Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Youngest

Last night El had the chance to babysit.

She is my baby - eight and one half years younger than her eldest sister; two and one half years younger than her closest sister.

She's the baby.  And I think we've done her a disservice by treating her like the baby.  We didn't encourage her to do for herself as we did the other two.  We tied her shoes and cleaned up behind her because it was easier and faster than taking the time to let her do it herself.

Last night she showed me that she isn't scarred by this pampering.

She is very good with little children.  She sat for hours playing blocks with a 3 year old.  She knew that I was here for emergencies, but that the job was hers.

I am a proud mom.

And while this little guy reminds me of Frank Lloyd Wright:

this one was more like Godzilla when it came to the construction and design process.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Mother of Invention

The girls are playing one of their favorite games.  We've had it a long time.  Can you tell what game it is?
 Here's a close-up of the board:
 That's right!  It's Clue.  We've had it so long that we've lost several of the playing pieces.

So they have scrounged around the house to find substitutes.  I believe this sword (that is standing in for the knife) once belonged to an action figure of Aragorn, son of Arathorn.  Looks like it's being wielded by Mrs. White in the dining room.
Standing in for Colonel Mustard and Professor Plum in the Lounge are yellow and purple erasers.  Mr. Green is also represented by an eraser somewhere else on the board.
When you don't have what you need, sometimes you use what you have...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Spanish Art

Today we spent much of the day at Castillo de St. Marcos in St. Augustine.  It was built by the Spanish from 1672 to 1695.

The Spanish turn everything into a work of art.
This sword hilt is beautiful.

 The towers in the corners of the bastions are so graceful to look at.  (Mr. H isn't bad, either, but he's not Spanish.)
 Look at the detail on this mortar.
 You wonder about putting this much creativity on something built for destruction.
They even have names engraved on them.
 In an otherwise uniform curtain wall, the entrance to the Chapel of St. Mark is very distinctive.
What a beautiful piece of history.

Just imagine if we put the same attention to detail into everything we did.  What if we tried to make everything we created a thing of beauty?  Something to strive for, isn't it?

Gear Is Good

Mr. H and I started off on our anniversary (31 years ago, we went on our first date) trip yesterday morning after we dropped the girls off at school.  After the, at times, torrential rains of Monday and Tuesday, the weather was gorgeous, but cold. If you know me at all, you know that I really do not like being cold.  There is a heater under my desk, a spare shawl in my office, and I'm the only one comfortable if the A/C goes out.

Nevertheless, I was game for the trip.  Last winter Mr. H got me a HiVis yellow riding jacket that has a thermal liner.  My riding pants have 2 liners: one is quilted, the other is water/wind proof.  So I layered-up:  an undershirt, a long-sleeved T-shirt, a turtleneck sweater, and a microfleece jacket under the riding jacket, then leggings and fleece pajama pants under the riding pants.  

Yes, I looked and felt like Ralphie's little brother.  Mr. H made a comment while I was getting dressed about how much he loved me because "a lot of women wouldn't wear all that stuff because they would be afraid it would make them look fat."  I smiled.  That's why I have him and they don't!

The temperature was in the 40's as we started off. (Mr. H's bike has a thermometer on the dash). It stayed around 47 for QUITE some time.  I had started off wearing a pair of Harley Davidson thermal liner gloves (my only Harley appearal) under my winter riding gloves.  They are rather like sweaters for your fingers.  When we made our first stop, I couldn't get my helmet off because my fingers were so cold.  They did seem to warm up as soon as I took my gloves off.  For the next leg of the trip, I left off the liners.  The winter gloves are really too big for me so I was able, occasionally to pull my fingers out of the fingers and make a fist in the palm part of the glove to warm them up, then slip them back into the finger spots.  I can't wear these gloves when I ride my own bike.  Loose gloves can be dangerous when operating the controls.  But they were fine with me riding pillion.

The highlight of my day came late in the day, about a half hour west of Jacksonville.  We pulled into a rest area so Mr. H could un-cramp his wrist before we got into rush hour traffic.  We nodded to a policeman walking back to his car and pulled into a parking place about 4 spaces from the police car.  I waited for Mr. H to shut off the engine, then unplugged the com cord.  I stood up on the pegs and swung my leg over....well, that was my intention anyway.  My foot caught on the back rest and I knew I was going down.

Two thoughts passed through my head almost at the same time.  1.  Catching that curb with the middle of my back is going to HURT! and 2.  I hope I don't drag Mr. H AND the bike down on top of me, because that would hurt even more.

Then I hit the pavement.

But I was wearing so much gear that I didn't even feel it!  I started laughing and Mr. H just looked at me wondering what was wrong.  I managed to open the visor so he could see my face and know I was okay.  However, remember I looked like Ralphie's little brother?  Do you remember the line from the movie?  "Randy lay there like a slug!"  I know exactly how Randy felt.  He couldn't move because he couldn't bend any limbs.  Mr. H had to give me a hand up.  And remember the policeman we saw on the way in?  He came over to see if all was well.  I know he must have thought I was intoxicated!  He inquired as to my wellbeing and then asked where we were headed.  Mr. H was quick to give him an answer and then asked the best way to get there, road conditions, traffic, that kind of stuff.  The officer was very helpful, telling us which lanes tend to back up and what to watch for.  Pretty soon we were back on the road and shortly arrived at our destination.

Today is a walking day, so I won't need any riding gear, but boy! am I glad I have it.