Thursday, September 28, 2006

101 Things About Me

Since I started blogging three months ago today, I figured it was time to tell you about me. So, I humbly submit my version of “101 Things About Lil’ Old Me”

  1. I arrived in this world April 1963
  2. I was born in Austin, Texas
  3. My family are long-time Texans; Dad’s family arrived in 1840, Mother’s in 1665
  4. My older brother & I are the first generation to be raised outside of Texas
  5. My parents divorced when I was a year old
  6. Yes, it did effect my relationships with men
  7. Mother & I moved to California in 1965
  8. Dad & my brother moved to New Mexico
  9. I would like to visit Austin, since I have no memory of it
  10. The name I answer to is not meg
  11. meg is an acronym of my legal name
  12. I like my natural name- I just like the anonymity better
  13. I have 3 brothers & 2 sisters
  14. I’m the second oldest
  15. But everyone treats me like the oldest
  16. I was always a serious child
  17. My dad said I was born an old lady
  18. I’ve gotten younger as the years go by
  19. I have Chris to thank for that
  20. I’m really a shy person
  21. People laugh at me when I say that
  22. I’ve been known to talk the hind leg off a donkey
  23. But only around people I know
  24. I have a dry sense of humor
  25. I can also be very sarcastic
  26. I don’t think this is always a good thing
  27. But it is how I’m wired
  28. I grew up in Berkeley, with my mom, step-dad & 3 younger siblings
  29. No, we were not hippies
  30. I do remember the student riots & smell of tear gas
  31. We were rather well-to-do
  32. We children weren’t aware of this
  33. I was the only one of my siblings to go to public school
  34. My step-dad & I didn’t get along when I was growing up
  35. When I was 16, I moved to Kansas to live with my Dad & brother
  36. It was a good thing- I didn’t know my Dad very well
  37. I met my first husband 3 months after I moved to Kansas
  38. Yes- I’ve been married twice
  39. I met both my husbands in the same year- Chris in Feb & the other in Dec
  40. I got married when I was 19
  41. It wasn’t a bad marriage, just not a good one
  42. We had 2 children- Robb & Jessica
  43. My first husband is a nice man, but not the right one for me
  44. I was divorced a week before I turned 25
  45. I married Chris 4 months & 10 days later
  46. It was the biggest risk I’ve ever taken
  47. It was the best decision I ever made
  48. We lived with my mother-in-law for the first 18 months of our marriage
  49. Fortunately, I love my mother-in-law
  50. I raised my daughter & my ex-husband raised Robb
  51. It was the most difficult choice I ever made
  52. I still second guess myself about that decision
  53. Ultimately, I think it was the right one- Robb is a terrific man
  54. It took me 2 years to get pregnant with Sam
  55. I had a lot of problems during that pregnancy
  56. I gave birth- naturally- to a 10lb 1oz, 23 inch long baby
  57. We wanted another child, but the doctor didn’t think it would be a good idea
  58. I didn’t think it was such a good idea either
  59. I love my children, but sometimes I think I should have stuck to cats
  60. I have naturally curly hair
  61. It’s short, dark brown & liberally sprinkled w/white
  62. I made peace with my hair a long time ago
  63. I’m the shortest one in my family
  64. I’m the only fat one in my family
  65. I’m also the only one in my family without high cholesterol
  66. I love to dance
  67. I’m a pretty good dancer
  68. I love to sing
  69. I’m pretty good at that, too
  70. I studied French in grade school
  71. I studied Spanish in high school & college
  72. While I can understand a little French & Spanish, I speak only English
  73. This is one of my biggest regrets
  74. I have a math brain- I think in numbers & patterns
  75. My husband & daughter don’t understand this- they think I’m weird
  76. My sons do understand this- they think I’m cool
  77. I am intelligent & educated, but I don’t consider myself an intellectual
  78. I graduated with a 3.89 GPA
  79. I got A’s & B’s without too much effort
  80. I have a photographic memory
  81. But the lens is getting cloudy
  82. I enjoy learning
  83. I would like to finish a Bachelor’s degree, but I can wait
  84. I’ve always had an active imagination
  85. I entertain myself while walking with daydreams, mostly about winning the Lotto
  86. Since I rarely remember to play, I can only daydream
  87. My favorite color is green, but I rarely wear it
  88. My style is rather static- skirts, slacks, loose tops & flats
  89. My daughter thinks I look frumpy
  90. She’s probably right, but I like being comfortable
  91. I need to lose weight
  92. My ankles pop & crack every time I walk
  93. I have osteoarthritis
  94. I mostly ignore it, but it’s getting harder
  95. I really want to travel
  96. I am a born-again Christian
  97. I have been since I was 21
  98. I was raised in a family of atheists/agnostics
  99. My grandmother taught me about God

100. I’m the black sheep of the family

101. That’s okay with me

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Today, I wrote out a check for $247.57 & put it in the mail.

