Saturday, December 23, 2006

Flypaper and 8yo "creativity"

Ah, yesss--the bliss of spending the afternoon on my bed, feet propped up, pillows behind my back as I read books and knitted a sock. (It was also necessary because my back is spazzing and cramping up for some odd reason or another, and the only way I could stretch it out was to sit that way.....unless I wanted to walk around like a gorilla with knuckles dragging on the ground. Bed: muuuuch better option.)

So I repeat this tale not as a participant, but a gleeful bystander, informed after the deed was done. My dear daughter S. made flypaper this afternoon. She took one sheet of paper, an entire bottle of Elmer's glue, and the majority of my breakfast bar space and went to town spreading the glue all over. Then she went outside to play.

A. discovered the tacky mess a while later. She was in the backyard, sticky from fingertips to elbows, now with the addition of dirt affixed to the remaining glue on her body. A. called her in, scolded her, and sent her to the bathroom to wash.

Now, Elmer's glue is water-soluble, fortunately. However, water just wasn't cutting through the tack. Mom tried the countertop bleach wipes next. Nope. A. finally got the WD-40 and a metal spatula and scraped the glue off, revealing the laminate. Voila!

Making the punishment fit the crime--S. has to sweep the back porch. So mean of us! :)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Live from Puyallup!

First off, I have to apologize to Tammy for this picture because my camera is lame and I can't retrieve the better of the two pictures we took!! When she gets home she'll upload a better photo of the two of us, I hope!

We entertained Tammy and Kevin, and Hank and Lavonne tonight at dinner! So for those of you who like to know bloggy connections... this is Rebecca's brother and mother and sister-in-law. And new step-dad. ;)

Adding to the mix we had Crystal's brother Richard too (my favorite "anonymous" commenter here). So it was a big reunion. Unfortunately he left before the cameras came out.

And do you see the ball of self-striping yarn in front of me?? :D :D Tammy gave it to me to make a pair of socks!! I'm excited. We tried to get started on it tonight, but between family and children interruptions, plus the fact they have to get up very early in the morning tomorrow and left early... we didn't get a chance to get it started. Ah well.

4 days to Christmas! We've decided on turkey for the meal.

SO if I don't post until then...merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

"You can borrow brains...

...but you can't borrow character." That's what Dr. Bob Jones, Senior, was once quoted as saying.

So in the spirit of "Borrowing Brains" --or in this case, IDEAS -- I'm going to post my weekly menu here. That way I can feel free to completely disregard it or move meals around as necessary!

Sunday Dec. 17- LEFTOVERS

Monday Dec. 18- Ham sandwiches on ciabatta bread
Baked Macaroni and cheese
Overnight salad
Banana pudding

Tuesday Dec. 19- Grandma Sandy and Grandpa Larry arrive!! That is, if AMTRAK gets them here on time... >:O|
Mashed potatoes
Green beans

Wednesday Dec. 20 - Andy makes dinner.

Thursday Dec. 21- Company Casserole (yep, because COMPANY IS COMING)
Filet Mignon and caviar (ha ha, that's what Hank said he wanted. HA HA HA.)
Salad brought by Lavonne
Garlic bread
Fruit dip and/or chocolate fondue with apple slices, clementines, grapes, strawberries, pound cake and shortbread

Friday Dec. 22 - Eggrolls
Stir-fry noodles or rice with vegetables

Saturday Dec. 23 - Pizza and salad

Sunday Dec. 24 - Christmas Eve! Leftovers, likely ;) - a fancier-than-usual smorgasbord in the evening with shrimp cocktail, smoked oysters, sliced pears and apples, and crackers and brie.

Monday Dec. 25 - Christmas Day!!
Roast Beast or Pork or Turkey (we need to have a family discussion about this!)
Broccoli Casserole
Baked potato
Apple Pie
Pumpkin Pie

This doesn't take into account any trips to Buca di Beppo or the Outback Steakhouse that my dad might want to make. :) But it's a start.

Oh, and I can't forget to get the Little Smokies sausages for Christmas morning.

Blog Worlds Collide

So Crystal and Aaron and crew stopped over today on their way back north - D and S were ready to play and sure enough, soon after Micah came in, he asked, "Where's the toys??" (it was too cute) .

And of course we had to have pictures. Sorry about the backlighting. Here's the happy nuclear Microsoft family:

And one of the two bloggers:
Note to self: pictures don't lie. I'd better get my sorry carcass back to Bally's, and fast. (Ha! "fast" indeed!! )

So Crystal and I were talking about just how who knows who, and how did we all end up on each other's blogrolls, etc. It's just a small world, is all! :) I read all her friends' blogs and let me tellya, she knows some interesting people.. Or at least they can take a boring story and make it interesting!! ;)

So for those of you who are wondering just how I fit into Crystal's life... she was in my husband's youth group when I first moved out here to WA. She was the yearbook editor, the pianist for Norselanders (HS jazz ensemble), and the resident Vulcan of the youth group. ;) I sang a solo at her wedding to Aaron when I was T H I S B I G pregnant with Number One Son. And, we have taken piano lessons from the same lady.

It's Christmas time, and former youth groupies are coming home to WA to visit. Be prepared for "Blog Worlds Collide - part deux" !!

oooo, secrets, yesss preciousss

Nice to have power again

Thursday night we had a rather wicked windstorm move through the greater Seattle area. We were prepared: candles, flashlights, pitchers filled with water, peanut butter and jam.... yeahhh, we can handle it!!

The winds were kicking up around 7:30 - lights flickering - power surges- then as A. and I lay in bed reading books (A - Truth Matters by John MacArthur; me - Eragon again, since the movie's coming out soon) the power went out about 11 p.m. Storm really hit about 1 or 1:30, though we couldn't really tell since the power was out. :) When all was said and done, we'd lost about16 feet of backyard fence--NOT the one we replaced back in June!! And it's the neighbor's fence, technically. So that was a blessing.

Friday morning was chilly but not too bad. We prepared to go out to help some of the single ladies in our church who live in fir-tree neighborhoods. Had to take three different routes to get there because of trees over the road and power lines down. We spent some time raking tree debris out of her front yard. It was a mess!

Our power came back on around 9:30 a.m. yesterday, so we really did not have too much inconvenience at all. Crystal is still without power even now--and hopefully she and I will get together later today before she has to go back to her northerly neck of the woods.

OH! Kids had karate graduation scheduled for last night - they're being promoted to green belts (Finally) - well, with the power outages, everyone and his cousin Bob were out on Meridian S. Hill last night to be where there was light and heat. It took 20 minutes to get from 112th to 118th (That's 6 blocks). We gave up on graduation and went back home.

So I will enjoy my coffee and hot breakfast this morning and be grateful that I am no longer part of the million without power.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Nutcracker: Sweeeet!

This morning we had our last music teachers' meeting of the year. We had a tea/brunch, then played duets and solos from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite. Nyaho was there at the beginning but had to leave (yes, I did have a lesson with him and it was good). I played in a flute trio for "Dance of the Reed Flutes" and it was rather fun all around.

This afternoon did some grocery shopping as a family whilst storm and wind and rain pummeled us on the outside. AND I went to the library for the first time in months! (I am not going to make my Newbery goal this year. But perhaps in 2007.) Instead of going for books primarily, I went to the CD's and got some Madrigal Songs by a group from Cambridge directed by Rutter; Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 1; Thelonious Monk (jazz pianist) and Don Byron (clarinet). How's that for diverse genres? Not sure yet about this Don Byron; I really liked "Bug Music" but this CD's starting off a little odd.

For dinner tonight: Feijoada ! yummm. Pronounced "fay ZHWAH dah" - it's a Brazilian dish with black beans and sausage. I serve it over rice. Got the recipe from a Brazilian's wife, so it's good and presumably authentic.

D has been feeling under the weather and I'm a little run down myself. Fortunately I don't have any commitments the rest of this week except school.

Kids are complaning of hunger (bottomless pits!) so I must tend to the rice and feijoada. Ciao.

