Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkins, Guts, & Gloves

Pulp oozes around our hands, slipping, sliding through fingers.  Wearing the pumpkins’ guts proudly, like a new fashion statement, we reach inside for more.  Seeds go in one bowl, innards in another.

Checking out what's next at the pumpkin patch, hand in hand...melt my heart.
At the pumpkin patch, we surveyed our options.  It wasn’t long before I noticed the enormous orange ball in the green wagon.  One down, three to go.

“This one’s perfect!” Our boy is waving us down.  As my husband pulls up with the four wheeling wagon, he inspects the find.  “Nope, looks like there’s a hole in the bottom kiddo.  You’ve got to look all around it.  We don’t want a rotten one, right?”

Two kids, bubbling with giggles run for another possibility.  On their way, they get distracted by a black cow.  Giggles give way to whispers before they call us over to show us what they think are baby cows sleeping under a piece of siding lying across the ground.  When the baby critters awaken, emerging to chow on a small broken pumpkin, it’s easy to see that they’re cute baby piglets.

And we’re all smiling as the kids run off to climb the hay bale pyramid, drive the old tractors, and try to feed the ponies some hay.

“Come on kids, let’s pick our pumpkins!”

“This one?”  She lifts a little pumpkin high in the air.

“That’s too small to carve.”

She picks out three more tiny pumpkins that nestle perfectly in her sweet little hands as we continue to tell her they’re too small to get seeds from.

I remembered the one she had brought home from school.  “Actually, go ahead and get a small one.  You can carve the one from your field trip and paint the little one you get today, okay?”

“Yes, yes, yes, yes!”

Adding a pumpkin with a smooth front, perfect for a cool carving, for me and one without any holes for our boy and we lugged the heavy wagon to the front to pay.
A few dozen more camera clicks and we climb into the truck to head home, thinking about all the seeds we’ll have to roast, after we wear our fashionable pumpkin gut gloves.

I'm linking up with JDaniel4's Mom's Halloween Traditions.  We finished carving our pumpkins last night and I'll be sharing those pics on Wednesday.  In the meantime, you can see some of past years' pumpkin carvings here and here!


Let's BEE Friends

Friday, October 28, 2011

Meet Me on the Mountain

Maggie:           U going 2 hit moguls w me this time? I’ve got ur lift tickets & my season pass. Meet me @ cabin so we can hit slopes 2gether! lmk if u need me 2 bring anything else!

Adrianna:        Thx Mags!

Lauren:            I’ve got Cass & rental. Heading 4 mountains now!

Cassie:             Seriously need 2 invest n electric sock company. Gonna freeze my a** off!

Maggie:           LOL! No ur not. Ur gonna b huddled n front of fire n lodge w warm cocktail all day, prob flirtin ur a** off!

Lauren:            Bwahahaha!

Adrianna:        See if he’s got a friend this time, will u?!

Cassie:             Hmm…like a 2 for 1. Will do!

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-HoodLast week, Write on Edge prompted us to write a text with a 160 word limit.  I got really hung up on the text message part of it and chose to write it as a piece of microfiction, still within the word limit.

This week, Write on Edge has prompted us to write a piece where athleticism plays a role.  Glossing over the text message part of the prompt last week has been irking me.  And being irked for a whole week is kind of ridiculous.

So, to let my subconscious rest, I decided to tackle this week's prompt that had a 400 word limit within last week's format, coming in at 111 words and putting out that annoying irking whisper in my head!

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

22 things I { have } done

In my life, I HAVE...

1)  Hiked a glacier when I was five years old (or so I've been told).

2)  Been in a near fatal car accident.

3)  Carved some cool pumpkins, including Yoda and C3PO & R2-D2.

4)  Lived on both the East & West coasts.

5)  Started a chapter of the Young Astronauts Club at one of my schools & it promptly filled up with all boys.

6)  Once worn a full leg cast as an infant that would have fit inside the toe opening of the cast I wore when I was 21.

7)  Planned my own wedding and got married. (Turns out, I can throw a pretty good party!)

