Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pity Party is over - thanks to Felix!


Amidst the menagerie of animals that we own, a dove, a turtle, 11 adult rabbits with varying numbers of babies, four dogs, seven horses, a turtle, and a cat; there is Felix the cockatiel.


I have never owned a bird - except for our dove, and he is an awesomely easy pet to have.  
Beautiful, sweet and coos all the time...but he has very little personality. 

When Ellen asked me for a cockatiel....my immediate response was emphatic NO....we have way to many pets and we are up to our eyeballs in pet food, vet bills, watering, feeding....you get the picture! 


She persisted, and since she has worked hard with her "Hoppy Days" business, we let her purchase 
Felix with her "bunny money".  Felix took some calming down....a whole lot of calming down! In fact he could only be handled with heavy work gloves and he bit - HARD and took any chance he could to do so!


But Ellen never complained.  She read tons of websites on how to train him, and every day she doggedly worked with that bird, despite the fact that he wanted nothing to do with her!  After a month of quiet determination, she finally won him over....and she began to take the gloves off when handled him!



It was a momentous occasion when she was able to walk around the house with Felix
riding on her shoulder, giving her soft love nips (and they now were truly love nibbles) on her ear! For a time, I was afraid she might come away from this experience with a pierced ear! 


It is not unusual at all to find her after school, with her roller blades on, skating about the house with Felix perched upon her shoulder just enjoying the free ride! Felix accompanies Ellen for just about any indoor task - from making Halloween costumes....


to learning how to play "UP" from digitized sheet music on the lap top....technology - not sure if I love it or hate it! Just doesn't seem right to have a lap top up there on that piano instead of sheet music...but when you want to play something,  you have to love the fact that it is at your fingertips! 
But back to the point of my post...once wild Felix was tamed, Ellen set about the next task with equal determination  - and that was to teach him to talk.  After tirelessly speaking words to him, it just wasn't working.  She began to teach him sounds and that seemed to go much better.  He quickly gravitated to the "cat call" whistle and has now perfected it all tones, pitches and variations imaginable!  Those appreciative whistles (you know the kind you got when you were in college and you walked by a group of guys on the beach or hanging out somewhere!) go on all day and he greets you with one every time you walk in the room!  Kind of hard to be down, when you are getting whistled at all day!  
Two big pieces of advice when you are down - "Time heals all wounds" and "sleep on it", throw in  being whistled at all day long and bam - things are beginning to looking good.  



Now,  I am ready to post about dropping Elizabeth off and guess what....she is doing fine,  just fine.... my head  knew she would be, my heart just had to catch up!   As for me, when those heart strings start hurting, I will be making a little trip to go visit Felix - because no matter what I am wearing, how my hair looks, or what time of day it is, I am sure to get an uplifting whistle!  I have a movie for you to view, because you don't know it, but you need a "cat call" even if it is given by a bird! But I am having some technical difficulties posting it right now. so check back and hopefully, it will be working later!


Scary  isn't it?  It did fit into that car of hers and also into her dorm room!


Elizabeth wanted her sisters and good friends to paint a painting for her dorm - so she basically has her own little art gallery.  Here are a few shots of her sisters....all the friends had a painting 
party and the results were incredible!  I many need to duplicate this idea for my house!







We packed her in her car and there was no room for even my little old camera bag!   I sadly left it behind....and just used my IPhone!  Her bike and kayak traveled on top.  There was about twelve inches left in a passenger seat for one person to ride in a very cramped fashion for many hours on end!!!!



This was the last night - tearful goodbyes as Elizabeth still iced her face.  The surgery would take a post in itself, but in a nutshell, she developed a hematoma which will delay recuperation for several weeks, so lucky Liz - she started school with a nice swollen face.  Oh, the stories she will have to tell when she is older and has children.......



Meeting her roommate!


We laughed when we discovered they had both brought their "blankies"! 


