A blog for the extended Boosman family

16 November 2002

Fall Comes to the Country...

Autumn is my favorite season in North Carolina. Typically, it is the longest season, too, since we have very mild winters. But this year, since we had a very long, hot summer, Autumn seemingly came overnight. When the kids and I drove down to Charlotte, the freeway was lined with trees in tones of red, orange and yellow. But, I didn't take any pictures. So, I took some around the neighborhood to give you an idea.

This is the bottom of our cul de sac. Notice someone even has their fireplace going:

This is a view from my backyard looking down the hill. (My actual backyard is mostly pines and they don't turn pretty colors):

And lastly, this is a picture of the front of my house.

The big tree is an oak that actually was partially destroyed in Hurricane Fran in 1996. But, it has come back very nicely. The one right beside it is a maple and was partially destroyed in an ice storm during the time that I was in California, but is also coming back. At the very front, at the edge of the driveway is what I call my "Christmas Tree". It's a Douglas Fir that I planted the year before we moved back to California. It was a stick with two tiny branches when I left. Now it's about 3 feet tall and eventually will probably be a Christmas Tree for us...because I planted it too close to the driveway and the roots will buckle the cement if I let it get too big. Oh well...

I love the Fall Season.

Those two dippy dogs....

Some of you have actually met Shasta the Wonder Husky but some of you have not and only a few of you have seen Whisper, the '"puppy" so I thought I would post a picture of each of them. Here is Shasta:

and here is Whisper:

They are both "rescue" dogs. Not in the sense that they can rescue people but that THEY were rescued. Shasta was found wandering on a street in Nebraska. She was the first dog that the Midwest Animal Shelter (now Hearts United for Animals) advertised on the web for adoption. She flew from Kansas City (closest major airport) to Charlotte back in August of 1995. Frank and I drove to Charlotte to pick her up and while Frank was the first one to see and speak to her, she has always been my dog. I've always wanted a Husky and even though Frank was not too keen on getting another animal at that time, he agreed that this Husky needed to come and live with us. She has been a joy! She is the most laidback dog ever. Her only flaw is that if she gets out, she will run and never look back. Fortunately, she's getting older (she's 8 now) and fatter (aren't we all?) and we can usually catch her now.

Whisper was adopted on July 3, 2001--two days after we arrived back in North Carolina. We were at PetsMart and they had a posting for black lab pups. I had promised Kelsey a dog once we moved back to NC, I just hadn't intended for it to be that quick! There had been a litter of about 12 puppies that a dog owned by a migrant worker had given birth to. Some had been hit by cars because they were living near a major road. A woman had taken pity on the puppies and had been feeding them and had posted the notice. When we got there only two puppies were left, both females. We chose the larger of the two because she came when we called to her. However, Whisper has struggled with a lot of fears. We joke that she flunked out of Puppy Kindergarten because she would get so petrified she would just lay down and wouldn't do anything. Actually she passed beginning puppy kindergarten, she just flunked out of Senior Puppy. She still isn't the most well-behaved dog, but Kelsey loves her, I like her, Cameron tolerates her and Duncan wishes she would vanish. Shasta will occasionally play with her and she has become best friends with the new kitten, Daffodil. I thought she wanted to eat her because she looked so interested in her, but it turns out they are the best of friends. They occasionally sleep together and even groom each other sometimes. She is mostly Lab but she's got a bunch of other things in there, too. (I personally vote for Great Dane). Her mother was a mix that looked like Collie and Doberman. Her father was a purebred Lab. She looks like a Lab with a longer snout and a skinnier body. Cameron calls her "Blackie DumbJaws" and that's pretty appropriate.

For me...I'm done adding animals to the house. Everyone gets along fine and having the animals helps me out when the kids are gone at Frank's house. I don't feel like I am the only one here. Out of the 5 animals that we have now, 4 were rescued animals and that makes me feel good--that we are doing something to help abandoned animals

10 November 2002

In Search of the Holy Grail

On Saturday, November 9th the kids and I made the trip to Charlotte on a quest. The first part of the quest was to attend the Carolina Renaissance Festival near Concord. The kids and I had been to a Ren Fair in Las Vegas in October of 2000 and thoroughly enjoyed it. That time, we were in costume since my sister, Kathy, was participating in the Fair as a merchant and she loaned us costumes. This time, we did not go in costume but had a good time anyway.

We were quite amazed at how "professional" this festival was. They hold it every weekend in October and November annually and they have an entire "village" that is permanant. Quite a difference from the one in Las Vegas which is just set up in a large field.

