Saturday, July 28, 2012

Reunion Saturday and Talent Show

We woke to grey skies and cool weather.  Isabel decided she wanted to go boating with family members, but quickly changed her mind when she felt the cool winds.

We played mini-golf instead.
Third-cousin Charlotte, Isabel and Jacob
 After lunch,  Isabel went for a hike with David and her first cousin Juliette, while Jacob went to play tennis with Clyde and *I* went to the house to read, shower and relax.

We got ready for dinner (I had a cute up-do)

It's a braid, but my hair's so dark, you can't see it.

(Oh, the night before I had my hair done real cute too and got lots of comments.  Hair twists.  I did not take a picture, but it looked like this picture below, only MUCH better.  I had good hair luck for the reunion.)

Then, it was time for the annual talent show.  The fact that this family gets together every 2 years AND we have a talent show just floors me.  Sure, it may be hokey, but I LOVE IT!

Here are a few samples of the talent show.  These below.....are my in-laws.  For reals!  They are awesome!

This is pretty odd but fun!  A nose flute.  Uh huh.

There were people singing, playing guitar and doing gymnastics.

Some people showed videos, others read letters commemorating loves ones who had passed since the previous reunion.

David's sister and family did a long skit based on Disney music.

There were games, interviews and some really funny clog dancing.  Sort-of.  See below.

I laughed so hard.

And finally, the show's closing.

Family is SO MUCH FUN!

We went back to the chalet, changed into pj's, put the girls to bed with a movie and played Pictionarry until past midnight.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rainy Family Reunion Thursday & Friday

Our first two days at the reunion, Thursday & Friday were cool and rather dreary.    The weather channel LIED, I say!

But nothing can deter us from family fun!  Thursday night,  we unpacked at the chalet and headed to the lodge for dinner and then the boat house for our hellos.  Nothing much happening Thursday night.  Many were still arriving late that evening and early Friday.


 Cousins at Victoria's Chalet
Cousins in the chalet.

Jacob F
That wall paper!

Silly cousins
Silly cousins, at breakfast in the lodge.

Dreary day
Gray day at the boat house.

Skipping Rocks
Skipping stones.  From Left to Right: David's brother Justin, David's brother-in-law Leif, David, Jacob and cousin from the Philippeans, Clyde.

Dreary Thursday in W Va.

Family singing
Friday afternoon singing after lunch at the boat house.   We had a little over 100 relatives there.

Even with all the drizzle and gray skies, we played games like

Juliette & AJ

It's croquet
croquet and even some

Tennis anyone?

Going for a ride

The girls played on the playground& and then decided it would be cool to catch some crayfish. Ew.

Crawfishin' Cousins


We headed back to the house, played some board games with the family and crashed hard, ready for more fun on Saturday.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

And We're Back!

We're back from another wonderful family reunion up in Terra Alta, West Virginia, at the Alpine Lake Resort.  These reunions are from David's mother's clan, on her father's side (David's grandfather).  They hold these every 2 years at different locations throughout the U.S.  Sometimes we can go, sometimes not.  I've been to four.  David's been to 8 of 13.

When I tell *my* family about it, they can't believe it.  It amazes them that people will travel from California, Florida, the Philippeans, Toronto, New York, etc. to be at these reunions.  It also makes some of them roll their eyes when I mention talent shows, singing songs together, hiking, reading, playing board games, etc.

I love it.

I love the togetherness.  It's great, great fun.

At Alpine Lake, some family members stayed at the Lodge itself and others got to stay in villas around the area.  My mother-in-law's immediate branch (she, her husband, 4 kids and grandkids) total 17 in all.  WE got to stay here:


Victoria's Chalet.  Aweeee-some!  All 17 of us fit in perfectly.  The only downside was that the owner of this rental property divided it up to get maximum usage.  So the upstairs does not connect to the downstairs inside.  If I wanted to see my in-laws or Jacob, or get to the main kitchen, I had to use the outside stairs to go down.   We were on the front left on the second floor.  In the rear left were my mil and fil.  On the front right upstairs were my sis-in-law and her husband, and in the right back, in a room with 2 beds, the 4 girl cousins (Isabel included) shared the 2 beds.  In between the rooms upstairs was a large living room with two couches, tables, etc.  My nephew slept in there (once the bat situation was cleared up!)

