Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Christmas Haul

Santa came and left wonderful packages for the Durst Boys. Each received a new hockey stick and hockey undergarments, in addition to some great books and games. Hockey cards were found in their stockings. For the family, a new laptop was a welcomed will make travelling to Quebec for 2 weeks in February a little easier; especially for Robert to keep up with homework.

The weater here is windy and wet. We are getting the typical California winter rainstorms...wet and rainy one moment and then sunny the next. Makes for a good pajamma day.

Hope everyone's holiday is going well.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

In Memory of Grandpa

This morning I woke up to a phone call...the one that everyone worries about getting and the second one I have received in a month an a half. This morning my grandfather - Dan Wolf - passed away. He was 93 years old. The last year, or so, was not very kind to him - yet he did live a very full filled life. We are blessed to have my grandmother still with us. Maybe I am a romantic, as I have kind of twisted the last few hours of his uncle from North Carolina came down to South Carolina to pick up my grandmother and bring her back to his house to spend Christmas (with my Aunt and cousins). Grandpa, who was in a memory care facitilty, wasn't doing so well, so my uncle and grandmother went there on their way out of town to say "good-bye," "I love you" and happy holiday. Grandma asked him to wait until she got back. But as soon as she said good bye, he must of taken that as permission to go, for his heart slowed and he drifted off peacefully. Being in separate residences for the last 8 months wasn't easy for either - he in the assisted care and Grandma at home. Passing away on Christmas Eve, I believe, was a gift of peace for both.

Dear Grandpa - I love you very much. You were a very important person in my life. You taught me to dream: I remember my first Featherbed Ball, although I want not very happy about it at first, but I continue to dream of attending it with you...dressed in a Cinderella ball gown and glass slippers and you in formal attire. You help make my Christmases magical - waking up to a Christmas tree full of ornaments and a base buried in presents, giving me the chance to believe as long as I could and providing the foundation for my family during this holiday. Your dislike of peas and carrots, routine of Friday radish sandwich breakfasts, mowing the lawn in shorts and black knee socks, allowing me to beat you in a game of Old Maid (even though I did cheat, using the reflection in your glasses to alert me the location of the Old Maid Card) and made up words like Chick-a-boom-ba. You were a surrogate father while I was at college and an inspiration for a long married life. Grandpa, thank you, my life has been blessed with your presents - your love and knowledge. So on the eve of this magical holiday, I want you to know that I love you! You will forever be in my heart and thoughts!

On that note...may those who read my blog have a very Merry and Magical Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Status of "Shoo Fly"

I have been able to make some progress on the Shoo Fly quilt-like project I have been working on. The second red block on the right hand side isn't quite done. I took it with me on Friday to work on while Robert was getting his hair cut and left the red floss at home, therefore I couldn't finish that is why the second green block has been started instead. For the bottom row, I am thinking about doing purple, green, blue, purple...interchanging green and blue, but keeping purple on the corners. Thought that would give it some balance. I decided not to repeat orange and yellow any where, leaving them as a center point. I have come up with an idea for the little squares the pattern has been leaving...thinking about doing a design using black. Not sure what the design will be yet, but thought by using black it would offset the colors.
A couple of weeks ago, when Matthew and I made the field trip to my favorite needlework store in Alameda, I found this book. It contains a lot of great ideas of stitches and designs to do within a 12x12 box. I thought that this would give me some great inspiration for the above project I am working on. Maybe even give me some ideas of what to stitch in those boxes. If not, this is something that I can definitely savior in my stash for another project that I will dream up one day. That is the fun about adding to ones' stash - to have ideas available at all times for new and different projects.

The Red Chili Pepper

Just thought I would post the red chili pepper that Robert has been growing since this summer. He was a Junior Leader for a summer program here in Dublin, California and during one of the camps he was working at, they planted chili pepper seeds. He brought his home, watered it and made sure that it had sunlight. Finally, about 2 months after he brought it home, it started to grow. Eventually, there were a few white flowers, one changed into the fruit/vegetable...and the pepper started to grow. In just the last few weeks, the pepper started to turn red and it is about completely red now. Between the green leaves and the red pepper - it is looking a little Christmasy, don't you think?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Welcome to Hockey Haven

My son, Robert's, definition of Utopia can be seen in his latest project. He has been reading the book, The Giver, in his Language Arts class and he was assigned a project where he was suppose to create a map of a community which represents Utopia. His Utopia...a community based on Hockey (go figure).
Using a foam core board as the base, and blocks of wood as buildings his community was created. There several neighborhoods of houses - in the center of each neighborhood was their ice rink. A central city hall right in the middle of the town, had the residential area on one side and main street (with shops, a hotel and a grocery store) on the other. Robert's utopia not only centered on the sport of hockey (something that was part of your education at school), but it was also a very healthy, eco-friendly environment. There were no cars; the town was small enough that you could walk, bike, xcountry ski or shoe shoe where ever you needed to go. Also smoking was outlawed. It was also a community which supported an active and healthy lifestyle - sporting equipment was not taxed, but junk food was. To help keep waste down, all homework was done on laptops (which were supplied to every child by the school) - therefore no papers and no books.

