Sunday, May 31, 2009

When Eaglets Leave the Nest

This weekend at our garage sale I sold my son's old Little Boy bike. He outgrew that bike years ago, and it sat in the garage, collecting dust. It was time for a new Little Boy to get some enjoyment out of the bike. But it made me feel strangely sad to see it go. I didn't even know I felt attached to it, but it made me feel nostalgic about the old days when I got to be a mommy every day.

Today my Grown Up Son came over to collect a boxspring... over recent years my two kids have gradually removed beds from our house: a mattress here, a box spring there. Our "guest room" now has no bed in it, and the kids' bedrooms are left with a twin bed each (and strangely, no frames).

I remember back in the old days when Hubby and I were taking parenting classes, we were told that our job was to help our children learn and grow and become functioning adults who would some day leave us. The thought tore at my heart strings back then. Now that it has happened (and is still happening, via boxspring removal), it is bittersweet. I guess we did our jobs well! Both kids have flown the coop! Now they sometimes come back to retrieve "stuff," but they don't come back to stay. None of us would want that, but isn't it a little sad, too? Life goes on, and it's both beautiful and sad.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Glorious Saturday

Weather today was fabulous! Sunny, not hot, cool in the shade, a happy breeze, and a happy me. Our garage sale did pretty well, I enjoyed a lovely nap under a quilt, sat in the shade just enjoying everything and nothing, and did another toy drop today. Lovely!

Today I'm thankful for:

1) sun
2) shade
3) breezes
4) my sewing machine
5) spring growth/flowers

Friday, May 29, 2009

My Favorite Student

Note to reader: I rarely tell details of my students' lives. Today I am making an exception. I think this student wouldn't mind. I am not using her real name. I am not showing you the better pictures I have of her face. She touched my life, and I feel compelled to write about her today. I hope her sparkle will shine on you as it has on me.

Should an educator admit to having a favorite student? I try hard not to compare my students and not to have favorites. But everyone who meets Zoey (not her real name) loves her immediately. How can she not be a favorite??

As an able-bodied 15-year-old student, Zoey was stricken with a rare and debilitating disease: NF-2. This disease causes non-cancerous tumors to grow inside one’s body. The tumors can wreak havoc on many systems and cause multiple physical disabilities. There is no known cure.

At 15, Zoey suddenly became deaf. By the time she came to my program at age 18, Zoey was deaf, had balance/gait problems, tactile insensitivities (bordering on numbness), and vision impairments. She walked unevenly and was supposed to walk with a brace on her leg. Soon the brace was not enough, and she was given a cane. Quickly the cane was replaced with a walker, and soon after that, she was in a wheelchair. The changes were occurring so quickly, it was alarming. I was very scared for Zoey's future and her prognosis. (Thank goodness her decline was slowed down with the hard work and care of many medical professionals.)

You would think that a teen-age girl who went from able-bodied to multiply physically impaired in a short time would have some bitterness. Not Zoey. Of course, she was sad and had a lot to deal with. But one would never know it upon meeting Zoey. She is a consummate optimist and happy, sweet, pleasant, smart, spunky, funny person. She brings joy to everyone she meets!

Today Zoey came to our office to graduate. In our program, students get their high school diploma at the appropriate time, which may be anywhere from age 18 to 21. Zoey is 21 and finally got her diploma in her hands today. We don’t have a graduation ceremony, so we try to make it special, and sometimes take pictures of them in a cap and gown that we keep in the office. Zoey graduated today. It was fun! It was special! It was sad! It is hard to say goodbye to a favorite student. She leaves a hole behind when she leaves our program.

Even though Zoey was sometimes sad and had so many challenges, she never let all of that take over her sparkly personality. Wherever she goes, Zoey leaves happiness in her wake. I will truly miss working with Zoey. I thank my lucky stars that she touched my life. I think it’s OK to say that Zoey is one of my favorites. She is one in a million!

Thanks for sharing your sparkle with me, Zoey! I heart you!

Daddy Long Legs

I made another toy!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Peggy is an Angel

My cousin, Peggy, died yesterday. Here are words from her grieving husband, Mike, in an email entitled "My Beautiful Wife."

Our 14 month battle with ovarian cancer is over. It is with a very heavy heart I must report yesterday 05-27-09 at 4:30pm Peggy died as a result ofthe cancer.

