Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wonderful Wednesday

What are two of homeschooler's favorite things?
Books & bargains!

We were blessed with both last Wednesday when my friend Peggy invited us to tag along on their trip into Gville for the Friends of the Library Booksale. It's nearly as good as $1/bag days at the Community Church Rummage Sale.

It was 10 cent day so we could splurge. Ten books for $1! What a blast we had searching through the dusty stacks for anything worth ten copper Lincolns; treasure hunting.

Me thinks that cart overfloweth with books. Thinkest thou that you wouldst desire to attend next time? October 24-28 cometh quickly so mark thine calendar now!

Another bargain was the Watson Center Expo. Free science displays - some with take home projects & some with food.

Jacob & Andrew participated as a part of their biology class. Andrew's Tangelo & Caleb's Ziggy appeared to sleep through most of the day.

Corn snakes are so tame. This little girl touched Tangelo.

Caleb held him with a little help from Mama Peggy. Bekka even touched him. Maybe Kate too.

Tangelo trying to kiss Caleb on the nose made him snicker. Sssssnakes not in the face are much niccccer.

Andrew looks official interviewing this exhibitor. It was part of his assignment.

I liked this colorful presentation.

Recognize these two guys from church? Tyler won the battle of wind vs. displays by providing the tie-downs.

A few exhibits were displayed indoors. In the air conditioning.

We got home in time for supper (meatloaf & veggies in the slow cooker, bread in the machine & buttermilk pie baked that a.m. - oooeeee - made me pat my feet) then headed to church for a blessed time with the Lord & our spiritual family there.

It was a wonderful day.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Apples & Trees

For me, the most exciting moments of the LAEP occurred the night that as I was closing up the library Kim asked me "did anyone find Stan to tell him that Jacob's broken down beside the road?" It only took a few minutes to ascertain that yes, Stan had been notified & that Jacob was in fact already at church costuming up. Whew.

We've had many vehicle malfunctions. So many that it's almost a tradition. I feel so blessed that God provides with helping hands when necessary (Remember the stranded Beast after partying with the big boys? Thanks again, Tim!), replacement parts - sometimes in the middle of night & nowhere, and the skill & tools in my hubby's hands.

You've heard that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Here is my marvelous mechanic's "apple" putting Lurch back together.
Once they figured out that the "push" & "pull" cables are different & got the correct one in house, it was , as Caleb would say, a "piece of cheese".

Stan helped with the first cable - when they did the learning mentioned above.
Jacob replaced the broken cable himself.
I reminded him to count his blessings getting to work in the garage since Stan's done most of his mechanic-ing on the side of the road or in a driveway.
He's thrilled to have his own wheels back on the road.

We won't be getting any apples from this tree. It's our 4th apple tree to die, one of the first we planted. Stan says no more apple trees.
Goodbye Anna!

Lest I leave you thinking we are plant poor, here's some of the yard successes!

This is kohlrabi & cauliflower & onions.
Don't know why the pc insists the photo belongs this direction!

Chinese Honey.
However, we are not sure if the branches are springing from above or below the graft. Guess only time will tell with this one.

But it has yet to bloom.

The pomegranate is not bouncing back from the confusing winter weather. It was budding all over during 80 degree spells in December. And January. And February.

Our first nectarine.
Poor tree keeps blooming during all the winter warm snaps then freezes back.
I'm thrilled that one hung on!

Persimmon babies!

Stan bought this Maple a year or two ago. We enjoy the fall colors & got the little tree next to it as a bonus. It's pretty too so we let it be.
Those railroad ties are for my backyard garden. I'll show you when we get it put together.
See how protected this tree is? It was grown from an acorn from Stan's sister's old yard by Stan's dad then brought to us when it was a couple feet tall. Burr Oak.

Acorns nearly the size of apples!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Announcing a Graduation or Two

When Jacob graduated from high school, a friend blessed us with a graduation gift of graduation announcements complete with photos - beautiful, creative, edited photos. (If you read this, dear friend - Thanks again!)

Jacob is getting his AA ummmmm - next week! Three cheers!!
But we are not sending out announcements. Probably the next important card-like snail mail you'll get pertaining to him will be a wedding invitation. But NOT next week.

Andrew is graduating from high school in a few weeks. I'm so impressed that he will finish H. S. with 45 college credits. Three cheers for dual enrollment!!

I decided I'd do Andrew's announcements myself & have been gathering ideas & materials (clearance cards from Michael's, glue dots) plus did several "photo shoots" when we were in TX - remember I promised you more pictures?

It's been fun & I've learned a lot. Like, you must wait a LONG TIME after printing on the shiny side of a card before printing on the other side or the shiny side will smear on each & every one of the cards and the ink will show up on the newly printed side & ruin every one. I also learned that even though I worked at Kinko's & know the proper way to load most copy machines (upside down & backwards) does not guarantee that I will not get in a hurry & load upside down the cards that I had waited for six hours for the shiny side to dry and ruin that run.
I'm so glad they were clearance priced!

Now onto my photography experience:
Most of these pictures were made in the Japanese Tea Gardens.
I liked Andrew's tree hugger shot - no leg popping though so I cropped to this. Plus I cut off his feet in the large shot. It was hard to keep appendages in the frame. Maybe because he's so tall?

Andrew didn't like any of this set leaning against this side of this tree. Something about posture. Notice my son likes keeping his hands in his pockets.

This was my favorite. Was being the operative word. However, if you enlarge it you will see Andrew's silly sister wanting in on the photo action. Ah, yes, background issues... I'm confident my fabulous friend could have fixed it but alas, I have not her talent.
I cropped this some since I cut his feet off...

"Pucker up!"
Note the hands.
I used one he liked of him leaning on this side of the tree as his grad photo. In black & white.