It is a very interesting concept! He did a great job with the map and sounds like he is ready for the presentation he will have to give at school. It is fun to be able to do these projects with the kids. I enjoy that time with them.

WIP - Shoo Fly "Quilt" Needlework Update

Well, I have been making progress on my needlework lately. I have finished the 2nd purple "shoo fly" pattern (the one in the right hand corner) and I am now finishing up the 2nd red one. Between having some sleepless nights and a few days where I just don't feel like doing anything (except for sitting down and stitching) I have been able to make headway.

I think that I will probably do one more row on the bottom, yet I haven't determined what the color scheme will be. In the meantime, I have been looking through different books and searching several websites trying to figure out what I can do with the squares that have been left in between each "shoo fly". When I took the field trip to my favorite needlework shop, I picked up some star buttons, which I think I will incorporate into it. Well...I am sure I will come up with something. That is the fun of doing needlework.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Catching my breath

Well, it has been a couple of days since I have written. Thursday evening, the plane reservations for Robert's hockey team to go to Quebec in February were finally made. Thank goodness. This was really stressing me out - nothing like trying to make reservations for 15 kids and 4 adults on the same flight to and from Quebec...and with the worry about trying to keep the price down. We thought that we found a reasonable price for the trip, but found out that after you purchase a group of 6, the next group of 6 goes up in price...and if that isn't bad, it will go up again. So, while I quoted a price of $490 - the average price will probably be around $715...but we were able to get all 19 people on the same flights...that was definitly a challenge - but it is done and now we can move on and start working on other aspects of this 2 week hockey tournament in Quebec.

With that behind me, I was able to take Friday off, in a sense. I didn't go into work; I stayed home and got some things done around the house and just relaxed! It felt good.

Today, Saturday, there was only one kid who had practice - so, Steve took Robert to practice and I got my spinning done while Matthew at breakfast. When Robert got back home, I took him to get supplies for another project he had to do for school. For this project, he has to create a map of his idea of utopian city. We ran to Michaels (after a stop to get a smog check on one of our failed, so now I have to deal with that next week...yuck!) to get what he needed and then back home to work on it. He worked on it the rest of the afternoon and throughout the evening. It looks like he will be able to finish the map this weekend, just leaving the report for him to write in preparation for a presentation on Wednesday. So, we are in good shape to begin our Sunday...which will be filled with hockey!

Hope the weekend is being good to all!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

An Early Morning Update on Life

Boy, the last couple of days has been crazy - it is either wearing me down or my body feels the need to go into hibernation. I find myself sleeping in; the mix between the cool sheets on the comfortable bed and the warm air of the room make it very difficult to get up. So, this is the first morning I have been able to get out of bed and exercise before the rest of the house wakes up.

I finally made headway on the second purple "Shoo-Fly" block but not as much as I had hoped to. Monday's hockey schedule found me driving back and forth from 2 different rinks and sitting in traffic inbetween; and last night was the school project night. Robert had to make an extended family tree and pasting it on a poster board where an African Tree was drawn. We were scrounging around for some photos of Steve's family at the last minute. They were kind enough to email some over the weekend, but after a few moments of frustrated tears due to the pictures not being the same size, I opened the photo stash and found some old photos of the Durst family. Matthew's project consisted of making a book jacket book-report. He chose to read: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. His tears of frustration came when he had to draw the picture on the front and his mice didn't look as well as he had hoped. But, by 10pm last night, all projects were completed to the best of their ability and everyone was in bed.

With projects behind us, I was able to get out of bed and on the exercycle this morning...and tonight I am looking forward to vegging at the rink during Matthew's practice with my xstitch in hand. Love to all!

Happiness of the Past

When I think of my past, I try to dwell on the good times, the happy moments, and not to be haunted by the bad. To me the gift of life is contained in the command, whatever happens:

"Don't let it get to you. Just keep on going."

Thus, I try to think of the good that I have already experienced and what will still be coming.
~Rose Kennedy

Monday, December 8, 2008

Another Silver Stick Tournament Winner in the Family

Well, it looks like we will be scheduling another trip in the month of January. Robert's PeeWee team won their regional Silver Stick Tournament in Las Vegas which means that they qualify for the Silver Stick Finals in Port Huron, Michigan the weekend of January 22-25. They played 5 games over the weekend and were undefeated. They played very well and are very excited about the win. So, now my co-team manager and I have some work to do in order to plan this trip. Almost every weekend in January, 1/2 of this family will be out of town. It is going to be a crazy month!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

WIP Update - Colorful "ShooFly" Quilt

I have finally finished the yellow "shoo-fly" area. I have decided to repeat the column of purple and red. I will still need to determine what to do on the bottom row.

