Friday, October 28, 2011

Free Range Anyone?

I know this won't be the last time I bore you with the local wildlife.

We are quite used to cows, sheep and hawks but you have to admit - Turkeys in force are fascinating.

Here is just a portion of the "gaggle" "flock" "herd" ???? of turkeys in our neighborhood: It's quite something to see all the males puffed up and showing off their tail feathers while the females just try to get some breakfast. Oh my! Growing up in a family of hunters, I do wonder how these free-range birdies might be on the table. But don't worry - I'm sure the HOA has some rule or another against shooting in the backyard. Cultivated wilderness.

I took these from my car with the little camera so they're not what I hoped but - those turkeys don't stay in place! I can come back 10 minutes later and they'd be gone. They're very funny too - as traffic came down the road and the turkeys had to get out of the way, they split into "boys" and "girls." Each gender on separate sides of the road. I find them hilarious.

What else might be hilarious this time of year?

Aye, Matey! Ye be talkin' 'bout me girlies:

Yes, the Pirates have taken over. We've finished the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and they are rarin' to go. Mom & Dad have costumes too from years ago in Des Moines - I may even share a picture............

The girls had done "Trunk or Treat" at the international school while in Switzerland but this will be the first year in 5 that they've gone to school in costume or out trick or treating in the neighborhood. Rachel doesn't think she's too old at all - she can't wait. I think 10 yrs was my last trick or treat year..........

It's been a decent week. Furniture shopping is virtually complete - and we should have everything by the end of January....... But we do have a couch and "Bart's" recliner arrived this week so - Yeah! It's a lot of work, time, money and just not as enjoyable when you really need it all - hoping to get things out of boxes or have a place to offer guests to sit. But we are so happy to be located where we are in this area. God gave us a good thing.

I actually have A LOT to say about the last few months. Just not sure how much I should. And does anyone really want to hear that my back bothers me enough that often I don't sit at the computer because I feel better staying up and about. Working on that - better this week.

I'm off to sleep. Need a lot of that. ;) Guten Nacht!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I am from........ by Rachel Olson

Hello! Back again and I think, I think things are going to settle into a routine and I may, I may be able to bring myself to the computer a bit more frequently.

I would love to share this poem Rachel wrote for an English assignment this week. I'm sharing it without editing so don't feel a need to correct her mistakes - this is how she'd put it if she were talking it out.

I shared a bit from the Art of Coming Home a while back. The transition has certainly had it's ups and downs. This poem reflects, in my mind, how Rachel as a "Third Culture Kid" (seriously, there's a whole book on this topic) sees herself. I thought it was beautiful and maybe it's just me, the mom, speaking but you can let me know:

I am from dusty old scrapbooks filled with happy memories. I am from foreign yearbooks sitting at the bottom of a closet shelf. I am from new pop CD’s and gossip magazines. I am from dark and milk creamy Swiss chocolate. I am from Thanksgiving pumpkin and apple pie making. I am from a hundred pens scattered all over desks and tables in my house. I am from peach colored sheep paintings from Stockholm. I am from camera’s that capture wonderful moments on trips to the Italian Riviera.

I am from nagging old habits. I am from dark sky blue Faberge eggs of Russia. I am from good-smelling perfume air freshener from France. I am from scenic postcards written by dearest friends. I am from funny and girly birthday cards going back to three years old. I am from the Harry Potter books, dark, mysterious and thrilling. I am from the mythical books of Percy Jackson, romantic and exciting.

I am from skiing on large, majestic Swiss alps, covered in powdery, crystal snow. I am from swimming in a deep green lake. I am from friends that will stay by my side through dark, scary and horrible times. I am from cream colored, silk soft sand of Oman. I am from computers that take seven minutes to start up. I am from a closet so messy that you can hardly see the cream colored carpet below.

I am from thick, delicious, moist vanilla cake with sugary, creamy chocolate frosting. I am from brown tinted sunglasses that are always clouded with finger prints. I am from a bright, lime green elementary school with windows framed with bright, strawberry red.

I am from long, steamy, and hot showers. I am from warm, moist Abigbrot eaten with hot and spicy chili on a cold winter night. I am from soft, sandy beaches with clear, turquoise water; lapping gently against the shore. I am from below zero degrees winters, with fresh snow every morning. I am from Christmases filled with mirth and warmth, from opening beautiful presents in the morning and playing in the new fallen snow in the afternoon. I am from these happy, sad and angry moments.

