Monday, April 26, 2010

Tulips and T-Ball

First game of the season and we were rained out after one inning.  At least everyone on both teams was able to hit once!  Gramma and Grampa came up from the coast to witness the historic event. And brought the newest addition to their menagerie. 

Meet the cutest longhaired Chihuahua you've ever seen (ignore the messy kitchen though?  Kai thainx!):

Here's the team, taking the field:

This little girl, in pigtails is so adorable I can't stand it:

She's really, really good, too!  Here's the Monkey:

And the peanut gallery (Daddy and Gramma):

On Sunday we headed up to Woodland, Washington for Lilac Days at the Hulda Kluger Lilac Gardens
and stopped at the Tulip Festival at the Holland America Bulb farm to let the Monkey burn off some steam tiptoe-ing through the tulips:

I strongly resisted the urge to order some of these.
 It was really, really hard:
But I've about blown my plant budget for the year getting the patio garden set up.  Green onions and lettuce made it to the dinner table on Saturday.  I hope they're worth it!

Friday, April 23, 2010

In trouble now!

I went to the Office Crack Supply store at lunch and got a little USB SD card reader for the office (and laptop) so now I can upload pics from work (shhhhhhh!!!) which means it's much more likely to get done without the incessant screaming of a 4 ft. munchkin whining  "Mommy!  Mommy!  Come Play With Me!" (my usual excuse for never making it to the PC in the basement at home to upload/blog).

Also I figured out how to McGyver my old Canon powershot with a rubber band to keep the battery compartment closed so I can keep using it and won't have to buy another one.  Looks like crap but I don't care.  I love my little Canon A540.  Just wish it had better zoom capability.

So here's Opening Day at the Farmer's Market.  We see these handsome fellows quite often when we go (at least I'm pretty sure it's the same pair.  How many English Sheep Dogs could there be in town?) But they don't always have the bunny ears, obviously.

Here's another dude we see a lot.  Our own local Yanni wannabe.  He's actually pretty good. 

And finally for your viewing pleasure, my vantage point for the next 6 weeks or so.

That's Mr. Stang in the background.  As a former highschool star pitcher (before he threw his arm out) he's finding it very, very hard to take a backseat to all this and stay off the sidelines.  I asked him if he wanted to coach when we signed up.  He said "No".   Until about 10 minutes into the first practice.  Now it's all, "when I coach......"   I had to remind him that in T-ball they don't keep score, everybody wins, blah blah blah.   It's cracking me up to see his competetive side really come out for the first time since I've known him.  Though he was a jock in his younger years, he's not into sports now (wants to play, not watch and is too old and decrepit to do that). It didn't ocme out when the Monkey was in Tae Kwan Do, or swimming lessons, or tumbling/ballet.  But now he's doing something Daddy knows about and oh shit I think we're in trouble. 

Especially since the Monkey has (now how do I put it without sounding like an obnoxious braggart of a parent?).... quite the natural aptitude.   Here he is squaring off to hit.   Lefty.  Though yes, he is technically right handed.  He just hits the hell out of the ball (even when pitched), left handed.  He can hit right handed, too and is a little more accurate - but not as hard.  And he's got a serious arm and can drill it into your chest from 20 feet away.  For a while there until he figured out what hand the mitt went on he was even throwing pretty damned good lefty, too.  I, the non-pitcher who don't know much about anything pitch-related figured out - if a switch-hitting player is gold, then OMG what if he were a switch-PITCHING player, too?? 

Needless to say when the actual coach tried to "correct" his batting stance/grip, we were both, "ummm.... actually, NO.  The LEFT hand goes on top".  If the League had less stringent age restrictions, Mr. Stang would totally have him trying out for the PeeWee's.  Poor coaches.  Another reason I suggested Mr. Stang do it.  If anyone's going to ruin the talent of our special little snowflake it should probably be us.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Mah Tooooww!!

The very first day of our Caribbean honeymoon cruise I broke my toe on a $%^#!@ deck chair whilst trying to live out my "Love Boat" fantasy.   (Really, Carnival?  What do you expect when you've got 'em lined up with 2 inches between one another and lilly-white passengers stricken with sunstroke???) Alas, there was no Doc on hand in tight little white shorts to assist me and after grimacing in excruciating pain and hobbling back to our cabin, I spent the entire rest of the week thrusting my much maltreated (and pretty purple and yellow) injured appendage in front of my earnest groom, sighing mightily and bewailing "Mah TOWWWW!!!  It huuurts!!! lookit mah towww!!*pout*" and begging for sympathy.  Then he'd pat my little head, bring me some ice and an aspirin and refuse to fetch me a margarita because a) we had to pay out of pocket for booze; and b) he didn't trust my clumsy ass on a rocking ship with the spins.  Which was logical. 

