Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Goose Is Getting Fat

Christmas is coming, and guess what I've been doing?
  • Wrapping twenty-four Christmas books.
  • Tying seventy-two little candies on our candy-strips.
  • And down-loading a new set of Advent devotions. (Already started.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gunnar Wonders

If there's no death in heaven,
and there's going to be a lot of feasting,
will there be any meat?

Because, really,
would it be heaven without meat?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, November 28, 2011

Outside my window...  bare branches, green cedars, firs, and hemlocks, and some blue sky peeking through the clouds.

I am thinking...  still in (happy) shock over my brother's good news (post below), and working through the details of this very busy week.

I am thankful for...  good weather this morning for Gunnar, who is at a birthday party involving horseback riding, for a new niece of nephew coming next June, a wonderful Thanksgiving and family to celebrate with, and that tonight is our last Messiah rehearsal.

I am praying for...  my aunt recovering from pneumonia, friends coming home from Africa this week, and boys shifting back into school mode (ugh).

I am wearing...  jeans, purple sweater, warm blue socks, and slippers.

I am going...  to fold Mt. Laundry and clear off the pile on my desk before it breeds and multiplies ;D

I am reading...  with the boys, The Magic Tunnel, a story about the British takeover of New Amsterdam.

I am hoping...  Gunnar has a fun time at the party, Wyatt gets his work done cheerfully (I can dream, can't I?), and Kerry keeps busy with work.

I am hearing...  silence, the boys are doing school work.

I am remembering...  the "kids' table".  When I was growing up and my grandparents lived in this house, we nearly always came here for Thanksgiving.  There were ten of us and we would've been a tight squeeze around the dining room table, so instead, my Nana always set up a card table in the living room for us four kids.  And you never, ever graduated from the kids' table.  Ever

It became a running joke that my Nana never "got".  By the time I was married and having my own kids we had started celebrating Thanksgiving at my parents' house.  Though by then we needed two tables, they were "integrated" :D

Now, when I set up two long tables together for this Thanksgiving, I had the boys put name cards at each place, and gave them free reign as to where to put people, and guess what they did?  Put all the kids down at one end, "So we can talk to each other, Mama."

All righty then!

From the learning rooms...  working through Sequential Spelling with Tate and Gunnar (very, very helpful); Tate begins Geology this week (having finished Fossils), Gunnar is learning about "dinosaur fish", Wyatt is reviewing the layers of the atmosphere; Tate and Gunnar reading about the early colonies - contrasting Jamestown with Plymouth, Wyatt reading about the Lewis and Clark Expedition; and math - multiplying by two numbers  ie 128 x 36 (Gunnar), order of operations (Tate), and exponential numbers (Wyatt); and the usual round of grammar, writing, hand-writing, etc.

From the kitchen...  my last Messiah rehearsal tonight so I won't be here for dinner.  I'm thinking turkey taquitos for lunch :D

Around the house...  I've put out some Christmas things but won't have time/energy to get a tree until early next week.  Still, I've got candles, and lights, and Christmas music on the CD player :D

Something I want to remember for later...  Tate will get up at 6am, read his Bible, do his CAP exercises (push ups, sit ups, etc.), and then start on his school work before his brothers are even awake.  That boy is going to go far!

On my mind...  how to manage Christmas gifts this year... hmmm.

Noticing that...  Tate shaved for the first time this Thanksgiving!

Pondering these words...  And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed...

One of my favorite things...  boys getting along with each other :D

A few plans for the rest of the week...  Monday rehearsal, Tuesday CAP, Wednesday youthgroup (aptly named None the Wiser), Thursday deep breaths, Friday Messiah performance, Saturday Tuba Christmas and second Messiah performance, and Sunday...  a much-needed rest!

Here is a picture I am sharing...

They look so little!
We'll take a new one this year :D

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Joy and Surprise

It's a joy to have so much to be thankful for.  Our homes, our health, a house full of family even if we're elbow to elbow around the tables.  And the food?  Oh, too good for words, and plenty of it!

