Saturday, July 20, 2013

Happy Street

We've been experiencing a lot of this lately.  Youngest son caught midway through his flip turn.  His speed has caught the eye of his new coach, who has invited him to join his elite high school swimmers for year round swimming at no extra charge.  He has mixed emotions about it -- on one hand jubilant because it means he really is that good, but on the other apprehensive, because the elite swimmers are truly wickedly fast and it means he will be moving from 1 hour workouts 4 days a week in the evening to 2 hour workouts from 7 - 9 am daily.  He's had his hour of being the "big fish" (sorry, pun intended) in the pool with other swimmers who he is very much faster than, to being the "little fish" with the sharks.  I'm eager to see how he will adjust.  He knows a couple of the swimmers in the new group, and they tell him the workouts are grueling.  That is another thing he is apprehensive about. 

And we still have to get through the end of AAU basketball with the huge tournament in Las Vegas.  We will be driving a car full of kids and supervising them 5 days in between games.  Should be a hoot.  I'm exhausted already, just thinking about it.  The husband is giddy with excitement.  He truly loves coaching and is gifted at it.  It's amazing to see how the kids flourish under his instruction.  The same kids who are marginal players on their high school teams become highly skilled contributors for him.  I think it's because they know he believes in them, and they start to believe in themselves.  Instead of coaching through intimidation as so many high school coaches do, this man believes in positive re-enforcement, and he values them and their success over his own ego.  I know I'm tooting his horn, but we've been in youth sports long enough to see that there really are not that many like him out there, and the kids suffer for it.  Okay, I'll get off the soapbox now.  You're welcome.

My real concern while we are gone is that the oldest will be home alone and in charge of the puppy.  This will be the first time we have left one of the boys home while the rest of the family is away.  Granted, he's 19 years old, so should be perfectly fine by himself, but I still worry.  He'll be at work from 7 am until 2 pm, so Nugget will have to be in the dog run by herself until he gets home.  We've been conditioning her to it slowly.  She seems to be all right, no signs of overt anxiety.  Here is the current state of the dog run:

She was in it for most of the day yesterday while we were home, and she's in it now, as I type this.  We will bring her in at noon, spend some time with her, walk her, and then we leave for an all day tournament.  Oldest will be home with her, though, and he promised to take her for another walk and play with her.
Remember how I said we'd puppy-proofed, but I was sure she'd find something to destroy?  Allow me to submit exhibit "A":

This is the dryer vent, which occupies the corner of the dog run.  There should be another plastic slat on the top, covering that gaping hole.  I was expecting that she would go after it.  And she did.  We'll need to replace it today, and then cover it with something when it's not in use to prevent her from destroying it again.  Suggestions welcome...

Time to clean the kitchen...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mystic Monk Rocks

Man alive, where is the time going?  No time to blog, but not a lot is getting accomplished around here.  Time to grab the bull by the horns, so to speak, and just do it.  So, here we go:

We've started a coffee of the month subscription to "Mystic Monk" coffee and we love it.  The coffee and tea is produced at a working monastery in Wyoming by genuine monks.  Fantastic products, and I love that we are supporting the monastery by our purchase.  I highly recommend it.  You can find it by following the link to Father Z's blog on the right of my home page, and then clicking on the Mystic Monk button from there.

Knitting updates: very little to report, I'm afraid.  one or two rows on mom's ribbed sweater, which I'm doing in pieces instead of seamless.  I have a feeling I will regret this in a big way, but what's done is done, and I'm not ripping that thing out again voluntarily...

Green striped socks are half complete -- that is, one down, one to go....We have a four day trip to Las Vegas planned next week for the youngest son to compete in an AAU basketball tournament, so I'll probably finish the second sock on the trip.

And, for a little distraction:

This is our lovely Lucy, the sweetest cat in the world, but you wouldn't know it from that glare, would you?  She can get the most intimidating looks on her face, but has the gentlest little soul of any cat I've ever owned, and I've owned quite a few.  The funny thing is, the more severe her expression, the harder she's purring and the happier she is.  We get a kick out of it.  She loves the knitting.  The observant among you will notice that she is lying on the pile of finishing that I've been promising to do for several months now, with no discernible progress.  She is also lying atop a package of my youngest's basketball team pictures from this past school year.  So, yes, I am behind in cataloguing the photos as well as everything else around here. 

