Alright, it’s been WAY too long since I posted. There’s really too much to try to catch up on but let me hit a few highlights and then get on to the here and now.

  • Emma’s in 7th grade. How did THAT happen? In the past couple of years she’s gone from her natural medium brunette to adding a pink streak to dying the whole thing auburn, to dark brown underneath with auburn on top to now: Gorgeous, isn’t she?
  • She’s also taken on rodeo! She’s learning barrel racing; has raced a couple of times but is in the process of trying to get her horse trained (or get a barrel horse). I wish we had the space for her to have a horse here but it’s just not in the cards…yet.
  • She’s still dancing a ton. She’s student teaching two classes and can’t wait to be old enough to teach on her own. Also dancing with the Ballet 6 girls and Ballet 5 girls. Christmas time saw her dancing the role of Tinselina in “Twas the Night Before Christmas” this year and her mom, yes…me…was the grandma/narrator! That was fun!

So…my catching up appears to be all about Emma. Hmmmm. Well, we ARE moving ahead on the kitchen remodel. Cabinets were painted; doors are in the process of being installed (required some modifications and even some made from scratch); and backsplash tile is up on half the kitchen. Still to do: remainder of the backsplash tile; paint the kitchen; install new floor. (Tim’s also promised to build some organizing slide-outs in some of the cabinets but once I have a new floor I’ll consider the kitchen remodeled!)  More photos on our Flickr.

  • And Tim had a birthday. For 27 days he was the same age as me!
  • Then, 26 days later Emma turned 13. Her party was a New Years Eve party and was a smash hit.  With a cool cake made by her mom:
  • and 3 days after Emma’s party, I had a birthday. Here’s the picture from my birthday: Do YOU see me in the picture? Didn’t think so.

And now….  I’m knitting a lot lately. I decided to join The Yarn Harlot’s Knitting Olympics. The goal is to knit something that will be a challenge for me to complete during the time the Olympics are ongoing. I cast on during the opening ceremonies and am about half way through after five days. Pretty pleased with myself.  I’m making Stefanie Japel’s “Back to School Vest” from her “Fitted Knits” book. It’s a quick knit but I’m glad to have all the information that’s available over on Ravelry. I am definitely going to make a couple of modifications to make it more wearable for me but I’ll write about those as they occur if they are successful!  I’ve got the gauge swatch done.  I’m knitting with some of Chasing Rainbows 50/50 Merino Mohair and it’s not only gorgeous to look at it’s heaven to knit with.

OK.  That should be enough for now. I’ll try to make future posts more interesting. Items coming up:

  • Emma and I are going to the SF Ballet this coming Sunday.
  • Emma has auditions for Sunny Brae’s musical “Beauty and the Beast” coming up this week.
  • I’ve been asked to help with the directing/acting coaching of the musical.
  • I’m going to have dinner with a friend from grad school that I haven’t seen in 25 years.
  • We’re planning a big vacation this year (if we can figure out schedules!)
  • Tim continues to play with Ukesperience and to make instruments.

mom0001My mother, a woman loved by so very many people, passed away 11 years ago today.  I can’t begin to count the times over the past years when I’ve wanted to tell her something; to show her how proud I am of her granddaughter; to let her know that I FINALLY can do some of the things she wanted me to do (like cook!).  I know in my heart that she’s watching over us and that she knows. But still.

The greatest joy in my life is my daughter.  Now, Mama, I understand what you felt. Oh my daughter has far surpassed me in things to be proud of, but I truly understand that depth of love for a child that allows you to hold them close and let go at the same time.  That makes you stand up tall and proud at every accomplishment that child makes.  To support them in being the best human being they can be.  Mama, I give you credit for Emma’s successes too, because you taught me how to be a mother. You were a shining example.

No, you weren’t perfect. Who is? I certainly am not.  But you were the 1950’s/1960’s housewife with a big heart. You cooked wonderful meals and baked like no one else. I remember cousins and aunts frequently at our house for meals with everyone commenting that you needed to start “Aunt Mary’s Restaurant.”  During the summer you (apparently) gladly added to the brood during the day, watching over your sister’s three kids as well as your own three, and your best friend’s two daughters.  We had a houseful!  And that doesn’t even count the Blue Bird/Camp Fire Girls you led once a week or the neighborhood kids who came to play.  You knew how to entertain us with crafts and trips to Steven’s Creek or the beach.  And you treated every kid with equal love and attention.  Everyone loved being at our house.  Because of that example, I’ve been very active in Emma’s school life and our home is always a place the kids love to come.  I have the privilege of being “mom” to a whole other passel of kids!Girl Pile_0846