Downstairs left, we had a room with two beds, for my brother-in-law, his wife and their 2 babies.  On the bottom right we had a room with 2 beds for Jacob and my single brother-in-law.  In the rest of the downstairs, we had couches, a mini bar, fireplace, dining room table, full kitchen with another table and a laundry room.

Every bedroom had its own full bathroom.  Like I said, awesome.

The rear of the chalet.  The stairs on the right are my stairs; they're on the left if you face the house from the front.  The rear rooms are the ones I mentioned were the 4 girls, and my in-laws.

So yea, bat.  The middle top common area had a bat in it.  We closed it off but this made getting to Isabel's room a mess!  I either had to go downstairs, across and back up the stairs (my knee!) or walk through my mother-in-law's room, out a back door, in another back door, and then the keys we had did not work on all the doors.  The first night was a logistical mess, but once the pest guy came the next morning and got the bat out (and patched a crack where he got in), we are ok to walk through the common living area to get to each other's rooms.

Well, that's all for tonight.  I'll post more in a day or two.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Joss Whedon, S.Q.U.A.T Leader

I follow Geek & Sundry on YouTube, but have been out of town/no computers for 4 days, so when I came home, I got an email from pal Niki asking if I had seen it.

This is a new thing they're doing on Wednesdays: "Written by a Kid."  The kid tells it, they animate/create it.



Monday, July 16, 2012

Ava's First Birthday Party

My niece Ava's first birthday was Saturday in Palm Beach County.  After spending a week planning and baking, we loaded up the car, (including my mom who flew in to Orlando to visit and then have us drive her down with us for the party) and headed out for the 3 hour drive.

We arrived and set up the cake.

Kaaren's Kakes
More pictures on my Cake blog.

Isabel was immediately greeted by a two year old who fell in love with her. It was the sweetest thing!  He followed her around and kept kissing her cheek.

Isabel has an admirer

The party was pink and black, baby skull themed.  Rock & Roll, baby!


Party time

Ava was given her smash cake but she wasn't quite sure what to do with it.

Ava and her smash cake.

We have some talent in this family. Big sis Brenda is an artist. She made a special gift for Ava and wrapped it in this amazing box she created too.

Awesome gift wrapping

Isn't it adorable?!?! All handmade.

Homemade Doll

Then it was time to get changed and get in the pool!

The birthday gal in her suit.  Those LEGS!!  I want to eat them!

Birthday Baby

Isabel enjoys the pool.

Pool Party!

We then left mom down there to spend time with her other 2 daughters (Brenda and Vicky, Ava's mom) and  drove back home.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Ten Years Since Firefly

It KILLS me that Comic Con is so far away! TEN years after it got cancelled, "Firefly" still has an amazing following.

This is an awesome, emotional panel.   The 10th Anniversary Reunion.  My favorite Joss Whedon show.  Enjoy.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sci-Fi Hoedown: The Dresden Files

Dresden Files Pictures, Images and Photos

I've been reading Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series off and on.  I am currently on book 5.

I decided to watch the Sci-Fi show "The Dresden Files," even though friends have told me it was not very close to the books (and not very good period.)   The author was even quoted as saying that the tv show was not the books.  That is was based on an alternate reality/version of the books and if you watch it thinking it will be about the books, you'll be disappointed.   Too bad they didn't just follow the darn books.

Every episode is a Monster-of-the-Week.  There's no long story-arc.  There's hintings of past events, etc. but there is no Big Bad, no long sweeping arc; it's kind-of boring.  Every episode gets solved in 42 minutes.  Bo-ring.  No wonder it got cancelled.  You need an arc, people!  And evil uncle mentioned once in a while does not cut it.

The only episode where you see anything remotely like the books is episode 8; Storm Front.  Episode 8 was supposed to be 2-hour pilot.  The network, for whatever reason, did not use it, so they took the 2 hour pilot and chopped it down into a one hour story.  It's in this episode you see a lot of book 1 Harry.  They did cast a blonde white girl in the role of Hispanic Susan.  Boo.  Other than that, we see the Blue Beetle make a guest appearance in a garage being fixed.   It was weird seeing episode 8 because you could see the exposition that would have worked for a pilot episode.  Sticking it in as a random episode felt off.