I can think of many other "froms" she could have shared but it's her work and reflects how she sees herself at this time. I'm from a lot of those places too.

Monday, October 10, 2011

What's been goin' on

Busy, Busy, Busy.

Time for some pictures and a bit of what the Olson's have been up to the past few weeks. I'm going backwards as I'm writing this on the return of a whirlwind trip to - Guess?Does the red, double-decker bus give you a clue? My shiny, clean face devoid of makeup as I intend to go straight to bed after the show? Yes, London!!! I did not sleep (dosed about 45 min.) on the flight over so this is me at about 28+ hrs. I don't remember much of the first half of Billy Eliott but was awake for the 2nd Act.

Why London? A wonderful friend from Zurich was in London to celebrate a special Birthday with another wonderful friend who moved there in April who was hosting other wonderful friends (also from Zurich) for the weekend. Follow? My wonderful husband who knew I was missing friends and that's it's been a time of adjustment, looked into tickets and gave me the "hall pass." So I was a surprise for the Birthday friend - and she was VERY surprised. It was fun to be a surprise!

On the River Thames. Advertising - A-hem! But if we show our ID we can get a discount ...... :)

The surprise activity for the weekend was a high-speed boat excursion on the River Thames. Next to skiing fast together, we enjoyed this immensely - Thank You L for arranging this and treating us to such fun!

After the thoroughly fun but chilly ride on the Thames, we were off to celebrate the Birthday girl at a lovely! hotel tearoom.

It was so beautifully arranged. They had several pieces of furniture that were "just what I'm looking for" but, of course, one can't take off with hotel furniture in ones' small suitcase.

Along with eating, boating, theatre-going and visiting, there was a bit of shopping to do. L lives in the Hampstead area and it was so fun to see a different part of London.
I'm so thankful for these friends and for the trip - quick as it was. It also felt natural to be back in a place where you can walk out the door, go a few blocks and catch a train, taxi, bus to your destination. Being in the suburbs again, I actually miss that. Especially with a larger group of people - we never had to worry about whether there were enough seats in the car.

It was also good to see friends I miss in a place other that Switzerland. Although it's very nice where we live in CA, I was happy to move from it 9 years ago and really had no idea we'd move back. It's really taking me some time to acclimate (some things are easier than others) and with work being done on the house, haven't "gotten out" as much as I thought I would have at this point. It's best NOT to visit the place being missed at this time but great to visit with the people. Plus - the birthday girl and her Hub will be visiting us in November which we are really looking forward to.

Before that trip - and in keeping with the spirit of Swiss culture - Rachel had an assignment for her Foods class that we worked on. They are to prepare and give a bit of background on a food from their heritage or culture. As we lived in Switzerland for 5 years, certain aspects became a part the family culture.

Such as the Grittibaenz:

Grittibaenz are a traditional bakery dough men made in November/December. Ours are looking a bit "special" (dough men vs Aliens?) but Rachel's class really enjoyed them and she felt good about sharing this part of her life. Can I add that I love the workspace of our kitchen island. LOVE IT!

We also spent a weekend with our friends in Fresno again and to watch the young man below play a bit o' Football - American style. We brought the girls instruments so they could practice and have a little jam session. Knowing the girls as some of you do, what's wrong with this picture:

Yes, they played their own instruments a bit and then decided to switch it up - J is a naturally gifted musician (plays contrabass, electric bass guitar and drums) and within minutes had Kendra's cello going - another instrument in the H house? Rachel had fun on his bass and Kendra enjoys the violin when Rachel leaves her alone to just play it......

And before the Fresno weekend, we had a weekend in Reno with my mom and J. We had a great time visiting and went up to Virginia City - and old Silver mining town.

I do believe I mentioned that trip now that I type it out...... losing my mind. While I know I mentioned Bart's parents Anniversary in Minneapolis, I never did share pictures. It was great to celebrate such an anniversary with them. This cake? This cake was GONE. During clean-up I checked to see if any was left and there was just a smudge of frosting on that plate. I did not swipe at the smudge 'cause I was being well mannered. But if no one had been watching????

With Bart's parents and sister Siri - we had a great time. Happy Anniversary!

So I'm now off to do laundry, make more Grittibaenz (Kendra decided to use them for her class project too) and shuttle kiddo's to music lessons.

And to my husband for all his love, kindness and support - Thank You! I'm glad I decided 19 years ago to not be "just friends."