Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ushering out October

The morning sky has had the coolest clouds the past few days.  All big and wispy in glowing pinks and reds, covering large patches of blue sky.  It's as though someone took a big trowel and spread thin coats of spackle paste all over, leaving all kinds of cool textures across the sky. Earlier in the week, there were a couple of windy mornings where the trees were raining leaves on the streets, and the leaves would go dancing about, making a crunchy sound as they swirled across pavement.

I'm sad to see October leave.  This year, October has been a perfect gentlemen, behaving in a most appropriate way and putting on a full show of autumn. We're all marveling that we haven't had our first snow yet.  The mountain areas have had their share and from my window I can see the highest peaks covered in white.  It won't be long before we will be, too.  In the meantime, I added a few more Halloween decorations to our front porch yesterday and strung some ghost lights up in the dining room.  I found a piece of Halloween fabric in my stash and folded a makeshift runner for the table.  Dug out some candlesticks and jack'o lantern candles.  Put out a few small pumpkins and gourds for a centerpiece. 

Yesterday, I drove Emily to school and on the way home went past the local elementary school.  The little kids were all dressed in costume for their Halloween parties.  A princesses and Buzz Lightyear crossed the street, pulling on the arms of their parents to hurry.  A little girl in a bright blueberry colored wig could hardly contain her excitement as she skipped along the sidewalk.  I don't know what costume she wore under her coat, but I loved the color of her hair.  A kindergarten teacher had magically become Snow White for the day.  I can only imagine how she'll delight all the little girls in her class.  I am sorely missing the days when my kids would dress up and run through the neighborhood, from house to house, coming home with huge bags of candy to pour on the living room floor and sort into piles for "trading."  I would have an unlimited supply of Mary Jane peanut butter taffy -- thankfully none of the kids were too crazy about them!

The other day I watched "Murphy's Romance" with Sally Field and James Garner, while "working" in the kitchen.  It's one of those movies that I never tire of seeing.  These chilly days are perfect for making pots of butternut squash soup and some tomato basil soup, thanks to the last of the tomato crop from my friend.  I whipped up a batch of chocolate chip cookies, too, freezing a big bag of them, so that Dan would be sure to have some when he got home on Friday night from his trip to California.  Chocolate chip cookies don't last long around here!
I'm already peeking into November, for a glimpse of what that month will bring.  A family birthday dinner for my aunt, a day of Christmas shopping with Dan, writing out Christmas cards, Thanksgiving dinner.  And the usual stuff that doesn't have a season like dentist appointments, parent/teacher conferences and a few 'no school' days.  I'm sad to say farewell to October, but am excited at the prospect of a whole new month!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A blustery day

Yesterday and today were windy days here on the Colorado prairie.  When the wind comes in gusts along the front range, it is a force to be reckoned with.  A news report tonight showed a semi-truck that had been caught in its wrath and was blown on its side.  Some of the gales today were comparable to Hurricane Category Three.  Of course, we don't really have hurricanes here.  Just miles and miles of open prairie where the wind tends to pick up speed and race faster and faster, blowing down trees and houses and anything in its path.

It was in the middle of this frenzy that I was driving along the interstate this morning and noticed a warning light on the dashboard of our new car.  I didn't recognize the icon.  It was a funny looking cup-kinda-thing with a squiqqly bottom and a big ! in the middle.  I didn't know what it meant, but that exclamation point had such a sense of urgency to it, that I pulled off at the next exit, got out the manual and found the source of the problem.  According to the telephone directory-sized manual, the warning light indicated a need to "adjust the tire inflation pressure." In other words, a tire needed air.

It would have been nice if it indicated which tire.  As it was, I pulled over to the air machine which required 75 cents in change that I didn't have.  Fighting the aforementioned Hurricane Category Three winds, I headed across the parking lot to the service station, changed a dollar for quarters, and headed back to the vehicle.  Armed with change and a tire gauge, I circled the vehicle, unscrewing each little cap on each little valve of each of the four tires and tested the air pressure.  Of course, this first involved getting out my reading glasses and squatting down to see the PSI number that was on the side of the tire.  You'd think it would've have been in the manual, but nooooo, the manual said, "as indicated on the side of the tire." 

Every single tire was plump and full at 35 psi.  Since I had the change on me, I squirted a bit of air into the last one, hoping to fool the warning light on the dash into disappearing.  No such luck. 

I remembered that somewhere down the interstate there is a Toyota dealership, so I entered it into the GPS, which instructed me to get back on the interstate.  A half mile later, conveniently located on the frontage road, I passed the dealership with no way to exit for another five miles.  This is a family friendly blog, so I won't repeat here what I called the female voice on the GPS.

