Thursday, July 31, 2008

Back to Sky Watch Friday

I missed last week, did not want to do it again.  This picture is from the small balcony in my hubby's new apartment.  I admit I used a little telephoto; we're not quite that close to this part of the Rockys (called the Wasatch Front by those who live here).  There is not much interesting about the sky--it's blue, but you can see a tiny north-facing slope that still has snow.  Considering that it has been mostly in the 90s for a lot of July, the snow is an indication of how deep it once was.  If you click to make it bigger, it is easier to see.

Thank you, Tom, Dot, and all who help with Sky Watch Friday.  It is fun to be a part of the group.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gene Pool Problems

I'm sitting in my hubby's small apartment this morning, enjoying the alone time with my newspaper and computer.  The newspaper is depressing though.  It seems there is nothing but bad news.  An editorial made the point that we are in trouble because of education problems. I was afraid that it was going to attack teachers (so many do), but the writer (from the New York Times) blamed failing family environments. He stated research shows that by age 5, it is possible to predict who will complete high school and college and who will not.  I'm certain that Kindergarten and First Grade teachers have known that for years.

He said that IQ matters, but other things are also very important: motivation, emotional stability, self-control, and sociability.  I found myself agreeing with his logic.  I think the gene pool is getting dangerously shallow.  The people with the least to offer children are having more of them, and those with the mental and emotional wherewithal to raise successful children are having fewer.  A case in point was also in my paper.  A young mother was arrested for leaving 3 of her 4 children alone while she went to a party.  The children were 7, 5, and 3 weeks old!  One article said a 4-year-old was at the party with the father.  The mother was arrested with a blood alcohol level 4 times the legal limit for driving.  What are the chances that these children will be successful in school?  And there's nothing the kids can do about it; they have so much to overcome.  I know several children of drug-addicted parents who have missed so much that is good, and know too much that is bad.

Goodness, this post is a real downer, but I am very worried about the future.  I'll try to be upbeat and silly tomorrow.  Any of you still teaching feel free to weigh in with your opinions.  

Monday, July 28, 2008

Busy, busy, busy

It's been a while since I've posted, but I'm still here.  We've been trying to move my hubby to a small apartment and more stuff and me mostly to our home.  What a nuisance.  What will he need?  What should be at home?  What should I leave at the apartment for my time there? What things will he want at home for the long weekends he's there?  Fortunately, my brother is taking a lot of the furniture to put in a house or large apartment for his two daughters and a couple of other roommates while they finish college.  

 Besides that, our son's family drove up to our home from California for a week's visit and play.  When two adults and four active kids show up at a 2100 square foot house, it's pretty much chaos.  We have teased their parents about how they don't really pack for a trip, they move.  My gosh they bring a lot of stuff.  I don't know if it's a product of the times, or just these parents, but the kids seem to need gadgets.  They have PSPs, IPods, portable DVD players and stacks of DVDs, Nintendo DSs, and they even brought their Wii to hook to my television so they could race with Mario.  We did manage to go camping for a couple of days, fished a little, looked at the stars (you can see so many away from the city), burned marshmallows, and got good and dirty.

Then yesterday, hubby and I came back to the city to finish organizing his apartment and checking out of the townhouse, and the kids left today to return to California.  They realized early that the oldest, Devin, had left his new eye glasses at his great grandmother's house.  I retrieved them and sent them to him today.  If history is any lesson, all their stuff will be gone and my house will be neat as a pin.  It seems like too much work to me, I'd travel more lightly and have less to gather up....but then it's not me.

Now that hubby's small apartment has high-speed Internet, television, phones, and assorted other utilities, personal stuff basically organized, extra keys made, and his first homemade meal prepared and eaten, my work here is about done.  I'll stay several more days, then go home and finish putting away the stuff we took there.  Eventually we'll be done and just in one place, maybe one more year.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My Mom

I spent a little time with my mother today and decided to write about her.  My mom is 17 1/2 years older than I am, married the day before she turned 17.  She dropped out of high school (Dad was three years older and just out of the Navy) and didn't ever manage to finish.  Somehow we kids got the message that education was important because 4 of the 5 graduated from college.  In addition, I have a Master's plus and my younger sister finished her Doctorate this year.  Our  sister who didn't go to college started in on a family and has the largest percentage of Mom's great grandchildren.

Mom says she is very lucky because she didn't get to know her own great-grandmother yet she already has 20 great-grandchildren who know and love her.  She enjoys cooking and is always trying to feed people.  No one makes better potato salad, chili, or homemade bread.  She can be counted on to have chips, candy, cake, and/or something in the crock pot.  She is self-sacrificing, gentle, generous, and unfailingly kind.