8)  Graduated college with honors.

9)  Handed my husband a pair of scissors and insisted that he cut my hair.  (My best friend now does the cutting for me...but, that's another story for another time!)

10) Played the piano, violin, and flute.

11) Had two beautiful babies, became a Mama, and felt my heart swell.

12) Found friends that have become sisters.

13) Volunteered as a kid and as an adult.

14) Been on a boat on a bayou, dipped my toes in both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans.

15) Watched the ponies swim the channel from Assateague to Chincoteague while on my grandfather's boat.

16) Woken up to said ponies in their front yard.  (They'd gotten out of their pen & were going for a stroll around the island!)

17) Been to Oakland A's & San Francisco Giants baseball games, a Seattle Seahawks & San Francisco 49'ers preseason game at the Stick, and a couple of minor league hockey games.

18) Learned how to be an advocate for my children, when they need it.

19) Had my heart broken.

20) Found strength in places I didn't know I had it after life altering events.

21) Tried new creative processes that scared or intimidated me before.

22) Found a way to incorporate rainbows into my everyday life.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Not sure what's in my water today or what happened to my scheduling, but this is my third post today (that has Never happened before!).  So, don't forget to check out my From Left to Write Book Club post: Michel LeRoux ~ Pacific Ocean ~ New Traditions and what's growing in my backyard, WW ~ An Apple Tree's Journey!

Michel LeRoux ~ Pacific Ocean ~ New Traditions

Fall of 1995 saw both my husband and I in Vancouver, British Columbia. But, we weren't together. Actually, we had yet to even meet!

When we did meet in the spring of '97, began dating a year later, got engaged and later married, it was quite an easy decision for us to head back to the Pacific Northwest & British Columbia for our honeymoon.

Many new traditions began while honeymooning. One, was to forgo individual wedding presents, and later anniversary presents, in favor of picking out a piece of original art to enjoy together in our home.

Only one hardfast rule applies this tradition: the piece of art we choose has to "speak" to both of us. You see, we have quite different aesthetics, so initially, we thought this one guideline would be a challenge for us.

Out early, we walked the nearly deserted streets before the galleries opened (you could say we were a wee bit anxious to get out and enjoy the city we loved so much!). Low in one gallery's window sat a stunning Michel LeRoux painting. We stopped to look and moved on.

Gallery after gallery, a restaurant for lunch, a pub my husband had stopped in at when he was there years earlier with his best friend for a pint, more galleries, a little shopping, and we returned to the gallery with the painting sitting low in the window.

They gladly pulled the piece that looked as if it were colored in strokes of light, rather than paint, into the middle of the gallery for a better look.

We looked at it. We kept looking at it. I was distracted for a bit by a gorgeous Marcelle Dube painting that I can still see inside my head to this day.  But, my gaze kept returning to the Michel LeRoux painting that we first set our eyes upon, hours earlier.

What we initially thought would be challenging - our rule - was quite simple for us.  We had found an original piece of art that captured, raptured, us both.  It needed to be in our home for us to enjoy for many more years to come...and for over a decade now, everyday we see it hanging on our wall, we've enjoyed it.

I found this video on YouTube filled with his art.  I don't know anything about where it came from and while our painting is not in there, it is a good representation of his work.

Our honeymoon destinations included Seattle, Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands, Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia, and led to another favorite tradition to celebrate each year of marriage near the water.  Happily, Fort Bragg, California most frequently finds us on our anniversaries.

We look forward to the day we can return to the waterside locales, stocked full with smile worthy moments.  Until we can, we look up at our Michel LeRoux painting, remember, and smile.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -

In Lost Edens, author Jamie Patterson struggles to save her marriage which may or may not be already over. Keeping her attempts a secret from her family, she attempts to mold herself into the wife her husband wants her to be.

As a member of From Left to Write book club, I received a copy of this book for review (book links are affiliate links, all other links I'm sharing are purely informational).  You can read other members posts inspired by Lost Edens by Jamie Patterson on book club day, October 27 at From Left to Write.

