Monday, December 16, 2013

More Moose

After the moose munched our trees I'm kind of on the warpath against them.  In as much as I've chased them off a couple of times, and bought some "Deer Off" at the recommendation of a neighbor.  She gets a lot of moose, and she says this stuff has kept them off her apple tree.

She and I have time to talk while the Thing 1 and two other kids, including the other women's daughter, are at their Lego meeting at her house.  We are doing a First Lego League team this year, the other woman and I are the coaches.  We're having trouble getting much done at the meetings, mostly because we're trying to let the kids control what happens... even though it's driving the other mom and me crazy because a lot less gets accomplished at each meeting than she and I would like.  Sigh.

There are other factors too, like the day the moose showed up in her yard.  It started with the mom in front and the two babies on the side yard and the dad at the neighbors.  
 Then we all went out on the porch to see and the momma came up to investigate us..
She was really close to the house, but I felt pretty safe on the porch.
 I didn't get any good shots of the babies, but the dad moved into the back yard and posed for us.

I haven't tried the moose repellant yet, next year when my trees leaf out I will be drenching them.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Happy Birthday

I started this on Wednesday but didn't get it published.


I had a little personal crisis on Saturday as I was trying to plan the week.  My birthday is this week.  It's one of the big ones, with a zero in it.  Hubby is in Australia.  He was worried that I would be upset... and I wasn't until Saturday (a week ago) when I was trying to figure out which day to get Thing 2 out to the barn...
Monday is Legos, Tuesday and Wednesday were concerts, Thursday is my birthday and the best day to get Thing 2 out to the barn.  Friday is playdates and the barn is crowded with lessons.
Even though I know we're celebrating when Hubby gets back, and it rarely works out in my family to do a big celebration on the day of your birthday, I didn't want this day to just be a slam dash of a trip to the barn, pushing the girls through homework, and me slamming together whatever half hearted meal I can.  Like usual.  I wanted to at least take the girls out for dinner.  But the big obstacle there is the riding.  It's a three hour trip from here to the barn and back, including tacking up and down and an hour for riding.  Which would makes going out to dinner nearly impossible.

I hate disappointing Thing 2 and felt rather horrible myself but it seemed the only way to have my cake was for Thing 2 to not get hers.  I agonized over this and spent an hour feeling stupid for wanting something, and then feeling stupid for realizing I'd be martyring myself if I just let it slip by, and feeling guilty and selfish and around we go.  But it came down to there was no way I could do both and this birthday comes along once and she rides twice a week...  So I told her she couldn't have her practice ride this week.  She took it pretty well.

Then on Monday I got a text from the other Lego mom, her daughter was sick.  We've been meeting in their home, her mother and I are the coaches.  Her mother sent me a text asking when we could reschedule.  Not this week!  Driving home with Thing 2 her eyes lit up when she heard Legos was cancelled.  "Can you take me riding?"  OHMIGOSH I think that will work!  So I did!

Thing 1 had an orchestra concert last night (Tuesday).  It actually turned out pretty well, except it was too long.  The majority of the program was the local high school starting with the Chamber orchestra, and symphony and chamber orchestras together, and finally the symphony by itself.  Then the 8th graders, then the 7th graders, and finally the largest group of all, the 6th graders.  They were very cute, with different colored tinsel attached to the end of all their bows, and some of them wearing santa hats.  As one mom commented, for a bunch of 11-12 year olds who just picked up their instruments for the first time two months ago, they did really well!

Tonight (Wednesday) was a Christmas singing thing at the ice arena for Thing 2.  It was hard to hear them as they were standing at the far end of the arena across from the bleacher seats.  Their music was a little too loud, in fact the only time we could really clearly hear them is when the music cut out in the middle of the "Dreidel" song.  They sang, it was fine, and we left in the middle of the skaters doing a little program.  The kids didn't get to skate, which was okay because Thing 2 has never been before and wasn't wild about learning in front of all her class mates.

And there I stopped.  Today is Saturday.

