Fun Stuff

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.

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!)

Ever since we moved to Eureka, Kiddlebiddle and I have taken one day of our summer visits to go to San Francisco.  When she was little it was the zoo.  A year later, Chinatown.  The next year, Fisherman’s Wharf.  Always touristy kind of stuff that could be done in a day.

This past year we’ve been to the city for very short overnights when we went to the ballet.  And as we drive through the city every three weeks on our “visit with Dad” drives, I’ve begun to think about showing her more of the city of my birth; the city I love dearly; where I went to college and where I lived for several happy years.

This year I decided to do just that.  At 11 she’s actually interested in learning more about mom’s history.  So I began a search for a reasonably priced hotel and was lucky enough to find  a package deal at what turned out to be a wonderful hotel!  The Galleria Park Hotel on Sutter, right in the financial district and just 3-4 blocks from Union Square (major shopping!) and Chinatown!  It was a FANTASTIC weekend!

First, the hotel was a renovated old building that was in outstanding shape and perfectly located.




in the lobby of the hotel

in the lobby of the hotel

On the way in to San Francisco Thursday afternoon, I took her by two of the places I had lived.  It’s been almost 20 years so though I knew where they were, finding my way wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped.  The trip down memory lane was pleasant for me and Kiddlebiddle seemed to enjoy it as well.  (more…)

Kiddlebiddle has auditioned again.  Last year she won the “Stars of Tomorrow” talent show for the elementary school division with a dance she choreographed to a number from Cats (see earlier post).  This year she decided to use her number one love – ballet, and choreographed a number to “Dance of the Little Swans” from Swan Lake.   I surprised her by ordering a tutu and we embellished it appropriately and I made an “Odette” headpiece.  (If you are EVER doing ballet costumes, you’ve got to check out  They are fabulous!) 
My little swan Here’s Kiddlebiddle posing before the audition (should have taken off the watch!)

Regal Swan  My regal swan….

 And here’s the headpiece.

The audition went well in spite of some poor planning on the management’s part.  After all the work on her costume, they made her pin a huge number on herself so the judges would know who she was.  She managed to ignore while she danced but during the children’s auditions (all the elementary school kids went first), a local newsman wandered the stage with a video camera.  I could tell that even the singers, who primarily just stood there and sang, were a bit uncomfortable, but can you imagine what it’s like to be a dancer with someone else on stage that you DIDN’T choreograph into your dance? Can you say distracting??  Kiddlebiddle is a very serious dancer with a drive and passion you see in a professional.  She may only be 11 but she knows what she’s doing.  And with this guy on the stage she had to watch out for him while she was dancing, hoping he wouldn’t get in the way!  She had worked hard on her choreography and rehearsed and rehearsed and here she was having to “wing it” because someone else was on the stage!  And to top it off, they wouldn’t move the grand piano 3 feet upstage so that she could make the exit she had planned – a magnificent leap off stage.  Instead, she had to maneuver her way upstage (making up new steps!), around the guy with the camera, and changing the ending of her dance – without the grand movement! 

Although I felt she was stupendous, she was pretty upset.  And though my usual video camera wasn’t charged (oops) I used my Canon’s video capabilites.  You’ll see the guy in the way; that I was so busy watching her that I didn’t watch through the camera; and you’ll even see the other kids waiting.







Got my hair cut again.  I had found a hairdresser I really liked but she’s moved.  I tried a new salon last time and while the girl (woman?  She’s a girl to me!) was good, albeit young and so probably not terribly experienced, the cut wasn’t quite what I had in mind.  I almost went back to have her tweak it but decided to work with it myself and grew to quite like it.  This is it then:


 Over the past month or so though I realized that the color (yes, I do color my hair…since the grey started taking over!) was too blonde and not at all like my hair was when I was a kid/young woman.  So with that in mind, and wanting a bit more of an “edge” I brought in a photo of my hair color 30 years ago (when I was 2 months old…right….) and reiterated the style that I had requested, but this time shorter in the back.  Lindsey went to town and I quite like this look.  What do you think?


Meez 3D avatar avatars games

Yeah!  Lipstick!  Finally!  (though in real life I’m not wearing it at the moment…it is the ONE makeup I generally don’t go out without!)

I love my Meez!  Have you tried it?  You can make an avatar that looks EXACTLY like you!  OK…so this isn’t really how I look.  It’s about 30 pounds too light; the face shape isn’t quite right…and today the “meezmaker” just refused to put lipstick on me!  But I do live in the Pacific Northwest and I do knit!  And my hair kinda sorta looks like that now.  And I live in jeans, sweaters, and clogs.  So yeah…this is me.

Meez 3D avatar avatars games

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