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.