(meg, darling, you know we love you dearly & are endlessly fascinated with every aspect of your life, but isn’t this a little too mundane of a subject?)

It was probably the most significant event of the month;

(Um, meg dearest, might you be making a slight overstatement? What about your wedding anniversary, the visit from Robb, or even the new car?)

Actually, it was the most momentous occasion since graduation in May.

(Tsk, tsk- poor sweet meg; three months into blogging & her well of absorbing entries has run dry- she’s reduced to relating the minutia of bill payment!)

Lest you abandon me to my solitary celebration, let me give you a little history (you know how I love to tell a story!)
Eight years ago, we had over $32,000 in credit card debt. How in the world did we get that far in the hole? The way most young couples starting out do- we didn’t manage our money well & were seduced by monthly minimum payments. When Sam was born, we were in the fortunate financial position of me not having to work, so I could stay home & raise our last baby. After a few months, with the full support & urging of my husband, I decided to go to college, part-time in the evenings, so Chris could watch the kids. Because our budget was rather constrained, books & tuition went on the card. Then came the move to a larger place in another town- first, last & deposit, & no savings. The refrigerator & washer gave out within 6 months of each other. A couple years later, it was 2 root canals for me & braces for the oldest child- with no dental insurance. By then, there was more than one card, so I decided to take a part-time job to pay down balances & save some money. There were too many dinners out because no one felt like cooking after a full day of work & school. Then, the worst happened- Chris got laid off twice in a year. He able to land other jobs fairly quickly, but we had to carry the full cost of medical insurance for a total of six months- it wasn’t an option to chance it without, because Robb has severe asthma. After the second layoff, I decided to go back to work full-time, since Sam was now in school all day.
It was at this point we took a class through our church on financial stewardship, & I was convicted on how poorly I, an accounting major working in the financial industry, had managed our money. Early in our marriage, Chris turned all financial matters over to me, trusting that my good sense & math brain would take care of everything. I was ashamed of betraying his trust & took steps to get our economic house in order. First, I worked with a credit counseling organization; but after 3 years, our balances were barely moving because most of the credit card companies wouldn’t reduce our interest rates (too many late payments & high balances.) Then, I found a debt settlement company that was able to negotiate lump-sum settlements with each creditor. It was a painful & gradual process, but every month we made our payments, & the company worked on our behalf.

And today, I wrote out a check for $247.57 & put it in the mail… for our last payment.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Puttering Weekend

This was a weekend to recharge the batteries. We had several things we had planned on doing, but decided to dump the plans in favor on puttering. As I've mentioned, we've been going hammer & tongs for weeks, pretty much since the first part of May, so two days of nothing particular to do was in order.

Saturday, we all slept in, then sort of grazed for breakfast. I did some watering out back (since we still have had any rain)& Chris started a load of his work clothes for next week. I made a pot on tea & we read the paper- I saw that Alden Lane Nursery was having a quilt show & asked Chris if he was interested in going. He said that he had been thinking about going out for a hike in one of the regional parks nearby, & was I interested in joining him. After 3 seconds of staring at each other in silence, we both started laughing! That's one of the things I love about my marriage- we understand each other pretty well & appreciate our differences. Don't get me wrong- Chris has a great appreciation for handcrafts & I do enjoy a day out communing with nature- we like to spend our freetime together. But we've also learned that it's okay- no, imperative- for us to have time apart. So, I went off to Livermore, while Chris & Sam headed to Black Diamond Mines for the day.