Monday, December 11, 2006

translation: "BORING"

Take this test at Tickle

Anne, your flavor is Mellow

Like vanilla ice cream or fresh bread, you're an easygoing and friendly person who's a staple to have around — always enjoyable at any time. With your relaxed attitude, you're both reasurring and refreshing, and this makes people around you feel at ease.While others may be fiery and hot-tempered, you always find a way to keep calm, cool, and collected. Your laidback and low-key attitude is what flavors everything you do — from spending a day at the beach to hosting a backyard BBQ to watching movies at home. No matter what you're up to, it's sure to be fun and have a feel-good vibe. Cool!

What's Your Flavor?
Brought to you by Tickle

To play or not to play

Tomorrow morning I have the oppty to have a lesson with Dr. William Chapman Nyaho. He's a wonderful person, and a fabulous pianist. He's filling in for Dr. Jacobson whilst she's in Australia visiting her daughter & co.

But I've not practiced well!! Do I want to go tomorrow and pay money to embarrass myself, or do I still go, suck it up, and learn what I can regardless??

I see the problem here: I don't want him to think ill of me, when I have such a high regard for him. You see? FEAR OF MAN.

THEREFORE, I will suck it up, and go.

Tonight I have a choir party. We finished our Christmas concerts last Saturday night and tonight we turn in our music, as well as celebrate. It's a dark, stormy, windy, rainy night, but I'm gonna go. I put some leftover soups in the crock pot - so Proverbs 31 of me~! - so the family will be provided for in my absence. I've made ham, pickle, cream cheese rollups with olives for horse-doovers (you know, I don't know how to really spell that word and I'm too lazy to go to right now to look it up) - and all I need to do is put on some festive lookin' clothing and out the door I go!

Sigh..... A. just walked into the bedroom and made the following statement:

"Just for future reference....the crock pot works much better when you plug it in."

*evaporation of Proverbs 31 ideals* -

ah well, a choir-partying I go. That's why there's microwaves.

Can't Stop Eatin' These Horse-Doovers Recipe:
  • thin-sliced deli ham, blotted dry on a paper towel
  • softened nonfat cream cheese or neufchatel cheese
  • dill pickles, halved or speared (depending on diameter)
  • olives, your choice of black or green
  • frilly toothpicks
Spread cream cheese on ham. Put a spear of pickle at the end of the ham. Roll up, slice in 1" segments. Stick a frilly toothpick through an olive, then into one of the ham/pickle sections.

I can't stop eating these! I ran out of olives and just made the ham/cream cheese/pickle spears and it's still great.

Family is distraught that I'm leaving with 72 of these for the choir members but none for them. Will have to make more later (I bought 2 packages of the toothpicks :) )

Friday, December 08, 2006

~Da-who Dorays, Fa-who Forays~

TODAY! Yes, TODAY we brought the tree into the house, set it up, and gave it a drink for the first time since Andy chopped it down on Monday.

*praying our tree doesn't become a Krispy Kritter until the next 17 days have gone by...*

I don't recall helping set up the tree when I was a kid; Mom did most of it. But I've learned to step back and let the kids put up the ornaments, and who cares if it's not perfect? They're excited and eager to help. They even helped to put up some of the lights.

Hang on...oven's beeping...have to stir the caramel corn.

We're going to sit down and watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas, followed by A Charlie Brown Christmas. And munch on caramel corn!

I'll edit the pictures in later. Meanwhile, here's the caramel corn recipe that I LOVE. (I have a microwave version that's not as messy; this is the oven version)

  • 1 c. butter
  • 2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. light Karo corn syrup (or golden syrup)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 batches of air-popped popcorn (near as I can figure, this is about 18 cups of popped corn)

Have your oven at a low 250º F - get a large dutch oven or roasting pan out and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Make popcorn and dump into the pan. In a medium saucepan, melt butter, then add brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Stirring constantly, bring to a boil. Remove from heat; add baking soda and vanilla. Pour over popcorn, stirring to mix.

Bake in a low oven for one hour, stirring every 15-20 minutes.

Serves - well, it depends on how much you like this stuff. Me, I walk by and grab a handful if it's out. So I try to save this recipe for December only!! Then eat celery the rest of the day (*sigh*).

Kinda like eggnog. We've had our gallon for the year; we're not buying any more. And fruitcake too. My husband actually enjoys fruitcake, so we buy the ones that Costco makes.

Whoops!! Movie time~!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

St. Nicholas Day!

Well, my waffling about Sankt Niklaus hasn't made a lasting impression on my youngest halfling. See, every year the local fire department decks out Engine No. 2 with lights and puts Santa up on top, lit up with floodlights. Then they blare Christmas music out of the truck and drive slowly up and down the streets of Puyallup, giving candy canes to all kids. They do this in different quadrants of the city over the span of several days. It's great fun to see.

So tonight was our night~! Kids heard the sirens and music and went bonkers. "I-hill ha-have a-huh bluuuuuuuuuuuuuuee...............Christma-hus......without you-hoo......" was blaring as the truck drove down our street. Very happy kids. Santa, candy canes, and Elvis. What more could you ask for? After all, thanks to Lilo and Stitch, the kids think Elvis is a model citizen.

And today, December 6th, is actually St. Nicholas' Day. The kids' teacher, who is Greek Orthodox, told me that her church "adopted" 4 women/families that were living in the local Safe House and are helping them to have a Christmas. Someone came out dressed up like St. Nicholas and retold the ancient story, then provided the women and their children with needful gifts. I thought that was pretty cool.

BTW to clarify- yes, I homeschool. But yes, the kids have another teacher. We're doing a virtual public school - where I/kids do all the work - and we have a teacher resource for support and encouragement. (grin) ...AND accountability! We're in the Washington Virtual Academy (WAVA). Several other states have the same program. California, Colorado, Idaho, Florida, Pennsylvania all come to mind. At any rate... my taxes pay for it. No out-of-pocket for me. Some HS'ers have told me that I've "sold out" though--- I'm not really a homeschooler anymore, I'm part of the public school system. (some of these people can be very violent in their opinions!) But it's not their responsibility to educate my child, it's mine, and I must do what is best and right for US.

Which is why I don't criticise people for putting their kids in brick and mortar public schools either. Not my business, not my family...they have to do what's right and best for them!

Sorry about the tangent. Just rambling.

Which also reminds me, it's also St. Penny's day.......which, being interpreted, is my sister in law's birthday!!! Eeep! I'd better get that card in the mail. *rolling eyes*

AND speaking of cards, my Christmas cards are IN THE WORKS. No February mailings for me this year! ;O)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Worst Burglar Ever

He's got determination, I'll say that for 'im.

Regrouping and Borrowing twice

Math, math, math.

I've just endured three...THREE hours of tears, yelling, and frustration over 13 subtraction problems that require you to borrow from both the tens and the hundreds columns and regroup as ones and tens.

Just so you all know, and in the spirit of full disclosure: according to my son I am a tyrant who makes all this stuff up to torture children; a dictator who likes her own way; a person who will probably throw the block of cheese at her son if he gets the problems wrong; plus to top it all off I like to spank my children for no reason at all, just because I like it.

Enough about MY morning, how was yours??

How do those homeschooling moms do it? With eight kids all lined up like so many ducklings in a row, perfectly groomed, hand-sewn jumpers that all match, yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir,

I am NOT WORTHY. I cannot beat that. I can't even attain to it.

I know I've quit before but this time I mean it!
Probably. Maybe.

I need some personal regrouping time! I am drained and it's barely 1 in the afternoon. I have a very energetic, brilliant but foolish, OPINIONATED son and I thank God for his mind. JUst pray God will change his heart. I am not the Holy Spirit (reminding myself).

OKay. Making a cup of tea now. Kicking the family out of the house to go to the library.

For dinner tonight: Crock pot potato and ham soup. Nice to have at least one of my ducks in a row, even if school absolutely bit rocks today.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Grief, but not hopeless grief.

My heart is breaking for my dear friends Lori and Joe.

Yesterday morning Lori was able to hold her 15-day-old baby for the very first - and last - time. He is now at peace and completely healed in the arms of Jesus. His struggles are over.

The struggle will remain for Lori and Joe, and their sons Christian and Aaron. I pray that God's love will sustain them and His grace will overwhelm them during this time and in the difficult weeks to come. Lori knows and loves her Lord (as does Joe), and the family's prayer throughout all of this has been for God to be honored and glorified...whether by life or by death.

