Monday, January 31, 2011

Only so many words

I feel like I have been sparse on posting the last few days, and it's because I've been completing the applications for the teaching jobs I'm interested in.  The one's focus is Botany, Genetics, Ecology and Environmental Science - totally up my alley - and I have put a lot of time and mental energy into getting the cover letter and my teaching philosophy (both have to be but one page each) right. The other position is General Biology, and is local, so I'm putting in for that one as well, but am more excited about the possibility of teaching Botany and Genetics.  It's still wacky to me that there are even two positions open.

I think I got them both to sound the way I want them to sound.  It's funny, I have to sort of suspend my fears of what would happen if I DID get the job, in order to write like I really really wanted the job.  Having the Botany/Genetics job would introduce a 40 minute (one way) commute, give me a $9,000 pay cut, and involve lots of work to get ready to teach.  On the up side, it's a 9 month position, it's a 9 month position, and it's a 9 month position.  And I'd be teaching, which I really do enjoy.

I'm glad I'm throwing my hat in the ring, and am excited about the possibilities.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I've tried, I really have.  I know that some people clip coupons and save a good chunk of change when they go shopping.  I suspect that the avid ones actually enjoy this process.  I'm sorry to say that I don't.  The thought of maintaining a little folio of coupons fills me with dread. 

There's an organization in town called Be Local, and they put out a coupon book twice a year or so, with, obviously, coupons for goods and services from local businesses.  Last year I bought the book for $10-15 and put in in my car, where I would have it handy for all the local shopping that I try to do anyway.  I didn't use any of the coupons, and they're all expired now, as the new book is out.  Ergggg.

I was talking to a friend at the dog park yesterday.  She's very good at supporting local businesses, and volunteers pretty regularly for various events around town.  She told me she never used any of the coupons in her last book either, and that made me feel a little less bad. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

35 Minutes

That's all it took my new handyman BFF to replace the garbage disposal that had been waiting on my kitchen chair for the last *cough* three months.  Or more, I've lost count.  I used Angie's List to find another handyman, and when he was going to be out of town working on a job, he suggested this guy, who had worked for the housing authority in town and thus had lots of experience with this sort of thing.

Now, on the one hand, since it only took him 35 minutes, should I pay him for an hour's worth of work?  This though crossed my mind very briefly, but I ended up giving him an extra $10 because I was so happy to have the job done, AND I believe that a person should be paid for their expertise.  He even used a couple of small parts that he had, instead of opening up the packages possible things I'd need that I got from the hardware store.  "You can take these back to the store".  Now I'm starting to put together a project list of stuff that needs to be done around here.

It's funny, I've really gotten into the habit of not using the disposal, and instead am dutifully filling my compost pail and dumping it on the pile outside.  The best bit, though, is that replacing the disposal fixed the leak where the thing hooked into the drain line.  No more emptying out the pan under the sink after each load of dishes. 

In other news, I'm going to a wine tasting tonight, with folks from a single parents group I occasionally do things with.  There aren't really any romantic prospects there, but it's good practice for me to be out and mingling.  And there will be other people at the restaurant.  My goal is to chat with one guy that I don't know.  I hired a sitter for Mr W, and it's someone from church that I used a few years ago.  I'm trying to get Mr W's dad to switch back to the old schedule that I changed when I was dating B, but he doesn't want to.  It gets so complicated when we all have to accommodate not only the x's schedule, but the schedule of the person he is dating and HER x.  It's good, then, the Mr W has a sitter occasionally.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Mouses in My House

 When I went out of town last month, I originally was going to have my friend G both take Sally the dog to the kennel (a.k.a. Dog Camp) and pick her up, to avoid having to board her extra days.  I put a plastic bag with some dog food in it on my counter, so G could feed Sal and then Mr W and I would be home shortly after.  Well, that didn't work out, and we were able to pick up Sal on our own, but the food sat on the counter for a few days until I realized that about half of it was gone.  

Uh-oh.  Mice.  Again.  Most of the years that I've been in this house, I've seen a (as in just one) mouse in the fall, and I set my snap trap, kill it, and that's that.  This time, though, I think the one had babies and there's several around.  I keep the door to the back hallway closed when Mr W's not here to heat less of the house, and a couple of times in the last few days, I've opened the door to see a mouse scurrying away.

