Lani's household consists of Steve, the long-suffering coding genius and computer security guru; Jim, Lani's tall, red-headed and handsome son, currently finishing his second year of college; Hunter, Jasmine, Himari, Chenault, the miraculous Onyx and the even more miraculous Resk, undisputed feline rulers of the house; and Jesse, the man-hating green-cheeked conure.
Ann's household consists of Don, who is not just a computer genius but a pilot, a builder, and a damn good father; their son Steve, the marathon-running, college-bound, funniest teenager I know; and wonder dog Tater.
Other family members are Laurie, Lani's beautiful daughter who teaches at elementary levels; her handsome son Alex, aka Alexander the Great; Mary and Bo, a/k/a Mom and Dad, and Bud and Ann, Steve's patient and wonderful parents.
My local yarn shop had an anniversary sale today, and if you arrived between 6 and 7 am this morning you got 50% off everything in the shop.
Guess who was there at 6:30?
I got a very large bag full of yarn, and a book. I'll post pictures when I've done something with it.
And remember that Ravelry thing that you signed me up for, and that I ignored for a while? Well, I'm totally hooked. Totally.
Bye for now, I have to go outside and weed my spring garden. I have romaine, and mache, and arugula, and even some sweet peas. Then I'm planting tomatoes, herbs, and peppers. That's all for this summer, I don't want to be too ambitious and then not have time to take care of what I plant!
Steve went to the prom last night, and I of course was busy with the camera as the group of them got ready to go. His date is Stephanie, and doesn't she look gorgeous? Look at how grown up they both look - I can't stand it!
As soon as I think that, he does this, which reminds me that he's still 17.
Here are all the girls - spoofing America's Top Model, and the guys who were all supposed to be gazing off into space, except Justin didn't quite get it right.
We are in Franconia, NewHampshire, looking at White Mountain School. It's the second school we're visiting, and then we make a decision. Should be interesting! Back to Chicago tomorrow, and then I don't travel the rest of the week which sounds great to me.
On Thursday, Steve and I flew to Denver and then drove 4 hours across the mountains to visit Colorado Rocky Mountain School. It is one of the final two that we are considering for him next year, and the visit was very good. The location is absolutely beautiful, in a valley with beautiful mountain vistas, and the school seems to be a good fit for Steve. We'll see what he thinks after we visit the second option on May 19.
After the visit Friday morning, we had lunch in Carbondale and I ate a piece of mixed berry pie that I'm still dreaming about. Very yummy, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I am headed to the grocery store this afternoon and I think I might have to try to re-create it.
Then we drove to Lani and Steve's. I'm going to steal her thunder - NO CANCER!!! Clean lymph nodes, and no cancerous cells in the shark bite they took out of her leg. What a relief! Once that was out of the way, we could enjoy the visit. She's still recuperating, of course, and we did so much yesterday that I have a feeling she's laying down right now. Hope the drugs are working, Lani!
I knew that their new house was gorgeous from the pictures, but they hardly do it justice. Wow. Just wow. I don't know where to start - handpainted Mexican tiles in the kitchen, light fixtures that fit the space just perfectly, different flooring in different spaces that fit just perfectly (a theme emerges!), windows wrapping around so you don't miss one single bit of the view. And the view is just breathtaking. It's even worth snow in mid-May, which is what we had overnight Friday night.
We really enjoyed our visit, but one of the things we all had fun with was trying to figure out how to address the two Steves. We had Young Steve, but that comes with Old Steve and that's hardly true. Then we tried Employed Steve, and Unemployed Steve, but we had to revise that to Student Steve since it sounds like he's a slacker. We had Drinker Steve and Non-Drinker Steve, but we don't want to make anyone sound like a lush. We discussed Little Steve and Big Steve, but one look at the two of them and we're not sure who's who.
We wound up with Hunter's Steve and Tater's Steve as being the best of the bunch, and watching the two of them with the animals it's clear that is the right choice. You can't tell whether Pippin is Lani's dog or Steve's dog, and Tater's Steve played with all of them, even trying to get Jesse-the-man-hating bird to like him. Lost cause, but he tried!
I love the hummingbird feeder you sent, Mom, and was thrilled to find that there was an extra one floating around for me. Thanks, and look how gorgeous it is - when the sun hits it, it just glows.
We enjoyed watching all the wildlife. The birds are different, as are the squirrels and chipmunks. The chipmunks are tiny, but they have a fluffy tail which isn't the case here. Here, they have a short skinny tail that they hold straight up when they run. Look at this guy's fluffy tail - and look at Onyx eyeing him.