And the surprise?  Well, see if you can figure it out.  Here's a pic of all seventeen of us :D

Nimrod, A Mighty Hunter Before the Lord

Grandpa Grasshopper, aka "Nimrod", went elk hunting with a friend, way up north of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and boy did he get a big one.  You can't see all the tines, but it's an eight-by-eight.

You can better see the size of the animal in this picture.  They estimate it weighed around 1100 pounds.  That's a lot of meat!

Well done, Grandpa Grasshopper!

Veteran's Day

Catching up on some bloggy "housekeeping"...

November 11th Tate woke up, giddy with excitement.  Aunt Tami and Uncle Dave met at our house for brunch, and then I delivered them to the airport, to launch Tate's 13-year Disney Extravaganza.  More about that later.

Meanwhile, Wyatt and several of the other CAP cadets met at the cemetery to place flags for Veterans Day.  That's Wyatt, sliding a flag out of the van.

The weather quickly deteriorated, but the work continued.  (Wyatt in red.)

I don't know if you can see how hard it's raining in the picture, but I hope you can see their smiles.

Well done.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Repast / Repost

Just lounging around the house today, doing math...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Houston, We Are All Systems Go For Lunch

It's been another productive day, but I'll spare you the recital of items cleaned, dusted, baked, and painted.  Yes, painted.  I don't normally go to such lengths when family is coming over, but we were on a roll.

Also, I realize that you've got bigger things to do than hang on every detail of what the boy-barians and I got done today ;D

But I'll tell you the best thing about today.  (Besides Wyatt volunteering to scrub the roofing tar that got tracked in off the mudroom floor, because let me tell you, that was a job.)

We went to Thanksgiving Service at church. 

We sang familiar Thanksgiving hymns.  We prayed.  We read a Psalm.  And some of our people bared their souls, and told what God has been doing there.  I wish you could have heard.  You would have laughed.  Harry, who has basically died five or six times, told us about his heart, which he calls Hazel (because she's like an unfaithful ex-wife) and is now augmented by Hamlet (the pig valve).  And how he's not afraid to die, and he's thankful for every single day.

And Barb, who lives on a farm in the woods, that had no electricity or running water.  And then her husband died.  And her neighbors helped her, and loved her into the church, and fed her the Living Word.  And the church built her an addition to her house, with modern conveniences.

And there were more.  Dave, a really smart guy with everything going for him, but without God.  And Nate, whose wife decided they should visit the chapel because it looked cute and had flowers outside.  And they stayed, and grew, and the chapel paid his way through seminary and is helping him plant a church.

And in the midst of the flurry of preparations, we slow down to give thanks.

Thanks for our families.  Thanks for our health.  Thanks for salvation and forgiveness and grace.  Thanks for God's continuing, inexplicable provision in these unstable times.  And thanks for so much more.  Thanks for our friends.  Thanks for our church.

PB&J, I have to tell you this:  The boys spent a long time cutting out paper leaves for our thankful tree.  And cutting isn't exactly one of Gunnar's strong suits, if you know what I mean.  But after I said we had enough, Gunnar found a scrap of purple paper (his favorite color) and cut one more leaf.  A really special maple leaf, with lots of detail.  He's put several leaves on the tree already, but he's been saving that one for something really special.  Driving home tonight he told me, Mama, I know what I'm going to put on my purple leaf - the chapel.

And to you.  You readers.  Friends.  I have to tell you, I am thankful for you :D  Thankful for the friends I have found through this crazy technology.  Thankful for the ways you encourage me and inspire me and make me laugh.

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name.  Hebrews 13:15

Thanks be to God.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More From The Minions And Me

Progress :D  Good has been done here, today...