Long story short, the very kind service agent at the service garage took my vehicle right in, checked all the tires and diagnosed the problem.  Apparently, the warning light not only tells me when the four tires on the vehicle are low, but it is also kind enough to inform me when the spare tire is low!  Unfortunately, it is not smart enough -- or couldn't give a rat's behind -- to tell me which tire is lacking air! 

With all five tires fully inflated, I proceeded on my journey, when it dawned on me. . . I have no idea where the spare tire on my vehicle is even located.  I'm sure I'll be able to find it when I need it.  Really, how many places could it be?  

Sunday, October 24, 2010

This weekend, I . . .

. . . hosted a baby shower for a dear friend, who is leaving for China in a week to pick up her new daughter.

. . . decided I needed a little something extra to put in the shower favor bags.  Went to the store and found a 2 lb. bag of Jordan almonds.  Now have 1 7/8 lbs. of Jordan almonds leftover.  Forgot to give out the favors until the last five guests were on the way out the door. They all went home with handfuls of party favors, to give to their kids.

. . .  watched the Giants/Phillies game.

. . . made my husband an omelet for breakfast, and made pancakes for the rest of the family, because that's what they all like.

. . . celebrated my husband's birthday (Happy Birthday, Sweetie!). 

. . . went grocery shopping.

. . . sat on the back porch, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt, drank a cup of coffee and admired the fall colors.

. . . decorated my front porch with pumpkins that Emily and I got at the pumpkin patch last week.

See what everyone else did this weekend, over at Becky's.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 3

The complex where the boys are playing is the spring training facility for two major league baseball teams -- the Padres and the Mariners.  It sits on 145 acres and in the center there's a baseball stadium that seats over 11,000 people.  It is surrounded by 12 major league-sized practice baseball fields. The 'tower' pictured here provides views of four of the fields to the hundreds of coaches and scouts that attend from all over the country.

I know there are hundreds of them because I counted them, when they were all standing in front of  me at the concession stand.  I said, "Excuse me!  There's an awesome, talented and might I add very handsome, 6' 2" pitcher, playing over on field #5 in about 20 minutes, and he's worth taking a look at."  No one said anything except the one balancing his Coke and hot dog and clip board.  He said, "Could you please pass the ketchup?"
It's been quite an experience seeing so many great athletes and so much talent all in one place.  Not to mention the years of experience that the coaches have and their passion for sharing their knowledge with the next generation of players. The boys are having a great time playing the game they love better than any other. They can't get enough, and in the evenings they are gathered around the t.v. watching the Yankees and the Rangers play.

Our time here is going by too fast.  Tomorrow morning we have one more game before heading home.

"Baseball is almost the only orderly thing in a very unorderly world. If you get three strikes, even the best lawyer in the world can't get you off."  Bill Veeck

Friday, October 15, 2010


Today we enjoyed a cool front, when the temperatures reached only 96 degrees.  Luckily, our boys' game was held at 8 a.m. this morning, so it truly was nice weather, in the low 70s.  The team played one of their best games ever and by 11:00 we were finished for the day.

Well, sort of.  By this point, our team had played three games in 90 plus degree heat.  Their white pants were streaked with red dirt, and the black jerseys had been absorbing heat and sweat.  Some of the boys had been rinsing their shirts in the sink at night, and a few had extra pairs of pants, but for the most part, things were pretty rank. Some of us parents have rented a house for the weekend, which has a washer and dryer, and one mom had the foresight to bring a large bottle of stain remover.  We gathered up 29 pairs of pants and 29 jerseys and hauled them back to the house in trash bags. The jerseys went right in the washing machine, but the pants required some pre-treatment.  The mom with the stain remover was determined to say the least.  Between the two of us, we sprayed each pair of pants and pre-soaked them in the largest container we could find -- the bathtub.  I thought she was kidding when she said she was going to get in there and stomp those pants in her bare feet (ala "I love Lucy" and the grape stomping episode).  But, no, she wasn't kidding, and she proceeded to kick off her shoes and roll up her pants and hop in the tub! 

After a good stomping and several rinses, several loads went through the washing machine and then out to dry on a makeshift clothesline rigged up by one of the dads.  Another dad was put to work folding while two of us went to the store to buy groceries.  By late afternoon we were ready for all the boys and coaches to come over for a barbeque and pick up their clean uniforms.

We'll be at the ballpark most of the day tomorrow.  I haven't had a chance to see much of Phoenix, but what I have seen is really nice.  Lots of adobe houses and buildings and very clean.  The flowering shrubs are just beautiful and there are so many varieties.  It's always fun to see palm trees and the Sonora cactus are tall and stately.

Reporting live from Phoenix. . .

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 1

I'm typing this with one eye open and just about half asleep.  I promised someone I would keep him posted on the day to day activities of Luke's and my trip to Phoenix.

