Archive for May, 2007


Good Music and Happy Mom’s Day

May 15, 2007

My family left Mother’s Day entirely up to me this year, which was fine with me. I slept in, until 8:30, was greeted by Sarah, salad in hand, as I entered the dining room. The other day I was hungry when I got up at 7:00, but nothing really sounded good. So instead of nothing, I ate a salad. Apparently she got the idea that I eat salads for breakfast. Oh well, it was a wonderful salad and I thoroughly enjoyed that someone else made it with me in mind! A few hours later, Jeff and the girls disappeared into the kitchen. Kyle and I were watching programs on TLC about families with many (13, 14, 16) kids. Kyle asked me what Daddy and the girls were doing, and I whispered that they were probably making me something, and we should not spoil it by asking. Sure enough, Jeff, Sarah, and Erin emerged from the kitchen with eggs, turkey sausage links, and tea. I had a very nice lunch for breakfast and breakfast for lunch.

I had to return a movie to the video store, so we took Joe and the girls and headed out for the store. Jeff was getting hungry and smelled burgers. We decided to go hit up the dollar menu of the local burger joint. Erin got a double cheeseburger, as did Jeff, Sarah got a chicken sandwich, and Joe got a plain hamburger. Apparently Joe’s burger didn’t fill him up because he saw fit to steal a bite of Erin’s double cheeseburger, much to her dismay!

When we got home I helped Kyle clean his room a little. Yes, I suppose that sounds odd to do on Mom’s Day, but I have wanted him to get rid of some stuff for a while and he was willing, so we went for it. We were almost finished when I realized the Zydeco concert I wanted to go to was to start in just under an hour. We quickly put stuff away, go cleaned up and went to the park. After finding a fairly close parking spot, we walked to the park and listened to the concert. The concert was part of the entertainment for the Lilac Festival, so it was a free concert in the park. The stage is set up at the bottom of a hill, so you get the amphitheater thing going to some extent, but they still pump it through speakers so you can hear it all throughout the park.

I went to New Orleans a few years ago, and had the pleasure of going to an authentic Cajun restaurant where they have a live band and a dance floor. I was mesmerized as I watched this couple in their 80’s glide around the floor, and then stop to play the “squeeze box” or spoons. They were more agile and had more energy than most people 1/4 their age. Ever since then, whenever I hear zydeco music, that is what I think of. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to see people dancing to the music last night. There was a feeling that brought me back to that little restaurant in New Orleans. Erin got a kick out of the music as well.

She danced…

and danced…

until she was tired.

After watching the band for a while, we walked around to check out some of the booths. It was getting late, so a lot of people had closed up for the day, but we found a food booth open, so Jeff got the kids a funnel cake to share and a fried dough for us. Afterwards we went home. All in all it was a wonderful Mother’s Day. I really enjoyed relaxing and spending the day surrounded by my favorite people.


Lilac Parade

May 12, 2007

The kids and I went to the Lilac Festival parade this morning. We had absolutely perfect weather for it. The sun was out, the temperature was around 52, and there was just a hint of a breeze. After navigating several closed streets we were able to find a parking space about 1/4 mile from the end of the parade route. This worked out well since we were planning to just go to the parade today. Once it was over most people headed toward the festival but we went the opposite direction back to the car. Here are some of the highlights, in my opinion, of the parade.

I really like horses, so when the parade started with mounted police officers and then this horse pulling a wagon, I was thrilled.

I thought these guys had cool uniforms. They looked like they were wearing tuxes, without the jackets. Oh yeah, they sounded pretty good too.

Again, I liked the uniforms. I am not a huge fan of marching bands, but parades would be very boring without them.

These dogs are from the local German Shepherd rescue. The white one in the middle was very “talkative.”

There is just something about the Red Hat Society that brings a smile to my face whenever I see them. Perhaps its the silly red hats with purple clothing, or the infectious smiles many of the ladies wear. I’m just not certain, but I sure do like seeing them around.

This guy was so funny looking. Its a Shriner hat that is as big as a person. Several small children ran up to him to shake his hand or hug him and I thought for sure he would run them over, but apparently he has pretty good vision inside that thing!

