Friday, December 21, 2007

regarding Christmas cards

Great Scott, it's December 21st and I'm just now starting to think about this.

You see, I have this self-imposed pressure to yearly come up with a witty, newsy newsletter of all the O family doings for the previous year. People have commented to me in past years about how clever/funny/charming the Christmas letter was. However, this year I have discovered that I am only sporadically clever, occasionally funny, and infrequently charming.

Plus them there card things ain't cheap to buy OR send.

So this afternoon, having an extended period to sit at the desktop computer (ooh, the one with a PRINTER), I made an unclever, nonfunny, semi-charming (if snowflakes are your thing)... POSTCARD, with absolutely no family news on it. A simple "Merry Christmas," with John 1:14.

And what is more, I am not sending it to everyone on my list. Simplify, simplify. Please don't feel snubbed. If you're reading this, I probably keep in contact with you more than the other people on my list. Rest assured, I am thinking of you. And you probably already know all the news I would share anyway, because you read this thing.

A simple "Merry Christmas" to you all.

John 1:14 - "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."

Thursday, December 20, 2007

sowing and reaping

What do you get when you combine a cup of hot cocoa and a thermometer?

A little girl with a 101.1 fever who is too sick to do school, watching Ratatouille and Felicity, An American Girl on the mini DVD player, while being pampered by all and sundry.

I wondered, later, as to why her temperature suddenly became 98.6. An angel must have touched her on the head and said "go out and play."

So, now that it's 8:30 pm, confession has been made, discipline has been meted out, and she is now doing her school, and will stay up until it is done.

And the letter "c" is growing increasingly difficult to type on my laptop. What would the world be like without the letter c?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

sage advice

from my son, who spent yesterday recovering from stomach flu:

"Mom....bananas and quesadillas do not mix."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

from one adventure to the next

Tuesday was the usual whirlwind of activity: get the kid ready for school and out the door to band; sit on the second kid to make sure she did some work while first kid was at band; sit on both kids to make sure they got their school completed...

Interrupting this was the weekly trip to the library. Usually the kids blithely go their way with dad, no mean mom coming along. But right now in Composition studies we are working on The Report. So mean mom joined said children at the library today. The textbook discussed card catalogues (what library still has those?!) as well as computer catalogues - so off we went to the library computer to find references for their chosen topics: S wants to do a report on baseball; D wants to do something involving cartooning, Jim Davis, and Garfield.

I had to leave them there to finish up checking out sources and references in order to teach piano. They arrived home as blithely as they left - no sources checked out. They "forgot."

After teaching, I had a meeting for choir to do some admin restructuring. We're in the market for a new director. Any offers? :) At the conclusion of the meeting, the soprano section leader backed out of the driveway, but missed the turn at the end and sank up to her axles in mud/grass the consistency of bread pudding. So I and two other men were up past the ankles in mud getting this dear woman out of the field and back to Tacoma. By this time it was 10 p.m!

Came home, cleaned up, bathed - went straight to bed. A tapping at the door awoke me. S entered to inform us that D had just thrown up. Clock time: 1:12 am. Always, ALWAYS, these things happen when the entire world is asleep, except yourself! I told A to stay in bed and went to assess the damage. (Here comes the TMI part, so you can stop here if you want. This is my therapy; I don't want to be responsible for yours.)

The kid perfectly targeted an inside corner between the bathroom and the linen closet, nailed the bathroom door and doorknob (apparently it was shut as he made his frantic dash), and finished the bulk of the event immediately inside the door on the linoleum. Oh, and a little bit in the intended receptacle.

Notice the time of this post? :) My therapy. Got things scraped up, mopped up, saved the carpet, wiped and washed walls, doors, baseboards and knobs several times (paranoia; MUST DO THIS AGAIN...and again...yet again...) and in general used enough good-smelling detergents and cleansers to eradicate the smell. But I still smell it. Coincidence? Maybe.

The boy told me he was feeling fine now. I popped him into the tub and left him there while I did my work. I finally realized the poor child was too embarrassed to get out of the tub while I was there, but he was too polite to ask me to look the other way, and too tired to stay in the tub. I'm not the quickest on the draw, especially at the disadvantage of two hours of sleep. So the boy, armed with bowl this time, is back in his bed, dry, unsmelly, and warm-- hopefully to sleep the remainder of the night.

The clock just chimed two. Maybe I can relax enough to go back to bed and get some sleep myself.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

random thoughts

I have, as those knitty people put it, a FO! Aunt Rose's chemo cap is ready to go. I would love to post a picture for you, but the charger gremlins have invaded my house, apparently, and I need to recharge my camera---but I can't find the charger to do so, etc. So there it is. It looks great. :p I need to turn this task over to my dear husband A, who can find anything in short order. As I was puzzling over my misplaced charger last night, he smugly said, "I haven't looked for it yet. Don't worry."

And he still hasn't looked for it yet, so no charged camera.

There's a bit of snow in the forecast, and that sends D and S running to the window every so often to check for flakes. D. was sitting at his window last night, blinds tilted open, just in case. So far, disappointment.

Because of the cold, the guinea pigs have temporarily been moved from the covered back porch and taken up residence between the love seat and the bookcases. They are so funny to listen to, and even funnier to watch. They're so greedy and selfish, it's like watching fuzzy little toddlers as they grab carrots and run away to hide to eat them...stealing lettuce bits from each other...playing "king of the igloo" and not allowing any other pigs to sleep in the hidey-holes. The whistling and squeaking that accompanies these activities is rather charming.

I stayed up WAY too late watching a movie the other night (1 AM). Idiot me: I am not a twenty-something anymore who can shake this off by the next day. My reason, though, was for my dear son, who loves loves loves King Kong (1933). He wanted to see Peter Jackson's 2005 version; therefore, A and I had to "proof" it first. THREE HOURS LONG. They make mighty free with the names of God, and the Kong ritual by the natives is rather freakish, so we're limiting access to just the really cool scenes once Ann gets past the wall on Skull Island and Kong takes her. And skipping the Valley of Insects part, where Andy Serkis's character gets eaten headfirst slowly by a leech...ugh. I really liked Kong in this movie, though. Very cool gorilla.

And the carrot that gets D this Kong privilege: finish your November school requirements. So he's counting up how many of this and that lessons he has left to accomplish and occasionally despairing of EVER being able to watch King Kong...I am firm, however. He and his sister have taken a few days off school, taking advantage of my being occupied teaching other students. THIS is why I only teach piano part time.

Okay. School awaits. Kids must put guinea pigs away to do their work. I will let them read aloud to the pigs, but the pigs are counterproductive when it comes to accomplishing math, vocabulary, or just about any other subject.

Be well.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

you never can tell with bees

Today I sat in the van while my kids were in swimming lessons. It was quiet, sunny, warm. I'm knitting a chemo cap for Aunt Rose of a lovely, soft merino wool the shade of plum. As the van--and I!-- basked in the sun, I heard a buzz from the rear of the cabin. Turning around, sure enough, I saw a fat yellow jacket bipping against the window, trying to escape to the outside. Sighing, I put down my knitting, opened the window on the sliding door, and shooed him outside to where he belonged.

I resumed my knitting and basking in the sun...when I heard that sound again. "Bzzzzz...bip...bip...bipbip....bzzzzzz." I turned around again. Another one! I popped the hatch, slid the door, and opened the front side door to give him all possible avenues of escape. I flapped him out the back hatch, and he promptly flew around to the side panel door and landed... on the inside. If I closed the door, he'd be right back where he started! I grabbed a newspaper and went to work, guiding him to freedom and Life Outdoors. He was having none of it. He flew back into the cabin, landing on a wreath of fall leaves I had in the back. I set the wreath outside. Go, little bee, go. And indeed, he left the wreath... and flew back into the cabin of the van. AUGH!

Finally he landed on the open passenger door, at the opening for the latch. He crawled inside the hole. I waited for a few minutes to see if he'd come out... then figured I could probably kill him if I slammed the door shut. I'd already tried to rescue him enough, and he was keeping me from my knitting, after all, so , WHAM!

Peace and quiet once again.

I'd been sitting and knitting for maybe 5 minutes when I heard another low buzzing sound. Feeling rather like I was in some Candid Camera show at this point, I jumped up and out of my seat, whipped open my door, and whisked that sucker out of the van. I slammed the door behind the bee, and wouldn't you know, it turned around and landed on the window of the van, clearly seeming to want back IN?