Luke and I left the house at 3:30 this morning, chauffered by Joe.  Last night at about 10 o'clock, I decided I really didn't want to have to deal with parking our car and catching a shuttle to the terminal in the wee dark hours of the morning.  So, I offered the parking fee to Joe, in exchange for taking us and picking us up late Sunday night.  Since 21-year-olds don't have the same frame of reference for night and day as older folks, it seemed reasonable to him.

I was sooo glad to leave the driving part to someone else.  Especially since I was going on about four hours of sleep. And one of us didn't wake up to his alarm, and another of us realized that she didn't check the gas tank and we had to stop to fill up.

As we neared the airport, the mom of one of Luke's teammates called and explained that they had parked in outlying parking, and were in the shuttle on the way to the terminal when they discovered that "someone" had left his backpack and ID in the car.  So, Joe dropped Luke and me, picked up the friend's mom and drove her back to the outlying parking lot to get the forgotten backpack.  Meanwhile I took her luggage and mine to check in.  Only to discover that one of us (not me!) had exceeded the weight limit for her bag by one and a half pounds, which would result in a $50 charge.  The attendant was so nice, letting me go through the overloaded bag, where I grabbed hair dryer, curling iron and hot brush (weighing exactly one and a half pounds) and shoved them in my bag, and our luggage was on its way, free of charge.

Exhausted, our group of 58 senior high school boys, coaches, and a group of bleary-eyed parents, headed through security and onto the gate, where our departure went smoothly.

It seemed like an entire day had passed when we finally arrived in Phoenix at just 7:25 a.m.  --  to sweltering heat.  By afternoon the temperature had climbed to 98 degrees, and I was sorely missing our gorgeous, cool, fall temperatures in Denver.  Our teams played a total of four games throughout the day.  Luke got the day off and will pitch in an early game tomorrow, when it will be considerably cooler.

The tournament is really a "showcase" where select teams from all over the country -- and some from as far away as Canada and Australia -- come to play, and are observed by college and pro coaches.  It's quite an event, held in a complex of nine baseball fields and games being played continually. The hope, of course, is that the boys will be noticed and given an opportunity to play beyond high school. 

And on that note, I'm off to bed.  Reporting live from Phoenix. . .

Friday, October 8, 2010

Brain dump

I'm having a heck of a time keeping up with blogs these days.  My own and everyone else's.  Is anyone else having a hard time switching over from Bloglines to Google Reader?  I'm just not used to the format and I'm so far behind on reading all of my favorite blogs.  I've already clicked "all read" once, just to get a fresh start.  I'm so not good at change!

I spent two days this week fall cleaning my house.  Does it still count as the same fall cleaning if you do two days in early September and two days in October?  These are the things I ponder.

A very dear friend has learned that her new baby will be arriving from China in a few weeks!!  My sis-in-law and I are kicking into high gear to give her a shower.  Hence, the cleaning today and yesterday.  The shower will be held at my house in two weeks.  I haven't had or been to a baby shower in . . . I can't remember how long. 

Next week, I'm going on a trip with my son to Arizona.  He's playing in a baseball tournament.  I get to enjoy the sun for four days.  I can't wait!

I started Christmas shopping already.

Did you know that pine cones are edible (sorry, don't know where that came from.)  But, did you know that the world has stopped making "regular" light bulbs???  I just learned this at supper the other night.  My husband and my kids all knew.  Why did no one tell me this?  I don't like the curly ones -- yes, I know they're "green" -- and I will need to hurry and stock up on the others before they're all gone.  Why am I the last to know these things?

This is how I get motivated to clean my house.  I text my brother and say, "do you want to have coffee today?" and he texts back, "yes, how 'bout later."  Which is all part of my plan.  So, I clean all day, looking forward to that cup of coffee (which I will ask him to pick up at the coffee shop and bring over, because I'm not too proud, and then I don't have to ask because he says, "how about if I stop and pick up a couple of mochas?"  Ahhh, Yes!), which he does, and we sit on my back porch, which is perfectly cool and lovely on this fall day, and talk for an hour.

I started a photo blog.  It's called Photo A Day.  Technically, it should be "Photo Every Few Days", but that would sound weird.

But not any weirder than this post.

The End.

Monday, October 4, 2010

This weekend, I . . .

. . . made two loaves of pumpkin chocolate chip bread, copying Becky's idea.

. . . helped my daughter make a fleece throw, using Barb's instructions.

. . . watched four baseball games in beautiful 80-degree weather.

. . . was grateful for cell phones, so I could keep in touch with Dan while he was watching softball and I was watching baseball.

. . . got wa-a-ay far behind on laundry.

. . . had the best breakfast at a truck stop on the interstate.

. . . enjoyed the two-hours in the car with my middle child, while he played his music for me, told me about each artist, and we had time to just chat.

. . . had a date night and watched "Date Night" on pay-per-view.

What'd you do this weekend?  Head on over to Becky's and link up!