It has kind of hit a peak today, as I've seen two (maybe the same one twice) in the living room in the last hour or so, and this morning, one popped up in between the top of the stove and one of the burners, fer cryin' out loud.  No, I wasn't using the stove at the time.  It's almost comical; they see me and then it's as though they say, "Oops, she saw me!  Gotta go!"  I did catch one today behind the stove, and just set another trap after seeing the one in the living room.  The damn things are not silent, I heard them last night doing whatever it is they are doing.  I feel sort of bad using snap traps instead of live traps, but I do believe them to be humane.

UPDATE 1-24-11, 6:24 am:  I caught three yesterday.  Two were juveniles, and one adult.  I reset the traps, we'll see if there's any more.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I have a gardening question

My raised beds had their first year of service last year, and I've got two of them, just a few feet apart.  I put zucchini, peppers (which were totally shaded out by the zukes), green beans (which the dog kept eating - I thought they jusst weren't producing) and tomatoes in one bed, and broccoli, melons, peas, lettuce and carrots in the other.

My question is, can I do another year with basically the same stuff in the same beds, or do I need to switch them every year?  I bought a soil/compost mix from a local landscape supply company to fill the boxes initially.

Your thoughts, garden people?

Some good news in Agriculture

I occasionally read the Civil Eats blog. I like their common-sense approach to talking about food issues. They had a blog post recently that talked about some good news in agriculture for a change. The link below has the whole piece, which has a lot of links, so I'll just put this main one here.

Worldwatch Report Reveals Real Agricultural Solutions

This report is on a global scale, but I liked reading it because it seems like third world problems are often treated as needing only technology to solve.

I have been starting to think about my garden again. It's still funny to me how cyclical the process is. Come October, I'm so over gardening and trying to use up what I've grown. But now, after the holidays, I'm sniffing around the gardening websites, and thinking about how I'm going to try to improve the soil in my raised beds, what to grow, etc. It's like gardening comes back to pick me up around this time of the year.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Rumor Mill

Like almost everywhere, there are budget issues where I work. There was supposed to be a big cut this fiscal year, but it wasn't as large as anticipated, so there haven't been any layoffs. To their credit, the management is pretty forthcoming as to what's going on, and it looks like it might be kind of grim in the next couple of years. Speaking only for myself, on the one hand, I'm not too surprised at the possibility of not being renewed because I have a contract position.  It's always kind of been in the background that at the end of any given year, I might not be renewed.  On the other hand, though, a lot of government contractor positions aren't like that. Mr W's dad has been in his contract position for 11 years, and there's a person at work who's had his for 10. But it helps keep it real, so to speak, in my mind, if I assume that the party might be over when July rolls around.

As you can imagine, this situation is ripe for speculation.  I was talking to someone, who had been talking to someone yesterday, and what they heard - I'll stop right here and make my point.  I'm trying not to give too much weight to this information because it's third hand, but I'm still mildly concerned.  That's how rumors work, right?  Well, the rumor was that there would be a 10% cut next year, which I think would mean we'd keep our jobs, and then a 50% cut the next year, which I'm pretty certain would mean jettisoning us contractors.  Or not, I really don't know.

I'm pleased I have some skills, but feel like I need more to be competitive.  I feel like I should do things to be more ready, should I face losing my job.  Even though I don't have any debt beside the van and my mortgage, I'm still edgy about the repercussions of losing my job and going on unemployment.  And I hate that, despite not really taking the rumor seriously, I still sort of am. 

Well, I have two teaching jobs to apply for, and I will do that this weekend.  The closing date isn't until February 4th, so I've got time.  I read on the one description, the local one, under the "Required" qualifications part, that they want 3 years of full time teaching experience.  As a requirement.  This sort of smells like they've got someone they are trying to give the job to.  For the other position, which is also a General Biology Instructor, for the same community college, just a different campus, there is no such teaching requirement, only that one has demonstrated proficiency at teaching. That one specifically mentions Botany and Genetics, so I might be more in the running for that one anyway.

I'm also going to give some thought as to what I would do if I did lose my job.  What then?

Monday, January 17, 2011


We are lucky indeed to live about an hour from Rocky Mountain National Park, but I confess I don't spend a lot of time there because dogs (understandably) aren't allowed on the trails.  There's plenty of other places to hike with dogs, so that's what we do, but RMNP is still in a class by itself.  This past weekend they had a "get in free" day, and there were several snowshoe manufacturers and outfitters there with demo snowshoes for people to try. 

I thought it would be good to get Mr W out and on some snowshoes, as it's a pretty easy thing to do, and I was hoping he and I (and the dog, with her winter booties) could all go out sometime and tromp around in the snow.  So we went, and at his suggestion, took the van, which is great for this kind of thing because there's room to change boots, or clothes for that matter.  And there's the cool factor...