Thursday I spent my birthday having a very nice massage, and then talking to the nice man from AAA who came out to help me start my car.  It's been sitting in the garage since Monday morning when the battery completely died.  Luckily since Hubby was going to be gone for so long I drove him to the airport the week before, so we have his car to drive around.  I used it to try and jump my car on Tuesday but I must have done something wrong because it didn't work.  But the AAA guy came and got it started, so I drove it over to a shop and got a new battery.

Then that night I took the girls to a rather upscale Italian restaurant nearby.  We sat in the lounge, on couches by the fire.  It was very nice and kind of fun, like eating in a nice living room.  It was turning out very lovely but I was missing Hubby, as I don't think I've eaten at a NICE place without him since I met him.  I mean, I take the girls to downscale places, pizza joints, but not NICE places.  Then just after they cleared the salad plates, Hubby walked in.  I cried.  We hugged.

Turns out he saw he didn't have much going on at the conference the rest of the week at his conference so he bugged out early.  He planned all this on Tuesday without telling me and since the time difference causes so many problems with us being able to talk anyway, him going dark for a day wasn't surprising.  He flew home from Australia Thursday afternoon and rented a car and went shopping, and then came up to surprise us during dinner.  

I need to insert here that I truly hate my birthday.  It falls in the middle of everyone trying to schedule Christmas concerts, and parties, and just basic preparations.  Hubby always wants to do something special, take me to a really nice hotel for an evening of unbridled passion.  But since he is almost always out of town all the arranging falls to me.  And so I'm juggling my schedule, and my parents, and his, trying to find a night when my folks can take the girls and it works for everyone.  There are a couple years where it has really been a problem and I get tense just thinking about it.  It adds stress to an already stressful time, and while I think it's so sweet of him to try and do this for me, it has become something I really don't look forward to.

Imagine my surprise when Hubby announces over dinner that he has arranged for my brother and sister in law to keep the girls the next night, Friday, and he has made reservations at a swanky hotel.  I quickly called the kennel to make a reservation for Kelso.  Awwww, he took care of everything and the girls were thrilled out of their minds with joy to have a sleepover with their favorite cousin, without even having to beg for it.

Imagine our disappointment that night when Thing 2 woke me up in the middle of the night with croup.  And right there we lost the sleepover, the wild night of passion, and all his hard work of arranging this from the other side of the globe.   Another event this spoiled was an art project I had made arrangements for on Friday in Thing 2's class.  I had seen this project done by another 5th grade class and I WANT that on my wall!  
We get the class once a month for art, and we had arranged to have this cool pear project for that Friday.  I went and helped, because it's really a challenging project and the woman who was doing it couldn't do it alone, but I'm going to have to take Thing 2 in another day and have her do it.  The funny thing about that is it wasn't working, the woman leading and I were making desperate glances at each other because in the middle it was TERRIBLE.  I mean there is no such thing as terrible children's art, but this was NOT WORKING OUT.... then we did the next step... and the next... and things started looking better... and the next step... and suddenly these beautiful pictures were appearing!  And we ended up thinking ours looked better than the class's we'd seen in the hall that we got excited about. 

So today instead of waking up curled up in Hubby's arms I woke up to Thing 2's barking cough.  We'll have breakfast and I'll wrap presents and get stuff done around the house.  Hubby may go skiing.  My folks had planned on coming down to do some Christmas shopping with the girls, but they had to cancel that plan because colds with my dad turn into pneumonia, and we can't risk that, so that was cancelled as well.