I'm sure the other people sitting in the parking lot waiting for THEIR kids to be done swimming were amused at my antics: jumping out, running around the van, opening and slamming doors, waving a newspaper (the comics page, of course) around my head, talking to unseen creatures. I was rather amused myself... but it was getting old, and I wanted to sit and knit and be warm, not have to deal with buzzing critters that sting.

Eventually the bee on the window flew off, presumably to join its sisters for a laugh at this stupid human. D and S returned from swimming, and we started home. We were about halfway there when I heard a quavering "Mooooommm....there's a hornet back here..."

I rolled my eyes. I can't win!

We opened the windows. It sufficed to keep the bee blown to the back of the van until we pulled into the driveway, where I popped the hatch, and shooed yet another bee to freedom.

So now I'm a little paranoid about whether the bees have built a hive in the van, or if they were merely hitchhikers on the wreath that Mr. Jones gave me at church Sunday. You never can tell with bees.

Monday, November 12, 2007

well, duh.

Note to self re: Science labs: When separating ink colors using paper chromatography, do NOT use a Sharpie waterproof pen. Because it doesn't work. Waterproof, and all that.


it's here!

....the rainy season!

We are under a High Wind Warning from now until about 4 p.m.

There's nothing quite like November in Puget Sound. Gusty winds; heavy, persistent rain; leaves clinging desperately to increasingly bare limbs, then whirling forlornly around the street, clumping up in sodden masses in the gutters; puddles that grow to touch fingers and eventually become one with the puddles across the street.

Hot chocolate, apple cider, and popcorn. Knitting socks (for D), warm, soft caps (for my Aunt Rose, who starts chemo tomorrow) and scarves (for me!).

It's a GREAT DAY, people.

Praising the Lord that we have heat and power! :)

Friday, November 09, 2007

the (positive) influence of Hollywood

The movie Ratatouille just came out on DVD, as most of you probably know. We had not seen it yet, so I purchased it at my local Costco and brought it home for a night of popcorn and enjoyment.

This movie has paid off in a lovely way: for the past two mornings, S. has been in the kitchen, whipping out omelettes for the family dining experience! Yesterday it was cheese; today it was turkey pepperoni, ham and cheese. D. has also gotten in on the act at the dinner scene, donning my toque and apron and speaking in a French accent. I put him to work slicing potatoes and monitoring the overall cooking progress of fried potatoes and Aidell's chicken apple sausages.

No, that's not really a gourmet meal, apologies to Remy and Co.. I continue to be plagued by this cold, which keeps me awake much of the night (I just can't sleep if I'm mouth breathing). So I'm not really "overthinking" on meals right now. I can't taste them anyway. Basic food with good texture is good enough to sustain my family for a few days. We'll get fancy with the spices when I can smell again.

Meanwhile, a-caking I must go. I am so paranoid about cross-contamination with dairy products that I'm washing and wiping things down a couple of times. I want Micah's 5th birthday party to be memorable for fun things, not that Crystal had to epi-pen him because of my dairy poisoning him. :p

To the kitchen!

Monday, November 05, 2007

not wounded, but dead, sire!

Crystal is such a thoughtful friend. I feel so.... loved! By all means, spam my email account! or just post comments on the blog, because those make it to my email as well. >:) I'm always watching.

Yes, I AM alive! Wifehood, mommyhood, teacherhood--all these make great demands on Life, as you all know so well, since you have similar demands on your time.

And my children have thoughtfully shared their cold with me, so I have the first sniffles of the cold and flu season. I must be well by Friday when I bake cakes. (They're gonna be great, folks, stay tuned for pictures.)

So as I was driving in the car the other day, frustrated at my seeming inability to have any quality time in the Bible, I was singing the line from "If I Were a Rich Man" (from Fiddler on the Roof, for any Philistine readers I may have) - where Tevye sings, "If I were rich, I'd have the time that I lack to sit in the synagogue and pray..." and nodding my head in sympathy. Yesssssss, if only I didn't have all these responsibilities, I'd be SO SPIRITUAL.

Then, of course, Reality Check set in. I DO have these responsibilities. And God, in His divine power, has provided every single thing that I need to live this life in a godly way--by the knowledge of Him Who called us. (2 Peter 1:3, E's version) AND even better, He knows my frame, that I am but dust. So, I don't have to be perfect. (Of course, I can't be.) He knows that I am doing the best I can with what I can. And yes, there is room for improvement. But I can't go around mentally chastising myself that I am not like those mom bloggers (whom I really do admire, how DO they do it?) who manage to be crafty, prepare a hot meal every night, keep their homes immaculate, and are always sweet and cheerful with their dear hubbies and dear children.

No, my reality is not like that. I yell. I think bad words (because of course that's so much more spiritual than actually saying them, right? /sarcasm font) . I stomp my feet and toss papers around. Sometimes we have to eat at McDonald's because of swimming lessons followed by piano lessons followed by choir practice. And I clean... oh gads... I clean all the time but it never stays that way. Even when channeling Flylady. And I have two knitting projects that are not going to be ready for Christmas, I'm sure.

So life is pretty much normal around here. I'm just not talking about it. Sorry I'm so behind on your lives. I do think about you all often and even PRAY FOR YOU. Now I just need to get caught up on your lives by reading your blogs!

So can anyone tell me the name and author of the poem to which my title alludes? *evil laugh*

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

William Tell Overture for Moms

I wrote this song, I think!

Either that or it's just that moms all share a brainwave.

Whatever. I'm laughing so hard I'm crying.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

things to say, just no time to say it

AUGH! Too tired.
1) School started for the kids on a Friday. We promptly took the day off and went to the Fair. I have pictures of people many of you will know. You run into a lot of riff raff at the Fair, you know. Will post later.
2) Monday, another school day, we went to The Fair again. Hey. $1 rides for Monday Madness! Ticket prices are now $.85 each and the Good Rides are 6 tickets= $5.10 per ride for two children, no thank you!! So we took advantage of the cheap day.
3) School. Actually doing it. :) D. is being rather diligent. S. is being scatterbrained and "huh?" about the whole thing.
4) Piano Lessons. Rescheduling a lot of them, because Wednesday was the Puyallup School District's early release from school for
5) Fair Day. We didn't go. But Weird Al was there! And I missed it.
6) Friday, a school day, we took a field trip to Pack Forest near Eatonville. Ate wild blackberries and hiked around, trying to avoid mountain lions.
7) Audra's had two family funerals to attend, 24 hours apart, so I helped make some cookies and frosting for cupcakes, while also baking a special cake for
8) S's 9th birthday, which was Saturday. We celebrated by....going to the fair? Yes. It's true. Well, we turned in their zucchini for the Largest Zucchini Contest. Neither D nor S won this year. And since we'd already seen and done it all at a trot, a gallop, and real slow so your heart won't palpitate....we came home.

So with all the school we've not been doing, we've been doing a lot of school to make up for it.

Does that even make sense?
Anywho, I am tired. Was nodding off during the pastor's sermon this morning. Not good, as he is also my husband.
And now, my eye is all red and watery and gummy again!! More pinkeye? bah, I hope not!
pictures later.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

dealing with the Varmint Cong

Over the last several weeks my front and back yards have been dotted with mounds of dirt, in winding trails in the middle of the yard, in straight lines along the driveway, in the middle of a flower bed.

An opportunistic creature, the mole showed up whilst we were vacationing. No pitter patter of little feet overhead! Worms galore! Glorious! No doubt the mole thought he himself was vacationing. The problem was, he never left after we came back. So every day, fresh mounds of dirt. At one point the position of dirt mounds looked like he was moving next door, but alas, something about our dirt and worms drew him back.

Garden Guru Ed Hume suggests a castor oil formula to drive them away, and we dutifully purchased some...but the network was too vast to even begin. In the end it was good ol' fashioned trapping that took care of him. Supposedly this is illegal in Washington state. So if I end up blogging only sporadically from jail, you'll know why. Maybe I'll have to wear a scarlet M on my shirt or something.

Now the kids are excited --we'll have another mole skin to put on the Christmas tree this year!

Background story: our friends the N's have a huge mole problem (they also have a huge amount of acreage) - well, some years back Bob gave A. a dead mole that his cat had caught. A. thought the fur was cool (their fur is so soft!) - Rebecca thought the feet were cool-- so between the two of them, the mole was dispatched. And since that time, every year we've put the mole skin on our Christmas tree. Why? BECAUSE... we are demented and strange. Don't ask stupid questions! :)

Monday, September 03, 2007

should she stay or should she go now?

Jennifer may have to evacuate her home this evening due to a wildfire on Wright's Mountain. She lives fewer than 2 miles away from there, according to my handy-dandy Google Earth. See? (click to view full).

