Sunday, December 12, 2010

Rest in peace, Grandma...

My grandma died this morning.

And I'm sad because she was a woman I loved dearly, even though I only got to see her for a few days every three years or so, between moves.  But those were always good days.

And I'm sad because she was a woman that I didn't get to know well enough, and now I won't have the chance.  The last time I saw her was in 1998, while I was pregnant.  My older kids all at least got to meet her, but Heather never will.  And that's a shame.

I never got to ask my grandma to tell me stories about what my mom and aunts and uncles were like growing up, or what it was like raising her family alone, or even what the world was like then.  And my mom doesn't seem to like to talk about it much.

I do know that Grandma was a neat lady.  She loved her family, and was always happy to see me. I've been told she was stubborn, which means that all the rest of us come by it honestly.  She always had strawberries in her freezer.  She'd gone up on the mountain and picked them herself, then she'd soak them overnight in sugar and water and then freeze them in pint- and quart-sized containers.  Every time I saw her, those strawberries were the first thing I asked for, and she always had some.  She also dipped snuff, and had a spittoon close by her chair.  She had a plastic cup in it so she could just toss the cup instead of having to wash the spittoon.

I loved the smell of her house.  I can't even describe it, I just know that it was a good smell.  And I remember she used to have an antelope head on the wall, and a fox skin in a closet.  And I remember the first time I saw her teeth in a glass in the bathroom, and was surprised that Grandma could take her teeth out... And she had this old Singer sewing machine, the treadle kind, and I always thought that was so cool, but I never saw her use it.  My grandma used to make beautiful quilts--she pieced them by hand, and then quilted them by hand, too--she never used a machine to do it.  Before moving here in 1990, Grandma showed me how to applique some pieces for a quilt she was working on, and I did all the pieces for one square while we were staying there.  Then for Christmas that year, she sent me the finished quilt, and she'd put my square in one of the corners so I'd know which one I'd done.  I remember contests in her yard between my cousins and me, to see how far we could spit watermelon seeds.  I remember one year I threw a boomerang, and it ended up on her roof...I never did get that boomerang back.

I'm so sad for the lost opportunities.  I wanted so much to visit with her again, and never had the money to go visit.  And now I'll never have that chance again.

Myrtle Huskins Griffith
November 17, 1918-December 12, 2010
Grandma, I love you.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Christmas Mystery

It looked like a normal day in the Gingerbread neighborhood at first.

But wait!  Something appears to be wrong!  What's that Snowman hiding??  And there are Gummi Bears everywhere!  What's going on here??

It looks like something terrible has happened!  There are signs of a struggle everywhere!

 Oh no!  There's a dead Gingerbread Man!  Why is the Snowman hiding the body??

The Gingerbread Man was beheaded, and his hand was cut off!  Who would do such a thing?

And someone has put a Gummi Bear over the front door like some kind of sick Christmas wreath/decoration!  (Not to mention the one decorating the top of the Christmas tree!)

And there are two dead Gummi Bears in the yard!

Notice the "Santa Bear" stuck in the chimney.  Victim?  Or murderer?

And this one!  Why would a green Gummi Bear wear a green fez?  No self-respecting Bear would wear a fez that matches its own coloring!  Unless it has something to hide. . .

Those orange Gummi Bears on the top of the roof. . .are they sleeping?  Or dead??

And what about the Bear at the end of the sidewalk?  He's playing with a ball, like nothing unusual has happened.  I think he Knows Something, but he's not talking.  None of them are.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I'm starting to feel like Scrooge...

No, not Scrooge McDuck, Ebenezer Scrooge.  (Though Scrooge McDuck has some pretty nifty spats, and lots of cool gadgets...but we're not talking about Ducktales here.)

We had Thanksgiving dinner at Dave's folks' place this year, and it was okay.  Everyone got together and we had good food.  But I kinda just wanted to be at home having a somewhat less crazy day.  (And now I kinda feel bad about saying that because at least some of my family is going to read this and have their feelings hurt, which isn't what I mean at all.)  I think for Christmas we're planning on just doing a quiet day at home, which is good.