Matthew and I are going to take a "field trip" into Alameda which is near Oakland, CA (about 40 minutes from here) to visit my favorite needlework store called Needle in a Haystack. It is like going into a candy store for needleworkers. It has been a long time since I have been over there. Robert use to skate with a team out of Oakland, so during practice or before a game I would be able to make a visit --- never leaving empty handed. There are a lot of new patterns, tools, fabrics and thread that I have been reading about and want to check out - maybe I will be able to add some new things to my stash!

Here is something I finished last month - right before I started the quilting project above. I love watermelons, so when I saw this pattern in Aug. 2008 issue of The Cross Stitcher, I knew that I had to do this! For the most part I followed the pattern and the color scheme, however I did personalize it with my last name. I also added red to the black/white checked pattern on the top and bottom. Right now, it is hanging on pant hangers in a closet waiting for me to decide what I want to do with it. Picture? Pillow? I don't know.

Time to go on a field trip...

A True Hockey Mom

Well, I think that I finally went off the deep end! This morning I got my cycling complete while watching Robert's hockey game via "live streamed" on the internet. He and his team are playing in Las Vegas, at the Tier I Silver Stick Tournament.
Either I am a supportive, commited parent...or I am a parent who needs to be a loony bin!
Never the less, they won
3-0 today (and they won their first game last night 7-0). Pretty exciting - but I find that we are in that strange place some sport-parents find themselves would be exciting for them to make it to the championship tomorrow and win; but on the other hand that may mean another trip for their Silver Stick finals, which is in Port Huron, MI. I hope Santa brings plane tickets for all the traveling that we will be doing after the first of the year!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Reflecting on my Wednesday - Lovin' Carpools

Wednesday, the middle day of the work/school week...sometimes referred to as "hump day". Wednesdays are the days that are one of the busiest around here throughout the week. It is the day that both boys have their hockey practice around the same time, but in 2 different rinks - one is in San Jose which is 35 miles from our house and the other is in Fremont which is about 13 miles, basically right in between our house and the San Jose Rink. Normally I rely on a wonderful carpool system, which takes Robert (the older son) to the San Jose rink and brings him back home. This works grand, if I don't have any team manager requirements in San I did last night.

Last night was the Tier Hockey Board Meeting, which I felt I needed to attend - so a Carpool situation was set up for Matthew (the younger son) to get a ride from the Fremont rink to San Jose. Thank goodness that for the hockey families and the support that we give one another or all of this "rink-running" would be very difficult to do!

Yes, the Durst hockey dad would have helped, but he was on a flight back from Atlanta where he had a board meeting. To night, he and Robert will leave for Las Vegas for the Tier hockey Silver Sticks tournament. I get to hang at the house with Matthew.

With all the activity my Wednesday brought - even though I was at the rink, I didn't have time to take out my cross stitch. I am almost done with the yellow portion of the quilted design. I need to figure out where to go after that is complete. I am sure that I will have time over the weekend!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Grateful for December in California

Back from a nice walk to school with my boys. The route that I take is about 2 miles. Starting from our house, we first walk to the middle school to drop Robert off and then up the hill to Matthew's school...then I continue back home. We are spoiled by the nice decent weather we get here in December in California. Even though some of the leaves are finally changing, and others have finally fallen from the trees, the hills around Dublin, CA (in the East Bay) are getting green. When we moved here 5 years ago, the real estate agent said that there were 2 season...the "brown" time of the year from June until November and "green" from December until May. And they were right.
I am blessed with the opportunity to walk with my sons to school and have this time to share with them.

A Limitless Life by Joseph J. Mazzella

I am always amazed at how much good a single, ordinary person can do in their life. I think that few people actually realize how much goodness, love, joy, peace, and happiness that they create and share in their lifetimes. I know that no one ever realizes just how many lives they touch or how much better they make the world just by being in it.

I want to thank each and everyone of you, then, for the many loving hugs you have given to others, for the countless smiles you have flashed, and for the thousands of kind words and "I love you's" you have shared. I want to thank each of you for the trees and flowers you have planted, for the trash you have picked up, and for the pets you have adopted.

I want to thank all of you for the laughter you have spread, gentleness you have shown, and forgiveness you have given to others. I want to thank you fo rthe help you have given, concern you have shown, and caring you have bestowed. I want to thank you again and again for giving so much fo your love, spreading so much of your joy, and sharing so much of your goodness with your family, friends, community, and world.

You may just be an ordinary person but you have lived an extraordinary life. You may have made your share of mistakes, but you have also made this world a better place. You may have only seen your faults, but God loves you and has seen all the goodness, love, and joy that is within you.

Remember, there is no limit to the goodness a single, ordinary life can do. There is no limit to the love and joy a single person can choose and share. There is no limit to the beauty a single soul can bring to this world. Let us all live a limitless life then and rejoice always in a limitless love!