Saturday, October 18, 2014

We've Been...

participating in  the Acolyte Festival in Washington, DC, taking the PSAT test at the high school in Mt. Airy, attending library programs, and re-working the shrub bed in the front yard. And doing regular school stuff.

Well, more accurately, the kids went to Washington with our priest and some others from church. Ed and I stayed home, but we did Watch the kids do their acolyte thing via "cathedral cam." It was great. Really it was lovely. The cathedral is gorgeous, and the music was beautiful. The presiding bishop's homily was condescending and inane, but otherwise the service was great.

After the service they got to go to the Smithsonian -- Air & Space and Natural History. The lucky dogs! (I was So glad the government didn't shut down this year, the way it did last!)

They ate Caribbean food this time. They say it was excellent.

(They visited Eleanor too!)

And they liked these quotations.

On Sunday they helped feed the homeless, through a ministry of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. And then they went to church.

Travis took the PSAT on Wednesday. It was our first interaction with the public school system, aside from when we had the special needs foster children. It actually went very smoothly. All the administrators were very nice, and I didn't get lost trying to find the school. Travis didn't quite finish one of the math sections because he didn't here the proctor say "Start" and it took him a while to register that everyone else was writing. Live and learn. (The test doesn't "count" until 11th grade -- we had him take it this year, in 10th, for the experience.)

The nice young man who gave some art classes earlier in the fall did a "bonus" one on Wednesday afternoon, focusing on computer modeling. That gave Travis a nice confidence booster, after the PSAT thing, since he has had a fair lot of experience with computer modeling.

And.... we planted shrubs at the front of the house! Back when we moved in we dug up a three foot deep bed along the whole front of the yard and planted roses. They looked lovely for several years, but then... viruses. We kept hoping that they would get better, but they just got worse. The expense (and the work) were daunting enough that we've just been trying to ignore the disaster in front of our house for a few years (weed bed? no! those are perennials! we just don't know what kind!). This year, though, we allocated some of my birthday largesse to the project, and got plants, mulch, landscape fabric, etc.! We have two Japanese maples (they are supposed to stay small -- 10 feet -- so they won't get into the power lines) and a bunch of azaleas. Both ends of the bed still need help, but it looks vastly better! I suspect that I won't be able to stand up straight tomorrow, but I will hunch outside anyway and admire my pretty shrub bed!

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Autobioblog, or... Happy 49th to Me

I can't say I was ecstatic this morning about the whole 49 thing -- obviously it beats the alternative and all, but still... 49. Wow. That is not a comfortable number. Not like, say, 44 or 45. Still, it has been a really fabulous day, and my knees and digestion are not bothering me any more than they were yesterday, so... on we go!

Before getting on with pictures of all the nice things that happened today, I thought I'd start with a quick overview of the past 49 years. And a big "thank you" to my parents, who made it all possible!

I started very small and cute.

And I liked chocolate.

 This is me on my trip to the Bahamas. Evidently I found the islands a bit dull.

Larger, but still cute.

 And larger still. Catching fish in the Keys.

I had a horse...
 and a good dog.

And then I grew up, stuff happened, and I had babies of my own!

And all of a sudden I am on my last year before I turn 50. Which I do want to do, but...

Today was the Blessing of the Pets at church. "They" decided to bring the pets into the sanctuary this year. Because it was too cold to have the service in the parking lot, way we usually do. This would have been a Very good Sunday for incense. And I learned yet another way I'd have been rotten as an Early Church Martyr -- the sound of a very large dog growling behind me makes it completely impossible for me to pray. There were some very excitable dogs, plus assorted other beasts, and ashes of ex-beasts. And a photo of a horse, on an i-pad. All of them received a blessing (but the priest skipped the Holy Water for the i-pad), and no actual fights broke out. And maybe in a couple months the sanctuary will no longer smell like a kennel. It was great.

It really wasn't awful. And once again I was impressed by how nice our congregation is. If it makes someone happy to bring his chicken to church to be blessed, then by golly, our priest will bless the chicken and everyone will smile and sing something folksy from the 60's. A bit nutty, but I guess I'd rather they erred on the side of acceptance and optimism than in the other direction.

And Katie made me the World's Most Delicious Cake. Strawberry, with chocolate frosting. And a panda in a rocket barrel on top!

And I got wonderful presents from my wonderful family. They know me so well!

Take-Five bars from Katie (plus a Chunky Bar that she hid for last-present!).

 My favorite pens from Travis! Enough to keep me going for a while!

A lovely shirt from Ed, and jeans!

 And books and dvd's from my parents! They have the Best taste in those things!

And then we went on my Birthday Hike!
I couldn't have gotten a more gloriously beautiful day, and aside from a sweet couple we ran into a couple times (they got a bit lost, but I think we gave them good directions to get unlost) we had the trail to ourselves!

Forty-nine doesn't look so bad!