But the thing is, I'm not really looking forward to Christmas, and I haven't for several years now.  I'm not working, so we don't have any extra money to buy presents.  And I know it's not about presents, but it kinda is.  And it seems like such a hassle to go and get out the decorations, but at least they're not out in the garage this year, which is good, because I don't think I could get in to the garage at the moment, since someone has decided that Billings, MT needs to have a ton of snow dumped on it.  Ugh.

I'm hoping that I'll get more into the Christmas spirit soon.  I can't seem to remember what exactly it is that I like about this time of year, though.  I've only got a couple of weeks left of school for the semester (and I have another research paper that I'm really supposed to be working on right now...), followed by a month off.  (I'm really looking forward to that!)  Maybe then it'll start to get better.

Anyway...yeah, I'm not feeling very Christmas-y.  I've got Christmas music playing in the background, but it doesn't seem to be helping yet.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Things I have learned so far...

Believe it or not, I have actually learned some things this semester!

I have learned that in MLA format for papers, there is now only one space between the end of one sentence and the beginning of the next.  What's up with that?!  When in the world did that change, and why?  (Note that I do not follow that rule here. lol)

I have learned that Alexander Hamilton got us out of helping France during their Revolutionary War on a technicality!  I kid you not.  Apparently, when France signed the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and the Treaty of Alliance with us in 1778, they signed them with the colonies, not with the United States, therefore, we were no longer bound by those treaties.  Nice, huh?  Sheesh.

I have learned (today!) that Krishna, even though he teaches that people should control themselves and their desires, apparently was himself a rather lusty god, who not only had multiple arms but multiple, well, bits of male genitalia, which he could use independently of each other.  One of my classmates (a friend of Rachele's, actually) posed the question of whether or not Krishna was like Stitch (they're both blue, after all), and could retract or extend his arms and male bits at will.  This, naturally, put me into a giggling fit for the remainder of class

I have been learning that the "global warming catastrophe" is crap.  Dave's been going on about this for a year or so, and when my Research Writing professor asked us to come up with a topic for our research paper, that was, naturally, the first thing that came to mind.  Then I started doing research.  There are actually a LOT of papers on the subject.  And the thing is, climate skeptics don't deny that the planet is getting warmer--what they deny is that this is necessarily man-made, or catastrophic.  The paper I'm currently reading shows that as recently as the 12th century, temperatures in China were as much as 1C higher than they are at present.  Not only that, but some evidence is suggesting that currently, much of the planet is greener (as in more plants, not the green-saving-energy kind of way) than it has been previously.

And I've also learned that I'm really not fond of writing essays or taking tests, though my grades so far seem to show that I'm fairly decent at both--so far, I have almost all As!  How's that for awesome?

Next week I go to meet with my advisor (a different lady this time, as my previous one is dealing with the English majors with the teaching option), and so I am trying to figure out which classes I want to take.  I know I want to take Intro to Astronomy (with the lab!), and I'm thinking of taking Intro to Sociology.  There's a Geography class that sounds interesting as well, though that may wait until next semester.  Then I want to take two of my required English courses, so I'm thinking of going with Intro to Language (which is evidently a linguistics class and fairly difficult, oh joy.) and Literary Criticism.  Those four classes will give me 13 credits, and I can't decide if I want to take another class or not.  Meh, I'll figure it out.

Oh, and on a somewhat related note: Heather is doing phenomenally well back in public school--she has As and Bs in her classes, and she hasn't gotten in trouble for anything other than not turning in assignments right at the beginning of the year, which has gotten taken care of now.  Hooray! that I have updated everyone, I should probably get back to my  Have a good one, and I'll talk to y'all later! :-)

Monday, September 27, 2010

What in the world have I gotten myself into???

