Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gosh Oh Golly Gee...

It's hot. That's no excuse for not updating my blog, but we're not doing anything other than sitting around trying to stay cool. We've been swimming a few times. I keep forgetting to take my disposable water camera, so I can finish off the film that's in it. Then I would have pictures to post. Alas, I have no brain.

So, things that I need to take pictures of and post on my blog:

1. The garden. A lot of stuff got eaten by a horde of tiny green worms, but I do have cherry tomatoes galore. They're not ripe yet, but they will be soon. And the basil is lovely.

2. My first attempts with a drop spindle. Some of what I'm making is starting to closely resemble yarn, albeit very ugly yarn.

3. Timothy swimming. I need to get video of that.

In other news, the Pilates studio is done (more or less) and we are moved in, so I once again have equipment and am going to be booking equipment lessons soon! Yeah!!! Our new studio is gorgeous! If you're interested in coming to see it, I have a few cards left entitling the holder to a free class! So, sorry for the boring blog for today, but hopefully, publicly posting my to-do list will spur me to actually DO something about it! For now, I'm off to practice my spinning!

Monday, July 21, 2008

The complete dictionary of our cats

People are always a little shocked at the number of cats who call this house home. Most days, I'm one of those shocked people. I don't honestly know how I came to be the crazy cat lady on the block, but those who know me well could have predicted it for some time before it actually happened. My parents, for instance, have probably know it was coming since I was a very small child.

In order to clear up some of the confusion over who's who, I've decided to put together a comprehensive list. These pictures are not all fantastic. Today I don't have the patience to go through years of pictures and find the best ones. But here they are, good pictures or not!

First, we have Eenie. She's known around here as Miss Mouse. She is our only permanent female cat, and she is spoiled rotten. One of our original litter of bottle babies, she is my favorite kitty, and she knows it. She reserves the right to kick any other cat off my lap, and to finish up anything I leave in my milk glass or ice cream bowl. She is very, very sweet, and just a little neurotic. In this picture, you can see her bald tummy. When she's feeling off, she pulls out her fur. I made her watch a special on tv about the disorder, and it seems to have helped her sort things out. Her fur is growing back nicely. Another month or so and she'll be back to her normal, lovely self.

Next, there's Meanie. He's also one of the original litter, and resident Chatty Cathy. He holds the notoriety of being the only kitten to have been mislabeled gender-wise, early on. (Well, up until the wild litter we caught a couple summers back! Sorry, Beth! I promise I didn't know Fred was female!) Meanie spent his early days as Chris' favorite, and was known as "Princess". One day, when he was about a month old, he was rolling around and I noted that "Princess" had some very unladylike parts. Chris has never forgiven Meanie. Meanie is a sweetheart. He loves to talk on the phone. Anytime it rings, he comes running and insists upon saying a few words. No, I'm not that crazy person who makes you talk to my cat when you call me. He just tends to speak over me.

This is Miney, also known as Lard. He's our Big Boy. He topped out at 19 pounds, but is now down a little from that. He's so tall, he can stand with his hind feet on the ground and his front feet on the counter. Despite being the biggest of our original litter (well, any litter, really) he is the resident Fraidy Cat. Everything terrifies him. Strangers, thunder, bugs, a baby mouse that Jack once name it, he will cower in fear over it. For those Monty Python fans out there, he's our Brave Sir Robin.

Moses is our most recent interloper on the permanent residents list. He is the reincarnation of my dear Mo, who died three years ago. The other cats can't stand him. He's an obnoxious whippersnapper. He has too much energy. He's never met a bit of people food he didn't love, and wouldn't steal right off your fork. I adore him. Well, except that he loves to nom expensive yarn. He gets his comeuppance for eating my yarn by being forced to model my knit and crochet projects.

