainly never produce anything.  Happily wrong, much of the time!
One thing I'm learning a lot more about this year is how to make plants from plants that are already growing.  These plants here, in the brick planter by the front door, are a bit of a cheat.  I just separated them from their friends and plopped them into their new spots.  Only the geranium came with no roots...everybody else is fully formed.  That's hardly impressive though, as geraniums will GROW no matter where you put them or what you do to them!
What I've really been dying to do is to propagate the hummingbird sage I have growing in my front yard.  Since my cousin is now a Master Gardener (yay!) and since she recently propagated some hummingbird sage at her house, I hit her up for some advice.  I've tried to do this several times for my mom, actually, and it never has worked.  I think I know why though!  Kelly explained in great detail (thank you, people who love to teach, from the bottom of my heart, as somebody who loves to learn, it is truly helpful, and appreciated!!!)  how to find and separate a piece of the sage that would be suitable for starting a propagated sage.  It went down exactly as she described it!  I also used her advice to cut back the spent blooms.  The original sage looks awesome!  So here I've got five (potential)  hummingbird sages, ready for some TLC.  The reason I think it's never worked for me before is, I don't think I pruned my other attempts down enough.  It goes against any and all intuition I have to cut back on plants!  I'm learning's a way to get more blooms, to get plants to spread, and now, to do proper propagation, too.  But it feels so wrong!  I've had to pluck the blooms off tomato and strawberry plants, too, because I was given the advice in both cases that I'd get way better production.  They were right, but man, did I dread doing it!  It's so hard to pluck something off that's could have been a future veggie!

Come to think of it....I may not have cut these back far enough.  I mean, technically, I could go down to one leaf, I think, and it would be better rather than worse.  The fragile new root system can't grow itself and route energy to leaves and blooms, so the less leaves, the better.   Hmmmm...Kelly?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Friday, July 23, 2010


The Boys and I had a blissful day here at The Shire.  My mom was visiting Mimi last week (please, don't ask, but I'll let you know the good news...she's hanging in there and she celebrated her 64th birthday last Wednesday...let's save the bad news for another day, shall we?)  and her neighbor's tree was shedding apples.  Nobody cared to harvest them, so my mom brought me a full paper sack!  Since it sounded like some of them came off the ground, and I could see that I would be cutting around soft spots, I first soaked them in water with some baking soda.
We made applesauce, which we ate tonight in the movie theater.  The whole famn damily went to see Dispicable Me.  Which turned out to be really super!  I had no idea what to expect, and I kind of didn't get the whole look of it (what are those yellow things?  I still don't know!) and yes, we ate applesauce.
I also did a thorough cleaning of the linens.  I took everything out of the closet and cleaned the closet.  Then I washed everything (four loads, it took!) and added some Tea Tree Oil to the rinse cycle.  Then everything dried in the sun, on the line. 

I learned how to hang clothing on the line from my Grandma Dot.  She lived in the Oakland Hills, and her house backed right up to Redwood Canyon.  It was so foggy there!  One time, Grandma Dot was driving my mom to school (Skyline High School) and although she assumed it was foggy, as usual, it turned out that it was, in fact, her car windows that were fogged over (it's called a defroster, Grandma).   On a perfectly sunny day, she couldn't quite see well enough to make a smooth drop off...instead, she accidentally drove up the steps in front of the school.  I think it's because my mom drove her to distraction; my mom says it's because "she was just like you, Mia, all brains, no smarts."  Nice.

Anyway, in case you didn't have a Grandma Dot, the trick to a quick-dry on the line is to know which way the wind blows!  Once you know the direction of the wind, just clip your items so they open up to the windy side (you can see in the picture, how only the back of the pillow cases are attached, and there is an opening in the front).  When the wind picks up, it fills the little pocket and that's why everything looks so beautiful and billowy on the line.  Grandma Dot swore by it, and I believe her.  With all that fog, and very little sun, it seems to me that the wind did more than its share of the work drying everything!  And today, which turned out to be pretty warm but definitely breezey, I was able to dry all four loads of linens across two lines in the yard.  Holla!
I folded everything neatly (stopping just short of ironing the pillow cases, you'll be happy to know) and decided that two of the sheet sets for our bed, and one set for the boys' beds, were ready for retirement.  I'll repurpose them for the fabric.  This turned out to be a good thing, because it left me with what I feel is just the right amount of "sheets on hand":  1 flannel set and 2 cotton sets, plus one guest-quality set, for our Cal King and 4 sets for the 2 twin mattresses in our kids' room.  That's a lot of sheets, actually!  Perhaps I could get away with fewer, but that would probably require me to launder more often then I'm strictly prepared to commit to.   I cut some lavender from the bush in the front yard (sorry, bees!  they LOVE this thing!) and tucked a few sprigs in with newly washed and folded sheets. 