We wonder "why" - but we need to remember WHO our God is. It's not a big deal to bring joy out of good/easy circumstances.... but it takes an omnipotent God to bring joy out of evil and calamity, which is just what He can do, and has done countless times in the past.

May God be glorified in Isaac's brief life, and in his passing.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

yep, SNOW~!

....not much, but like I suspected, all area schools are closed today. It's not going to get above freezing today, so the snow will stick around for another day or so, and what's on the roads will turn to compact snow/ice.

I'm so glad I don't have a commute to work any longer! Though if I were working my former job, I would have had today off anyway. (Teacher, and all that).

So here is the great blizzard of 2006 in Puyallup. Observe the vast quantities of snow....literally an inch or so! (sarcasm font used here)....

These photos were taken in the early hours of the morning.... amazing how the kids woke up so eagerly!

Monday, November 27, 2006


I know, I know...some of you midwesterners are going "Big, Fat, Hairy Deal" -------but for this California native, this is WAY COOL!

Pun intended.

This morning we had a mere dusting of snow. Result: Puyallup schools were 2 hours late.

Right now it's coming down steadily (fun to watch!!) - I'd guess we have 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch. Bet me school is cancelled tomorrow.

But not here! (evil laughter)

We'll have PE first thing, I think, making snowballs of whatever snow we can find. Good stuff!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Everything on a waffle

Bathtime is time for pondering. I do it extensively myself, and have passed on the bathtime pondering gene to my daughter, aged 8.

Queries she, from the tub: "Mama? Do you believe in Santa Claus?"

Me: "Well, whom do you mean by Santa Claus?" (so very Bill Clinton of me......what is the meaning of "is" ?)

S: "You know, the one who comes down the chimney, eats cookies and drinks Coke."
(They have seen the advertising pictures of Santa drinking Coca-Cola; therefore, Santa must have Coke with his cookies.)

Me (waffling): "Well... there is an historical person named St. Nicholas. Signed the Nicene Creed and all that. Good man, very generous, helped others...."

S (insistent): " But what about SANTA CLAUS?"

Me: "I'm getting there! Hang on!! In German, Saint Nicholas is transliterated as Sankt Niklaus-----which, if pronounced quickly, sounds like 'Santa Claus.' "

S: "So, who comes down the chimney?"

Me (more waffling): "Erhm, well, there's lots of legends and things that have built up over time.....ohh... there's the phone! Excuse me!!"

What's the matter with me? Why couldn't I find the courage to say "SAINT NICHOLAS IS DEAD BUT HIS LEGACY LIVES ON!"

We've never actively promoted --or conversely, DENIED --the existence of Santa around here as some believers do (like, we never call him SATAN Claus, as some do) - so this is just what she has picked up from the popular culture.

She also believes in the Tooth Fairy.

So I'll let her live in childhood for a little while longer, neither confirming nor denying the existence of Saint Nicholas/Sankt Niklaus/Santa Claus.

Happy Thanksgiving!

What will you be doing for Thanksgiving this year? We will be having two couples over, and one single woman will drop by after she's off work (double time and a half, can't pass that up!!).

I don't have to make the turkey this year!! So I'm making the bread for the stuffing (let's hear it for bread makers, woot), and last night I put together the green bean casserole so all I need to do is put it in the oven. Tomorrow afternoon I'll do potatoes.

Oh. Pies. I'd better do some of those too. S. wants to make "Fruity Graham Cracker Mix," a recipe she has invented. She's been hounding me to make graham crackers so she can do this.

Her recipe is as follows: grind up graham crackers, mix with some vanilla yogurt, and add berries. Mix well and serve for dessert.

I will have her and D. help me make pumpkin pies this afternoon when I'm done teaching. (sigh)I tried to move all my students to Monday and Tuesday afternoons so I could have today off, but it was a no go for three of them. And they're all spread out throughout the afternoon, not in a nice neat little chunk! ah well.

Okay, question.....centerpieces. Are they NECESSARY, or do they just get in the way of the food? I think they look lovely and all - but my experience has been that they're just frou frou to make you look more like Martha Stewart. AND they get in the way of the food.

I'm willing to be educated by other more worthy women on this topic....especially if it's easy and cheap.

Okay! off to get the day going! :) Don't become so "Martha-ish" today and tomorrow that you forget to be a Mary!

Those words are for me as well. Blessings.

Monday, November 20, 2006

New Link~!

My dear friend Lori (whom God and the U.S. Army moved to the other side of the United States) has just given birth to their third son Isaac.

As Isaac was developing, the doctors determined that there was a hole in his diaphragm, so his stomach and intestines were actually pushed up into the chest cavity, creating difficulty for the heart and lungs to fully develop and be in their right places.

So they've known since pre-birth that the baby will need to have surgery. Right now they are just waiting for Isaac to be strong enough to do it. You can check out the current situation at! :) And prayers are most welcomed.

I'mma puttin' a link over here too <-------------- so you can find it more easily.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


I've had it with "Christian" internet forums.

Over the last week I've witnessed so many Christian men and women duking it out, drawing lines in the sand over vagaries, and in general behaving just as unbelievers do when they get in a scrap, that I cannot in good conscience link to a particular site anymore.

I will read the blog part, perhaps, but I'm vamoosing on the forums. I've read women's posts verbally attacking pastors on the forums (get in your place, girl!), younger men rebuking older men, and overall, people behaving as unsaved people do.

It is dismaying, sickening, and just plain wrong.

And I have many more profitable things I should be doing with my time. Farewell.

Holiday Spirit

(in other words, too lazy to think of my own post, so I'll meme this one!!)
HT to Rebecca (via email)

1. Eggnog or Hot Chocolate? Eggnog!

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? Santa brings one "big" gift, unwrapped.

3. Colored or white lights on tree/house? White on tree (usually); colored on house.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No

5. When do you put your decorations up? In bits and pieces after Thanksgiving (a box at a time).

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Broccoli casserole.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: I was traveling somewhere in the car with my parents. Snow was falling (so this wasn't Santa Maria!), and I was hearing Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" on the radio for the first time. I didn't know who the composer was, or what the piece was called, but it was the most beautiful song I'd ever heard. And I didn't know how to explain to my mom that I wanted to hear that song again and again--I'd try to hum the tune, but it never got through to her! :)

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? What?? What do you mean??

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? No. Always wanted to, because Diane got to!

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Something old, something new--always something homemade by the kids!! Just about every ornament we put up has a history behind it. I love it.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love it!

12. Can you ice skate? Not very well. I'm a good rollerskater though. Remember Xanadu?

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? A jewelry box Andy made for me out of lilac wood. It has a lavender stripe in the grain.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Slowing down and taking time to have fun.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Hard to say. Probably caramel corn. "Moose Munch"!

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Going out to get the tree, then going out for hot chocolate afterwards. Then watching The Grinch and A Charlie Brown Christmas.

17. Turkey or Ham on Christmas? Ham!!

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? I’d rather give.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? O Holy Night.

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? hmmm

Okay! If you feel like doing this on your blog, please let me know in the comments so I can come read it . Consider yourself tagged.

Friday, November 17, 2006 does it again!!

This is the followup video to the original Diet Coke and Mentos experiment. Note that at the end of the video, they are looking for other creative souls to join them in their quest for creating Poetry in Motion.

Someone better tell Alan and John to get crackin'. This is right up their alley!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, "live"

Today we parked the car at Freighthouse Square, took the LINK train to downtown Tacoma, and went to the Tacoma Art Museum's monthly free day.

While there, we saw Eric Carle's artwork!!! Up close and personal! You could even see the pencil lines he used in making his pictures of the Very Hungry Caterpillar. That was a favorite book around here, as well as Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?. I stood and stared for a very long time, thrilled in a way I couldn't really describe.

The other highlight of the TAM for me was a sound sculpture called "Conloninpurple" by an artist named Trimpin. You stand in the middle of this room, surrounded by purple "trumpets" and resonating tubes suspended in mobiles from the ceiling to close to the ground. Under each tube is a wooden marimba block, and a little hammer comes up to strike the block, and the metal tubes amplify the sound throughout the hall. These are in turn wired to a computer MIDI file, which will play various songs (original compositions). The sound encircles you completely, but not overwhelmingly. As the mallets strike the marimba blocks, the action will occasionally cause the trumpet mobiles to spin slowly, adding to the interest.