But I had a truly marvelous birthday that we will talk about for years.  And I ALMOST got a stress free night out, which is itself a miracle.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Rough Morning

Hubby's in Australia.
I came downstairs this morning (late) to hear Hubby Facetiming the girls.  I popped in to say hi, but needed to get breakfasts made and lunch for Thing 1, so I wasn't able to do more than listen in from the  kitchen.  The girls usually get up and play minecraft or something in the morning.  I heard Hubby say "Well I should get to sleep and let you girls get back to your computers" which I know means they're ignoring him.  He asked Thing 2 if she got the text he sent.  Pause.  "Did you get my text?"  I went into the living room and wasn't too surprised to see she had her headphones on and wasn't paying attention to him at all.  I took off her headphones and got in her face and asked if she had seen her daddy's text.  I showed it to her.  It was a link to a cute video, she watched it, he signed off.
When I called the girls to breakfast I gave them a quick lecture on how it's 3:00 AM for their father on the other side of the world and he misses them and stayed up to talk to them and they can't even get their noses out of their computers to pay attention to him.  He loves us and misses us and you guys aren't even paying attention to him.  That's about all I said.  Thing 2, as always, has an excuse or something and tells me "Well I thought he was talking to Thing 1!" or something and I said No matter who he's talking to you can pay him the consideration of listening.  Next thing I know they're both sobbing.  Thing 2 says "You don't have to rub it in!"  They want to call him back. They miss him and love him so much!  No, I say, you don't have time and it's already 3:25 in the morning for  him and he's got to get to sleep.  Send him a text, he'll see it when he wakes up.
I am such a mean mean mom.

I haven't been grocery shopping since before this long weekend where we went to my mom and dad's.  We had one slice of bread left and two heels, the girls don't like heels but that's all I had for breakfast because I needed to save the one slice for Thing 1's lunch.  Thing 2 complained.

As I pulled out of the driveway to take Thing 2 to school I saw that sometime during the night the moose came and successfully demolished the rest of our trees. The three aspens were broken off just like the three on the other side of the garage, and the Canada Reds were stripped.  Sigh.  I should have invested in the Wolf Pee or whatever.  $100 in canine urine is cheaper than replacing six trees.

We spent the long UEA (Utah Education Association) weekend at my folks.  They are getting on in years, so the girls and I have been going up there for the past couple of years to help pick their apples.  Hubby always seems to schedule some big trip for this weekend.  It was kind of a working vacation for me.  I picked apples (the girls helped really well), made a big vat of applesauce, cut out and made most of Thing 1's Halloween costume, took a couple trips to the store, helped with Thing 1's school project, bought pumpkins, and made several smoothies for my dad to try out.  Busier than my normal days.  We took the guinea pigs and the dog, so packing up going and coming home was kind of a chore.   We made it back in time yesterday for Thing 2 to go riding.

Thing 1's Egyptian styled water clock
Then this morning as we're rushing out the door we realized we left our coats in the closet at my folk's.  The only one who's really effected by this is Thing 2, who took her big winter coat and needed it this morning in the 27 degree weather.  Thing 1 and I took (and left) lighter weight jackets.  Thing 2 was in tears again as she tried on a much too small old coat in the closet, and ended up wearing last year's Sunday coat and feeling very unhappy.

As I was editing this I realized that on my trip to the grocery store after I got the kids to school I forgot to buy bread.

Not our best start to the day.
I don't have any pithy "Tie it all together and make it all right" remarks.  It was just a rough morning. 

Monday, September 30, 2013


Chased off a whole family of moose tonight.  First the mom, who jumped down the rock wall into the street to get away from me.  Then as I was standing proudly in my front yard, watching the momma moose munching on the neighbor's trees, a cyclist came cautiously down the street.  He was watching Momma Moose... making sure she didn't turn around and bolt at him... when a bull moose with a huge rack came trotting right down the side of my yard.  I hollered at the cyclist, who finally looked up from the momma moose to see the bull barreling toward him.. he started backing his bicycle up the street, toward my driveway.  He probably would have trundled right into the bull if I hadn't yelled.  The bull basically ignored him, and went over to join the lady moose.  My neighbor whose yard was now being munched was out mowing her lawn.  She hollered at them to get back to my yard, assuring them my trees are much younger and tastier.  The bull was unimpressed and came over to see what she was yelling about.   She abandoned her lawn mower and went inside for her camera.  She sent me these pictures - you can see Thing 1 on the porch with the dog.