You know what?  A thorough linen closet spring-clean (in the middle of summer) while apple-cinnamon fills the's exactly these kinds of "chores" that make me so happy with making a home.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


When the bee whisperer came over, she brought me this honey (in the comb!) from her bees.  
heart heart heart

It's so yummy and beautiful.  And I have sooooo much to learn about bees and their honey!  
I'm trying very hard to not get overwhelmed.  It's working, so far.

A little bit from the gardens.  The cucumbers are coming in nicely (I even gifted some to a neighbor because I knew we wouldn't eat them quite fast enough!)  Zucchini and tomatoes...still such tiny tomatoes!  I accidentally picked a roma was a very light orange, but it's already turning on the counter.  Yay!

Tommy printed out some recipes from his Club Penguin website.  It's a funny little membership site for kids...they are penguins, and these penguins are ninjas, and they play games, earn coins, and decorate their igloos with disco balls and train sets.  His penguin avatar is currently dressed in an aloha shirt and a sombrero!  It's pretty cute.  Anyway, they have themed recipes, and we've made a batch of the Rock Hopper Cookies before (some kind of game, I think, in the penguin world?).

This time, we made caramel popcorn (penguins love caramel) and these Black Belt Penguin Pancakes.  It was a pretty standard pancake batter recipe, with the instructions to "make the pancakes in the shape of a penguin."  Really, people?  Really?

Then the boys added chocolate chips around the penguins' waists, like a black belt, and also a little ship for the eye.

Not bad for freehand penguins made from pancake batter, if I do say so myself! may look more like Club Quail, come to think of it.

Sometimes, like right now, I just sit back and marvel at how good life is.  I feel like the luckiest person on the planet, and these little photos from a simple, grateful home explain it pretty well, I imagine.  I also have another 299 posts to remind me of the very same thing.  That's right...this is my 300th post.  

Have a pancake, on me.

Summer Reading

I get really, really, really busy at work during the school year.  In fact, even after the school year ended, I've had several rather large projects I've had to deal with and so I just feel like "summer" started for us yesterday!  I usually do some consulting work in June and August...but I try to keep July pretty much drama-free. 

The boys and I usually take the whole month of July and have a proper summer, involving swimming and picnics and too much togetherness (resulting in getting on each others' nerves!) and lots of projects around the house, too.  But, like I said, this year got off to a slow start...we went swimming last week at a local...what would I call it?  It's not a lake, for sure, it's probably not what would be termed a reservoir, but definitely it's not a pond.  It's probably closest to what you would call a lagoon, actually, but I'm not certain people really use that word.  Let's.  We went swimming at the lagoon! 

Anyway, circumstances being what they were, the boys went swimming while I sat on a blanket on the grass (away from the sand!!!) and typed into my laptop for a workshop.  Ugh. Still, they had a blast.  What with the beach-y Fourth of July weekend, and add swimming once and visiting the county fair once (that was almost three weeks ago, and our digestive tracts are still recovering) and sneaking in two picnics, we're managing to cobble together a worthy summer experience.  So much of parenting ends up like this...twisting yourself into pretzel-like contortions in order to create an experience for your littles.  The problem is that you expend so much energy making sure they have a great time regardless how hard it is on you, then you hide all that work from them, because hello, childhood, and it's not their fault you have a deadline, and next thing you know, you're yelling into a pillow because they can't possibly appreciate what they don't even know is happening, and, well...maybe that's just me. Ahem.

So.  Oh, right!  Summer started.  My friend Michelle bought a book for me to read, it's called Lil Bee.  I've only read about sixty pages yet, but it's really getting to me!  So far, I'm in love with the writing.  There are certain passages that are just...perfect.  Oh gosh.  Seriously, I could just swoon because the words and the tone and the pace are like the perfect storm and I want to linger on these and reread them and I want to remember them so I can take them out of my memory and enjoy them long after the book is through.