Of the family, I was the one most interested in it. Kids went upstairs and were happily painting in the hands-on art room. :)

So I got my day off, basically, even though I was still called "Mommy" and/or "Honey." Thanks for the encouragement.


(singing to theme song of "Cheers"-) "You wanna be where nobody knows your naaaamme....." - least of all "Mommy" or "Honey."

I want a day off!

Rant ended. Selfishness abounding in my heart. I'm going for a coffee. Need some perspective.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Photos of our recently-redone living room, now with new wood blinds!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Bloggy Link to Tweedygirl/Susan

Her "Things I feel strongly about" is worth a click.

I got a lovely chuckle out of it. Maybe you will too. I will have to think about what I feel strongly about. I'm very often like Charlie Brown, who, of course, in Lucy's opinion, is too wishy-washy.

Mmm. That reminds me--this was Diane's chief complaint of one of her former boyfriends in high school... who shall remain nameless. (Unless you bribe me. wuahahaha.) But the letters "y" and "e" are in his name. Hehehehehee...and that could be several people.

Moving right along! Gotta get ready for Kids 4 Truth.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

"my mind is going, Dave...I can feel it..."

I think blogging is a very good thing for me, personally. Not thinking of the four of you who read this, but for me, MYSELF.

You see, I have NO memory for details. I am currently IM'ing with my college roommate's husband - recalling their wedding day (I was a bridesmaid) - and I'm finding that I can't remember the most basic of details, as in, who else was in the wedding party. And I went to college with all of them.

I do this with other things too. Details of my children's lives. My childhood. Stories my parents have told me. It's slipping away. I'm getting Alzheimers, and I'm only 36.

Therefore, it will become increasingly important for me to jot down details of my daily ins-and-outs so I can come back here and READ it, and hopefully a small, dim bulb will come on somewhere and I can say...ohhhh...yeaaaaaaaaahhh!!!!! I remember NOOOOWWWW!!!

This will only be good as long as Blogger holds up, or the internet stays online. But it's a start. And maybe, if I've forgotten enough, I can sit and read snippets of my life as a kind of spectator. I wonder if I would cheer or boo?

Now there's a deep question to ponder. "Will this activity I am pursuing right now, which I will record in my blog later on--make me as a Spectator of My Life cheer, or boo?"

Even more deep, and should have been the first question I thought of: What does God think of what I'm doing?

Have a blessed Lord's Day.

oh.....and does anyone know where the title quotation comes from?

Friday, November 10, 2006

It's Fall!

So I've goofed with the template again. :) Enjoy, for a few weeks.....then it'll be time for Christmas decorations around here.

I have to figure out the right size for bullets and comments! pft.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Much ado about...

Well, not exactly NOTHING, but the river did NOT go over its banks in Puyallup. It did do so in Sumner and in Orting, though. Here in Puyallup it got to 28.7 feet - it floods at 30.

I'm glad the Fire Department was on top of things, evacuating people in the farmland/lowland areas around Riverside Elementary and Duris' Cucumber Farm. So I don't think they were in your dad's neighborhood, Crystal.

Meanwhile, exciting things! Last night I was fiddling with our printer, which has had a Matthew 18 problem with the computer (they weren't talking with each other, so I've been unable to print documents for about 3 days). As I was goofing with one of the USB cables, the computer reset. And when it came back up, it had a bunch of corrupted files. Most notably, when I pulled up Thunderbird, ALL THE EMAIL WAS GONE and it was asking me to set up a new email account!!! ack@!!!

I spent an hour on the phone with our techie friend Dave, who had me trying various things with no success. And *hanging head miserably* the last time I cloned the hard drive was, oh, back in MAY. So much for having a backup. Bad, bad bad.

So my desktop computer is sitting, cold and abandoned, by the front door so Dave can take it and run some diagnostics on it. At least we have determined that the clone, though out of date, does work properly (I was able to take out the clone hard drive and boot it up on Andy's computer system, which is identical to mine). Dave thinks it's a hardware issue - perhaps the motherboard has gone haywire and started corrupting files; perhaps it's all tied to this printer thing...who knows? Dave's a genius, though, he'll figure it out.

Meanwhile, I am trying not to panic, nor think about how much my life now depends on silly email!!! Or that I do not have hard copies of all the "vital information" that I have left in the email files!!

Stop thinking. stop thinking.
Much ado!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Flood update

Well, looks like I spoke too soon: the Puyallup River is expected to crest OVER the River and Levee Roads in the next few hours - so the fire dept is going door to door, evacuating people. This is different from the warning from the dear weather service:


I repeat, however, this is not in my section of the city. However, our friend Norm has his automotive shop over there so A. is going to see if he can help him move things up and out of the way. (edit: A. couldn't get down there, so no go.) I hope he comes to get us so I can take some pictures. (edit: He did!)

Here's a couple photos taken with my camera!
This is taken from Levee Road into Fife, looking south over to River Road. If the levee weren't there, all of Fife would be underwater!!

This, again, is from Levee Road, looking at the 66th Street bridge which joins River with Levee, and Puyallup with Fife.

Interesting things we saw floating down the river into the Puget Sound: much timber, a cooler, and ...a washing machine!

Okay, enough weather education for today....must move on to grammar - helping verbs, and the use of "bring" v. "take."
fun fun fun!

Pineapple Express

If you've watched the news lately and know where I live, you might think that we're all knee-deep in alligators by now.

We're not; however, I won't deny that it's been VERY wet around here! Yesterday there was a great deal of standing water on the roads, which made for very slow driving as people did not want to flood out their cars. (I've done that before--the mechanic had to take the car apart, and use his air hose to blow dry all the parts/connections. THAT WAS EXPENSIVE!)

Anyway, the nearby Puyallup River is flooding up in the town of Orting. It's about 3x higher than usual. We live about a mile and a half from the river, and about 8 miles from Orting, so no worries for us. It's all on its way down.

A. wants to go down to the river and watch the flotsam go by. I remember one wet year we saw a shed floating away down the river, on its way out to the sea. Wonder what became of it!

ANYway, this wet front is what's known around these parts as a "Pineapple Express." Basically, a warm wet system is coming up from Hawaii and drenching us. When a Pineapple Express converges with a big cold front down from Alaska/Canada is when we get a huge dump of snow. In the absence of a cold front, we just get warm, windy rain. Too bad we had that hard frost last week; we'd still be harvesting the garden otherwise! :)

Time to begin the day. Ciao!

Friday, November 03, 2006

What is it about mud?

This morning I was out, being a piano teacher Mary-type, sitting at the feet of a piano pedagogue and learning and taking notes. The WHY of technique. The HOW of scales.

Returning home to make lunch, A. tells me the kids are in the backyard. In the mud. Like, a pig wallow-sized amount of mud. Of course, S. is wearing pink and white. Why does it always have to be pink and white?? Probably to be more piggie like, I guess, but it's wretched to clean up I tell you. *(A's comment to me when I was whining about pink and white and mud: "That's all she EVER wears!")

So, out comes the spray nozzle, set to "jet" - we have to pressure wash the kids before they can set foot inside the house again! I tossed the wet clothes onto the garage floor with the other mounds of laundry (I have NOT been doing a "load a day," therefore I'm backed up again! argh. baby steps~! restarting!)

So now they're eating lunch (bread, butter and jam)(I'm out of cashew butter) - and it's time for school. Hopefully math will be as good as it was yesterday, nice and quick! I think D is finally getting the hang of regrouping.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


I've just made the switch to beta blogger. Haven't tried to look at my template yet to see how bad off it is......or if I've lost pictures or data.....gulp!

..........whew. looks okey dokey. But I see that the template is all HTML coded, like the last one. That'll make it easier to tweak this particular look; I'm glad. I know that the beta blogger has basically drag and drop WYSIWYG editing, so I'm glad I didn't lose the html capability. Was thinking I'd lose all my daisies and popcorn, I was!

