Friday, October 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
It is black walnut season - where a large 40 foot tree in the front yard and an additional 40 foot tree in the backyard drop copious amounts of dark brown ink balls (i.e.walnuts) for 2 or 3 months. It is a game to stand outside in the yard to see how long you can stand in one place without being beaned on the head with a walnut - and near misses count :-) They fall day and night about every 5 minutes or so. I warn everyone who stops in my front yard for any reason - watch out for the walnut tree - you are mere target practice.... :-) You'll be lying in bed and hear a cracking sound as a walnut hits the roof - you'll look over at the clock and notice it says 2:40 AM - and then you'll drift off only to be startled awake by another sound disconcertingly close to a gunshot - alas - another walnut hitting the roof tiles - you blearily glance over at the clock - 3:04 AM..... Whatever a walnut lands on - whether the sidewalk, your hair, clothing, small children.... it leaves its mark of existence as a dark brown permanent smear. The best thing about the walnuts is that thousands of them fall and create a large field of big brown ball bearings - that when you attempt to walk across the lawn - they lower your friction with the ground - and decrease stability in general. These walnut trees are also headquarters for the Pleasanton squirrel mafia - and not only are you target practice for the tree - it is a rite of initiation for a squirrel to bean a person with a walnut - they are much more accurate and deliberate than the tree is - they take great pleasure in running across the branch directly over your head - in order to ensure a several-walnut-spread so as not to miss you. These gifts of nature - the black walnut - these little packages of anti-parasitic, antibacterial, antiviral powerhouses - are packaged in a shell so thick, you have to crack them with a hammer - and then you need an awl to remove what teeny bit of nut meat is available - there is a reason you don't see 'black walnuts' in the grocery store.... and it gets even better - black walnut trees have a chemical in their roots that kills other vegetation - I'm sure so as to not engender competition on the forest floor... but leaves quite a challenge for, say, growing a lawn... or heaven forbid...flowers.... I am comforted to know however, that in an emergency, no one in the neighborhood would ever get parasites....
Monday, August 31, 2009
David's court of honor was awesome - my camera died in the middle of it, so I didn't get a picture of them, but BZ and Laura came and took all these pictures - thanks you guys! David was having a great day!
David and Gary Alt - Brother Alt is in charge of the scouts and helped David to get his Eagle 2 days before his 18th birthday
Bishop Daniels spoke -
Jerry Thorne from the city council came and spoke -
Bryan spoke - Bryan's dad Lynn is also an Eagle scout - making David a third generation Eagle scout.
David getting his Eagle pinned on him :-)
Me getting my 'Mom' pin -
Bryan getting his 'Dad' pin-
Brother Alt getting a 'mentor' pin -
Putting on the Eagle neck...thing... ?
Letters of congratulations from the first presidency, congressmen, senators, and a flag that had been flown over the white house -
David saying a few words - a very good speech might I add - I am so proud of him!
Afterwards we had root beer floats and cookies for refreshments and we had a slide show going during them of David in scouting since he was 11 - !
Jessica started second grade last week - her teacher is Mrs. Richter. Anne had Mrs. Richter 7 years ago for first and second grade. At the end of the first day, she told her teacher that she was sad that it was time to go home, but happy that she got to come back the next day! I was happy to hear that!
This is her desk in her classroom
We have an open space preserve close to our house - and it is so nice that we do! We go up there often - here are some pictures from a recent sunset hike!
Me and Jessica beside a pretty awesome tree
A view over Pleasanton -
The sun going down behind a tree - the colors are amazing!
Jessica on the trail
One of my favorite things to do during the year is work at our stake's girl's camp - Camp Ritchie. For the last 3 years, I take a week off in the summer, head up into the Sierras to Bear River Reservoir, leave the world behind, and help to run the 100 foot rappelling rock and climbing wall. I never get tired of it - we work from 9-6 every day out on the top of the cliff rappelling girls down and belaying them at the climbing wall - helping the girls accomplish something like this is incredible! So many girls think they cannot do it - and are a little nervous - and they discover they can -it is so cool!
Here I am on the top of the cliff - overlooking the reservoir - don't worry - I'm all hooked in
Kathy Jackson worked in rappelling with me for half of the week - she defected to waterfront the second half... :-)
Steve Huseman worked rappelling and Paul Schuler was the man in charge -
Cori Jackson and Jessica - taking on the waves....
Scott Jackson in his best 'cool surfer' pose -
Brittany Canon and Anne - coming in on a wave -
Coming in on another wave - oh we're going to be so sad when summer is over!
Kelly Reinke - my 'other' daughter :-)
Here is almost the whole crew - eating lunch - Kennedy Poplawski, Anne, Kelly Reinke, Brittney, Ellora, Shelly Jackson, Scott Jackson, Mikey Alt
Kathy Jackson - I love this picture of her - we're practicing the song 'Happy Little Duck' - the world's A-number one stupid song...
Kelly Reinke and Ellora - two peas in a pod...
It was soooo funny - oh the baywatch poses...the Scott Jackson dance....the slo-mo...the endless entertainment...
Kathy Jackson lives 3 doors down from me across the street - we decided sunglasses looked better - it hides all the wrinkles around our eyes... :-)
Oh yes he did!! Just look at that satisfied smile....
Yep - they dressed the whole graduating class in bright purple - it is very lovely, don't you think :-) Their other color is canary yellow - you tell me which would have been better....
Here they are walking to their chairs
There they all are in their chairs - in front of the pavilion -
The graduation ceremony was outside on the football field - and even the sky was celebratory - this is the sunset during the graduation - so cool!
Post-diploma David -
The rest of the kids are pretty excited for him too :-)
I went up to Camp Ritchie for a rappelling training - Bryan and the kids drove up to see me. I was out on a 100 foot cliff when a storm unexpectedly came up and started dropping hail - then driving rain - very fun! We don't get weather like that where we live!