Lil Bee is a Nigerian refugee in a British detention center.  She narrates the experience (exquisitely) and she spends some time describing the clerk at the front desk.  Later, she and three others are walking out of the detention center, and here she refers to desk clerk who is releasing them:
While I looked, he moved his arm over the page to cover the headline.  He made it look like he needed to scratch his elbow.  Or maybe he really did need to scratch hs elbow.  I realized I knew nothing about men apart from the fear.  A uniform that is too big for you, a desk that is too small for you, an eight-hour shift that is too long for you, and suddenly here comes a girl with three kilos of documents and no motivation, another one with jelly-green eyes and a yellow sari who is so beautiful you cannot look at her for too long in case your eyeballs go ploof, a third girl from Nigeria who is named after a honeybee, and a noisy woman from Jamiaca who laughs like the pirate Bluebeard.  Perhaps this is exactly the type of circumstance that makes a man's elbow itch.
I have no idea about the story itself (I'm not even to the INCIDENT on THE BEACH my goodness, the foreshadowing!) I just know that there are certain points ~ a word, a sentence, a paragraph ~ that already own me. 

It's so sad, too.  Most of my reading occurs in the "library" (read:  bathroom) a paragraph (and occasionally a page...or two *cough*) at a time, and keeping with yesterday's theme of ABSURDITY, you can now find me crying while sitting on the toilet and I will conclude by letting you know, that's no way to spend your summer.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Carnival of Absurd

It's non-stop absurd around here these days.

1.  I had the bee-whisperer come over last week, and she checked on my hive (thriving!) and told me she definitely wants to try to move them.  We picked a location, which, suprisingly, turned out to be in my front yard.  I have to move the green bin (where they are currently living) over to the new location, so that she can get them into the hive.  Except I can only move them one foot at a time.  So, every evening, I scootch my green bin one foot closer to where the bees will eventually be permanently housed.  It's roughly 30 yards to the new spot.  I'll be inching over there for a month and a half!


2.  A few months ago, I was telling you about Scotty's imaginary friend, Jeffy.  Jeffy is still around, except I might have to put him on a timeout.  It seems Jeffy just spent seven months in jail, for not taking care of his apartment.  Also?  Jeffy has a girlfriend.  Is it just me, or does Jeffy sounds like real trouble?


3.  I emptied out the boys' bedroom for the annual school's-going-to-start-so-let's-have-a-great-year-people hose down.  It involves clothing inventories, toy purging, furniture swapping, and, it seems, completely destroying the rest of my house.


And you?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Going For It

My boys are so creative, in their own ways.  I love their enthusiasm for doing!
Scotty set himself up in business here with paints that I had set on the kitchen table (procrastinating putting them away, actually) and I love that he just goes for it.

Tommy's been going for it, too.  He's been at Bandworks this week.  It's like that movie, School of Rock?  With Jack Black?  A bunch of random kids are placed together, they learn a bunch of songs, and then they have a recital gig at the end of the week.  Tommy has never done this before, but his group didn't have a singer.  So Tommy said, eh, why not?

Love that kid.

He's playing drums, too.  It's really different playing in lessons than it is to actually play with a band!  He's learning a lot, and he really seems to enjoy it.  They're learning four Green Day songs.  
(If you click through on this, maybe you can let me know what's up with the keyboard player?)

These videos were taken today, by their session leader ("He said we can swear".  Um. Wait, what?) and they've only been playing together since Monday.  When they walked in on Monday, none of them knew how to play any of the songs, none of them had ever sung over a band before, and some of them are learning brand new instruments to participate.

Frankly, I'm impressed!

Tommy was inspired, in fact, to set up the drum kit in the living room (oh!  oh!  loud!) and he and Scotty have been killing it around here.  It's music to my ears.  :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Some People Are So Talented!

My friend, Monica, is such a treasure to me.  For so many reasons, mostly because I just like her so much.  She's the kind of person who is always thoughtful, from the smallest of things (come over, my berries are ready for picking!) to the biggest of things (of course I'll drop everything and take you and your kids on an emergency run to [fill in blank]).  Plus she makes me laugh.  
And?  She made me this.

I know.

It's made from folded paper, exclusively.  It's an origami quilt.  It's so amazing! 
It really takes my breath away!

I love it, and I love her.  She's talented... but I'm lucky!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Currently Obsessed...

We have so many obsessions here in The Shire lately....
We're each totally fixated on our favorite part of beekeeping...Tommy's being the fashion...
...Scotty's being the smoker....Mine, of course, the actual bees.
 I'm also in love with these wildflowers that are growing in the field behind our house.  For me, a little happy, brought inside...
...for my boys?  All things Toy Story!  We love all the Toy Story movies.  Erik works next door to the Pixar studios, and he has a friend who works there.  He says it's not like their totally wrapped up in the technology; they're all about the scripts and the characters (even though it's 'just' cartoons!) and I think it shows.  "To Infinity, and Beyond!"  (I once heard an eighth grader describe the infinity sign as un ocho que se ha descansado (loosely:  "an eight that has laid down to rest") and that still makes me giggle.)
 I'm obsessed with stacks of pretty fabrics.
Scotty's obsessed with chocolate milk.
I'm obsessed with my garden.  Is it too far-fetched to call this "a harvest"?  These cherry tomatoes and a handful of zucchini are the first of (knock wood!) many.