The quilt show lovely; they had strung the quilts & hanging on lines between the trees throughout the nursery; there were various quilting guilds represented, each raffling off a quilt for charity; several vendors had booths around the nursery, offering jewelry, needle crafts, quilt fabric & food. The nursery itself was putting on a free workshop on spring bulbs, which I sat in on- I put together a rectangular terracotta planter, with layered bulbs (daffodils, tulips, & grape hyacinth) topped with violas, to put next to the front walk. Of course, I had to do a little shopping- I picked up a large bag of mixed tulips (which I plan to put in a large container like I saw done at Filoli Gardens) & a large multi-bloomed sunflower, white snapdragons & red pansies to put in a container for Fall. I stopped off at Cost Plus for olive oil & some wine (plus few other things) then headed home. I was able to catch up with my blog walking, meet some new friends, & clean out my e-mail inbox. I watched my favorite British comedies, then listened to "A Prairie Home Companion"  while I knitted. The boys got home after dark, having hiked, explored the mine & ghost town, & gone out for burgers, bringing home ice cream. Top it off with an early night & a good book. Ahhh.

Today was a non-event. We went to church; the ensemble performed the special, which was well received; we went home- no dinner out, no friends over. Sam went upstairs to play video games; Chris watched old westerns (& promptly fell asleep); I read for a bit, then took a nap. We read the Sunday paper while Sam washed my car; then I picked some basil & tomatoes for supper. It was a family endeavor- Sam grilled the chicken, Chris made herb biscuits, & I made pasta with fresh pesto & chopped tomatoes. I let Sam skip dance class tonight, so the evening was spent watching TV (we like "Home Makeovers) listening to some music, & reading the backlog of magazines. Now, the kitchen is clean, the cats have been brushed, & I'm ready to toddle off to bed, to reflect on how God has blessed me. Goodnight, friends.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

My Take on Thirteen Thursday

I've seen this done on several Spaces & it looked like a unique way to tell about myself (not to mention a blog entry when life is a little blah), so I figured I'd follow the crowd with my version.

Thirteen Things in My Junk Drawer
1. Catnip: homegrown & organic
2. Three cat brushes: 1 to use on the long hair kittens, 2 to use on the short hair senior lady- quicker for me, less ticklish for her
3. Two kinds of cat treats: 1 for hairballs, the other for sweeter breath
4. Laser-light cat toy (Hmm, do I sense a trend here?): I don’t know who has more fun with this- the cats or us!
5. Lint brush: See #1-4
6. Shoe polish kit: rarely used
7. 3-hole punch: for all those papers that need to go in the binder, but never do
8. Picture hanging kit: hooks, eyes, brads, wire- very convenient
9. Shoe Goo (for lack of a better name): silicone dressing used on dance shoes to keep me from landing (gracefully) on my butt during a performance
10. Assorted packets of bug repellent wipes: West Nile hit us this year- a must in the garden
11. Magnifying glass: nifty gadget with mini-screwdrivers in the handle
12. Church Photo Phone directory: it’s 6 years old, hopelessly out-of-date, but my picture looks marvelous!
13. Candlestick Stickum Gum: I use this on everything breakable on my shelves- with 3 cats & 2 fast-moving men in our house, it’s the only way secure pretty stuff

This is where the original idea came from; I didn't want to commit to every week, so I just used the idea:
Thursday Thirteen is a blog meme with one purpose - to get to know bloggers better. Thirteen is the magic number - because Thursday Thirty is too many!
Every Thursday, bloggers jot down thirteen things about their week, Thirteen secrets they’ve never shared before, Thirteen random things about themselves or their lives that give the reader a better idea of who they are. Then the fun begins, you go bloghopping! Find other Thursday Thirteeners, spend some quality time getting to know your fellow bloggers, interact with them through their lists and invite them to yours!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Nothing But Knitting!

Wow, everyone seems to be rather taken with the felted clogs! Thank you for all the compliments; but I have to say, without any false modesty, that my “talent” lays in my ability to follow a pattern. I was taught the basics & have learned the rest by reading what others have written & tested. In answer to several inquiries, here are some specifics:

  • Yes, they are pretty simple; you just need follow the pattern as written & to know how to ‘make one’
  • The pattern was written by Fiber Trends & you can buy it at a local shop (they have a list online) or from one of Fiber Trends mail-order resources
  • I used Celtic Green Cascade 220- it’s one of the best for felting- the amount needed varies by the size you are making. I made US Men’s size 11 & used 3 ½ skeins, knitted with two strands on size 13 circular needles.
  • They were completed in 2 weeks, start to finish; I worked on them during free time at lunch & home, alternating with a pair of socks I’m knitting as well.
  • Felting is a process of treating a knitted garment. An item is knitted in a larger scale, of 100% un-treated wool, then washed & agitated in hot water. This causes the wool fibers to shrink & mat together, forming a dense, water-resistant fabric- it’s similar to tweeding woven material, such as tartan or jackets, which makes it warmer & more durable.

