Saturday, June 29, 2019

Dance or Smile

This morning Ben and I went on another early morning walk.  Civil Twilight was at 5:26.

We watched the moon rise above the mountains as we walked home.

Ben and I had time to play a game of chess before he left with his siblings.  I have loved playing chess and pool with Ben this week..

Luke asked if there was time for the two of us to play a game of chess.  I thought there was.  Luke plays a very excellent defensive game -- I've never seen better.  But before he could beat me, it was time to go.

Kate showed up after a wonderful week at EFY.  She made new friends, sang a solo on Thursday night and had a great time.

I spent part of today on the floor with Joseph.

I was not the only one snitching brownies today.  After reading last night's post, Jeff agreed with Ben.  His suggestion is that too much dark chocolate makes the brownie a little bitter.  This did not stop Jeff from taking the last brownie.

This kid.  There are no words.  He's hilarious and so easy going that everyone should be jealous that we have this baby in our family.

Jill, Joseph and I walked around the block this afternoon.  After seeing Joseph with his favorite wet rag, a neighbor tossed out the idea to freeze it.  Joseph recognized the rag, was happy to see it and hold it, but he knew something was up.  We finally had to thaw it under the faucet.

I was delighted when Jill invited me to play Mexican Train.  Jeff won the first round.  He had a choice to dance or smile.  I can not confirm or deny which option he chose.

Jill won the next game!  She chose to smile.

The winner of the last game was me--the perfect ending to the perfect week!

Friday, June 28, 2019

(Definitely Not) Subversion

Of course we had bagels this morning!

Ben and I spent a gigantic chunk of the day together.  We started out by watching pool videos.  Ben said he learned nothing.  For me, I learned a whole lot.

While I was getting our breakfast ready, he had one of yesterday's brownies.  One of my favorite character traits of Ben's is that he likes to discuss food.  He thinks the accidental doubling of the chocolate was a little too much.  Next time, he suggested, I accidentally put in only half again as much as the recipe calls for.  Noted, but I'll have to seriously think about this.

Luke's breakfast was easy.  He wanted chocolatea and an uncooked bagel with nothing on it.  He and I discussed the baking time and whether or not I should increase it.  Noted, but I don't think I'll change the baking time.

We were suddenly and unexpectedly left caring for Joseph.  Luke is the best.  He jumped right in.  Joseph was delighted.

Joseph went down for a nap, so Ben and I couldn't play pool.  I suggested chess.  Ben said yes.  This was great fun for me.  Ben is a defensive player.  After almost two decades of playing chess with grandchildren, I have become very aggressive.  Turns out this was much more fun for me than for Ben.  We played a second game.  Same story.

Ben and I were not the only ones snitching from the brownie pan.  One thin slice at a time.  All day long.  My idea of good day.

Ben was tired of losing to me at chess, so we played a little pinball.  I showed him the secret key to the secret lock to the secret box that holds all the quarters for the pinball machine.  That was quite fun.  That was after I showed him a pinball secret Uncle Dave had showed me.  That's what you are seeing here.  He's trying to spy the lights that bring extra points.

Luke breezed in for a game of pinball, but he actually didn't spend much time with us today.

When Joseph woke up, it was time to play pool.

Ben broke for the second game and did a great job.  I have to tell you, I put my newly-learned skills to work in both our games.

I have mastered kissing the ball.  This is a picture of the cue ball after I knocked in the blue solid.  It was a magnificent shot.  Yes, I danced.

When Joseph woke up, we went to lunch.  A wet blue wash cloth came with us.  Joseph was very happy.

We went to the Crepery.  My camera was on the table.  I meant to take a picture.

I did get a picture of Jeff's Nutie-frutie.

Joseph has discovered my camera.  This kid.  Oh man.  So delightful!

After lunch, I offered to teach Ben how to play chess with a little aggression.  He resisted.  I logically pointed out that his defensive approach wasn't working, so why not try mine?  He reluctantly agreed.  As we played, I suggested some options for his moves.  At the end of the game, that black king was mine.  Ben was over the moon.

We took a break to feed the birds.

They appreciated our efforts.

This was the first time Ben had helped with the hummingbirds.  Removing this feeder from its post is a little tricky, but Ben managed that just fine.  Putting it back, however, was another story.  Between the two of us, we got the job done.  The hummingbirds were zooming in for a late lunch as we hung it, but of course none of our hands were holding a camera.

Pool time came up almost before we were ready.  Joseph makes a lot of these decisions, just so you know.  I promised the kids I'd only take one picture if they posed together.  They complied.

Then Jane said, "Dewey, watch me!"

Ella said, "Let's all jump together!"  We had a wonderful time.

All of us.

As the day went on, I was thinking that instead of making a mistake, I had discovered serendipity.

I offered to make popcorn.  When the response was yes, I volunteered Ben for the job.

Next up on our ST list was Disaster.  The kids didn't remember this episode until it started, and then they were delighted at my choice.  For the record, my feet were up and I was right there to talk them through the scary parts.

I didn't take a picture of my butter chicken for dinner, nor their tortillas, but I did manage to capture their drumsticks for dessert.

This has been a wonderful week.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Best Mistake

Luke, Jane and Ben are big chocolatea fans.  I have to heat the water hot enough to dissolve the cocoa, but then it's too hot for them to drink.

A dish of ice solves this dilemma.

