Saturday, December 31, 2011

Farewell, 2011!

Update: Holly and the kids had a good trip and arrived safely in Wisconsin into the loving arms of their husband and daddy. We sold the extra fridge within 10 minutes of posting it on craigslist today. Mark and I are celebrating New Year's Eve by cleaning the carpets. Wheee!

And farewell to Holly, Arora and Ender.

The alarm went off at 3:30 am today...I don't think we'll still be awake at midnight tonight! We had Holly and the kiddos delivered to the airport right on time: 4:30 am for a 6:00 am flight to Madison, WI. They are SO ready to be reunited with David! And oh, is he missing them. Even though they missed Christmas together, they will be together for New Years and Arora's 4th birthday tomorrow.

Hahaha - we were back home from the airport at 5:30 am. Should we go back to bed? No, we were a little hungry, and...we wanted to reclaim our house! David and Holly were great house-sharers, but there's nothing like having your own place. I know they are anxious to be in their own home together again...and Mark and I were equally anxious to be empty nesters again, too! We puttered happily around the house for another hour or two, then we conked out and slept for a while this morning.

Now we've already listed the extra refrigerator on craigslist, and it looks like we have a buyer on the way within the hour. We'll rent a carpet cleaning machine this afternoon to clean the carpets, and it will be SO nice to just be the two of us at home together again. Ahhhhh....

I do want to say, though, that Mark and I agree that we are happy to share our home when family needs a place to land. In these uncertain economic times, it is such a blessing to be able to shelter loved ones when the need arises.

That said, we are kind of hoping that we will be living alone for 2012.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A few of the gifts I made

Here is a sampling of the gifts I made last week for Christmas.

 Several of the girls in cold-weather climates received ear warmers made from this tutorial. Here is Katie modeling hers. In addition to decorating them with bows, I also used ideas on this site for some darling flowers.
 Several of the kids (and "big kids") got customized fleece hats this year. I used Simplicity Pattern 9224 as the basis for this dragon hat for Joshua. (Eyes from here.)  (Unfortunately, this was one of the last photos we took before our camera died...again...on Christmas day. Ugh.) Apparently this Simplicity pattern is no longer sold in the stores, but it's one of my favorite fleece hat patterns. You can find used copies of the pattern online.

 A got a Kansas University Jayhawks hat (see the side view, below). This one was really fun to design and pull together. Again I used my old favorite, Simplicity 9224 as the basic hat to embellish.
 Go, Jayhawks!!
 Bryan is in optometry school, so he got a googly-eye-glasses hat. Also from Simplicity 9224.
 Audrey and Sam got monster hats. Again, these were really fun to design. I googled "monster hat" and "monster eyes" and got lots of ideas online. For these hats I used McCall's M5254 pattern as the basic hat. Gee, I guess I hang onto my patterns - this one is out of print, too! Again, you can find it online if you want it badly enough.
 Girly monster eyes, lips, teeth, hair bow.
 Macho monster with two rows of scary teeth.
 I made darling neck buddies for Sarah and Kat. Sorry, it's another crummy photo, just before the camera died. Here's what they look like on the pattern envelope.

Sarah got a blue fuzzy dog and Kat got a purple fuzzy cat. Man, was that fuzzy fabric fuzzy!  I was wearing black jeans and a black tee-shirt while I was sewing, and I was covered in purple and blue fuzz when I was finished. I used Simplicity pattern 5310 - just bought it last year and this one is still in print.
 I made temple softies for a couple of the grandkids. Katie reported that Olivia loved hers.
 You may remember that Arora and I made a temple softie back in September. The original idea came from here. It was fun to use leftover fabric from my first wedding dress (in 1974) for the bride's dress, and leftover fabric from Michelle's wedding dress for the temple.
 I also made several fleece beds for little stuffed animals. Here's Mimi (Sarah's daughter) enjoying her little bear-in-a-bed Christmas morning.
 Ender got a little stuffed carrot...
 ...with a green carrot bed.
 I made a rainbow skirt for Arora. Her favorite "color" is rainbow. She adores all things rainbow. (If you clicked on the temple softie link above, you probably noticed that she was wearing the same shirt back in September. She wears it several times a week...her favorite one...until Holly insists that it must go in the wash.)

I also made some country soup-in-a-jar and cowboy cookie-in-a-jar from recipes I found online. It was fun to think of preparing meals and goodies for my sweet family far away. And I made a ton of other fun gifts, too...but that's all the photos I have for now!