Fortunately she's surrounded by open fields, but there's still a boatload of dry grass around that area.

Waiting to hear from her...whether she stayed or went.

Friday, August 31, 2007

whole lotta cakin' goin on- #2

A second, more traditional shower cake from last weekend. The lady said "Simple and elegant, cornflower blue. Do whatever."

Oh good!

I was thinking of using rolled buttercream fondant overall to practice for a wedding cake I have in January - but the petit fours order did me in. I stuck with white buttercream.

I tried a different technique in frosting: "crumb coating." You slap a layer of thin icing over the entire cake without caring about crumbs, to seal in moisture AND those annoying crumbs. Allow it to crust over, then re-ice. Voila! No crumbs in your outer layer of frosting! I don't usually have problems with crumbs in the frosting (technique, darlings, technique--THIN icing, and never let your offset spatula touch the cake, ONLY the icing) - but I wanted to give this a go. It's really good, but it means you're going over the cake twice. If you have crumb issues, though, this is the way to go. Here's what the crumb coat looks like (it looks like the dickens!):

Added a few roses and buds, a few fondant pearls dipped in pearl/luster dust, a few squiggles - voila!

I know the pics are dark- but the ones with flash washed out the cake. Must learn how to take better cake pictures! I think the kitchen is a less-than-ideal photo location, however.

ANYWAY. I earned every bit of that 1.6# from the leftover cake scraps, I did.

whole lotta cakin' goin on- #1

Last week was a creative week. An experimenting week. A decadent week. And at my weekly weigh-in, I'd gained 1.6 lbs.

I enjoyed every bit of it! Except the gaining weight.

Of all people, my Weight Watchers leader called me up and asked me to make petit fours for a bridal shower she was hosting. Just because I've never done something doesn't necessarily mean that I can't, so I told her I'd give her a guinea pig price whilst I played around with ways and means.

To the store! I bought two Sara Lee pound cakes, torted them (meaning, cut into three layers), spread homemade strawberry freezer jam between the layers, cut into small shapes using a 2" round cookie cutter, and used a quick-pour fondant icing over the top. Oooh. This definitely works... but too pricey using Sara Lee. However, I can make pound cake.

So Thursday I baked an almond cream cheese pound cake in a 9x13 pan, torted it (note: two layers are just fine, no need to go for three), filled with my homemade strawberry freezer jam, and cut into squares and triangles.

I also had some extra chocolate cake for a different shower, so I made petit fours out of that as well--using ganache instead of fondant as the covering. Ooh. I still have about a cup of it left in the fridge, too.

Ganache is one of those things that is ridiculously easy to make, but looks like you fussed. If you ice your cake perfectly smooth with buttercream, then pour ganache over the top, you'll have a showstopper dessert, guaranteed. And the only two ingredients are chocolate and whipping cream. I used equal amounts of dark chocolate (Guittard) and heavy whipping cream--heated the cream to a boil, then poured it over the chocolate to melt.

Doesn't look so hot at first:

..but after stirring it for a few more minutes, it looks amazing:

Here's the fun, time consuming bit: put your bit of cake onto a large offset spatula (a MUST for decorating cakes!) - I used a spot of ganache or fondant underneath the cake to "stick" it temporarily to the spatula.

Ladle ganache over the top, being sure the sides get covered. (I didn't bother to ice the petit fours in buttercream first, egads, that would be a lot of work). Then allow it to drip dry on a wire rack.

Whoops, wrong picture. That's dry. Here's with ganache:

Decorate with white chocolate, a rose, a squiggle or two... that's it. These actually were the preliminary experiments that I didn't send to the WW leader... we ate these! :D

Monday, August 27, 2007

jest doin' my dooty, ma'am

Today I had to report for jury duty at 8:30. Realizing the scarcity of parking around the Pierce County Courthouse, I decided to park at Freighthouse Square ( several miles away) and take the Tacoma Link Light Rail system to approximately where I needed to be.

Got parked at 8:20.
Waited for Link - got on link at 8:30. Gonna be late.
Got off Link in the Theatre District at 8:36.

Remembered that Tacoma is Stairmaster City, and my walk would be 5-6 blocks uphill. Steep uphill. Think San Francisco.

Arrived, panting and sweating, at 8:55 am, and of course the Jury Assembly Room has its doorway at the FRONT of the room so everyone can see me slink in late.

So much for using transit. Gonna have to leave a bit earlier and dress in workout clothes if I try that route again!

We got treated to a big rah rah pep talk. The lady was genuinely friendly, though. I was privately thinking she'd have to be, dealing with people who are grouchy about missing work for a $10-per-day gig performing civic duties. Scattered throughout the room were motivating signs: "We Appreciate You, Jurors!" "You are THE BEST!" "Thank you for your service!" and so forth.

Then we got assigned a color coded number and sent to different courtrooms, where we met with a judge and the attorneys. Following that meeting, I received a huge packet questionnaire, a "Voie Dire," my chance to tell the truth and let them know just how biased I would be about certain things if I were to be a juror on that particular trial.

After completing that, I was free until 3 pm, at which point we all were to return and be called out for questioning regarding our responses to the form.

In my break period, I went back to Puyallup, made lunch, cleaned the kitchen, swept and mopped the kitchen and both bathrooms, and got D. enrolled at Maplewood for band this fall. Then, remembering the lessons of the morning, left at 2 to ensure I arrived back at my destination well before 3! I armed myself with a magazine (American Music Teacher), a book (Miracle on Maple Hill), and a sock that I'm working on for D. After an hour and a half of sitting, knitting, reading, and dozing... I was told to go home and come back tomorrow at 9:30 a.m.

I haven't violated anything by telling you all of this. I'm just describing the process. Not who, what, details, or even the questions they asked me in the questionnaire...though I'd love to (snicker). But anyway. I'm supposed to be available from 8:30-4:30 for the next 10 days. Boy, that's $100 plus mileage! *sigh*

As we walked from the building in a clump, one man was describing his experience as a juror on a federal case. Apparently you can't get out of it if the feds want you as a juror. And they have you for 6 months, not two weeks. But back in 1981, the guy made $50 a day, which wasn't complete hay back then.

So, tomorrow: knitting and reading. Oh, and no internet. Bites.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

forewarned is forearmed

I'm dismayed to see that Philip Pullman's book The Golden Compass is currently in post-production by New Line Cinema (the ones who brought us the exceptional Lord of the Rings movies).

I read this book several years ago, since it was being marketed specifically to children who were impatiently waiting for the next Potter to come out.

I recall the amazing characters, the compelling plot. And the unease that grew within me with every passing page. "He (Pullman) can't be saying what I think he's saying," I recall thinking to myself. I finished the first book, gravely unsure. I bought the second and third books in the trilogy. And finished them. And was floored.

Pullman's books offer a great read, no doubt. But who is the hero, and who is the villain? The villain, as you read on, is no less than God Himself. And the hero is Lord Asriel--whom we later learn is chief of the fallen angels. Mrs. Coulter (Lord Asriel's estranged wife) represents the Church. A vicious, conniving, frightening woman she is, too. We later learn that the main character, Lyra, is the child of Asriel and Mrs. Coulter. Did I mention that all the characters in Lyra's universe (a parallel one to ours) have daemons? A physical manifestation of a human's soul in animal form, of the opposite gender (nods to Carl Jung). By the final book, the epic battle between Asriel and the other fallen angels leads to the overthrow of God Himself and the creation of the Republic of Heaven.

And this is marketed to children.

I don't know how deeply New Line will delve into the anti-God, anti-religious themes of the trilogy. Maybe it will just play out as a girl on a quest to find a family. But some kids, after having seen the movie, will just have to read the books. And parents need to know. They just need to know about this, to determine if this is something to avoid, or to read with great amounts of supervision and discussion.

Just KNOW, parents. KNOW what your children are being exposed to.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

If you hurry you can place a bid.

If not, you can just read her story on eBay. I can relate only partially, having only two children to her six, but still, it's a good read.

Wanna buy some Pokemon cards? Click here. If not, click here anyway.

Monday, August 20, 2007

would you all please just stop...

...blaming me for the current bad weather you're having in Texas on up through Michigan?


Monday, August 13, 2007


We received our 10-box shipment of school books and materials today from k12. Five boxes for D, five for S. The UPS guy just loved us, I could tell.

S. proceeds to treat it like Christmas: "Ooooh, I got FIVE BOXES!! YIPPEEE!!!" and falls to with the scissors, as I organize the chaos.

