Wednesday, December 31, 2008

First Submission

I have to share. I actually, really, actually, submitted poetry for publication for the first time since eleventh grade. And eleventh grade was quite awhile back, folks, so rusty doesn't even begin to describe the way I felt about all this yesterday as I got started.

I hemmed, I hawed. I decided against it. I talked myself into it. I put it off until the last, last, possible moment. I harassed friends and family on extremely short notice for opinions and editing advice. I literally forced myself to do this.

Why? I asked myself this as I groaned through my seventh revision in twenty-four hours. As I stared at the computer screen, toggling between fonts, I tried a tactic my mother taught me. I muttered "What's the worst possible thing that could happen if I hit the send button?" My husband replied "We could all blow up." Hmmm. Well, that brought me back down to earth.

I may have shared this before, but there is a solid steel block on my desk that my mom sent me a few years back which has this engraved into it:

What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?

This makes me pause on a regular basis and think about whether or not I have the courage to do something that feels hard. Today, I decided that even possibly not failing, was a good enough reason to try. How will my children learn courage if they never see me try hard at something that scares the living wits out of me?

I'm not expecting to win this contest, but I am expecting it to be the first submission of many. After all my hysteria (and if you know me you know I love a good dose of hysteria in my projects), right now I just feel happy. And relieved. And accomplished. You know those writing goals I started out with after the retreat in October? I am actually making progress! How cool is that?

Thursday, December 25, 2008


We arrived home from our delicious and delightful trip to Connecticut at about 5:30 this morning. It was an amazing and magical adventure (even if Continental airlines has made a permanent enemy out of me) and I can't imagine not going back east much sooner than the six years we waited this time! It will take me awhile to sort it all out and share it, but it really, really was wonderful and the time we spent with my sister-in-law and her husband was priceless.

We're holding off for the big Christmas "moment" until after nap time--partially since my husband is still asleep--but as he'll be home for the next week, we have lots planned, such as:

+Cookie, truffle, and rice krispie treat making, gingerbread village making (thanks Allie)
+Getting into the rhythm of snow-cocoa-snow-cocoa (the outdoor time will come in short spurts since all our snow clothes are currently vacationing in some top secret Continental airlines location)
+Sending the rest of the Christmas cards (once the luggage with them in it arrives)
+Hors D'oeuvres and sparkling cider galore (standard fare here from Christmas to New Years)
+Writing time for me since my husband is home to adore the children--will I submit poetry by the end of the year or won't I . . .

Anyway, you get the picture. It's a happy picture for me! And don't worry, photos (and details of the enmity between me and Continental) will be forthcoming :) Wishing you all a lovely day today and hoping you a fab week of festivities as we celebrate the mountain of December and January holidays!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hope & Misery Abound

"Victories in life come through our ability to work around and over the obstacles that cross our path. We grow stronger as we climb our own mountains." -- Marvin J. Ashton

Yes, I am still sick. This would be the misery part. I'm on antibiotics though and it's now been three weeks, so I'm hoping it clears itself up this week and leaves me able to breathe in peace!

My husband was out of town Tuesday through Friday last week at a conference for work. I missed him terribly, both because I adore him and because it was horrid trying to deal with the kids alone all week when I felt so rotten.

Tuesday I woke up and got the kids dressed and breakfasted and decided to go lie down for a bit. This was a really stupid idea, and I'm playing the sick card as an excuse for my temporarily feeble decision-making capabilities.

When I got up, refreshed and feeling positive about my ability to handle the week with the kids, I first encountered a strong smell. It was not an unpleasant smell, but if I could smell it through this massive head cold then you know it had some serious power behind it. It smelled like . . . barbecue . . .

I was then confronted with my small son, slathered in something frighteningly thick and brown from fingers to wrists and looking like a little ghost--caked in a white powdery substance from the neck up. Then I saw the living room and I was not well pleased. My delightfully creative children decided to give themselves and the house a . . . spice rub.

The main ingredient was this, which is one of my favorite things to add to chili. This was the brown stuff Bear had on his hands. His head was covered in a mixture of cream of tartar and powdered sugar and dampened for maximum pastiness by organic lemon-thyme cleaning spray. Floors, walls, furniture and accessories, all "rubbed".