Monday, December 26, 2011

The scene of the crime

 Ender looks oh-so-innocent here. Nonchalantly pounding squares and triangles into his shape toy. But do you notice that truck in the background, under his high chair?


Just a little while later, I noticed the truck had rolled on into the living room. With Skipper's feet sticking out from under it!! At first I hoped for the best. Maybe Skipper was putting chains on the tires or something. After all, she came with a helmet and a skateboard. She's a pretty active little gal.

But alas, no. When the truck rolls, Skipper is dragged right along with the truck. She's in no shape to be fixing anything beneath it. I am sorry to report that we have a clear case of Barbie-cide here folks, right in the middle of my living room.

As for Mr. Innocent, well, he's no longer blithely pounding circles into the star hole. No sirree, that guilty party has gone to bed early.

The End(er)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Star

On this Christmas Day, I am reflecting about not only that sweet innocent baby, but also...

...Mary, who consented to having her entire life changed by the miracle of his birth...
...Joseph, who shows me that having doubts is normal, even for individuals with heroic faith...
...the shepherds, reminding me that ordinary people can be witnesses of God's love and miracles...
...and especially today I am thinking about the wise men, who pursued their faith through extraordinary uncertainty, with only a distant star to guide them through unknown terrain...

Which sounds like my life.

Oh, may I be a wise woman, trusting in Your light, no matter how distant it may seem to me at times. Let me follow that Bethlehem star even when I cannot clearly see my way, trusting that faint sweet gleam to lead me safely Home.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve thoughts

It has been days since I have posted...

...days filled to the BRIM with time in Santa's workshop. Fleece hats, ear warmers. flash cards in drawstring bags, soup-in-a-jar, cookies-in-a-jar, photo books for the grandchildren, stuffed animals, ping-pong ball shooters (Mark made those), temple softies, softie beds for little stuffed critters, 72-hour-kit blankets...I've lost track.

A week ago, I thought I'd have all the projects wrapped up in a day or so. Ha! Since getting out of school for winter vacation eight days ago, I have been giving every available moment to making gifts. A couple of mornings I was up at 5:00 am. I stayed up till midnight a time or two.

We barely made it to the post office in time for mailing gifts to distant family. I was tickled to hear that the packages made it to Kansas and Virginia today. I hope that every one of my children and grandchildren will be opening up gifts that I made for them tomorrow morning. (Except for Polly and her family -- they are waiting until we get to deliver our gifts to them in person after the new year.)

More than once during the week, loving friends and family have suggested to me that it's too much to make a gift for every one in the family. Or that I ought to have started back in July. More than once, I wished I were finished so I could go outdoors and enjoy the beautiful December weather. More than once, I longed for quiet to time to write, to think, to read a book for fun.

But while it's true that I became a manic grandma this week, and while I am undoubtedly grateful this evening to be able to (finally!) sit quietly next to our little tree, gifts wrapped, sewing machine put away, spending a few minutes thinking and writing before Mark and I read the Christmas story together, I have to say that I don't think I would go back and undo any of the hours I spent making gifts for my family. At least not this year. Mark thinks we should just give family gifts in the future, and maybe he's right (I'm not convinced yet), but for this year, I needed to immerse myself completely in pouring out my love for my family through my sewing machine needle, my overflowing stash of fabrics, some new recipes, some simple photo books for the children. Many of the gifts I made are soft and warm. I hope they feel like hugs to faraway family.

I don't want the Christmas season to be consumed with pressures about gift-giving, even if they are all mostly homemade. But when my family is so far away, I do believe that the gifts help strengthen ties between us. Mark and I have 9 children and 20 grandchildren. A few of them live nearby, but most are far away: Kansas, New Jersey, Utah, Texas, Wisconsin, Ohio, Nevada... I love my family, and I miss them. It was fun to make gifts for all of them this last week, even though doing so consumed every moment I had to give, and even though it meant that I didn't do other things I love, such as writing on my blog.

For years I was a bit grinchy every December. I whined about Christmas being too commercial, too much trouble, all I wanted was a peaceful season that didn't demand so much of me. I'm not so grinchy anymore, but I'm still trying to find a kind of balance in the season, a way to be engaged in joyful gift-giving while still reflecting on Christ's gifts.