And, yes - this closet will probably stay this organized, she is just that way!


Home  - Sweet  - Home

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Letting my learning curve go....

Hey there....

It has been a while since I posted last.  Time flies so when you are busy and somehow blogging can quickly fade to a back burner....especially when your heart is hurting and there is nothing cute, or funny  or perky to write about...at least not at this very moment.

My last post was full of those cute, perky, funny comments - but today, I think I will just speak from the heart.  When I look back and read my blog, twenty years from now, all these emotions so fresh and raw, will  have faded from my memory and will be but a blip on the radar.  And that is, after all, why I sit down and write, day in and day out....to remember.... good times, funny times, crazy times and also the sad times.

College......you apply, you are accepted, you rejoice, you agonize, you choose, you plan, you shop, you pack, you worry, you fret, you travel, you unpack and suddenly, it is time to  leave.....without them.  You come home....without them.  Eighteen years of your life is geared toward one thing...taking care of your child, so that they can one day take care of themselves, and in a one strange, bizarre, surreal moment you walk away and it is over.  Period.  They are on their own. By themselves. At college. And they don't come home.  It is a concept that you think about; but it doesn't truly sink in until you walk through the doors of your own home after you have dropped them off.  You walk into their room and they are not there.  You pet their dog and they are not there. You go to the grocery store and pick up their favorite food, only to put it back because they are not there. There is one less child in your household then has been for eighteen years.  I am fortunate as I have two more children at home - heaven help me when Ellen goes off to college... the girls frequently tell me, I need to adopt some Guatemalan babies!

I will get back to cute, perky, fun posts...but right now I need to grieve a bit.  My first born just went to college - she is the first babe I held in my arms, she is my learning curve.  The child that I tried everything out on and figured out what worked and what didn't work back in that confusing whirlwind of becoming a mother for the first time...like first time I screwed a bottle top on too loosely and milk poured all over her,  or the time I sent her to school in red leggings not knowing that "free dress" meant only jeans.  She still won't let me live that one down! Sorry Elizabeth,  but you really did turn out to be an awesome girl! Everything with her is a "first", because she is a "first". Her college, so wisely and appropriately, mailed an article that was waiting for us in the mail when we returned home.  It reminded us that this momentous experience is not about me, nor is about you - and therein lies the problem for most of us who are letting our offspring break the apron strings and matriculate to the great unknown.....we have to let them go.  But, it is still not easy.....






Sunday, August 14, 2011

I don't make this stuff up!



Our last four days have been quiet, very quiet.  Elizabeth is recovering from mouth surgery and it has been a difficult recovery.... much more so than we anticipated; considering that she has sailed through two bronchoscopies and her wisdom teeth removal.


She basically hasn't gotten off the couch and has been the recipient of many ice packs, soft food,  TLC and some beautiful flowers from GranE's garden!


Her face is swollen beyond recognition so I have been quite guarded in my photography of her...no-one really wants to remember this.  Yesterday, we needed some items from the grocery and since some friends had stopped by to visit, Gary and I took the opportunity to run to the store while they were at the house watching movies with Elizabeth.  I haven't left her by herself since the surgery and I thought she was in good hands.....right?


