Monday, June 25, 2012

Boxes or Toys

I love that kids can find joy in the everyday.
We have been getting some new outdoor furniture, and it comes in very large boxes.
Some of these cardboard sensations were out on our driveway when all the grandchildren were at our house last week so naturally they were playing in one heck of a big box. I told Kathryn to hop into one of the smaller boxes so we could fold up the lid and then have the kids "find" her.
This turned into a favorite activity du jour. They were all piling in and burying each other in the box. We even had the presence of mind to go get bubbles out before someone got locked up and started to cry. Good avoidance, wouldn't you say?
2 of my 3 middle kids that were here.
It was great to have my chillens and their chillens home.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Stanford Grad

We can't get though the spring without a graduation at our house. My kids and their spouses keep us busily involved in higher education accolades.
This year it was SIL Austin's turn again.
He got a Masters in Management Science and Engineering.
 Congrats to him.
 My cute Kathryn helped by supporting him and taking care of other family matters so he could concentrate on his studies. It took him a few years and he was able to take classes remotely, listening to lectures on line, even while living in far away places.
 Austin and his parents who are also supportive in his endeavors. His employer Lockheed Martin was supportive financially. Thank you very much.
 "Good job Daddy."
The cute young family. The college graduation was in the afternoon following the morning full university ceremony. The main speaker was a famous mayor from Newark and an alum of Stanford.
Cory Booker was an impressive and inspirational speaker and implored students and the crowd to remain faithful in the hopes and conscience of their hearts. Cory spoke without notes and was on an emotional chord the entire speech. We were glad to have been there.
Stanford's main graduation ceremony was/is a tad unorthodox. The undergrads come out for a "Wacky Walk" wearing all kinds of crazy attire and running around the field in a celebration that makes them look like immature followers of their classmates. I'm sure they think they are such free thinkers and much smarter than everyone in other schools so that they should be able to show their individuality. 
The post grads are more traditional and walk in like normal graduates.
It was very unique and kind of fun to attend and see this in person.
Austin finding us in the crowded stadium.
It was a gorgeous day and felt hotter than the 79 degree temperature just because we were all in direct sun the whole morning.
Congrats to our Austin. Good job.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

May Yard Progress

I am obviously past May for this post, but I am still going to show just the month of May in the progress here. That way when I show June and the yard looks more finished, it will be such a surprise to everyone that we will all shout for JOY!!!!
And then we will JUMP for JOY!!!!
But we probably won't be able to jump into the pool by then.
Anyway, I digress...
 We have seen much progress this last month beginning with the layout of all the A/V wires and equipment.
 The kitchen area was stone faced and concrete filled.
 And a couple of concrete pours were made.
 The garage looks like there was a bomb blown there.
 …But the mess in front of the pool house - casita - was cleaned up.
 Here is Vince the concrete man, smoothing out the pool coping immediately after the forms were taken off.
 These forms were styrofoam and got removed as soon as the concrete began to set up. That allowed the concrete to be smoothed and tweaked just right before it dried. Notice the concrete color is a brownish/green called "Palomino."
 You heard about this, right?
 Pipes peaking through the concrete pad so the equipment for the pool and irrigation can be nice and neat.

 The pool equipment bunker was erected.

 I think the coping is gorgemous.
 A couple weeks later the pool deck was poured and worked out thoroughly.
 This is the 5th set of stairs to be poured and is the only one that is to be just concrete with no stone. There is a nice little lip of concrete on each overhang of the stairs and the surrounding areas by the pool are looking good.
Oooh, a partial roof over the new patio area. Nice.
The next week the concrete guys were back so they could sandblast the deck area and make it look slightly different than the coping color. Here's Vince trying out his new look.

There is no sign of the pool man or his helpers. We haven't seen him for a couple of months and he isn't returning phone calls, so we are starting to worry whether or not this project will ever finish for summer swimming.

Hindsight wise, now that I'm in mid June (even though this post hasn't caught up,) I have come to grips with my company/family not being able to use the yard for this nice graduation weekend that we just spent together. I was quite riled up and upset at the beginning of June when I realized it wasn't going to happen and my hopes were dashed, but now I do in fact see and end in sight and I'm over it to a great extent.
Stand by for news. (name that commentator)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Flow It, Show It, Long as God Can Grow It HAIR

Give me a head with hair,
Long beautiful hair.