In typically "male" fashion the boys wanted weapons so I let them buy a wooden sword (Cameron) and a wooden spear (Duncan) with warnings that they were not to be used on sisters or certain poorly trained black dogs (Whisper). Here are the boys with their weapons:

Kelsey chose to spend her souvenir money (plus some of her own) on having her hair braided is a "medieval" style. Here she is getting her hair done:

And here she is after it was finished:

After spending about 3 hours at the Festival we decided to start on the last part of our Quest...the ultimate reason that we had driven 3 hours to Charlotte...

Yes...we went in search of "Jack in the Box". For a long time, Jack in the Box was only a West Coast restaurant but has recently made some inroads in the south. The closest one to us is in the Charlotte/Concord area and we figured we would seek it out when we went to the Festival. Cameron is a BIG Jack in the Box fan and so I wanted to make sure we stopped by. After two trips up and down the freeway trying to spot it, I finally pulled off at Concord Mills, an outlet mall. I figured I would find a phone book and look up the exact address as I hadn't received precise directions to its location. And the mall off ramp was the Grail...Jack in the Box!

Overall, I don't think it lived up to its promise. They didn't have the Teriyaki Chicken bowls that Kelsey and Duncan liked and I can no longer eat an entire Ultimate Cheeseburger. But Cam got his Chicken Strips and I ate the insides of the Ultimate (Bacon) cheeseburger and the other two had food and Oreo shakes, so everyone left happy. Now, if we can just find "In 'n Out Burger" somewhere close!

03 November 2002

Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue

When the kids and I were living in San Diego, we had occasion to go to one of my niece's Color Guard competitions. At the time, Kelsey was very impressed and expressed an interest in doing something like that herself. We tried the Step Team last year, but the group's style was a little too aggressive. This year, she had the opportunity to join Apex Middle School's first ever Color Guard team. Here is a picture of her practicing: (Kelsey is second from right...dark pants)

On Saturday (November 2) they had an all school band competition called "Cary Band Day" (Cary being the town right next to us). Apex Middle School was the only middle school that was invited to attend. All the other bands were high school bands from North Carolina and southern Virginia. I was introduced to an entire "culture" that I was not aware of--Band Parents! These parents follow their children to all their competitions and sit in the freezing weather watching their children perform. I had to drop Kelsey off at 4:00 but her performance was not until 7:10. I sat in 40 degree weather for 3 hours waiting for a chance to see her "do her stuff". Except for the weather, I really enjoyed my time there. The bands were great and the kids looked like they were having such a good time. Here is a picture of Kelsey out on the field: (Kelsey is to the left)

All in all, I thought she did a wonderful job and I was glad that I got the chance to see her perform...cold or not! Next time though, I will bring a heavier jacket, mittens and hot chocolate!

The "Bit" Turns 14

Cameron's 14th birthday was November 1st. He opted to have a sleepover with one of his friends. He has known Kevin Phillips since 1993. They met in Karate class when we were living in Morrisville. Though Kevin is actually Duncan's age, he has been close friends with both of our boys for all these years.

We used to call Cameron "Bit" when he was very small. For the longest time he didn't seem to grow and so Frank and I started calling him "Bit" as in "Little Bit". Duncan used to call him "Beety". Well, that "Little Bit" just passed me in height. He is now over 5'6". I was walking out of a restaurant recently and put my arms around his shoulders....and I was looking directly into his eyes! I asked him, "When did you get taller than me?" In some ways, it's hard to believe that this is my little "Bit".

Cameron got some nice gifts...some Magic cards from Kevin, a battery operated airplane from his dad (and some money to help pay off his computer) and a Lord of the Rings Risk game from me. Duncan gave him some Gundam figures, but Kelsey gave him his favorite gift. It's a bi-plane made out of soda cans. We found it at the Apex "Peak Week" festival in September. Here is a picture:

And here is Cameron and his cake. Don't you just love his shirt?

It was a dark and scary night....

Well, Halloween was a lot more quiet this year then I remember from years' past. We had about 50 kids stop by, but considering the size of the subdivision that we are a part of, that's not a lot. I think a lot of the kids are getting to the age of our children and deciding that they are too old to "trick or treat". Duncan did not participate this year, but opted to help me hand out candy. He had wanted to help out at his dad's but his father was out of town on a business trip.

Cameron was dressed as a wizard. With his costume from last year (when he went as Ardath Bey from "The Mummy") and a spray-painted flag pole as a staff he made a pretty decent wizard:

Kelsey was supposed to be an Elf Queen but ended up looking more like a Renaissance woman. I wasn't home when she started trick or treating so I didn't get a chance to try to fix her ears or her hair. But, she was happy with her look anyway. She was out trick or treating for over 3 hours!

Another reason that we may have had a lower turnout was the weather. It was 35 degrees out. One of the coldest Halloween's that we have had in a long time. Fortunately, the kids all had costumes that they could put warm clothing under. I remember being a kid and wearing a "fairy princess" outfit and having to wear a sweater over it! Totally negated the effect of being a "fairy"!