Monday, February 28, 2011

Team Panda won the Team Spirit Award

The Independent Learning Center's (ILC) team won the Team Spirit Award at the Sea Lion Bowl! After seven losses, some close and some not close, they finally won their last match. They were so cute, kind, friendly, gracious and respectful, they won the hearts of the judges. We were proud and glad for them.

The team that always wins won yet again and will go to Houston to compete in the nationals. For once, we were all rooting for them. While the winners were not exactly gracious, the second place team showed such a lack of sportsmanship it was shocking. The audience actually booed them when they complained about the winning team's stuffed animal mascot on the table!

Cell phones, PDAs, books, cameras are all forbidden during the matches. While the rules were being read for the final match, Ernst accidentally hit the button for the Catch Phrase game in his backpack. He quickly left the room as the beep got faster and faster! The 2nd place team put up a complaint, but then one of them had a cell phone go off during the match. So we didn't feel quite so bad about our blunder.

My reflections of the weekend: Teenagers can be wonderful. The bowl brings together amazing talent, intelligence and logic, but also endearing impulsiveness and lack of sophistication. There were teams that were very likable, yet others that were so over-confident it was cringe inducing. Is the over-confidence necessary to win, or are they so used to winning they get the superior attitude? Giftedness can be fostered, but how to teach graciousness and likability? And we haven't even hit the Baby Einstein generation!

It was a fabulous weekend, gorgeous clear weather, a great group of ILC girls who were fun and got along well, plus an amazing event put on by the volunteers. And we got Thai food at the awards dinner! Vegan food choices and brown rice, we knew we were in San Francisco.
Century old house where we stayed

ILC Team

Arriving at the Sea Lion Bowl

Last minute cramming

They dubbed him Coach Ernstein

The girls in the middle attend Woodland KHs

A tour of a lab on SFSU campus

Receiving their award

Pancake the mascot

Team Panda with Team Vampire Squid

The next day at Bolinas tide pools

Straddling the San Andreas Fault

Effects of 1906 quake

Friday, February 25, 2011

Horizontal rain with a chance of snow!

Snow here, in the Sacramento Valley, maybe. And we won't be here. It is raining like crazy, what a perfect day to stay home and veg. But we are off to the Sea Lion Bowl and will miss the dusting of snow that may come tonight. Our jade plants are covered, our backyard looks like a flood plain, Molly has a dog sitter, we just have to leave and hope for the best.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Trying to eat raw when life is rough

So maybe deciding to eat raw the week of the State Bar was not such a great idea. It is the mother of all proctoring jobs, long and tiring. The only really exciting thing to do is eat! I have been doing great for lunch because we literally cannot leave the building, but dinner... off the raw wagon. Last night I was inhaling brown rice, tonight it was whole wheat pasta. Come to mama you cooked yummy goodness!

Usually after this proctoring job I treat myself to something special like a pedicure, or I demand (yes demand) a night out involving spicy food and beer. I don't think that's in the budget, so this time I'll just come home, wiggle my toes and eat yet another banana smoothie? I need to find a job! I must have Thai food! My toes need pampering!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sleep Sewing by Mikayla and Jessica

Mikayla and I finally got together again to work on her quilt. She was tired from a school field trip, I was beat from a Design weekend with RBC, so we were two sleepy sewers.
If the quilt were an Excel worksheet, I guess you could say we are done with 8 rows, and have columns 1-3 sewn together. We were so tired, that was all we could manage. (At this rate we should finish in time for her first grandchild to enjoy it.) It is adorable, and with one more session we should get it done. There is some fun and funky fabric and the red corduroy is really "popping".
FAA chickens

I spent much of the day updating our RBC ADA requirements for grab bars, TP holders, toilets, urinals and drinking fountains, or as the California code calls them,"bubblers."  My mom always calls a drinking fountain a bubbler. I thought it was an Elvenism. It is a real word!
a drinking fountain that spouts water
(Are there beer fountains?)
There you go Mom, you are right.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Team Panda?

Next weekend is the Sea Lion Bowl at SF State. It is the Northern California section of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl. Ernst has a team from his school competing, as he has for the last few years.

There is this one school, which I won't mention the name of, that ALWAYS wins. They are from San Jose. They are unstoppable! The goal isn't to beat them, it is to avoid being crushed by the academic machine that they are.

It is an amazing competition, I am always blown away by how smart the kids are, and how much they have learned about oceanography, boating and sailing terms, weather, geography and ecology. I know only about 5% of the answers. It is great fun, but I get so nervous I can hardly watch. We get to stay at the Ohrenschall Guest house, and there is an awards banquet after.

So the girls decided they wanted a PANDA as their mascot. A PANDA for an ocean themed competition! Here is the logo Ernst had designed for our shirts. Let's hope it intimidates the brainy kids!

A busy week ahead, an RBC weekend followed by a week of proctoring the State Bar Exam. The Sea Lion Bowl will be a nice respite from a busy February. Go Pandas!!!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Spring was here

Here are the pictures to prove it. It was warm, it was sunny, it was dog washing, sit on the front porch, better start weeding the yard weather. Now we are back in a bit of winter, brisk and rainy. But I am thrilled, I love rain. Can't get enough, ever.