D, however, knows What This Means. School. Slimy, Gross, Nasty SCHOOL. And proceeds to offer up various and sundry snide, snarky comments, earning a total of 65 pushups (combined). Finally, having heard enough raptures from S, he goes for the personal insult:

"S, you have a brain like PLAY-DOH!!"

"A brain like Plato? Thank you very much!"

Ahh, seeing the 8 year old thus handle the 10 year old made the day sweet, very sweet, my friends.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

a certain shade of gold

This morning as I awakened slowly, I knew. Perhaps it was the cool nip in the morning air that washed over me through the open window, but more likely it was the shade of gold sunlight that slanted through the bathroom and partly through the bedroom window. Either way, or maybe because of both combined, I feel the change coming. Summer is fading.

I snuggled back in the covers to sleep in late. I've been battling a virus that has recently morphed into conjunctivitis... more commonly called pinkeye. Contagious. Yesterday only my right eye had it; this morning my left has gotten with the program to keep my right company. At first glancing at myself in the mirror, I thought I should be called "She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named," except my pupils are not slits, though my sclera were indeed nice and red. (For Crystal's benefit, that was an oblique Harry Potter reference).

Awaking again at 8 am, I heard S. crying out in the room next door. Her ear has been painful for the last few days, so I'd been treating pain symptoms with Tylenol. This morning, however, there's a fever, so I know it's time for antibiotics. I usually try to avoid antibiotics because they're so overprescribed, but I know in her case she needs it. She seems prone to ear infections, and I do know from experience they can be sharply painful. Thankfully, Woodcreek Pediatrics has a walk-in clinic open on Saturdays, and it was blessedly uncrowded. We were in and out of there in 15 minutes with two prescriptions. I dropped her back at home and headed off to Costco to fill the medications. THAT took an hour and 30 minutes. *sigh*

So between S and her ear infection, my father (who does not have shingles, thankfully!) with some dermatitis thing, and me with my red, dripping, burning eyes--only half of the family is well and functioning normally. The abnormal part of the family has been snoozing (ah, glorious) - but I think that certain shade of gold in the sunlight is causing the normal part of the family to have an abnormal sense of industry. D. has been pestering to go somewhere, anywhere, all day long. Mom has been doing laundry out the yin-yang. A. has changed license plates on the van, taken two doors down and sanded their edges so they don't squeak or rub on their door jambs, gone out to the garden and harvested a bunch of zucchini, and now he's wandering around looking for more ways to be of use.

The beginning of the end of summer. Enjoying every minute of it while I can!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

home again, home again, jiggety-jig

(the title idea was shamelessly stolen from Tammy- but it just fits, yanno?)

So.... we let the tarantula go.... and after driving through Sequoia, we were done. Ready to go home to Washington. We'll do Yosemite another trip.

Have photos to post, but I'll put them in one of those "slide" thingys that Lori always uses. Tomorrow.

I love the fact that Washington is GREEN. Well, western Washington. The landscape plants looked lovely with Mr. Jones' careful tending of them in our absence... well, I'd say they looked even better than if we had stayed HERE, I think. He's Mr. Detail Guy. That's a polite way of putting it.

So I'm enjoying the remaining bits of summer... organizing and cleaning house (Flylady zone right now is the kitchen, so I'm jumping in where she is and having a good time, 15 minutes at a time) - mentally preparing for teaching in another 4 weeks, and relaxing as I go. My parents are now visiting US. That was poorly planned....spend two weeks in CA, just for CA to come spend two weeks with us? Duh. space it out a bit!

While on the phone with my friend Jane tonight (who is a medical doctor) - A. came to me and mentioned that Dad had been dealing with side pain all day, and now had a blotchy rash/blisters in that area. Her over the phone diagnosis is shingles, and get him to the doctor tomorrow morning ASAP to get him on antiviral meds. I can't wait to see if she's right. That sounds weird though.... sorry for dad, because shingles are downright painful, on top of everything else he's been dealing with - but proud of my friend who can diagnose disease over the phone-- that's just cool.

Okay. With that bit of twisty weirdness, I'm going to bed. Photos later. Big ol' herkin' trees.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

the itsy bitsy big-ol'-herkin' spider: a tale of two wallets

The Week With No Kids came to an end! We drove to camp Saturday morning, excited to be reunited with our children--who are just as excited to be reunited with us, I am pleased to learn.

We loaded up the gear. D. tells me that he could not find his wallet all week long, and was unable to purchase anything from the snack shop for the whole week. I am horrified, because I know good and well where his wallet is, in the side zipper pocket of his duffle bag. Did I not tell him? Or did he not explore his belongings well enough? Maybe a combination of both. HOW TOTALLY SAD! Here it is, 108 degrees and all the kids eating snow cones except for him. *sigh*

So I pulled out his wallet for him and sent him off to the Trading Post, where he buys, not a snow cone, but a Marshmallow Gun. Hoo dawgies! It's a contraption made of pvc pipe that you can aim and shoot marshmallows from. OH the joy! Because we had no marshmallows, he ended up shooting bits of Trader Joe's Buried Treasure at me and S. on our way up to Visalia and Sequoia National Park. Lacking marshmallows, he had to get some practice in, after all. Notice, of course, that he did NOT shoot anything at his father. He values his life, that boy. And just think, if he DID have his wallet the entire week of camp, he probably wouldn't have had enough money left to buy a marshmallow gun at the end of the week! Gotta look on the bright side of things.

A and I were entertained with tales of camp, the skits ("ya gotta keep your worms warm!"), the activities, the falling out of canoes, going down the giant water slide (scorecard: D- 7 times; S - twice); hearing about a kid bitten by a rattlesnake. (Eww!)

Our ultimate destination upon leaving Camp Ironwood was this place called Three Rivers, just outside of Sequoia - where if you drive 11 miles offroad on North Fork Road, you get to this amazingly beautiful place to go swimming in the river. So we ventured there as a family, 100 degrees and bumpy, windy road (S getting nauseated)- and were rewarded at the end with a lovely, cool dip in the river. There were other families back there, as well as a man panning for gold (he found some!) - so we were in good company.
Clever me, I am not in the picture. :)Scenery. It's gorgeous back in there, more so when it seems like everything should be dry and barren, and then there's this luscious stream with green green green.

When it came time to leave, D. started to get a sore throat and not feel well. S. got car sick. We got back to Visalia and D. crawled into bed (our room air conditioning worked only sporadically so the room was swelteringly warm). We made plans with my parents for dinner; D only wanted macaroni and cheese for his sore throat. A. patted his back pocket, searching for his wallet. No wallet. With a dazed look passing between us, we knew: his wallet was back at Three Rivers, about 70 minutes away, and not a lot of sunlight left. Choices: get it now, or wait until morning. Decision: get it now.

My parents, children and I went to a Perko's restaurant, while A went back to Three Rivers. After he left, I mentally kicked myself - I should have gone with him! There's no cell phone coverage out there. So I'm sitting at Perko's, calculating just about where A is on his route, and about what time he would return. The service was abominably slow at the diner, so we had lots of time to discuss and wait. D. ordered a double burger, but when it finally arrived he just sniffed at it. Hurt too much to eat. Grandpa ordered D. and S. a banana split, and oddly enough, THAT went down just fine.

We got back to the motel, crawled onto our beds and waited. A. arrived back about the time I mentally prepared myself to expect him, all was well, he found the wallet.... AND he had brought back a present to make D. feel better!!

The gift? A tarantula in a mason jar.

I shrieked several inappropriate things and scarpered to the corner of the room, pillow clutched in front of me for protection.

"Mom, can we keep it? PLEEEEEEASE??" I am beleaguered by pleading children. I know good and well that I am the bad guy if I say no. Evil husband for putting me in such a position!

"I am NOT discussing this. DO not ask me again."

Regardless, every so often a child would come and plead with me for arachnid clemency and safe harbor. Surprisingly it was my daughter who was most distraught about my resistance--she, who screams if there is a jumping spider in her vicinity. Hypocrite.

Because I know what happens when critters are kept. Accidents. That's what. And some morning, if I give in to these pleas, I will find a hairy nasty many-legged critter larger than a mouse stumbling about loose in my home, and that is so not the way to begin a good day.

I leave it to A. to straighten things out and explain to them that in no wise will they be owning a tarantula, now or ever, as long as they are not paying the mortgage on the home. D. eventually gives in with good grace. S. is still upset with my irrationality. "Mom, it's in a GLASS JAR," explaining it to me as if I am slow.

We decide it can stay the night... in the jar... on the table on the opposite side of the room from my sleeping position. Even so, my dreams are troubled, fuzzy, and creepy.