It hasn't been all sew-sew-sew all week. Wednesday night I went out with a few of the young women at church to deliver gift baskets to some families in the ward. I spent several hours one day on an unexpected service opportunity. Mark and I helped Holly load her moving van on Tuesday, and yesterday I drove her to Vancouver so she could have her van shipped to Wisconsin.

And this morning I took a break from making gifts to help with the cleaning crew at church. I was the first one to show up, so I snagged my favorite job, vacuuming around the pews in the chapel. It was a tender feeling to think that I was vacuuming the Lord's house on Christmas Eve.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Freezing Fog

We had a freezing fog Saturday morning. It was magical!

Fat Albert added a frosted spider web garland to his Christmas repertoire.
(But this is nothing compared to what Dorothy captured the other day.)

Sword in green and gold.
I love the way the fog-frost outlines the leaves.
You can see it even better if you click on the photo.

Holly emphasizing the prickle-points with fog ice.

Classy, sleek, elegant camelia bush.

Arbor vitae hedge going for the flocked look

Cherry trees with ice blossoms

Grassy weeds going all high-class elegant for the occasion

The stately redwood tree had some fog frost on the outer branches...

...and even more underneath!

Frosted rose leaves

Icy tangle of split leaf maple branches

Happy Winter!

Monday, December 12, 2011

While visions of blog posts dance in my head...

...sigh. I have had so many ideas for blog posts in the last week. I have even taken photos! And not a single spare moment to post anything.

I'm still here! And hoping to have a few more minutes to be back on the blog this week. Along with telling you more about why things have been so busy.

Happy Monday, world. I'm here on Laurel Lane, hanging on to the same spinning planet. It never seems to slow down, does it?

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's beginning to look...

...a lot little bit like Christmas!

 Arora "stretches" to place the star on top

Ender supervises

We pulled out the 4' fake tree this evening and spent some fun holiday moments. The kids were excited to have a tree, and didn't seem to mind that it was just a tabletop version. This holiday season will be more complicated with David and Holly moving to Wisconsin,* so we decided to keep the decorations simple for now.

*Yes, I said Wisconsin. David was hired yesterday by Epic, a company near Madison. They make computer systems for large hospitals. He will be a liaison on project installations. He is flying to Madison on Sunday morning, to begin work on Monday. Holly and the kids will stay here with us for a little while longer, while David secures housing for the family. We are thrilled for David to be working again...and trying not to think about how much we will miss this precious family. It has been sweet to share our home with them the past four months...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The End

Tonight is the end of NaBloPoMo 2011. It will be nice to blog at a more leisurely pace again, but I will miss some blog friends who post at a really leisurely pace for 11 months out of the year... (Anna, you know who I'm talking about.)

One of the fun things about committing to post every day for a month is discovering the topics for posts as you go along. Mark and I were chatting about this the other day, and I told him it was a good reminder to me to trust in stories. The stories are all around us. Why do people like to read blogs? Because we like stories. Commitments like NaBloPoMo force me to pay more attention to the everyday stories that happen every day, to be a closer observer of life.

Also, tomorrow night will be THE END of my PSU classes! It's the last class of the last class!

I will still have to finish my thesis (maybe by June???) for the MFA in Writing, but no more weekly drives into Portland for 4-hour classes. I've been taking the night classes almost every term for six years, so I'm feeling rather jolly about this milestone.

I'm trying to think of something else to write in this post, but I'm distracted by 1) the term paper I need to finish before tomorrow night's class and 2) my eyelids that keep heading south.

So goodnight, dear blog friends.

The End.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to (Almost) Write a Chapter

I feel really lucky that my literature professor at PSU allows students to write  a creative piece that ties into the literature in some way for our final paper. This is as opposed to a traditional literary analysis paper. I met with her a couple of weeks ago to talk through ways that some of my thesis writing might work for this final project. Classic way to kill two birds with one stone. (Sorry, birds.)

I haven't posted a thesis update here in a long time. I've been stuck on the thesis for several months, but this end-of-term for my literature class is a great motivation. I hope this will help me push through my writer's block so I can get going againg.

Have I mentioned before how daunting it is to write in "the long form"? (Not that essays, short stories, and poems aren't also daunting, but a 120-page thesis is, well, longer. And harder.  At least for me.)

