To Alex -

To Alex...who is far away in person, but never far from my heart. I miss you. Enjoy these snippets of everyday family life here in the states.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Wandering Son Update

Those of you who have been around for a while will know two things about me. 1. that my son, Alex,  lives in Taiwan and 2. we are a family of storytellers for as far back as I can remember. Here's my latest email from Alex that covers both areas. I just had to post this. He cracks me up!

It's Halloween Week in Taiwan. The cuteness of Asia babies is intensified even further and we get to play fun games and parade from class to class bellowing "TRICK OR TREAT! SMELL MY FEET!" ad infinitum.

For this year, my two main activities are 1) an impromptu first-person story about accidentally knocking on my neighborhood witch's door and, to my dismay, having her demand a birthday cake or my fingers. After delivering the birthday cake she begins to cry and admits that the source of her vileness is the misfortune of having her birthday fall on Halloween and hence everyone always forgetting to tell her Happy Birthday.

2) I colored about 50 orange ping pong balls to look like "witch eyeballs" and then carried them around in an orange pumpkin trash can. Kids throw the balls in the trash can for sugary prizes. It went over very well on Wednesday and Thursday and I was hoping for the same success this evening. Unfortunately, we never had the opportunity to play...

To transport the game from school to school, I put the trash can full of ping pong balls between my legs on my scooter. We have a bit of a weather system coming in this weekend and it was quite windy outside. As I accelerated at a green light a big gust came in and blew the trash can off of my scooter. The top dislodged and my fifty hand-colored witch eyeballs spilled out and began blowing around an intersection full of cars and scooters. Not even just rolling, the gust was actually taking the balls up into the air! I had ten minutes to get to work and unfortunately could only observe the hilarity of this situation for a minute or two before speeding off to work with a tinge of guilt for littering.


Little Bit of Done!

I've made several cotton dishcloths that will be part of Christmas packages for my siblings. I like the cloths because they're easy to make and hold up to a great deal of abuse. Personally, I don't really care for them as dishcloths, but I do like them for scrubbing walls and floors around the house. This morning, I finished my last one and I think it's my favorite as far as simplicity, but also for the looks factor. I love the stripe right through the middle. I found the pattern here.

You'll have to forgive the quality of the picture (it was early this morning), and the fact that it's not complete in the picture (I did finish it), aaaand the fact that it's upside down (did I mention it was early this morning?)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Please don't leave!

It's too soon! I'm not ready for Autumn to leave me. I haven't made pumpkin pie, I haven't raked up all the leaves, my eyes haven't seen enough of the glorious colors, I haven't walked in the woods enough, I haven't done this.....I haven't done that....I haven't.....

The bittersweet never made it into the vase on my kitchen windowsill.
So many berries dried on the vines.
Leaves are still accumulating on the bridges...
although a few have been captured in the birdbath.
The water is still flowing freely through the culvert. I know because I hung my head upside down over the end to see. See?
The woods are still keeping watch for me....
with the help of cat tails who peer over the top of dried grasses and shrubs. They're holding on to Autumn as long as they can, but the woods and I fear it is to no avail. Winter, bless her blustery heart, is on her way. (Please don't tell Autumn, but I actually l.o.v.e. Winter as well.)
But, really, it's too soon for Autumn to leave me.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Still weekending.

When the out-of-doors draws at me, begs me to come play in the woods, I don't resist. I'm happiest in the woods and on the water, and I simply must spend as much time as possible experiencing all this wonderful world has to offer. That's how we ended up on the road again just before sunrise. I knew of a beautiful nature preserve that I was hoping would allow us to paddle on the lake, but the sign clearly said, "No Boating". Scrooges. Fine, we'll just hike the trails around the lake. It was cold, make no mistake about that, but the cold is no deterrent when the woods are alive with color.
Interesting, the frost has begun to melt on the boardwalk except where there are shadows.
I know you wish you had been there with us. Go ahead, you can admit it.
What a pretty carpet to walk on.
Told you it was cold out. I noticed the frost outlines as soon as we got out of the truck.
Close-up of frost on the railings of the boardwalk. I was so excited because I finally figured out how to use the manual focus on my camera. To think I've been trying to use the limited macro setting to do this same thing, and without success, I might add.
What would an early morning walk be like without a bit of reflection?
Pretty isn't it?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My favorite time of the year.

