I've got this thing about getting my hair cut. I'm pretty sure it has something to do with getting the most for my money. Whenever I go to get my hair cut, I always cut more than I want to cut, because I figure that if I'm paying for a cut, it better look like it was cut. And the more she cuts, the better a deal I got, right? What is it with all the crazy, do you think?
But not this time. No. This time I've been growing my hair out for months and months--six months since the last trim and I have a long-summer-with-no-options-but-a-ponytail to thank for it. That's correct, folks--I walked in, I sat down, and I told her to cut just a little as possible to give me a shape and get rid of split ends. It almost hurt to say it--I've said it before and then retracted--but say it I did, and then bit my tongue and that's what I got.
Turned out she didn't need to cut much more than a quarter inch. How's that for money's worth. The old me would be devastated.
But there it is. Kari and her Long Hairs. It only took me 20-something years to get here, but hey . . . something "about better late than never," right?
A weekend ago we finally had a good solid frost. Not that I really enjoy that sort of thing (at this point I'm still holding on to my flip flops for as long as humanly possible) but being the optomist that I am (HA!) I knew that frost was just what we needed to set the grapes for which I've been pining.
My friend, Sara, and I set out for my in-law's house first thing in the morning and stripped their vines of all the grapes we could find--mostly concords, with some white and red table grapes thrown in for variety. Then we booked it home, sent the littles off to Kindergarten and I got down to the business of juicing.
I love canning juice. It makes the house smell amazing with very little thought or true effort involved--you set the grapes and walk away for an hour before coming back to bottle it up and reset for another hour--but you can end the day with such a sense of accomplishment. When I finally had the whole mess cleaned up and headed up for bed, I counted 34 and one half bottles of tasty nectar just waiting to be stashed in my store room.
And, as if "sense of accomplishment" wasn't enough, there's always a little something to learn. This year I was certain that my new stroke of brilliance was the set up of a mini-Mighty-light table in front of the stove as a work station. Stole that one from fellow juicer, Sara, and it was pure genius, I tell you.
But that's not all, oh, no--there was more to learn. I've often left boxes of grapes out on the porch all day while I processed others, but this year the bees found them and there was moment that I was blasting the swarm with a leaf blower in one hand and trying to close the box with the other and doing my best to avoid being stung in the middle, only to get one box inside the house and return to fight for another, while Jack battled the surfacing bees from box number one. (He swatted down at least forty bees that surfaced after spelunking through the grapes.) So a second lesson from Juicing Day 2013: bring all the boxes inside while you juice. That little tid-bit is my gift to you. You're welcome.
A morning of harvesting grapes, followed by eleven hours and seven batches of grapes, resulting in 33 and one half quarts of liquid joy. What's not to love?
That little guy at the top is now nine and one-half years old. Whew--where did it go?
That big guy at the bottom--he is nine and fifty. Today, in fact.
Grampa Larry's birthday today brings him just one year shy of the big Six - Oh, so before he is so ancient that he can't read ye old blog here, I figured I ought to send out some birthday love over the internets in the form of a very short list--some things I love about my dad.
+ Larry loves daughters. He only had girls and he had four of them. And there wasn't anything that his buddies with sons could do that he couldn't do with his girls. And time after time we came along for the fun just to prove it.
+ A particular river rafting trip comes to mind--eh, Heather? Men and their sons totaling at least thirty rafters, then me and Heather. A few years older and I might've found that much more appealing--and my dad wouldn't have invited me. ;)
+ Or hiking up American Fork canyon and being left on the edge of a cliff (top
of a trail) while dad abandoned us (went to check things out) for hours
and hours (two minutes) until Heather and I started calling for him
(screaming at the top of our lungs because he'd probably been eaten by a bear) and he had to come flying over the edge to make sure that we'd not been eaten by a bear. (We were still, very much girls. Still are.)
+ Or making sure that I didn't throw like a girl before ward girl's softball season. And it must've worked, Craig has always appreciated that I throw like a boy. Honest.
+ Or pulling me out of school to go skiing. Even if I was a horrible skier, with more fear than balance.
+ Or year after year, manning the fund-raising refreshment stand at the UVU rodeos. Except it was UTC, then UVCC, then UVSC, then UVU--I ran the refreshment stand through most of those initials. Now, rodeos always hold a special nostalgia for me.
