Austin and Emerson
|Greg had put on a youth choir show about time |
and Dixie painted the 4 seasons on large sheets of canvas
(the cartoon, stolen from a newspaper, says Star Trek: The First Generation)
I am happy. It might be crazy to be happy in this time, on this planet, or so the media would have us believe. But the media seems determined to focus on the bad and scary things in the world and everywhere I go, I see good and beautiful people. In my little corner of the world, life is running over with blessings and things to be happy about. And I love this time of year! I love snuggling up with a hot cup of really strong coffee, in a cool room with my computer and starting to remember friends and family. I love thinking back over the past year and anticipating the next month when nearly every day brings a Christmas card, maybe a photo or hand written note, maybe a thick, newsy form letter, always memories of those we love and think about often, yet some we never see anymore.
I glance out my window at the reds and greens with which our two acres always greet the Season. The Maple and Cherry trees are turning red. he Apples have mostly fallen but still dot the green grass which is only now returning after the fry days of summer. The little trees planted since we moved here eight years ago are not so little anymore, and some of the big trees are dead and attracting woodpeckers and flickers. The monstrous redwood stumps from when this place was a logging camp are mostly drifted in behind blackberry vines and they too are turning red. The scent of wood smoke is in the air and the sounds of the boys complaining about having to stack wood once again ring through the neighborhood. Did you know two adolescent boys can move a whole cord of wood on fifteen minutes if they are turning it into a fort, but take an hour of whining before moving one wheelbarrow if it is only for the wood stove?
|Duffy Barkley Is Not A Dog|
Greg is also following a dream, and it's a wonderful one which is unfolding rapidly and taking on a life of its own. The Crescent City Youth Choir is in the middle of its third year. Greg, and Amy Ross, another music teacher here, audition close to eighty kids each time, and take on about forty of them. Then they work with these 4th - 12th grade children to produce an incredible blend of dancing, acting and singing. Now they have the business angle to deal with since it's not a school choir, but they have an army of loyal volunteers to do everything from painting sets, to sewing costumes, to searching for business sponsors, to disciplining the kids for dragging the girls into the boys toilet or vice versa. Emerson is hanging in there as a choir cast member in spite of the grueling schedule and his voice is maturing quite nicely. Plus he loves to perform. Austin decided he'd rather say "yes" to soccer, basketball, trombone, drum and horse riding lessons. He thought about quitting them until the horse ran away and threw him head first into a plywood wall. That was "fun and now he loves it again.
Austin is eleven and in the sixth grade. That is as high as Pine Grove School goes, so he gets to be the big man on campus this year, which is a role he's been trying to fill his whole life. He is a natural teacher and very gentle and encouraging of younger children. In fact he still likes to play with toddlers and they love him. With kids closer to his age he's also very good at helping them and he has several younger or handicapped friends. Yet he also gets along well with his peers and adults. He was alert and interested in other people from the day he was born and just naturally has maintained his gift of friendship. He's also great at reading and math, so we won't mention spelling. He's artistic and loves crafts and painting as well as music and Drama. He's also about the best kid I've ever seen at mouthiness and arguing. Everyone has the right to HIS opinion! How I anticipate the teenage years!
|Super Santa Vs. Grinch by Emerson|
"Happy Christmas" "or Not" "Marry Christmass Ho Ho Ho Ho hobo"
No idea Emerson would live there later
|Emerson had researched this mission|
|Our Hernandez Friends got married here|
|Emerson, Greg, Austin, Dixie and Uncle Lance|
at Disneyland in July
|Aunt Dorothy and my Mom|
Of course we spent five days going to Disneyland and California Adventure. Mom and Willie Mae Michiels both had their birthdays there and got some special attention from the character cast. We saw and loved a stage production of Snow White, and really adored the "Soaring Over California" ride where you appear to be flying over the entire state in a hang glider. Our feet hated Disneyland but the rest of us loved it.
And that's not all. We also saw knights jousting at Medieval Times, saw Mammoth and Giant Sloth and American Lion skeletons at the LaBrea Tar Pits, Swam at Huntington Beach where Emerson got tangled up in a Jelly fish and bore the burns for almost three months. Then on the way home we stopped in San Francisco to do more Disney by watching the Broadway Musical Production of The Lion King.
So now you know why we were broke the rest of the summer and eating hot dogs on the beach while we spent a month babysitting Sammy and a week babysitting Hannah. Actually we are still paying for that trip and get to stay home for Christmas.
Then our poor neglected home has started to have temper tantrums. The water pipe cracked and had to be dug up and replaced. The Fridge died a slow death. For September we used it like a cooler, kept adding Ice. The sink leaked behind the kitchen wall and that had to be cut out. I hate money but that's OK because we never have it. Think how nice this house could be, if I hated yo travel and actually, imagine, loved maintenance?
|"Get in Bed or you won't get your flamethrower"|
|Our Motel was the Castle|
|Lunch in Pirates of the Caribbean|
|Mom and Lance|
|The Goofy Bunch|