 She was  - but she was also in the company of good paws.....this little devil of a dog.  Our six month old puppy who cannot go a minute without satisfying her oral fixation.  Elizabeth leaves for college in a week so she asked if we could bring her dog Maisy and the puppy in for her to pet while she is laid up, so of course, we complied.  While I was loading up my shopping cart, our little devil of a pup was rooting around under the couch to see what she could find to gnaw on..... and what is the one thing that could be the most disturbing, disruptive, utterly awful item she could have found?  Shouldn't it be a hair brush or a pair of flop flops or something annoying like that?  NOOOOO - our sweet pup managed to find Elizabeth's Pepper Spray that she takes with her when she goes on long distance runs. (which should not be under the couch Elizabeth!)......so while our girls are vegging out, enjoying movies and keeping Elizabeth company - our devil dog is chewing on a bottle of Pepper Spray behind the couch. The girls heard a hiss and and smelled it first....Ellen said her first thought was that a skunk had gotten into the house!  Fortunately, they quickly figured out what happened, (your mind does go into hyper overdrive in these situations)  and scrambled out of the room.  However, once outside, they realized that all the cell phones were inside!  Cajun was going crazy and foaming at the mouth, so Sara started hosing out her mouth and eyes ASAP.  Ellen knew her cell phone was in her room and headed back in the house to get it.  Elizabeth headed to GranE and Charlies to alert them of the problem.  As Ellen headed into the house to get the phone... she merely ran past the room that the spray went off in and was immediately affected.  She grabbed her cell phone and by the time she got outside, couldn't open her eyes.  That is when we got a call from Elizabeth....I had the grocery cart half loaded and immediately  abandoned it, and we raced home.  As we were driving home, I was googling remedies for pepper spray - folks; this is viscous stuff!  From the phone call, I thought Ellen took a direct hit and was really worried.  



She simply ran past the room in which the can had exploded and was so 
affected that she couldn't open her eyes and it caused her face to become red and swollen. 
 Sara's wasn't affected until she started washing Cajun and when she rinsed Cajun, 
it made her eyes water and burn.    


This stuff is serious.  Anyway,  FYI - the remedy is 25% Dawn to a 75% water and you dunk your face repeatedly (don't rub) and rinse to remove the oil of the pepper spray.


Once we got home, it was clear that the situation was not nearly as dire as we had thought over the phone, and was almost comical.  By now, everyone was laughing, the house was aired out and the dog was OK too.  Sara's quick response on rinsing her really 
helped and Cajun was surprisingly calm for having "eaten" pepper spray!


We were dunking Ellen to make sure that all remnants of Pepper spray were gone from her face as it was still burning a bit. 


My "other daughter" Katherine came a running with the hose to help with rinsing! 


Ellen was the center of attention 


and took full advantage of it!  Here she is "blowing bubbles"!


Gran-E raced down in her speedy golf cart to oversee the operation. Thank Goodness for grandparents that live close....and by close, I mean a stone's throw.  When things like this happen, it is nice to know there is someone who has your back! Thank you GranE!


Ever resourceful Sara - she donned goggles used the leaf blower to blow any remaining particles of pepper spray out of the house!  
(This is a reenactment that she kindly posed for ~ give her a hand folks - 
one for ingenuity and two for good sportsmanship!)  

If you look like this from briefly running though a room beside a room that had pepper spray released into it, can you imagine a direct hit.....or could it be that we made her dunk her head in a bucket full of soapy bubbles twenty times...hmmmm.


Oh - the other googling fact I learned from this escapade was that milk alleviates burn pain.  Somehow, Ellen's hand had a bit of burn on it as well so we tried this and it worked.  This whole thing is now turning into one big Science experiment! Hey, is that a graham cracker you are having with the milk that you are using as burn salve? Nothing like mixing business with pleasure.....right Elbow! 


Ellen and Cajun are none-the-worse for the wear - Elizabeth on the other hand did not need all that activity and running around in 100 degree heat and 200% humidity but, all I can think about is, what if she had been sprayed in the face with pepper spray?  In her condition, it could have been a monumental problem. So, all in all, we have escaped to live another day!


And you - Devil Dog - have you learned your lesson?


Somehow - I don't think so......but you sure are nice and clean!