+ Did I mention that he was a professor for years and years? He was. He could have done many other things with his career, but teaching was just his thing. His gig. He was good at it and he loved it. So did I.
+ And speaking of UVU, I loved going to his office when I was really little and sitting at his desk, coloring and playing while he taught night classes. That must have been a big pain to take me or my sister with him and keep us occupied, but it was the best.The big school, the big office and all the guys (co-workers) that treated us like we were the little queens of the world.
+ Or watching Charlotte's Web on a big, new-fangled VHS TV in a big, empty classroom on a Saturday afternoon.
+ And later, when I attended UVU (right about the time it bacame UVSC) and every so often I'd drop by his office to see him, he'd bring me in, show me around and show me off to all the guys, like I was one of his greatest trophies. Because I was.
+ And just a few years ago, just before he retired, I dropped by to visit with my little boys in tow. He had a new office as an administrator and I'd never been to see it, but I knew he'd be busy and only meant to pop in for a few minutes. Over an hour later, after my boys and I had been shown off to pretty much everyone--each with comments about my great my father was or how they knew this or that about me or how proud my dad was of me--I left with tears in my eyes and a glow in my heart.
+ And, as luck would have it, on top of loving his daughters he also
loves grandsons. (He might love them more.) Of his nine grandchildren, seven are boys. His trophy case of offspring has more than tripled--he can get awful proud these days.
+ And he is an
awesome boy grampa. The kind that builds a Larry-land playground in his
backyard and another one in my backyard, takes boys four-wheeling and pinewood-derby car making and
fishing and camping and does just enough of the behind-your-mom's-back
stuff to make the boys think they're getting away with murder, but not
so much that mom actually needs to be concerned. You know--those things
boys are supposed to learn from their grampa.
+ He is a big kid at heart.
+ A big kid who loves Disneyland and ice cream cones, not necessarily in that order.
+ And he makes funny faces. Crazy Guggenheim was his standard and just recently my kids saw it for maybe the first time. They came home with their own attempts, telling me that grampa had this great face and this funny voice and I just HAD to see it. See it, children? I lived it.
+ And somewhere there is a video of my father running around the backyard, holding the camera a grass level and doing voice-overs for what he thought our dog, Sadie, might be thinking. Just thinking of that makes me giggle.
+ There wasn't much my father couldn't build. Be it a new garage or a pirate's sword, he can figure out how to get it done. Still true. I remember being super surprised to discover that not all dad's could simply build things.
+ Weekends were for work and for family. It was common to spend the day in timed cleanings throughout the house, before cashing in on promises of fun at the drive-in or the canyon.
+ Weekends still are for family. Grampa attends many a junior-league sports games on Saturday with Gramma.
+ Despite an athletic high school career, he is very non-competitve when it comes to his grandsons. He just loves to watch them play.
+ Unless it's Twister--then the man is ruthless.
+ Or traditional Thanksgiving Day Rubberband Gun Wars. Trust me--you do not want to oppose him in something like that, where the stakes are really high.
+ But outside of the important competitive things (you know, like Twister and rubberband guns) my dad is incredibly fair. And honest. And full of integrity. That has been very important to me.
+ He has very high standard of conduct and set the bar early for us girls in so many things.
+ And he is a good son. He has always been there to take great care of his mom and dad, whenever they needed him.
+ And he loves this lady right here. The blonde one on the right. Cheesehead in the back belongs to me.
+ Loving his wife is first and foremost on his priority list and we always knew that. He loves us girls right to pieces, but that lady--my momma and his wife--he loves her the best. Crazy, passionate, kiss-her-right-there-in-the-kitchen-for-all-too-see LOVES this woman.
Not like that, so much.
That's the stuff, right there. All the time. Right in front of the children and everything. These two are crazy about each other and they didn't care who knew about it.
+ And depsite twitching a little the thought of it, he wanted exactly that sort of crazy, adoring love for all of his girls.
+ Once upon a time I was engaged to marry someone else. When that someone else asked my dad for my hand, my dad asked him why he wanted to marry me. The answer was that he felt I had great potential. Dad didn't want to interfere, so it would be several months and a broken heart later before my father would tell me that story and let me know that "potential" wasn't enough. That I would find the right one and when I did the answer to that particular question would be that he loves me to the moon and back, period. And I found him and he does and dad was right.