In fact, I made the Zucchini Bake from Laurel's Kitchen, and it was delicious!  We took it up to Tilden Park on Sunday for a big going-away party for my one of my favorite people, Jake, and his sweet wife and kids, too.  It was gone in a flash, and I didn't get pictures of it first.  Which, any blogger can tell you, means it might as well not have happened at all.  So, round two, no doubt will be documented!

(Also obsessed with :  geography, currently.  Had to google where Budapest is when Jake said he was moving there for two years.  Actually had a conversation with my husband where he said he had no idea where it was, and I ventured that I thought it might be in Turkey.  I now know it's in Hungary.  Which is NOT, so you know, "right above Sweden".  That would be Switzerland.  The same thing happened when I found out Michelle was living in Belgium.  I was surprised that she speaks French, because, you know, don't they speak German there?  Oh, what?  Berlin.  Got it.  Holy hell, what is wrong with me?  Added to Bucket List:  Get out more.)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Versatile Blogger :)

Miss Carmen has given me an award!  How sweet!  It's for being a "versatile blogger", which kind of cracks me up...because I think that's about the nicest way you can say that I lack focus.  *cough*

The rules for this award are simple. Thank the person who gave you the award (thanks Carmen!), tell seven things about yourself and pass the award along to some bloggers you love.

1.  Next year, I took a job teaching at one of my favorite schools in our district.  My class list boasts 31 third graders and 5 fourth graders.  la-la-la-la i can't hear you!

2.  I can't stand to be wet.  I often wash my hair by hanging my head over the tub after I leave the shower, just so I won't have to be completely wet all at once.

3.  I am trying really hard to remember my cloth grocery bags at the market.  I occasionally leave them in the pantry after the last haul, but I often leave them in the car when I go into the store!  Currently, I punish myself for this by insisting on not taking any bags at all...I juggle my purchases across the parking lot.  That'll learn me!

4.  My cars are always filthy.  Inside and out.   And almost always out of gas.  I have also locked the keys in my car so many times, that I ended up giving my colleague a set of extra keys, so that she wouldn't have to keep calling her Triple-A insurance.  *blush*

5.  Speaking of keys?  I also routinely lock us out of the house.  There are many (very generous) people in my life who choose to interpret my ridiculous behavior as a form of "genius", "oh Mia is so full of lofty thoughts, there's just no more room for the mundane details of life."  I wish those same people could have seen me the day I fell into the bath tub after climbing through the tiny shower window at the top of the stall.   The window is roughly the size of two gallons of milk; I managed to thread myself through, but crashed to the bottom, breaking the built-in ceramic soap dish and tearing down the shower curtain on the way.  I wonder what those (very generous) people would be thinking if they had found me, amidst all that property damage, laying very still and trying to figure out if I had also broken a bone or two?

6.    For reasons I'd rather not disclose, I never know how to answer the question on a job application re:  "have you ever been convicted of a felony".

7.   I am a procrastinator.  See, I even put off saying that until the last possible second!

Whew!   Now, that was actually kind of fun...I would love to pass the Versatile Blogger Award on to my cousin, Kelly, and her aunt, I'd love to hear from Michelle (but I know you don't have "that kind of blog", so I understand if you choose not to share!  ooohhh, or, you know what, you can put it in the comments here!) and although I just found the blog of "La" when she left a comment the other day, I'd love to hear more about her, too!  I think anyone with the word "potpourri" in their blog title would have to fall under the versatile flag.  :) 

Thursday, July 8, 2010


So, I had to try to get some pictures of the inside of the green bin bee hive.  They've been pretty tolerant of me so far; I try to spend a little time with them each day, so they get used to me hanging around.  I'm pretty sure that last scene was some kind of...mating something-or-other.  They don't usually hang out on the outside like that.
Indeed, why would they ever leave, when this wonderland exists?   So for this photo, I got down low and carefully, slowly lifted the top of the bin.  Look at all that honeycomb!  Are you kidding me?!?
Nope. You are totally not kidding me.  I think it's so beautiful.  I showed it to Erik and he said it was "disgusting".  I'm trying to understand that view point.  Is there something creepy about it?  Something alien-like or disturbing?  I just can't see it that way!  I love these dang bees.