Peeling and chopping 10+ pounds of potatoes.
  • Did our little bit of school work.
  • Baked turkey - yes, I do it ahead.  It tastes just as good and frees up the oven.
  • Made two large mashed potato casseroles.
  • Tidied and dusted the living room
  • Dusted the dining room light and tables
  • Cleaned/disinfected all light switches and door knobs
  • Cleaned the fish bowl  (Jack is much happier.)
  • Cleaned and organized the fridge - gotta make room.
  • Cleaned the stove.
  • Cut out paper "thankful tree" and a bazillion leaves.
  • Scraped disgusting blackened grout from behind the kitchen sink, and Kerry regrouted.
  • Made tomorrow's list :D
And all, for some unknown reason, on about three hours of sleep.  Why???  I don't know.  Came home from Messiah last night and just couldn't turn my brain off.  Not tossing and turning in anxiety or sickness, just laying (lying?) in bed, listening to the wind howl, and the music in my head.

Until about 4am.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Salute and Execute


The minions and I have:

  • Done our bit of school work for the day
  • Cleaned the two downstairs bathrooms
  • Cleaned the bunny hutch
  • Dusted the dressers and bunk-beds (between all the rails and dowels)
  • Tidied the DVDs back onto their shelves
  • Washed all the cabinet fronts in the kitchen
  • Cleared off the clutter-shelf
  • Stowed Tate's birthday cards and gifts
  •            and
  • Cleaned the oven
Pats on backs all around, and off to fun evening activities :D

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, November 21, 2011

Outside my window...  clouds, wind, and rain.  Nearly all the beautiful leaves are now brown, wet, and on the ground.  Strangely, we have some kind of vortex that attracts all the big soggy ones to the landing right by the back door.  Why?

I am thinking...  making mental lists for the days leading up to Thanksgiving!  What needs to be cleaned, how many chairs do we need to borrow, what can I make ahead, who is bringing what...  time to put the minions to work ;D

I am thankful for...  Kerry got a kinda-sorta job working as a "drafting slave" (his joking term) for another architect.  It's part time so he can still keep doing any projects he gets on the side.  Yay!

I am praying for...  the job to work out well for both of them, my Aunt Myrna who has pneumonia, friends coming home from Zambia soon.

I am wearing...  grubbies.  Sweats.  Going to be doing more cleaning today ;D

I am creating...  a holiday celebration.

I am going...  to make a chore schedule for the boys and me, so we can be as relaxed as possible with sixteen around the table :D

I am reading...  Almost Home, having just finished Madaleine Takes Command.  I'm reading a lot of historical fiction (and some non-fiction) with Tate and Gunnar this year... not always exactly in order, but going along with our history studies.  Almost Home is the story of a (real) girl who came over on the Mayflower, while Madaleine Takes Command is a must-read for you Canadians.  It's the true story of a fourteen-year-old girl who holds the fort for a WEEK against Iroquois attack.

I am hoping...  for a grace-filled holiday.

I am hearing...  just the wind, and lots of it.

I am remembering...  the first time we had Thanksgiving here at this house we were still in the throes of remodeling.  Our furniture had been stored in a large truck in the driveway.  Two days before Thanksgiving the contractor had a table-saw set up in my living room and was cutting and installing floor trim.  The day before Thanksgiving I was basically following him from trim piece to trim piece, shop-vaccing the dining room and living room and then trying to get furniture back in and a bit of decorating done.  Oh, and the garbage disposal clogged while I was running a load of laundry, and greasy, turkey-scented water poured out all over the kitchen and mud-room floors.  I had to get a plumber in.  Awesome.

From the learning rooms...  we are on Holiday School Schedule this week, which means a minimum of actual academic school work and lots of... hmmm... what shall I cal it?
  • Occupational Ed?  Prepare for a job in house-keeping, home-maintenance, and food service.
  • Home Ec, or whatever the PC term for that is now?  Learn time-management, food preparation, and budgeting.
  • Social Studies?  Learn your cultural history!
  • Religion?  Definitely!
  • Community Service?  Yes, definitely learning to serve others.
  • Hospitality?  A required course.
There.  Now I feel better about the fact that the math books are in the closet ;D

From the kitchen...  baked chicken sandwiches for lunch.  The closest I can come to a McChicken, and therefore (in the boys' eyes) heaven ;D

Around the house...  cleaning, cleaning, cleaning!