The differences between the books and the show are obvious and sometimes silly.  BookHarry carries a staff with runes.  TVHarry carries a hockey stick (no joke) or sometimes a drum stick (not chicken, for playing drums) as his power staffs.  Really?  Only is episode 8 do we see runes on the hockey stick, and that was supposed to be the first episode, not episode 8.  BookHarry hides his staff in a long black leather cloak.  Maybe the production staff did not want to have to deal with that long cloak and hiding a staff, but a hockey stick?
BookHarry lives in a cave-of-an-apartment in a basement, because his magic powers tend to zap anything electrical.  BookHarry  has no lighting, no electricity, no central heating.  TVHarry has an amazing home/office space with a gas stove, working lights and all the creature comforts.  I like that BookHarry can't be near technology because he fries it.  In the tv show, they do mention that Harry has problems with technology, but not until like episode 6, and of course episode 8, which was supposed to be episode 1.  All out of order.
BookHarry has a ghost named Bob who lives in a skull.  TVBob does live in a skull but 90% of the time, he takes on a human form to talk to Harry.  That was a weird adjustment.

BookDetective Murphy is names Karrin.  TVMurphy is named Connie.  Big whoop, I know. (from imdb: "The character of Karrin Murphy became Connie Murphy for legal reasons after it was discovered that there is an actual police officer named Karyn Murphy in Chicago." funny)   The tv version though, is not as clued in to what Harry does as the book version.  The book version has her on a squad that just deals with supernatural cases.  She and Harry are really tight.  The TVMurphy acts like she can barely tolerate him.  Bah.

Like I said, all the episodes are M.O.T.W. so there's nothing really to be invested in.   Paul Blackthorne is a good actor.  He is apparently 6' 4" but he does not look that tall in the show. I was surprised to read he was 6' 4".  BookDresden is tall too.  He's got a sexy charm in the show.  Not sure if BookDresden does.  (side note: the actor's got some full lips.)  Good actor, just..bad writing, or bad story-arcing.  Something.  Not his fault.  They should have had Jim Butcher write for the darn show.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

June 2012 Reads

  • "Hot Six" by Janet Evanovich (book 6 of the Stephanie Plum series.)
  • "Summer Knight" by Jim Butcher (book 4 of The Dresden Files series.)
  • "Les Miserables"* by Victor Hugo
  • "Seven Up" by Janet Evanovich   (book 7 of the Stephanie Plum series.)
Wow, what a bad month for books.  What was I doing in June?  I was a slow reader in June I suppose.    

The Stephanie Plum series STILL keeps me laughing.  Man!  Are people in Jersey really like this?!?!?

I'm plugging along with the Dresden files series and have started watching the ill-fated series.  I'll post a Sci-Fi Palooza post on that one.  The book was full of fairies fighting and background politic craziness that has Harry going crazy.  It was a good book; verse tense and exciting.

"Les Miserable" by Mr. Hugo.  Poor Jean Valjean.  His conscious would not let him let an innocent man go to prison, and thus continuous problem after problem.  I liked Mr. Valjean; his life changed forever by the kindness of a random Bishop.  Oh, it's too long to go into.  It's a wonderful book about sin and betrayals, misconceptions, freedom and love, penance and forgiveness.  You should check it out.  

*Classics list

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

More of Isabel's Drawings: Adventure Time

I can't get over how good she is with MS Paint!!  She's on an Adventure Time kick.

Adventure Time, (with Fionna, Finn, Cake, Jake, Lady, P.B, and LSP)!

Princess Bubblegum and Prince Gumball

Marceline and Marecel-lee

Fist Bang, (Fionna and Finn).

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Pony Party

In the midst of all the graduation/college fun, I have not forgotten Mrs. Squeaklefritz.  We play a lot of  Connect Four, Chutes and Ladders (still a favorite of hers), Uno and of course Lego building.

Early in June, she asked if I would play with her.  I feel a bit bad for her sometimes.  Her big brother is in college mode and does not have time for an 8 year old.  Oftentimes, I end up being her playmate.  When the family was here for graduation, she was so happy to have her 7 year old cousin here to play with.

So we went into our play room/guest room/treadmill room and had a Pony Birthday Party for Fluttershy.

Birthday Pony  Fluttershy enjoys a dance with a friend.

We even invited the Potters from next door.

Twilight Sparkle dances with a new friend.

Cheese! Charlie Monkey and Rainbow Dash.

The Potters enjoy a ride.  No wands on the ride, please.

Then it's time for cake.