Monday, August 31, 2009

My AeroGarden Tomatoes

I am very excited about my upcoming tomato crop! We counted nine little tomatoes today with even more blossoms. These are supposed to be little yellow ones, but there is no sign of any color yet. (The plant in the background is a basil plant -- which the instructions say not to plant with tomatoes, but it seems to be doing well.)

I had a chance to talk with my family practice doc (it was her first day back after maternity leave) today and get her caught up on all that has been going on. She was going to fax an "OK to do surgery" letter to the orthopaedic spine doc this morning. The surgeon's office is trying to get a date scheduled with the hospital sometime during the week of September 14th. It will be good to finally get this up and going!

I woke up this morning knowing how I wanted to finish the ends of the bracelet I've been working on. I did some rearranging and added silver "kegs" to the ends and to each strand. I really like the way it looks, but with the added silver, it is now too long! Tomorrow I'll take it apart again, take out some beads and shorten it up.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Quiet Sunday

I actually went to bed early last night, so it was easy getting up, having breakfast, showering and getting ready for church this morning. It was a interesting service as most of the people who had gone to Columbus, Ohio for the biennial convention of Mennonite Church USA last July shared their experiences and stories. Cleon had the "official" video of the convention which was shown on the big screen. It was quite fun to see some of the "other" parts of the convention -- the children and the youth conventions-- that we as adults didn't get to participate in.

Since school has started both in Moses Lake and Ritzville, many families that have been at the lake or on vacation are back in the area. It's nice to see the church fuller after the summer lull. We have decided that there is so much going on in the area leading up to the Mennonite Country Auction (October 3) that we may as well stay parked here at the ranch until then. Unless, of course, we finally get a date scheduled for my back surgery -- in that case we will move closer to Spokane!

This afternoon I put together the bead bracelet I have had laid out for several days using the hand blown beads that Bill gave me. I put the three strands together without finishing one end just so that I could take a better look at the design. I'm still not quite happy with the layout. I took out the beads that had lighter blues in them and I like that better, but I may still trade out a couple more. I guess I'll have to leave it out to study and think about it some more!

We spent part of the afternoon dealing with our epidemic of fruit flies! They are really being obnoxious! I had bought fresh peaches, figs, cantaloupe's (Can anybody explain why there is a "u" in lope? -- I didn't believe it when spell check told me to put one in -- I had to look at the net bag...!), and berries at Costco and every time I take something out of the refrigerator they are right there. I think bagging up all of the garbage with the peelings, etc. certainly helped, but we didn't get them all...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Weird Weather

It's interesting to listen to the weather forecasts and predictions as the broadcasters try to make sense out of what is happening. One day we're having record heat waves; then a cold front; they say we're back to normal; then it's very hot again; then it's thunderstorms possible. Nine times out of ten, they're not right or they're a day or two off with their predictions. When we used to fly, there was a saying among pilots that "they send the weather guys to the Pacific Northwest to teach them humility..."

It did rain during the night sometime and Son Sean says it's been raining in Spokane most of the day today. At least, Jeff's newly planted winter wheat seems to be up far enough that the rain shouldn't crust it over. It's so pretty to see the wisps of green peaking up over the tops of the furrows.

I spent some time today writing up the obituary I gave at my friend Phyllis' Memorial Service for our church newsletter, The Beacon. I had basically used the one the family wrote for the newspapers, but I had adlibed a bit. Bill, the editor, had asked if I would send him my version. I also wrote up a bit about family doings in anticipation of next Tuesday's deadline.

I got an email last evening with the results of yesterday's CT scan. It sounds like my primary care doctor may be able to get a note off to the surgeon giving him the go-ahead for my back surgery. We'd like to get it scheduled and done as soon as possible so that we don't have to remain in this north country when it starts to get cold!

Friday, August 28, 2009

And once again

we were off to Spokane!

I didn't have to be there until 3 PM, so spent some time this morning laying out the beads I bought yesterday along with the hand blown ones that Bill gave me. I've got enough to make a three strand bracelet just using the dark blue ones. I think it's going to be real pretty.

The CT scan actually wasn't too bad today. It went fairly quickly. The tech had no trouble starting the IV, the dye caused no ill effects other than a bit of warming feeling and my head did NOT have to go into the machine! I can handle that.