P.S.  I went back to the grocery store when all had calmed down and guess what...my grocery cart was in the exact same spot where I had abandoned it with all the items in it!  There are sometimes that I am glad there are lazy employees in the world. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

{this moment}


{this moment}



A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspinred by - Amanda Soule 
If you have a moment to share, please leave a comment with a link! 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fat Man's Misery




We were all set to have a nice day of horseback riding......


and then the rains came.


it rained and rained and rained


Change plans  ~  pull out cook books!  Ellen and her friend settled upon this 
interesting looking recipe.  It really is all in a name that makes you choose something, right?
 Books, movies  ~  recipes. Fortunately,  we just 
 happened to have all the right ingredients ...... so Fat Man's Misery was our choice.
Except for Oreos, so we made a graham cracker crust instead!


The first step was to pound out the graham crackers


All was going well, until Ellen called me over to check out her creamed butter and sugar ~ one look and I knew something was wrong!  This is not the fluffy, yumminess I am used to seeing!


As I was studying the recipe to see what could have gone wrong, Rachel snapped this photo. My super sleuthing skills paid off as I am a pro at having to review recipes to figure out where I screwed something up....bingo ~ yep, I got it! See in the recipe where you are supposed to cream the sugar and butter and then add an egg.....well, Ellen used the 1/2 teaspoon of sugar instead of the cup of confectioner sugar!  So, it was correctable and we got to make it even MORE fattening by adding the powdered sugar. You can tell this is a very old fashioned cookbook....no helpful hints here;  you have to be a seasoned chef to get these recipes right1 

It was YUMMY!!!!!!


Top it off with OREOS and prepare for goodness. It really is an easy and fun recipe! 




Monday, August 8, 2011

They are Home!


The Girls are home, the girls are home....Elizabeth is home from her week in Colorado and the other two girls are home from their five week long camp stint in North Carolina!  I have always wanted to have a "Welcome Home" party and have all their friends around for the big homecoming but circumstances did not allow for it; that is until this year.  We decided to fly the two younger girls home from camp and it ended up that they were coming home on they same day as Elizabeth.....so I called Elizabeth's friend Katie, and asked her to gather the friends for a party.  Elizabeth was in on the secret but the other  two girls were clueless ~ and totally surprised!  




I started by sprucing up the house and getting everything ready for them.  
I wanted it clean one last time!


We drove to the airport with great anticipation while their friends were left in charge of the house!  I left the food and a few instructions of when and what to place out.  


The flights were right on time and before we knew it, they were here  ~ very tired from 
staying up ALL night the night before and full of tales! 


There was so much to catch up on! The chatter was non-stop. 


Before we knew it, the bags were collected.....


and we were off!


Their camp website publishes  daily photos so I printed all the ones I could find with the girls in them and put them into a photo album.  Try to find a nice photo album these days...they are just about non-exsistant.  Gary and I went to four stores looking for photo albums and had such a hard time finding them!  I guess people aren't printing photo albums anymore since the age of digital technology has arrived.  I was shocked! None-the-less, we found one and it was fun for them to see all the pics of all their escapades.


First order of business on the agenda was to greet the dogs ~ Scout was very happy to see her "Sara".  My camera was fogged from getting out of an air-conditioned car into 100 degree heat! 


And here is my cute Ellen, loving on Libby...everybody inside is about to die right about now.  I am sure they are wondering just what is taking so dad-gum long to come into the house!  


FINALLY - and when we enter - they come out of the wood work and shock my girls to death!  They were behind couches, under tables, in closets...


It was a good, old fashioned, SURPRISE party!


LOTS OF FUN!!!!


My photography was awful!


I must have had the camera on a weird setting.


The pictures are blurry, but at least we have them!  And the party was so much fun! 


And even though the girls were tired travelers, you would have never known it.
They had a ball!


This is one of her "bestest" freinds from Pre-K....when she met her at the age of four, she came home and told me, "Mom, I met the cutest little girl with the curls today!" ~ and she would always refer to her as the girl with the curls!

They all stayed for a long time and had a lot of fun....


Isn't this an adorable cake?  Their good friend Elaina made it for them....it is an anthill with the ants coming home to it....and she made name-tags for Sara, Ellen, Elizabeth and Katherine!  
My little ants are home!