I am still on the hunt for an old reliable sewing machine. I look on Craigslist all the time. Thought I found one, so my friend Igor drove me there, in case the guy was an ax murderer. Gorgeous house in Granite Bay, but the sewing machine was awful. If someone doesn't even bother to get the yuckie gunk off something they are selling, forget it. So Igor says, I know a lady with sewing machines for sale, lots of them. We drove to this Romanian woman's house, and she has three for sale! Three ancient Singers that look like they could be on Little House on the Prairie, if Pa had put in electricity. So the search goes on.

a blooming Jade is a happy Jade

Molly hates water!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Definition of fender bender

When do you call it a fender bender? When you are the one doing the bending of the fender! That's what we'll call what I did today. Not an accident, that's when the other guy's at fault. Just kind of backed up into someone, we hardly even exchanged paint colors, being that our cars are the same color! I knew I should have listened to Ernst and just stayed home and nursed my cold!

his car

my trailer hitch

Now if we want to talk accidents, perhaps you never saw the doozy Ernst got into back in October. Some have called it Car Jousting, and Ernst lost. It was dark, someone left the school gate half open, and he drove into the gate, still swinging towards him in the car! It hit his arm, then grazed the back of his head and went out the other window. He fortunately leaned into the steering wheel. If he hadn't? I still cringe thinking about it. Ernst just never does anything halfway.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The McDougall Diet is Working

We are coming up on 3 years since Ernst's heart attack and angioplasty with 3 stents. We have been vegan since reading The China Study, and then went on the McDougall Diet 2 years ago - vegan with oils just from foods, not added for cooking. This means no meat, poultry, fish, eggs, or dairy, and no white flour or rice, very little sugar. There actually is a lot to eat besides all that, but it is a lot of work, and a lot of explaining to well meaning people who think we are going to waste away!

Ernst had a nuclear perfusion test last week. We were worried, what would we do if there was more clogging? Most patients begin clogging up again after 3 years. He dreaded another angioplasty. And we were already eating so good, what was next, becoming fruitatarians?

He was supposed to see the cardiologist a few days after the test, but the doctor called and said the appointment was cancelled, his heart is great! What terrific news. The diet is working! Now if we could just do something about his wardrobe?

Love those safety glasses
Ernst in his winter lederhosen!
 I on the other hand seem to be a mess lately. All the stuff that makes Ernst feel great: potatoes, rice, whole grain bread, it all makes me look and feel like the Pillsbury Dough Girl. I have arthritis! I am too young for this!
I felt so amazing this last summer when I went on a raw food diet. It was like a miracle. My hearing even improved. But it is hard, I mean really hard. Being vegan is a walk in the park compared to going raw. Then Kodie died, we got Molly, had the 10-10-10 party, Ernst had his close to death accident, I lost my job, we had the remodel.  All this required comfort food, lots of it!

Raw Food Month August 2010

Our active new addition!
But here I go, I am going to do it again, at least for a month, until the next Moldovan wedding, which is exactly 4 weeks away.  Break out the fruit smoothies, make up some nutty taco mix, dust off the dehydrator, my goodness, it's only food, not like that is important! As we say around here, Life is Better Than Food!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Kodie the Wonder Dog

Snack Door
Kodie the Wonder Quilt

My favorite photo

Geocaching at Butano

Decapitated friends

 I made a quilt in memory of Kodie the Wonder Dog. We had Kodie his last 4 years, but he had our hearts long before we officially adopted him. Last August we knew it was time. We had to call "Dr. Catvorkian" and let him go out in peace.

Any pool in a pinch

"Yep, I diagnosed his heart attack"

Happy Camper

Extended Pack

Fan club

More milkshake please

Ernst's favorite photo

Our fabulous friends and neighbors helped Ernst dig the very large grave in our hard pan soil. Not easy. And then on his last night, Kodie got to swim with his fan club, the girls down the street. After his swim, Dan and his girls, Jason and his boys, Kodie, Ernst and I all hung out on our front lawn. The Boy was eating it up, seemed to look at every passing car and say, Hey I bet your pack isn't this big!
He got a chocolate milkshake as his last treat. He was happy, we were crying our eyes out. Dan came during his lunch hour and helped Ernst bury him. We planted a Yellow Barked Dogwood on his grave, which was appropriate.

 We still miss him, he was a great dog.

Jesse and Jeron, extended pack

My Mom in the Snow

When our family would go to the snow, our Dad would insist on duct taping our mittens to our coat, and our boots to our pants. It was really embarrassing, plus took so much time away from sledding.

But we have to admit now the duct tape was a great idea, if not really hunyocky (an Elven word for which there is no real translation).

So here is my brother Jeff, preparing my Mom to go sledding, carrying on the duct tape tradition.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Quilt Sale on our Street

Got tired of these quilts hanging around. They are just not getting enough views on Etsy. So I put up a sign "Quilts 4 Sale" and waited to see what happened.
Well, I actually didn't sit there twiddling my thumbs, I set up a table on the porch and cut a bunch of vintage chenille bedspreads to smithereens. They were already trashed, I just made them usable to use in quilts.
A woman came by and bought three of my big quilts. I normally don't drive around with large bills in my wallet, thinking, Man I just want to buy me some quilts!!! But there are people like that, thank goodness. She drove off with the quilts, and I went inside to perform the Dance of Joy. Grocery money!

So my experiment worked, now I am just down to 4 baby quilts. Hmm, someone needs to have quads. Jeff and Myra?