Monday, August 30, 2010

Connie's birthday

Connie has made her birthday into a non-event. which doesn't mean that she doesn't get whatever dinner she wants and presents and a cake, she just doesn't extend the celebration. For us, anyway, I guess that is part of her growing up. she spent the entire actual birthday being spoiled by her boyfriend. We took them out to dinner 3 days later, and she opened her presents in, oh, about 2 minutes 43 seconds and then decided she was too full for cake.

It is so easy to embarrass her. All we did was watch her open presents.

On the exchange student front, I found two homes and then acquired one more student to find a home for. And my boss has 3 homes instead of 1 to find. So I guess I am going forward. It would be nice to have them all settled in permanent homes.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Musical Chairs

8:00 went to school #1 with 3 applications, hoping they would take 1. Or 2.
8:45 filled out registration info for student at school #2. He is out of district, so they will call me later (once they verify I really did get out of district permission) to get an appointment to get classes.
9:15. Called host family. They want a second student (yay!) who is, coincidentally, one of the applications for school #1.
10:30 School #1 will take all three students!!!!!
12:15 School #1 has paperwork ready. Pick it up, scan 12 pieces of paper and send it off to bosses' boss. Find out that one of those 3 students has a pending placement. Celebrate by making coffee and playing really stupid computer games.
3:00 find out that another of the 3 students is no longer available. pick out two more students and send them to school #1, who is pretty tired of approving students they are not going to get. Inform bosses' boss of choices. Find out that one of 2 new students got placed since I sent the e-mail to the school. This was about 15 minutes.
3:30 make brownies and lick bowl. Didn't actually eat any brownies, they were for a potluck and ALL GOT EATEN. Not exactly fair.
4:00 look for more information, including flights for student arriving in my house. Close all windows (on the computer), close all house windows (hot wind, 92 F outside) and read instead.
5:50 find out that the second of the two new students has a pending placement; pick two more students and leave for potluck, at which I did not get any chocolate at all.
8:50 get one student reserved for me and ask for another. Realize School #2 hasn't called me back. Consider making more brownies, get a glass of wine instead. It's faster. Console myself that 1 student is still available for school #1, if he accepts (which he will at this late date) and it is even the student with a potential host family. And I found 2 of the 3 host families I mentioned in the previous post.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

It was Psycho Day at the airport

My original schedule read: airport 2:15 (3 kids), airport 4:00 (1 kid), wedding 5:00, airport 10:45 (1 kid). It got changed.

The Chinese kids called their host parents about 1:00 saying they had missed the flight. (One would think that, with a 4 hour layover in Seattle, they would be not only able to go through customs, but be first in line for an overbooked flight. But they weren't.) Unfortunately, English is not their first language, and one host mom understood that they were already at our airport, so she came, didn't find them, and panicked. It wasn't pretty. By the time I got there at about 2:00, the daughter had calmed the mom down and she was functional. The kids had been rescheduled for the 7:30 flight and I met the other kids coming in.

My ace in the hole (husband) was at home waiting by the phone, because I knew that it took longer than 1 hour to go through customs at Salt Lake City and that girl was going to miss her flight and I had said so to the people in charge, but they did not listen. Nor did they pass on this information: ask to be first off the plane, hope there is no line at customs and pray that the plane is not late. Not one single condition was met, and sure enough, she called with her revised flight. (I love being right!) She now comes in at 10:30.

So we went to the wedding on time and even reconnected with a friend from 22 years ago! And then to the airport, where we met 1 Chinese kid (Another overbooked flight) and a host family who wasn't mine. It took forever to get luggage (there is an inverse relationship between plane size and speed to get luggage).

Went home and found out that they wanted to send the other Chinese to an airport that is 2 1/2 hours away, but we prevailed and the boy arrived this no luggage on the carousel. It had arrived on last night's flight and we picked it up no problem. Plus the host mom, having had a full night's sleep, was much more rational. The 10:30/10:45 pickup was great.

Adding to my not quite sane week: I still have two host families to find and possibly three or four. Oh Well.