We snowshoed for a bit, maybe 20 minutes, because there were a lot of people on the trail.  It was enough to get an idea of whether our gear was adequate, and whether Mr W would be up for this kind of thing in the future.  Yes to both.  I'm pleased that the exercise I've been doing for the last few months seems to be paying off; I didn't get winded as easily as other folks on the trail. 

I'm going to work today, and of all government holidays, I always feel like this one in particular was given for a reason.  I feel on the one hand that I should participate in one of the MLK things going on, but on the other, it's a day to work and bank for later.  Slightly guilty, but I will work today.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sister Kris

I refer to her as Sister Kris now out of habit.  My dad's girlfriend is named Chris, and I dated someone named Chris, so it was kind of a bookkeeping thing.  Nevertheless, today is her birthday.  She would have been 48 today.  It's going on three years now that she's gone.  I still think about giving her a call now and then like I used to, but it's not as frequent anymore.  I leaned on both she and the rest of my family pretty hard when I was going through the divorce.  She helped me a lot.

Kris was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer when she was 43.  Everyone was completely blindsided by this, as no one thinks to look for it in someone so young with no family history of it.   She responded well initially to treatment, and I remember so much waiting.  Another scan.  And another scan.
She fought bravely and had her family with her when she died.  She would be so proud, so very proud of her sons, who are both in college now, and doing well academically.  She would also be proud of her husband, who shepherded the boys through, and got them off to college and the next phase of their lives. 

Having loved ones die early affects a person.  I was angry and sad and a bit lost for a long time about it, and only recently have started to ponder bigger picture things that don't take those events into account.  Not to sound preachy (I really don't want to foist any sort of strong opinion on anyone) but I get something out of a show called On Being, where the host interviews all sorts of people on the topics of "religion, faith, meaning, ethics and ideas".  I feel fortunate to have my needs met to the extent that I have the luxury to ponder these bigger questions, and I'm trying not to ever forget that.

I will have a glass of wine later, and toast my sister, and thank her for all she's done for me, and promise to honor her memory by never forgetting what she means to me.

Friday, January 14, 2011


I feel a little sorry for Mr W.  I've made the realization that the mental and emotional energy that I use for finding a mate has a cost, and that cost is that I tend to sort of go on autopilot with the kid sometimes.  Sure, I do all the day-to-day stuff that I'm supposed to; I'm certainly not ignoring him.  However, at those times it feels like I'm not putting energy into pushing him a little bit to do new things and get more out of school, which he sees as such a drag. Now that I've gotten off the online dating, while keeping optimistic and dialing down my urgency, the kid has practically my full attention.

I also acutely felt his absence when he was with his dad for the last few days, when Congresswoman Giffords was shot, and that sweet little girl, the same age as Mr W, died.  Those events shook me up a little, and I was sad that I'm only with Mr W for half of his time.  So I wanted to feel like I'm making the most of the time that I do have with him.  Thus, I instituted sweeping changes to the evening meal protocols, which was met with outrage, OUTRAGE, I tell you, from Mr W, the very person I'm trying to nurture.

I told him that, from tonight on forward, and indefinitely, I want his help fixing his dinner, and I wanted to eat together at the table.  That's it.  You see, I fix two different meals almost all the time when I have him.  I know, I know, this is one area of parenting where I have failed miserably, but I fix him his starch-vegetable-yogurt-chocolate milk, and then I have something else, usually pulled from the freezer that I've made ahead.  It works, but it gets old.  Especially when he can be helping a little on his end.

The first night, he threw an actual tantrum, which was difficult, and took a lot of effort because he was hungry.  He literally stomped across the floor to show his displeasure, and had to go to his room and cool off.  Once we were both at the table, we..... talked a bit.  I happened to have a National Geographic on the table (yeah, that's how we roll at my house), and showed him pictures of Egyptian mummies scientists are doing DNA studies on.  I told him about getting the airline vouchers as compensation for our canceled flight, and we talked about where we could go this summer.

