Saturday, April 28, 2007

Does Anyone Recognize Them?

I try to scan a few old photos every so often to make sure they get preserved. I found this one with four people I don't recognize. It looks like Aunt Zelma on the far left, who sometimes came over when we were at my Grandma Horton's, even though she came from the Squire's on my Dad's side of the family. I don't recognize the boy in her lap. On the far right is a lady and young girl, I don't recognize them, either. The rest of the family of course is Grandma Horton, (who looks so nice in this picture), Mom who is hugging Mike, my sister Laura holding a child I don't recognize with my brother Wayne standing next to her. Also, I am not sure where this was taken, but was wondering if it was at my Grandma's if maybe it wasn't Verna Lamb and a couple of her boys....although that doesn't explain who the girl is.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Shout Out and Chimes

A shout out to Wayne: Get Well Soon! We Love You!

Now for the chimes. Mike and Margie and family got me some pretty sailboat wind chimes for my birthday. Before I had a chance to hang them outside, we had a very windy night, and when I went to bed, I made sure my window was open so I could hear the wind. But what did I hear? Some very LOUD wind chimes coming from the back of the house. So I figure my neighbors have hung out THEIR wind chimes before I had a chance to hear my OWN wind chimes, and that made me mad! Oh yes! I pouted because I was forced to listen to their wind chimes, and I hated the way they sounded because they weren't mine. I was mad at myself for not hanging mine up. And I hated it that my neighbors chimes were so dang LOUD. It really intruded on my ear drums.

But wait...then I remembered I HAD hung some wind chimes up in the back yard last year, but the center thing was broken so they only chimed when the wind blew very hard. So then I got all happy again, and felt silly, because I was mad listening to my own wind chimes when I thought they were the neighbors. And listening to them calmed me down and I went to sleep because they were MINE, MINE, MINE.

Next day I get up, and guess what, I look out the window and see very clearly that there are no wind chimes hanging out in back. Matter of fact, I saw them hanging in my room, where I had brought them to repair but never did get around to it. So my happiness of the night before was based on a false premise and it is unfortunately true that my nabes have hung up some very loud, instrusive wind chimes. Sigh. I just hope my new chimes outchime the neighbor's. In a world fraught with so many critical problems, this problem is really quite petty and miniscule. However, I would like to point out that listening to the wind and my own windchimes was something I look forward to at night because it is so soothing and comforting. According to Feng Shui, it attracts good energy, too. So how do you sleep when the wind blows hard?

Family Celebration

It was a great celebration, as Michael and Michelle both got their high school equivalency cerificates, and Michael will be getting his driver's license very soon. It was the first big gathering on the back yard deck, with the sliding doors opening into the dining area, where a wonderful feast was laid out on the dining room table. We played badminton, William played his coronet, we joked around and visited, and harassed Michael and Michelle into giving graduation-style speeches. It was a lovely spring day which we all enjoyed very much. Mike and Margie did a great job hosting, and a special kudo goes out to Margie for sticking with the program. We are very proud of the kids for their accomplishements and hope that this will be the beginning of many more good things to come.

Friday, April 20, 2007

A Delayed Easter Egg Hunt

Oh, we were quite clever to plan our Easter celebration the week afterwards. We didn't know how much snow there would be Easter Sunday, but the real reason we delayed our plans was because we wanted to make sure everyone could make it. And it was a beautiful sunny day, anyway.

This year we did something different. Finding eggs and gorging on candy just didn't seem challenging enough for the kids, who are now "tweens." So, after Brooke and Paige got to find their eggs first, out in the woods, we refilled them with not just candy but little slips of paper with CHORES printed on them. Yes, jobs that the older kids had to do! And some of them were back-breakers. But that isn't all. Many of the eggs contained facts they were supposed to memorize for a pop quiz Ray sprang on them before dinner!