It was very early morning, but not the sunrise paddle that was planned because someone was a bit lazy and didn't get out of bed in time. The decision to sleep in was regretted on the drive down to the lake as the rising sun suddenly appeared perfectly framed atop a farm as it cleared the thick fog. Sleep is definitely overrated when you can experience nature at it's most beautiful. Unfortunately, Brent took the pictures of the sunrise and I don't have them here to post.

Still, this was the view when we launched.

At times the fog was thick and swirling across the water and then a slight breeze would kick up and the fog would clear enough to provide us with these beautiful visions.

We played around in the smaller pond for a bit before meandering our way back up the creek and into the big lake.

Oh, it turned out to be a lovely morning for a paddle. Quiet, crisp air, beautiful sounds from wildlife.

I might have learned my lesson about not sleeping in when I could be paddling rivers and lakes. Silly me.

Monday, October 5, 2009

View from the lens.

Here's a smattering of images I've been finding through the lens of my camera lately. I'm thinking I might have to start a Flickr site called puddles and holes just to keep track of the fun I'm having catching glimples of the world at my feet. Literally!

This was taken Sunday on a walk along Plaster Creek. No one was in the woods. I guess it was too rainy and cold for them? Oh, the visions those people missed as they were curled up in front of their TV's.

This image is from Saturday when I hiked along Indian Mill Creek with Brent and my grandkids. We had a little bit of rain, a little bit of cool, a little bit of sunshine and a whole lot of fun. Again, we were alone in the woods.

This was taken a few weeks ago at Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids. It was during set-up for Celebration on the Grand and I was walking across the plaza when I saw this image in a puddle. Since I just happened to have my camera with me....... If you look carefully, you'll notice an image of a woman's face in the reflection on the left of the building.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Yummy to eat!

Just to hop on for a moment and tell you about a couple of really yummy easy foods I recently made. I mean, seriously, these are so easy and delicious! You must try them.

The first is Roasted Cherry Tomato and Goat Cheese Clafoutis. Now, you may have made the blueberry clafoutis that's been floating around blogland for a while, but this dish...oh my goodness! When I found it I thought it would be perfect for the tomatoes and basil that are still left in the garden. It's beyond perfect and I'm not kidding when I say how easy it was to prepare. I did make one little change though. I substituted the 1c of half and half for 1 c of homemade soy milk, which is plenty thick and creamy enough. Yes, I am making my own soy milk. It's another of those recipes that's ridiculously easy to make, but we seem to think we need to buy it from the store.

The second is the broccoli soup that Soule Mama made for her daughter's birthday. It seems too easy to be this delicious, but it's so so very good.

So, get to cooking because you can't say you don't have time to cook now. And if you make those dishes, would you mind telling me if you think they're as delicious as I think they are? You can tell me if you don't think so too. I won't mind.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

This is what it looks like....

when you have 20,000 people in the streets waiting for the launch of 100,000 paper airplanes from six different buildings. Please enjoy another snippet of the incredible ArtPrize that's been happening in my town for the last week.

The streets were jammed full of people all talking about the same thing....

Airplane launch!

The airplanes were made ahead of time and carried to the tops of the buildings...

and dropped in a synchronized manner...

from the tops of six different buildings....

and it seemed that as soon as an airplane would hit the ground, if it made it to the ground.....

someone, be it a child or an adult, would scoop it up as a souvenir.

It was nothing short of amazing to be standing in the crowded street feeling the excitement of everyone around. As I looked about me I was so very happy and proud to be a resident my city, and yet I wondered, what just happened here? I knew that each of us had made and flown paper airplanes before, thus sharing a common albeit individual experience, but to be a part of this crowd while we watched in unison as the planes flew about us was somehow different. Perhaps it's because we were now sharing the experience as a group. Perhaps it was the weather.

Perhaps it was something in the air?