I've been hesitant to buy a hive, because I have no idea what or how or anything else.  But I went ahead and ordered a hive from Mann Lake.  Tommy is quite excited about the netting that comes with this kit!  He anticipates becoming quite the beekeeper.  I also contacted a lovely woman from Alameda Bees who will swing by when my hive arrives and move them over for me.  She charges an hourly rate, and says it'll take a couple hours or more.  I talked to her on the phone for some time, me quite panicked (will they die?  am I killing them?  are they dead yet?) and her quite calm (ah, yes, the green bin takeover...happens all the time.  No, it won't get too hot.  They like heat.  They aren't going to leave.  They aren't going to die.)

I am nervous about moving them (though she claims it's no big thing at all) because I feel like they've done all this work, and if they have to move, do they what, do they just start all over?  If somebody did that to me, after all that work, I think I would just curl up and cry.  But she seemed very non-plussed by the whole thing.  It's just what bees do.  (The whole conversation reminded me a little bit of a conversation I had with my OB/GYN when I was pregnant with Scotty.  She found his heartbeat and we sat listening to it for a second.  Then I asked, "Do you think he ever gets bored?  You know, because there's not much to do in there?"  And she openly stared at me before saying, slowly, that nobody had ever asked her that before.  She thought about it for a minute and then said that she thought he might not get bored at all, because there was a lot of growing he had to do, which would take up a lot of his time.  I thought that made some sense, too.  I think she thought I was weird, though.  I never did shake that feeling!)

Okay!  Bees!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Also...Happy 4th of July!

On Sunday, we packed up the van and headed up to Anna's lake house.  It's a condo actually, which I can't recommend with five children under the age of 9.  You know, because of all the loud and all.  But, I do highly recommend having a family friend who lets you use her lake house condo for free on a holiday weekend.  The property is just above Strawberry, so it's about 2 and half hours.  Or, if you're traveling with my sons, around three years.  Stop talking.

I wanted Tommy to jump off the dock.  He was a little hesitant, so I showed him how it's done...
...then I did it with him....
...and here we go!  Once he was off and running you just couldn't stop him.  It sure made me miss the 4th of July's from years gone by (Tra:  We drove right past Don Pedro on the way up!!!) but it was also nice to be on such a small private lake, with no motor boats allowed.  It was incredibly safe and serene, with a sandy beach and surrounded by the mountains.  Heavenly, really.
Scotty was pretty excited too!  I also remember riding on my dad's back like this in my Aunt Patty's pool when I was little.  (Yep, Moose, it's true!)  He would swim down to the bottom,  and we'd wrap our legs around his tummy and go down there with him.  I used to pretend I was riding a dolphin!
Seeing Erik playing with the boys in the water reminds me of how safe it feels when your daddy is around, making everything all right. :)
Lucky for me, my daddy was there too!  My mom and dad surprised me by coming up with my brother and me.  My dad has been working so much (he's on this crazy Solyndra job, and it's nuts; the most time off he got was when the President came and they shut everything down for five hours!) and my mom has turned into a hermit.  Getting her to leave the house is like prying teeth.  She'll trot to the grocery store...if she has to, but forget everything else.  She had a rental for three days when my dad's truck went into the shop.  She returned it with 20 miles on it.  It's 8 miles to the rental place.  Each way.  
So, anywho, it was a treat to have them out and about!
Good times.
So  many new experiences!  Scotty just didn't want it to end.
Oh my goodness.  That nose!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

What a busy and amazing long weekend we've just had!
On Saturday, we headed over to Half Moon Bay.
It was Scotty's first visit to the ocean!  (Note to self:  No matter how close you live to the bay, a bay is not, in point of fact, an ocean.)  There was interest....
...and plenty of contemplation....
...along with some properly pronounced caution...
...before the total abandon.  What a glorious, blue, shiny day we had!  Soaked from our waists down, only Scotty had the foresight to bring a change of clothes. 
The rest of us rode home in damp underpants.
We had a picnic of deli sandwiches and played catch on the beach.
Scotty continued the generational tradition of creating "sand angels".  It's a perfectly acceptable manner of warming up when your parents forget to bring towels.  *cough*
On the way home, Erik asked Scotty if he felt scared in the waves.  "No, Daddy!  I felt so happy!"
Be still my heart.
And that was just Saturday!  We headed up to our friend's lake house the next morning.
To be continued....