Something I want to remember for later...  how happy flannel sheets make the boys!

On my mind...  the aforementioned lists.

Noticing that...  it's so much better now that the boys are old enough to be truly helpful.  Whew!

Pondering these words...  When I do stuff, stuff gets done.  Deep and profound, (snort).

One of my favorite things...  clean surfaces, WOOT!

A few plans for the rest of the week...  
  • Monday - begin (minimal) school work and cleaning, Kerry takes boys to Boys Club and I go to Messiah rehearsal
  • Tuesday - continue Holiday School, Wyatt and Tate have CAP
  • Wednesday - make green bean and mashed potato casseroles (those are two separate things),  and bake the turkey (yes, the day before), set up tables, remind boys of their hosting responsibilities.
  • Thursday - dinner at 1:30.  Then, because it's so good, again in the evening.
  • Friday - organize any leftovers and start putting away fall decorations.  Put minions to work moving furniture and cleaning around, behind, and under.
  • Saturday - start thinking Christmas (!), also potluck and game movie night at church.  Can you believe there are folks who haven't yet seen The Princess Bride?
  • Sunday - church, breathe, rest :D

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's Hunting Season

Oh, you thought hunting season was over?  

Well....  it's turkey season, now.

No, I don't go out hunting these.

This is more my speed :D

Of course, it's not without its risks...

But we've avoided disaster so far :D

The biggest trick is fitting them into the freezer.  "Them" you may be asking?  Yes, THEM.  I get four or five (or six) each year.  Why not?  They're easy to cook, delicious, and who says they're just for Thanksgiving?  I'll bake a turkey, serve it for dinner, and freeze the left-overs to use in recipes that call for chicken.

And they're on sale!

I don't know about where you are, but here?  If you're local, run right down to Cost Cutter or Food Pavilion.  If you don't have a coupon, ask at customer service and they'll give you one :D  Spend twenty-five dollars on other groceries (in the blink of an eye, in this house) and you'll get:

A box of stuffing mix
A can of chicken broth
A can of green beans
A can of cream of mushroom soup
A can of cranberry sauce
A packet of turkey gravy mix
A dozen fresh rolls
A five-pound bag of potatoes
A turkey, up to twenty pounds

for twenty bucks.

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas Baked Turkey Taquitos, turkey pot pie, turkey-salad sandwiches, turkey enchiladas...

What do you do with your leftovers?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

In Which We Are All Cozy

It's That Time...

... the time to CLEAN!

It's a bright, sunny morning, I'm full of energy, and I feel a Blitz coming on.  (Especially with company coming for Thanksgiving, just around the corner.)  I mobilized the boys and we began to attack the upstairs, pulling tubs from under the beds, stripping all the sheets, moving laundry from washer to dryer, chasing dust bunnies elephants, mopping...

... and then the phone rang.  CAP needs volunteers at the Heritage Flight Museum, on kinda short notice.  Like right now.  And there went two of my household slaves helpers. 

Little do they know that I have NOT planned any regular schoolwork next week.  Oh, we'll do a bit of academics, but we're on Holiday Schedule all week, which means they will clean, wash, cook, scour, bake, and generally help me prepare for Thanksgiving.

And I'll be really thankful!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Woke Up This Morning To...

... snow!  Just a dusting, but pretty white trees at Grandpa and Grandma Grasshopper's house, for the boys' PTO day :D

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Customs and Courtesies

Ah, here's the photo I wanted, with their caps on :D

And, yes, (to answer Doug), the cadets who were 'grogged' did the whole drill.  March to the grog, squaring all corners, salute the grog, pour the grog, about face, toast the mess, drink the grog in one go (cup not leaving lips), hold empty cup upside down over the head, about face, replace the cup, salute the grog again, and return to their seats.  Without speaking (except to toast the mess).