The second night of the new routine was met with initial refusal but then he came around and helped.  He also offered to bring in the milk that had been delivered on the porch.  It'll get easier, and although I answered his questions as to why I was punishing him like this, I ultimately had to say, "Look, you don't have to be OK with this, but you know my intention is not to punish you, but for us to talk more."  "Hmmph".  But he's coming along and I think this will be a good change for us.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Limp, limp

I've spent my precious coffee-time this morning getting the blogs I follow from my blog to Google Reader.  There must have been an easier way, but I had to add about half of the 30 or so by hand.  I know, I know, this technology stuff will make it easier, but I usually feel like I'm limping along with it, as opposed to embracing it.  The upshot is that I'll have new posts in one place, and won't miss anything from the blogs and sites I like to follow.  That's good.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Returning the favor

Like a lot of girls, I was taught how to knit by my mom, when I was in my early teens.  My recollection is that she didn't knit much herself, but knew how to cast on, and do the basic stitches.  I may have made a scarf when I was younger, but I don't recall making anything else.  My mom didn't actually knit much either, but was working on a vest when she got sick, and a friend of theirs ended up finishing it.  So, I guess my early experience with it was glancing at best.

Fast forward to around 2007, when I'm out of school, have a full time job that doesn't require me to work outside of work, and want to develop a hobby.  I think it also may have had something to do with wanting to make a pair of socks for the guy I was dating.  I wonder if he threw those away, or kept them... Anyway, at the time, I had recently become friends with D, who is a good knitter.  A real knitter.  And I remember us meeting for coffee once, and she showed me just a couple of things, like how to decrease stitches properly for a sock, and that did it.  That gave me the oomph I needed to go ahead and consider myself a knitter and take on other projects (besides scarves!). You know how you can watch videos, or see books about something, and it just doesn't click until someone is sitting next to you and does it a couple of times?  That's how it was.

Well, yesterday I got to return the favor, and I showed my friend C some basics.  It just strikes me as ever so cool that this is how this craft is passed along.  That a skill that is both practical and an expression of creativity is often perpetuated in this way.  It was fun to see her first few tight, weird stitches turn into a declaration of "Yes, I think I've got it".  Because we all do tight weird stitches when we start anything new, and it's just practice that leads us to be better at it.  Does that sound like something I tell my kid?  It is.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Realistic Expectations

I read in the paper yesterday morning that there are not one, but two openings for Full Time Biology Faculty at the community college where I taught last year.  One is at the campus I was at, and the other is at another campus about 45 minutes away.  My first thought, was, "COOL!"  My second was, "I wonder if these are for real, or if they've already got someone picked".  There was yet another opening earlier in the fall at the third of the three campuses of this community college, and, despite being well-qualified, I didn't get an interview.

I know times are tough, and the competition is stiff, and all that.  But this is ME, and I know I'd do a fabulous job, and I want it (she pouted).  My point is that it is supremely frustrating to take the time and effort to put together a package to present your credentials for a job, only to be ignored because they've already got someone they're happy with, and they just had to go through the formality of opening the position to the public.

The upshot of already for applying for a similar job a few months ago is that my resume is up to date, and I've got a reasonably good one-page teaching philosophy already done.  The positions are a little different.  The one at my campus is pretty sparse in its description, where the "primary focus is teaching and curriculum development for Majors and nonmajors Biology".  I think that's pretty much what I was doing.  However, at the other campus, the primary focus is, "teaching and curriculum development for majors and nonmajors Biology, Ecology, Botany, Environmental Science and Genetics"

Well!  Did you nice community college people know I majored in Botany?  And that plant genetics is my thing? And that I have a PhD?  There you go.  So, I'm particularly excited about the second one, although the logistics would be a big deal.  Really, an interview for either would be validating. 

The downside to one of these positions is the pay cut I'd take.  However, I hope to figure something out to make up some of that, and it IS a 9 month position.  And I'd be teaching, which, at the risk of sounding self-important, is a way that I can see myself giving back, sending the elevator back down, that kind of thing.  The application process for both jobs doesn't close for another 3-4 weeks, so I'll get my stuff together this week and then try to forget about it.

In other news, it looks like my brothers and I will meet up with my dad in Florida next month.  He goes down there most winters, and has wanted us to come visit him for years.  This year we will manage to pull it off, over President's Day weekend.  I perused airfares on Orbitz, and for some reason (maybe the holiday?)  it was going to be $400 to fly to FL, and there was no direct flight.  The dates are set, so I was ready to just pony up the money.

Then, I had the smart idea to see if I could use some of my old Frontier frequent flier miles, and lo and behold, I used almost all of them to get a one way ticket to FL, and then I paid for the return flight for a little less than $200.  And they are both direct flights, and leaving when I want to.  Go figure.  Btw, I forgot to mention that Delta did come through and I got two $125 vouchers for future travel in compensation for Mr W's and I canceled/ delayed flight after Christmas.  So, we'll figure out some summer travel off of those.  More on that later.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


My Christmas tree is still up.  And there are dust bunnies on my floors.  There is a dish full of dirty dishes, and laundry that needs to be folded.