Dinner tonight

Oookay! It's been a DAY. Morning was taken up by piano lessons. Afternoon was taken up with school. Then I took the kids 30 minutes out to Graham for karate lessons......where Sensei made them sit out, because they forgot to bring their kicks. AAAAAAAAAaaaah!

So I will share the thing that went right tonight: DINNER. AND it's cheap and easy too.

First, I made some brown rice. This takes longer than basmati or jasmine rice, if you don't want it to be crunchy. About 50 minutes in the pot. Then I heated up some organic vegetarian refried beans, and did a quick saute of chicken breast (cut in strips), green onion, and just a titch of green pepper (which the kids can't really eat).

Wrap it all up in an organic tortilla and VOILA! You don't even need a fork.

Filled with wellbeing and joie de vivre, I will now turn my attention to the mounds of laundry that need folding. Ciao.

Tomorrow perhaps I will post pictures of our new living room blinds! :) A. has to finish installing them, however. Then you can see our completely remodeled living room.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Baby, it's cold outside

This morning I checked the outside temp by looking at my computer: 19º F!

Until now I have avoided turning on the heat in my house because natural gas is so expensive and last winter's heating bills were exorbitant......but checking the indoor thermostat, my house was a toasty 55º . (Yikes!)

A. lit a fire in the fireplace, and we are all bundled up in flannels and blankets. Can't turn on the heat yet; it's not November! Actually, I begged A. to go get the air filters out of the furnace so I could clean them, then reinstall them and TURN ON THE DUMB HEAT! I'm breaking my own silly rule (more like guidelines, anyway). We almost made it to November! ;)

Because I am so cold, I am contemplating knitting some socks and mittens. But since I can only knit and purl and don't know how to read patterns, I think I'll just have to wear what I've already got. Not like I'd be able to finish them before it warms up a little bit anyway~!

Augh. been sitting here too long. Have to get up and move around!!

Because of the hard frost, today all the leaves will fall off the walnut tree in the front yard. Very nice for cleanup. One WHUMP and it's all done. It's rather like Charlie Brown's Christmas tree in that respect. I don't know if any other trees do that - lose all their leaves at once, rather than shedding them a few at a time in the wind and rain. Oh wait, a ginkgo tree does that too - WHUMP, hey presto, no leaves!

Mmmkay, it's time to go sit in the spot of sunshine in the living room and do some math. Lesson today is carrying over twice--though the trendy term now is "regrouping." 14 ones is "regrouped" as 1 ten, 4 ones. 12 tens is "regrouped" as 1 hundred, 2 tens. I still like "carrying over" and "borrowing" better.

MY NOSE IS COLD! I need to knit a nose warmer to tie around my head. I KNOW these have been made before because I've seen them.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Fall Frolic Recital and Mummy Cookies

D and S were in a piano recital this afternoon! S played Halloween Boo by Melody Bober, and Ghosties in the Graveyard by one of the Noonas. S was in several recitals last year, so this is old stuff for her. She was poised and did beautifully. (I know, I'm so impartial, but it's really true.)

D, however, experienced his first recital today. He played Grasshoppers on Parade by Susan Ogilvy. I have been on his case all week to slow down, mind the staccatos, slow down, where are the dynamics, slow down, etc. but to no avail. And, the way you practice is the way you'll perform, right?


He was petrified going up there. Sober as an AA meeting. Bowed solemnly to the audience, then began. Perfect tempo, absolutely perfect staccatos, mindful of dynamics... was this the same piece--or the same child? D finished the song, took another solemn bow, walked with poise back to the pew where we were, and then collapsed, head on my lap. "I almost flunked the recital!!" he whispered to me.

Really? Could've fooled me!

Sometimes a little stage fright is a healthy thing to keep a presumably ADHD boy focused.

Oh, and here are some mummy cookies we made and brought for sharing afterwards:

You need some cutout cookie dough, a gingerbread man cutter, some white frosting, and basketweaving tip 48 (using the smooth, not serrated side). Then pipe on tip 3 eyes and mouth in chocolate frosting (I cheated by opening a can of Betty Crocker frosting) - voila!

For the record, I really stink at making cutout cookies. So it was good these were all wrapped in bandages so you couldn't see their deformities! lol

Friday, October 27, 2006

An unfortunate refrigerator meme event

Mrs. Blythe tagged me to do this fridge meme a couple days ago, only I'm a little bit behind on life right now! So here is my fridge, which I did not alter in any way except to straighten the detritus on there so it was more mondrian. (I've been reading too much lately!)

Only Blogger is stalling out on the photo part, so I'll edit it in later. In the meantime, you'll have to suffer through the blow-by-blow explanation of what's on the fridge, unless of course you do the sensible thing and skip this post entirely, as it will only be mindboggling dull. (I sound like Lemony Snicket, don't I? I've just finished all 13 books of his in the last week).

Okay, so for future reference (when I get the photo to upload,that is!)

  1. Dry-eraseable shopping list
  2. Family photo taken two years ago, where Costco's photo developing department gave my husband a lobotomy.
  3. Photo of Kevin and Tammy
  4. Photo of my brother-in-law and family (cool church web site, whoever made it.)
  5. An older photo of my son, when he still had his baby teeth. (Hey, where's my daughter's photo?)
  6. A Far Side cartoon: "Hey, everybody look at me! I'm a cowboy! Howdy, howdy, howdy!" This reminds me of my friend Wally. I think I might have even gotten it from him in high school, can't remember. In which case, it's almost 20 years old. (GACK. AM I THAT OLD?)
  7. Two postcards of the Spruce Goose purchased by my son when we went to the McMinnville, OR, Aviation Museum
  8. A year-old photo of Grandma K. and my two halflings
  9. A photo of fall color joined with a photo of Lora and Dave's wedding picture at the beach
  10. Kiddie art. Of course. Color wheel made solely by mixing the primary colors of red, blue and yellow.
  11. D's list of laws. This deserves its own post. He wrote this down one Sunday morning. It's rather interesting to see how the mind of this 9 year old boy works.
There it is!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Territorial Altos: Junior High Repeat

Last night at choir, the director voiced our alto section. Basically, we went in the Aylen band room, sang a few bars, then he'd rearrange us into power clusters so the dominant singers are in the center front.

Now, realize that this is only my second semester in this choir; but at the first, even I experienced what could only be called territorial behavior by some of the more insecure altos in the section. My first rehearsal, an alto very sweetly told me that I couldn't sit between her and another singer, because she "had" to hear the other person sing.

I smiled to myself and let her have her way. This sounds arrogant of me, but I know what I'm capable of vocally, and knew that she'd only benefit by my standing on the other side of her. Anyway, that was last January.

Skip forward to last night. New semester, new music, and most importantly, new members to fit in and voice. Of our twenty altos, eighteen were there, so the director went ahead and voiced our section, beginning with the first row. He got them all sorted out in their new places, and sent them back in to where the rest of the choir were rehearsing with the accompanist. Then he voiced my row, got us all settled, and shipped us back in to rehearsal.

When I reentered the choir, my tenor friend, sotto voce, told me that the territorial altos had rearranged themselves and bumped one of the new members back to the far end of the row - NOT where the director had just placed her moments before. So very junior high! (The guilty party/parties were the ones who had informed me where I couldn't sit during my first rehearsal.)

Clearly this was a time to be bold. And, I'm the alto section leader, so I have the clout to do something about it.

Now, the denouement of this is not very dramatic at all; I just mentioned out loud to the director that apparently the front row altos had gotten confused because they sure weren't sitting where he had just placed them... and so the territorial altos, feigning confusion and uncertainty, allowed the new member to move back to her rightful place. And the most territorial alto? End of the row.

All this figurative scratching and clawing for what? An assigned seat? Are you in choir to sit by your buddy, or are you there to produce the best sound that you are capable of? Get your mind off yourself and your insecurities and get it back on the group where it belongs. Sheesh.

Anyway, problem solved, new member's feelings assuaged, and the territorial alto? I don't know yet. We'll see if I end up on her black list. But when I know I'm right, I'm pertinacious.

Word of the day.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The latest Snopes

Recently I was all fired up about forwarded email messages that were hoaxes.