She and Dad were married for 59 years before his death a year ago, and until then she had never filled her car with gas.  She's had to stretch her boundaries now, and some things have been hard for her but she tries to hide her pain so others aren't uncomfortable.

My mom and I haven't always seen eye-to-eye and I know I've cost her lots of sleep.  I was sick (and in the hospital) a lot when I was small, I married too young to a guy she wasn't sure about,  I've put her through two open-heart surgeries (mine, not hers), and I don't always do the things she would like me to do.  But I have never walked in her home without hearing a cheerful hello and a happy-to-see-you smile.  She is a very special lady.  The picture was taken at a grandson's wedding.  

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sky Watch This Week

I didn't post a Sky Watch photo last week because nothing was different from the week before--just mountains and blue sky.  Then, on Saturday, on my regular 300-mile commute, we got to drive toward a rainstorm.  I took the picture through the window of the truck, traveling 75 mph on the freeway!  Don't worry, hubby was driving.  If you click, you can see the bigger picture.  It really was beautiful.
For more fabulous pictures join us at SkyWatch Friday, started by Mr. Tom Wigley.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Princesses and Sports Cars

For anyone interested in finding their own inner Disney Princess, or hot car, here are the links for the quizzes I took.  I've found there are several sites out there that have a quiz to determine your Princess characteristics, but this one is more detailed and the one my family had fun with.

The Sports Car quiz is much shorter, not nearly as much reading and thinking.

Enjoy and let me know if there are any Pocahontas/Mustangs out there.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Odds and Ends

I saw a few more interesting vanity license plates.  One made me think for a minute: MUZCMKR.  It was on a mini van, with a mid-thirtyish couple I could see.  I sort of wanted to know more about them.

This morning, while driving my teen-age nephew to basketball camp, I saw a red Mustang that had Sixty 4.  I don't know that much about cars, but I'm pretty sure it referred to the car and not the driver (he'd have to get a new plate every year).  By the way, I took a little quiz a few days ago to determine which kind of sporty car I was--it came out Mustang, all American muscle car.  I can't remember all the qualities the Mustang and I seemed to share, but it was kind of silly and fun (I wanted to be the Corvette though).  I've also taken a quiz to find out which Disney princess I am.  In that case I was Pocahontas (my niece thought the accompanying description fit me well).  She was Ariel and her description was right on.  Crazy stuff on the Net.

Anyway, another license plate this morning was on one of those cars that look like a rolling toaster--I think it was a Honda.  The plate said: 5-6-7-8.  It reminded me of an old high school cheer, "5 6 7 8 , who do we appreciate?"  I wondered what it meant to the owner of the car.

Finally, a headline in the newpaper said that a quote was "misattributed" to someone.  I know editors want article headlines to be short, yet give the gist of the story, but where will the word inventions end?  People are misidentified, there is rampant language misusage, or I am just being miszealous?


Monday, July 14, 2008

How Does a Garden Grow?

I've missed a few days.  It may happen again if life, or lack thereof, gets in my way.  

We made our 600 mile round trip drive over the weekend (from temporary townhouse to permanent home) and stopped off at my husband's parents' home.  I decided I wanted to talk about my father-in-law and his pride and joy--his garden.  Every winter he pines away, stuck inside, waiting for the time he can get outside and get his garden ready for planting.  From April into September he is outside: tilling, fertilizing, planting, weeding, irrigating, coaxing, encouraging, fighting pests and wandering deer, worrying about high winds or hail storms, and supervising the harvest.  The only thing that can take him away for a few hours is a fishing trip.

He says that the garden is about 80 feet by 80 feet.  I know that it is amazing and weeds are not brave enough to intrude.  I've already shared in the early radishes, beets and greens are almost ready (this weekend), peas are ready, cabbage is getting close.  As summer winds up there will be tubs of tomatoes (the best you've ever eaten), lots of corn (to eat fresh on the cob and to freeze), beans, cucumbers, squash (including zucchini), chard, onions, peppers, carrots, and finally potatoes.  I'm sure there are several plants I have forgotten.  It is a bounty he gladly shares with his family and friends.   That doesn't even count the numerous apple trees, along with an occasional peach, pear, plum, and apricot trees that cover the rest of his property.  Most of the fruit trees suffered from a frost this spring, so this is not a year for abundant fruit. My mother-in-law is relieved about that, she canned so much applesauce last year that she's glad for a year off.