The next morning, just past Three Rivers where it was found, we let him go. I say "we" rather loosely; I stayed in the car.

And thus endeth the arachnid adventure.

Moral of the story: don't leave your wallet behind, or you'll get more than you bargained for.

Friday, August 03, 2007

we interrupt this broadcast...

Those of my readers who are pray-ers (and I think most of you are :) ) - IF you feel so led, please pray for my friend Audra.
  • She possibly has a cougar somewhere in her neighborhood, that ate her cat.
  • Her father has prostate cancer.
  • Her mother in law is in hospice with advanced brain cancer.
  • AND.... she learned last night that her identity has been stolen. Name, Date of Birth, Social Security Number...
She is feeling at the end of her rope.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

a week with no kids

The last week of July we dropped the kids off at Camp Ironwood, the place my parents used to ship me away to every summer. There's not much to do around Barstow/Newberry Springs, so after taking A on a superquicktour of the camp (he was perishing in the 108 F/42 C climate!) we got back in the air-conditioned car and headed south to San Bernardino, then west over to Pasadena/Arcadia area to visit the Los Angeles Botanical Gardens and Arboretum.

Took a zillion pictures.
I was going for light and pattern things:
I just loved the colors on this bark! No, I don't remember what the tree is. Some kind of eucalyptus I think.
There were a great number of peacocks, peahens and chicks running around. This guy was showing off. I've never seen one do that "live" before!

Self-explanatory. Pretty manmade waterfall.

Jacaranda tree. Had to write that in before I forgot what it was. :)

We drove back up to Santa Maria on Tuesday, making a pit stop in Solvang on the way. I MISSED Arne's Famous Aebleskivers by 15 minutes. They closed at 4. DARN DARN DARN. I wanted to see the experts make aebleskivers and get some tips and tricks, and now I have to make a whole nother trip. Fiddlesticks.

We did stop at "Ostrichland" and purchase some ostrich sausages for my dad. They were tasty. In addition we got to see the beautifully fluffy, irritable birds as we drove along the highway. No pictures, sorry, but this guy took an extreme ostrich feeding video and posted it on yahoo for your viewing pleasure.

Wednesday we made contact with my h.s. friend Chris and went out to Carrow's with him after mid-week church services. We spent the evening laughing, talking, arguing--just like old times. We left when the restaurant closed at 11 p.m., then continued to talk in the parking lot until midnight.

And so the week with no kids passed by. I kept thinking about them, wanting to be a fly on the wall, watching the kids at camp, seeing what they were doing, learning, experiencing...but this is just an apron string that I need to cut. They'll tell me what they want to tell me.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

lost and found

With our family's involvement and interest in turtles and tortoises, we made plans to visit the Triple T Ranch up in Arroyo Grande. S got up close and personal with this Galapagos, who came running (well, stumping along rapidly) as soon as she saw visitors near her pen. She enjoyed having her long, leathery neck scratched, so S was happy to oblige.

After we finished the tour of the Triple T Ranch, we were hot and sweaty, so we headed over to Avila Beach (very crowded) where Mom, A and I sat in chairs in the shade of the lifeguard's tower while the kids did some wave jumping. Here S encourages us to live long, and prosper!
The lifeguards kept a vigilant watch...notice the warning on their platform, however, and heed! :). Keep your nasty kelp off. Or is that a rude central CA way to tell someone to go away?

On Saturday we went on another critter exploring trip. I took my new book, which I did not get at midnight when it was released, but rather, early the next day at Walmart, where it was much cheaper than the $35 list price ($17 something). (Guess which book THAT was). Anyway, I sat in the van and slowly began to read, dreading what COULD happen, but excited at the same time. I only made it to chapter 3 before the others decided it was too hot for critters to be out. S. wanted to do something SHE liked, rather than just nasty old critter hunting, so she chose....a picnic at the beach! Surprise, surprise.

This time we chose Pismo, since we hadn't been there yet. I settled myself on a blanket, still reading the book, which starts off with a bang and a zoom and tragedy.... while A and the kids went wave jumping. After about 30 minutes A came in.
"Where's S and D?" I ask.
"S came in to get a sandwich from you!" A tells me.
"She never did." Stone-cold fear in pit of stomach, new novel forgotten.
Nervous plans made: "You stay here. I'm walking down the beach to look for her."

D was sent the opposite direction from A, down toward the pier. I'm scanning the horizon, the water, the beach, and praying I know not what.

A and D came back. No S. Assuming a calmness I most certainly did not feel, I went to the lifeguard station. "Missing girl, age 8, tall, pink swimsuit, talks to anyone (why oh why is she so friendly?), reasonably competent swimmer (did she get too tired out? STOP that thought right there)..." The lifeguard thanks me for remaining calm (if he only knew), assures me there's no undertow out there, that this happens often and the kids get disoriented because the waves push them further south (why did I not tell the kids to look for the hotel with the green roof for a landmark, stupid dolt, I know better than that!)-- hands me a pair of binoculars while he puts in a radio call for the beach truck. D. sits on the blankets, A gets in the truck, I scan the horizon, the beach, the waves.

The red truck is gone for an age, then returns. "Oceano State Beach has her. We're going to pick her up." I burst into tears.

I walk back to our blankets, drizzly. A woman calls out to me. "Did you find her??" "YES!" I sniffle. "Good!!" she smiles, also teary-eyed, I am surprised to see.

S arrives back, blanket-wrapped, with Daddy and the lifeguard in the big red truck. She had indeed gotten out of the water to get a sandwich, but noticed a seal bobbing up and down in the water. She followed the seal until she didn't know where she was, and asked two ladies for help, who took her to the ranger, and so forth. She was at the next beach further south, not even at Pismo at all!

Overwhelming relief, overwhelming self-condemnation, overwhelming thanks and praise of God's mercy and grace to foolish me.

I am through with beach excursions at this point. Not unless I have a long-range tether, based on the same design some parents use on their toddlers (think kids on a leash).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Day 2: Skinny Bears and Bluebellies

After a restful night's sleep, A. wanted to visit the dunes again. Driving past field upon field of strawberries, broccoli, and celery, we went out to Oso Flaco Lake just off Hwy 1. There's a nature trail that cuts over the lake and then out to the dunes. ooo, and if you park outside the gate, you don't have to pay! :) So, cheapskates that we are, naturally we parked by the broccoli field and walked in a little farther.

Lake Oso Flaco (which, being translated, means Skinny Bear):
We didn't make it too far down the trail before we got blown away once again by the chilly wind off the ocean. But, point of interest.... once you get down to the beach, this is where Cecil B. DeMille filmed the movie The Ten Commandments. When he finished the movie, he just left the sets there. There are plans for archaeological digs to uncover the set, as funds become available. There's a couple of sphinxes out there, under 6 feet of sand. Kewl! :) Also, I'm told that part of the third Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed out there as well.

Hurriedly returning to less breezy spots, I was interested in what looked like rudbeckia (black-eyed Susans) but with teensy little petals:
So we retired to the local Dune Interpretive Center or whatever it's called.... and determined that this is probably called "coastal sneezeweed." Priceless name! While I was muddling about these little flowers, a bee got busy with a thistle--so I channelled my inner Rebecca and took a few snaps, this being the clearest shot (I am still determining how close I can get and still get a good picture):
After lunch, D. wanted to go critter hunting. We took him to a newish park near the local airport and did some hiking through the ubiquitous eucalyptus groves. Hoping to find some kind of snake, of course, but he was unsuccessful. We did do some good catch-and-releasing of bluebelly lizards (aka fence lizard):
Happy child. BTW his t-shirt says, "Every great idea I have gets me in trouble." (this sent a man into gales of laughter when we were walking back in from Lake Oso Flaco). Here's a better picture of why it's called a "bluebelly":
Once you get the lizards on their back like that, they stay calm and 'take a nap' - you can stroke their tummies and they like it. Well, at least, they don't struggle against it. Maybe they're actually paralyzed with fear, I dunno...but to make myself feel better I just assume they like it.

OKAY. enough on the computer for today! More photos later. We have spent a LOT of time at the beach, which is lovely.

"what I did on my vacation..." day 1

I am so behind. I just uploaded 173 pictures from my camera to the laptop. Don't worry, you wont be seeing all 173~!

So anyway.... one week ago today, we drove allllll day Tuesday and allllllll night long, arriving in Santa Maria at 5:30 a.m.