Somewhere out there is a better picture of Jack. I'm sure of it. I just couldn't locate one. Jack is our oldest cat. At six, he's our Top Cat, and he doesn't tolerate any jumping ranks among the others. He is our escape artist, managing to con the kids into letting him escape at least once a day, it seems. He doesn't ever go far, mostly he just likes to make me chase him. He has huge quantities of dignity, and will only purr for me if there are no other cats in the room to see it happen.

Meet Elinor. She's one of our fosters. She's a total snuggle bum, and loves to have her belly rubbed. She mostly stays in Gabe's room, but likes to venture out in the evenings for a visit before bedtime. She's not a big fan of the other cats, excepting her sister, but she's learned to tolerate them. Mostly. Moses is enough to send her into a hissing, spitting fit. Then again, he has that affect on us all sometimes. You should have seen me the last time he ate my sock yarn.

Makinsie, Elinor's sister, is our Grumpy Old Lady. She's 12 years old, and would like a little peace and quiet. She'd also like the kids to stay off her lawn. She's very sweet with people, except for Timothy, but she doesn't care for any other cats but Elinor. She's hoping to find a quiet home where she can be an adored lap cat. She is one of the prettiest cats I've ever seen, and she reminds me of Giselle, my dearly departed childhood pet.

Now, for the outside crew. First we have Boris. We didn't much care for Boris at first. He was a bully. Then we gave him a little operation, and half a chance, and now he's our #1 porch kitty. Boris will let the kids do anything with him. This picture was taken shortly before they decided to decorate him with chalk. He has been offered a spot in the house several times when the weather was bad, but he and Jack can't agree on terms so he's never stayed long. He's Scrawny Cat's best buddy, although he refuses to admit it. They sleep in the same basket, paws wrapped around one another, and groom one another's faces, but if he thinks anyone's looking, all Scrawny will get from him is the back of his paw. He would love to find an indoor home where there is no alpha male to get on his nerves, and preferably one where Scrawny is welcome, too.

Horace is Boris' evil twin. He's far more of a bully than Boris ever was, but he's been much better since his operation. In this picture, he is very dirty from several rainy days in a row, and he had just had his little operation so he wasn't feeling his best. He's actually very pretty, when he's brushed and clean. He LOVES people. He's just not much of a fan of other cats. He'd also love it if someone took him home and spoiled him rotten. He's tired of life on the streets.

This is one of only a few pictures of Scrawny Cat. She's very shy. We started feeding her when she was a very frightened adolescent. We think she was born into the wild, although we have no idea who her mama might be, since all of the mama cats around here have been captured and spayed. We managed to capture her and spay her before she ever had kittens, and although she's still shy, she loves to be petted. You just have to be patient and let her come to you. She would make a great house cat for someone who wants a quiet, low maintenance kitty. We'd love to see her find a home with Boris, whom she clearly adores in a hero-worship kind of way. She isn't very fond of Timothy, since he insists on chasing her, but Gabe is her favorite person in the world. He was the first of any of us to be allowed to pet her.

There you have it! The complete guide to cats in our house! The last five are up for adoption, if anyone is interested. They are all spayed or neutered and have rabies shots, and Elinor and Makinsie are declawed and up to date on all shots. Please let me know if you're interested or know some one who might be! We really have far more than we would like to have, and I'd love to place the fosters in wonderful homes before the end of the year!

The Fourth of July and Timothy's First Fish

I'm making progress in the catch-up process. I'm up to the Fourth of July! We started out the day with some fishing and a picnic at the park. We didn't have any real plans, so it was kind of a fly by the seat of your pants holiday. Here we see Gabe, having some fried chicken and fries.

Timothy reeled in his first fish, with a little help from Chris!

Almost got it! Keep reeling!

Look, a FISH!!! Since Timothy's vision isn't great, it's always exciting to watch him experience things for the first time. I know he knows what a fish is, theoretically, but this is his first real, live sighting!