I have to share that I have lived every knitter’s fantasy: last week, I was paid to sit & knit at work! Most of us have to grab opportunities to pursue our craft while living our “real” lives- lunch or coffee breaks, waiting at an appointment, riding in the car, watching television, while listening to the Sunday sermon at church (don’t give me that look- Pastor puts the Scriptures on the overhead & I’ll stop to take notes of things that speak to me!) This is why I like to work on smaller items- I can always carry one of my small totes with a project or two to work on when the chance presents itself. Last Wednesday, our company began the process of changing our computer system to a new & better server. The IT guys decided to start with our satellite office, which is only open 3 days a week, but they needed someone to be there while they did the conversion & testing. I volunteered, since the girl who is usually there was needed at the main branch. I was told it would take about an hour, so I took an hour & a half worth of non-computer stuff to work on (no small feat in itself- I do 90% of my work on computer). As I was walking out of my office, my supervisor mentioned that I might want to take my knitting along, in case I ran out of things to do. The hour-long conversion ended taking 3 hours; once I ran out of work to do, I had official sanction to sit & knit, while they finished the testing. Oh, yes, life is good!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Apple Hill 2006 Posted by Picasa

Apples & Automobiles

Since every weekend for the past 6 weeks has been virtually non-stop, we decided to take it easy this weekend. Chris had three days off, so Friday, he did the yard cleanup & ran the usual Saturday errands- have I mentioned that not only is he a prince among men, he also has ADHD & finds it almost impossible to relax? He even went over to the blood bank to make a donation, so all of us spent Friday evening at home.

It was so nice to sleep in Saturday morning, knowing I didn't have to be anywhere. Naturally, I woke up at 7:30 & couldn't go back to sleep; I came downstairs to fix some tea & read to newspaper. Eventually, the other bodies began to stir & by 9:00, Chris was asking what I had planned for the day (I'm believing that's because he was antsy, not because I always have things for everyone to do!) We had been talking about going up to Apple Hill to visit, & since was sunny, coolish day, we decided to pack up extra clothes & head up to the Sierra foothills.

It was definitely worth the trip- the weather was gorgeous, the orchards were overflowing with apples (some of the farms are pick-your-own, others you pick out what you want in the barn) & there weren't too many people or cars. The first place we stopped was having a "Teddy Bear Picnic" fundraiser for a Family Resource Center. There were lots of games for the kids, a silent auction for some awesome gift baskets & live music. We watched the Teddy Bear parade, then had some pie a la mode & fresh cider. We wandered down the road to a little micro brewery & pub, then on to visit several of the farms, stopping whenever we saw something interesting. One place had alpacas (I guess there are several ranches in the area- I'm going to go back to visit & scope out some yarn); another had an enormous field of sunflowers & petting zoo; several had arts & crafts vendors in tents, offering all sorts of locally made items. We only made around to about a third of farms, not including the Christmas tree farms, so we'll be going back in a month or so, when the trees are turned & the pumpkin patches are opened. We brought back a huge bag of apples & pears, cider syrup, apple butter, & some apple wine.

Today was another low pressure day; our only plans were church & Sam's dance class this evening. I filled in on the worship team for someone who was ill, then had a short ensemble rehearsal for next Sunday. I mentioned earlier that we are needing to get Chris a newer car for commuting, so we went over to a dealership to look at a car we saw in the paper Saturday. Now, you know how I feel about car dealers- so I was not really looking forward to the whole thing- but Chris really needs a car. As soon as we stepped out of our car, I could see three of the them heading our direction, so I just started walking quickly towards the cars to find the one we were interested in, leaving Chris to deal with the sharks. I checked out the car in the ad, decided to pass, & started looking at a couple of other possibilities, when Chris comes strolling up, with a salesman in tow, chattering away like a squirrel on espresso. Turns out, he had worked with this man about 10 years ago at his previous job; he remembered our kids coming to the office to visit & that I had been a seamstress.