Anyone remember this song from the 60's?

I have always had some crazy amount of hair on my head, perhaps 2-3 times a normal amount for a person. My entire family of siblings also has a ton of hair and my husband too, therefore my children have twice as much as a normal human being.

A few times during my life I have lost somebodies full head of hair because of hormonal imbalance such as pregnancy and child birth. Yes, 6 months or so after I gave birth I started loosing a lot of hair.

Now I am in a down time probably because of a weight loss in my life. I have lost about 35 pounds in the past 5 months and now I am losing my hair.

I've lost hair in the shower, in my brush, all over the house and especially noticed in the vacuum cleaner. So here is a nasty picture of what I pulled out of my vacuum roller the other day. Don't look if you are going to be grossed out.
 This picture was taken when I had most of the hair removed and I thought, "Oh, my. I should really take a picture of this nastiness." Originally the entire length of the roller was completely covered.
There is some thread in there with all the hair. I am a seamstress you know, but the hair is out of control.
I still have some on my head though, so I'm not going to start worrying ….. yet.

Age Of Aquarium

David and I were singing this non-song the whole day on Saturday when the whole family took a little trip to Monterey.
 The two youngest members of the family get the best rides in the city.
 There are some wild looking anemones.
 Some brightly colored ones as well.
Animal, vegetable, or mineral????
 The hands on exhibits are pretty cool. You can touch all sorts of star fish (aka sea stars) and shells that are covered with moss in the frigid water that mimics the Bay.
Outside looking out over the bay the two sisters pose for a shot.
 "Come over here, Mom!"
 David and Kara's little family loved all the exhibits.
 Austin's parents made for a double set of Grandparents. We needed extra eyes and hands as we traversed the aquarium.
 The jelly fish are my favorites. I didn't get to see them for long enough because we were all getting tired and hungry by then. Next time we will start at this end of the aquarium.
This pure white one must have 2.5 million tentacles surrounding the bell of the animal. So fragile and dainty and strong at the same time.
The Hubby was snapping away the whole day and got lots of pictures. Thanks hun!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sewer Issues

It seems like this household has had more than our fair share of potty problems the past few months.
Let's share some (at least 5) fun experiences, shall we?
Back at the end of last year we were just beginning our back yard project when the sewer line coming out of the pool house was nicked. I wrote a little about it in the post back then. but a recap would just state that the tractor was digging and not realizing that the sewer line was there and so we put a 2 x 4 hole in the 4 inch pipe that added a nice odor to the project. Enter little orange marker post for the tractor not to hit again.
It was fixed within a couple of days, indicated by the new looking black patch in the pipe below, and a port-a-potty was ordered because the workers couldn't use that outside poolhouse bathroom while it was out. It was probably the best thing for the cleanliness of the indoor space anyway.
 In March we noticed we were having an issue with the main hall bathroom toilet flushing well. This toilet is not even a year old, as the last one in this bathroom was a terrible flusher and so we replaced it. Imagine our disappointment after spending a pretty penny on a new TOTO hurricane flush toilet, that this was happening again. I accused Stephanie of putting a towel down it while home for a trip, but she said she doesn't flush foreign objects.
I plunged and plunged and finally I felt like it was doing better, so I didn't call the plumber. This is about the time we were to have my nephew and his little family out for a visit, and sure enough as soon as they left that toilet wouldn't flush again. Who knows what it was doing while they were here that they may have been too embarrassed to mention.
This time I called the plumber and he came out and snaked the heck out of it. He did find some cloth down in there, but it was too far for his tools so he had me call the Roto- Rooter to attack it from the outside line.
This guy got up on the roof and went down the vent into the sewer line. He pulled out underwear and I then thought I should accuse some grandchildren or nieces for this problem. BUT the panties were for a young teenager or older child and so I was stumped. Maybe they'd been in there for years.
Anyway, …. Problem solved.  New toilet flushing like the champ that it is.

