Sunday, April 29, 2007

10 Years and a Speech

Diana has been a Girl Scout now for 10 years. On Friday evening, there was a ceremony to acknowledge the girls with their 10-year pins, as well as honor the girls who had completed their Bronze (Junior Scout), Silver (Cadette Scout) and Gold (Senior Scout) Awards. The Girl Scout Gold Award is comparable to the Boy Scout Eagle Award. My troop are all working on theirs...

On Saturday, the Annual Meeting for our Council was held at our local community college. It moves around to different locations every year, and it was our turn to host it. I had Renee spend the night, so she & Diana could help with setting up the tables & decorations. They were also supposed to serve the cake later on.

Besides the other hats I wear in Girl Scouts, I'm also a delegate. That means I'm supposed to attend these annual meetings, vote on changes in policy and leadership, and then report back to my Service Unit with details. This year was exceptionally long and boring, because we are being "realigned" from 4 councils into one for the whole state of Oregon. This should help with things like the price of cookie boxes staying consistent throughout the state (instead of our boxes costing $4.00, and Portland's only being $3.00). It's also supposed to help keep the training for leaders more consistent, and we should have more use of different facilities throughout the state, vs. just the 2 camps we had for our council.

Every year at the annual meeting, there is a flag ceremony (of course) and a girl scout does a short speech. Diana was chosen this year to be the scout. I knew she was supposed to give a speech, but I thought it was for a different Girl Scout event, later in May (and she is supposed to speak at that one too). Don't ask me how this slipped my mind, but poor Diana only found out at the girl recognition ceremony on Friday night that she was giving a speech on Saturday morning! Whoops! My bad!

She did great though. The topic was "What Girl Scouting means to me." In part of her speech she said, "Girl Scouting has also taught me to be prepared for things I don't expect, like being told I have to give a speech the night before I'm supposed to give it!" She did credit Girl Scouting for giving her great skills to work at her current job - the lawyer she works for was impressed by her long history with scouting, and figured her integrity, honesty and responsibility would be a good asset to his office. She talked about learning to make friends with people she didn't expect to be friends with, and about being confident and teaching others. Diana also asked, "Will Girl Scouting help me to become independently wealthy and never have to pay taxes? No." That got a good laugh :)

When she left the podium, she got a standing ovation, which was really cool, but just embarassed her. The president of the council came over later to shake her hand and tell her what a great job she'd done. Other people congratulated her as well. I was happy that she enunciated well, and didn't speak too quickly. Plus, she kept it short. The leader version of the same thing was nice, but was pretty dang long. I think that lady had 5 sheets of paper to read from!

Diana & Renee hung out in a break room watching TV while the meeting went on, waiting to serve the cake. Around 3:00, I didn't see anyone putting out cake, and things were starting to wrap up, so I located some of the ladies in charge. Turns out the cake was supposed to be served at lunch! The staff at the college had forgotten to put it out - and now it was locked in the kitchen, since the staff had already left! Whoops! If someone would have told either the girls or me when they'd be serving, we would have reminded them - but no one did, so there you go. I guess they'll just have to freeze the cake somewhere and bring it out at the bridging ceremony. I don't know what happened later, I had to get the girls back home.

Most likely, we'll have to attend Annual Meeting next year, just because I *should* have 4 girls getting their Gold Awards. They should be presenting at the Annual Meeting besides getting the award at the girl recognition ceremony on the night before. Hopefully, that one will run a little more smoothly next year.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Getting ready for Talent Show

Our Girl Scout Talent Show is May 6th. I'm not in charge this year (yay!).
My troop has decided to do a dance to a mix they created of various songs. They are still working on the dance, but yesterday, they decided to make the backdrop for the act. Each girl decorated a sheet, which will be hung behind them on stage.

So each girl wanted a different color. We went to Goodwill & Salvation Army in search of the sheets, but they only had white ones. So we got some RIT dye.