The picture is a moth that shared the picnic table with me when I had my morning coffee in the back yard. I like the patterns on his wings.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Jack turns 53

Laurie's thing about us as parents as that we are really old. Really really old. Old enough to confuse (which is generally true!) Maybe that is why, for a 53rd bithday cake, she wrote "23" on it, and put the candles for "53" in reverse order and backwards. So for Jack's birthday he got to play with the grandson, play with fire (barbecue) and read. Almost perfect. If it had been 10 degree F cooler, it would all have happened in the backyard, mostly in the hammock. But that is what you get for living in a semi-arid climate and being born in the summer.
We had a lovely Senegalese girl overnight until her host parents could take her. And then there is Evelyn from China, here for a month. She is a college student. (stop me if you have heard this before). When I brought Lindsey over for the first time, she said "Oh! You have brought me a toy to play with!"
And we see why Lindsey is not a binky baby....he can't figure out which end to put in his mouth!
And in other news: still psychotic, have to find two homes for kids coming in this Saturday.

Friday, August 13, 2010

just details

Just thought I would finally post these. Jack has never been known for taking a good, natural picture, so he purposely makes faces. The first quilt was made for Tami's sister; pieces of it (with the cat) appeared previously. It did lay flat (a miracle) and Fine loves it.
The second was started some ten years ago. I didn't have enough of the border fabric at the time, but finally found it on ebay a couple years ago and put it all together this spring and finished quilting it last week. I have discovered just how much I learned in ten years! One is you cannot do a scrappy look with only six fabrics (for the uninitiated, 20 is the minimum) and the other is matching points. I'm doing more fancy borders now, and this quilt ABSOLUTELY refused to take them. It only wanted a simple border. But I got back at it, I only did simple machine quilting, even though all those white spaces were asking for something fancy. Take That and Like It!
Evelyn, a college student from Nanjing, is in the second photo. She always has a smile on her face. She also has our sense of humor, so we get along great. Too bad she is only here for a month!
Other details: I earned a trip to Germany this fall! More Niederegger marzipan and grapefruit flavored gummi bears! Oh yes, and castles and cathedrals and fancy buildings and the Black Forest and all that stuff....

Saturday, August 07, 2010

It has been a day all right.

Today I visited the airport 3 times. The first two were more or less normal. One of the exchange students is coming home with me until her host family can take her on Monday or Tuesday (we still have to figure that out, but why plan ahead anyhow?). Take her to a barbecue, then home. Get her set up in the family room on the hide-a-bed. Let her e-mail home that she has arrived safely.

In the middle of this a skunk sprayed. Closed all windows. Ascertained that, while the dog smells, it is not skunk. Set up fans.

Get student to bed and leisurely sit down at the computer. Check on the flight of the last arrival and DISCOVER THAT THE PLANE IS COMING IN A HALF HOUR EARLY AND I BETTER GET TO THE AIRPORT RIGHT NOW!!!!!

Do so. Call the host family (who lives near the airport) and instruct them to come now. Meet three students, two of which were supposed to come in at 4:45 but the airlines screwed up somehow, probably overbooking. No host families in sight. Really glad I checked the flight, I hate arriving after the students. They tend to panic.

Two host families finally show up. Call mine, and she has three grandkids with her and can't leave. Host families take care of missing luggage (it probably got on the plane and arrived 5 hours earlier. I'll find out tomorrow.) Take my student to her host family. (Not a big deal.)

Arrive home. House Stinks. Blame dog and give her a bath at 11:00 at night. It is a good thing it is summer, but that is when skunks are active. Things smell a lot better now, but the nose is used to it and we will probably find out one way or another when we get back from church tomorrow.

Thursday, August 05, 2010


Part of the vacation 6 weeks ago had to be the beach. Two reasons: because Tami is from the mountains and because I grew up on a beach. But the beach can't be just any beach, it has to have stuff on it. Like crabs and barnacles and seaweed and rocks and...stuff.

It isn't that I am not into swimming (you'll find me in the river most evenings), but "swimming beaches" are boring. They have only sand. I grew up in Puget Sound (in the summers, anyway). (and yes, that preposition is correct!) I may have learned to swim in a concrete pool, but I spent the entire summer (when we weren't "riding through the woods on our horses") on a beach covered with stuff. I swam in tennis shoes. I caught crabs -- once they got over an inch or so, they pinched. Below that they tickled. I poked sea anemones. I threw jellyfish at my brothers and sisters. I climbed on a rock that was big enough for an adult and two children and sailed a pirate ship. (It split apart the year we sold the beach house.)

After that, well, swimming pools are too small, too warm and taste wrong. The river is a decent substitute, but not nearly so interesting.

So, we went to the beach. I did find crabs and barnacles and seaweed, but we had too many things to show Tami and so we went on.

And I watched waves.
In other news: the difference between teenagers and any other younger age is that now I have to earn their love and loyalty. I prefer younger. I was never very good at people.