+ And that, for me, has made all the difference.
+ His family is his greatest accomplishment and his sweetest joy. I had never seen that more obviously than on the day of his mother's funeral just a few years ago.
It was early in the morning and, as I was speaking at the funeral, I'd been totally unable to sleep and ended up on a couch in my Grandmother's living room tossing and turning. My father came into the room, and sat down by my side to pull on his shoes. "I'm going for a walk," he said. "Wanna come?" And even though I really needed to spend an hour putting my thoughts to paper before Jack woke up, I said yes and pulled on some shoes to join him.
We spent that morning walking several miles, along a trail through his small hometown to the cemetary we would visit that afternoon. And all the while he talked. And talked and talked. And I shook my head and laughed and wiped away tears. I have so many of those thoughts of his tucked deep into my heart--thoughts of his love for his mother, for his wife, for his children and grandchildren and for me. Thoughts of his gratitude for a good life and a lovely family. Thoughts of how he was a very, very rich man. That was easily the greatest walk I've ever taken.
This little video has me rolling on the floor. She's adorable. And such a delightful little ham.
Even more thrilled that cutie dad thought to pull out the iphone and record it. Reminds me that I should film my delightful little squirrels just a bit more often. And maybe with me, too, so that one day we can look bakc and see how cute and young we both were. My babies and me.
We were supposed to be going camping tonight, but then Craig decided to get a vicious flu instead. He spent all yesterday in bed and when he loaded up on ibuprofen and headed to work this morning, he told me that he would be home as soon as the drugs wore off and he would be sacking out for a long night of sleep. Me thinks that he has forgotten that there's a BYU game tonight--evidence of his diminished mental condition, right there--so I imagine that he'll start the evening sacked out on the couch, and head to bed early if the Cougs aren't doing so well.
Then there's the winter weather and hard freeze warning for tonight--not my ideal camping weather. The grapes will be on, but unlike grapes, I turn sour and cranky when I'm frozen.
Then there's the part where Craig suddenly sold his car this week and then turned around to realize that he didn't have a car anymore. Usually he's got one waiting in the wings, but this time he'd forgotten that part--that was the day he was first hit by the flu so I'm thinking that his thinking smarts were the first system attacked by the virus.) Right about then he realized that I wasn't planning on sharing my car (I like to go places) and he had to do some head scratching. I told him that he could take his bike, but he, with a cold and his office 20 miles away, wasn't going for it. I even offered to fix his flat--I'm getting to be an expert at that, since my nine-year-old is an old pro at popping inner tubes--but he declined and asked pretty-please-with-sugar-on-top for the use of my vehicle.
So this morning, after a whirlwind week and piles of out-of-the-house things to do and with a whole free afternoon that wasn't going to be spent preparing for camp, I sent him off with my car and got down to work. I've worked on church stuff, family stuff, holiday stuff, laundry, the kitchen and I haven't even managed to get myself dressed yet. Hoping to play my cards right and go straight from this jammies ensemble into the shower this evening and back into fresh pjs. I'll be calling it a win.
It's been a very long time since I spent the day rambling around my house in peace and quiet and leggings. I've enjoyed it. Nothing from the list of "to dos" is below jammie day. Must remember to park my car and get down to the business to this house a little more often, instead of letting it pile up.
Here's to a lovely weekend. May yours be filled with good food, clean houses, winning football and weather that can put a smile on your face.
+ The Bee is starting to read. This is his favorite, because he can read it so well. Something magical happens in that shift between remembering the words from momma read them last and sounding them out--it's a sweet little spot, to be sure.
+ The George is afraid of thunder. Everything else gets a hearty bark that would make even brave men nervous, but thunder? It's the one thing that will send him skulking up the (forbidden) stairs to my bedroom and under my feet. (On this particular morning, I was drying my hair and missed the faint sounds of thunder, until I turned off the dryer and nearly tripped over George who was just behind my feet. The response I could read in his eyes: "What? There's thunder.")
+ The George weighs 101.4 pounds. A Labrador is supposed to be between 55 and 80 pounds. So, with a quick check of the calculator, you will see that this Labrador doesn't get anymore table scraps.