Bagpipes are my favorite part of any parade! The music never lasts long enough, but these guys were great.

Nope, I really wasn’t kidding when I said bagpipes are my favorite!

I’m not sure you can tell from the picture what this is…an elephant made entirely of balloons. There were a few balloon creations like this in the parade…very odd! I hope nobody there had a latex allergy.

Just as the parade opened with horses, it ended with horses.


May Flowers

May 12, 2007

I like flowering plants in my house, but unfortunately I often forget to water them, and eventually I kill them. Not intentionally, of course, but they do often die. I try to stick with outdoor stuff, that is planted in the earth, or cut flower arrangements on the dining room table, as they require less attention from me.

My girls spent the night at Grandma’s house the other day and came home with Mother’s Day flowers, even though Mom’s Day was 4 days away. They are beautiful! I love the variety of colors among the same type of flowers.

A few days before that, Jeff and I went to the store for a couple things, and Jeff saw these cute little pots of Campanula. He thought I should have one, so that came home as well.

Wednesday, after I took the kids to the park, I was filling in the pictures in Jeff’s picture frame, but I was short one 6 inch tall by 4 inch wide picture. Normally I take them 6″ wide and 4″ tall. The girls have a dance recital in June, and I thought they should have their picture taken in their dance dresses. I was trying to keep the house cool, so I had all the curtains closed and the house was pretty dark. Thinking the light would be better outside, I took them out to the yard. Originally I had them stand near the fence, but the neighbor’s ugly garage didn’t seem like a suitable back drop. Looking around, I finally spotted the perfect location for their picture! See what you think…

The more I look at it, the more it reminds me of the canvas backgrounds they use at professional portrait studios. The only things that give it away are the fence visible in the lower right corner, and the white from the neighbors house showing through above Erin’s head. At any rate, I was quite pleased with this picture!

I have one more flower picture to post, but by the time we finished dinner and cleaned up the dishes, it was too dark for outdoor photos. Tomorrow is another day and now I have an excuse to post then.


Walk In the Park

May 9, 2007

We decided to go to the park today to check out the preparations for the annual lilac festival. I’m not sure if Erin was trying to plant herself under this lilac bush, or what, but she blended in nicely.

When I took the picture of this tree, Kyle sighed and said, “I just don’t get it.” He is a typical 14 year old boy, who just doesn’t see the beauty in things, I guess.

This beauty, however, was resting under this huge tree. Apparently this type of tree is native to Japan. I guess it likes our American soil as well, for it is HUGE!

We found this monkey in the same tree Erin was resting under. Hmmm…

I don’t usually manage to take nice close ups, but I couldn’t resist trying with this absolutely stunning blue pansy. I did manage a decent picture, although I didn’t quite get my hand far enough out of the way. There was a little white pansy partially blocking this blue one, so I held the white one out of the way. The gardeners must have just watered the pansy bed and this one still had little droplets on it.

The girls posed in front of a beauty of a tulip garden. There were some other flowers in it as well, but the tuilps stole the attention here.

Erin has always loved to smell the flowers.

Joe was sniffing, and sniffing, and sniffing, when all of a sudden he laid down and began rolling. Judging by the tongue lolling, I think he thoroughly enjoyed his roll.

After meeting a very large, beautiful black labradoodle named Cleo, Joe decided he needed a drink, even if it was from Sarah’s very sissyish pink bowl. I wanted to take a picture of Cleo, but she was sitting on my foot to get some lovin’, and when I stopped scratching, she would dance and whine. She was a very large puppy and the owner looked as though he was struggling to keep her calm. I decided to pass on taking her picture.

Erin, Sarah, and Joe enjoy some shade under some sort of pretty, weeping tree.

At one point while we stopped for a rest, a male cardinal flew in front of us. I love cardinals, so I decided to try to get his picture. He apparently had other ideas! I chased that silly bird all over the park, and the two photos here are all I was able to capture of him. I really need a camera with a telephoto lens! He is in the center of the two pictures below. Even if you can’t see him, the pictures are still kind of cool.