A. and I went directly to bed. S. took a nap. D. just stayed up and talked with Grandma.

That afternoon I took the kids to Paul Nelson Pool:

...where I sat on the grass and knitted while they swam and went down a waterslide like this (look, Ma, BLUE SKY!):

After dinner, we went to the closest beach, Guadalupe--where you do NOT swim, because the undertow is too great. Matter of fact, we darn near froze because the marine layer (aka FOG) was blowing in and the wind, as always, was pretty strong. Grandma and D. were rather chilly posing for this shot (she will kill me if she sees that I put this here):
But, cold water, marine layer fog, and stiff wind notwithstanding, S still managed to fall and get her bum all wet:

And the morning, evening, morning and evening were The First Day.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Audra's Kitty Slayer

Link above....My dear friend gets her five minutes of fame!! (on the video, not the text) :) :( But at the expense of MissyLou, her kitty. Here's the video link....I can only get it to work in IE, not firefox. Ah well.

So I'm trying to get a hold of Audra to find out if Fish and Wildlife caught that bad ol' puddy tat last night!


madness. just madness. The Today show is on, my father is talking, my mother is talking, my children are singing "Foood, glorious fooooooooooood," and my husband is in search of caffeinated coffee.


I need a more simple, quiet existence.

This is why the TV stays off when I am in my natural environment. I canNOT talk, listen, or think when that thing is on.

Will everyone just SHUT. UP.

Thank you. Vent over. I think.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Remembering Peter

I learned late last night that my high school classmate Peter Garland was killed in a car accident. Since I'm blogging "on the road" from California right now, I'm linking to all the stories I'm able to pull up on Google search. Looks like most of the stories are just one story, passed around via newswire.

Peter was the strong, silent type who didn't let his guard down much...well, not around silly, flighty girls like me. But he was a man of integrity and respected. My prayers are with his family.

Head-on crash kills police sergeant

Sheriff's sergeant killed in head-on crash

Klickitat County Sergeant Dead in Crash South of Toppenish

Death almost always catches us by surprise. Are we ever really, truly prepared for it? Peter is enjoying the presence of Jesus Christ right now. That thought is too big for my mind to encompass. I look at the report and think, what a waste...he was only 38! He was doing great things! He has a wife and two sons!

But God's thoughts are higher than my thoughts, and his ways higher than mine. Thankfully.

Forgive the scatteredness of this post. I'm dealing with this in the best way I know how.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Maybe it was the flash of lightning followed by grumbly thunder. Maybe it was all the celery I ate today, making my stomach grumbly. Whatever it is, I'm wide awake. Kids are sleeping in a tent in the backyard...probably another reason I woke up when the thunderstorm came through...but they never woke up or budged back into the house.

And this insomnia comes after a day when I felt like I could and should go to bed and sleep off the exhaustion that's been with me ever since we went to Ohop Lake Tuesday and Wednesday to escape the 90 degree weather.

So here I am, blogging from the laptop in the living room so I don't disturb my dear husband's beauty sleep.

We picked cherries today. I borrowed a cherry pitter thingymabob with instructions in German on how to operate it. (Where's Susan when you need her?) Anyway, I figured out why kirsch is called kirsch---ohhh, because it must be the word for "cherry" in German! I hadn't known that before. Apparently if you use this pitter you can stone 10 kg of cherries in one hour. That would be 22 lbs, for us non-metric Americans. Well, in my 45 minutes or so, I managed to do 4 lbs. Nowhere near the 22. :) When I finished with the cherries, I looked like I'd been murdering gophers. I'm thinking it will be a while before the stains on my fingers and thumbs go away!

Tomorrow I need to make/can cherry pie filling. I have never done this before, so it will be An Adventure. 4 lbs will only make 2 qts of filling, so that's not enough to go to all the effort of canning. Fortunately, the man whose cherries we picked also gave me a bunch of cherries from his deep freezer that he'd pitted but never used. So I'm going to thaw them and use those for the remaining filling.

I've got that to do, and get ready for our upcoming trip to California. We're leaving Tuesday morning and driving straight through, with a pit-stop in Portland to a bookstore (OF course), and dinner somewhere between Salem and Eugene. We'll go through the pitiless Sacramento Valley under cover of darkness (the way it's best observed IMHO) and cut over to the coast highway at San Jose for the remainder of the trip. Have to smell the garlic at Gilroy, don't you know, and laugh at the sign that says "It's happening in Soledad!" (When really, nothing happens in Soledad except maybe a lettuce festival?) Okay, forgive me, it's part of the New Wine Country too. Like Santa Maria and surrounding areas has become. What used to be beef is now wine. ANYway, we'll pull into Santa Maria sometime Wednesday morning and turn the grandkids over to the grandparents so we can sleep off the grueling trip. :)

Ah. Sleep. I don't know if I can go there yet. I'll pick up a book and see how far I get before having to put it down. Writing stimulates too much of my brain and keeps me awake. I'll pay the price for this tomorrow, so I'd better post and close the lid here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Sarah's Meme

Sarah has asked some ORIGINAL questions on her blog (she's an original person :) ) and invited others to participate if they wanted to. So since my one brainwave is completely UNoriginal this fine, hot morning.... I'll just answer her questions and call it good for a blog post today!

1. Do you have a favourite Bible translation, and why?

I grew up using/memorizing from the King James Version. Didn't know there WAS another version... unless, as the pastor was fond of saying, it was a "PERversion." I still enjoy it for its flow, its poetry, and the long history I have with it. But my favorite translation is the New American Standard Bible. My husband gave it to me for a wedding present and I love to study from it. And I've even begun to re-memorize passages from it.

2. What is the best children's book that you have read with your child (or friend or relative's child) and wanted to read again just because it was just so good? Is there a book you remember with happy nostalgia from your childhood?

The Velveteen Rabbit always makes me cry. So does The Little Match Girl. For fun fun fun, I love to read Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, or Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, um... can't remember the author.

3. Why do you blog? Is it a case of 'I blog therefore I am', is it just a hobby, or do you have a desire to spread the word or teach (etc)? ;)

I blog to record the things I too easily forget. I am not a detail person, and I don't want to look back over my life and the lives of my children with a "huh?" This way I can reread the events that mattered to me. Hm. Thinking about it... .makes my blog topics look trivial, rather Seinfeldish.

4. Jeremy Clarkson once said that: "What's wrong with global warming? We might lose Holland but there are other places to go on holiday.." you think global warming is a result of our 'carbon footprints' or do you question the validity of it? (don't worry this isn't a loaded question I won't tell you off for not believing in it or vice versa, I'm just interested).

We haven't been recording this information long enough to make a valid conclusion that This Is Global Warming. Back in the 1970's the concern was for Global Cooling and the coming Ice Age. IMO, the earth is in a rhythm where it's warmer right now. It'll eventually shift back to cooling. Again, JMO.

5. To tan or not to tan? Do you like to sunbathe/use sunbeds or do you prefer the shade?

I used to try to get a tan. Now I use SPF 30 religiously and let the freckles fall where they may. I'm fair complected and I don't want skin problems brought on by foolish decisions.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Monday, Monday

I am struggling to consciousness here this morning, Mao mug of coffee next to me steaming with liquid son, surprisingly, wide awake and chatty. He's talking about all the frogs he plans to catch tomorrow when we go to Ohop Lake with Audra. I'm fantasizing about sitting and knitting, or sitting and reading....or just plain sitting.

Me: " gonna make breakfast or not?"

D: "I'm working toward that." Ah. He has bounded off to the kitchen.

Me: "So.....whatcha making?"

D: "What's it sound like?" I hear the clinking of glass, a "tap tap tap" crunchy sound.

Me: "Scrambled eggs?"

D: "Precisely."

His specialty is cheesy scrambled eggs with a sprinkle of parsley and some onion. S prefers to make pancakes when it's her turn to make breakfast. They're both getting rather good at their one thing they do.

Eventually we will branch this out to the "one dinner" that they can do. And then add on from there. What I really need them to do, however, is to learn how to make The Cookie Recipe. Because I canNOT control myself when it comes to that stupid dough. I find myself reaching for a nibble here, a scrape there... and next thing you know I've eaten the equivalent of four cookies, just in dough.... and let me tell you, each cookie is worth 4 points on the Weight Watchers points system. I need to be applying that whole passage from Proverbs 4:14-15 in this area.... just substitute "cookie dough" for the word "wicked" or "evil men" and it comes out just about right for me:

"Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not proceed in the way of evil men.
Avoid it, do not pass by it; turn away from it and pass on."

That is exactly what I have to do with this because I have no resistance at this point.