Please pray for Mike and for the rest of Peggy's family. Her parents preceded her in death, as did a brother-in-law. Her remaining siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends have lost a dear person, much too soon.


Quiet day and evening yesterday. I performed my usual number of miracles at work. Saved a few lives. Came home and did a small amount of sewing -- these boring blocks -- I was not feeling inspired. Can you see the giraffe head?

Delivered a few garage sale items in preparation for Saturday (a two-family sale, not at my garage). Watched a Netflix movie about anorexia. Wow. I'm actually glad I have the opposite problem (too fat). At least I'm happy.

Found a new iris the other day... I didn't even know we had yellow ones in our yard! These are bulbs I got from co-workers. I thought they were all purple. I'm glad we have a mixture.

Now it's Thursday... back to performing random miracles all day long. Ha! Wish me luck.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Yummy Salad

I don't think I have ever posted a recipe before. I can cook, I just don't like to. So I do it as infrequently as possible. Luckily my hubby is a good cook, though we both have slowed way down in the culinary arts since our children left home. (Somehow the motivation is quite different without them here.)

Well, this recipe is worth sharing. I got it from my sister. It makes a very tasty salad, isn't hard to do, and it's great for a pot luck or special share-with-friends meal. It goes FAST at pot lucks. We made this for our son's graduation party last weekend, and it was a hit.

Black Bean and Rice Salad

1 can (16 oz) black beans, thoroughly rinsed and drained
1 cup cooked white rice (1/3-1/2 cup raw)
5 oz. frozen corn, thawed
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 sweet red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 tsp each of salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients, toss with dressing and refrigerate. Keeps well for several days. Great vegetarian/vegan main dish, or side dish with grilled meats. Recipe can easily be doubled to serve a big group. It's always a hit!


photo trivia: tricky question! I was born in Panama which is very hard to see on the little map, but I think it's green, just like the U.S.A!

1) Henry

2a) Blondie
b) Hi and Lois

3) Their flags are only blue and white

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday Trivia

photo trivia: in the map above, what color is the country
in which I was born (hint: it's not USA)

Questions are from Ken Jennings's Trivia Almanac: 8,888 Questions in 365 Days.

1) What is Indiana Jones's real first name?

2)In what newspaper comic strip would you find these siblings?
a) Alexander, Cookie
b) Chip, Dot, Ditto, Trixie

3) What unusual distinction is shared by these countries and no others?
Finland, Greece, Honduras, Israel, Micronesia, Somalia

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Play Days

I had a great weekend, with lots of happy things going on (graduation! Yay!) - and gorgeous weather - and I spent lots of my free time sewing fun stuff. Like these pillows? Fun!? Yep.

And, of course, I made another couple of toys. On various toys I have used all the parts of one sock. This one has the last piece - the heel - as the monster's nose. It was fun to invent a toy around a nose!

This is the back of the Nose Guy. He is leaning on his nose!

Back to work tomorrow, but it's survivable - I have only 11 work days left!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

In the Toy Groove

I found my toy-making mojo. I'm having such fun! I've learned something with each toy I make. Maybe that will help me (eventually) make a toy that has only slight mistakes in it. Even though I'm still learning, so far I'm really liking almost all of them, and it's fun and quick to make them. Some of these you have seen before. Some are new:

Here's the Monster Family!

In addition to these ten, I have made three toy drops for Toy Society. These are the three I dropped:

I think I'll go make another toy.....

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Milestone

He did it! Our son graduated from college! What a fun-filled day we had! The weather was perfect, the event was exciting, the parties were great, the food was yummy, our son's friends are awesome, and we are eternally grateful for the fantastic experience Steven had at Hamline University.

the speaker, Rev. James M. Lawson, Jr., was fantastic

There goes Steven! My heart is thumping hard!

Steven's fiancee, Melody, graduated Magna Cum Laude!
We are proud and happy parents!
Steven and his proud sister

Steven's grandmother (my mom) graduated from the same college 67 years ago! This is a tree that was planted in our family's honor. Our family has had 26 graduates and 4 generations attend Hamline!

Steven and his housemates threw a party for the families.

Here are the seven housemates/friends. They are awesome people! They have been friends since first semester, freshman year. We are so happy for all of them.