Since I'm too inundated this week with yard work,  knitting, and T-ball practice (the Monkey's first game is this Saturday!!!) to be bothered uploading any pics from Easter, or his birthday, or how great my patio garden is growing I bring you another sad saga of an injured toe, courtesy of Alice at Finslippy.  Which is far funnier than my own.   Reverse roles here: "I considered getting up and helping him out, but on the other hand the bed was warm" and you have my honeymoon in a nutshell. Also, the image of her son mourning the fate of his daddy's lost toenail brought a tear of laughter to my eye and reminded me of the scene in Fried Green Tomatoes where they have a funeral for Buddy Jr.'s lost arm.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

National Park Week - Free admission!

It's that time of year again - one week when America's national parks open up their doors to the public for free.  April 17 - 25.  

I'll always be grateful for the roadtrip I took with my grandmother to visit as many national parks as we could stomach in the SW.  Entrance fees to parks like the Grand Canyon and Arches can be $10 - $25 per vehicle and can really add up if you're visiting many in one trip.   But citizens 62 yrs and older can get a lifetime "Golden Ager" pass for only $10 that gives free entrance to anyone in their vehicle to "national parks monuments, historic sites, recreation areas, and national wildlife refuges."   It's also good for sites managed by other national agencies like the BLM, US Forest Service, Bureau of Reclamation, US Fish & Wildlife and USDA.

So if you ever had plans to pile the family into the old station wagon and road trip across America, I highly recommend grabbing a grandparent to take along for the ride! 

For a list of which parks in which states are waiving their normal entrance fees, click here:  .  

NW National Parks include:

  • Crater Lake National Park
  • Lewis & Clark National Historical Park
  • Fort Vancouver National Historic Site 
  • Lewis & Clark National Historical Park
  • Mount Rainier National Park
  • Olympic National Park and
  • Whitman Mission National Historic Site
  • Craters of the Moon National Monument
  • Yellowstone National Park 
It might be the perfect time to introduce the Monkey to Fort Vancouver.  I've only been inside once on a school field trip and for a huge history nerd that's quite the travesty. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Not just Granny Squares anymore

Long time, no post.  Sorry 'bout that.   I'm in new hobby heaven and have not yet come up for air.  A couple of weeks before the Indiana trip the Monkey found my old knitting needles.  Many years ago I'd attempted to dive in to this most ancient of domestic arts and made several washclothes.  Then promptly lost interest in the knitting and the pearling and whatnot.  Until I was faced with the prospect of 8 days of awkward 'introvert visits the in-laws' time and knew I wasn't going to get away with the old coping mechanism of hiding in a corner reading a book.  Which, by the way is always an acceptable substitute for meaningful conversation in my family (well maybe just the introverted side.)

Since getting married and growing up, etc. I've been informed that this is in fact considered rude behavior in other families.  So the old coping mechanism wasn't going to cut it.  It's not that my in-laws are not lovely people and I don't enjoy spending time with them.  Quite the contrary.  But like most introverts, I get exhausted having to be social for any long period of time and need to have some kind of mental escape to take the pressure off the small talk.  Otherwise, I tend to fill the void with really boring Cliff Clavenesque trivia facts in a pathetic attempt to impress with my vast store of totally useless knowledge. 
Besides which, for some reason Mr. Stang and the Monkey feel particularly shut out when I settle into the trance-like state of devouring a good book.  But  they don't seem to mind knitting as much.  So my little free time has been taken up with knitting and crocheting and checking out this great little local yarn shop in downtown : .  And surfing for free patterns on

And drooling over all the yummy hand dyed, hand spun yarns and fascinating twists on the craft that are now available on the 'Net.  Like yarn made from plastic bags (Plarn).  Yes, it may seem like one step above recycling cardboard for that home improvement project but as a grocery bag?   Or beach or laundry bag? Perfect.   And recycled silk.  From Indian Sari fabrics!  Made by women's co-ops in Nepal and India.   When you think about all those poor little baby silkworms that had to die to make millenia's worth of luxurious silk fabrics, recycling existing work out or scrap fabrics is the only humane thing to do (besides which, silk scarves are infinitely less itchy than wool.  Sustainable as sheep may be....)

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.  There's yarn made from hemp, banana fiber, yak, and all kinds of sheeps and bunnies and other cute little furries.  And something called "qiviut".  What the hell is "qiviut" you might ask?  This:
That's right.  The underwool of the ARCTIC MUSK OX.    And according to the official qiviut coop webpage, it's supposedly eight times warmer than wool, extraordinarily lightweight, NOT scratchy and won't shrink in hot water.  But at about $40 a ball I won't be playing with it any time soon. 
 I used to think crocheting was all about toilet paper covers decked out with super campy granny squares and really hideous sock puppets.  But, NO!  Since it's inception (apaprently around 1800) crochet has really taken off.  My step-mom even crochets beautiful fine wire jewelry.  
And if you really want to nerd it up, there's a mathematician (Daina Tamina) who discovered crochet was the perfect way to create three dimentional models of hyperbolic planes - something other (**ahem.... male**) mathematicians could never duplicate with existing modeling techniques.