We stopped at Ponderosa Falls RV Park outside of Spokane to see about openings. I think we'll start thinking about get moved in that direction soon.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Another Day in Spokane

On the way up to Spokane this morning, it dawned on me that I had had an automatic update on my computer the evening before I again started having trouble getting hooked up to the Internet. So tonight after I got home, I unsuccessfully went through all of the "debugging" tricks I know -- nothing worked. The Cradlepoint connection from the computer was fine, but something was not allowing connection to the Internet. Then Forry reminded me that the last time this happened we had shut EVERYTHING down by shutting off the power at the power strip that everything is connected to. Voila! We're back!

We had to be up to the city early this morning because the lady who scheduled tomorrow's appointment for the CAT scan wanted a more recent creatinine result than the one I had in May. So went to the lab first thing this morning and got my blood drawn, then over to Rockwood to meet with Forry's doctor. Good news, his test for cancer was negative!

Since I had been fasting for the blood test, we went over to Maggie's on the South Hill for an early lunch. We each had a cup of wonderful squash soup -- if I'd have known how good it was going to be, I'd have had a bowl instead of my Crab Louie Salad! Forry had crab cakes, then we celebrated his good news by sharing a piece of brownie mousse cake.

We spent part of the afternoon at our attorney's. It was time again to look at and update our wills, Living Wills, and power of attorneys. Randy scolded us a bit because we admitted that our daughters probably had no idea who our attorney was! Gave us business cards with strict instructions to send them each one! Funny how you never think about little things like that...
On the way home from Spokane. A good day. Forry's test came back negative, so bought him a dishwasher.
Internet at ranch not working AGAIN! So frustrtrating.
Off to Spokane again this morning.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


It was sort of a lazy day today. It was fairly cool, I don't think it got much over 85 degrees. I did the last few loads of clothes, sent a recipe to a friend and to the blog, read Dragon Harper, the last book that Anne Mccaffrey and her son Todd wrote together and started Dragonheart, written only by Todd Mccaffrey.

I also spent time on the phone trying to get an appointment for the kidney CAT Scan that the doctor had ordered last week. There has been some confusion between the referral office with the approval and the scheduling office. After I sent an email to the physician, I finally got a phone call late this afternoon setting up an appointment for this coming Friday.

I am quietly waiting for tomorrow's official announcement of the name of the new Executive Director of Mennonite Church USA! The full Executive Board met today and approved wholeheartedly the candidate presented by our Search Committee. It will be exciting to see the fulfillment of all of our hard work.

The sunset was so pretty this evening. The pictures don't anyway do it justice!

Fresh Corn, Avocado Salsa Salad Recipe

4 ears sweet corn
1/2 red onion, diced
2 very firm avocados, diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely diced (wear gloves)
1/2 hot chile pepper, seeded and finely diced
Juice of one lime
Plenty of chopped cilantro
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)

Slice kernels off of the corn and combine with all the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

My notes: I left out the jalapeno pepper since I was not sure that the ladies would like the heat. I used 1/2 of a small (2 1/2 inch) yellow pepper. If you squeeze the lime juice over the avocados right after you dice them, it will help keep their color green.

I drained the salad before I served it. If you are using as a salsa dip, you may want to leave it more juicy.

CREDIT: I found this recipe on the PIONEER WOMAN Blog!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Salad Supper With the Menno Ladies

There were seven ladies at Barb's this evening and eight salads, potato rolls and roasted garlic bread and HUGE chocolate cookies! Needless to say, we all had a feast!

We met in order to plan this fall and winter's Ladies Bible Study. We had to decide what we wanted to study and when we wanted to meet. It was just plain good to visit with eveyone.

Forry had planned to play golf this morning in Ritzville, but wasn't feeling real whippy this morning, so decided to stay home.

I made my salad this morning so that the flavors could marry. It's a very good recipe that I got from one of the blogs I read on a regular basis. It had fresh corn (cut off of the cob), avocados, onion, cilantro and a small chile all marinated in lime juice.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Peaceable Sunday...

We were up so late last night after going to the fair and rodeo, we barely made it up in time this morning to shower and get to church! Living as retirees, we've gotten used to going to bed and getting up whenever we feel like it. Sometimes, we get caught!

It's only six weeks until the Mennonite Country Auction (the first Saturday in October) and this morning we started the Penny Power count-down. All over the Mennonite Church, each Sunday during the children's time, the kids take their buckets and head out through the congregation collecting every one's change. Last year they raised money for mosquito nets, this year the pennies will go towards refurbishing a hospital in the Congo. What's really interesting is that one of our members was born in that hospital where her mother was a doctor and her father served as a missionary. It is also the hospital where the late Dr. John Zook and his wife Jean worked and did surgery.