Well, talk about a God thing! This is his last week at the dealership (he's getting out of car sales) so he wasn't real concerned about making a big profit for the company. I told him what we needed & what I was willing to spend, & he took it from there. Two hours later, we were the proud owners of a 2006 PT Cruiser, with less than 11K miles & fully loaded. We got great financing from my credit union & came in with payments $2 over my budget! Poor Chris is almost afraid to drive it- he's never had this new of a vehicle, & assumed I would drive it & he'd take over my car! Fortunately for him, I love my emerald-green Focus- I'm not ready to give it up.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Summer Harvest Posted by Picasa

They are finished!

The clogs are finished, felted & dried, and they turned out quite well, if I do say so myself. I have already started on another pair for Sam. I've posted the photos in the Knitting Projects album.
It's a little hard to tell in the "before" picture, but they were huge! They ended up over 18 inches long, with a very open weave & no body (I stuffed it with paper to show the shape its suppose to be); everyone in group said the same thing; "Wow! Are you sure those are going to fit?" (How's that for sisterly encouragement!) I put them in the washer for over 30 minutes & sweated it out- first, I was afraid they won't shrink enough; then I was worried they would be too small! All that is left to do is put some kind of gripper material on the bottom. I'm going to try this stuff we put on the suede soles of our ghillies (creatively called "Shoe Goo") which keeps the fabric flexible but has great sticking power- I mean, I'd hate to see Chris go sliding across the kitchen floor when he sneaks in to get ice cream in the middle of the night!
I haven't talked about the garden lately. As I was telling Tani, I finally got all the plants I bought back in July & August for the front bed in the ground- so far, nothing has died but it still looks a little sparse. My crazy white dahlia is still kicking out blossoms, though each one gets smaller; but since they started out dinner-plate sized, they are not really all that small! I was planning on planting in reds, oranges & yellows for fall, but somehow ended up back with pink, fushia & purple. The vegetables are doing well; the "kudzu" Lemon Cucumber as taken off across the lawn, & is putting out 6 or 7 a week; the string beans I thought I was going to have to pull up & start over are finally producing some tasty beans; & my bell pepper, while they look funnny (more like chilies then bells) taste good & don't cook up slimey. I'm off to farmer's market for honey & walnuts, then to knitting to work on a new pair of socks for me!

Just to let everyone know, I now have dual-citizenship at MSN Spaces & Blogger- I will be posting the same entries on both pages, though Blogger is stripped down until I figure out pictures. No, I'm not leaving Spaces- I like the things I can do here, I haven't had the problems many others have had, & I like being a part of this community. I only do this so my blogging friends who do have problems with Spaces can visit (it does load much faster, but not as many options to novices like me) You can find me also at have a great evening!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Five Things

This tag has been going around for a while, so I according to Michelle, it is now my turn.
Name 5 things in your freezer:
1. Organic Blueberry Waffles- from Costco, no corn syrup or trans fats
2. Large salmon fillet- great sale
3. Pecans from Texas- the last Christmas shipment from my Granddaddy
4. Several ice packs in different sizes- my boys are accident prone
5. 4 cans of Apple-Cranberry Juice- my favorite
Name 5 things in your closet:
1. A stack of LP albums- mostly John Denver
2. Barbie doll case, full of clothes & dolls- yes, there are mine!
3. The topper from my wedding cake- a bride & groom painted to look like us, but with Asian facial features (long, funny story)
4. My Grandmother's journals from 1928 thru 1932
5. The christening gown my Mother had made for my family when my fisrt child was born
Name 5 things on your desk:
1. Pictures of my husband & children
2. 4 foam rubber stress toys- a cow, a sun, a smiley face, & a globe of the Earth
3. A silk potted geranium- I have to have some color
4. A tea mug that says "It's good to be Queen"
5. A Magic Eight Ball- "Will this be the day I flip out & quit?"
Name 5 things in your vehicle:
1. A pocket-sized copy of Jane Austin's "Pride & Prejudice"
2. Lots of CD's- mostly the Browne Sisters, Alastair Fraser, & choir/ensemble pieces in progress
3. Tote bag with dance ghillies, socks, class schedule, gum, mints, & a dance pillings (descriptions for the figures for many popular dances)
4. 2 fleece throws, so I can take a nap in my car at lunch time
5. A "Grape Harvest" sachet from Bed, Bath & Beyond- I transport a lot of teenage boys & the smell...
Name 5 things in your purse:
1. 2 mini sewing kits, with lots of safety pins
2. A package of Airborne- I will not get sick this year!
3. Tea bags & sweetener
4. A small notebook- books I want to read, things I want to buy, movies recommended, garden or room plans, whatever flashes t

Monday, September 11, 2006

In Remembrance

To honor those who died and those who survived, take a moment to pray for every life touched by the tragedies of this day. Ask for God's peace and love to pour out on  both victim and aggressor, and that the balm of forgiveness would heal every broken heart.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sam in closing ceremonies 2006 Posted by Picasa

And I wonder why I'm tired...