Okay, for the record I'm truly not trying to make light of scripture in this case.... this is a wisdom passage, and it is applicable to an area where I struggle. Okay? Because if I'm not eating/sleeping/exercising right... then I am not taking care of the one temple that God has given me, and I am not keeping my body under subjection, as He directs in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.

Sermonette over.

D has just returned to the living room. "I feel like I'm breathing fire."

Me: "Did you put pepper on your eggs?"

D: "Lots. I can knock my swim mates out with hot breath."

Well, that about wraps up the early morning from the glorious Northwest. Must get my day started, and the halflings off to swim lessons.

I love summer.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

...Except that was back in the middle of the merry merry month of May. :) Regardless, I got a package from a brown delivery truck today that carried my birthday present to myself, all the way from Racine, WI. BEHOLD.

NO, my daughter didn't come from Racine, sillies. I have a working CAMERA now!!!

Seems like every summer I have a photo of D just like this. the floaty toys change, the boy definitely changes, but the cheesy grin and the quik-set pool is the same.

These are never exactly the same, but very dependable yearly, nonetheless. Meet Graham Thomas, my favorite yellow rose in the front yard.

Supposedly this is a Tropicana rose, but all the other Tropicanas I've seen have huge blooms and aren't quite so glowing. This has smallish blooms, more toward a miniature rose but larger. In between miniature and florabunda. And it just glows. A. snipped me one of these roses and put it in a vase for when I came home from the hospital after having D. TEN YEARS AGO.

So let me just give my thanks to Rebecca and John for thinking of me when they were fixing to sell their old camera~! It works great. And the USB quick upload thingy is pretty cool too.

Just to prove how excited I am to have a camera again....I opened that box about 15 minutes ago and now there's photos on the blog. now how's that for efficiency? *fluffing hair* that my dinner smoking on the grill?! eep!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Help Meet - Some Brief Thoughts

I've heard so many online friends talk about Debi Pearl's book Created to be His Helpmeet that I had to read it. For several years I immersed myself in what I call "Titus 2"-type books because my own life desperately needed it, but this was one that I had not read yet.

I will submit that The Church as a whole steers pretty clear of husband and wife roles. Biblical teaching is desperately needed in this area, just so we can get our heads and hearts straight.

Debi's book has some good stuff in it. (I have since returned the book so I can't really do "chapter and verse" quotations here, so please bear with me.) She talks about women who use their so-called spirituality to manipulate their husbands, and even usurp their husband's authority. There's also a goodish section on "what kind" of husband you have - either visionary, or dominant, or steady that I thought was worth consideration. Oh, here's a link to that on their web site. I also appreciated the fact that her discussion of modesty was balanced. We are NOT bound by the Law in any way, shape or form, and I have heard too many fundamentalists use the verse "Thou shalt not wear that which pertaineth to a man" to be a blanket condemnation of women wearing pants... or in the opinion of the late Jack Hyles, jean skirts (because denim is a supposedly an exclusively male material). But that's putting a 20th century spin on a verse that only applied to the nation of Israel. Debi does well to bring that out.

That said, this book made me a bit concerned. Some of it was Debi's overall tone/style of writing, which is just a personal thing on my part and not to be regarded as a just criticism. However, the overall impression given throughout the book is that if the woman just gets her act together, then her husband will too and all will be well. A giggle and a roll in the hay will put your marriage back on the right track, and if your husband's eyes/heart are straying, then it's YOUR fault because you aren't X, Y, or Z enough. Sisters. THIS IS BONDAGE. We are fallen creatures who do right only by the grace of God. And even if you are doing all the good/right you can before God and your husband, your husband may still walk away because of his own sin issues. Debi presents her topic with the approach of "if you do this, then you WILL have a heavenly marriage" and in reality, it does not always play out that way. Some women will come away from this book feeling incredibly guilty over things that they could not control.

She also interprets the whole David/Bathsheba thing, that Bathsheba was not discreet, thereby luring David to his doom. Debi condemns Bathsheba, whereas God is silent on this issue. Bathsheba wasn't doing her bathing in the common square where all could see...she went to the place where she'd have the most privacy-- her roof. DAVID was in the wrong place at the wrong time. And when a person is out of fellowship with God, their opportunities to sin increase. David, the absolute monarch, was in control of the situation, not Bathsheba. She was, essentially, chattel, forced to the whim of a man out of fellowship with his Lord.

Interestingly enough, several chapters later she brings up a discourse on Proverbs 31-- the stuff that Solomon's MOTHER taught him.... but does Debi mention that this is the self-same Bathsheba that she has already written off as indiscreet and the cause of David's moral failure? She does not.

Personally, I would recommend this book with reservations. Of course, with everything, you must be discerning with what you read. Glean the wheat from the chaff. If you're looking for a book that is absolutely saturated with God's wisdom, scripture references and principles based directly on the word of God....this is not it. This book has a theme verse per chapter, a few letters/situations from their readers, and Debi's solution to their problem.

For a book that drips scripture and wisdom based on Biblical principles, I prefer and recommend The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace. You can get it here, or look at an online weekly Bible study here. Second would be A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George.

Not Sunday-itis After All

This past weekend, the Whirlwind-whose-name-is-Jennifer blew over onto my side of the state, bringing her usual entourage of insanity with her. All time is maƱana time with her. It was great fun while it lasted.

Sunday afternoon we went to the Les Gove park in Auburn. There's a little water playground there, and with temps in the 80's it sounded like a good idea. D promptly nicknamed the place "Awesome Island" and he and S ran through the various squirting devices, thoroughly soaking themselves and their friends and having a good time, whilst Jennifer, Audra, Bonnie and I sat and nattered about Life, The Universe, and Everything. Jennifer's son kept wanting to "borrow" a water bottle--any water bottle--so he could fill it up and toss it on people ("NO, this water is for DRINKING"), and Audra's daughter kept sneaking handfuls of my Trader Joe's Pirate's Booty (think Cheetos, but without the nasty orange color). I didn't mind--the child usually eats air, not food...but after a while Audra put an end to it.

We left with plenty of time to get home and ready for evening services at church. S: "I don't feel well. My head's all stuffy and it hurts." Yeah, right, kid. (My sympathy was non-existent.) She did this last week as well, and both D. and I chalked this up to "Sunday-itis" - she didn't really want to go to church, therefore was fabricating some illness. I was kind, but firm. "Sorry, hon, but I have to go play the piano, and daddy has to teach. I can't leave you here alone." I was wondering how far she'd carry it.

We got to church...she stayed in the car. I played the piano, then went to check on her. Hmm. she DID feel warm, but she'd just spent the day running around in the hot sun...

sigh....I AM A BAD MOMMY. My poor child WAS actually sick. When we got home, I took her temperature: 101.3. AUGH, the guilt!! I was caught, thinking this was version 2.0 of last Sunday's Sundayitis. Which leads one to the truism...NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING. Why? It's all contained in the middle word, friend, all in that word.

So S went immediately to bed, and I mentally beat myself up over being such a heartless, unkind mom who jumps to false conclusions. Isn't this the soul of 1 Corinthians 13? Love believes the best about a person instead of assuming the worst? Hopes for the best in a person? Clearly there is more work that needs to be done in my life in this area.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

whole lotta (insert whatever) goin' on

So, um... hello to my four readers! :)

To sum up: In the past weeks, we have pressed on to finish our school year with WAVA; canned two batches of strawberry jam; attended D and S's final piano recital of the year; gone to a Mariners' Game (they lost); been interviewed/filmed by the Evergreen Freedom Foundation for a part in a DVD they're composing for alternative education; taken a weekend sabbatical sans kids to the Tacoma waterfront; plugged up the dishwasher so it wouldn't drain; taken apart same dishwasher at least 8 times to determine the source of the plug; contemplated shelling out $199 for a new cheapo dishwasher, then fixing old one once we removed the source of the problem: a plastic fork tine and an orange pip stuck near the valve; primed the front bathroom walls; primed the porch railing; pressure-washed the back porch in preparation for painting; and accidentally left $20 worth of household supplies at the checkout stand at WalMart....AFTER having paid for them. And customer service can't find it. If you came home from Wally's yesterday with three sticks of deodorant, a new mop head, and two tablecloths that you did NOT purchase.... please email me.

There's more, too, but I don't want to drive you away from this site begging for mercy.

The dishwasher saga has been going on since last Friday. A. now knows the ins and outs of this dishwasher, let me tell you. I started to take the dishwasher apart, but came down with some vague stomach virus thing that knocked me queasy with a low grade fever through Sunday.... (sorry I didn't call you back, Lori... that's why) --so A. had to finish it up for me.