Then two baby moose came over and started munching on my trees!  The cyclist was still at the edge of my yard, watching to make sure the adult moose were distracted enough to not mind him cutting between them and the babies.  I started throwing bark and small branches at the babies.  I am such a lousy shot they ignored anything but a direct hit. Thing 1 came out and started huffing and growling at them and one left, I finally landed a piece of bark and the 2nd left.  I don't see how my little trees are going to survive.

Thing 2 has been doing really well at her riding.  She was in a school show a couple of weekends ago.  

She did really great on the dressage part, but she got muddled on the jumping part and missed a couple of jumps, and went around to do them again, and her time was bad.  But she had fun and I guess we learn a little more each time she does it. 

I am coaching Thing 1's Lego League team.  There are only three kids on the team, Thing 1 and two of her friends, I don't know how I'd handle more than that.  The 4H group held a coaches meeting to give us some advice, and one of the more veteran coaches said his first year they were just happy to have a robot that could do one or two missions, and that he kept reminding himself "Every hour spent on Legos is an hour not spent on Minecraft."  Amen.
This Thing 1 is trying out for yearbook photographer at her school.  I think it's absolutely wonderful that she's opening up to new experiences.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Yes We Have Moose

Construction has finished!!!


Our two month project was stretched into two years, but it didn't stretch into three and we are DONE.  ALMOST!
It's down to me puttering around, moving grass, putting in a few plants.
But it took so long, I had a friend asking me about our new landscaping plans. 
She said "A lot of your neighbors have a wagon wheel in their front yards... There's an old rusty mining cart up the street, and I've seen an old plow.  But you went a totally different way... that Excavator is a really bold statement..."
I mean the thing as basically been there for TWO YEARS!  It would move around on occasion, it left for the winter, but Hubby was suspecting that our Excavator guy didn't really have anywhere to park it, so in order to avoid storage fees over the summer he just gets a job, and lets it sit on those people's property all summer.
It's a pretty bold statement...

But now it's done!  The excavator is gone!  I need to add a picture of the finished product.

But in the mean time, I would like to call your attention to the trees, pictured just behind the excavator.
We put them in last fall.  About a year ago.  They leafed out nicely in the summer, but haven't been doing as well as their counterparts on the other side of the yard.  These aren't just any old aspen, mind you, I don't like any old aspens.  These are special Swedish Aspens.  Ya!   They don't just turn yellow in the fall, they turn red and orange!  And they don't sucker as much.  And they're much more expensive, of course.
I was wondering why they were more scrawny, when I saw that the moose and deer follow down the side of the house and just stop right there and munch on our trees!
I thought it was quite charming... so rustic...

So outdoorsy!  Yes that is a baby moose in my trees!  Awwwwww!  No wonder the trees are kind of scrawny on that side...  But the moose were here first...  they can have a few leaves... it will leaf in next year.

Then this morning... I saw this.

And the stupid moose have earned my ire.

Three for three.  They broke off each of the trees right above the tether level.  

Stupid moose.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The summer of fun

We had a super lousy summer two years ago.  Between all the pain in the neck of decluttering our house to put it on the market, Thing 2 breaking her arm, and all the furor of moving, the kids seemed to feel like they'd been robbed of most of what should be the funnest time of their annual lives.

Last summer I did my best to make up for it, and we did have a nice summer, but I felt like I missed the high mark I'd hoped for. 

This summer is, in my opinion, nailing that mark.

It is always a challenge for me to balance activities to keep the girls entertained with down time that my girls seem to need.  Too much down time and they're bored.  Too many activities and they complain that they never got a chance to relax and play around the house.  They play really well together, and like to do their own things, so having them around the house is really not a problem.  We've done pretty well at taking time for both this year.