I thought about taking photos, but frankly I was too sick to do more than send Princess to her room while I gave Bear a bath and then baby-gated him into the hall while I spent 2 hours cleaning. I did get Princess out for the last half hour and have her help me vacuum and scrub, but most of it was too much of a mess for little hands to be of much use. Everything cleaned up fine except for the ottoman which I think is a lost cause. They used it as a palette and it had the hickory salt, cream of tartar and curry powder ground into it. We're going to smell like a smokehouse for months.

Now for the hope part. October is almost over and I am busy, despite the illness trying to get ready for November which brings the beginning of NaNoWriMo and CU lecture writing, Thanksgiving, my sister's birthday, the holiday selling season on eBay and the start of my own holiday prep list (which promises to be as lengthy and glorious as it always is).

Call me an optimist (or totally unrealistic), but I'm excited about everything I plan to pack into the last couple months of 2008! I love the holidays that are part of this time of year and the busyness that accompanies them, and I have hope that I'll manage to accomplish enough of what I want to be pleased with the effort and the results.

Tomorrow my plans are to pull out the sewing machine and begin work on Princess' Orange-Yellow-Pink Fuzzy Spider Costume and do a lot of laundry and work more on a story called "Worry & Care" that I started two years ago. I've only got a few chapters left I think before it's done and I'd adore having it finished this week. Here is the quote from the first chapter that the title comes from. It sums up my current state of hope.

Faith is not without worry or care--faith is fear that has said a prayer.
–Author Unknown

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Miss me?

Wow--8 weeks, that is crazy! I hope to never leave y'all hanging for that long again. Things have been pretty wild here. Currently I'm sick--coughing and hacking sick--and it's been a full week so I'm dreaming it'll be over soon.

Princess' party was spectacular and we had a wonderful time with the family and friends who came (and there were plenty)! The cake turned out very well, although I was sobbing and hyperventilating over it as I decorated the ladybug, and the weather was PERFECT! Thank you to all who came, and I promise that the Thank You notes are coming soon. Tiffany was the absolute lifesaver--she's a new friend that I don't know well, but I give a fair amount of credit to her for offering to help and then showing up and doing whatever needed to be done! On the way home Princess said, "Mom, it was the most stupendous party anyone has ever had!" And that's what I wanted :)

The garden has been ignored for most of the time I haven't been here. Infestations increased and it was way, way too depressing for me to deal with. The potato crop was huge (like, hundreds of potatoes) and every single potato had bugs in inside it. I do have one little pumpkin which was actually turning orange last time I looked and I will take a photo of for you this week.

Mouth healed, it's all good, and gratefully they don't grow back so I NEVER have to have it done again.

I'm writing pretty much every day, though not as many words as I'd hoped. I went last weekend, before the sickness took hold, up to the mountains to a beautiful lake to a real live writer's retreat! I met lots of amazing women, a number of whom had published actual books and learned a lot. I came home totally inspired and with some clear thoughts about directions to take my various writing endeavors. I also joined the writer's association that sponsored the event (I'm in their newly formed online chapter) and can't wait to jump into their conversations and critiques. Here are my plans:

1. I am going to keep writing fan fiction. I've met a lot of great people through reading and posting fan fiction, I still love the characters I am playing with and frankly, it's fun. It also helps me hone my writing skills for my other projects, so it's even useful.

2. I'm going to work on a couple of original fiction pieces. The story I started for NaNoWriMo last year, and the one I am starting in a couple weeks for this year's contest. I may need significant encouragement on these, so please poke me now and again about them, okay? I do want them published eventually (I think), but first I want to actually complete a novel-length work of totally original fiction. Wow. I said it out loud.

3. You've heard me moan about poetry some and I've decided to do something about it. I'm taking down everything I've posted online (so read fast if you want to take a look), investigating previously published markets for that stuff and writing again. I even finished a new poem and a half this week! Official publication is what I want for these babies, at least some of them, so harass me about submissions, please.

In other news, we've started kindergarten for Princess and I'm loving it! I'm officially a home schooling mama now and it's so cool. Insane, but cool.

My husband has started school again and is taking an accounting class twice a week. So far, he's scored the only perfect 100 of the class on his first test and we're all holding together on those nights when he leaves home early and gets home late.