WW ~ An Apple Tree's Journey

Grafted Apple Tree

With only a few leaves to speak of, this grafted apple tree was transplanted from my Mom's into our yard over two years ago on June 1st, 2009.

Each one of its six branches will grow a different variety of apples.

It sat quietly in our backyard through 2010, while continuing to grow.

Budding Apple Tree

And in 2011, we began to see some action. We saw little pink buds begin to form on her branches.

Apple Blossoms

Those li'l pink buds bloomed into small white apple blossoms.

 Bees Grow our Garden

We have these guys to thank.

Can you see him?

 Backyard Bees

What we thought for years were weeds (because they grow like crazy, we never planted them, and no matter how many times we take 'em out, they come back), though we now know the little blue flowers my wee girl loves to make me bouquets from are Forget-Me-Nots, have attracted the local bees.

And those bees went to work!

All their pollinating grew us eight apples this year. An unknown wild critter got one. He must have stood on his hind legs to reach it, but we could book the apple eating thief from the teeth mark evidence he left behind.

And then...

Our First Apple 

...we got to pick our very first apple off our apple tree!

It doesn't get any more organic, farm to table, green, easy, or delish that this!  The kidlets shared this one for breakfast the morning we picked it.

And the other six? Their Dad turned that into a GFCF apple pie! While it turned out mighty delish, we're still fine tuning the recipe for that one. Hopefully, I'll have it to share closer to the holidays.

What's growing in your backyard (or on a balcony or inside your house if you are sans yard)?

Linking up with some rockin' awesome Wordful/ish Wednesday peeps!

Monday, October 24, 2011

5 Things that make me { Smile }

1)  Fort Bragg

Nothing injects peace and stillness, like the fresh ocean air and the rhythmic pounding of the waves.

Fort Bragg Beach 

Really, what's not to like?!

Fort Bragg Sunset 

Sunsets on the coast

Goat Rock Beach 

Most any beach will do. Though, I do have a preference for the coastline from Northern California up through Southern British Colmbia.

2) Kidlets playing together sweetly...especially when there's a hug involved.

This is definitely an older pic from their li'ler years, but it's one of my favorites and most definitely makes me smile.

3)  Color

Favorite Fall Glimpse 

I love color.

I love color from nature,

Watercolor Background 

from moments spent with a creative craft in hand,

Karen on Pinterest 

or from the vast amount of inspiration across the interwebs, much of which ends up on my Pinterest boards and those always make me smile!

4)  Music

Whether from memories of playing the piano, violin, and flute while growing up, or from my daughter sweetly pressing the ivories, or from a cd played in the car while the kidlets and I take one of our country drives, or an iTunes playlist singing in my ear while I write, or my kidlets dancing to music played on YouTube, it just about always makes me smile.

I love that music can transport me or firmly plant me in the moment, etching a memory into my heart.

5)  Writing

Growing up, I was always many journals, from Judy Blume journals to ones with a lock on them to nicely bound ones, on random pieces of paper, writing about my day or a short fictional passage or some poetry.

And for awhile, after getting married and having my kidlets, I strayed away from it.  I had strayed away from what makes me tick.

Writing again, whether for a blog post or a piece of fiction, it brings me home and makes me smile.

Linking up with the first time today and couldn't think of a prompt that I mesh with more than things that make me smile! :>

Friday, October 21, 2011


Coated in sunshine, she surfed the sea’s surface ‘til a rogue wave flipped the craft. The pleasure boat was now her tomb as the icy blackness consumed her.

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-HoodCould not get my muse to play any music last night.  First thing this morning, before my lids fully opened, this popped into my head.

Our prompt, at Write on Edge, has us writing microfiction with a 160 character limit that 'elicit's or expresses fear'.  What do you think?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

She Makes Me Smile

Okay, I confess.  My profile pic, the one I use here, on Facebook, and Twitter is a little old.  Before you cast bloggers' shame upon me, let me plead my case.