Brooke and Paige hid the eggs for the older kids, with a little help from us. Then we turned them loose and the leaves and branches rustled and crackled with the 5 older kids racing through the woods! Hailie got the most eggs and so got the most chores. The kids were not altogether delighted....especially when Ray handed out a test on those aforementioned facts!

Hailie opened the egg with the little Easter Bunny inside, and that was a magic charm that got her out of all of her big chores. But there were separate chores on pink pieces of paper she didn't get out of. The rest of the kids got to competer in challenges for a chance to get out of the big chores. And thankfully, most of them did win their freedom! It sure was fun. Brandie won the test, and got a fluffy little bunny as a prize. Gosh, we sure got them going this time.
Ray could have told this better, but you get the gist, and here are some of the pictures. Oh, and the ham dinner was excellent!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Editorial Reply

This is in reply to the "Hints from El Gato" post.

Okay, first of all, she does not work for me! Fritz does. (Oh, she gives me treats and opens the blinds but that's about it.)

Second, she didn't forget to open the blinds. She just didn't want to stop what she was doing to help out a poor little cat who just wanted a little amusement. I mean, she watches tv, so what is the big deal if I want to watch out the window?

And yes, I did put my tail in the air and stroll out after only ten seconds. This is why: I could hear something in the yard that rustled and tweeted. It was driving me crazy! It was taunting me, and the more the leaves rustled the more excited I got. But when the self-appointed QUEEN finally quit tapping on those rattly key things and got up off her hindquarters to open the blind, my prey was GONE! So thanks a lot, ma. You blew it. Just for that, I left a few more hairs by your coffee cup. And when you walk through the rooms, watch out, their could be a furry little surprise waiting to leap out at you!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Hints from El Gato

Why would the cat stare at a closed window? I'll tell you why: That's HER window, and every day, it is my job to open the blinds so she can see outside. Yes, MY JOB. I work for a cat.
Today I forgot. So all the while I have been working on the computer, the cat has been taking turns staring at me, staring at the blinds, staring at me, staring at the blinds. She even meowed once. Then she pawed at the slats, and when she bent them down with her paw, peeked through the little opening.
So I opened the blinds. She got all excited, looked out the window for all of ten seconds, gave me one last contemptuous glance, hopped off the bed, and strolled out the door. Damn cat.

Art Gallery and Open House Fun

Fritz, Grace, and I went to the Grand Haven Area Arts Council to see the student art exhibits on Thursday. Grace's entry was a colorful Picasso style self-portrait that was cut out and folded to be free-standing. Emily's cut out wolf was lined with sparkly glitter glue and posed in a loping gait. We got to see many exciting styles of art, some truly amazing! The girls did a good job on their projects and we were all proud to see them displayed.

Then, Fritz, Laura, Chris, Grace, Emily, and I went to Emily's school Open House later that evening. It was fun!

First we got to see her Power Point computer project. The students each chose an endangered animal and did a computer presentation on their research. Emily chose the Gray Wolf, and I was so impressed with the professional presentation, with all the words capitalized and spelled correctly. We couldn't help but laugh when she used the word "retaliated" instead of "related," as in, "The Gray Wolf is retaliated to the canine family." She spelled it correctly, though, LOL!

The timeline each student made were so interesting! Emily's went something like this: I was born in Muskegon, I had a birthday at Chuck E. Cheese, My mom dropped me on my head, We got a cat named Piten Pat..... Again, we couldn't help but laugh, it was so cute. Then we watched her perform an experiment in which 3 liquids were compared as to mass, had cookies that were the BOMB, and then watched Emily on the computer doing a geography exercise. All in all a fun time. Her teacher, Mr. Dean, was very nice, he even gave me the website for the geography game. I was impressed with the projects the students did and how much they are learning.

Why Did The Turkey Cross The Road?