This morning I received yet another one--about how to beat an email worm (should you happen to get one - update daily, my dears) by having the email address in your address book. Since worms supposedly go in alphabetical order, the first email would bounce, and thereby cause the worm to stop emailing all the rest of your real friends.

Again, a hoax.

Your PSA for the weekend. Cheers, all!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Mod Math Monsters from the Id

On Monday I introduced my kids to the concept of circle math - and had no idea why. They did just fine; I went into a tailspin trying to determine what possible purpose this serves.

Since then I've been trying to figure out the WHY of circle math and it's been a brainstretcher for me. I'd never heard of it, even. Came thisclose to emailing Crystal, but then decided to snoop around on my own first. Looks like we can thank Herr Gauss for this concept (he whose name is used as a unit of measuring the strength of a magnetic field)

I still don't understand it enough to explain it (therefore, I don't have a good grasp of it yet), but the lights are beginning to come on for me.

So Crystal, you and your bevy of math teacher friends.....did you ever use circle math/modular math in your classes? Either teaching or taking?

I never thought I'd find it in third grade!

I think I need to improve my mind by taking another math class. I feel like I've just been submitted to the Brain Booster machine used by the Krell on Forbidden Planet.


My mom-in-law calls this afternoon, hyperventilating:


She's leaving Seattle on Saturday morning; arriving at the Detroit airport I-don't-know-when; is being picked up by my brother-in-law; and they are going straight to Tiger Stadium. Comerica Park. Whatever.

To quote Napoleon Dynamite: "Luckyyyyyyyyyy!!"

Other odds 'n' ends - piano player for South Sound Classical Choir couldn't make it last night. He emailed the backup piano player, who either didn't get his message, or didn't get it in TIME, because she was in Leavenworth. So guess who found out she was playing third-string piano a mere hour before rehearsal?

At least I didn't have time to work myself up into a nervous, barfing wreck. It went okay. And of course, the choir members were kind to me.

Today we took a field trip to the Seattle Aquarium. I love to watch the sea otters and moon jellies; kids liked the tide pools where you could touch the sea cucumbers, sea urchins, stars, etc. Parts of it were under construction so not everything was available.

After the aquarium we ate lunch at Red Robin. Woot! Haven't been there in ages. We used to take the youth group there on Sunday nights sometimes, just because their french fries have free refills. I was good this time; I had a chicken caesar wrap. Now I need to go to DWLZ to find out how many Weight Watchers points that really was!

Taught a new student this afternoon. He's new to the area and a transfer student. We will have to do some serious review. He's in a method book that I have (over time) determined I do not like AT ALL, so I'll be moving him to one I do. His former teacher seems like she took a rather "whatever" approach, so he has tons of books that he can't really play from well at all. Very nice family.

And since we ate out this afternoon, dinner tonight was on the light side of things. A. ate a bowl of grape nuts, declaring that to be his supper. I made grilled cheese sandwiches for the rest of us.

Now this evening, piano, knitting, and relaxing.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

golden watermelon

Eeeeek! I just checked my receipt from yesterday's grocery shopping excursion. I had S. with me, and I usually let her pick out a piece of fruit to buy (instead of candy) to enjoy as we drive around.

Well yesterday she chose a watermelon. :) So I said, "sure, why not?" and we tossed it (Carefully) in the cart.

I did not pay attention while checking out. That watermelon was seedless, cost $.69 a pound, and weighed 15. 9 lbs!

Doing the math for you: That was a $10.97 piece of fruit!!!!

We will be treating this watermelon as gold, yesss precioussssss.

...and I will be looking at prices before buying ~!

braintwistedness and NCTMs

You know, I DID use my college degree for about five years before having kiddoes. But now that I'm a stay at home monster, I've had to do the ol' career switch, falling back on something I thought I'd neeever, eeever use.

Referring, of course, to the fact that I teach piano lessons from my home twice a week. My dear friend Di commented to me once, "How do you expect your students to practice when you never practiced yourself?"

An astute question, that.

REGARDLESS of the answer to that, which I am still pondering in various shapes and forms, as evidenced by my weekly parade of non-practicing students.... the fact remains that there are some serious gaps in my musical education, inasmuch as I chose to major in English/science and take a break from music when I was in college.

So--skip forward a decade, and into my life enters Mimi, and lessons with her. First class lesson, she started talking about scale modes like lydian, dorian, aeolian, etc., and I'm saying...."uh...WHAT?!" Clearly, I have some gaps to fill. She just spews knowledge out left and right, and occasionally some of it sinks into my thick head.

So several of the music teachers and I are taking classes with Mimi, specifically for the purpose of becoming Nationally Certified Teachers of Music (NCTM), which is offered through the Music Teachers' National Association. As for me, I don't really care about being "Anne Cognito, NCTM" --it's really more about HOW to teach piano, pianistically. Applied technique. Music history. All those things rolled up together.

Which brings me to last night's choir practice. We were singing Mendelssohn's "Behold a Star" - and at one point, he throws in this funky chord. Some kind of augmented sixth thing, functioning as a V7. So the director and I were bantering back and forth about whether it was a German, Italian, or French 6th. Now that I look at it again, it's a diminished chord; so does that still make it an augmented sixth? This makes my brain hurt.

I can't keep them all straight in my head. I have to see it on a sheet of paper and plunk it on the keyboard. The German sixth SOUNDS just like a V7 chord, but it's spelled as a sixth on the staff, and it resolves up and OUTward, instead of down. The Italian is like the German, except no 3rd degree... I think? And the French is something entirely different altogether, which I'm sure would please the French. I think it involves a tritone. I've been looking at a Wiki article to try to nail it down in my head, but so far, no dice.

ARGH. So all this braintwistedness in my head had better be straightened out if I'm ever going to have those four letters after my name.

Enjoying the journey...

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Where in the World?

Yesterday at the Best Store Ever (Value Village), dear hubby picked up a CD-ROM of "Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego?" for the kids.

Last night and today, all I'm hearing is, "Mama, where is Mobile? Mama, where is Annapolis? Mama?? Mama??"

And sometimes when they ask, I DON'T KNOW!

(For the record, I do know where the two places above-mentioned are located!)

I rot at geography. But I live with someone who's a whiz at it. Just ask him where anything is and you get a dissertation on climate, ecosystem, flora, fauna, and geopolitics of the region.

In family news, something big just happened. The Detroit Tigers have made it to the American League Championship Series. My daughter is proudly wearing her Tigers cap (provided to her by Grandma Karen, of course), having virtually no clue about the game of baseball, but it's all good with her. In two weeks when Grandma Karen is here, we will be watching baseball. This afternoon she grilled me as to whether I would be supporting Oakland or Detroit. No worries, Mom! Detroit! (On principle, Seattle fans hate Oakland). I think we got three long-distance phone calls today during the game with on-the spot updates: "It's the top of the 4th, 4-0 Tigers!!" "It's the bottom of the 6th, and 6-0 Tigers!!!!!!"

And I got a private (well, not now) chuckle about Alex Rodriguez being 0 for 4 today and getting the last out of the division series! Gee, stiff two other teams (*coughSeattlecoughTexas*) to claw your way to the Yankees to earn a ring, and perform like bollocks! Woot. Veeeery nice, 8-Rod!

So I wonder if my brother-in-law is following this? He used to be rabid about the Tigers, but when the players' strike of 1995 happened, his fervor cooled. His quote: "I didn't leave baseball; baseball left ME."

We shall see.

Don't be so gullible, McFly,..

If there's one thing that irritates me about the vast majority of Christians, it's that they're sheep.

And I don't mean sheep in the Biblical sense, as in "The Lord is my shepherd [ergo, I am a sheep], I shall not want." This is the proper position of the child of God: Following his/her Master, trusting that He will provide.

What I'm ranting about today is The Lemming Factor. The blind following of the Masses, no matter what cliff they're heading toward (or over). The group-think.

All right. I'll spell it out plainly. HOAX EMAILS. Nothing makes Christians look more stupid than their use of the "Forward" button for every heart-tugging, emotional slosh that comes down the 'net--or even worse, the hyped-up panic about some incorrectly researched article.