Tomorrow D turns 10!!! sigh. All you moms of toddlers..........hug em now, huh? And all you can. Every day. Even if the hug is more like a strangle at times. :) I've baked a cake that needs frosting and decorating (with dragons). We're having a family thing tomorrow, then Friday we're hooking up with Crystal and her two halflings up in Seattle. Maybe she'll take pictures. :p

Then in July we'll be taking D. to his birthday present over at the Tacoma Dome: Walking With Dinosaurs exhibit. This has better be cool because it was spendy even at WAVA group rates!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

what lies beneath

Today, arriving by the grace of Grandma K. and the Big Brown Truck, D and S received a White's Prizm II Metal Detector for a shared birthday present.

It arrived whilst they were at a piano lesson, so A and I got to play with it first. Our first booty: 1 penny! WOOHOO!

The thing has a discriminator on it so you know whether you're over a nail, a pop tab, or a diamond ring. However, I'm a little dubious about its reliability.... when I tossed MY wedding ring on the ground, it registered as a nail. (Hm. Must examine this ring more closely.)

We left the detector in a conspicuous place so they'd find it easily when they came home from piano. Overjoyed kids! Pirate's booty to be found! Caches to be sought! The treasure hunt is on!

Scanning a small portion of our backyard, the kids and A recovered 11 pennies, 3 nickels, 1 dime, 2 quarters, a button (or a cracker jack toy, can't tell), a fishing weight, a click-clack/hair thing, and the back water spigot handle that D lost when he was 3.

What would make D's joy complete: finding that mammoth skeleton he KNOWS is in our backyard somewhere...

We have big plans for this metal detector, oh yesss. Maybe it will be the O family version of geocaching.

The eighth thing

Rebecca nailed me to do the "8 things about me" meme, when I had already / recently completed 7. So I told her I'd think on it and try to come up with something that she didn't know.

So here it is. Number eight. woot.

8.) I can't pronounce "frontier" or "windmill" properly unless I specifically think about it in advance. Frontier I have ALWAYS pronounced "frawn-tier" because that's how I remember singing the Davy Crockett song when I was a kidlet. And windmill comes out sounding like "wind-meal"--UNLESS I stop and make myself say it right.

Yes! Eight useless facts about me!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

It's not easy being...


You are a very calm and contemplative person. Others are drawn to your peaceful, nurturing nature.

Find out your color at!

Hat Tip to Karen, my BF's SIL!

Bathroom Remodeling Tip #42

Always doublecheck to be sure your tub walls are square BEFORE applying adhesive to the shower panels.

Monday, May 28, 2007

a two-front battle

Well, as A. went to put up the baseboards in the bathroom so we could reinstall the toilet.... he discovered that the wall behind the toilet ALSO has water damage and needed replacing.

We stood in despair in the bathroom for several long minutes. So close to Ultimate Fruition... and so easily wrenched from our grasp.

Ah well, fortunately we have more greenboard, tape and mud. So today, our holiday, A. carefully cut out the damaged section and replaced it with fresh. He'll texture it in a while, install moulding (forget the self-stick baseboard from McLendon's Hardware, it's useless) and then I'll paint. No more "Contentment" in the bathroom---the color was too yellowey for the tile and flooring. We're going for "Sandstone." And the toilet MUST go back today. Especially since tomorrow is piano lessons and that bathroom needs to be functional!!

Yesterday we had a bit of excitement. D and S came running back to tell me "there's a bird in the house!!" Sure enough... it had flown down the chimney (where S had seen it emerge) and then sought refuge behind the piano. We turned off all the lights and opened the doors wide. It was a pretty little thing, olive and yellow with a white circle around its eye. A identified it as a warbler, but wasn't sure what kind.

Photo by Sherry Hagen, from
Eventually after a few frantic flappings around the living room area, it reoriented itself and headed out the front door and away. Escaping the giants. A. grabbed his Peterson's Field Guide to Western Birds and identified it as a McGillivray's Warbler. He'd never seen one before, so he added it to his life list. How courteous of the bird to come to him, rather than his going to search for it!

Guinea pig arriving from Chewelah later on tonight....a surprise gift for D., whose birthday is coming up.

Friday, May 25, 2007

A funny thing happened on the way to karate...

Yesterday on the way to karate, my son sighed to himself, then asked, "Mom, has anyone ever thought of a giant centipede?"

"Um...not sure, why do you ask?"

"I mean for a monster movie."

"Ohhhh.... yeah, I think that's been done already, hon."

Another sigh, and a long pause.

".......What about giant people?"

"Gulliver's Travels. Already been done."

(Frustrated exhale) "I want to make a scary movie that nobody's thought of before!"
That's my boy.

In other news, we're pressing on to getting that front bathroom finished. Today the linoleum guys came bright and early to put down new floor. It being a holiday weekend and lovely outside, they came early so they could start weekending sooner! Anyway, new floor is down... I have to scrub the walls with TSP, sand in some places where the paint looks peely and gross, and put a nice coat of Kilz (primer) before putting up my chosen paint color of "Contentment." (Also known as eggshell.)

I know, I know, I vowed to use color last summer when I was redoing the livingroom/entry/halls....but this is the leftover ceiling paint from the kitchen. :) I'm being thrifty. When it's all said and done it'll be beige/tan/navy blue. We're going with the Washington State Tsunami Poster theme... ah nuts, I can't move it down here, where it's relevant!! Okay, so you've already seen it at the top of this post, and now you know why it's attached to this post. (pfft on blogger!) Anyway, when A. was working at The Press, they ran a batch of this very image for The State and he took one of the overruns and framed it. (He wasn't the only one... it was a rather popular print run with the employees!) Anyway, it'll be perfect for the kids' bathroom! :) We'll accent with some other beachy things and call it good. And Lord willing, the bathroom will be completely useable by this time next week.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

If slow and steady wins the race...

...why am I so out of breath?

I speak metaphorically, of course. I do not run. It ranks right up there with visits to the dentist or removing hair from drains.

But it seems like the closer to the end of the school year I get, the more time demands there are. I feel like just hanging a sign around my neck that says "No, NO, NOOOOO, I am not available!" But that's not me. I'm too interested in pleasing people (the fear of man brings a snare) so I go ahead and try to accommodate yet one more event.

It's insane. And by extension, I am insane.

I'm reminded of Atalanta's race, getting distracted by the golden apples Hippomene tossed--stopping to pick them up... and thereby losing the race.

So. NO MORE GOLDEN APPLES. And the answer to your question is NO.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

aebleskivers 101

So this morning, armed with an aebleskiver recipe from, my new $2.99 pan, and a knitting needle-- I got to work creating delightful Danish doughballs. (Had to alliterate, sorry).

Whoops, I didn't season the brand-new cast iron pan first. So everything got stuck in short order. The breakfast was certainly doughballs, but not delightful, and I would wager that no Dane would ever claim affinity for my sad production.

I left it all on the stovetop and bustled away to our Ladies' Brunch (we didn't call it "Mother's Day Brunch" because not everyone's a mother but we're all ladies--so there it is). A nice, relaxing devotional (on the book of Ruth), some good lemon bars, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and sandwiches with no crusts. When I came home, it hit me like a ton of feather pillows that I was absolutely exhausted. So my DH gave me the luxury of an uninterrupted nap.

Later on I decided to have another go at the aebleskivers. By now the cast iron pan had been seasoned a little bit, so I tried again with less batter in the holes, and waiting longer before attempting to turn. Success! No, they weren't perfect balls like Arne's makes in Solvang, but they at least came out of the pan better. Kinda ovoid-shaped but without the pointy end. I still messed a few of them up, but once you sprinkle with powdered sugar and raspberry jam, it's all good. D. didn't' care for them very much, so A. and S. polished them off. A. came in later and told me I needed to make these for a church social or fellowship at our house around New Year's. (Interestingly enough, that's when the Danes traditionally have them--Christmas and New Year's.)

I'm hoping to get another digital camera within the next few weeks. Audra's old one is getting rather finicky and more often than not, when I take a picture and later try to retrieve it, I get "disk error" or "file error" and no photo at all. :( My last digital camera, an Olympus D-520 zoom - I remember spending about $300 for it. 2.0 whopping MP! (whoa! ); 3x optical zoom + 4x digital zoom (crud); 1.5" viewfinder; Quicktime movie mode---ahh, this baby was state of the art. 5 years ago.

Right now I'm totally up for getting a "point and shoot" camera but I keep looking at these Pentax and Canon things. Lead me not into temptation. Just lead me to a Best Buy and I'll do the rest.