Power to the People

The week before Devin's concert, I opened my daily newspaper to find a front-page headline that read, Half-way home to house 13 cons. I continued to read the article with shock and anger. This proposed half-way house was not 600' from my kiddo's elementary school and park. The said house was being rented by a individual who wanted to place the convicts in a single-family neighborhood. (Murders, rapists, child molesters, drug dealers, etc. etc. except for arsonists, because that would make his insurance premium go up.) Word spread throughout the ward like wild fire.

I gathered my pitch fork and torch and took up a petition with informational flyer's and canvased our subdivision. I was amazed by the fact that nobody knew of it or if they did, had no clue it was so close to where their children walked to school or played at the park. Taking action was the only way I could handle my outrage that somebody would be so irresponsible in placing sex offenders near young families, a park, and an elementary school and that because of a loophole in the law, would be perfectly legal to do so.

The night of Devin's concert was the neighborhood meeting with city officials, the renter, and a representative from the IDoC. The newspaper and local t.v. news crews were covering the story to spread the word to other communities where this is and could happen in other neighborhoods as well. We attended Devin's concert, which was ultimately more important, and watched the coverage on the news. Over 250 people showed up and the debate was hot. Finally, the renter caved and said he would look elsewhere. The petitions were noterized and turned into the city with the hope of closing the loophole and keeping our children, our families safe.

Power to the People!

Over the Hills and Through the Woods

This year we celebrated Thanksgiving early with the McCoy's. Mom usually works on Thanksgiving day so in an effort to beat both the snow and the schedule, the turkey was stuffed on the 11th of November.

While we waited for the bird to pop, my sister Mindy introduced us to 'Little Bit'.

The kiddos had so much fun and waited impatiently for their turn to ride. At least Little Bit was patient and took the all chaos in stride.

The smell of the alfalfa, the aged leather of the saddle, and horsehair brought back a flood of teenage memories and the times I spent mucking out stalls and riding Frosty. It had been years since I had groomed or saddled a horse and despite the lack of practice, Little Bit was ready to go in no time.

By six o'clock that night, everyone was stuffed with all the comfort food Thanksgiving dinner provides. Pumpkin pie was just an afterthought. The next morning we got up, packed and started back home. Eighteen hours of driving in forty-eight hours time, it was a quick visit to say the least. WDoT reported snow at 3,000' and with Chinook pass at nearly 5,500' we opted for Snoqualmie Pass to the north which topped out at 3,200'. The kiddos were excited to see the snow and faked an emergency potty stop just over the summit for the chance to touch it.

A Belated Birthday and Early Christmas Present

Finally! I finally got my parlor grand and couldn't be more excited. After searching for almost a year and a half, I found what I was looking for and the price was just right. I stumbled on this 5'8", 1921 piano in the online edition of The Statesman classifieds. I did a reverse lookup on the contact number to see exactly where the piano was located and was surprised to find it not more that five miles away.

I told Dave about it- not expecting much- but he agreed to go and take a look that afternoon. The lady who was selling it was once a piano teacher and due to the size of her livingroom which was rather small, a kitchen in the middle of being updated, and her husbands recent stroke, bought a clavanova and officially listed her grand.

The room was dark, even with the lights on and the draperies pulled open, but I was able to get a good look at everything. The soundboard and cabinet was covered in dust and household grime but was in overall excellent condition, only suffering the bumps and bruises that come with age and various moves. The key tops had been replaced and I was given a copy of the technicians' receipt from January when it was last tuned. It played well and I liked the mellow tone it produced.

We left and went to dinner, all the while mulling it over in my head. Dave said that since I was the one looking, I knew what about it would be worth and what else was out there for the same asking price. This was above the mark and he gave me the okay with the stipulation that I could no longer bring up the fact that he missed two of my birthdays (completely forgetting one altogether) and our last anniversary, This makes up for all of that, and Christmas too."

I arranged to have it delivered the following Tuesday, after waiting until Monday to haggle the price and buy it. Once it was home, I started to clean it up using a method I found online for bringing back antique finishes. Apparently Dawn dish washing liquid is good for a lot of things. I buffed the brass, dusted the soundboard, washed the cabinet with Dawn and applied two coats of Old English for dark wood. (Hid all the little nicks like a charm.) I need to work on it some more before its completely clean. I even padded and reupholstered the bench.

The following week my old 1869 Hackley upright was sold and moved to its new home. A Christmas present for a 10 year old girl in Boise, I could not have let it go to a better place.

The Halloween Hunting Party

"Why did the ghoul, the pirate, and a snow-fairy princess cross the road?"

This Halloween crept up on me like a thief in the night. I was not at all prepared. After changing several times, going through her entire trunk of dress-up clothes, Iz decided to be a snow-fairy princess. Devin had last years' ghoul costume stashed away in his closet so his was also an easy fix.

Poor D.J., we had to start from scratch with him. We tried the traditional 'sheet' ghost to no avail, next was the 'window scarf' mummy that ended badly, and finally after much desperation and rummaging through my closet, we came up with this gypsy-pirate ensemble complete with earring and facial hair. He was happy in the end and that's all that really matters. Well, that and how much loot they could get.

Luckily it wasn't as cold as it was last year so we didn't need to work around thick coats and an extra pair of jeans. We set off at seven with the intent of only knocking doors in our subdivision. An hour later the buckets were overflowing and our route completed.

Our snow-fairy princess was the only one to deliver a trick.

"Trick-or-treat." The kiddos sang as the door opened.