One reason I'm feeling good about this summer is because of the overwhelmingly successful trip to the Oregon coast taken by my extended family.   A lot of that success was due to the choice of house to rent.  It came down to two houses, a more expensive house that was roomier and probably more centrally located to what we thought we'd be doing, or a little bit cheaper house that didn't claim to have as many beds but looked more private.  The decision was up to me and my sister-in-law, as we are the ones with the kids and would have to figure out the sleeping arrangements with the smaller house, possibly putting someone on a couch or floor or something.
We went with the private house.  And we won.
I had a hard time stopping congratulating myself on what a fabulous choice we made.  The house itself contributed greatly to what a wonderful time we had.

We had a beach mostly to ourselves...
The girls found a chest of buried treasure on the beach...
 There was a comfy couch that we relaxed on a lot...
 We went on a fishing expedition.... and had fabulous fish dinners  for the next couple nights!
 We went to a glass blower, returned a couple times, and bought some glass
 Spent a lot of time playing on the beach!
We watched a lot of sunsets from the house (Yes this was our view!)
 One of the highlights was escorting a baby seal back to the water..
 We had a totally fun time and can't wait to go back next year!

It was hard to leave.
As we were packing up Thing 2 asked "What is our next big vacation this summer?"
"Honey, this trip to Oregon is a really big vacation.  Bigger than we usually do.  We're not really going to have another one like this this summer."
"You mean the whole rest of the summer is going to be totally boring?!"

No, there is your birthday, there is horseback riding, there are a couple of summer camps.  There will be dinners on the deck, and bike rides, and hikes.  Totally not boring.  Not nearly long enough, but totally not boring.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Good Dog

Kelso picks up socks and gloves and walks around the house whining with them in his mouth.  We can leave all sorts of other articles of clothing out and he ignores them... but socks and gloves, clean or dirty, get carried around, accompanied by a sort of imploring whine.

He did this once with some donuts a friend of mine made... little hard donuts that we couldn't eat all of. Once we had eaten all we could there was a couple left in the bottom of a paper bag, I put them next to the trash to go out next time we went out.  Apparently the paper bag unrolled, and Kelso got himself a donut, which he then carried, whining, around the house, until he got my attention and I took it away from him and tossed the rest of the donuts in the trash.  It was like he was saying "I know I'm  not supposed to eat this.  But you need to put it away.  Because it's bugging me.  Please clean up after yourselves better."

We ate outside tonight.  Pork Roast grilled on the swanky new grill Hubby bought himself for his birthday.
There was a little bit of Roast left over.  A piece about the size of a smallish apple.  As we were shuttling the dishes and plates into the house when we were done, somehow the little end of leftover pork roast went missing.  I don't know if it fell off the cutting board somehow, or if he helped himself to it, but the girls were sitting in the front room when the dog walked into the house, whining.  Only he didn't have a sock, he had the roast.  Which he carried carefully in his mouth, not biting, or chewing.  Just whining.  He gave it up when we asked, and of course I treated him...
But why didn't he eat it?
I threw it away.

But he is such a good dog.

Friday, June 7, 2013

From Last Year to This

The 2011-2012 school year was difficult beyond belief for Thing 1.  Crying herself to sleep at night.  Begging to move back to the old house.  Trying to talk us into trading back all the advantages of moving if she could just Go Home.

This year was completely different.
I attended the 5th Grade "Graduation" ceremony on Tuesday.  I know, I know, you're not really graduating in 5th grade, but in this area 6th and 7th grade are at a different school, so the kids are leaving elementary school, therefore they have a little ceremony.  
They handed out a "moving on" certificate to all the kids, then they distributed a few awards.  There were presidential awards for good grades.  There was a silver award for a GPA of 3.5-3.75 and Thing 1 got one of those.  They had some awards from the gym teacher for kids who had done so many push-ups and laps and whatever.
Then they did what they called the Citizenship Award.  Each of the four classes was asked to vote for three of their classmates on who best represented the class for honor and fairness and bravery and all around good citizeny stuff.  Three students were chosen from each class.
And Thing 1 was chosen.
I was totally floored.
She is so quiet, so reserved.  There are other kids in her class who are very dynamic and outgoing and noticeable, a couple little girls I know of who are really lovely little girls.  Of course I think Thing 1 is all those things, but I'm her mother and I'm aware there is a certain bias here and she is not very self promoting and I imagine she blends into the background a lot...  But apparently the other kids noticed her too.
It was really lovely.  There was a certificate with a little pin attached.