There's a new twist to the Penny Power project this year. Most of the adult members agreed to put their name in a basket. Each week a name will be drawn and that person will "match" the amount of money collected by the children. It already sounds like there is some fun conniving going on with different members about how to "stack the deck"....

Later this afternoon, we went in to Moses Lake to pick up the ingredients I needed for tomorrow night's salad supper. I was going to run in tomorrow morning, but it turns out the Menno guys are planning to play golf in Ritzville in the morning and Forry will need the car. One of the things we have discovered about our lifestyle is that we have to be more deliberate about driving. Since we no longer each have our own vehicle, we have to plan a bit more.

It turned out to be a good thing (going in today) as we were able to have Vic join us for dinner at Denny's to visit a bit. It was just dusk when we headed home. We saw three nice bucks in CRP ground along the Rosenoff Road. One had three points, the others were each two pointers.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Grant County Fair and Rodeo Time

We had thought about going to the Fair in Moses Lake earlier this week, but it was so terribly hot! I had NO desire to walk around in 100+ weather.

Last night when Forry went out to get some things from the Toad, he discovered that she had a flat front tire. When he changed it this morning, he found a hole with a piece of sharp gravel stuck in it. Knowing we needed to get it fixed, we went in to Les Schwab in Moses Lake. Turns out the tire was unfixable (the hole was too big), so we ended up buying two new tires -- and a new set of windshield (front and back) wiper blades that we have kept forgetting to get.

It was still only a little before four o'clock (those Les Schwab guys are speedy!) and it was only in the 80s, so we decided to go out to the fair and at least see how Nephew Nick's pigs had done. I had the purple cane that Sister Sherry had given me in the car, so decided that even though my back and leg were feeling pretty good, it might be a good idea to take it along. That turned out to be one of the better ideas I've had for a while!

We found Bandit, one of Nick's pigs, but never did see the other one. There was a sign on his pen that said the pig had sold for $3 a pound -- that should have made him happy. Nick also had entered a bunch of items from their garden -- he took the "Best of Class" for that.

Of course, one of the main reasons for going to a fair is to eat "fair junk food!" We started with Mango Smoothies, moved on to deep fried Twinkies, then Forry had a barbecued pork sandwich and I ate a huge ear of sweet corn! We looked for the Cattlemen/Cowbelles booth that Mom and Dad had always worked at, but it didn't seem to be there any more.

One of the neat exhibits we saw was a raptor exhibit. They had several large eagles, hawks and owls displayed. These were magnificent birds that had either been injured or had imprinted on humans. This first one is a beautiful Bald Eagle adult:

They also a a gorgeous immature Bald Eagle:

He had "imprinted" on the humans who raised him and had no idea he was an eagle -- what a shame as he will never be able to hunt on his own.

There were 2 or 3 hawks, one a red tail:

By the time we had perused as many of the exhibits as we wanted (there were some gorgeous quilts), it was time for the rodeo. We hadn't been to one in a couple of years, so decided to stay. Before it started, they had a "Grand Entry" of all of the local 4-H Horse Clubs to recognise all of the young riders. It was fun to see all of the kids -- but surprising to see that they ALL wore riding helmets! Times have certainly changed since our kids rode -- or even more since Forry and I did! Some changes like that are certainly for the better!

We were both a bit disappointed in the team roping -- not a single team got both the head and heels. Forry used to be a "header" (roped the head of the steer so that his partner could then rope the "heels" or rear legs) so he always takes a keen interest in seeing how others do. I used to work as a timer and as an announcer at the Team Ropings we had at Ritzville many years ago.


Sitting in the stands at the Moses Lake Rodeo waiting for it to start!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Lightning and Thunder and RAIN!

What a night! We started seeing lightning over to the west about 8 PM and it just kept coming! It was a horrendous lightning show lots of cloud to cloud strikes as well as huge strikes to the ground. By ten PM it was all around us, we could see lightning on all sides. We did drive up on top of the hill to take a look after we smelled smoke. We didn't see any fires from there, but it was amazing how the countryside was lit up as bright as day after the flashes. Evidently there were lots of small fires, but the rain that followed put most of them out. However, down by Soap Lake and in Grant County they have four pretty good sized lightning strike fires burning today.