*  When Bruna of Bees with Honey interviewed me, I searched for another pic that could be used.  Would you believe that in 2011, I only found one, only ONE other pic that would semi work?!  I'm almost always the one behind the lens.

*  I've gotten some nice compliments on this particular picture.  And when I told my friend Elise, what picture I cropped my head out of to use as my profile pic, she responded, "Oh! OF COURSE! People always look better when they're doing something that makes them HAPPY!!!"

And yes, holding my kidlets, my girl in this case, makes me happy! :>  I keep trying to come up with another, more current pic, but until I do, I'm using this one.  'Cause you know what??  Seeing my girl's wee fingers poking in the corner of the pic makes me smile.  And that's good enough for me.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

RemembeRED: Autumn's Gift

Eight years old, walking down my upstate New York street, hunting my next crispy leaf to pounce upon, enveloped by cool crisp air.

Eleven years old, cringing at what the Sacramento area called autumn with temperatures in the eighties, daring to venture into the nineties.

Thirteen years old, giving in to the obscene excuse for fall, I relish in the ever so slightly cooler temperatures of the Bay Area and my last year trick-or-treating in an on the fly costume.

Seventeen years old, the weather no longer marks the season; marching band, home game field shows, trying to not get hit in the head by a flag girl while wearing black, red, and white polyester.

Twenty-one years old, in a wheelchair, on crutches, time taken up not by school and work, but by physical therapy and doctor’s appointments.  Life shines differently and I remember the pure joy of crunching a tired brittle leaf underfoot.

Twenty-four years old, then twenty-seven years old, barely on the cusp of the Bay Area, surrounded by leaves that actually change; as they burn crimson upon the vineyards’ vines.

Thirty years old, sharing my favorite autumn gift, I race my first born for the best leaves.

Thirty-three years old, I have to be quick, there are two supersonic kidlets chasing those fallen crispy critters now.

Thirty-six years old, joining my daughter’s class at the pumpkin patch, scouting out a Rapunzel costume for her, something scary for him this year – a first, digging out my husband’s frightful Uncle Charlie mask, stocking organic pumpkin puree for a GFCF baked delight, all the while keeping a watchful eye out for falling leaves waiting for someone to complete their life cycle, making them crinkle, crack, crunch under a shoe, injecting joy into my soul.

I adore autumn! And at Write on Edge, that's just what we're writing about today.

If you're curious why I love Autumn so much, I have gorgeous crimson leaves, pumpkins (scroll to the bottom to see the Yoda I carved) and more pumpkins (again, my Star Wars carving is the last pic), some yummy GFCF pumpkin bread, and of course, football!

I hope your fall is a fantastic one and a might bit cooler than the hot weather we're having...again!  But, even with the high temps, I'm relishing all the other signs that fall is here:  pumpkins, the grapes being harvested from the vines, leaves beginning to change color and soon I'll be crunching away as they drift to the ground.

What does fall mean for you?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Loose Spring

Adrianna slouched down in the gold backed chair, neatly tied off in rosy taffeta, watching her younger sister twirl on the dance floor with her new husband; swirls of soft white whispered around their feet as he turned her this way and that.  And she always followed.

Tradition and family were what her mother lived for and Adrianna’s lack of a husband was a sore spot.  She loved her family; pleasing them had always been a priority before.  Watching her family dance, she could see the cogs of time turning, each sprocket playing its part to keep everything moving smoothly.  But, she felt like she was a spring sprung loose.

Abruptly, she skirted her way to the door, colliding with her baby brother.

“Adrianna!  Where you goin’?!”

“There’s somewhere I have to be.  Cover for me, ‘kay Matty?”

She didn’t wait for Matteo to respond.  Instead, she picked up her pace while he stared on.

She didn’t dare slow down, not when she left the hotel, not when she reached her car, not when she sped through downtown, not even when she whipped her black Jetta into the back lot, behind her destination.

Pushing through the covered glass door, setting the bell to ringing, she entered, determined to dance to her own music.

Pulling a worn, folded up printout from her small pink satin bridesmaid purse she handed it to the artist.  She sat, watching as a permanent reminder of what she wanted was etched and inked into the inside of her wrist.