Timothy's wasn't the only catch of the day! I think everyone but me ended up catching something. I was too busy making sure Timothy didn't wind up in the lake this time. I failed to mention in the Scout Camp post that the Sunday before camp, when Chris and the boys went out to Camp Russell to help with set up, Timothy managed to fall in the lake, right in the middle of a muddy, shallow spot that was full of slime and weeds. He's very proud of this fact. It seems to have been the high point in his summer thus far.

Because we didn't have official plans, we decided to go to the Drillers game and watch the fireworks afterwards. Because we've already wrestled our children through one baseball game this summer, we opted to go late. We arrived at the bottom of the 6th inning. It turned out to be the perfect time to arrive. We kept the kids busy and happy with LOTS of snacks. Here's Timothy, experiencing his first cotton candy!

Gabe's an old pro with cotton candy. Don't his eyes just scream "SUGAR HIGH"?

What trip to the ballpark would be complete without Cracker Jacks? They turned out to be even bigger a hit than the cotton candy was with Timothy!

The game ended with an incredibly exciting play and a close win by the Drillers. The crowd was on its feet for a dramatic slide into home plate! Then, after a few minutes of set up, it was time for fireworks. My camera never does well with low light pictures, so I just sat back and enjoyed the show. We all had a fantastic time! Can't you tell?

Big Splash

We've spent a fair amount of time at Big Splash this summer. We got Gabe and Timothy season passes for their birthdays. It's quite a deal to buy them in the winter because regular tickets cost enough that you can buy season passes, go twice and save money. And since they keep changing the policy on who gets in free, we ended up with an extra pass. The website said "under 3", but when we got there to take our pictures for the passes, I was told it was "3 and under". Chris ended up with Timothy's pass, so now we can all go anytime.

My water baby, in the wave pool.

Tormenting Big Brother, as always!

Gabe is such a ham. A very skinny ham, but a ham, nonetheless!

A great way to spend a hot summer afternoon!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

So that I don't leave you with the impression that I look ridiculous ALL of the time...

Here's a picture from the night Chris took me to Molly's Landing to celebrate my birthday. Ok, it does happen that in this picture, I am hugging the little wire guy who was hanging onto our wine for us while we weren't using it. But in the other picture Chris took of me, I have a terribly silly look on my face. So it had to be the one of me hugging the wine guy. Alright, you win, I do look ridiculous all of the time.

Don't blame me, it's his fault. He told me to do it!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Lots of pictures of Scout Camp

Scout camp began on a wet, unseasonably cool morning. It was the morning of my birthday, in fact. The opening ceremonies were a little damp. Chris had taken Monday and Tuesday off work to be with Gabe, and my scheduled unexpectedly cleared for Monday, so I went along.

Forgive me for posting this terrible picture of myself. It was cold. Gabe wasn't using his poncho, and since I don't own one, I thought I might as well put his to good use. I now know that a grown woman in a Spiderman poncho draws a lot of strange looks.

Here is our pack's flag, as drawn by the boys.

Despite the wet weather, activities continued as normal. Here are Gabe and Chris at the bb gun range. Have I mentioned that my son is quite the sharp shooter? So if you ever get pinged in the bum with a bb and he tries to convince you that it was an accident, do NOT believe him. He has a marksmanship patch that states otherwise.

Toward afternoon on the first day, the sun came out. Here are the boys, practicing for the flag ceremony. Our pack was in charge of closing ceremonies on Thursday, and the boys worked hard to get it just right.

Here's Gabe, receiving a bullseye bead at the bb range.

Here, he's learning to make ice cream!

On Thursday, I went with Gabe while Timothy was at preschool. This is the woodworking station, where Gabe built a bug catcher.

I love the look of intense concentration: "Do NOT hit thumb with hammer. Do NOT hit thumb with hammer. Do NOT..."

Here are Logan and Gabe, carrying the pack flag.

Closing ceremony on Thursday. Gabe is toward the back of the line.

Tying off the flag lowering ropes.

Gabe's job in the ceremony was to lower the Oklahoma flag. He did a fantastic job. These pictures are all out of order, but I can't be bothered to fix it. You'll just have to scroll through backward or something.