So, some of y'all know that I'm back in college, after a hiatus of fifteen years.  And it's pretty cool so far, even though Heather says it's weird to hear me talking about having  And I'm enjoying my classes, and feeling like I'm learning something, so that's all good.

But I'm having a hard time staying focused (the lure of the internet is strong! lol), and it's not always easy keeping up with the homework assignments.  And it's only the third week of classes!!  And I keep thinking that I should be working, too...but then I think, "But when would I do my homework?  And when would I sleep?  Or do laundry?  Or clean?"  And I think to myself that I haven't written papers in years, and things have changed.  After all, I'd never even heard of APA or MLA formats until recently!  How in the world can I possibly do this?

And the only answer I can come up with is, "Because I need to.  I need to do something with my life so that if I'm working in retail when I'm 65, it's because I want to, not because I have to."  And I love to read, and finding mistakes in what I'm reading drives me absolutely bonkers, so being an editor actually makes sense.  I just hope no one ever wants me to write anything meaningful, because I'm not that great a writer myself.  I can edit wonderfully, but being eloquent on paper?  (Or, y'know, on a computer screen...) Not so much.

I hope that I can do well in school, and that I'll be able to keep up with my classes.  I suppose a good start would be getting off of here, and getting back to my World Lit essay... ;-)

Talk to y'all later!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Camping photodump!

Okay, so I know I'm a day or two late, but at least I'm not months late this time! ;-)  These are some of my favorite photos from my trip to the mountains.  (In no particular order.)

I just can't get over how much bluer the sky is there than here.  I love it!

I had a lot of fun playing with the black and white setting on the camera.  :)

Isabel enjoyed making s'mores for the first time!

We saw this momma sage grouse several times, and she always acted like she owned the road! lol

We had an elephant stampede through our camp...

and we were stalked by a panther!

Back from a trip to the creek for some water.

Tex spent a lot of time laying in the sun.  I sometimes think he's part cat! lol

Dave made a peach cobbler--it was yummy!!

Daniel and Isabel.  Love this photo of them!

This was taken between storms one day.  It had rained for an hour or so, and stopped just before sunset, so these clouds had an amazing pink glow.  After the sun had gone completely and the clouds went back to gray, it started raining again--and rained most of the night.

Wild roses.

I don't know what these are, but they're all over the place!
Phoebe came camping with us, and spent a lot of time hanging around various areas of the trailer. :-)

We visited our waterfall again this year.  The haze effect was caused by all the spray hitting the camera lens.

Okay, I think that's probably enough for today.  I'll save some for another day when I don't have very much to say. ;-)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Home from the mountains...

I got to go camping this year, for nearly two weeks!  (Nearly missed out entirely last year--I think I only got a couple of weekends, and that's never nearly enough time!)  The weather was beautiful, and I hiked up to the waterfall again (hard to believe it was two years ago that I went there the first time!)--Heather was with me again, and this time Kaila and my niece Angela came along.  Heather and Angela had a great time playing on the rocks near the fall, and I managed to get drenched by the spray from it--which felt fantastic after hiking in the sun! lol

We saw some momma sage grouse with babies a few times--it was really fun to watch the moms slowly step out to the road, watching for traffic, and then watching the babies start dashing out around her.  They'd start crossing, and the mom would take her time, making sure they got across safely.  Most of the time, people driving on the road would stop and wait for them, but yesterday we found one grouse that had been hit.  :(  I went and looked around the area for babies, but didn't find any, so either they were being VERY quiet, or the dead one was a male or a female without babies.  (I'm kind of hoping for either of the latter, actually.)

