Thursday, April 15, 2021

Really Random Thursday, 4/15/21

Our irises are blooming this week. I love these flowers. Mark is not such a fan--he thinks they look like the ears of a poodle. That's okay--it doesn't diminish my enjoyment of these gorgeous purple flowers in the least.

Last week, the grandkids began two days of school on campus. Such a change for them. Gabe and Ella are of course at the nearby elementary school. Levi is at the junior high about 20 minutes away.

Charlotte is a freshman at the high school about 20 minutes away, but in an entirely different direction.

Not everyone has chosen to go back to school--many students are finishing out the year online--so in a couple of classes there may be only one other student. And they still have to wear their headphones in order to communicate with the students online. So it's like normal but not normal at the same time. 

Hopefully by the time fall rolls around....

 The logistics of getting them to school in the morning (they all start at 9 a.m.) and picking them up (they each get out at a different time) is somewhat challenging. While Charlotte and Levi could take the bus, they would have to catch it at 6:45, get to school at approximately 7:20, and then wait until 9 for class to start, not an ideal situation. So between Christa, Mark and me, we have figured out a schedule to make sure everyone is delivered and picked up on time. Mark and I are happy to provide bus service as it gives us yet another chance to have one-on-one time with them, one of the best bonuses of this very strange year.

I picked up three quilts from my awesome longarm quilter, Darby. Once they have been trimmed and bound,  you will be seeing more of them.

This one is unnamed at this point.

Flower Bubbles (thanks, Paula--you named this one)

Third Time's a Charm.

I organized my solids shelves. It was something fun to do while on the computer with tech support one loooong afternoon...

I'm optimistically joining the Nightingale quilt-along with @loandbeholdstitchery and hope to keep up with the schedule. Usually I have high hopes, but after a week or two I kind of fade out, and then a year later I get around (maybe) to completing the quilt. But nevertheless, here are the fabrics I will use.

I'll close with this.

Therefore, obviously I need this candle.

Happy weekend.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Really Random Thursday, 4/8/21

 The weather has been warm and quite lovely here in the central valley of California. This is the time of year you will hear us saying repeatedly, "This is why we live in California..."

We bought a rototiller because we have big plans for an enlarged dahlia bed. And by "we" I mean me. It is causing us to do quite a bit of prep work to get things ready for planting. And by "us" I mean Mark. :)

Last year we planted some anonymous dahlia tubers given to us by a friend. We had no clue whether they would even bloom. Some did not bloom. But three of the plants were beautiful. So now I'm obsessed and I think our bed is large enough for about 25. I've searched so many sites to find the names of the three that bloomed last year. 

This one remains a mystery so I'm still researching. (EDIT: I think this might be Sweet Nathalie but I'm still checking.)

But I'm pretty confident that this is Foxy Lady
and this is Linda's Baby. Isn't this one GORGEOUS?! My favorite part, aside from the beautiful color, is the edges of the petals.  When we dug it out (and again by "we" I mean Mark--ha!) we got a big tuber that will need to be divided. I'm hoping to do a swap with the person I hold responsible for my obsession with dahlias--Erika (@hello.erikabea. I'm such a newbie--she has at least 150 different varieties! 

Do you have high school football in your area? Mark and Aaron have both been refereeing on Friday nights. Mark didn't have a game on Friday, so he was able to go watch Aaron.
Sunday for the first time since the shutdown, I went to church in person, not online. Our church is still not doing services indoors--just in the parking lot, and they have only had two services outdoors so far. It felt really good to see friends in person. 

Coffee was available, along with donuts on this pegboard.

There was also a place for photos, which was a really nice touch.

Levi took a picture with his friend. Can you see Gabe doing a bit of photo bombing? This picture makes me smile each time I look at it.

Our Easter dinner tradition is to have crepes and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Most years (excluding last year when it was just the two of us), we usually have about 20 people. This year is was just the eight of us. When we have a large crowd, we use paper goods.  But this year I saw a cute picture in Better Homes & Gardens on folding napkins to look like bunny ears so I tried it out.

Of course, the kids still wanted an Easter egg hunt. We had Aaron and Christa do the hiding.
My friend, Doris (@madebyabrunnette), posted some pictures of different flavors of Peeps. Are you a Peeps fan? Mark likes the original flavor. But turns out there are so.many.more to choose from! So I had the idea of chopping them into bite-sized chunks, putting them in bowls numbered 1 through 10, passing the bowls around and having everyone guess the flavors.