There are lots of animal burrows all throughout the park. Joe must have caught the scent of something near this one, and his dachshund instincts went into overdrive… I had to climb under the lilac that this hole was under to “dig” Joe out!

The girls posed for one last picture under this tree before we hopped in the car and headed home, with the air conditioning blasting. Yes, it is only May, but the temp reached 86 today. A bit too warm for my tastes!


Concert of Music from Around the World

May 4, 2007

We had a girl’s night out this evening. My mother-in-law, the girls and I went to dinner and then to a free concert at a local college. I really enjoy a variety of music types, so this was a lot of fun. There were three groups that performed: Paulownia, a Japanese Koto group; Son de la tierra, a Latin folk music group; and Agbekor, a Ghanaian percussion music group. I took some pictures, but we were sitting back a ways in the auditorium and as soon as I got ready to take the first picture, they dimmed the lights…go figure!

This is a picture of the Koto group, consisting of 3 women. The Koto is a stringed instrument made from the wood of the Paulownia tree. Originally the strings were made from silk, but now they are made from nylon. The instrument has a very sweet, fairly quiet sound. Although a stringed instrument, it really does not sound like any Western stringed instruments.

After the concert, they invited the audience to come on stage and look at the instruments. My girls took a couple pictures of the Koto. Erin took the first picture, which I thought was a great one because you can see the beautiful grain of the wood in it.

Sarah took this second picture of the instrument and one of the women from the group. This woman also happens to be the wife of one of the members of a band that my father-in-law plays bass in.

This is the Latin group. The man with the flute was the director of the concert. He also played with the Ghanaian percussion group.

Finally, the Ghanaian percussion group.

This group consists of students from the local college, except for the director, who is a professor of music at the school. The man standing at the end, on the left, is a master drummer from Ghana. Erin seemed quite taken by him so she took a close up of him after the concert.

After each of the groups performed individually, all 3 performed together in a very upbeat, interesting “World Beat” ensemble.

As I said, this was a fun event. It is not something we typically do, so the kids enjoyed themselves, even though it was quite late for them. I think they also learned a few things. In addition to each piece of music being explained, the groups each told a little about the history of their music. We hope to go to more of these types of things in the future. Free events are always good!


Middle of the Night Scratching

May 3, 2007

My back hurt so badly yesterday, that I spent most of the afternoon and night in bed. I finally got comfortable enough to go to sleep for the night around 1 AM, knowing that I had to be up at 4 AM to go to work. I used to sleep through anything, and to some extent I still do, which is fortunate since we live practically next door to the airport on a flight pattern. Anyway, at 2:30 I heard something in my sound asleep state and shot straight upright in bed. It sounded metallic, but for the life of me I could not figure out why one of the kids would be up at 2:30 in the morning banging metallic objects together. Then it hit me…one of our (unwelcome) resident mice was in the knee wall in our bedroom, chewing on something. It must have been near the heat run bumping it with something, making the faint metallic sound I heard. After that all I could hear was the stupid mouse chewing on what sounded like carpet, although I found no evidence of that. It was NOT the kind of thing one should wake up to in the middle of the night, especially when one has only just gotten to sleep!

When I got home from work this afternoon, I grabbed the kids, stuffed them in the closet and told them to vacuum and clean and look for mouse droppings. We found a little nest under a loose floor board so we piled heavy stuff on top of it. I believe that is where they were getting into the room, so hopefully I have cut them off. I’ll have to get a new electrocution chamber, but until then, I hope they find somewhere else to chew in the night!


More Basement Demolition

May 2, 2007

The basement demolition continued yesterday with Kyle, Ben and I completed some more wall and floor removal. I will basically let the pictures do the talking…

This first picture is from April 25th.

This picture is from yesterday morning.

These last two pictures show the basement after we finished yesterday evening. I was going to take one before we put all the “stuff” back, but I forgot. You can see here how lovely the wiring is… Fixing the wiring is the next big job that will be tackled. My back is absolutely miserable, even after the chiropractor, so the wiring will have to wait for another day.