Heather and I spent some time playing in the water, but I guess I've gotten to be kind of chicken lately, because the water is just too cold for me to go in past my waist, and even that's pushing it! lol  Heather, on the other hand, must be part trout, because she has no problem getting soaked from head to, toe, rather. ;-)

I truly think that I enjoy camping so much because I can get away from so much of the stress and drama of everyday life.  I go to the mountains, and the only things I really have to worry about are making sure there's firewood and water.  Dave does most of the cooking, I try to keep camp looking semi-neat at least, and the rest of the time, I just relax and enjoy the sounds of the forest.  The creek is a constant rush in the background, and there are always birds (grouse, robins, meadowlarks, and sandhill cranes--this year was the first time we've ever seen those!), squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, deer, and even the occasional bear.  Sunrises and sunsets are always beautiful, and at night the sky is alive with more stars than I ever see at home.  It's just amazing to see!

Okay, enough about camping (for now, anyway--I still have pictures to share! lol)--I have other good news!  I got my financial aid approved for school!  Huzzah!  So, since I'm registered already, I think all I have to do now is find out which books I need so that I can start looking for them on sale somewhere.  I've never figured out why college textbooks are so ridiculously expensive!

School starts September 8--that's just under two months away!  I can't believe I'm going back to school after so long.  I'm excited and nervous all at the same time.  Part of getting the financial aid was the condition that I pass all of my classes, and get my GPA up to at least a C average.  I know I can do that, but I'm nervous all the same.  I hope that an English major isn't a stupid way to go, or that editing isn't a stupid profession to go into.  I worry too much, I'm

Okay, I think that's about enough of my rambling.  I'll do a photo post tomorrow after I've downloaded the pictures from the camera.  :-)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

New baby!!

On Mother's Day, Rachele started having contractions, which were about a month early. But the doctors thought they might have miscalculated her due date, so they weren't too worried about it. When Rachele went in to be checked out, though, the nurses said that yes, she was in labor, just not enough in labor. So for the last 19 or 20 days, Rachele has been having contractions, and anytime they were really bad, she'd go in to the hospital, only to have the nurses scoff and tell her she was having "stomach cramps" if she'd never had a kid before and didn't know what contractions felt like. Sheesh.

Anyhow, last night the contractions were really strong, so Rachele and Tree went yet again to the hospital, and this time they admitted her! Things progressed very quickly, and at about 3:12 a.m. today, Bran Cormack Pambrun was born. Rachele and Tree plan to call him Cormack, though Dave and I really like Bran. I have a feeling the poor kid is going to be confused about his name for a

And, just in case you haven't gotten tired of seeing his picture on Facebook, I'll share a few here. :-) (Sorry, they're not in chronological order...oh, well. :-) )

Iris was very disappointed that Bran was a boy. She very badly wanted to have a little sister. But she still wanted to hold the baby, and seemed to warm up to him pretty well. :)

This is when Bran was just a few minutes old--he still had the baby goop on him! One thing I noticed today is that he's got really long fingers and toes--he's gonna be a little monkey for sure! :-)

Here's Rachele and Bran just after he was born. She looks pretty tired, but she's so happy he's finally here!

Tree sure is a proud daddy. :-)

Bran being weighed. He's just over 7 pounds, and definitely a boy! Not real happy about being on the scale,

Here's Aidan with Bran--proud big brother!

 I don't care what people say, that looks like a smile to me!

This is Daniel with Bran. He thought he was going to break the I've never figured out why guys always think that.

Okay, I think that's enough for now. Hopefully I'll be able to get more pictures of him soon and get them posted. Talk to y'all soon!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Hmm, isn't this where I'm supposed to write stuff?

So....yeah, that whole "updating more often" thing kinda didn't work so well, did it? *sigh* But I'm back, and ready to give it another shot!

I have started paying the school back and now only owe them $89, and I'm registered for classes this fall! I'll be taking World Literature Survey, College Writing II, Intro To Public Speaking, and American History I. Next spring, I'm planning on taking Astronomy for one of my sciences. I'm not sure what else I want to take, for sure, but since I'm going to be working toward an English degree (so I can hopefully go into editing), I'll be taking a LOT of English classes over the next couple of years. I've also applied for financial aid, and so far it looks like I'll be eligible for enough grants to cover my tuition and books--I just have to wait to find out if it's been approved for sure.