Well, Robb is on his way back to Florida, having left at 7:00 this morning. We had a great time while he was here, but the week has really highlighted the fact that he's all grown up. It was definitely an eventful week- we were going the whole time & got to do lots of fun stuff.

  • Thursday: Our adventures started today. Jessica came into town for a friend's birthday & brought lots of laundry (she had asked if it was okay before she came- she didn't get paid until Friday & needed clean stuff) Thru the course of the evening of washing, drying & folding laundry, Jessica said something about needing to go to DMV in the next couple of weeks- seems that she hadn't registered the new car yet & the tags expired in July; plus, when she lost her phone 3 weeks ago, she had her driver's license tucked inside the phone case (she is one of those rare females that doesn't carry a purse)- when the phone was returned, the id was missing. Picture me having a attack of apoplexy- "Do you mean to tell me you've been driving an unregistered car with no driver's license? Are you out of your mind! Why don't you just turn yourself in at the police station now & save us all the tension of waiting for the hammer to drop!" I insisted that she spend the night- Chris was going to be off Friday & could drive her over to DMV in the morning, pay her fees, then she could pay us back in a couple of weeks. There was a lot of grumbling (from both of them- they bring out the worst in each other) but when Her Majesty (me) degrees, the subjects obey (or else!)
  • Friday: Sam & I head off for our weekly date at Jamba Juice at 7:15, before I drop him off at school & head to work. Chris & Jessica went to DMV at 9:00, but showed up at my work at 9:30 because neither of them thought to bring a checkbook or cash- evidently, DMV doesn't accept ATM or credit cards, which they didn't find out about until they were at the window! They finally get done at 10:30- Jessica heads back to San Jose to pick up Robb at the airport & Chris heads over to Pleasanton Fair Grounds to help set up the stages at the Celtic Heritage venue, where we will be dancing over the weekend (he scored a vendor parking pass for the weekend- Kaching- $16 saved !) After I finish work at about 5:30, Sam & I head to the fairgrounds for a final rehearsal on the completed stages. We finished up about 8:30; Chris headed home to shower & vegetate a little on his day off, & we drive down to get Robb. Jessica & Robb had been visiting her friends, work, school, had taken a bike ride & were just hanging out at her apartment (which was a mess again- grrr!) He looks good- though a little scruffy- & the lip ring isn't too distracting. We got back to our house about 11:00 & headed to bed after getting Robb settled.
  • Saturday: Today is our wedding anniversary- but no rest for the weary! I woke up around 7:00, did my usual Saturday morning routines, then started waking everyone else. We headed out to the Games after breakfast & spent the whole day. The weather was outstanding for Labor Day weekend- we normally see 95 to 105 degrees this time of year, but we never broke 90 all weekend & had a lovely breeze going through. The Scottish Highland Gathering & Games are the largest in the world & host the world championships for heavy games, pipe bands, drum majors & Highland dancing. There are 4 stages playing music, both traditional & modern; the clan tents; sheepherding trials; soccer & shinty; living history & children's glens; animals like highland cows, Clydesdales, birds of prey; & lots of food & shopping. We pretty much scattered at the gate- the boys headed off to the athletics & weapons, Chris to the clan tents to find our friends & hit the pubs, & I went to listen to music (my favorites are the Browne Sisters & Molly's Revenge) & stroll thru the vendor areas. We met up for lunch by the music, & Chris arranged with the Browne Sisters to announce our anniversary & dedicate a song to us, which made me cry. We then went over to the Grandstand to watch the Parade of Clans, followed by the Caber Toss & Stones for Height contests. After the closing, we headed over to the camping area for an informal ceilidh with the MacLachlan & Boyd clans. They were having a communal dinner, with loads of food & drink, & we were toasted by everyone with homemade mead, a wine made from honey. The camping area was awash with the sound of impromptu concerts of pipes, fiddles, flutes, guitars & singers. We reluctantly headed home at 10:30, since we had to be back at 9:00 am.