But most important, Emma and I have a really lovely, special relationship.  I learned from my mother and father that there’s no such thing as too much love.  And that you NEVER hide your love.  You cuddle them and kiss them as long as you can.  And that you accept and love your child for everything that they are, good or bad.  You expected a lot of us but only in the sense that you wanted us to always do the best that we could.  And you wanted us to be happy.  I am happy Mama.  I’ve had my ups and downs, done things I’m not proud of, but where I excel, where I’m most content, is as a mother.  And I learned that from you.  I miss you.  I love you.  So much and very much and with all my heart and I adore you.mom and me with doll

Mary Ann Wilson Froom Marshall

October 28, 1925 – July 30, 1998

Haven’t written in awhile.  Always think it takes too long.  It doesn’t.

But today I have something to share.  Forgive my pride.  At our last parent/teacher conference we were told Emma had been nominated for a special county wide award.  Today was the big day.

all-star-certificate

This is what her teacher wrote and was read at the ceremony:

Emma Jones is an extraordinary individual and serves as a model of leadership at Freshwater School.  Her dedication to doing her best is reflected in everything she does.  Emma’s perseverance and commitment to learn has resulted in her maintaining straight A’s each report card period for the last two years.

Emma is an inspiration to her peers because she herself is inspired.  Her interest in journalism, her lifelong passion in dance, and newly developing interest in horses are all sources that encourage her to learn and experience all she can.  Her motivation, discipline and ability to balanced several extra-curricular activities help her to be the well-balance student that she is.

Emma possesses strength in character that is rare at this age.  She is a strong advocate for others and will “do the right thing” no matter what.  Her compassion for all led her to play a key role in establishing a class fundraiser to benefit Betty Chinn’s work with the homeless this year.  The blending of all her aspirations has created a very remarkable young woman.

Synopsis: Emma is a well-rounded leader, who is motivated to achieve in many areas, be it in academics, dance or advocacy.  Emma is disciplined and compassionate and her achievements will enhance her life and the lives of others.  She has a bright and fulfilling future ahead of her.

Ok…the great sewing extravaganza is over and in fact, so is Christmas!  I was so exhausted from the show that I’ve not had the energy to post a thing.  I did manage to get some photos up on Flickr and a video of BalletDaughter’s performance that I shot from the wings during the first performance. 

I can’t tell you how proud I was of her.  This was her first solo on pointe and it had some rather difficult steps for someone with only a year of pointe work behind her (under her??).  But she was lovely.  Amazingly, HER costume was the easiest one I made!  bellerinas-in-rows

The Bellerinas, who dance with her, were significantly more difficult but I only designed them; constructed one as an example, and another mother did all the sewing.  The difficulty came when the hula hoops we planned to use didn’t get shipped!  So UkeHubby, after driving for six hours from the Bay Area, helped me cut and form yards and yards of plastic tubing.  We had to warm it in the oven to get the right bend in it because it had retained the tight twist it had on the spool at the hardware store.  We had to insert them in each dress, then UkeHubby rivited each one so that it wouldn’t twist.  Twelve costumes – completed the day before dress rehearsal!

christmas-light-latin-costumes

I also made the (10!) tops for the Intermediate Latin class and some new costumes/pieces for the soloists.  I was busy and my studio still looks like a bomb went off in a thread factory.  But my serger was a godsend.  I had been so afraid of it (why????) and then when I used it – heaven on earth!

So, ballet concert is over; smashing success.  December is a hectic time for us.  UkeHubby’s birthday, our anniversary, Christmas, BalletDaughter’s Birthday…then New Years is rapidly followed by my birthday.  We can barely breathe.  But UkeHubby and I did manage to go out to dinner for our 7th anniversary.  We’ve come to really enjoy Abruzzi after BalletDaughter’s dance teacher gave us a gift certificate last year.  So we chose their romantic atmosphere to celebrate 7 years of marriage.  BalletDaughter snapped a picture before we left, with UkeHubby swathed in the wool scarf and hat I got him as an anniversary present (did you know that the 7th anniversary is WOOL??? But I have LOTS of wool already.  And wool blends…skeins and skeins of wool!)

7th-anniversary-001 

 

We had BalletDaughter with us for Christmas and it was wonderful.  She had been told she couldn’t get up Christmas morning until UkeHubby was up.  I generally get up early and that morning I got a text message about 8:30 asking “When’s Tim getting up???” She used modern technology to approach a child’s age old dilemma on Christmas morning!