This morning I received one of the emotional glurge emails, about how AOL and ZDNet are tracking the number of forwards, donating $.30 each time to a family whose daughter has leukemia. Usually there's a statement like "if you delete this, then you have no heart" or other such rot, but unusually, this one did not have that.

As I scanned the header, I found no fewer than ten people I knew on there. It originated from a well-meaning but MISINFORMED Christian who didn't want to be considered heartless, I suppose.

THINK before you hit "forward." AOL will never know or CARE about what happens to this email.

Another notorious one that made Christians look like blithering idiots was the furor over a supposed interview with J.K.Rowling and the children who read Harry Potter were becoming satanists. This interview included such infamous statements as "Jesus died because he was weak and stupid," and "Harry is an absolute god send to our cause," (from a supposed Satanic High Priest in Salem, MA). (Erm, did you catch that? "God send" ?? hel-LOOOO. can you say... "irony" ??)

And Christians were in a tizzy. HOW DARE SHE SAY THAT!!! Hysterical emails flew back and forth across all American Christendom.

Yet if they had used their God given common sense and researched the facts, they would have found that the article in question was really from The Onion, an online satirical magazine.

In other words, IT WASN'T TRUE.

There is a solution, folks. You MUST add to your list of favorites. And you must patiently, graciously educate those who send around such nonsense. After all, I'm sure you've been taken in once or twice. I know I have been guilty of this occasionally.

And because I don't like the fashion of wearing egg on my face, I habitually check Snopes WHENEVER I get something like this. And you know what? 95% of these emails that are circulated again and again are hoaxes.

Don't be a sheep.

End of Public Service Announcement.
< /ranting font >

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Volcanoes, How Exotic!

Here you go, Mrs. Blythe; this is what I see all around the streets where I live. "Volcano Evacuation Route" !! These signs are stolen rather often, I must add. (Blurry picture from my camera phone)

Interestingly enough, on Tuesday the lahar sirens went off. I didn't worry; they always go off a little after 10 a.m. on the test days. However, none of the shorter people in the family would rest before I double checked the city web site to be sure it REALLY WAS a test. I also had to turn on KOMO 1000 news radio to prove it.

I would include a photograph of Mt. Rainier, the volcano I can see from my front yard, only it hasn't been out the last several days. This means we're getting rain soon- if the mountain's "wearing a hat" --or in this case, completely occluded.

Volcanoes and earthquakes and tsunamis--oh my! Livin' on the Pacific Rim is fun fun fun!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

must... have... coffee....

Went to a WSMTA leadership conference this weekend up at Snoqualmie Summit. I arrived late, due to a command performance at Mr. Willis' 90th birthday party on Saturday afternoon, which was a NO MISS thing. (After all, you only are ninety once!)

So after the shindig, I barrelled up Hwy 18 to I-90 and up to the summit. Made it in about 1 hr flat. Do not ask how fast I drove. Let us just say that traffic was light!

It looks beautiful up there right now! Leaves are beginning to change color, and I'd estimate that they're about three weeks ahead of us as far as fall weather goes. There was definitely a nip in the air.

I arrived just in time for dinner, and then there were meetings with the various music teacher chapter presidents and vice presidents. I was a mere acolyte, soaking in How Things Work In The State.

After the meetings I just hung out with Sharon and Mimi. I brought my camping airbed along so nobody would have to share beds :) - so I ended up on the floor underneath the open window.

Did I mention that this is elevation 3000' ? It was COLD there, sucker! I burrowed down as best I could, avoiding the draft as much as possible. As I drifted into a non-peaceful, light sleep, it occurred to me that if I wanted to be cold, I might just as well have stayed at home, where our bed is perched right underneath an open window so the cold air can drift down on me.

Let me clarify that the cold air is not MY preferred sleeping conditions, oh no. It is my dear husband's requirement. He does not like it hot. Nor do I, for that matter, but it has to be tepid so I can at least let my muscles relax, instead of having to shiver to maintain my internal body temperature~!

Anyway. The last time I checked the microwave time in the hotel room, it was about 12:30 a.m. Odd, fitful dreams. Cold air.

5:11 a.m.:

!?!??!!!!!! It sounded like the lahar sirens tests we have monthly here in Puyallup.

But people at 3000 feet are not in risk of lahar.

My two roommates slept on, blissfully unaware of this hill-shaking, nerve wracking siren. (They had earplugs, I was later to learn.)

That concluded my night's sleep. I lay there, half awake, noodling out what it could be for, and the only thing I could come up with was "avalanche warnings."

Later on this morning, the man at the front desk confirmed my theory. There's a training session going on right now for ski patrol, and they used the siren to get them up and ready to respond.

They certainly got ME up too!

The man further said that the siren sometimes goes off seven, eight times a day during the winter skiing season. Car accidents, fires, avalanche, it's all covered. yuck. I'd hate to live up there.

So, receiving only about 5 fitful hours of sleep, I really needed some caffeine to make it through the day.

However, the Boyd's coffee provided by the lodge just didn't cut it. Not even French Roast.

So now that it's 11 pm almost, I might as well just give up on the coffee idea and go to bed undrugged.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Money, Money

This charming morning, my dear husband volunteered to take the kids to piano lessons, allowing me to do some things at home.

Instead of staying home, however, I went to the bank, where I had an account to settle. :) literally.

On Monday afternoon, a new teller had failed to make a split deposit correctly. I noticed it after I left the bank (it was getting late and dinner was calling my name, "make meee, make meeee" - so I didn't go back to make sure it was corrected). Since then, I've been waiting to see if the error would straighten itself out (by checking my online banking), but alas, it has not. So not only did the teller screw up, so did the proofing department (or whatever the double-checkers are called. Rebecca, can you enlighten me?)

So this morning, as soon as the doors opened, I went in, armed with my information. Fortunately "my" banker was there, and she was able to pull up a proof of the deposit slip, where very clearly I had designated a certain amount to go to a different acct. In doing some checking, she was at a loss to see where my money had gone! So, she went ahead and made the deposit for me, using Bank of America's money.

That was a tidy 45 minutes gone, but not entirely wasted.

ON TO SCHOOL. We began math at 11:30 this morning. Skill to be learned: Counting back change. I had all these paper cutouts of $1, $5 and $10 bills, as well as real change from our change jar littering the table as we played "store." I would "buy" a plate of tortilla chips for $5.56, give the kids a $10 and make them give me change. If they did it right, they got to eat the chips (or what have you). And inflation/deflation was rampant. Sometimes the chips cost $12.23 and I gave them a $10 and a $5. Other times it cost $.49.

We took a break at 12:30. Confusion abounding. Lights coming on in S's head, but not D's.

Resumed at 1:30. AUGH. *Pounding head on table*

It's now 3:30. We just finished math. I think I'm going to hang out on this lesson a few more days.

But I'm gonna have to take a prozac first.

Money pressures can be very stressful!!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

It's a Doozy

The Fair ended two days ago, and I REJOICE in that fact. The insanity factor trebles around Puyallup for the 17 days of the fair. You just can't get around downtown conveniently, and that happens to be where I live and shop. However, I don't live close enough to offer Fair Parking in my front yard, the way some do. (I bet those people pay off their property taxes and go on a Caribbean vacation with the booty they receieve those 17 days!)

And, the Fair has changed the way you can enter the home-grown vegetables/fruit competition. No longer do they send out premium books; you have to go online and look at the PDF files to find out entry times. AND...They moved the entry deadline back by one day; therefore, we were unable to submit vegetables to get our Exhibitors' Passes (the only way our family of four can afford to go to the fair!!)

I was irritated at myself for not checking sooner, and irritated at The Fair for being so, so, so...I dunno. I was just irritated.

We still went for free (if you get there before noon) on the first day. And so did about 60,000 other people. I have never seen an opening day so packed. The scone wagon line went back 50 feet. Earthquake's line wasn't as bad, but they were moving slowly. We purchased only scones, burgers, and drinks, dropping a tidy $46. And the kids wanted to know why they couldn't ride rides! Ha.