And the pupster is now current on her shots and will be attending puppy obedience classes so very soon.  We invested in a gentle leader collar for her walks and the pulling has been drastically reduced, but she still tries very hard to leap at people in her excitement and friendliness.  Like most labs/goldens, she loves everyone and wants to show them SO MUCH...Oh, and we've given up on the fight to keep her off the couch.  She won that battle.

One more little tidbit, then it's off to do laundry:

Little sister came over this past weekend and we whipped up a batch of homemade powdered laundry soap.  I use this all the time and have had great results with it.  I made her do the hard part - grating the Fels naptha bar.  It isn't that hard, really, as I have a labor saving tip -- I heat the bar up in the microwave until it puffs up like a sea sponge, wait for it to cool down, and voila, it practically crumbles into dust with the slightest friction against the grater.  I follow a basic recipe and add oxiclean, and a super-secret ingredient of my own (the stuff in the large plastic container in the center of the top picture) that traps and removes dirt like a little laundry fairy.  It only takes a tablespoon of the product to do a large load, so it lasts a long time and is very economical.  Plus, it's something I can do with my sister, and that is always a good thing, as Martha Stewart would say.

Well folks, not kidding about that laundry, so I'll talk to you later. 

Have a blessed day.

Oh, if anyone of faith is actually reading this, I have a prayer request: my children's former 2nd grade teacher is asking for urgent prayers for her son, named Kekoa, and his troop.  He is in the Army, stationed in Afghanistan and this is a particularly dangerous time for our troops, as Ramadan will soon be under way.  His unit has already taken on enemy fire from Taliban troops and there have been some injuries.  Please join us in prayer that Kekoa and all his fellow soldiers will come home safely and that the families waiting at home will experience the peace of Christ, which surpasses all understanding, while they await their return...

Friday, July 5, 2013

Back in the Saddle Again

Dang, has it really been that long since my last post?  Bad blogger, bad, bad blogger!  Sorry about the cone of silence, but there has been a lot of busy work at the homestead.  Lots of minutiae that is probably of little to no interest to anyone other than me, and some fun stuff.   Add to that the fact that we've been suffering from a week-long heat wave in these parts that has added greatly to my reluctance to engage the electronics.  Anything to keep the house cool.  We don't have air conditioning, so we have to do the small things. 

First, I thought I'd flash my stash as a follow-up to my last posting:

Now, this is only a fraction of the stash.  Shameful, isn't it?  The rest is shoved here and there out of sight in things like the bedroom ottoman and a dresser that should contain clothes, if I were a normal person.  But seeing as I am a knitting addict, I had to sort my priorities and clothes didn't make the cut.  In my defense, this stash has been several years in the making and the vast majority of it was purchased on sale, deeply discounted, or was acquired as a gift from my generous family, who support my addiction in every way possible, and are the grateful recipients of the fruits of my labor.

I'm sad to say that there wasn't much progress on the knitting front in my absence.  Too much of the minutiae previously mentioned. 

The youngest has kept us busy with a dual sport summer:  he is playing for his high school basketball summer league, his dad's AA basketball team, and has joined a competitive swim team.  Juggling all three activities without royally pissing off each coach is quite the delicate dance, let me tell you...We've got a big trip to Las Vegas coming up at the end of the month to close out the AA season, and then school will be upon us before you know it.

The older sons have been working a summer job since mid-June.  It's the first time either have been employed, and I'm very pleased with how they are doing.  My middle son in particular has really taken to it.  No surprise there. 

And little princess puppy pants is growing like the proverbial weed.  We decided to bathe her for the first time yesterday for a dual purpose:  she was starting to smell like a dog in need of a bath, and it was so darn hot, we needed to give her some relief.  Now she is a silky soft perfumed pup.  She seems to be a quick learner, and as long as there are no distractions, very obedient.  She has added "lay down" and "stay" to here repertoire and is allowed to be off leash in the house and in the yard when we take her out to do her business.  We have the dog run puppy proofed (although I'm sure she'll find some way to foil us when she spends some alone time there, our last dog was a wizard at it, and she's pretty smart and way more active) which also accounted for the radio silence on the blog.  Lot's of chicken wire to install.   She is now current on her shots, so the youngest son and I plan to take her to the local dog park as soon as the weather cools down enough.  It feels pretty cool this morning, so I'm hopeful the day will be mild.
We're planning a weekend getaway to visit the redwoods, so I'd better end this here and get to packing.  We're bringing Nugget with us.  We found a motor inn there that allows dogs, so she'll get to come along.