As usual, she was spoiled.  And so was I.  I got the new camera I had asked for.  We loved our old (?) Canon but wanted to supplement it with one of the tiny cameras that would travel in my purse more readily.  UkeSanta got me the Canon SD1100 and I’m thrilled with it.  I’ve taken hundreds of photos just experimenting with what it does.  Trust me.  It does a lot.

I didn’t finish my gift knitting completely.  I hope to get that done this week.  But I did manage to crank out a quick scarf for myself - a Fidget.  I love it.  As soon as it’s blocked I’ll post a picture.

Until then, we wish you the Happiest of New Years! May the coming year be filled with joy and peace and contentment for us all!

 

Do you ever wax nostalgic for those good ol’ family dinners of yore?  Everyone sitting around the table sharing a meal that (of course) mom prepared…in retrospect, with modern standards applied, often not the healthiest. 

As I’ve worked over the past 9 months to lose a few (!!!35!!!) pounds I did have memories of the meals my revered mother put on the table.  And when someone over on Plurk asked what to make for dinner the other night, I remembered that all those many years ago, when I first married, my mother made a list of favorite dinners and included it in the brand spanking new “Joy of Cooking” she gave me.  The same list that she had actually written on the inside of a cupboard door so that she would have inspiration when she was stuck on the “what to have tonight” train of thought.

I share that list with you now.  Just in case you need some inspiration.  Now when you read the list, be sure to picture it in all it’s 1950′s and 1960′s glory, repleat with a plate of sliced white bread in the middle of the table, tall glasses of milk at the setting of each child (my two brothers and I), tea for daddy and coffee for mom.  Dinner was, of course, followed by cigarettes (dad: Viceroy, mom: Chesterfields, I think!).

  • Chinese dinner (this was bought by daddy and brought home…no wonder it’s on the top of the list – no cooking!)
  • baked ham (must have been less expensive than it is now!)
  • corned beef and cabbage (more than a St. Patrick’s Day dinner!)
  • roast chicken
  • roast beef
  • broiled chicken
  • macaroni and cheese (homemade only-no blue box for us)
  • chipped beef on biscuits (does anyone still make this?)
  • meat loaf
  • spaghetti
  • pork roast or chops
  • hamburgers
  • mexican dinner (not sure what this was…she didn’t make burritos, or rellenos…probably only tacos)
  • meat pie
  • broiled fish
  • broiled lamb chops
  • beef & macaroni (NOT hamburger helper.  It hadn’t been invented yet!)
  • baked beans
  • weiners and beans (canned beans of course)
  • frozen chicken pie and artichokes (the pie was frozen not the artichokes.  It was chicken pot pie – the little ones Swanson made.  One for each of us.)
  • beans with hot dogs wrapped in bacon; brown bread (canned).
  • barbequed spare ribs (Dad did all the barbequeing!)
  • fried chicken (a personal favorite, usually served with mashed potatoes and peas, unfortunately canned)
  • enchiladas
  • tacos
  • sausage and sweet potatoes
  • shish-ka-bob (her spelling, not mine)

I do think the last four were added to her list in the late 60′s-early 70′s as I don’t recall eating them too often in my childhood.

So now GO.  Make dinner!  (The photo is mom, dressed up for some ocassion, but getting the table ready for dinner.  BTW, she drew the pictures in the background. The one on the left is me.  The other is a friend of mine (one of our Bluebird troop I believe!)

Mom setting the table in the 60's

So…it’s that time of year again!  The annual Halloween Party!  As BalletDaughter has gotten older we’ve allowed her to invite more kids.  Somehow it just seems that there’s “less” to do (fewer games, etc.) as the kids get older.  This year they are mostly 11, 12 (maybe 13) year olds.  In the past she has invited about 20 but only about 10 show up.  We’ve held it the weekend before Halloween because Halloween was on a weeknight.

THIS YEAR…Halloween is a Friday so it’s party time tomorrow!  And this year (with very little real thought on my part of the difference between child availablity on Halloween versus any old other night; or the blatant desire of parents to be rid of their kids in a safe and sane (??!!?!) environment on Halloween) we let her invite about 30 kids.  Silly me.  I assumed we’d get the usual half saying they couldn’t make it.  Silly, silly, silly me.  Crazy me.  Poor delusional, shoulda been kicked in the head, me.