Several days ago I went back through some old drafts for ideas, and realized that I really liked a lot of what was in the old drafts. I started printing out pages to see what I could pull from the older drafts for this newer draft. Then I cut the sections apart in the older drafts. Then I pinned each section on the wall to see what I had. Like this:
So far what I could see was a lot of different little pieces of the story. I had hoped that the writing fairy would "prang" me on the head at this point, and that the chapter organization would suddenly become clear, but it didn't.

I carried all the pieces around for a couple of days. Reread them. Wondered what I was going to do with them.

This morning I woke up extra-early. Thought of some lines in the middle of the mish-mash that might serve as a starting place. Came downstairs and started laying the pieces out on the table.

Low and behold, the mish-mash jigsaw puzzle resolved itself into three columns plus some left-over sections off to the right there, which I'll save for later or eventually recycle.

Then the three sections, plus a couple of transitions between them, morphed into one l-o-o-o-n-g piece. It took up the entire diagonal length of the living room!

Woo hoo! A structure! Maybe. Now I'm going through refining, fine-tuning, deleting a paragraph here and a paragraph there. Some of the sections have big (writing) gaps between them. They need some transition work. Maybe. Maybe they're beyond hope.

Can I get it finished in time for Thursday night's class? Plus a page or so of analysis and comparison to the literature we read for the course? Hmmm...time (not much of it left) will tell...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Goals Update

Last week I set some goals for myself. If you're interested in an update, read on!

Write 1 page of thesis per day: So-so. I wrote 3 pages. Better than 0.

10 minutes of weight-lifting: So-so. Yes on 3 days. But I did feel stronger at my yoga class tonight.

20 minutes on the exercise bike: I only got on the exercise bike for 20 minutes one day, and 10 minutes the next. So it was kind of a fail. But I also went to yoga once, walked a mile with Mark through Singer Creek Park (hilly terrain), worked in the garden for an hour, and did the Huff and Puff Before You Stuff. So overall, I think it's fair to say that I met this goal.

Kiss Mark and least 3 times per day: Believe it or not, I was so-so on this one, too. Some days there was more romance in the air, but other days were pretty much the same as back before I set the goal. It surprised me that this goal was difficult to meet. I mean, I love this guy, and I spend a lot of time with him! However, just setting the goal was definitely a WIN. For one thing, Mark and I had several good chuckles, and that's always a plus. For another, we DO kiss more often now, and we mean it more when we kiss. So setting this as a goal has had a good influence on helping me get out of my rut.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mormon grandma in a hip Portland cafe

Tonight I went to the once-a-month literary reading for students in Portland State University's MFA (master of fine arts) program. It's held at a cafe in NW Portland. Called "Backspace." Pretty literary, huh?
I borrowed this cool sketch of Backspace Cafe from this website.

When you get inside the cafe, it's all cool and hip and Portlandish, with a low stage area and a microphone. I was too intimidated to look around to see if there was anyone else in the 57ish age range. Everyone around me was early 30-something. Dressed in hip, cool, Portlandish fashion. Sleek jeans and boots with high heels and bulky sweaters. I was still wearing my church dress with nylons and a little freshwater pearl necklace. Get the picture?

Can you say out of place?

Who cares?

For once, not me, at least not much. I was determined to do this.

I signed up two weeks ago via email to read. I had my 6 pages of thesis manuscript printed out, ready to go. And I had already decided, while driving the 30 minutes into Portland, that I didn't care if I looked like a middle-aged Mormon grandma. That's what I am.

Before I left, Mark asked me why I wanted to read. It's hard to put into words. It's not about attention. It's not about gaining respect from a group of writing peers. Everyone else there was in the Fiction MFA program, and I quite likely will not see them again (unless I go to more of these readings). For me, this reading was more about using my voice to articulate the hard things I am trying to write with my thesis. To say it.

Mark listened to me read my pages last night. Tonight he was tired and opted to stay home, which was fine, because I kind of needed to just go and do this thing on my own. It was raining really hard all the way into Portland. Dark. About halfway there, I started crying. I don't know--it was a mixture of feeling brave and vulnerable and determined and awkward all at the same time. I gave myself a little talking-to and kept driving.

Funny moment - when I found the cafe and a nearby parallel parking spot on the street and managed to slip into it very nicely, thank you, I realized that the parking meters do still work at that time on night on Sunday evenings. Oops. I had exactly 60¢ change with me. I put all my change in the meter and it flashed "23 minutes" at me. For a two-hour reading. In a 90-minute parking zone. I threw caution to the winds and hoped the parking meter goddess would be kind. Do the meter readers really give tickets on rainy Sunday evenings?