Then right at the end of the whole ceremony the music teacher said she had an award.  She said there has been one student all year who has helped on every promotional banner, has stepped up every time and made herself available to help at every opportunity.  She had one award to give out, and she gave it to Thing 1.  Thing 1 pretty much swept the award ceremony.

The school had a 5th Grade concert last Thursday, and Thing 1 sang a song.  When she announced that she wanted to try out for this performance because the kids could sing solos if they wanted to, her sister and I didn't know what to think.  When she announced she had passed the audition we murmured to ourselves that we weren't sure if this was a good thing or a bad thing.  In a brilliant move, Hubby found her a voice coach and I have taken her down  to the valley for voice lessons.  She's had 4 lessons, and the teacher taught her to relax and sing out and just the extra practice and singing in front of him did her a lot of good.  She did beautifully at the performance.  I had suggested she sing The Show by Lenka, which was a good choice for many reasons, except that it starts bam on the the first note.  No introduction, no preamble, the music starts and the song starts.  So it's really easy for her to get off.  And she has a hard time getting back on until there's a break in the music, and she can hear where she's supposed to be.  Sure enough for the performance she didn't come in on the right beat and was a beat behind, until the first point that the music pauses and she can catch up.  She was by no means perfect, but she hit a couple notes she usually has trouble with, and she sang out, and did really beautifully.  I was tensely watching her perform, noting every little thing she did wrong, instead of letting her wonderful performance wash over me...  I have heard her sing it enough that I don't sit and cry when I listen to her. Which is a good and a bad thing.

It has been a very good year for Thing 1.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Arts Festival May 3rd

Look how behind I am.  

The Friday after we got back from our Disney Cruise was the school's Arts Festival.   

I kind of feel responsible for part of the Arts Festival, because they changed the way they do it because of me.  One of the other mothers, who is instrumental in the Festival, was at my house last year and saw some of the pieces of art I'd purchased at our old school's Art Fair Auction.  These are pieces made by the kids, and auctioned off at the festival.  When this other mother was admiring them (as the most interesting art in our house) she was floored when I told her they were made by my daughter's class in 2nd grade (she made the bottom heart)  This piece is about eighteen inches long by about eight inches wide.

and by the 1st graders in our old school.  I am not related to any of the kids who made this piece, it was just my favorite that year.  This one is about three feet long and weighs a lot, as the clay pieces are glued onto an old piece of metal, the swirly things are welded on.

Anyway, you get the picture, they're kind of neat unusual pieces of art.

So she proposed we do collaborative projects like that for this school, and sell them at the festival, and asked if I'd help.

So this year they totally changed the way they do the festival to include these collaborative projects.  And my biggest disappointment here is that I don't have pictures of the pieces, because they were TRULY AMAZING.  In this school, instead of the Art Ladies running the whole show and picking out with the teacher a project for the class to do and making it, the parent volunteers, who run the art projects in the class every month, picked out a project for the classes to do and did them.  At our old school there was a lot of pottery, and a lot of welding.  We don't have a kiln in the school here, and no welders that I know of.  So we had to resort to other things.

I am in charge of Thing 2's art class of 4th graders, and this is what we did.
We did two copper weavings.  The kids wove copper strips and wire into a larger sheet of copper, and rubbed texture into all the copper to make it more interesting.  Then I took it over to the woman's house who first saw the art in my house and suggested we do collaborative pieces, she is a real artist, by the way, and she helped me cook it with a torch to make it have the burny patina.

I didn't get close ups... but I may provide a close up grab from my picture.