Ben and Ella enjoy toast.  Maybe bagels will happen again, I'm not sure.

In the meantime, I have plenty of jam.

The kids thought they had to be sneaky about reading at the table.  I'm quite tolerant of this at breakfast.

Although, perhaps Garfield is not a good role model for my grandchildren.

Jill and Jeff finished the puzzle last night.

Even with company visiting, the mundane has to be taken care of, such as my geraniums.

I weeded while waiting for the garbage truck to come up my street.

I feel a need to mention that I don't usually take my camera out when I bring in the bin, but it was a beautiful morning.

Jane came up after the other kids.  I love to read, that's for sure.  I showed Jane how to use my reading bean bags, which she loved.

I took this picture during Jane's breakfast.  I actually went out to fill the suet but was distracted by the hungry finches.  As I'm typing right now, the thistle feeders are empty.  Jane promised to help me fill them tomorrow.

I had a leftover banana from dinner two nights ago.  As a result, Joseph ate his first banana slices this morning.  It was tough going there for a few minutes.

He caught on quickly.

And...he liked it!

Joseph was feeling pretty smug by the time this was over.

All by myself, and I am so proud about this, I came up with a way to improve pool skills.  Ben is coaching Jane as she aims and hits nine balls.

This worked very well, and after her turn, Jane coached Ben.  

We all know what we are supposed to do, but being consistent is the issue.  Ben is gently reminding her to hit the center of the cue ball. 

Part of my day involved tending Joseph.  He and I get along great!

He is getting four new teeth right now, so he loves this little wet wash cloth.

Ben watched a little Star Trek.  He had not seen this episode before.  

I turned around and Joseph was gone.  I looked over in panic, and there he was in Ben's arms.  Ben thinks maybe he's not too young to be indoctrinated.

I exchanged messages with Ben and Dave throughout the day.  They are in the Atacama desert for the eclipse next week.  Dave showed me what the Milky Way looks like without any light pollution. He took this picture.

And, trending off topic, Dave's family spent the day in Kirtland.  Today is Julia's birthday, but they are in Ohio for Grandma's birthday.

Ben and I made brownies.  This is a new recipe, although I've made it twice before.  It's pretty good.  I measured the ingredients and Ben did all the work.  He's great -- he cracked all five eggs without adding any shell to the batter.

This recipe calls for 8 ounces of dark baking chocolate.  I have no explanation, but I had four baking bars in the fridge and my brain assumed they were two ounces each.  After the brownies were in the oven I realized the bars were four ounces each.  As they baked, I wondered how bad this could be.

Ben asked if we could watch Cause and Effect.  This is either great or a little sad, but he told me that one of his earliest memories is watching this episode with me.  Ella was ten minutes late joining us.  Only if you are a ST aficionado will you appreciate that this one time, she didn't miss a thing. 

The kids and I had tortillas for lunch, except I added a ripe avocado and some black beans with Spanish paprika to mine.  Yum doesn't begin to cover this.

Then we had the aforementioned brownies.  Luke, who eats his dark chocolate straight out of the package, loved these.  I did, too.  I'm not sure everyone else shares our verdict, but the brownies are getting eaten.

Ella fed Joseph mush for lunch.  He's been getting new foods this week, but brownies aren't on the approved list yet.

Luke asked if we could watch the episode where the officers are turned into kids.  I love that they can make such specific requests.

Joseph was not engaging in Star Trek.

He was delighted, however, when Luke paid attention to him.  We actually tried to keep Joseph awake until Mom and Dad returned, but we failed.

Jeff and Jill texted me this picture before they came home, about 20 minutes after Joseph went down.

After an outing of our own, Ella and I made inari zushi together.  Translation:  I told her what to do, and she did it.  Now she can have inari zushi whenever she wants.

We have eaten on real dishes with real flatware all week long.  Some of our discussions have revolved around manners.  Tonight, Ella set the table.

I have a new serving dish just for these.

Jeff grilled the salmon.

This is one of the kids' favorite meals.  Over dinner, we talked about how to hold forks and knives.  Ben didn't believe me when I told him he had to change the hand his fork was in after cutting his salmon.  It would have been a funny conversation except he was serious, and so was I.  Well, actually, it was hilarious.  But I was serious.

Then we went swimming.  This hill has called to Luke all week long.  Tonight, he rolled down it.

I did not demonstrate, but I did give verbal direction on how to perform the best cannonball ever.  This took Ben a few tries.

Joseph was not impressed.

This is Ella's splash, which was a 10.

This is Luke's splash.  He also did very well.

Even Jane got in on the fun.

But then the kids spied Joseph in the shallow end.  He is such a magnet -- the kids all love him.  You are wondering if we are missing Kate.  We are.

See Joseph sucking on his sleeve?  That's because my little wet wash cloth was not with us.

We had the pool to ourselves.

The evening was beautiful.

Ella stood on her hands.

That action prompted Jeff to see how far he could walk on his hands.  Get ready.

Then Ella walked on her hands.

The kids had such a good time together.

If you can believe it, I took over 400 pictures at the pool tonight.

Half were of the water wars.

Everyone got wet but me.

This is what bliss looks like.

Thank you, Julie. You're Welcome, Louie.

Did I really want to start this last post of Steve's visit with another picture of my groupies watching Star Trek?  I sure did.  We'...