Living life the way the rest of her siblings are, getting married, birthing a half dozen babies each, was not for her.  She was ready to walk her own path.

It's all about the tattoo this week at Write on Edge.  And while Adrianna might not be the only one of the four with a tat, this is her first.

If you're new here, I sometimes share a little fiction and Adrianna is one of four women with a kindred friendship.  If you have been reading along, you might have caught glimpses of her in Home and Time to Tell.

We had a 300 word limit for this round of writing.  Initially, I went way over, so I've edited out a lot.  Did I pull off this flash fiction, though it's part of a larger story?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Meet { me } at Sarah's Fence!

There's a smile on my face today...would you like to know why? 

I am guest posting at Sarah's The Fence today!

The Fence

Sarah, @MamaRiceCake, first popped into my world one #wineparty many months ago on Twitter.  And after many tweets, Facebook posts, blog shares, and emails, I have found her to be one of the most genuine people I've had the opportunity to connect with through this fabulous blogosphere.

Now, I have been known to trip over my own feet, but at The Fence today, I'm Dancing with Rainbows & I promise, no one will get hurt. ;>

I'd love for you to click on over, tell me what you think, and make sure to give Sarah a wave hello!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Heart Faces: Her Sweet { Hands }

Her Sweet Hands

It's all about Hands this week at I Heart Faces!

I love holding my kidlets' sweet hands. My girl's are getting so big so fast. She now alternates between grabbing my finger and my whole hand.

My whole hand?! When did she get big enough to do that?!

Isn't it amazing that holding another person's hand can make your heart both grow and melt at the same time?

I think so.

Monday, October 10, 2011

She got her Color On!

When I picked my girl up from school on Thursday, her teacher was holding a little surprise for us.  They were about to start the Special Student of the Week and needed us to complete her It's All About Me Tee poster over the weekend.

As we walked to the car, I explained to my girl what she would need to do this weekend and her eyes began to dance.  She was having visions of crayons, stickers, and glitter, oh my!

And after spending two days coloring with her Crayolas, my Prismacolor colored pencils, assisting me glittering the title up with Stickles, getting to use a Sharpie for the first time to write her full name (which as any protective Mama does, I erased it for the photo), and stickering to her little heart's delight, she was literally tickled pink!

When I was asking her the questions that needed answering for the sleeves & pockets, I got a chuckle at a few of her one of her favorite subjects is homework (may she remember that when she's in high school!) and one of her favorite places to go is Whole really is.

I also loved the contrast between the two things she likes to do at home:  play race car on the computer (Need for Speed...just the driving part), as well as arts & crafts.  And her favorite songs?  Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star and Firework by Katy Perry.

It was such a joy to watch her work this weekend.  She really did most of it herself, but I was with her, helping her where she needed it.  When we went looking for something to use to depict the race car, she hugged me and said, "Yup, we're the Mother Daughter Team!"  Melt my heart....

What did you do over the weekend?  I hope there was some fun and laughter mixed in there!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Disclosure:  We purchased Need for Speed years ago & have driven and crashed just about every car the game provides.  And now that our girl can reach the force feedback pedals & steering wheel at the same time, she's having a blast driving her pink car around the racing routes.  And her Uncle purchased the Teenage Dream cd for her birthday, though she's only allowed to listen to Firework at this age.  The links are affiliate links.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Haven

Maggie ran her hands down the southwest corner of her beach house, flaking brittle weathered paint off as she stroked.  Her breath caught, touching the tiny frame that housed lifetimes within its walls.

Grams bought it when Maggie was only five years old.  Memories of playing on the jewel toned circular woven rug centered in the Great Room while a crimson fire roared in front of her brought a smile to her lips.

Her lids fell closed, she breathed in the spicy sweet cinnamon hanging in the air as Grams baked in the miniature kitchen.  Pots clanging, a thick wooden spoon stirring the bottom of the pot, scraping up all the bits; fresh nutmeg, grasped between paint stained fingers roughly running across the grater, dusting her latest concoction below; and Grams' off-key singing, all echoing off the mahogany wood floors and unadorned windows, circling and swirling around her.