Today being the first day in awhile without gloomy skies and snow, I decided to drive down Sherman to the beach. About a mile from the lake, I saw a turkey casually strolling across the road. A quick check of traffic and one grab of the camera enabled me to get two quick shots.
Two reasons I took a picture. One, it was the biggest wild turkey I have ever seen. It stood over 3 feet tall, I am guessing. And it was alone. I have never seen a turkey sans flock in the wild. And there were no more to be seen anywhere. One more thing. There have been reports of wild turkeys annoying some of the ritzy titsy people who live near the dunes. Some adore them and feed them faithfully. Others chase them with cars, sticks, lawn mowers, etc. Bottom line is, they have a right to live where the habitat suits them and apparently ritsy titsies are not the only ones who find the dune area inviting. Sand mining has already driven off many of the local species, such as foxes, deer, raccoons, and the like. Nature selected wild turkeys to succeed in the area, but what happened to this fellow's flock?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Blades of Glory

Fritz and I went to see the new Will Ferrell/Jon Heder skating movie, and I must say, I was entertained. The critics (of course) had some criticisms, but not all of them were valid. The only one I think is worth mentioning is the one that said Jon Heder was Napoleon Dynamite on skates. Duh. With a mug like his, he is always going to be typecast, his role potential is somewhat limited. He played another likeable doofus and as such was well-fitted to the character he played in "Blades." Sorry, not a valid criticism.

It isn't an art award contender. It isn't a cutting edge movie, no pun intended. It is somewhat formulaic and therefore predictable. However, it has Will Ferrell, Jon Heder, Amy Poehler, and someone who knows a lot about playing a coach, the one and only (much aged) Craig T. Nelson. So you want to laugh or be impressed? I wanted to laugh and I did get that, even if there is much not to be admired, it is what it is. I loved the "skating," and seeing the likes of Brian Boitano, Scott Hamilton, Dorothy Hamill, Nancy Kerrigan, Sasha Cohen, and so forth really gave the movie another cheerful lift, no pun intended. I could have done without the sex addict sidebar but at least it did tie in neatly when the closest competitors hatched a scheme to break up the star team. It was an acceptable marriage of gratuity and plot.

If you want to be amused, go see it. If you are an art snob who must find fault, save yourself the pain and watch A & E instead. For me, there are enough drug, running car-exploding, shoot 'em up, the-world-as-we-know-it-violently-ending despair-mongering movies to last me a lifetime. "Blades" for all its shortcomings is funny and I'm glad I finally got to see it.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Spring Vacation!

Haven't kept up to date with the blog since I have had Grace and Emily here for 8 days over spring vacation. Brooke and Paige got to spend a night, too, and Hailie came over once during the day. I didn't get to see Chantze except in passing, but I guess he enjoyed spending time with his boy cousins!

Some of the things we did: Went to the library and stocked up on books, played on the jungle gym at the beach, shopped for art supplies at JoAnne's and worked on a initialed pillow (Grace's), a wooly sheep note holder (Emily), and made a video of a dream sequence (Brooke and Paige were the actresses, Grace wrote the script and directed, Emily acted and helped with costumes and props), ate at at the Red Wok Chinese Buffet, played WebKinz, watched the Ant Bully, finished up some homework projects, colored Easter eggs with Aunt Jamie and Samantha, Danny Jr., and Anthony. (We also manufactured a gross "spilled ice cream cup" joke to play on their parents! The ones Brooke and Paige made went over very well, they even ended up at the hospital thanks to Ray and Cindy, and quite a few people got embarassed/mad!) By the time you read this Laura and Chris and maybe Walter and Grandma Val will have had the trick played on them, too. Vacation ends soon, but gosh, it was fun! We would have liked to go on a picnic and walk but the weather was not good. Still, we did have fun, and it went by so fast I can't beleive it!

The First Big 'Un!

Fritz and I got to see this LeFarge Corp. cement hauler leaving Muskegon a couple weeks ago. It was right after the last of the channel ice disappeared, and our first daytime sighting of a big ship coming into port since winter.