However, I feel like I had a very productive day yesterday.  Sort of hitting the reset button after traveling.  I had to go to work for an hour to load samples that would run all day.  Then, I hit the thrift store and found several sweaters, some workout stuff, and a few shirts - all half off!  I also spent a lot of money at Target (I was literally down to the last roll of TP - I can't remember the last time that happened!), and went to the grocery store.  Oh, and I also stopped at our local REI, to pick up a jacket I ordered, and bought Sally a set of dog booties for future snow adventures.  *Phew!*

I recharged on coffee and checked the weather forecast, seeing that we had a storm headed our way.  Hmmm, should I do household chores, or go for a hike with the dog?  The picture above shows the answer.  I love that we don't have to drive far to get on a trail and walk over a few hills.  I was going to put the booties on Sal, but figured I'd wait until we were in actual snow, although I still had to clean mud off her feet, so might start using them for wet trails as well.

And this morning, oops, it just turned into afternoon, I've been reading about the tragedy in Tucson, and finishing the body of my purple sweater.  My goal is to get one sleeve done today.  We are getting snow, although less than a foot for the next 24 hours (so they say).  Mr W would be pleased indeed to have a snow day tomorrow.  Funny thing about all that housework stuff.  It waits, patiently.  OK, I think I'm ready.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dispair and Triumph

I wanted to share a couple of Christmas pictures from Mr W's second Christmas.  That's one of the very few perks of having divorced parents, you get multiple Christmases, and therefore potentially more loot.  To keep Mr W humble, and to give myself a laugh, I do a couple of things at Christmas.  The first is to joke about giving underwear, and then to actually give underwear.  This is met with the following:

I then put a couple of things under the tree and make Mr W work for the rest.  A kind of scavenger hunt, that I realized too late was entirely too easy this year, but I'm up for the challenge and will tweak it a bit for next year.  It starts with an envelope under the tree, and then he's got to answer clues (maybe I'll have him do math problems next year...) to get to the next clue.  This year it was stuff like, "Where would you find a washcloth to wash your face?" and "Where do you put the tupperware away when you empty the dish drainer?"  Easy peasy.  The end results, though, are met with expressions like this:

I love the contrast.  And I wish I had a pair of Batman pants.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

You nice people

I know I've been remiss about not mentioning my previous post on asking people who don't comment often to pipe up and say a few words.  I wanted to thank you for doing so; it's a lot of fun to know that there are people who I know through the blog that I've never met.  Pretty cool.  Mike mentioned that he had trouble commenting, and I wanted to say that I think that's a Blogger thing.  I often have to resubmit a comment 2-3 times for it to stick, and that's what I would try here if your comment doesn't go through the first time.  If I don't have the word verification on, then I open the comments up to spammers and we don't need to see those kinds of ads.  I had comment moderation on for a while, but forgot to check it, and Blogger held the comments until I remembered to check for them, so I turned it off.  Anyone who does the word verification thingy should be able to comment, so feel free to try.  Or not, I'm glad you're here.

Having a kid-free weekend coming up, I've been looking for things to do, and found something for a couple of weeks from now.  There's a group in town called Art Lab, dedicated to making art more accessible to everybody, a message I can certainly get behind.  They have this cool idea, called Art Lab Supper Club, where they have something like 50 people buy a $15 ticket for dinner, which is donated.  We'll listen to pitches made by local artists who need money to accomplish their projects, and at the end of the evening vote to determine who gets the ticket money from the night.  My friend D and I will go.  I love that kind of stuff.  I actually have a bit of an idea that I would pitch, and will talk to someone that night to see if it might be a contender at a future Supper.  It's not for me to make art, but to bring something in so others could sell their art. 

Oh, and I've been knitting.  I have a really neat scarf that I forgot to take a picture of, but will do that soon, and also have started another Leisl.  This time I am making the next size up, as my last one was too small (a heartbreak, but I'm going to give it to someone instead of ripping it out).  I'm also using two strands of yarn held together, on the big needles again, so it will have some heft to it, but be lacy, and also (this is a big part) use up yarn I've got on hand.  You'd think that wouldn't be a big deal, but it's actually hard to match a pattern you really like to yarn you already have.  It seems best to go the other way; see a pattern you like, then buy the yarn.  But yarn is so seductive - pretty, soft, full of promise, and people buy it just knowing they'll be able to do something with it.  Eventually. But, I like this so far.  A lot.  The yarn is better behaved than the last one, a lot less fuzzy, and this is machine washable yarn (although I probably won't actually do that for fear it'd come undone...).