I don't remember anything from the first two readings. I was the third one. Yes, the experience validated something within me, something about raising my voice, sharing my voice. I didn't care that no one else was wearing a dress that came below their knees, with nylon stockings. I didn't care that everyone else was reading fiction. I didn't care that I wasn't in on the inside jokes among all the Fiction MFA people who have class together all the time. I was just me, and that was fine.

After I sat down, I was able to enjoy the other readings. There were some fine pieces, stories that are still resonating in my this evening. I am glad I was able to share in their stories. I hope they were glad to share in mine.

And a lovely treat - during the intermission, a former classmate (from a nonfiction writing class) came and chatted with me for the entire intermission. I had a friend in the audience I hadn't even known about!

The event broke up a little before 7:00 pm. The rain had stopped. And I didn't have a parking ticket.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fat Albert's Christmas Star

This is Fat Albert. I didn't make up his name. That's what his tag said when we bought him at the nursery in spring of 2007. (He's the fat little evergreen on the left.)

Fat Albert has grown a lot! 
Here is a photo of Fat Albert today, 4 1/2 years after he began his sojourn in our yard on Laurel Lane.

This morning I noticed that Fat Albert is getting into the Christmas spirit. 
He's added a maple leaf star to the top. He's quite the festive yard resident.
Happy Holiday season to everyone, from Fat Albert!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Cornish game hens

Here's a little excerpt from some of my recent thesis-writing attempts. It is set in the spring of 1990, when I was still fairly new as an Assistant Scoutmaster for the 11-year-old Boy Scouts at my church. As a Mormon woman, I wasn't really supposed to go on the overnight campouts, but no one had specifically forbidden me to come along...and so I did...

            The BSA rules were clear: “two-deep leadership” was required at all times, even for our weekly meetings at the church, and especially when we were out in the woods. But since BSA had only recently made it possible for women to serve as Assistant Scoutmasters, there were no gender rules yet about who those “two-deep” people had to be. The Church, however, did have rules about gender. While the handbook, at that time, did not specifically forbid women from camping with the Scouts (a more recent edition of the Mormon church’s Scouting Handbook does state that only men may camp with the Scouts), there was a general assumption that men would be the ones out camping with the boys.
            I squeaked in under the radar. In those early days of women holding leadership positions in Boy Scout troops, the Mormon Scouting rules were just vague enough to let a cagey woman slip through. Of course I always had two-deep leadership. But I always made sure that I was one of the leaders, even on the overnighters. After all, I had to go out with my boys. I was highly trained from Wood Badge, and my eleven-year-olds knew my rules and expectations. They always behaved better with me. Even more importantly, if someone else took them out into the woods, then I would still be stuck at home. And there were so many ways to creatively circumvent the rules.

            The district camporee is always held in the spring. Scout troops from all over the county join for a big campout where competitions are interwoven with ways to advance in rank. To a Boy Scout troop, going to the annual camporee is a big deal. I began talking it up with my eleven-year-olds in April; the camporee was scheduled at Metzler Park in May. They had to help plan the menus and then cook the food for part of their advancement.
            “Let’s have top ramen,” one of boys suggested. “That’s easy. I can cook it.”
            “No ramen,” I said.
            The boys looked at me, shocked. “Why not?” one of them asked.
            I had three scouts at the time. David F, Chris R, and Matthew L. Matthew was really in the other ward, but it’s no fun to have a Scout patrol with only one boy. The other Bishop had called my good friend, Lynne, to be the Assistant Scoutmaster over eleven-year-olds in her ward, so she and I combined our groups, which took care of two-deep leadership.
            “Ramen is too easy,” I said. “Not nutritious enough. Let’s cook something really good on the camporee.”
            They looked interested at this. Eleven-year-old boys are foodies, but their range is limited.
            “Macaroni and cheese?” one of the other boys suggested, to general assent.
            I rolled my eyes. “Are you kidding me?” I asked them. “You can eat macaroni and cheese anytime. Listen, I’m bringing my Dutch oven. You can use the Dutch oven and cook almost anything.”
            “Anything?” David asked.
            “Almost anything,” I said. I was thinking of camping staples: chili, stew, hamburgers…
            “Cornish game hens,” David said decisively. “With this sauce my mom makes with brown sugar and orange juice. And…”
            “Uh, I’m not sure we have a budget for Cornish game hens, David,” I hedged. This was suddenly out of my league. I had heard of Cornish game hens, but I had never made acquaintance with one in my own kitchen.
            “My mom has some in the freezer that we can use,” David said. He looked around at the other two boys in the patrol. He had their attention. “And I’ll get my mom’s recipe for the sauce.”
All three boys turned to Lynne and me. Lynne shrugged. “Well,” she said to me, “it can’t be that different from roasting a little chicken.”