Somehow, the dye never does quite what you want it to do. RIT dye is great for making a faded red shirt back to a vibrant red shirt. Not so good for making a white sheet red. The best you get is a dark pink - I knew that though. Renee wanted a pink sheet. Amanda wanted an orange one. Since I didn't find orange dye, I figured we could dye Amanda's sheet in the red for a bit, then in yellow to make the orange.
Mary wanted a green sheet. I did get green dye, but I was worried it would be a blah green, so I figured if I dyed her sheet in the yellow too, it would be more of a lime-green.

Well, the yellow on pink made more of a bright salmon than true orange. And the plain yellow turned out to be a "golden yellow" which is essentially light orange. So now I had a dark orange and a light orange. Amanda was happy. She's keeping the dark one for her bed, and the light one to decorate. But that still left us short sheeted (hee).

Mary came over early yesterday, so she & I went with Connor to Wal-Mart. Turns out Diana was fine with white sheet, and they sold green sheets! Best of all, the Wal-Mart sheets were only $2.98 each! The Goodwill ones had been $1.99, and I also had to buy dye! Same time & money & just go to Wal-Mart first next time (tho there won't be one, I hope).

The meeting yesterday was pretty much setting the sheets out on the front lawn, weighing them down in the corners with rocks/bricks, and painting their names & designs on with tempra paint. Each girl did their own thing - and I'm sorry Amanda, I didn't get a photo of yours :(

The sheets are all drying in my daylight basement right now. Tempra dries slowly in damp weather, but at least it didn't rain on us!

And yes, Renee is wearing my old sweatshirt from when we went camping at Joshua Tree to see Halley's Comet MANY moons ago!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

Sunday, April 22nd - Lee made me a nice breakfast with an egg mcmuffin-type sandwich & hash browns, orange juice & coffee - yum! Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.

Lee got up early to do the paper route with Trevor, so I was able to sleep in (I usually do it). I got to read the paper between Happy Birthday phone calls - which was nice.

Diana drew me this lovely picture. I also got a couple of DVD's, an MP3 player, and of course, my bike & accessories.

Lee went to get the kids' bikes ready to ride - they hadn't used them in a long time. Their helmets didn't fit either, so we also took a little trip to Wal-Mart to get new helmets (and a purse for me, and some fish for Trevor, etc.).

The weather was iffy, so we decided not to go too far to ride. This was my first time using the trail-a-bike with Connor on it. I didn't trust myself going down our steep hill, so I asked that we load up all the bikes into the truck & go over to the school to practise. That worked out great.

Besides riding around the school, we also went through the new neighborhood next to the school grounds. While we're going along, Connor is calling out to people, "Good afternoon!" "Hi!"

We passed a group of kids playing in someone's front yard. After Connor called to them, they all called back, "Hi Connor!" "Have fun on your bike!" And stuff like that. They all knew who he was. Cool.

For dinner, we went to our new Red Robin. Diana always knows a bunch of people working there (but she likes her job better). We also went into the mall next door, and I got a couple of shirts :) Diana got a summer jacket/windbreaker for when she goes to Germany.
I don't have a picture of it, but this afternoon at work, I was getting ready to do the crossing guard duty I have this week, and in walk Amanda, Mary, Renee & Diana with a carrot cake for me! Surprise! I had enough time to eat a slice and they all got one too. They couldn't stay very long though, because they had to get out of the parking lot before the busses got too busy in there.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Truth, Lies & Videotape

Diana was involved this year in a video production class. All the students were assigned to do a Public Service Announcement to participate in the 4th Annual Truth, Lies & Videotape "competition."

Friday night was the Premiere of all the PSA spots that made it to the final part of the competition. This is put on by DC CAPS, which is trying to bring awareness of substance abuse to the area. They are teaching teens to make their own PSA spots, and then some will be shown on TV - Actual PSA's for the county. Pretty cool, huh?

In order to make the Premiere night a little more fun, the DC CAPS folks put out a red carpet, got a caterer, and rented a limosine, so the students could come to the event - kind of like the Oscars. There were paparazzi & screaming fans as well. It was open to the public.

Because we were doing Girl Scout stuff, and they love this sort of thing, the girls accompanied Diana along for the evening. They were allowed to ride in the limo too, and I think they hammed it up on the red carpet more than anyone else I saw (wherever would they get THAT from??).

