Saturday, May 18, 2013

So Thrilled

Celebrating the accomplishments of children is an exhilarating experience.  When those accomplishments make the children happy and closer to attaining their passion in life, it's even better.

Our three kids were brought together as a family when the boys were eight years old and their sister was five.  Times weren't always totally smooth, but the first day of school photo each year showed their love for each other.  This is one of the first years.

Through the awkward times, the afros and the braces, they always smiled from the edge of the driveway, adding Buddy to the mix when he came along.

We ran out of first days of school when the boys left for college, but still managed to get photos from time to time.  Here they are singing a favorite song from childhood at the rehearsal dinner before the Princess' wedding.

They do all clean up nicely!

The kids are grown now and all working.  That's what I wanted to talk about.  We are so incredibly proud that all three have graduated college and are working in jobs for which they prepared, and which make them happy.

The Princess majored in hospitality and event management, specializing in wedding planning.  She recently started a job as an assistant wedding coordinator at a large hotel in Las Vegas.  Aside from the rather unattractive uniform, she loves the job.

Prince Charming joined the Army National Guard, as you saw in the last post.  He is now training in Texas as a medic, which may lead to a medical career for him if he likes it.  Otherwise, he will return home and finish his education as an Engineer, fulfilling his Guard duties as required.

Mr. Hollywood studied film and video production at a small school in Eastern Washington.  Despite his not having a direct connection to a studio or production company, he moved to Hollywood, worked as an intern for a year, and now has been at a major talent agency for over a year.  He is training as a literary agent for film, which is his passion.  He's working hard and enjoying every minute.

Mr. Businessman studied business in college and works for a management consulting firm, travelling as needed, working from home the rest of the time, and doing well.  In his spare time he indulges in his passion for sports.  He's very family oriented and just recently proposed to his girlfriend, Ms. Significant Other.  We like her very much and look forward to welcoming her formally into the mix in about a year.

You guys have not only fulfilled our hopes and dreams for you, but exceeded them.  We are incredibly proud to be your parents and love you all immensely.

Monday, May 13, 2013

What I've Been Up To: Part Three. Missouri

Tuesday morning The Princess and I flew to St. Louis, rented a car, and drove a couple of hours to St. Robert, MO.  My SIL joined the National Guard and graduated from Boot Camp on May 9th, so we wanted to be on hand to congratulate him.  May 8th was Family Day, so we got to pick him up at Fort Leonard Wood and take him with us for the day.  He looks very handsome and impressive in his dress uniform!

The Princess and her cadre of Army Wives.  Facebook is handy for making connections!

We enjoyed meeting some of his buddies and their families and spending some quiet time, then had to have him back on post at 9:00 PM.  The next morning, we went back for an impressive graduation ceremony.  When that was over, we drove to a restaurant several miles out of town.  The drive was beautiful and the restaurant was actually in a cave.  The "shuttle" from the parking lot to the restaurant and "resort" was an old, rickety van driven by someone who might have been an extra in Deliverance, so suffice it to say that my Northwest snobbiness was held in check with difficulty.  We had to climb up two sets of open stairs to enter the rather dank cave where we ate.

We enjoyed seeing a bit of the countryside and visiting with the other families, but I was quite glad to get back to the hotel!

I had never been on a military base, and the sheer size of this one is astounding.  I thought they looked like the TV show MASH; muddy roads and tents.  According to Wikipedia, this base covers 97 square miles.  There's a hospital, schools, housing, theaters, fast food outlets, lots and lots of wooded areas and much that we didn't see.  I was impressed.  The surrounding town was obviously built to support the base and its visitors.  Fast food, hotels, and WalMart.  I didn't see anywhere else to shop.  Not a yarn shop in sight.  I wouldn't last long here.

Knitting accomplished:  I finished the Winter Femme hat that I started in Palm Desert.  I think it came out nicely and I had an official model for a change.

I really enjoy working with the yarn; too bad it's discontinued.  I have a bag of Aran weight that I tried to make into a sweater but didn't like it, so I still have that to use.

GothSocks are still in progress.  Lots of airplane time tomorrow so I expect there will be quite a bit done on them.

Crochet attempted:  That stupid hat still looks like a doily.  Either more investigation into technique has to be done, or I just need to send the older niece a stuffed animal and be done with it.

Back home in time for spring flowers in Seattle.  May 10th was a long day; drive two hours back to St. Louis, get the Princess on her plane to Vegas, wait for my plane to Phoenix, wait for my plane to Seattle and finally arrive back to my very-happy-to-see-his-mom dog.  A busy, fun three weeks.