On Friday afternoon Lynne and I and our three eleven-year-olds piled into the Vanagon for the drive out to Metzler Park for the camporee. Our troop--the whole group, including the twelve-to-sixteen-year-olds--were assigned a campsite together. Lynne and I had our boys set up their tent outside the main group of boys, and we pitched our tent just beyond theirs. 
We acted as if we were supposed to be there, and none of the male troop leaders said anything to us about our presence. A few other troops had women camped with them, too, but they were the non-Mormon troops. Maybe the men from our troop hadn’t read the manual. Probably they thought the Bishop had given us permission to be there, but Lynne and I were operating under the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” philosophy.
As soon as the tents were set up, I showed the boys how to start the briquettes for the Dutch oven. All around us, troops were heating up cans of soup or macaroni and cheese or top ramen. Our boys were very serious and solemn about tending the charcoal briquettes for the Dutch oven. David mixed his mother's brown-sugar-and-orange sauce
The only thing that drew any attention to us being there was the Dutch oven full of Cornish game hens. The scent of roasting poultry wafted through the evening air as dusk wrapped the campsites in a blanket of boy voices and wood smoke. When it was time for the Patrol Leader’s Council—an evening logistics meeting of the boy leaders and an adult to back them up—David took his mess kit with him, full of our savory meal. The Dutch oven had taken a little longer to heat up than I had planned, and he hadn’t finished his meal in time for the meeting. One of the older boys at the PLC asked him what he was eating, and when David told him, he earned admiring nods and comments from the seated group. I said nothing. It was fully dark now, and I doubt that anyone noticed my grin.

(If you have any feedback or suggestions for me, I would welcome your thoughts!)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving on Laurel Lane

This morning I had to run to the store to pick up a few last-minute ingredients. I was intrigued to see what other people were buying on Thanksgiving morning. I saw people with bread and milk, roasting pans, things you would expect on a last-minute shopping trip on the biggest feasting day of the year.

But then I saw a guy walking out of the story carrying a...curtain rod? Hmmm...I guessed he and his wife were hosting Thanksgiving dinner and they had a bunch of people coming over and she made some new curtains that she wanted to have hung before everyone got there. Right? Why else would he have been walking out of the store with a curtain rod on Thanksgiving morning?

And then there was the guy in front of us in the checkout line. He was buying a steering wheel cover and floor mats for a car??? On Thanksgiving morning??? Was his car looking a little too cruddy...and maybe he had to transport someone picky, like maybe his mother, to Thanksgiving dinner somewhere, and he wanted his car to look a little better? Holly and Maleena both had a better idea (when I told them about this later)--they said he probably was on his way to a gathering where he would see someone that he was supposed to give a gift to, maybe a 16-year-old kid who just got his license or something. Sure, that made lots more sense.

So much for my shopping trip!

Mark and I joined up with the Jenson-May clan for their annual "Huff and Puff Before You Stuff" event at Clackamas Community College this morning. Here are a few photos. You can see a shot of the entire group on Dorothy's blog.

 I love Dorothy's new hat - she's been busy with her crochet hook lately!

My best hiking buddy ever.

Back at the house, we were pulling together all our different recipes for our special meal. Mixed results.

The turkey recipe with the apricot glaze was delicious. It was the best of the recipes we tried. And the roasted asparagus was yummy, but we've enjoyed that recipe several times before. 

On the other hand...
The dressing was good, but a little dry. The cranberry chutney was a little, um, strange. The bread pudding was runny, and the baklava...sadly...was soggy. 

Ah, me...

But the company was wonderful, and we had a happy Thanksgiving anyway. Arora started feeling better and made darling turkey handprint place mats for us. Mark and I were able to make visits to Maleena, Max, and Hunter in the afternoon, and then we went to see Julia and Scott in the evening. 

We had a happy day, and I hope that you did, too. Happy Thanksgiving!