We had a couple of pretty good rain showers during the storms -- enough to get the ground wet. We're only hoping that there wasn't enough to crust the ground over Jeff's newly seeded wheat...

Today was a tedious long day. A drain had gotten plugged in the ice maker on the freezer and we had a river of ice flowing down the back and side of it. This morning Forry brought in a couple of coolers and we emptied both the freezer and the refrigerator into them and covered them with blankets while we attempted to defrost all of the ice river in the freezer. Even occasionally using the hair dryer, it took all day to get it thawed out.

But at least now the refrigerator and the freezer are clean -- it's amazing how much room there is in both of them!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

107.3 in the Shade!

That's just too darn hot for anyone!

We had to go into Ritzville this morning to meet the crop insurance investigator lady and get some papers signed about the re-seeding that was done last spring. While we were in town, we stopped at the Post Office and picked up the package that Mac the Fire Guy had sent us. We had ordered some stuff from him while we were at the Gypsy Journal Rally in Arizona last winter. We had gotten the new extinquisher (for Auntie Violet's engine compartment) quite a while back but had to wait for a propane gas leak detector and a break-out hammer for the Toad.

Forry was out of eversharp pencils for doing his sudoku puzzles, so we stopped at the local drug store to see if they might have some with the school supplies. While we were looking for the pencils, we found a bunch of beading supplies and picked up a few things. Also found a beading magazine that has a neat idea for a bracelet that would be great for the handmade glass beads that Bill gave me.

As we were heading home, we went by Alice and Gilbert's beautiful house. Gilbert was out in that heat scraping paint off of the window trim! So we stopped and had a great visit with them -- we're are just going to have to meet them some evening for dinner so we can have a longer visit.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Quick Trip to Moses Lake

It got HOT today! It was 102 degrees when we left about two o'clock to run in to Moses Lake to pick up groceries -- we've been out of orange juice for at leat two days.

It the kind of weather that makes you want to just stay in the air conditioned motorhome and read. I recently finished South of Broad by Pat Conroy which was very good and today I finished The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Both books take place in the South, one in Charleston and one in Mississippi. Conroy's book includes a pretty dramatic telling of the landing of Hurricane Hugo in Charleston -- made one think of all the stories of Katrina. Stockett's book takes place in the '60s and tells the stories of "colored help" in white homes.

It's nice to read two books in a row that are so good, though very different!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Our New Cradlepoint 350CTR WiFi System

Our new Cradlepoint wifi system is up and running and we are both wondering why we didn't think to get one sooner! It's very small -- about the size of a deck of cards (I was going to say "a pack of cigarettes," but haven't seen any of those in a long time...!). It has a three hundred-fifty foot range and since Auntie Violet is only 37 feet long, we should be able to use it anywhere in the rig -- or outside. Our AT&T USB aircard plugs into it. Forry bought a six foot extension USB cord for it yesterday so that we could move it over to the window sill totally away from the computer area. We shouldn't have to worry about accidently bumping it and breaking ANOTHER very fragile antenna connection on the aircard. As long as we have a connection with the trucker antenna and aircard to AT&T we should do well.

It was very nice today to be able to spend the 4-5 hours necessary to download the upgrade to 3.0 for my iPhone without the usual erratic connection that often timed out in the middle of the download. And while I was doing that, Forry was able to get onto the internet at the same time with his computer!

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Rabbitbrush is Blooming --

And I'm sneezing! Just about the time that all the other wildflowers are gone, we begin to see its golden yellow blooms. We've a lot of it in the coulee -- mixed in with the sagebrush. Contrary to its name, the wildflower books say that rabbits don't eat it and speculate that it might have gotten its name because it's a good hiding place for the bunnies.

We made another trip to Spokane today. I think it's time to start thinking about moving Auntie Violet in that direction. It would make for a lot shorter trips!
We went over to Cafe Marron for dinner outside on their patio this evening. Forry had a HUGE angus burger while I had tonight's special: pan seared duck breast with sauteed summer pattypan squash and argula, goat cheese and fresh plum salad. UMM good!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Garden Fresh Corn, Cucumbers, Peppers, Potatoes and TOMATOES!