Friday, May 22, 2009

My Cousin Peggy

My cousin, Peggy, is dying of cancer. Peggy is last on the right in this picture. She was healthy, robust, and happy when I met her for the first time in my life three years ago at a family reunion. Peggy was an ER nurse and is married to a devoted and loving husband. This is Peggy, some of her siblings and some of the married-in's. I didn't manage to get them all in one picture. I am so grateful that we had that reunion; I got to meet so many wonderful cousins and their life partners! I just loved Peggy and her fun-loving family!

Peggy and her family grew up in California, and we grew up in Minnesota. It was hard to get everyone together, and I only managed to meet a couple of the cousins until meeting them all, three years ago at the reunion. Since then Tim, Peggy's brother-in-law (standing behind Peggy), died of cancer. And this week Peggy is dying. She is expected to leave this earth very soon. Peggy, I am blessed to have known you and am proud to have you as a cousin!

The Lord bless you and keep you
The Lord lift his countenance upon you
and give you peace
The Lord make his face to shine upon you
and be gracious unto you.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Toys, Drops, Flowers

written by guest author, Jellie Phish

Hello! My name is Jellie. I'm a fish! My creator thought I was going to be a person. Ha! Can you believe that? You know what's even crazier? I started life as a sock!! I like being a fish way better.

Today I got dropped at a pretty swingin' place... Fat Lorenzo's in Minneapolis! There I am, tied to the rope post, waiting for some child to find me. I'm right at a kid's eye level, so I think it's just a matter of time.

But.. my creator is not so sure. She sat there eating pizza, and hoping to witness my discovery. No such luck. A few people looked at the bag I'm in, but only half-consciously, with glass eyes while they were thinking about the pizza they were about to eat. No one really sat up and took notice... at least while my creator was around. Life is a mystery, so this is one more mystery whose resolution my creator may never know. I think she's OK with that, though. I can hardly wait to meet whoever gets to play with me forever!

My creator's husband really liked that pizza! Here he is, choosing which piece is the biggest for his next round.

My creator and Charles are really enjoying the irises in their yard. This morning they still had some rain on them.

And oh, by the way, that rain really cooled things off. After yesterday's temps in the 90s, my creator was so happy with today's cool-down. It was a perfect evening for sitting outside to eat pizza, and I thought it was rather lovely to wait on that post for my Discovery by Child. Everyone in Minneapolis was out tonight: bike riding, walking, driving, motorcycling, and even going places in airplanes. My creator and her hubby saw it all while sitting at Fat Lorenzo's. Nice place to watch the world go by!! (While stuffing one's face with delicious pizza.)
Well, it has been fun authoring GiraffeDream's blog. I think Carol might insist on getting the authorship back to herself tomorrow. TTFN!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Flowers and Fun

This morning as I pulled out of my driveway, I noticed I have some irises in bloom! PRETTY!! Last year I had only one... so I'm excited to have doubled my blossoms this year, plus it appears I have lots more buds getting ready to pop. Wowie!

Then I stopped and photographed these marvelous lilacs on my way to work (and will admit, I "borrowed" a couple of stems to take to the office).

I ran around all day long, like a chicken with my head cut off. It was nuts. Halfway through the day I had to go home and change clothes, because I was wearing a dress (!!??) and somehow it started a big tear under my arm, and not even in the seam.. it was just fabric tearing in a bunch of directions... not pretty! That added to the craziness of my day.
I had a meeting at church, and then came home and ate supper. Yum! Charles had prepared a yummy one which I gobbled down. Now, finally, I get to sit down and take a breather. Whew!
Last night I didn't have any time to stop and think at all. After work I went out for dinner with Sally, BrendaLou and her daughter Beka, and after that I went to book club. That is how my days have been going... fun activities! Hooray! But I'm constantly flying from place to place

Here is "us girls" at dinner last night. BrendaLou is visiting from California. She is such a honey! Sally and I attended one of Brendalou's quilt retreats in the beautiful redwood forest a year or so ago. I hope we can do it again some time. She is a great quilt retreat host!

Beka is BL's youngest. She is a beautiful, young woman! Too bad she is looking down. Her kids are adorable, too, although I have only seen them in pictures.

Here's BrendaLou having a Minnesota experience - petting beavers. We do this all the time around here.

Somehow inbetween my busy comings and goings I managed to make another toy. I just love this one! I want to keep it and play with it myself. Sort of.

So now you know what I have been doing to keep myself out of trouble. What have YOU been doing with your days (and nights)?