+ It was in the 40s last night. Windows open, cool breeze through the room, curled up in a warm bed. So perfect.
+ It might not be quite so warm should we decide to go camping over the weekend. (Whose idea was that, anyway?)
+ It will, however, be ideal for the grapes that are calling to me even now. So eager to get to the canning portion of this harvest season.
+ Which reminds me . . . I've got a couple bowls of tomatoes that I plucked yesterday that need to be bottled tonight. It's a good start, probably just one batch; but ain't nothing that beats juicing the grapes--that is harvest season sprung happy right there in my kitchen.
+ I found this bad boy hanging out in my garden, eating his way through my tomatoes. I was so enchanted by his size and shininess that I brought him in the house and named him Tom. Then, after being educated on what Tom could become (a hawk moth with a possible 12-inch wing span) and what he could do (lay hundreds of eggs in my lovely garden soil that would kill my tomato plants for years to come;) and after I took another look at my dear tomatoes (they are looking a little gnawed on;) and then after I was reminded of what I did when I found squash bugs eating my pumpkin plants (it's almost too gruesome to mention--but it wasn't inviting them in for a meal, that's for sure;) well, after all that, I handed him over to my neighbor as chicken meal. I was told that Tom was a tasty, tasty treat.
+ I've got twelve quilts dancing around in my brain and the only thing harder than trying to decide which one to jump start first, is finding more than an hour to sit down and get cutting, sewing, moving. (Really need to get moving on that, as it's already the season to be cuddling under the blankets, so the time to make them is slipping.)
And there's Primary programs to plan and soccer practices to attend and dinners to plan and more dinners (ones that I'm not sure how to make) and dogs to be groomed and sandy floors to be swept and ever-looming piles of laundry to be folded and more laundry and homework to do--oh, the blasted homework that last for way to long and it feels even longer because of the lovely weather outside.
So much to do--may I be granted the energy to do as much of it as possible.
And may the weather stay perfect. You know . . . forever.
Monday mornings are the very best. Back to school, back to routine.
Don't get me wrong--I love weekends. The soccer games, the football games, the late nights, the snacking and family and friends over and loose schedule and all of it. Sometimes I'd prefer sleeping in over the rush and hard work of Sundays, but that's how it goes--it's my season to work on Sundays. Come Monday morning, I'm ready to make eggs and breakfast smoothies and lunches and then take a breather. You know, before I get back to work.
But Monday is for my work. My house cleaning. My gardening. I can plan dinners and canning. And I've got a pie on the adgenda. And it's early enough in the week that I'm still optomistic enough to believe that there will be free time for me in there somewhere (I mean, it's a FULL WEEK, folks--a spare hour must be found somewhere, right?)
So, here's to Mondays. May yours be full of your favorite things.
While we were spared the wild flooding that has happened in so many places, the wind, rain, hail, sputtering thunder showers, hours-long rainstorms, lightning and sunshine have made for a pleasant change in the weather. What was overly warm, near-90 degree days last week have quickly become sub-70 degree days with nights in 40s. It's leave-the-windows-open weather. It's wear-a-sweater-if-you-like-not-because-you-have-to weather. This is my sweet spot, the pleasant shoulder season before the extreme of winter has us begging for the summer heat we have so willingly ditched.
I'm doing my best to soak it in--get into new schedules, new bedtimes, enjoying new projects while new inspiration is fresh. Must do it while it's here, because almost more than any other season these perfect days of harvest is so fleeting.
I've got a wild weekend planned, starting with a daddy-daughter date (with my daddy!) this afternoon, Craig coming in from Asia right after that, soccer practice for Bee and a birthday party in the hollow for Jack tonight. (Surely they'll come home and want to hang out, playing Evil Knievel and WAR and Ghosts-In-The-Graveyard in the driveway and garden with friends until they can't see each other and they all fall over.) Saturday will bring the Red-&-Blue ward breakfast and a quick trip with my mom to the Fallow Field Farm craft fair before booking it home for back-to-back soccer games and then getting ready for the Big BYU Rivalry game in the evening. In between there's lots of work to do for the marathon that is Sunday, so not a whole bunch of down time in there.
I usually don't schedule myself so tight, but I can't help it. All of those things are/feel very requisite right now, because these days right here? These days don't last. And I've got to make them count.