Still working with the Census. I'm a crew leader for the Non-Response Follow Up operation, which means my crew visits households that didn't mail their census questionnaires back, or else didn't send them back on time. So far, most people have been very cooperative, which is a pleasant surprise! This operation is scheduled to end in mid-July--at least, as far as I know for now, but it could change at any time. I don't know if they'll keep me on afterward, but if not, I'll probably go to the temp agency I worked for last summer, and see if they've got anything for me. Hopefully by that time, Dave will be working from home, and I won't have to stress about working very much while I'm going to school.

Speaking of Dave, he goes in for surgery next Thursday. His right hand has been giving him some problems for a few months, and has gotten progressively worse. It's numb on the outer side, and he can't spread the fingers apart. He's got very little strength in his fingers, and has lost muscle mass in the area between his thumb and forefinger. He went in for some X-rays, and apparently his ulnar nerve is impinged. So when he goes in next week, they're going to shift that nerve out from behind the elbow and use the tissue in his arm to create a sort of pocket to hold the nerve in place, and they're going to do the same thing in his wrist. It's an outpatient surgery, so he'll be coming home the same day, but will have a brace on his arm for about a week or so. After that comes off, he'll have physical therapy for a few weeks to strengthen his hand. Meanwhile, I brought home a stress ball yesterday so that he can start working that hand and try to regain at least some of that lost muscle mass.

Our son Daniel is apparently engaged....again. It's funny--his one year anniversary would have been next Friday. I haven't heard much about this girl. I know her name, what her job is, that she has 2 kids, and that Dave knows her parents from his folks' church. Daniel has been dating her for a whopping three weeks, and just moved in with her yesterday. I found out today (not from him, but by poking around her page a bit, since I could see that he'd commented there) that the wedding is July 31st. I don't plan to say anything to him, because I figure it's his job to tell me, if he even wants me to know. I don't think I can congratulate him, though. I think he's moving way too quickly. They don't even know each other. She doesn't know anything about him, except the act that he puts on while he's first dating someone. The thing is, he can be kind of a jerk at times, and he's very impatient. And he hasn't figured out that when a girl says "I don't want to talk about it right now," she really doesn't. He doesn't know how to allow a girl the space she needs to be able to think about things.

Ugh. I guess what I'm really trying to say is that I just wish he would take his time so the two of them could get to know each other. I really do want him to be happy, but I'm afraid he'll end up hurting another young lady, her kids, and his own daughter.

I've been finding recipes on this recipe site, and have found some pretty tasty ones. I want to make something like these chicken wings, but I'd rather use the sauce on something with more meat to it! lol

Oh--I finally got my birth certificate, so as soon as we get the money back together, we're going to apply for our passports!!!! Just one step closer to our trip to Scotland! :-)

Also, Rachele is apparently further along in her pregnancy than we thought--Tree called me today to say that she could be having her baby anytime in the next few days! Looks like I'll have to go pick up some more yarn on payday this week so I can make a blanket for her. We still don't know what she's having, so her blanket will probably be in purples, blues, and white.

I think I've gotten everyone caught up on what's been going on around here, so I'll go for now. I think I'm going to just have to make a point of posting at least something on here every week. Happy Mother's Day to all of my mom friends!

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Year's Resolutions...

First and foremost, I resolve to update this blog a little more often! Sheesh...October, I posted last? (I would say I've been busy, but that's only partly true. Mostly it's that I didn't think I had anything worthwhile to say.)

I resolve to lose at least 20 pounds--I'll be doing a workout video, walking every day (hopefully, anyhow), drinking more water and making sure I eat healthy foods.

I still owe a little bit of money to one of the colleges here, so I resolve to get that paid off, and look into getting a degree--probably in business, possibly business management or human resources.

Last but not least, I resolve to get any handmade Christmas presents done and mailed in PLENTY of time for Christmas! lol (One of these years, it'll happen, I swear! ;-) )

Photo dump next time, honest!! G'night for now, y'all. *hugs*