"Oh, a pirate... and what are you?" the stooped, white-haired woman asked.
"A ghoul, I think." Devin politely replied as she dropped a full-size Snicker into his sack.
"And a princess too!" She had moved on to Izzy's bucket, "How pretty you look."
The princess crinkled her nose and stated matter-of-factly, "You look very, very old. You're gonna die soon."
The woman lost her smile for a moment and said, "I hope not too soon, Happy Halloween." and shut the door.
After picking my jaw up from the sidewalk and explaining how she had made the nice lady sad, Dad marched Iz right back to her door to apologize.
The woman was nice and accepted the tear-filled and sniffled sorry, "I've been called a lot worse."
Out of the mouths of babes, right?

Got Tagged?

I'm not sure how the game is played, but thanks to Lora, I guess I'm it?

Six Habits: For Better or Worse.

1. Once Bitten: Disgusting as it is, I pick, tear, and bite at my nails. Mom said that I would die an early death due to the fact that there would be a large ball of half-eaten fingernails rolling around, riddling my stomach with holes. Well Mom, I don't eat them and I'm still alive.

2. Open and Shut: I have to shut, close, or lock up every door, cabinet, or lid I find left open. It drives me nuts if I don’t!

3. You’ve Got Mail: Whether I have the time or not, I always check my email. Sometimes it’s the most adult conversation I get all day, however one-sided it may seem.

4. The Need for Speed: Lucky for me the local police haven’t noticed yet. If I’m listening to an upbeat song while driving, chances are I’m a little upbeat on the speedometer. Kenny Loggin’s Danger Zone from Top Gun always pushes the needle past the "suggested" speed limit.

5. A Blonds’ Ambition: I really do have a brain, I really do! For some reason, as my hubby has pointed out numerous times before and after each situation, when meeting new people or put into an uncomfortable social event, I go from savvy brunette to ditzy blond faster than a bottle of hair bleach in the hands of the local drag queen at La Coif salon. Nerves; sheer, unaltered, my brain fell out my rear, nerves! I believe that habit number one precedes and follows habit number five; the ‘oh-my-gosh-I’m-so-nervous’ to ‘oh-I’m-such-an-idiot or they-know-I’m-an-idiot’.

6. These Shoes Were Made for …. : From sun up to sundown, I have my Nike’s on. Stacey and Clinton from What Not to Wear would have a field day with me. Besides my preferred footwear, I don my daily uniform of jeans, tee, and a light-weight, zippered hoody and a good pair of socks makes all the difference. I wish I could say that I am athletic or intend to be at some point during the day, but the fact is I’m not.

Twenty-Eight Trumpeters' Trumpeting

The end of October, just before Halloween, the middle-school bands performed their fall concert. Starting the night off with a bang, NHS Marching Band- fresh off a regional sweepstakes win- entered the gymnasium with a full drum battery (which of course D.J. was enthralled), four drum majors and a gaggle of tall flags.

Each student dressed in full regalia, applettes and then some. They performed 'In the Land of Dragons' as best they could in the cramped quarters between the massive 6th grade band, 7th grade concert band, and Jazz band sets. The power behind the music was substantial. The final movement included a fire-breathing, beast of a dragon which drew a standing ovation from the crowd until the last student, marching in cadence, exited through the red double doors to the parking lot. D.J. summed the experience up best, "That was awesome!"

The Jazz Band was swing'in and the 7th and 8th grade pieces were full of flavor with everthing from a Spanish-inspired Bull-fight to a Native American ceremony. Devins' 6th grade performace was next. (video to be added)

I'm so proud at the progress Devin has been making on his trumpet, he occupies 7th chair out of 28 in beginning band. There is no need for me to remind him to practice (except for the occasional word about posture). We all look forward to the winter concert!


Tote; placemat. Cover; napkin. Both from World Market.

Our Super-Saturday was in the middle of October this year and there was plenty to do. Attendance was high and the atmosphere was laid-back and enjoyable. Some of our projects included F.H.E. board, tiles, and signs, all of which involved vinyl letting of some kind. There was a workshop on beading earrings, necklaces, and bracelets as well. I taught a growing class on glass etching and scripture totes/covers. It was a long day but in the end it was well-worth the effort.

Great and inexpensive was to personalize a wedding or holiday gift.

Serving Others

Johnny Appleseed has nothing on my farmers.

Our ward was assigned a row or two of Red Delicious apples at the Caldwell Orchard to pick for the Bishops’ Storehouse. David and I decided that it would be a good experience for the kiddos to learn about agriculture and serving others.

Finding our way on a hunch, we arrived at the hilltop orchard around six in the evening. The view of the Snake River winding through the golden fields below as the setting sun kissed the peaks of the Owyhee mountains made the trip worthwhile whether we picked any apples or not. The crisp air, laced with the musky smell of fallen leaves and fallen apples, officially declared that summer had waned into autumn.

We trudged down our assigned row with two picking baskets and an aluminum ladder, looking upward to find where the last family had stopped picking. Maddy was constantly scooping up apples from the ground and putting them into my basket as we walked. I had to keep telling her and the boys that if it’s on the ground, you can pick it. Once we found our spot, they weren’t interested in what was on the ground.

The gnarled trees were laden with ripe, red apples the size of Texas Grapefruit. You had to be careful not to pluck one from a clump just above your head or you’d get bonked on the noggin a la Newton. Needless to say the baskets had to be emptied at regular intervals into the loading crates placed here and there along the trees because the apples were so large and plentiful.

D.J. and Devin enjoyed climbing the ladder to reach the topmost apples and more importantly, they enjoyed watching the rest of us on the ground dart between the branches to avoid being hit by incoming a-bombs.

We stayed until it was too dark to see what you were picking, gleaned a few apples that had just fallen from the trees and made our way home, around the lake we spent so many hours on this summer. In the month that followed, we made two more treks out to the orchard, the last visit ended with a promise to come back next year. In each of the kids rooms, you’ll find a Styrofoam cup, potting soil and an apple seed, “We want to grow our own orchard.”

(pictures to come)