The Bear seems less of a baby each day. He's on another teething jag and he's managed three new ones in the last week and a half. He is now an Eleven Tooth Boy with a reasonable (given my family's propensity for toddler baldness) amount of hair. His sister likes to call it silvery-gold. I just call it mama-melting. He makes me laugh a lot and it's weird because he's almost a carbon copy of me at this age and some days I get this weird deja vu feeling--like I am actually looking at myself.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

August stuff...

The weather has been dark and cold today and pretty dreary a lot of this week. I've been inside a lot and haven't gotten photos of the garden yet.

Yesterday when my husband got the vacuum cleaner out we weren't sure how Bear was going to react to it. His sister is still frightened by it at almost 5! He loved it. He literally chased his dad around the house shouting "car car car"! It was the funniest thing I'd seen in awhile.

Last week as the Northwest Washington State Fair on we took the kids and went on Saturday. Princess' favorite thing was getting to milk the pretend cow and the souvenier she chose to bring home is a wooden King Cobra almost 3 feet long. I am so not into snakes, but she is still delighted with it (I had to kiss its nasty little head at quiet time) and that is what counts! My husband and Princess both got to be party of the Imagination Circus show and it was lots of fun.

I went back to the mouth surgeon on Monday. He thinks I have a strained muscle and possibly an infection. I'm now taking muscle relaxers (which totally wipe me out) and antibiotics (which make me feel sick), but hey! At least he actually looked at me and had an idea. I'm not in as much pain, just feeling crummy.

If you're so inclined, it would be lovely to have you pray for sunshine for Princess' birthday on the 30th!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Here and update, there an update, everywhere an . . .

Well, we're half way through August! I can't believe we only have 2 weeks until Princess' party. The creation of all things buggy are underway. I am thrilled my family will be coming up to visit again, and Mom will be here for a couple of weeks. Sadly, they just announced the church summer barbecue is happening the evening of Princess' bash and I am sad about that . . . I'm not sure people will skip free food at the lake to hit a pinata at the park with us. Plus, I am late getting the invites out--they were supposed to be out last week and last week was rough and so I didn't do it. Sigh. More cake for me.

I'm writing a lot of fanfiction these days and my goal of 1000 words of creative writing a day is proving sufficiently difficult. I hit 2550 total last week and 1484 this week. Better than it has nothing though I suppose, so I'll just keep at it. I have a couple months left to practice before NaNoWriMo.

The garden is a discouragement and a thrill . I went and picked peas and beans this morning. Lots of green tomatoes & unripe bell peppers, some not too big corn, tons of yellow crook neck squash, moldy cabbage and Brussels sprouts which I am just going to pull out and try again next year, blight-covered potato patch which I am going to mostly dig up this week and hope the baby potatoes are okay underground, nice self-seeded sunflowers and lots of rotting baby zucchini and pumpkins. REALLY unhappy about the rotting/blighted/moldy stuff.

The mouth surgeon was not helpful--told me to take ibuprofen and come back in a week if it still hurt. Did not even look at my mouth--couldn't they have told me that over the phone? So I didn't go back in because it had stopped hurting, yeah! Last night I am eating dinner and I hear this HUGE "crraaacckkkk" and feel like someone just stabbed me in the jaw with a tent stake. Not the joint, it is actually lower in the jaw where they took the wisdom tooth out . . . took the maximum amount of proscribed ibuprofen and it didn't put even a dent in the (excruciating) pain. So I suppose I get to call them again tomorrow--it has been six weeks since the surgery and it just seems like this is weird, weird, weird.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Well, my mom's visit was great and Bear's party was as perfect as a party can get. I actually got everything done on my party to do list, my family was a great help with the slave labor aspects of the celebration and Baby Bear absolutely loved having the house filled with people who loved him! Frankly, I did too :) I managed to put together a scrapbook (my first clumsy attempt ever) of Bear's first year and I really like how it turned out. Here is the moon and stars cake I made (blueberry moon and strawberry stars). Stressful to make, but I'm quite proud of it now that it is all over!

Mom helped with some garden stuff and I have corn and peppers and amazing things out there right now folks--I'll take you some new photos this week!

Bear's been most happy the last few days because Saturday we took the baby gates down and he is now allowed to roam the ranch. This has resulted in taking Oscar the garbage can out to the garage to keep him out of it (the lid was no deterrent), replacing the spices back in the cupboard 4 times, putting the dishtowels back in the drawer 3 times (after removing the child from drawer), and being puzzled by the fact that the kitchen drawer latches that STILL keep his sister out of the butter knives are apparently useless in keeping him out of the butter knives. The kid has a long reach.