Archery, another type of marksmanship at which Gabe excels. We think it's interesting that he is left handed, but can shoot equally well with both hands.

A game of human checkers.

Everyone had a lovely time, and two days of rain did very little to dampen the boys' spirits. It did create an astounding amount of filthy laundry. But that's to be expected, I suppose!

100th Post Quandry...

I haven't posted anything these last few days because this is my 100th post, and I wanted it to be special. I've thought long and hard about my options. I've seen lots of people do 100 facts about themselves to celebrate their 100th blog. That was my original plan...but then I realized that I have children who tend to run amok when I'm distracted, and that it would take me far too long to think up 100 interesting things about me. No telling what could happen in that amount of time! Next, I thought I might go back through my pictures and pull some of my favorites. It turns out that I have a LOT of favorite pictures. I just couldn't narrow it down. Then I thought I'd do something sweet and sentimental. Hahahahahahaha, I'm just kidding. Finally, I overheard a conversation taking place in my back yard yesterday, and I just knew it was the perfect post for this momentous occasion. It was between my eldest son and his buddy from next door. It perfectly represents life as I know it. Here it is:

Gabe's friend: "I have to pee. Are we allowed to pee out here?"
Gabe: "Yeah, sure."
Gabe's friend: "Where should I do it?"
Gabe: "Anywhere you want."
Gabe's friend: "Are you sure your mom won't care?"
Gabe: "Nah, she lets the dog pee out here all the time!"

I didn't intervene, in case you were wondering. I probably should have, but there are some things best left alone. Some points best left unpondered. Like why I found a single, cooked black bean in the shower this morning. I've just resigned myself to not having all the answers all the time.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More summer pictures

A few weekends ago, we went to a fly fishing seminar at the park. Chris and I learned to fly fish in Montana two summers back, and we have our own rod, but we don't get to do it much, because, you know, we have children. Since the park thing was A) Free B) On a Saturday and C) Free, we decided we had nothing to lose and took the kids along. First, we learned to tie our own flies. It was really pretty fun, and not as hard as I thought it would be. I guess all the knitting and crocheting has made my fingers nimble. Then, we went down to the pond to try out our new flies. Hey, look, I'm on my blog! I am not actually a hunchback. Apparently, I just impersonate one when I cast a fly rod.

The hardest part was not hooking errant kids on the back cast. Since Chris and I only have one rod and reel, we took turns keeping the kids out of harm's way.

It was also challenging to keep the ducks and geese out of harm's way, harm's way being Timothy. He really wanted to pet them. Oddly enough, they really didn't want to be petted.

I call this one "Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn". I have not the mad photography and editing skills that some of you have, so I apologize for the quality.

Gabe is becoming quite the fisherman. His Pawpaw will be proud!

Not a keeper, but quite a cute little bluegill. He posed for one quick picture, then we quickly sent him back into the pond to tell his fellow fish about his adventures. He must've done a good job of it, because he was the only catch of the day. Unless you count that one slow duck that Timothy caught. He didn't need those tail feathers anyway.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bank of America Night at Driller Stadium

What is summer without baseball? We attended Bank of America night at Driller Stadium again this year, although this year it didn't coincide with Scout Night. The kids were really only interested in the food and the fireworks. Unfortunately for those of us who had to keep the kids entertained, between the food and the fireworks lie nine looooooong innings!

Timothy is a big fan of the two-fisted hot dog eating method.

Gabe is more a burger kind of guy.

Chris will eat anything, provided it is unfortunate enough to linger on his plate long enough. Between this and the video of him on the slip 'n slide, I maybe needing a place to sleep tonight.

'Cause it's ONE, TWO, THREE strikes you're out! Gabe kept heckling the wrong team. We should probably provide some baseball background before we attend any more games!

A rare moment of attentiveness. Either that or he was practicing his gymnastics skills!