What I've Been Up To: Part Two. Palm Desert

When our first lovely week ended, we drove back to Vegas, where my sis caught a flight home and DH picked me up.  We spent a few hours with the Princess, who unfortunately wasn't feeling well.  We got her as squared away as we could, had dinner with her, then spent the night.  We left for the drive to Palm Desert in the morning.  Due to a few miscalculations by the navigator (unfortunately me), what should have been a 5 hour drive at the most turned into about 7-1/2.  We successfully weathered the mistake with good humor, and embarked on a pleasant week in another desert.

We went on a hike up into the hills and apparently my other hiking hadn't whipped me into adequate shape, because I thought I was going to have a heart attack for part of the time.  This was a lot more straight uphill and the terrain was much more dusty and desert-y than what we experienced in the high desert of Utah.  Different but also interesting and a good experience (it seemed much better after it was over!)

There was a collection of heart-shaped rocks by the side of the trail and we decided that it was perhaps to commemorate all of the almost-heart attacks suffered by people trying to walk up the hill.

The rest of the week flew by as I helped DH a little with his business, saw a few friends, and spent a little time by the pool.  We enjoyed being together as that's been a rarity the last few months.  The original plan was for DH to drive me back to Vegas for the next leg of my trip, but the unfortunate drive the week before made that seem a bad idea.  I reserved a seat on a little commuter airline and flew on a teeny plane for an hour and was back.  The Princess picked me up and we headed to her house to prepare for the final journey.

Knitting accomplished:  Dane Shawl finished!  I had a lovely skein of handspun yarn that I've been trying to knit into something for what seems like forever.  I tried two patterns and didn't like how the yarn looked with either of them.  The third time the pattern was ok but I ran out of yarn.  I found a pretty lace shawl pattern called Dane and started it.  I left it in the desert because I didn't really have any confidence that it would ever work.   Surprisingly, when I got there this time I had only a few rows to finish and I had plenty of yarn to spare, the pattern looked nice with the yarn, and the finished project is a winner.  A super nice surprise!

Winter Femme Cabled Hat:  While at the spa, we had such wonderful trail guides that I wanted to do something special for them.  I noticed a couple of them wearing knitted hats in the morning, so I decided to knit up a bunch to send to them.  I had some Queensland Kathmandu DK in the closet left from my Shapely Boyfriend sweater (that I'll show you when I get around to catching up with the knitting that I haven't documented here.)  I grabbed a ball and started the hat.

The adventure continues......

Sunday, May 12, 2013

What I've Been Up To: Part One. The Spa

It's been forever since I updated this blog, so I'll start with my adventures over the past three weeks.  They involved a little bit of knitting and quite a bit of travel and lots of fun.  My sister and I left Seattle on April 22nd en route to Las Vegas.  There, we picked up a rental car, had lunch with the Princess, and headed out to St. George, Utah.  There's a destination spa there, called Green Valley Spa, where we have been going off and on for the past 10 years.  I'll just say that we started going there when I passed a milestone birthday, and now, 10 years later, I had another one.  Though things have changed a bit since we first went, the hiking, spa treatments, accommodations, and staff remain top notch.  We hiked every day for a week, had nutritious meals, enjoyed exercise classes, and relaxed with wonderful spa treatments.  They are known for the fabulous roses all around the grounds and they were in their full glory.

We went on hikes that differed from ones we had taken before, and were really fun and scenic.  I'm not an outdoorsperson, and don't do much if any hiking.  But we hiked, climbed up some relatively tame rocks, negotiated slightly rugged terrain, and one day crossed a couple of streams (in the desert!) that were beautiful to see.  The guides are great about pointing out flora and fauna and we always enjoy basking in the sights that are so different from those we see in our native Pacific Northwest.

I celebrated my birthday visiting a cave high above the desert floor, and admiring a rock formation known as "Castle Rock".  We met a nice couple; the wife was 10 years older than I am and hiked and did all of the exercise classes with me - even kickboxing.  Inspirational!  We made a deal to meet back there in 10 more years when she'll be 80.  I hope I can keep up with her then!

Knitting accomplished:  Work on plain vanilla self-striping socks, GothSocks Laudanum in the Your Zombie Ex-Girlfriend colorway.  I finished the first sock.

Crochet attempted:  I decided to finish my cotton Mitred Square Blanket for my niece's new baby, so thought I should make something for the older girl, too.  They live in Hawaii, so a cotton sunhat seemed like a good idea.  Well, not so much.  I tried to make this about three or four times and somehow it just keeps looking like a wavy round pancake and not a hat at all.  I know the old saying about "try, try, again" but I'm about at my limit of trying and failing.

Continued in the next post........