I think there were about 10 high schools competing with the theme of "Stop it before it starts." Because of the high number of entries, this was the first year our high school had to vote on which PSA's could go to the competition (although ALL the students were invited to attend, ride the limo, etc.). Diana's PSA was a bit too "up" I think - she didn't make the final cut. Most of the PSA's we saw had some shock value, were in black & white, or used animation. The quality of our PSA's from our school was pretty high. If she'd been at a smaller school, her PSA would have been shown.

That being said, she thinks she can do a better job next year. She's already got her schedule, but you don't have to be doing video production class to compete with an entry. Now that she's seen the more hard and shocking angle you'd need for this kind of PSA, I think she can put something more appropriate together for next year.

She still got her little "Dougie" statuette - all the students participating got the same prizes - no matter where they landed in the competition. The only difference will be which ones are shown on TV.

We told Diana she should tell her teacher to post their PSA's on YouTube :)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Protect Yourself

Our kids are taught at school to use "Kelso's Choices" here. There's a whole cirriculum developed about making good choices at the playground and in school. When someone does something you don't like, try a couple of the items on the Choice list unless it's a big problem & you have to tell an adult.

Walk Away
Ignore it
Talk it out
Go to another game
Share & take turns
Tell them to stop
Make a deal
Wait & cool off
This works pretty well for keeping a playground or classroom disciplined & easy for teachers. It does absolutely nothing to teach a person to protect themselves. Kelso's Choices don't work so well in a terrorist situation. None of those options will save your life.
In self-defense class, I was taught to avoid dangerous situations as the number one way to defend myself. You can't really manage that if you attend school & a shooter shows up. We were also told in self-defense class, if the attacker has a weapon, do what he wants. This mentality won't help you either in a school shooting.

If a lone gunman is going to try to kill you, you have to fight back. Throw things at his head (cell phone, keys, books). While he's trying to avoid projectiles, tackle him. You can't wait for someone else to save you - you may have to be the one to shout, "Get him!" to spur others to action.
What have you got to lose?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

My Sunday Project

When we finished our add-on last year, we had to make sure we had enough drainage around the new room. When it was still a carport, there used to be a puddle of water at the outside corner any time we had any rain.

We have some bigger rock around the cement foundation to help let the water drain correctly. We still need to get a decent load of river rock and dump that all over the driveway, but we haven't gotten that far yet.

We did have some extra wood left over from the add-0n though, so Lee made us a little porch for the front of the room. As you can see from the first photo, it's not even with the walkway. Some neighbors & older folks were having a little trouble navigating the changes in levels.

I thought it would be cool to do a little stepping stone path. It kind of breaks up the front walkway a bit, and I was able to use the stepping stone my dad had made with stained glass. If you click on the picture with Connor, it's the one between his legs.

In any case, that was my project today. I guess it took about 3 hours to do the work. I had to save my bulbs before I accidently covered them up (on the Rubbermaid box). Lee got me a little shovel to dig the trench. I laid a base layer of small rocks & sand, and I got it as level as I could. It's actually at a bit of a slope, since the walkway is higher than the retaining wall. Plus I had to redo it once I got to the top row, since the retaining wall leans a little and I ran out of room. I had to go back to the bottom and that's why there are gaps in the bottom & middle layer of bricks.

I used some old chunks of cement we have left over from the room addition to fill in some of the space, then poured in river rock, and finally pea stones.

Hopefully this will help people when they come to visit! I think it came out pretty neat!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Thanks Aunt Donna!

(click the photo to see a larger image) Early yesterday morning, Lee's sister, Donna, was on her way to a conference. She stopped by on the way to drop off some important stuff.

Since Connor was wearing snow boots to ride horses, Donna thought he should have some real cowboy boots. She has friends that run a western wear shop, so she hopefully gets a good deal or at least knows when they have sales!

She went ahead & got Connor a hat as well, and brought all three kids western t-shirts.

Trevor & Diana were dragged out of bed for the photo, since they had Thursday & Friday off from school for conferences. Connor didn't wear the boots to school, since we want him to get a chance to break them in a bit first. He wore the shirt though!