These pictures are thanks to Doris, as I completely forgot to photograph all 10 flavors.

I did not find Blue Raspberry. However, we did have Root Beer Float, as well as white chocolate raspberry and chocolate caramel swirl (two of their specialty flavors).  I was sure everyone would guess root beer float by the smell alone, but nearly everyone guessed brown sugar. Aaron didn't like any of them, rating them each 1 on a scale of 1 to 10, and including a quote from Andy Bernard from The Office: "This peep flavor is bad." 
Charlotte declared herself a Peeps Guesser Extraordinaire, and then proceeded to rank all the flavors really low with the exception of the original. 
So I didn't turn anyone into a newly minted Peeps fan. And while I said that the person with the most correct answers would win all the remaining Peeps, no one was willing to claim first prize. But I think we all had a good time anyway.

Seen in the neighborhood--obviously a pink lover.

Seen on Twitter--a depiction of the mountain ranges in the US. I found this really fascinating for some reason.

And that's it for this week. 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Really Random Thursday, 4/1/21

 Welcome to the first day of April. No foolin'--a fourth of 2021 is already gone!

Ilone, the manager of Thrift on Blackstone, has been busy with yet another art installation. Yes, an art installation. At a thrift store. This one is her best yet. I don't know how she will possibly surpass this one.

Thousands and thousands of paint chips were donated. She found a pattern for a dragon from some guy in Iceland (I think that's where he was from...). She enlarged each section and went to work. I'll begin with a picture of Ella next to the head to give an idea of the scale.

I love the flames in front--made from thin sheets of plastic and then melted with a heat gun.

3D scales...

I can't believe that this guy is a teenager! He is so special--he is fun and funny, is content with what he has, doesn't ask for much (in fact, asking for a birthday list usually ends with him saying "I don't know..."), doesn't complain, and is very generous with saying "I love you."  We are so grateful that we have had extra time with him this year, a bright light in a challenging year.

We decided to head to the coast on Sunday. It was a beautiful day and we spent it in the Monterey/Carmel area.
We had lunch on 17-Mile Drive. A family had their golden retrievers with them, who spent an hour retrieving a tennis ball. Very entertaining.

Then we went into Carmel and had brunch at our favorite restaurant, A.W. Shucks. Now that we are in the red tier, we were even able to eat indoors, which felt quite "normal." There were only two other people eating inside and they were 10 feet away from us.

I bet you are wondering right now what was crowned the GPOAT--Greatest Product of All Time. Well, the wait is over. Google Search topped Microsoft Windows. Go ahead. You can google it. :)

The Morning Brew says next year's tournament will be the Worst Product of All Time. Should be interesting. "Early projections for the #1 seeds include scissors packaging, Amtrak wifi, lettuce as a bun, and fitted sheets."

In the yard...

Our friend, Dotty, gave us some of this beautiful ground cover several years ago--creeping phlox.

Miners lettuce. According to Dotty, it is a weed, kind of decorative and also edible. This is the first year I remember seeing it.
And then yesterday, Dotty stopped by with a vase full of my FFOAT (favorite flowers of all time), lilacs. When I lived in Oklahoma until fourth grade, we had a lot of lilacs. It is a memory from childhood that I think of each spring. I didn't think they grew well here in the central valley, but this week alone I have seen three lilac bushes/trees in our neighborhood. Now that Mark and I are turning into gardeners, we will have to look into planting one in our yard too.

This morning, since the kids are on spring break, we thought it would be fun to go have lunch at the zoo. We optimistically paid for parking. And then as we neared the entrance, we saw so.many.people! We have a season pass and therefore did not have to make reservations for entrance to the zoo like non-pass holders. But still...I couldn't capture in one photo how long the line was. The zoo opened at 9 a.m. and this was 11 a.m.--so I don't know how many people were already in the zoo by this point.

Nobody was comfortable with being around that many people. So instead, we went through the Chick Fil-A drive-through and ate in the back patio. The food was good and the conversation was, as always, entertaining.

Have you been following the fascinating story of the huge container ship blocking the Suez Canal like I have? If so, then you know by now that it was finally freed, thanks in no small part to an act of nature--a full moon affecting the tides! 
Happy Easter weekend.