And if they omitted anything, someone was sure to notice and send them right back up again.  One boy went three times!  Others had to do various things, such as sing silly songs.  The Color Guard had to sing I'm A Little Teapot, complete with motions.  But all in good fun :D

Again, I'm sorry they look like they're swimming in green, radioactive waste.  I'm not much into editing, and the little I tried... well... I just tried to give the boys something approaching a normal skin tone, and even that proved too much.

It was a fun, fun evening.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

CAP Dining-Out

Oh my goodness, I apologize for the color of the pics (what do you do about flourescent lighting in a big gym/hangar-type room?) but we had 
so much fun 
last night, I want to post these anyway!

 First off, don't they look sharp?!  

I wanted a photo with their caps on too, but apparently you don't wear your cap inside, you hook it under your belt.  If Tate looks just a little bit 'mussed' that's because we welcomed him home from Disneyland (pics of that later, when I get them) at 6pm, whisked him to the armory, and he RAN into the bathroom to change into his uniform, for a 6pm... 6:30-ish dinner.  And, a side note, Wyatt spent hours shining his shoes and they look... the same.  Well, they were shiny already.

We're still newbies, and learning the ways of CAP, so I may add more later.  The boys knew that this would be a formal evening, abiding by full military "customs and courtesies", which included proper procedure for the many toasts,

and they were expected to dress and behave as gentlemen... which they did :D  (Tate even managed not to completely clean his plate in thirty seconds.)  But they had no idea how far and how fun the formal silliness would go.

It began before Tate and I arrived, with the mixing of the Grog, a strongly yellow non-alcoholic punch.

Yes.  That is what you think it is.  The cadets were expected to abide by a list of many and varied rules throughout the evening, such as Thou shalt not wear an ill-fitted or discolored mess jacket, and Thou shalt consume thy meal in a manner becoming gentle-persons.  Failure to comply results in being called out by another cadet and sent to the Grog Bowl.

However rules such as Thou shalt make every effort to meet all guests, and Thou shalt be painfully regarded if thy clip-on bow tie rides at an obvious list, and Thou shalt keep toasts and comments within the limits of good taste and mutual respect, however good-natured needling is encouraged, ensured that virtually any of the cadets could be sent to the Grog Bowl.

Yes, they had to scoop out punch with a toilet plunger, toast the Mess, and drink the punch.  (Please tell me no one ever mistakes that plunger for another!)

But all in good fun :D

The cadets had also voted on several annual awards, which were given out last night to outstanding cadets.

Fun for everyone!  Except Gunnar, who was too young to attend.  Maybe next year.  He spent the night with Gramma Grasshopper, and undoubtedly had a good time himself :D

But, oh, it's so good to have all three of my boys back under one roof!  I was happy and thankful for Tate to go to Disneyland, and I wasn't a bit worried, but I sure missed him!

I know he was glad to get back to his own bed, and to find that a knife he'd ordered had arrived just that morning.  Well, it is the Testosterzone, you know!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Why Am I Always The Last to Know?

Remember me whining about mentioning how late and short our summer was?  Yah.  Me too.

Our neighbor, the one with the garden we all envy, gave each of the boys a little tomato plant.  I had Kerry put them in a big tub, right outside his office where they would get lots of sun.  Of course, the deer promptly ate them down to the nub and then Kerry put a cage around them.  So the poor things got kind of a late start anyway.  And by the time we left on vacation, mid-September, we had a nice big tomato bush... with not a single tomato on it.


And when we came home, mid October?  About 20 hard, green balls.  With the weather deteriorating and the temperature dropping, I told the boys to pick them all and bring them in the house.  We lined them up in a sunny window, and there they sat, for weeks.  Hard little green balls.

Then one of my free brain cells got busy and dredged up a memory from (probably) high school chemistry.  Bananas give off a chemical as they ripen that will ripen other fruit around them, so you want to separate other fruit from them to prevent it getting over-ripe.