One evening we were showing our house guests (I just looked and I never wrote about our 2 week long guests - I'll have to do that.) some of the back side yard plans and ideas when Dave (guest) and I noticed some liquid running down the side hill as if there was a broken, leaking irrigation pipe. The closer we walked over to it, in checking it out, the more we noticed the rank smell coming from the area. Our street sewer line was BACKING UP at the junction going into our property. YUCK!!! Draining steadily down the hill into the street was RAW SEWAGE. Who should we call?? Plumber?  Roto-Rooter?
We called the city and they in turn made a call to the water/sewer district on this Sunday evening.
Within the hour there was a service man pulling up to our curb with a big truck, big rooter, and great attitude.
He knew just what to do, but with the clean out being on a steep slope, it was difficult to get his machinery up to it. This good natured, nearly retiring age man slipped in the *@%#^= and fell down the hill on his back. NASTY!!! All up his back and bottom. He then asked The Hubby and Dave to assist him with the machine,  made sure they were safely out of distance from the slippery spill, and he continued to work without complaint. There are roots involved in the pipes and the repairman thinks this could be a bi-yearly event, but he did get it taken care of for now. What a guy.

Are you getting the drift here?  We are up to our eyeballs in ^%($@.
This next occurrence is minor, but nonetheless it is odd and still has to do with plumbing. Our master bathroom toilet was running slightly. The Hubby and his cruddy ears didn't hear it, but it started to drive me a little nuts whenever I was close to the bathroom. So I checked out the tank. The flapper was nearly deteriorated around its rim. There was no seal left on about half of it and it was just a matter of time when it would break through and let all the water run out.

I quickly ran to the hardware store, replaced the flapper and wondered if I should tell my cleaning lady not to put clorox directly in the tank. (I can't imagine what else would've caused it.)

Okay, we are getting to the end. This is going to be the last one. (for at least the next decade)
Saturday morning The Hubby went out in bare feet to pick up the paper in the driveway. As he was picking it us he noticed how dirty the driveway had become and then he realized the port-a-potty was laying on its side with its contents spilled and dried up all over the driveway.
 Did I mention he was bare footed?
Our driveway is sloped so it had slowly worked its way down the entire area and across the entire width and into the drain, with dried up paper, and excrement along the way.
The neighbors also had a tipped over port-a-potty and the blue die stained their new beige colored stone that had not been sealed yet.
Sick people.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Kids Growing Up - Friends Turning 60

As I read my Stephanie's Facebook additions, I see how much she is growing into a woman. I can't believe how fast time has flown.
She turned 24 yesterday and had a fun time with many friends in the mountains of Utah.
We are all growing one year older and it seems like I'm watching the generations pass before me. I actually went to a friends 60th birthday last week and then another friend posted a great poem about her 60th birthday the next day. (You should read it, she really has a way with words.)
So here we are a bunch of middle aged adults on a scavenger hunt in Los Gatos.
Laurie planned it and Debbie and I helped put together and implement the hunt. We all went to Sarah's house after for a nice dinner. Happy Birthday to Carolyn.
And Happy Birthday to my 24 year old baby. You are a joy in my life.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Season Tickets

David and his little family invited The Hubby and I to join them last weekend for a fun filled day at Gilroy Gardens.  We obliged and after a fun Cinderella Ballet with Lexy the night before, we showed up at their house the next morning.
As we piled into their mini van, Kara asked if we had our tickets.
"Um, no?" I replied.
"We gave them to you for Mothers (and Fathers) Day," she said.
OOOOps. I had totally not gotten the connection, or gift, or apparently life that day.
So we headed back to our house and picked up the tickets which I had stashed in a rememberable place (is that even a word?) I think I thought is was a gift certificate or something else, I had no idea we had season tickets.
Thanks for the present, that you gave me, that I didn't remember about, that  The Hubby wasn't home for, so was not informed about, etc……
 Here we are at the park.  Go Lukey Go!
 Same color but different 50's make.
 David and Lena going past GPa.
 Kara managing her 2 year old.
 Me managing him.
 Happy Lena, helping the worm eat the apple.
 Lexy and Kara loving the SWWWINNGG.
 Yes, Kara had to dumpster dive for Luke's water bottle that had been dumped. In a trashcan.
 GPa is the only one who isn't lost in the maze.
Lexy's favorite ride of the park?

I do remember that we had a fun time. WOOHOO!!! Thanks guys.