  • Sunday: Back to the Games for a day of performing & visiting. Our club was well represented this year; we had four different groups doing adjudication- 2 traditional sets & 2 all-lady sets- plus a Family class demo in the afternoon. Country dancing is a social form of Scottish dancing, so there are no competitions. But groups can voluntarily submit 3 dances for judging by officers & instructors of the RSCDS. The groups are graded on dance interpretation, music selection, technique & working together as a group- there are no awards or rankings, just acknowledgment for your skill & your teacher's ability. All of our groups did well, but our traditional set of teens did such an outstanding job, they were invited to perform in the closing ceremonies of the Games. This is a great honor- only the best are invited- & it is the second year in a row our kids were singled out. They perform on the Main Stage, with the top Highland dancers, to the music of the Massed Pipe Bands- over 800 pipers & drums. The Marine Corp Band did an incredible show beforehand, honoring everyone who has served in the military & then we had an informal fly-over by a flock of maybe 100 geese. I lucked out & scored a box seat, right in front of the Grandstand, so I was able to get some great pics of almost everything. After the close, we went back to the dance venue & clan tents to help with break down, then we headed home to have ice cream & watch a movie.
  • Monday: We finally were able to sleep in- I think I actually stayed in bed until 8:00! After having some breakfast & doing a little laundry, we drove into Berkeley to have lunch with my mom & step-dad. My two younger brothers, David & Ben, & their girlfriends, Wendi & Angie, came also, so we had a nice family get together. It was a lovely day, cool & sunny, & we all stayed in the garden. Mother was in good form- calm & focused- & Michael was friendly & relaxed, grilling hotdogs for everyone. The boys all talked about surfing & music, the girls watched & asked a lot of questions about my knitting, & Mother took pictures of everyone with food in their mouths & paid Sam to gather up apples the squirrels keep pulling off the trees- they take one bite, then throw it down- which drives Mother to distraction. We exchanged produce- I brought over tomatos, cucumbers & beans for everyone, & we took home some apples & pears. We headed back home around 4:30, stopping off to take a look at the SF skyline as the fog rolled in, & then went to Target for school clothes & munchies.
  • Tuesday: It was back to work & school for all of us but Robb. He drove me to work & took the car so he could do some exploring- he hasn't been here in over 2 years, so things have changed a bit. I kept my nose to the grindstone, getting as much out of the way as possible & filling my supervisor in on what needed to be done over the next couple of days. Robb picked me up at 5:30 & then the family went out for dinner at a Thai restaurant. Robb & I stayed up, chatting, eating ice cream, & watching Jaws, and at 11:12 PM, I was able to wish him Happy Birth-Moment!
  • Wednesday: Today is Robb's 23rd birthday & we spent to whole day together. It was a slow starting morning- we slept in a bit, showered, read the newspaper, then went into the Bay Area in tour Filoli House & Gardens. This is one of my new favorite places; the house is nice & interesting, but the gardens & grounds are almost beyond description. The weather was perfect- clear, sunny & comfortable- & we spent probably 3 hours wandering around taking pics. We left Filoli & drove over to the coast to have a picnic. The fog rolled in, so we put on jackets & drove down to explored Pigeon Point Lighthouse; further along, we came to Big Basin Redwoods State Beach, where there maybe 25 kite-surfers were putting on a great show- I had never seen this before, other than on TV. We drove down thru Santa Cruz, wandering around downtown for a while, then headed inland to San Jose for dinner. We ate at Sonoma Chicken Coop, a funky place in historic Campbell, & had a great meal; I was able to finally buy my son a drink, because I only saw him once after he turned 21. We shared some chocolate fondue in lieu of birthday cake, then poked around Barnes & Noble until Jessica got home from school. We met her back at her apartment; Robb fixed her brake lights (just needed a fuse) & then we said our goodbyes- he stayed the night with Jessica, since she lives 3 miles from the airport.

