Monday, March 19, 2012

Farewell to "Winter"

It didn't look or feel much like Winter this year.

On the one hand we were  blessed to contend with very few soggy mittens and early morning shoveling parties with the neighbors.  On the other hand, we didn't have to contend with soggy mittens and early morning shoveling parties with the neighbors.  I missed  "Where's my hat?", "My snowpants are too short", "These boots leak" and "Hey, Mary, how's it goin'?"

There was a certain charm of the season missing.

And a certain kind of adventure too.

Sometime this past Fall, I promised my beloved that when we built our igloo this year, I would be the first to sleep in it over night.  I think he almost fell out of his chair. It may have been during a game of 500 and he lost concentration for a hand or two, he was so thrilled.  And I meant it. I really would have been delighted to sleep in the igloo and live to tell about it.  If my kids can do it, I can do it.

But, it was not to be.

It pretty much went like this.  "It's snowing, kids."

Kids don all the gear. Run outside.

Snow melts 20 minutes later.

Kids run back in, don rain boots.

Kids scour the yard and house for buckets.

Kids line up buckets under Shellee's garage eave and catch water falling from the roof.

Kids check water in the morning and notice it froze.

Kids check water after school and notice it is again water.

Literally, that was pretty much it.

There were a few skiing outings.  And they went something like this.  "Hey it just snowed  0.5 inches.  Quick, grab your skiis and boots."  Then it was once around the golf course.  Back just as snow is melting.  The report did come back from our littlest gal that her attempt to go down hill was sooooo much fun.

There were a few skating outings.  They were spontaneous as well and sometimes required a call ahead to the rink.  "How's the ice?"  It was just an on again off again relationship with that rink.

One glorious skating outing was one that our area in POP gathered for. It was 26 degrees, sunny, no wind, just as pleasant as can be.  For the first time ever, I watched my agile husband play hockey. My friend Marilyn and I marveled at all the years we had been married to our spouse and neither of us had even seen him play.  That was way cool. A pick up game of hockey is right up there with kick the can (like we used to play back in the day).

There were no sledding outings this Winter. Not a one that I can remember.  But you know, we are still a little gun shy over here in regards to sledding.  Sad to say, but its true.

There were more kite flying outings than there were sledding excursions.  We flew kites on Christmas Day. That was awesome. But weird.

So, Farewell Winter.  It's been intersting.  Hello S P R I N G !!

And Honey, I promise to keep my promise. Next year, when the igloo is built, with all of the snow we are due, I'm in.  For the whole night.

Here are some of our Winter highlights in pictures with some of Christmas thrown in.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

It's America's Favorite Pasttime Time!

I am well aware that spring training is already underway; I have already enjoyed listening to a few innings here and there.  So this is not right on the ball because life is full.  In our family we have a wedding on the way, a baby on the way, business trips (one currently happening), Spring break mini trip to visit old friends, a weekend getaway with the O'Reilly ladies, Track and Field, Gymnastics session beginning again, festivities of Holy Week to plan (maybe another timpano?), Circus performances, a garage sale to organize, final touches to attend to in our new bedroom, discernment of what to do with my "life", etc.  Just the normal stuff!

Anyway, I am excited for all of the above in the next few weeks and for the baseball season.

There are some new players to become acquainted with and some old players I pray return to their Most Valuable Player form.

I looked through some pics from last year and compiled a few here to  share our outings to the ballpark in what turned out to be a dud of a season for our beloved Twins.  You know its bad, when you are just hoping they don't break the 100 game losing mark.

So, here's to another opportunity, a new season, a fresh start! Hopefully this one brings some more games to attend and maybe even some more bases to run.  Hopefully some warmer games to attend too. Last year we braved the rain, energetic and quite inebriated fans in front of us, an embarrassing loss to the Yankees, a no hitter for Liriano going into the 8th inning, terrible ball park food, but lots of fun and good memories.

Here we go!

 Liriano pitching his near 2nd No Hitter of the Season.

 Belting out "Don't stop believin'..."  This guy was a hoot.

Somebody left with a full stomach and maybe not quite all their teeth.

 And last but not least, my hubby, sportin' some serious Mauer-like sideburns.

The Official Site of the Minnesota Twins

Friday, March 9, 2012

Vi Hart

I really don't know who she is, but her blog (with short videos) and website are really fun.

Check it out here.

If you like numbers, patterns, anything Math related, check it out.

If you wonder about anything, check it out.

If you like Fruit by the Foot, check it out.

I bought some of this non-food just so we could try what she does with it.

If you believe there is merit in doodling, check her out.

She's quirky. I mean truly quirky.

Check her out.

But be forewarned.  You might catch your child who confesses she "hates Math" spontaneously write out the Fibonacci sequence just because.

This one on Triangles is neat.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Austen Fever

Emma. Harriet. Jane. Elizabeth. Marianne. Elinor. Darcy. Bingley. Knightly.

We are deep in the world of Jane Austen at our place. It was bound to happen. A house mostly full of girls and entering the junior high era...I am thrilled.

We've watched a few of the BBC versions of Austen's adaptations and started to read Emma and Pride and Prejudice, my favorite book of all time.

And, as a result, I find myself using words like keen, dashing, nonsense and phrases like fond of, at present, and I flatter myself, and quite shocking indeed.  At least if not spoken aloud, I am thinking in these terms more lately.

 Almost makes me want to buy or sew an empire waist dress.  Almost.  I don't think I could stomach it if when walking about I was stopped and asked, "Oh, when are you due?"  Which is bound to happen in my case.

I avoid empire waist clothing for that reason. I flatter myself that the style is just not that flattering on me.

In regards to Emma, I have seen at least three film versions of the story.  I am particularly fond of the BBC Masterpiece Classic version starring Romola Garai. I love her. She's Hungarian. She's gorgeous.

It could have something to do with the reddish hair, but I think she is a fabulous actress. Her expressions and ability to be youthful and mature when the plot requires are spot on, in my opinion.

I enjoy her performance and character in Amazing Grace as well. I am also beginning to wonder if the British are capable of making a film not starring Michael Gambon as well.  He's fantastic.

Come to think of it, when you see enough period British films you see the same gifted actors appear and reappear multiple times.  It's as if Maggie Smith is destined to play grandmotherly, snobbish old dames who zing one liners and steal each scene.  I mean, can you even picture her in pants?

At present we are knee deep into watching Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford - funny as heck and wonderfully, simply shot.  Gambon appears here too and his character contributes to one of the most heart breaking love stories in the plot. So far. We are half way through the film.  You never know with these stories. Money, scandal, disease, a glance from one to another.  They all force changes in relationships so quickly.

A confession: I've broken down into tears only once when reading a Christmas letter. Of all the ones we have received over the years, one made me just bawl.  We received in the mail  two years ago. A family acquaintance of ours living elsewhere and raising three daughters and a son updated us on their year.  They regularly had the privilege of watching their offspring join with the neighborhood kids and perform small impromptu plays based on Austen's stories.  They had recently performed Emma and roped in some younger guys to take the parts of men.
[Aside note: We had to bribe my brothers to be the "priest" and "groom" whenever we played "wedding", it took a lot of coaxing for those boys to comply. Can't say that I blame their hesitancy when I think back on it. We were pretty demanding brides in those days.]

Why the tears?  I've so wanted that kind of camaraderie and play-making to be a part of even one of my kids' lives.  The current make up of the neighborhood doesn't lend itself to the kind of productions mentioned in the letter. But sharing these wonderful stories in these little ways with my daughters is rewarding enough.

Quite rewarding indeed.