September 16 was the Junior Gardeners Exhibition day. Your vegetable is your ticket into the fair! So we got in free a second time. D and S had chosen their prime vegetables the day before the fair started; most unfortunately we had also PICKED them that day, based on previous years' entry times. We could have left them to grow for another 10 days! But oh well. So, D and S both entered the "Largest Zucchini" contest. It was a wrench for D, having to give up "Walter," but he managed to keep control.

So, I'll let the photos tell the story from here:

D. and "Walter"

And for some stupid reason Blogger is being lame and won't let me post the piece de resistance. I'll save it for another post I guess.

It's a Doozy II

This is the photo I couldn't get on the first Doozy post :)

Second place!! We'dve PWNED the competition if only we'd left the zukes on the vine until the 16th!!

Ah well. Happy Child. :)

Mount Washmore

I woke up at 5 am on Monday, unable to sleep, thinking about the detritus remaining on the living room floor following our weekly Sunday night picnic and movie ("Another Thin Man").

So I figured I'd make good use of the quiet and aloneness of the early hour, and tiptoed out into the kitchen. A minute later, I heard my husband's footsteps and the sound of our bedroom door slowly creaking open. I peered around the corner of the kitchen to find my husband cautiously peering back at me.
"Oh, it's you," the relief evident in his voice. "What are you doing?"
"Can't sleep. House is a mess."
"Well, be quiet, ok?" and he shuffled back to bed.

Excuse me!!

So from 5:30 - 7 I did two loads of laundry, picked up the living room floor, and cleared off all the kitchen countertops. AND made coffee. :) At 7 I sat down to watch next week's video Bible study so I could make some preliminary notes, and by 7:35 I was sound asleep, scrunched into a shape that would help me fit on the loveseat couch.

8 am signaled the restart of the day when the rest of the household began filtering into the living room.

I got some checklists together for the kids' school, and headed over to Dr. J's to do the weekly cleaning. Moving furniture is such fun! Mimi dislocated her hip (5th time) two weeks ago, while she was teaching a lesson, so I am doing all the big stuff for her so she doesn't blow it again.

Returned home about 1 to find that dear husband had continued in the laundry tradition, so that there were about six loads of clean laundry on the couch! :) Now, I know that I preach the values of doing ONE LOAD A DAY, and it's very true, it's the only way I can stay on top of the laundry of four messy, dirty people....but I fall off the wagon occasionally often, I can't lie.

So this morning was Fold The Laundry And Put It Away.

Now I'm sitting across the dining room table, ignoring the child who is steadfastly refusing to do his math in a timely fashion. I have just informed him that he has 5 more minutes to finish up this particular assignment, and then anything else left over will be homework, done on HIS time, not mine. "There is no such thing as homework," he maintains.

Mess with me, child, and I will win.

I have just started the timer.

I love the tabbed browsing that Firefox has! I can have one browser window open with many different tabs at the top with different pages open. Hence I can switch back and forth between k12 screens and here rather quickly and easily.

Oh, joy! The child is now Focused, Intent, and Working Diligently. WOOHOO!

Argh. It's so difficult not to get an argumentative spirit sometimes, or to respond in kind when the children are grousing about school (the old "martyr" routine; "Look what I'm sacrificing so I can stay home with you!" does nobody any good, least of all me.)

Ah. Number One has finished his math, so it's lunch break now!

Monday, September 25, 2006

not blogging time

A. left this page up on the puter screen, which is a silent way of saying "update this please!"

Meanwhile my two halflings have flown the coop and school awaits.

Clearly, this is not a good time to blog.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

eating beans from a can...

You know I had to do this twice: once for my online name, once for my REAL PERSONA.

I thought the online result was extremely apropos:

Anne --


A real life muppet

'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at

But there's juuuuuuust no escaping the sad truth about myself:

[mysecretidentity] --


Like in nature to a train-riding hobo

'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Notes from the schoolroom

...which in reality, is my dining room table. We're currently working on vocabulary (Wordly Wise 3000). Did you know that "astrominers" discover stars? At least, according to the child on my left, that's what they do.

Earlier when we were beginning a new unit in science (vertebrates), D. ended up teaching the lesson, though unintentionally. We started off with a discussion of the three kinds of fish: jawless, cartilaginous, and bony. D. launches into a lecture about the hagfish, a jawless fish that produces large amounts of slime to escape predators. Then it ties itself into a knot to remove all that yucky slime stuff.

One click of the mouse later, and there it was: D's spiel about the hagfish's ability to escape predators, down to the very knot! You could almost see the child preening himself, so pleased he was to have "outsmarted" k12's science.

I predict this unit will be one that he finishes with flying colors.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Avast, ye scurvy dogs!

Tomorrow be September 19, which be National Talk Like a Pirate Day! Arrrr! So ye scallywags better be keepin' a sharp lookout for them what sounds like pirates and give em a hearty gutting from the scurvy wench Bloody Anne Vane.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

My First Woot

I've been running over to daily to see what marvy bit of techno-geek coolness is being offered at a ridiculously low price.....and that I actually wanted/needed.

So, getting a jump on Christmas shopping, I bought my son a waterproof 35mm camera for $9.99. Waterproof is necessary with this child. Bear in mind this is the boy who demolished my $375 Pentax by tossing it willy-nilly into the turtle pond.

But I am willing to let bygones be bygones......and, come December 25, he'll be able to chuck his OWN dern camera into any pond he chooses!

Celebrate Good Times, Come on!

The happy child herself. We selected a table far away from the madding crowds at Chuck E. Cheese's so my dear husband would be enticed to stay longer than he normally would. His tolerance for such places is rather low.

Difficult to get a regular photo of this child nowadays. This is a fairly typical pose for him. His definition of Chuck E's as a "kids casino" will definitely become part of the family repertoire.

You would not believe how long it took us to round up all the kids to get them back upstairs to even bother with cake! 20 tokens to play games takes a long time for inexperienced youngsters to get through. The luau cake came out rather nicely, I must say. Thanks to Jennifer for the use of her palm trees, hula guy/gal and fishies. Oh, and for you moms out there, the cake is ridiculously easy to make. Just bake a 9x13, toss on your favorite frosting, spray on some blue Color Mist (Wilton) for the ocean, and sprinkle cinnamon sugar for the beach part. I also threw on some white chocolate shells made in candy molds. Voila. Anybody can do it. I did!

A small, yet simple party, NOT at my home (woot), and happy, tired kids.

We drove in silence all the way home, and kept the TV off when we got there. Sensory overload. Especially since we knew that the following morning we would be off to THE FAIR! Photos later.


Friday, September 15, 2006

I knew it. I just knew it.

You scored as Geek/Nerd. Haha! ok. go computer geeks!







Emo Kid














What Highschool Clique Do You Belong To?
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Shameless plug

Bluebird Blogs is having a contest for a free blog design! Go enter!

And I'm shamelessly promoting this because she'll give 5 extra entries to me for putting this on my blog. Wuahah.

Savvy bizness!

Even if I don't win, I can still live with the daisies and popcorn for a while longer before I need to make a new theme.

On painting...

As my four readers will remember, I vowed to eschew all beiges, eggshells, and off-whites in the repainting of our home.
Behold "before":

We went to Wally World to select colors. I needed A's artistic ability. He chose a lovely buttery yellow for the dining room/hallway and a "scotch yellow" as an accent wall behind the piano which I was "hmm..." about. He reminded me of my pledge to USE COLOR! So I gave in.

The pictures do not do justice to the intensity, the severity, the gagaciousness of the color~~ but here, in its glorious hideousness, I present to you:

The Nacho Cheese Wall Incident

And a better (worse?) shot, from another angle:

You see the lovely contrast with the remaining parts of the house:

We left it up for about 12 hours, to see if it got any better. It didn't. It reminded me of the interior color of the concessions stand at our home-town drive-in theatre. A. ran back up to WalMart, became infuriated by their lack of knowledge and lack of staffing("I refuse to give my money to incompetence"), and scooted to McLendon's instead to get a more livable color.

Here's what's up now: caramel. Again, the light doesn't do it justice. It is a great improvement on the former color! Nachos have their place, but not on my wall.

More photos to come of the completed project (i.e., everything back in place, with crown moulding put up) - plus photos of the completed living room (colors: angel ivory and olive branch).

Rebecca seemed to approve of them! :)