Maggie could feel herself in the room, over twenty years ago.  And she wondered what this tiny haven would hold, how many more memories she could sandwich inside, now that it was hers.

Write on Edge has prompted us to paint our setting this week, with a 200 word limit.

If this is your first time here or you haven't stopped in on a day that I'm sharing a little fiction, Maggie is one of four friends, along with Cassie, Adrianna, and Lauren.

If you are interested in more of their story, you can read about Cassie in R.S.V.P. & Kick Ass Shoes and Maggie in She Runs, Getting There & Home, and all four women in Time to Tell.

This takes place while the four women are at the beach house.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

21 Lightning Bolts

It's been raining the ol' proverbial cats and dogs for the last couple days here.  Yesterday, those heavy rain clouds, were ever so thoughtful and put a cork in it for the kindergartners' recesses...yes, both of them.

Though, even with a chance to run off excess energy, a rainy day effects a class of twenty-one five year olds in ways I had not experienced before.

I'm fortunate that I'm able volunteer in my girl's classroom this year, one morning a week.  So, when I was with the class yesterday morning, I witnessed those twenty-one lightning bolts that electrify the air on a rainy day.

One or two kidlets at home, might cozy up for indoor activities when the rain pours down.  Mugs of hot tea or cocoa, might be found, cupped in our hands.  We might be relishing the imaginative adventures that can be had indoors at home, while the dark, monstrous clouds in the sky, unleash their insides and drum on the roof above.

All of that gives me a peaceful, warm and fuzzy vibe.

In a classroom?  On a rainy day?  Full of twenty-one electrified li'l ones?

Li'l ones that buzz this way ---------------------------------->

<------------------------------- and li'l ones that buzz that way.

Li'l ones who sing, and go a Shufflin', who belly up on top of the table and fly, who are under the table and just as soon as you get one back in their seat, the next one is zooming this way and that way again.

A classroom that is typically well behaved, full of singing and sweet faced kidlets see the dark rain clouds out the window and CLAP!, those innocent li'l angels are suddenly the lightning that charges a whole room.

Can you just imagine that energy harnessed?! :>

* * * * *
I knew the LMFAO song, Party Rock Anthem...knew it, as to say I had heard it before.  But, when the kidlets in the classroom were singing it & doing 'the dance', the Shufflin', I looked up the lyrics.  It's definitely a fun party song for dancing, but thankfully, the kidlets who know the song are only singing the chorus.....'cause a couple of the verses, I'd rather my girl didn't learn! ;>

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

JR Martinez is a shining star!

I was going to write along with Write on Edge today (after you've said hello here, head over there to read wonderful one hundred word conjured memories), but a little something else captured my heart this morning.

While warming up with a cuppa java, I caught last night's Dancing with the Stars and JR Martinez definitely stole the show!

Martinez embodies an absolutely wonderful kind of positive thinking.  And in the interview before performing, he talks about his time in the hospital after being injured when his Humvee hit a land mine in Iraq. 

He shares where his mind travelled until arriving at a point where he could chose to fight and live positively.  He shared that, while tears rolled down my cheeks and I imagine many others who watched.

If you haven't seen it yet, I encourage you to take a few minutes and at least watch his clip above.  And if you have a few more minutes, head on over to abc's Dancing with the Stars, to watch the whole episode. 

See Carson Kressley rock a fun red carpet tango, Rob Kardashian did a sweet send up to his late father, Kristin Cavallari...I'm honestly not sure who she is outside of the show (am I getting old?!), but I love watching her partner, Mark Ballas...rocked Beyonce, and Ricki Lake & David Arquette are just so sweet & fun to watch!

I see the sun trying so hard to peek out from behind the dark clouds, so I'm off to take advantage of the lull & get some long pants for my kidlets now that the weather has turned, before tackling the paperwork I've been avoiding!  Hope you are having a fantastic day! :>
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