We made two weavings.  Because only a couple of kids could weave at a time, I had to come up with something for the rest of the kids to do while waiting for their turn.  So I came up with a copper rubbing idea, keeping with the copper theme.  Each kid rubbed a little five by five piece of copper.  I strung them together in sets.  There were three sets of five, and one set of three, which my artisty friend helped me distress.  That is the one I bought, which is why I got a picture of it.

I was at a friend of Thing 2's the other day and found she had bought all three of the five panel pieces, and was hanging them side by side.  I should have got a picture.  They looked great together.  We didn't distress them, just let them stay shiny coppery.

The other thing about this arts fair is that they let the kids have booths.  Normally they let local artists display their stuff for sale, but this year they opened it up to the kids, instead.  I knew Thing 1 would come up with something,  but had to help Thing 2 come up with something.

From the Epbot blog, which is one of my first go-to spots for all things interesting, I found this idea of baking baking pony beads to make little flowers.  Bingo.  Thing 2 is going to love this.
The problem with putting up a booth, is you have to have inventory.  Both girls and their mother (ME!) worked night and day for the month leading up to the cruise, and the week after, making sure there was enough inventory to sell at their art booths.  
I suggested Thing 1 start with Polymer clay necklaces.  But once she made the beads they were SUPER labor intensive for me to assemble.  Then she made a tiny little polymer clay animal.  All that was required of me was to put it on a pin and make a pendant out of it, and put the clasp on a cord or chain.  Eventually Thing 1 was even able to do most of this herself, though she never really mastered the bending of the pin to make a perfectly round bezel hook, so I did that part.
And this is the result.

 This is just a close up from the previous picture.   You can see a red flower, then a little piece of cake on the left, going right there are penguins and hedghogs and other little animals, ending with some birds.

She sold the little animals for $5, the bigger ones for $7, and some of my more complicated necklaces and earring sets for $12.  

Thing 2's inventory was a little less labor intensive, and she had more items.  

She sold these hair clip sets for $2.00, the necklace and earring sets for $3.00.   Bookmarks and magnets were a dollar a piece.

At the end of the night I was somewhat frustrated that the collaborative pieces auctioned off so low.  Those big pieces I had done, easily 2 feet by 3.5 feet of copper, went for about $50.00.  The copper alone in them was worth I don't know how much, but at least twice that.
The little pieces went for about $20 each.  The school made about $3000.00.  I wish they'd made twice that but the other art ladies were very pleased, saying it was the first year we'd done it this way, and seeing this great art in each other's homes will be a good advertisement for next year, when they intend to do it this way again.

My girls made out great.  Thing 2 cleared $120, and Thing 1 made over $200.00.  
They want to have booths again in next year's arts festival.  I told them now I've shown them how to do it, next year they're on their own, and they have to pay for more of their supplies, though they both have a lot to start with already from leftovers from this year.

They were so tickled, though, it was a lot of fun to watch people coming over and admiring their items, and it's been really neat to see people wearing their jewelry and things around town.  Is this what it feels like to be a real artist?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Catch Up

Five more weeks of school.

I can't wait.

The last two weeks  have been insane.  The build up to the last two weeks was equally insane.

Two weeks ago was our spring break.  Hubby suggested we go on a Disney Cruise.  Okay.
Then he suggested we take my niece, my daughter's favorite person in the world, who is between them in age.  She is a natural peace maker, and a great foil when Thing 1 and 2 start bickering...  Brilliant!!

Her parents (my brother and his wife) agreed even though it didn't coincide with her spring break and would require her to miss a week from school.
We flew to Orlando on the evening of the 20th of April, and after riding around in the biggest personal rental car on the planet, just shy of being a city bus, the girls loved it.  Our car at home has a third row, and is big... but this was ridiculous and Hubby couldn't wait to turn it back in and get on the boat.

Which we did the next day, Sunday the 21st.
Since there were five of us, we got the extra big stateroom on the top of the boat, right under the swimming pool deck.  It was lovely.  And alarmingly convenient to the self dispensing ice cream machines.