Well, tomatoes are fruit, aren't they?  Hmmm...

I grabbed three bananas from the fruit bowl and arranged them among the tomatoes.  And guess what?

We have ripe tomatoes!

So there ya go.  I'd call it a helpful hint, but I'm guessing you already knew.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, November 13, 2011

Outside my window...  it's dark!  Happens pretty early this time of year.  And it's been raining all weekend, so everything is wet and soggy.

I am thinking...  with Tate gone to Disneyland I had hoped to do something fun with the other boys.  Gunnar had his heart set on going to the pool, but, umm.... not exactly an option for me right now, which Gunnar does not understand.  So I'm home, feeling guilty (and hormonal - fun!), having talked Kerry into taking him.

I am thankful for...  my brother and sister being so generous in treating Tate to Disneyland!

I am praying for...  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

I am wearing...  dark jeans, navy tee, fall sweater (greens, blues, white, tan), and my blue Danskos.

I am creating...  space to create.  Making progress on conquering the office clutter.  Again.

I am going...  to go to bed early.  Busy week ahead.

I am hoping...  Tate has a fabulous time.

I am hearing...  a fairly quiet house :D

I am remembering...  our family trip to Disneyland, in 2007.  The boys were so little!

From the learning rooms...  Tate worked ahead before he left, so the other boys are forging on in his absence.  Wyatt - solving equations with two variables, US history test, reading about Sequoyah and his alphabet, experimenting with air pressure, energy, and temperature, and writing brief descriptions of people.  Gunnar - about 2/3s through his 4th grade math already, punctuating addresses, action verbs and linking verbs, studying Henry Hudson, and reading Madeleine Takes Command.

From the kitchen...  cooked a pork roast with carrots, onions and potatoes in the crock pot (that came out well!) for our lunch, and plenty left over, so I'm off the hook for dinner ;D

Around the house...  candles and pretty lights, to cheer the dark evenings.

Something I want to remember for later...  how long Wyatt spent shining his shoes in preparation for the CAP "Dine-out" (banquet), and that Gunnar bravely conquered the diving board at the pool today.

On my mind...  how fast the holidays are approaching.

Noticing that...  I miss my Tater-bug.

Pondering these words...  All of us have moments in our lives that test our courage.  Taking children into a house with a white carpet is one of them.  - Erma Bombeck

One of my favorite things...  having something to look forward to :D

A few plans for the rest of the week...  busy times!  Rehearsal tomorrow evening; meet Tate's flight at 6pm on Tuesday and get him changed into his uniform and scoot over to the Dine-Out; get Tate back in the school groove; then Wyatt has a youthgroup dinner/social time on Wednesday, and the boys have a PTO day on Friday.  I'll need it!

Here is a picture I am sharing...


Friday, November 11, 2011

Salute, and Then Some Random Thoughts

Today is Veteran's Day, here in the US.
To all who have served and are serving -
many thanks for our freedom.

Busy morning at our house...

1.  Wyatt was up bright and early, in uniform, to meet his fellow CAP members at the cemetery, putting flags on Veterans' graves, in the wind and pouring rain.  Tate would like to have helped, but...

2.  Tate is on his way to Disneyland!  My sister, brother, and parents joined us for brunch to send off the travelers - Tate, Uncle Dave, and Aunty Tami.  He has been bouncing off the walls all the live-long week.  We are ALL glad to see this day finally come!  Praying for smooth and safe travels, and a fabulous time.

3.  Did you know that walruses have air sacs in their throats that they can inflate and use as a life preserver?  I learn something new every day.  Thank you, Gunnar, and Apologia Science.  Which reminds me of some unfinished business...

4.  Last summer we hatched butterflies again.  I think this is the third time.  The boys love it every time, and it fit in with our summer science - birds, bats, and bugs.