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It's not you. OK, it is.

Tweeeeeeeeet! And that wraps up another round of online dating. Before I leave the micro-micro-microcosm that is Match, I wanted to share a couple of quotes from some of the people that have viewed my profile lately and given me the notion that there's perhaps too many frogs to kiss on Match and I need to spread the word amongst people I know that I'm looking. You know, the old fashioned way...

OK, the quotes, unedited by me.

"I'v been on eHarmony for about 3 months now, and still looking for a woman who can get past the fact that my divorce is not yet final. Not yet a member on, just testing the waters."

"My passion in life is living in and expanding the Kingdom of God."

"I am just a man, who has seen many things, been many places, and seeks to find someone to share some old and new of each with."

"I wish success and acceptance among all people and I hope the meeting with a girl romantic arabic and understand that Life is a game doomed to fall and enjoy all the times"

The rest of them are all seeming to gel together and no one stands out. Must be time to take a break. And, by the way, the Kingdom of God stuff is all well and good, it just wasn't what I was expecting to find in a profile. Not to be disrespectful, but why bring Him into it at this stage?

I was communicating with two men lately. One is 9, the other 13 years older. Sure, sure, everyone says that age is one of the least important determinants, but here's the thing. Both have children in college, and mine is still too young to stay home by himself. It's a different thing that I don't think either of these people would end up embracing. So the one has stopped emailing, and I just canceled a meeting for coffee today with the other one. I don't know, it just didn't feel right, and I'm not going to ignore that.

I am happier and more content when I'm not on Match. I feel like doing the online dating thing takes mental and emotional energy from me that I should be spending elsewhere. So I'm going to look around and find some things to do this weekend. I'm sorry if you've been reading about my struggles with finding a mate with a big fat yawn. Hey, me too. I'm tired of the struggle. Instead of being optimistic, it feels like so much work. Lopsided and backwards.

However, it's going to be another beautiful day here in CO. I'm working on another quickie sweater that I hope to finish this weekend. The Christmas decorations need to come down, and I have decided to call a handyman to install the darn disposal that is STILL sitting in my kitchen. Another artifact of living alone.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Partial Holiday Recap

We had a wonderful time in South Carolina. Overall, it was a great Christmas and New Years, and I've got the signs of a cold coming on to prove it! The actual travel, after the initial snafu last Monday, was fine. Busy, tight connections, but fine. As I've mentioned before, being with my family recharges my batteries and the time spent with them is worth the hassle. We went to Folley Beach, shown above, on the warmest day. It was still a bit chilly, but so nice to be out there. It's funny how drawn the kids are to the water.

The weather was lovely. We also went to a local state park called Charlestown Landing, but I took pictures with my phone, and am not sophisticated enough to get those loaded onto my computer yet. The camera on my newish phone is really good for posting pictures to Facebook, though. My brothers took advantage of it being New Year's Eve and bought a bunch of fireworks, much to the kids' delight. The picture below shows some kind of strobe light one, and my younger brother is on the right, his girls in the middle, and Mr W on the left, dancing their moves. There were two other groups of people shooting off fireworks in the neighborhood, and it was very nice of the police not to ticket anyone - it was loud at times!

I got a chance (but forgot to take a picture - d'oh!) to see an old quilt top made by someone on my mom's side of the family that several years ago I had palmed off on my SIL. She got some input from experts on old quilts on it, and unfortunately, it can't have a backing slapped on it and be machine quilted. This means... Family Project!! It'll have to be hand quilted, so will start to be worked on by my SIL and my niece, and then I'll take it and work on it for a while. I've never hand quilted, but think that getting this thing done and made into the quilt it was meant to be is a worthy endeavor.

That SIL of mine also saved me gingerbread cookies they had made, and gave us ornaments they had made out of white clay - she's so crafty! She also wrapped and passed along something very dear to me, shown below. After my mom died, my dad had her wedding band made into rings for me and my sister. Three tiny diamonds, along with our birthstone, mine on the left, hers on the right. My brother in law got my sister's ring cleaned up and gave it to my SIL to give to me. To have this piece that was both hers, and has stones my mom wore for 30 years means so much to me. I was very grateful.

I need to get ready for work today, so will leave it there.