Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Zzzzzzzzz... **Huh?**

Just surfacing long enough to say I got home from LA last night.

Arrived to find both babies running about 103°.

Lots to tell when I am once again able to hold my head up without the use of a neck brace and my children achieve temperatures comfortably below boiling.

Until then, I will leave you with one valuable piece of information I gleaned from my trip: If you want to return to your ordinary life totally spent and feeling like a soggy slab of milk-soaked white bread... hang out with a big Greek family for five days. These people know how to squeeze the very last luscious drop of life from every waking moment... and take your pasty, little candy ass right along with 'em, so you better take your vitaims and try to keep up.

Now if you'll excuse me....ZZZzzzzzzzzz.............

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bowling With Beets, Anyone?

Well, they're not exactly the size of *your* head perhaps (as claimed at the end of my last post), but they're nearly as big as hers!

My, how our garden has grown!

I'm squeezing in one last post before I head off in tomorrow's wee hours for five days in LA. It will be the longest time I have been away from my Peeps... ever.

I know they'll have a blast playing and bending all the rules with Daddy while I'm gone. I know I'll have a great time rushing around helping my Dear Friend get ready for her lovely garden wedding. I know it's good for me to break away and stretch myself out of my comfort zone.

I haven't even left yet and I already can't wait to get home.

You know, I love my life so much, I honestly have no real need for a break except for the occastional overnight alone with the hubby.

Is that sick? I'm reasonably sure I'm not agoraphobic... Maybe I'm just freakishly contented?

Okay! Enough self-analysis. Here are a few parting garden shots until I return with stories of my foray into the tangle of humanity that is Southern California!

Pre-decorated Christmas tree?

Ooooo... beeeeeeans!

Homegrown, edible art.

Oh! And I still owe you the Big TV vs. Small Child post. It's coming.

Ciao, Darlings!

Monday, August 13, 2007

An End To The Suspense!

A couple weekends ago, two very large clans converged and descended upon an unsuspecting Ft. Stevens.

The Umfleet tribe numbers 17. The Browns: 19, plus one girlfriend.

I'll wait here while you do the math...

Okay. Put your toes away. The total is THIRTY SEVEN. Between Umfleets, Darlings, Gilberts, Browns, Tywoniuks and Fennels we overtook the better part of a whole loop of hookups.

It was truly a family reunion as every single member of both clans was able to come. All the Umfleets hail from Oregon and live within about a three mile radius so that's not such a great feat. Not so with the Brown troupe. They came from Calgary and Ft. Macleod, Alberta, Canada and the Seven-Fennel's-Plus-One trekked all the way from Grand Forks, North Dakota! Now *that's* commitment to getting together!

Once the weather broke, we pretty much commandeered Coffinbury Lake. There were relatives as far as the eye could see.

Didn't get any pics of the ocean 'cause I forgot my camera when we went for a bike ride to the South Jetty, but it's probably a good thing. It turned into a nearly-nine-mile exercise in group dynamics whose final leg was about three miles of peddling on looser-than-expected beach sand. I would have been worried for my precious Kodak. GREAT workout, though, and miraculously, I survived it.

OH! And, the BIG NEWS, you ask?

Grace abandoned her training wheels!

Sorry, Beth, there is no third bun in the oven.

Not a tear, not a crash, not a "Daddy! Don't let go!!"
James just held her up by the back of her shirt long enough to get her balance and she was gone. After the first loop we instructed her about starting from a standstill and she virtually didn't stop riding until it was time to go home.

She did the ENTIRE big bike ride without a single whimper or complaint... though she did finally tire of waiting for me and came marching down the beach to walk bikes with Auntie Dawn and me. Pretty amazing for just barely five.

Well, I think so, anyway.

Wade, a Tywoniuk "second tier adult" (you can't call 'em kids anymore when they're, like, 20...) dubbed her "Gracie Pace Car" because she was always out in front. She didn't like the name until I explained to her was a Pace Car is. Then she thought it was totally cool, of course.

Everyone seemed to have a really great time.

I guess the kids did...

We almost never saw them except in multicolored blurs... either racing past our various camp sites on their bikes and scooters, or holed up in the darkness of Dawn and Jeff's tent, their faces recognizable only in the illuminating glow cast by their Nintendo DSes.

They would pop in occasionally for sustenance, however.

James and the girls even managed to squeeze in a shellfish extravaganza, I referred to fondly as the Exploding Crab Fest. You're not eating crab correctly if you don't end up with some pulverized crustacean shrapnel in your hair. Being allergic, I sat just out of range and enjoyed vicariously.

Oh, and of course, there was...


The Camp Fire Hamburger!

Oregonzola Blue Cheese stuffed burgers topped with... ... BACON, Robusto cheese, dijon, Beth's homemade 'Chup and pickles on a toasted bakery sesame seed bun, washed down with some local Pinot.

Now THAT's camping, my friends!

Well, actually, it's not *camping* in my opinion of you're sitting just outside a 34 foot RV... but it's some danged fine outdoor dining!!

Up next: Beets the size of your head and the hazards of home electronics of planetary proportions...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

It's Been a While

Here's a long-overdue cute kitty shot.

Sisterly love doesn't get any cuter than this...

...well, yes, I guess it does...
More to come on our adventures at Ft. Stevens... including a *big* announcement!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

When Shopping Isn't Fun

I'm not a big fan of shopping for clothes.

I would *much* rather peruse aisles full of luscious cheeses or vast expanses of crunchy, cool and green than slog through racks and racks of smothering fabric.

When it comes to draping my frame, two things plague me:

1) A complete lack of imagination

2) A body that was not made to wear inexpensive clothing

I don't mean that I am a fashion snob at all. In fact, I have no fashion sense. That is why I stick mostly with retro or very classic styles... because who's to say they're not IN style. I'm a total Couture Chicken.

*Affordable*, lightweight fabrics enhance all the wrong features on my body. I need material that can hold its own against my dangerous curves. No fear gear.

One does not find such bold, brave and structurally sound clothing at Target.

What was I thinking?

OH, YES! I was remembering that I have only a bit of birthday money to spend on clothes to wear for a five day trip to LA next week which includes my dear friend's outdoor wedding. Hmmmmm.

*Note to self: Reconsider selling blood plasma then hop on over to The Limited. Or maybe Macy's.

School clothes shopping for the girls...? also futile. Well, mostly. If you want to dress your wee ones in anything but denim, you're pretty much out of luck these days. What's wrong with stretch pants? They make so much more sense on a small but growing body.

We did have some stellar luck in the girls' shoe department though, so the trip wasn't a total loss. Black, "Vans"-style slip ons with rainbows and skulls... pink suede "UGGS" boasting fat pink tassels that dance around as you hop gleefully down the shoe aisle... Happy day!!

Hey, Angelina! While you're designing your clothing line for *real* women, do you think you could kindly throw in some duds for *real* little girls, too?

Thanks a bunch.