Oh, the lovely colors of fall! Often, we do not get to enjoy these as much in in this part of the country as those from the New England area like to brag; this year has been an exception, to be sure. The girls have a long-standing tradition of going to a charming mountain town each fall with their Dad toting cameras and enough cash to load up on ice cream and beanie babies (they've mostly grown out of the last stage). Last year, Princess #1 was still learning to drive, and got some drive-time experience on the way up. Dad got a "learning how to sit in the backseat and silently white-knuckle the whole ride while Dear Wifey sits in the passenger seat and coaches" lesson. It's a hard lesson for either parent--I remember my step Dad teaching me to drive because my Mom recognized that she might kill me if she had to teach me. I love you, Mom, and to this day, thank you! We probably have a better relationship for your having let someone else teach me to drive... I recognize how tough it is for a parent to let the arrow loose from the bow--oh, how the string quivers after sending such a precious arrow out into the world. Anyway, that was last year (no, don't think for a second that we're "over it"). She's driving on her own now, working and attending the local college... She doesn't write, she doesn't call... sisters (and DH/DW!) are starting to wonder: when's she gonna come home!?! Oh yeah... The colors (isn't that how I started down this train of thought?) in the mountains are a most beautiful yellow of the aspens against the stark contrast of the evergreen trees on the annual sojourn to the mountains. Sadly, the beatles are killing more and more of those dark trees, and the contrast is more yellow against brown these days... very sad, but that is part of the cycle of life, I suppose. So, THIS year was a different story. In a rare sighting, Princess #1 actually asked if we could plan a trip to this secluded mountain town. Now, when it came time to actually go, it was a different story (she's working, or Dad's working, or birthday parties are happening--oh, but the list does go on!), but it certainly got us all thinking again. We have been especially blessed with an extended Indian Summer this year--heck, we're still picking tomatoes, although their ripening has slowed significantly in these past weeks. We have, however, had one of the most colorful falls I can remember. Oranges, reds, yellows--reds over greens, and more. WOW! And just enough rain lately to keep everything from drying out, so the leaves are still actually on the trees and yards are still (mostly) green. The Master has been at work again, and we there's not a day that we don't enjoy it. We have the beautiful mountains out our back door (okay, there are actually neighbors' houses in the way, but we can see them when we drive around), and stunning colors to amuse us. God loves you so much that he sends you flowers every spring, but fall will not be outdone with its stunning array of contrasting colors. I love God!
So, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but (no, not a miniature sleigh--it's not time for that yet!) a weather prediction of temperatures touching 30 degrees. Bummer! I wanted more 'maters! So, I made DH come out in the blustering wind with me to drain water out of the planter boxes and move the still heavily-laden, green-fruited vines into the garage. Whew, biting wind, but a hood makes ALL the difference in the world! He must really love me (yes, he does!) to brave the bluster. Yep, my gardening sickness will be allowed to continue, as the garden has taken over the second stall in the garage. Hey, since Princess #1 wrecked the car, we have the space, so why not? Okay, okay, so there's not much daylight that gets in--only the windows on the garage door, but it's going to give them just a little more time to ripen those tasty toms, and save us some on our grocery bill at the same time. Interestingly, we bought some yellow and red peppers from the grocery the other day, and when I cut them up and sampled them, they had very little flavor compared to those that my taste buds have come to love. Don't even get me started on those pink-fleshed, mushy-mess spheres they pass off for tomatoes in the produce departments of our local grocery--there is simply no comparison to the sun-warmed tomatoes on my plate! Then, did I mention I woke up to a BLIZZARD this morning!?! It was pretty short-lived, but I sure am glad Dear Hubby and I brought stuff in last night. Yep, that snow-covered flowering color-bowl is from just this morning!
Let's see, before I write a book (which I am planning, by the way, but not here...), I should let you all know that Princess #2 has started her first official job at a deli/bakery at the local mall. DH and I went to pick her up last night, and I asked if we could go a few minutes early. We just stood there and watched her helping customers, working (!?!), and smiling. We commented that we may have to come and watch her work more often, just so we can see her smile--she is at "that stage" where the bedroom is the only place she'll be unless we insist she come and join us. We just don't get to see her much; it's not quite time to let that arrow go, but she thinks she's already left. If only she would figure out for which target she is aiming... She'll get there eventually. I keep reminding myself of a statistic I heard on James Dobson's radio program that said something like teenagers have the same brain-wave patterns of a psychopath. A PSYCHOPATH!!! How's THAT for encouraging? Well, he also says, "Just get them through it, and they'll come back to you." We spend all kinds of time in prayer for all our princesses, but for #2, it's that she'll preserve herself long enough to find (and then stay) in God's will for her life.
Speaking of just getting through teenager-hood and praying, I'll ask that you all remember our family in your prayers, because our Princess #3 has just turned 13! Yes, she's already displaying some of the classic teenager syndrome; but to be fair, she has had two shining (uh... ?) teenager examples to follow! Thirteen is a big one; I still remember mine: our family always saved the Japanese Kitchen Steakhouse trips for the "big" birthdays--13, 16, and the like. Well, I think I still had the picture that had been taken at my 13th until just a few years ago! Anyway, #3 had 6 friends over, and her Mom picked them up and took them to get manicures and then dinner at Red Robin. Then back to our house for gifts, cake (which I decorated myself, thank you very much!), a costume party and sleepover.
Go figure, the biggest girl (not big around--she's athletic, very tall and muscular!) had to dress as Wonder Woman, and kept taking "Wonder Leaps" off the couch in the basement. Not a problem if you have concrete-slab basement; however we happen to have elevated subfloors and the house sounds like it's coming down when wonder leaps are performed. Princess #1 took pictures of the girls in their costumes, which I then surprised them all by putting on CD's so they could take them home. Cute pictures... #3 and the friend with whom she is writing a book both dressed as ninjas-in-training (ever seen Naruto? No? Well, consider yourself lucky!), and of course they had to have mock fights where Wonder Woman was lasso-ing, Ninja swords were swinging, drama queens (all seven of them!) were flailing, wailing, and all were generally hamming it up. And CONTACTS!!! Did I mention that DH and I got her contacts?!? She's so excited--but it's going to take some time for her to get used to them. Best birthday in memory, she says. Mission: ACCOMPLISHED.
On that note: sayonara!