Thanks Aunt Donna!!!

Friday, April 13, 2007

More Easter

Yes - they hunted eggs inside. It was raining by the time we got the eggs dyed and all (even though they didn't hunt the real ones.

I am going to go ahead and let my kids hunt eggs until there are grandkids. That's what we did at my house. We like the tradition.
Connor got first dibs with the "easy" eggs. But he kept opening them to find out what was inside. That takes too long.

Trevor & Diana let out little "yay!" and "Cool!" noises as they found the hidden eggs.

Fun stuff.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter :)

Quick & easy egg decoration...

Hard boil the eggs - we only did nine of them, since Diana & I are the only ones likely to eat cold hard-boiled eggs in our family.

Draw pictures, designs and/or words on the eggs with crayons.

Dye the eggs with hot water, 10+ drops of food coloring and vinegar.

We left them in for about 5 minutes each.

Enjoy your cool eggs!

Happy Easter from Tina, Lee, Trevor, Diana & Connor!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Cool New Bike

Lee figured out a good birthday present for me.

He knows I like to ride bikes. I use my exercise bike very regularly at home. We also live in a very scenic area, which lends itself nicely to bike riding. It's a bit hilly, but after I get used to that, I'll be okay.

This is the website for the bikes: Electra Townie bikes Look under Townies, Ladies, 3-speed. I just got that in Pink Pearl. The pearl finish actually shines purply in the sunlight :)

Typical of Lee, he researches everything first. He decided the Electra Townie would be a good choice. With my old ten-speed, I used to wear gloves to protect the heel of my hands, and I'd have to ride upright now & then to cut down on the low back pressure. These guys use "flat-foot" technology in the design of their bikes, so you're not hunching over for the whole ride. You sit upright, and you can put both feet flat when you're stopped. This is especially helpful with the add-on we want to do for Connor.

Since he's not really able to safely ride around on his own, we're going to attach a trailer seat for Connor. This way I can bring Connor with me when I bike around town, and he'll still be able to "help" with the biking. He just can't steer...

This is what that will look like.

Lee can also move the trailer seat to his bike if we want to ride around town together.

We're thinking Connor's going to get a big kick out of doing this. He already loves driving around just to look at the scenery. Ours will be black.


Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Tulips. I love tulips. I ordered them from Breck's a few years ago, and they just keep coming up with more flowers every year.
The purple ones are wood hyacinth. They grow wild around here everywhere, although these ones came with the tulips.

The red & yellow tulips usually come up first - pink, purple & 'black' will be later.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Suit of Armor?

I managed to get Diana's participation patches sewn on her vest. This isn't all of them. Older girls wear the same vest for 6 years - it used to be longer, but then they shortened it, and so we kind of fill them up.
The patches that didn't fit will go on a canvas bag she has for Girl Scout stuff (planning folder for her Gold Award..).
This is Diana's 10th year as a Girl Scout. Our Annual Meeting will be held here in town this year, so there will be a recognition ceremony for those girls with milestone years, bronze, silver & gold awards. I figured I should get her vest up to date before she's standing up in front of everyone to get an award.
Go Diana!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

A visit to the Ranch

Lee needed to do some computer work for Jim at his shop, so we dropped him off & then headed over to Kraig & Nancy's place to visit.

Nancy had let me know that one of the main reasons she even keeps Trinity, the white horse, is for the kids to ride. He's older, and prefers to walk slowly. He's perfect for new riders or smaller kids.

He's even safe enough to let Connor lead with someone else riding.

This time Diana was allowed to take Tia, the brown horse, out of the corral & arena areas and let her ride around the stables. Tia was nursing a hurt knee, so Diana was going nice and slow with her. Maybe next time when she's better, Nancy can lead Diana out along some trails further from the stables.
We got to go riding twice this visit. First in the morning before lunch, and then after lunch when Lee was with us.

Trevor had miscalculated how long it would take him to do his project for science, so he stayed at home and worked on that all day while we were gone. He learned doing research takes a lot longer than writing the paper.

Thanks Kraig & Nancy for a fun day!