All in all, we had a great visit and I'm sure we'll be back again, though not too often since we don't want to wear out our welcome. Thanks for the hospitality, Lani, and next time you won't be able to avoid the camera!
Or backish, anyway. No, I don't have the results of the biopsy yet, but I'm confident that it will be negative and once my leg heals up life will get back to normal. Steve has been a trooper through all of this; I don't know what I would have done without him, seriously. And I'm feeling better today, still hurting but I was actually able to get up and get to the living room without (much) help. Which is good, since I was getting really, really tired of the bedroom, both bed and chair. It was cloudy and gloomy outside, but it's hard to feel cloudy and gloomy inside when you look up and there's a rainbow outside your living room window and little visitors like this guy, who greatly appreciates at my one remaining hummingbird feeder (I do have an absolutely beautiful blown glass feeder that Mom bought me for my birthday to put up, but it's going to have to wait until I feel better because Steve doesn't want the responsibility of putting it up and having something happen to it). I've identified at least two types of regular hummingbird visitors, black-chinned and this little broad-tailed. You can't see his spectacular red throat in this picture, but it's definitely there. We have more birds here than you can believe, and watching and listening to them has kept me sane. Or at least somewhat sane, which is probably as much as I can ask right now.
My apologies for not posting (again!); I promise to do better, but I've been a little busy and more than a little distracted. First let's get the unpleasant stuff out of the way. Shortly after Laurie and Alex left I found a spot on my leg. I hied myself to the doctor, who agreed that it didn't look good and cut a nice chunk out of my leg (7 stitches in the back of the calf are no fun, by the way, that's just an awkward place to have stitches). Just over a week ago I got the news that the spot was, as we suspected, melanoma. So, on Monday I'll be having a lymph node biopsy and surgery to remove what the surgeon describes as "a shark bite" from my left calf; I'll be laid up for a while and carry a nasty scar, but with any luck this will be all that's needed to take care of it. The quick moral of this story? If you have a spot on your skin that just doesn't look quite right, listen to your intuition and get to the doctor. The earlier it's diagnosed the better your odds are, and I'm all in favor of good odds.
Now that that's out of the way, onwards to the fun stuff! It's been an interesting spring, if you can call it spring, here. Every week has been a series of nice warm days (if by "nice" and "warm" you mean low 60s), followed by a few snowy days. Pippin loves the warm days, as you can see; she actually gets out and plays in the sun whenever she can. She and Zena are still best of friends, and it's great to see them together. Onyx is fond of the warmer days too, although he gets to enjoy the sun somewhat less often than Pippin does since he requires an escort. Onyx wants to grow up to be a mountain lion, and practices whenever we let him.
The warm weather has also brought out the birds, the squirrels and the chipmunks, and we see at least one fox every day. We lined the back porch with an assortment of birdfeeders and for a few weeks we all enjoyed the show ... especially the cats. Kitty TV has been running nonstop here, with all the wildlife perfectly aware of the cats on the other side of the glass and perfectly unconcerned. I'm beginning to see bits of green in the yard as well, and I'm looking forward to seeing the sea of wildflowers that my neighbors have promised me will be blooming shortly.
There's a downside to all this warming, though, and that brings me to the title of this post. Our local bear has reappeared, perhaps in search of BooBoo or pic-a-nic baskets but unwelcome nonetheless. We were awakened early this morning by loud crashing on the back deck, which we initially assumed was the wind somehow dislodging the bird feeders. It was not, as it turns out, the wind ... it was a bear. He destroyed all but one of my birdfeeders (even the ones that look unharmed in the picture are actually pretty well trashed) and tossed some of the deck furniture around before departing, leaving chaos and a few pawprints in his wake. I called the local wildlife agents and reported his visit (first bear contact reported this year in the canyon, I could have done without the honor), then on their advice went to the local hardware store and purchased (a) bear spray, (b) an air horn, and (c) a floodlight. If he comes back tonight, he's getting a very bright, and very loud, reception (from the safety of the bedroom balcony, of course!).
And I'll leave you with a picture of my favorite woodpecker. This guy is bold as brass; when I go outside he'll fly down to a treetrunk nearby and fuss at me, and if I walk around the yard he'll follow me. No bear is going to stop me from feeding this fellow; my last purchase today was another suet feeder for him, already carefully hung from the second floor roof, out of bear reach.