These are Painted Lady butterflies, and are native to basically the entire North American continent, so -  lucky for us! - it's pretty hard to mess up ;D  I think this time we were four for five.  My friend Leah has a much funnier take on this...

5.  Having completed their obligations and schoolwork for the day, the boybarians, minus Tate, are melting their brains before the Eye of Mordor, aka "having screen time."  Oh well.  Those lovely fall photos I posted?  A distant memory.  We've moved on to rain and wind.  I might have mentioned that already...

6.  The clutter... it breeds and multiplies.  I try to confine it to my office, but it's threatening to stage a breakout and engulf the rest of the house...

7.  Gunnar has decided that when he grows up he would like to work at the zoo.  He wants to take care of the lovable animals.  You know, the affectionate ones.  This category is possibly much smaller than he imagines, but I'm encouraging him anyway.

8.  This whole brunch concept is very difficult for me.  We haven't had lunch yet, so how can it possibly be 2:59 and why is it getting dark already?  Oh.  Hail.

9.  Off to do battle with the Mother Load, and a happy weekend to you.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I know, I know, the pictures of my fall decorations a few days ago were really intended for those of my readers with matching chromosomes, but here are a few photos we can all appreciate ;D

As I pulled in the driveway, a few weeks ago, this was my view... lovely.  That's actually the neighbors' garage, but it's the Virginia Creeper hanging from the Douglas firs that takes my breath away, especially in the afternoon, when the sun is low and shining right through it.

I walked through the gate into their back yard, to show you the other side.  Different, yah?  Beautiful, but not as dramatic.

Yes, it really is that red.  Most trees here turn golden yellow, so the red is a treat.

I do have an ornamental maple, back in the back, that was just beginning to show...

A week or so later I grabbed another shot, because I love that vine :D

We have a tree along the driveway that we don't know what it is.  My grandma (who lived here before us) thought it was a pecan, but it doesn't look like any pictures of pecan trees I've seen.  If it's a nut tree, it's not native here and has never produced a single nut. Who knows.  The bark is smooth and gray, and the leaves are quite large.  And - just now - bright gold.  Reminds me of Lothlorien, in the Lord of the Rings.

Beautiful, with the maple at its peak :D

I've said before that my camera is smarter than me, so I take no credit, but enjoy the results ;D

Especially knowing the colors won't last long.  Even as I clicked away, a cloud blocked the sun.

I'll wait, snap a few more pictures.  Maybe the cloud will pass...

...or maybe not.

We have to savor fall while it lasts, because we don't get much of this...

...before it turns to this.

And this.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Laughing With Me

I'm glad a few of you had a little giggle with me about the tragic loss suffered by the art world last week.  I hope you could hear a friendly chuckle of disbelief rather than a mean, mocking cackle.   Some artists - probably most - pour their hearts and souls into their work, and I respect that, even when I don't care for the finished product.

Still, living in a college town, I've seen more than my share of "art" that is little more than a random collection of garbage, perhaps painted vividly (and more often than not, with obscenities,) and presented as deep, authentic, emotional, soul-expression.   And it works so much better if it has an unusual title, perhaps a prepositional phrase, or a even participial phrase.

So, in my moments of free time (and twisted sense of humor), guess what I found

There are Random Generators for writing prompts! 

Did you know this?  Why am I the last one in on the fun?!  I could use these with the boys, but that's for another time.  Today, I made up a little game for myself.  Gunnar and I asked Uncle Google for some pictures of modern art, and then trolled the generators for titles.  Which probably make as much sense or more, as some of the things I've seen.  So, completely randomly, I present you with our results:

Inside the Box of Stale Breakfast Cereal

Touching Her Nose to Prove It Was Still There

Tearing the Sock from His Throbbing Foot

Upon a Chair of Solid Gold

Before the Throne of the Cruelest King

Waking Suddenly and Without Any Explanation

Joking aside... no, no, not quite...

Okay, okay, I'll stop now.  Gunnar and I found one we actually liked.

Have fun, and good night :D