Does that sound like a feast or not? Add in some homemade jalapeno poppers, some barbecued pork chops and peach/blueberry crunch and ice cream and you've got an afternoon at my Brother Pat's and his wife Cindy's! We headed for their place outside of Moses Lake after church (and a nap) this afternoon. My niece Becky and her husband David and their not-yet-two little son were there too, along with my other niece Ashley (and her boyfriend Brad) and nephew Nick.

My great-nephew Carter is quite a delight! He's Pat and Cindy's first grandchild -- and he is definitely doted on by the entire household. He's all boy with his trucks and cars -- and his love of DIRT! There was some nice loose dirt where his grandpa (Pop-Pop) had dug new potatoes for dinner and I am sure Carter thought it Pop-Pop had dug it up just for him.

Pat has again grown several varieties of heirloom tomatoes in his garden -- each one has a bit of a different wonderful flavor and each variety you taste you think is the best of all. The very best part is that a nice sack full (along with some ears of sweet corn) came back to Auntie Violet with us!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Laundry, laundry, laundry!

Ugh, I am done with all the laundry! Forry better not get ANYTHING dirty for at least a couple of days!

It was funny weather today. It was chilly this morning -- the thermometer said it had gotten down to 36 degrees during the night. But by this afternoon, it was back up into the low nineties with the wind blowing most of the day.

We met Sarah and Curt and Anna in at Consuelo's in Ritzville for dinner this evening. Boy, did I get in trouble for not realizing that the Lind fire crew was the first one there at yesterday's fire! Curt said they pretty well had it out by the time the Ritzville and Odessa crews arrived...

Friday, August 14, 2009

This Afternoon's Fire

We were resting in Auntie Violet after our return from Spokane when Forry noticed smoke on the horizon up the coulee. It looked like it was quite a ways away.

A bit later Barb came to the door and said the fire was on the edge of the field that the Hutterites were harvesting and had spread into our CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) field next to them. It sounds like they were going around the harvested edge of the field with a chopper that had a hot bearing and started the fire.

Forry watched the activity for a while with binoculars then we drove around and up to take a look. Fire trucks were there from Lind, Ritzville and Odessa. The fire had burned from the edge of the field up the coulee to the next road where it was finally stopped. Fortunately it did not get into the field of unharvested grain. It burned about 10 acres of the CRP ground.


The Hutterites had a hot bearing on a chopper that started in their stubble field and spread into our CRP ground!
Odessa and Ritzville fire crews have it out. It's a pretty gusty day, so we are thankful it didn't burn more.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Really Like My Kindle DX!

I've decided I really like my Kindle DX. I wasn't sure if I was going to like the transition from a book I could hold in my hand to the elctronic version. When I look at the list of books I've read (which are archived at Amazon so I could read them again), I realize how much space they would have taken up in my already crowded closet in Auntie Violet. I think I've saved quite a bit of money as well -- even paperbacks are a dollar or two cheaper and the hard backs are a whole lot less.

I still wish it was a bit lighter. With the cover it sometimes seems quite heavy. It's more like reading a hard back book in bed. I've never handled one of the regular Kindles (the first ones which are smaller), so I don't know if they weigh any less.

I've had some interesting conversations with friends and with people at airports who are very curious about the Kindles. People seem to be very interested in how it works and if I like it. The one thing that would be nice is back lighting so that I could read at night. My Sis has gotten a book light to use with hers. I think I have an "itty bitty book light" stashed some place in a drawer -- I'll have to look for it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A New Antenna Connection!

We stopped at the AT&T store in Spokane yesterday. They gave us a new aircard to replace the one that was just a few weeks old on which the antenna connection had broken. That was really good news as they are $99 a pop!

I have been doing my blogs for the last few days from my iPhone. I'm pleased that I've figured out how to do it, but it takes a whole lot longer with that itty-bitty touch screen.

Almost all of the grain harvest in the area is over (the crops were a bit better then had been anticipated this spring with all of the necessary re-seeding) so last night's rain was much appreciated. Our tenant has his drills up on the summerfallow at the corner and hopes to start seeding wheat this weekend.

I cannot believe the quantity of dirty laundry I am looking at again. I know there were just a few items in the laundry basket when I left for Chicago! I think the soiled items sing a siren song during the night to entice all kinds of other clothing to join them...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cloudy Day, But Good Flights

It was overcast in Chicago and lightly raining in Seattle, but other then the Moses Lake plane which was a few minutes late, it was good flying.
I was so tired when we finally finished interviews and discussion at 7:00, I was in bed by 8 o' clock. I left the hotel this morning a little after 6 to make my 8 AM flight. The Chicago airport is so busy I barely got through security in time.
I think we are getting close in our search for an Executive Director. This meeting was our 17th meeting, mostly conference calls, but several in person as well .