So, that was our event full week- new stuff, old friends & a great time had by all. I took today as a vacation day, not knowing for sure whether Jess could take Robb to the airport, so I've had the day to myself. I finished the clogs on Tuesday & felted them this morning (I'll post pics once they're dried), then headed to Costco for supplies, Target to exchange some jeans for Sam (boy, has he grown this summer!) & over to the post office to mail off packages to Yuki & Jessica (she lost her ATM card *sigh*, so I mailed her a gas card, a pair of pants she left here last week, & a stethoscope Michael forwarded on to her for her EMT training) Tomorrow, its back to the grind- I'm certain not much was done on my desk the past couple of days, so I'm planning on a late day & going in for a couple of hour Saturday morning to get caught up & reduce my stress level!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Isn't it Romantic?

In honor of our 18th wedding anniversary today, I would like to share the story of how Chris & I met.

I would be remiss if I led you to believe it was love at first sight or even second sight- but it is an object lesson in not making snap judgements. The year was 1979 & I'm was a sophomore in high school. I was a closet geek- Friday nights were spend square dancing with a teen club called "The Young Rebels". This particular evening, I was attending club for the first time in about a month- I had been dumped by my boyfriend & hadn't been feeling too sociable. I had been dancing & performing for about 3 years, and had taken a few younger girls under my wing, making sure they got to dance whenever partners were available. The music had started to form up sets, & I still had one girl without a partner; then I spy this young guy, maybe 13 or 14,  standing on the edge of the floor, with his hands in his pockets. So I marched up to him with the little girl in tow, put her hand in his & pushed them towards the dance floor, saying "Boys don't just stand around here!" He gives me this startled look, but scurries off to dance. I join my partner & we end up in the same set with the "arranged" couple. If you are not familiar with square dancing, during the course of a song, the ladies travel around the square, dancing with each gentleman in turn; so of course I eventually end up dancing with the indentured boy. I start chatting with him, commenting on the song & saying his shirt was nice, but he remains completely silent- he doesn't even make eye contact! By the end of the dance, I've decided this is one unpleasant individual- I mean, if you're going to come to a dance club, you shouldn't pout when you're expected to dance!

Fast forward about 6 weeks. It was another Friday night & I was at an event at my high school with my friend Erica. Her boyfriend offered to give me a ride home, since I lived 10 miles away from the school, but says he needs to pick up a friend of his on the way. So, of course, his friend is the anti-social kid. For some reason that escapes me now, I was wearing an bright orange Mexican "mumu", the kind with florescent multi-colored flowers embroidered around the neck. He gives me this sideways look as he gets in the car- a quick head to foot exam- & then smirks. We sit in the car next to each for 15 minutes without speaking. When we get to my house, I thank my friends for the ride, give Mr. "I'm too cool speak" a haughty look & flounce away, closing my front door firmly! The next Monday at school, I ask Erica why her boyfriend is hanging out with such a snotty little kid. She laughs & tells me "Chris? Quiet? I don't think so! Besides, he's not that young- he's 16 & plays varsity soccer with John." Well, I don't care- he's still a brat!

Onward another 6 or 7 weeks. It's now Memorial Day weekend, &  Golden State Round-Up, the N. California squaredance convention, is going on in San Francisco. I head over on BART, planning on crashing with one of my friends who have rented rooms for the weekend. I decide to stop in McD's to get something to eat before the Grand March starts at the Civic Center. I saw a group of my friends & went to join them, but the only seat available is across the table from... HIM! Okay, now we're stuck- we can't look at each other across the table & not speak. I don't remember who broke the ice, but before I knew it, we were jabbering up a storm. I come to find out he was not stuck up, but intimidated by me- he thought I was 18 or 19, sophisticated & out of his league! He is also partially hearing-impaired (as am I) & seriously didn't hear me when I was talking to him all those weeks ago when we were dancing. We must have sat there for 2 hours, when we realized we were going to miss the Grand March. We hopped up & he grabbed my gear to carry to the hall- nice touch. While we're walking, a very drunk man was staggering along the sidewalk & started grabbing at my skirt & petticoat (yes, I was dressed in full gear, including pettipants!) Chris stepped between me & the drunk, put his arm around me to sheild me, & tells the guy to take off. "Wow," I think,"He's cute, friendly and a gentleman!"

Well, the rest, they say, is history. We spent the entire convention together, dancing, talking &... other things teenagers do! Of course, this was not our happily-ever-after quite yet- we were only 16, after all. Our beginning may have been a little rocky, but we both knew that we had found something real & precious. It wasn't long before I knew that I loved this man & would for the rest of my life, but that's a story for another day.