So far approximately 22 kids have said they’d be here.  22.  TWENTY TWO!!!  And that’s not counting BalletDaughter!  We have a good sized living room but still.  I envision that scene from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, after the ball when the kids are rocking out.  They’re all crammed together hopping up and down.  (Actually, I bought that soundtrack so I could have that song for the kids!)  I have a few games ready but in actuality I suspect kids will come and go (they still want to trick or treat at this age) so we may just play a couple and have a costume contest.

I’m about half way through prepping the food.  Here’s the menu:

  • Witch Fingers
  • Ghoul Guts
  • SssssssLime Punch
  • Filet of Ghost with Goblin Guts
  • Backbone Rollups
  • Bat Wings
  • Ogre Skin
  • Butterscotch Bones
  • Bat Chips & Spiderweb Dip
  • Peanut Butter Eyeballs

There will be assorted other stuff too…candy rocks strewn about the table, bowls of M&Ms, candy corn, pretzel mix.

A few of my Plurk buddies have asked about recipes and though I know it’s close, if you can’t use any of this this year, think about next year.  Photos will follow after the party.  In the meantime, this is me:

WITCH FINGERS: Using PIllsbury breadsticks, I cut the sticks in half, prepare them, and then before baking flatten one end with a butter knife.  After they are cooked I spray lightly with green food color spray and put a drop of ketchup on the flat end and lay on a sliced almond.  Voila – witches fingers with bloody nails.

BAT CHIPS & SPIDERWEB DIP: Using bat shaped cookie cutter, cut bats out of flour tortillas, spray lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle with whatever seasoning you like.  This year I’m using an assortment of Mexican related spices.  In the past I’ve made these with cinnamon and sugar!  Accompanying them is a dip with: Mix cream cheese and salsa and spread on a round plate.  Over this, but not going QUITE to the edge (so you can still see the cheese/salsa) layer guacamole.  Put some sour cream in a plastic bag, make a small snip off one corner and pipe a spiral onto the plate.  Drag a toothpick through the spirals to make a spiderweb!

BUTTERSCOTCH BONES: I made up Rice Kripy treats but before you dump in the cereal, add 3 tablespoons instant butterscotch pudding mix! (What a marvelous idea.  I can’t wait to make other versions of this!).  Spread the mixture (with the cereal, I’m assuming here that you know about making this treat!) on a half sheet pan and press out flat.  You want it about 1/2″ thick.  Chill, then cut out bone shapes with a cookie cutter.  Cool these and then melt equal parts butterscotch chips and vanilla chips, dip the flat side of the bones in the mixture, chill again to serve!

OGRE SKIN: Ha!  This one is great!  I made this for dinner and actually got BalletDaughter to eat a green leafy vegetable!  Take fresh chard, cut out the stems, toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Lay in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 for about 10 minutes.  Turn them over and bake about 8-10 minutes longer.  They will brown and get very crispy!  And believe it or not – a veggie is YUMMMMM!

BAT WINGS:Easy peasy.  Go to Costco, buy BBQ chicken wings, heat and serve! (SOMETHING’s gotta require little to no work from me!)

BACKBONE ROLLUPS: Spread flour tortillas with softened cream cheese and layer on sliced meats, cheeses, veggie (whatever your little haunted heart desires).  Roll up and chill.  Slice into 1″ piece.  To serve, stack the pieces, each slighly off center of the other, to resemble the bones of the spine!

SSsssssLime Punch: I’m using lemonade mix and ginger ale, mixed with lime jello that has been set and then stirred up to be goopy!  I’m putting in the usual frozen hands, using blue jello for flavor and color and gummy worms frozen inside!  Adding flavor to the water keeps it from watering down the punch.  Be careful about what color you use for the hands ‘cuz you don’t want to change the color of the punch too much.  (I also added neon food color!)

FILET OF GHOST WITH GOBLIN GUTS: Cube of cream cheese covered with green pepper jelly.  (Hey, I never said I was clever!)

GHOUL GUTS: Spinach Dip.  (I was realizing there are only so many minutes in a day!)

PEANUT BUTTER EYEBALLS: 1C peanut butter; 6T butter (softened); 2C sifted powdered sugar.  Mix, form into balls and chill.  Melt 8 oz candy coating.  Dip balls to coat.  Dot colored (I used blue and purple) icing on the middle and set in M&M for pupil.  Chill again.  Add red gel squiggles for bloodshot!

I’ll let you know how it turns out.  (Now, what am I going to wear?? Costume?? Me??? We don’t need no stinking costumes!)

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