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Lovely Day to Fly
Even though I had a pretty early flight this morning west to Seattle from Moses Lake and then east to Chicago, it was a good day of flying. It was overcast and chilly in Seattle, but 90 degrees when we landed in Chicago about 2 pm. I got to the hotel early enough to able to take a shower before the meeting started at 4:30.

We had one interview that started at 5:30 and lasted until 7:30. If the three we have scheduled for tomorrow are as good as the candidate we talked with today, we're going to have a terrible time making a decision!

Eight of us had dinner at the hotel restaurant this evening. It had been a long time since the granola & yogurt I had at SeaTac this morning, but the portions were so big I couldn't even finish half! I had ordered potato gnocchi that was really good, but enough for 2 or 3 people.

We will start at 7:15 tomorrow in order to get all of the interviews done, so I'd best be getting to bed...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

It has been a long, but gratifying day. The Memorial Service for Phyllis was lovely. The church was full with many Flying Farmer friends as well as church family and neighbors. There were many stories told, tears as well as laughter.
We went over to Randy and Barb's following the reception for dinner with the family. MM
and Dawn went with us while the sons-in-law brought the grand kids back to the ranch for hot dogs and swimming. They're all camped out in tents outside tonight.
I told them all good-bye tonight as Forry is taking me to the Moses Lake airport at 4:30 for my flight to Chicago in the morning.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Today was a quiet day, cleaning house and doing laundry. The girls and their families will be coming tomorrow, probably will get here just in time for Phyl's Memorial Service which will be at 4 pm at Menno.
I broke the antenna connection on my computer, so will try sending this with my iPhone .

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

From Chilly to HOT!

It was chilly in Maple Valley this morning -- enough so that I got my jacket out of my suitcase after we had dropped Leslie off at work! We didn't get to bed very early last night. We just had too many things to talk about and see. Forry drooled over Bill's shop and his kilns for glass work. They're going to have fun figuring out how much they can take with them when they finally get the house sold and go on the road!

I ended up sleeping most of the way home, it's been a lot of busy days. My back seems to be settling down a bit. It still hurts when I stand for a while or when I do much walking. But at least, the rest of the time it's staying relatively quiescent.

We stopped in Moses Lake and had a short visit with Vic. No one was home when we stopped, but Pam drove up right behind us and Vic shortly thereafter and then Sarah. A cold can of pop with them tasted pretty good as it was just plain HOT! We stopped at Safeway for a few groceries, then came on home to a very warm Auntie Violet.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Seafood and Beads!

Can't do much better then that! We had dinner at Anthony's Home Port in Kirkland with some friends and are now over at their house drooling over Bill's handmade, hand blown beads. Leslie was kind enough to give me a baggie to take some "samples." We got to Anthony's early enough to have their four course Sunset Dinner: shrimp cocktails; salad or clam chowder; Dungeness Crab salad (Leslie had salmon/shrimp and Bill had prawns) and creme brulee or Irish Cream chocolate mousse.

It's been an eventful weekend we spent celebrating MM's 50th birthday. Scott and I had spent a good share of the day cutting up steak, pineapple, peppers, onions, tomatoes, zucchini and mushrooms and threading them on skewers for the shish kabobs.

MM's sister Dawn and her family arrived just in time for the belly dancer. There were about thirty plus people there, about half of the them kids. Everyone brought a side dish, so we had lots of great food. (The belly dancer was an auction prize at the kid's school.)

We weren't too ambitious Monday morning, but eventually MM, Dawn and I went to the Mall with the three grandaughters. The initial premise was that Dawn was going to take MM shopping for an outfit for her birthday, but we all ended up getting something. I gave each of the girls a $20 bill, Dawn gave them a cell phone and we turned them loose. They had a ball, checking in every once in a while to have Mom check out a potential purchase.

Later the guys joined us with the grandsons and we took turns in groups going to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (taking turns staying home with the youngest kids). It made for a pretty late evening, but I think we all had a good time!

During the night I got a bright idea and emailed Bill and Leslie to see if we could meet for lunch with them on our way home. We ended up deciding to meet them for dinner and then staying overnight at their place tonight.