Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dear Oxxo,

aka Dick,

I had no idea you called yourself OXXO when leaving a blog comment.  I thought I had a anonymous admirer sending me hugs and kisses.  Or OXXO, the ubiquitous Mexican convenience store, had discovered my blog.

Since you are the biggest fan and supporter of my garden art projects, I thought I'd bring you up to date.  The survey about whether to get rid of or keep and improve this

yield 7 votes. Six said to keep and improve.  Justin and Jennifer suggested something like this.
One day, I pulled the biggest branches out of the trough, trimmed them, and tied them onto a piece of metal fencing to make a screen on the patio.  The wooden box you found in the field makes a good table.

Besides denim strips, I used fabric from the Baby Skaug quilt.

After Justin cut down the unwelcome volunteer trees, I removed about 3 feet of lower branches and made a kind of nest around the tree. Or maybe I was just too lazy to carry them away. It sure makes watering easier.

Plants are beginning to come back.  There were only a few leaves on this one when you left.

Joy!  One afternoon, Lyle and Lamont showed up with their lawnmower and hoped to earn some money.

Then they planned what to do in the back field for the next few days.

I locked myself out of the house. Duh. Dave came over with the perfect ladder.  Yes, Dick, I can hear what you're saying right now.  I know.

Most importantly, this week your grandson smiled.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Water boys

Another work day at Grandma's.

Everything was going fine until these words were uttered, "Can I have a turn?"

Doug held a lizard for the boys to investigate, Odin held something else, and Kellen stood guard with the hoe in case his family needed defending.

Eventually, fear was conquered.

Grandma really needs to get some chairs.  Thank you, Stacey for making dinner!

The end of a hard day of work and fun.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Weightlifting Competition

Midtown Strength and Strength is not a "froo froo" gym by any means. Thais and Lenin work out here 6 days a week.
This morning there was a three-event competition with other local gyms invited to participate. 
Dead lift. Thais = 230 lbs.
Lenin - 440 lbs.

This kid was so cute trying to be like the adults, and then he said,
"Oh, my aching back." 

Pull ups.  Thais = 3.
Lenin = 23 
Kettlebell.  For five minutes, you swing the cast iron "cannonball with a handle" between your legs and then punch it up. Thais, 23 lb ball = 128.  I picked up a 14-lb kettle ball after Thais was done and tried to do it with Thais coaching me in proper technique until she finally said, "Mom, put that thing down. You're scaring me."

Lenin, 53 lb ball = 85

In between events, I was able to help watch Sophia

and Avery who is about to get one huge slobbery "kiss" from the gym dog.

By noon it was all over.  This was probably the only place in town where 100 people could meet on a Saturday morning and all these donuts would remain uneaten after 3 hours. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ninja boys with sticks

Doug, Stacey, Kellen and Odin came over this evening. While Doug and I hauled pruned branches to the back yard with the boys "help," Stacey made dinner. 
It was hilarious watching them shadow fight until one got smacked on the back of his head:

Lunch with Leanne

Sabores Mexican Cuisine in Roseville

I first met Leanne in 1971 when I began working at Holmes Elementary as a 4th grade teacher. This was my first full-year teaching assignment. Leanne taught 6th grade in the cafeteria (as I recall) with three other 6th grade teachers. As our careers progressed, Leanne was my supervisor when I taught the GATE program in the 80s, and later she was my principal at Westside School in the 90s. Along with a group of parents, Leanne and I began/created the Westside Charter School for grades 7-8.  The school district at the time only served grades K-6 so we were trailblazers of a sort. Even though we've both been retired for many years (this is my 10th year), Leanne wrote the most wonderful letter of recommendation last January when I applied for the LCI training classes.

So much fun to catch up on each other's lives, share news about mutual friends, and enjoy each other's company.  Thanks, Leanne!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

LCI: Natomas Middle School

Hurray! A chance to work as an LCI for a couple of days presenting bicycle safety information to grades 7-8 at Natomas Middle School.

Art work on display in the school office.

My teaching partner Brad and I made thirteen 45-minute presentations.  A short video then a game of Jeopardy with valuable follow-up information.  One of the main points was wearing a helmet which reduces the chances of brain injury by 85% if a crash happens.  A bicycle driver not wearing a helmet is 14 times more likely to die.

Presenting/teaching anything to middle school students can be a challenge.  Thank goodness Brad and I were able to work well together even though this was our first time as a teaching team.  Were we effective?  Hard to say.  At the end of the second day, I left the gym a few minutes before the end of school and went to the bike rack to observe.  38 bicycles were locked up but only ONE student left wearing a helmet at the end of the school day.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Lunch with Adrienne

We met in the late afternoon at Fountains at Roseville. We decided to eat at Zócalo, a Mexican restaurant with a very good reputation.

But today, it was one small problem after another. Too much tequila in the margarita, bay shrimp on the salad instead of prawns, another main ingredient in the salad missing. The staff was apologetic and very accommodating to the point of offering a free dessert. And what a dessert. Ade ordered chocolate cake, I ordered the best Tres Leches Cake I've ever had.

There might have been a few problems with the food, but absolutely none with the abundant conversation and good friendship. 

Weekend in the country

When Justin asked if he could borrow the (fuel-efficient) car to drive to Tulare (240 miles away) with a friend to a tractor show on Saturday, I quickly said yes. It would mean staying overnight both Friday and Saturday nights.

The few homes and buildings in Nicolaus are set next to the levee keeping back the Feather River.  I think the wildflowers here are lupine.

On the other side of town (1/4 mile away), a homeowner manages a huge garden, the ditch currently profuse with California Golden Poppies.
Sunday morning.  It's nice to have a friend with a crane. Justin and Justin work on the gate while AJ supervises.

Looks pretty good.  Justin and a friend made the gate with Justin doing the cutting and the friend doing the welding.

Meanwhile I got a lot done on a dress for Thais.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Ladybugs released

This afternoon, there was a special event at Sophia and Avery's school to celebrate the Week of the Young Child.  Each of the learning groups had special t-shirts and their own style of ladybut hat.  Here are the Tiger Cubs.  Sophia is center front row. Cousin Leo was not into wearing a hat or special t-shirt, his transformer yellow car was most important today.

Getting so many preschoolers and parents ready for a walking field trip was very much like, as Dave would say, "herding cats."  And I remembered why I'd always been drawn to teaching students in the upper grades.

Why walk when you can get a ride?

Capitol Park Rose Garden. The capitol dome is barely visible in the background.

Avery probably enjoyed the drinking fountain more than the ladybugs.