My father-in-law was 81 last month.  He weighs about the same as he did when he was 18, and can walk forever.  I think his love for the garden is a part of what keeps him in such good physical condition.  He has had a health challenge or two, but he bounces back and spends the summers in his favorite spot.   He and my mother-in-law will celebrate their 60th anniversary in December.  It is good to remember that age is just a number, not a description.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Say what?

On the freeway heading to the airport in San Diego, I noticed an interesting sign.  It said SPEED CONTROLLED BY AIRCRAFT.  I wondered just how that was done. First of all, I didn't see any planes or helicopters. Second, just how do they control the speed on the freeway?  Grappling hooks?  Laser beams? Electro-Magnetic pulses? Low-flying "buzzing"? 

While at the beach, I saw two small planes towing banners for advertisers.  Maybe they tow signs that tell people when they are going too fast, but then how would they know the correct speeders would bother to read it?  What if the wrong people slowed down? Besides,that wouldn't really be "control" would it?
Someone needs to think before things like that are posted--especially for touchy people like me.  They may sometimes "monitor" speeds with aircraft, but control requires people on the ground.  I'd like to see an aircraft try.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Blatant Bragging

Close your eyes or skip this post if obvious grandmotherly prejudice makes you clench your teeth. I understand, I really do. No one has more clever, intelligent, gorgeous grandchildren than our own (whoever we are). We took a lot of pictures over the holiday and I got some very good shots that I can't bear not to share. Some of you like photographs of nature, landscapes, wildlife, pets, creative projects....I like pictures of people and these are some extremely special people to me.

Devin is 11, extremely coordinated and intelligent, a definite boundary pusher, and the kind of student I loved to teach.
Nathan is almost 9, methodical, detail oriented, computer savvy, smart, rule follower.

Alyssa is approaching 7, kind, thoughtful, bright, friendly, hard to catch without a smile.

Lindsey will be 3 in September, is funny, sweet, ruler of her house, definitely eye-catching, and my youngest grandchild (forever, according to my kids).

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Another try...

My MacBook does not have Photo Shop, so I tried using the retouch feature in iPhoto and almost got rid of the wires.  I'll keep trying to learn.  I appreciate the encouragement.

Sky Watch Continues...

Sky Watch for a bigger look.  Another hot day in the valley, with a little snow left in the mountains.  I wish I were smart enough to edit out the telephone/power lines.  Maybe I'll try and get one of my sons to show me how to take advantage of photo shop.  Until then, thanks to Tom Wigley for hosting.

Playing with Grandkids

I'm getting on an airplane tonight to travel to California where we'll spend the holiday with our son's family (4 of our 6 grandchildren).  I haven't quite decided whether to carry my laptop with us.  Hubby has to take his to get a little work done, but I may take mine just because I like to have it.  

I don't know if there will be any fireworks because California is having such fire problems, but we'll just concentrate on playing with the kids.  If I don't get around to posting for a day or two, that's why.  

I've got a small list of things that need to be done today, and a much longer list of things that will need to be done as soon as we get home again on Monday night.  Summer is a busy time and I will probably have to miss our teacher/friends monthly dinner.  Shucks.

I hope everyone has a safe and fun Independence Day.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Vanity plates

I've been on the road a bit lately and I'll admit it, I'm a license plate watcher and vanity plates are sooo interesting.  

Sometimes they advertise a business like BMPRMAN (the red truck had a logo on it too), OPN WYD (dentist), or BONEDOC.

Often they have something to say about the vehicle they're on.  I smiled at NOTABUG on a red PT Cruiser, then saw L8E BUG on a red Volkswagen beetle with a black rag top.  A gorgeous black Corvette had BLK OUT, and a small, red sportscar had LITLRED.  

Occasionally, I'm not sure whether the plates refer to the vehicles or the drivers such as SUPRBAD on a lifted, black truck.  A nondescript white car had 1 BRIT so I assumed the owner was from the UK, but what about the small Toyota crossover that said RX 4 US?  Did they mean the Toyota was their drug?  The white van's plate may have been stating an opinion, DRNKMLK, but what was the gray car's GO NUTZ saying?

Finally, there are the plates that make no sense to me.  It must be an inside joke or something I'm too dense to understand.  A black Tacoma truck had QUENCH; an ordinary sedan was YAMMED; and the most unique was FINZLET.  I tried so hard to figure out what it meant, I didn't notice the vehicle carrying it.

I'll continue to watch plates and I might do some serious thinking about one of my own.  Let's see... I BLOG? EX TCHR? OLD WOMN? BE NICE? WTCH OUT? (oh, that could be watch out or witch out..tricky).