 I was especially pleased that there was so much room in such a tiny little space.  The bathrooms were brilliant - two little bathrooms - one with a sink and a toilet, one with a sink and a terribly clever shower/tub combination.  Had I known such a thing was available when we refinished our basement, I would have seriously considered it.

Though they consider it a five day cruise, it's really three days on the ship.  The days at either end boarding and disembarking hardly count.
The first day was in Nassau, which we had heard from my brother was a tropical resort where you can go look at all the beautiful people hanging out.  So we decided to take advantage of an excursion where they take you out to swim with the dolphins.  We had the worst weather on our trip here, and had to interrupt our dolphin swim experience to go stand under the gazebos while a tropical deluge rained down on us.
This is also where I ruined Thing 2's underwater camera.  I was so proud of myself for remembering it, but must have not closed it  up tight somewhere along the road, and it filled with sea water and died in the middle of our excursion, shortly after I got in the water.  Not sure if or how I can even get the pictures off of its corpse.  Hence the only photos I have of this excursion are the ones that we paid for before we got back on the boat to ferry us off the island.  But it was delightful and memorable, and we all got to get the foot push across the pen from the dolphins.  Though there was a beautiful beach there and I had scheduled us the earlier swim so we could stay and play on the beach, it was raining, so we went back to the boat.

The next day was Castaway Cay, which we learned is confusingly pronounced Key.  I feel compelled to edit out the whole long paragraph of how we found this out. Suffice it to say our assigned dining companions were very very informative.  Very.

Castaway Cay was just beautiful, and not as crowded as it could have been, based on the number of empty deck chairs on the beach all around us.

We were late on the beach because we had to stop and buy some flip-flops for the girls, who had left their crocs in a cubby by the AquaDuck the night before. (They had been picked up by the Disney crew but were slow to get turned in to Lost and Found and we didn't get them until the next afternoon.)  Our only other real problem was that my cool super strong sunscreen was totally and completely inefficient.  I have posted a scathing review on Amazon and thrown away two bottles of the stuff I brought, but it was too late, Thing 1 was completely fried and the rest of us were merely badly burned.  Except my niece, who used a much less powerful but actually effective sunscreen.  Luckily I used an effective non-pore-blocking sunscreen on our faces, and the girls wear rashguard shirts, but still all other exposed skin was red.  Thing 1 put on her long sleeved rashguard (shown in the picture above) too late.

The slide was fun, the ice cream was fun, the beach was lovely.  Hubby napped on the deck chair, I hovered and relaxed.

The sunburn made everyone crabby the next day, our day on the boat.  Also the girls decided they were too old for the kids area they were registered for, and would rather come back and watch movies in the room.  They did go to a screening of Oz in the big theater, but other than that we just kind of puttered around the boat and our stateroom and veranda, enjoying the proximity to the ice cream machine one deck up.

When we got off the boat the next day, Hubby's luggage was missing.  We had put it outside our stateroom as instructed, but it was not waiting for us with the rest of the luggage in the big luggage warehouse after getting off the boat. Poor Hubby was rather limited in his wardrobe and was doing washing for the rest of the trip.  Spoiler - His bag somehow partied its way across the country and turned up at a United luggage desk in Los Angeles two days after we returned home.

When we gave up the search for the lost bag, we drove to Universal Studios for two more days of fun.
I found that Universal is neat but a little dodgier than Disney.  The rides are rougher, and maybe I've reached a certain age but I found myself getting more nauseous than I ever have before.  There's not quite so much Magic.  I was glad we went, but not sure I need to go back. Our favorite part was Harry Potter World, where the Dragon Challenge ride was probably as close as anyone could get to riding a real dragon.  A dragon who would be happy if you were to be flung from off its back.

The girls bought wands, and of course we had butter beer, pumpkin juice, and bought chocolate frogs and bertie botts beans.

At the end of the 1st day at Universal, the girls were getting so run down that we left early for dinner, and both Thing 1 and my niece fell asleep in the restaurant waiting for the food to come.  We had pretty much run them down to the nub.

I think we were all getting tired and ready to come home, but all in all it was a lovely vacation.