Floating in the air, his hands are not touching the bridge.
This one cracked me up.

Andrew didn't like any of the leaning-back-on-the- tree-on-his-arms poses. Upon closer inspection I found carving on the tree by his head. And you can see that his toes didn't make it into the pic. Love that pointe. He was in gymnastics years ago, you know. LOL!

Not a great photo but I snickered at how the background leaves gave him a small beard. Ha!

I like this one. Andrew, not so much.

Andrew got tired of posing pretty quickly. Obviously a boy child.

The rest of the photos were taken on the Alamo grounds. Andrew purchased one of the coolest UT Ts I've ever seen but upon reflection, since he will not be attending UT, we decided the shirt on grad announcements would raise too many questions. Bummer.

Andrew didn't like any of his squatting poses - not that it mattered in that T.
Serious face, smiling face.
He got pretty good at posing but said he hated it so don't expect to see him on any magazine covers.
Any time soon.

I determined that black & white color editing & white T shirts on tanned Andrew do not mix.
Whadda you think?

Don't you just love all these great cactus shots?


It's been a fun learning experience plus I got to spend all that time with Andrew.
And did I mention that I got to play with glue dots? Try it, you'll like it. :-)

Monday, April 6, 2009

An Offer Made by Me

Beryl posted this in FaceBook & I thought it sounded fun enough to play here. Who's game?

The first five (5) people to respond to this post will get something made by me. This offer does have some restrictions and limitations so please read carefully:

1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make. Whatcha get is whatcha get.

2. What I create will be just for you, with love.

3. It'll be done this year (2009).

4. I will not give you any clue what it's going to be. It will be something made in the real world and not something cyber. It may be weird or beautiful. Or it may be monstrous and annoying. Heck, I might bake something for you and mail it to you. Who knows? Not you, that's for sure!

5. I reserve the right to do something strange.

6. In return, all you need to do is post this text into a note of your own and make 5 things for the first 5 to respond to your note.

7. Send your mailing address

IMPORTANT: This offer is null and void if I do not see you post your own note to pay this forward.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Get Set for LAEP

For 19 years volunteers have gathered a week or three prior to Easter Sunday to prepare a setting for a pageant of drama and music. Over the years the stage has grown as has the production - 3 presentations now with several hundred volunteers from set up to tear down.
Money and energy bathed in prayer for what purpose? That someone will come to understand the truth of the gospel message by seeing this visual portrayal.

Jesus came.
He lived a sinless life.
He died in my place - and yours.
He AROSE and will return for us one day. Hallelujah!

It is always exciting to watch the transformation of the sanctuary. First, pretty much everything in the front is removed including several front pews and all the chairs on the sides.

Then platforms are brought in & reassembled to extend the stage & create a walkway.

Certain sets are built, such as the tomb. You can see it is labor intensive.

I realize we APPEAR to be standing around talking. While that is true, the TOPIC is important. We are organizing, reminding ourselves & the guys how things have been placed in prior years so that everything will FIT when it is reassembled THIS year. Remembering how things have to happen in a certain order so that completed parts don't have to be undone then redone.
A tough job, but someone has to - you know.

The platform for the choir has been assembled & the scaffold for the scrim is well on its way to completion. We had great volunteers again this year. I believe the big pieces came together faster than ever before.
The choir appreciates the air flow through those silver ducts. We get hot packed onto risers dressed in period costume complete with head coverings singing our lungs out. PTL for AC!

Here is another scaffold view. Can you see the ladder stretching from the scaffold top to the stage? Imagine descending that quickly to get in place for the next scene. Sounds simple maybe? Now imagine it in the dark, wearing an ankle length robe (usually guys up there too so they aren't even used to skirts) and having to be QUIET while moving. Oh, and no falling allowed.

The baptistery will be unrecognizable once all the curtains and set decor are in place. No dunking allowed here until after Easter.

It's possible that these guys have been involved in set construction since LAEP's beginnings here. They sure know how to build & put things together.

The garden platforms have been assembled, the carpet laid and the walls put into place. These guys are working on putting together the tubing for the fog machine. There are many little details to complete the big picture.

First build the scaffold, then the choir platform, then the scrim, then lay the carpet & bring in the arches before assembling the choir risers & barriers (match the letters to assemble the in-house designed & built safety structure) but don't forget to staple on the scaffold cover cloth that goes behind the arches before bringing them up. Now we need the wall to cover the steps up to the scrim. Who has a charged drill to put the wall frame in place?

We are blessed with wonderful, talented ladies who sew all our costumes and curtains. Oh, and the banners, so beautifully designed they will bless your socks off.
See the weight hanging in front of the curtain? I'm not telling you what that's for. You will just have to come see for yourself.

We sometimes tease Scott about doing the LAEP so he can play with the big toys. He winds up being in the rafters a lot handing curtains & banners and doing all the lines so they can be raised and lowered. He looked like a spider spinning a web up there stringing banners. Then there's the lights, the ceiling mounted cameras and hanging or removing the front & side screens.

Amber laughed that she looked like she was in a wedding gown with two bridesmaids as she climbed a ladder to hang this sheeting in the back of the baptistery.

We were blessed with lunch by more volunteers and Bible Study Classes who brought food for the workers.

Scott would pray & then we'd eat.

And then we'd get back to work.
Or head to class or work (my 2 biggest guys)
Or maybe catch a quick after meal nap - but I'm naming no names.
To me, one of the more challenging aspects of set construction is that services are still held on Wednesdays & Sundays so our mess has to be cleaned up & the sanctuary usable.
Kinda goes along with the gospel doesn't it? Christ cleaning up our mess so that we can remain usable for Him. Let it be so in me, Lord Jesus!