Last night I posted my first fanfic chapter since January! Yeah me! Close to 1800 words, so a little smaller than most, but it felt great and I was happy with it. I also have chapter eleven done and am started on chapter twelve. Maybe I can get back into the writing and reviewing groove and that will motivate me to work on more of my completely original fiction. I am plotting in my head for this year's NaNoWriMo. Or maybe even some new poetry, although I continue to feel unsettled about that these days. Should I try to be famous or just connect with the masses . . . that is the eternal question for me & poetry.

Today I was chewing pizza at lunch and I heard a loud cracking sound and a shooting pain in my jaw. I can't think this is good. Back to Dr. Oral-Maxillofacial Surgeon on Thursday. Yuck.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Okay, so more and more of my friends have blogs, and tons of interesting other people have interesting blogs on which I lurk and blogger only allows for this too-small number of blogs and websites on the side over there. Hmpf. How am I supposed to pick my favorites??? Is there a way to add more that I just don't see? It doesn't SAY there is limit, it just won't let me add more. Right now it's full and I either have to start throwing people off, or, or, something else.

My gardening wiz neighbor came over yesterday to inspect the garden problems I have been having. Apparently my potatoes and tomatoes and peppers have blight and I need to act fast. I am not supposed to water them from the top anymore. How do I not water three huge beds with the sprinkler? It will take me hours each day to soak the beds by hand. He said I need to put copper on them or maybe it was fungicide. Or maybe copper is fungicide? Hmm. I will need to check that out. He thinks my pumpkins are not getting watered consistently and that is their problem. Sigh. I don't know that I can really pull this garden thing off this year.

Here is an idea I got from another blog--it's a survey of what's going on here today.

Outside my window: The sky is clear and cerulean with no clouds. My neighbor's dark purple clematis is in full bloom.

I am thinking: About my mom coming to visit this week and finally being able to knock off the prescription meds for the wisdom tooth pain.

I am thankful: For my garden which provided enough peas, strawberries and our first tomato to go with Princess' peanut butter sandwich for lunch today.

In my kitchen: Leftover chocolate cupcakes from the batch I made for my friend Deborah's birthday on Saturday. These are the very yummiest and have yogurt and pudding in them.

I am creating: An email reminding the ladies in my writing group that we meet this week, and my assignment piece of writing for the meeting.

I am working on: Laundry, listing some things on eBay, tidying the kids' room to move the blow up bed in for mom.

I am wearing: Dark blue jeans and a pale aqua Old Navy t-shirt from the "messy" stack in my closet (as my Mama Dress Code requires). NO SHOES.

I am reading: Started reading on Friday to my husband "Rendezvous with Rama" by Arthur C. Clarke. I listened to this on tape ten years ago and picked up a copy at Goodwill. It has been sitting on my shelf for ages. I was looking for something to read the other night and pulled this down and then thought how much my husband would enjoy it, so I just sat down in the office next to him and started reading. We are on chapter 8 now.

I am hearing: Bear fuss for me to get him up from his nap, Princess whispering to a toy about making it lunch and building it a house.

Out of the house: Bear had his first dental check up this morning. It went great and he had fun. The dentist said he has great teeth.

In my house: There are many messes.

I am enjoying: The breeze, the warm air and having to be anywhere else today.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tons of Photos, Egyptian Maus and What Bears Eat

Well, some of what I wanted to blog during the Wisdom Fog is returning. As of today I am just on Ibuprofen and feeling a lot better. Still not sure I will be up to 3 hours of child hauling tomorrow, but we shall see. Anyway, I have tons of photos to share today!

These are the works of art Princess brought home from Nature Art Camp. The pottery bowl story is that I was ooh-ing and aah-ing and telling her I was so proud of the great job she did on it and she had this funny, sort of sheepish look on her face. I asked her what was wrong and she told me that she couldn't remember which one was hers to take home so they gave her an extra with no name on it even though she was positive she hadn't made this one because hers had not been round. The stuff on the pine cone is salt dough, but seriously, after all the mashed potatoes I've eaten this week I could have sworn that is what it was! I was impressed by the very cool fish prints they had made and then she told me they used rubber fish. Sheesh. We always used real stuff when I was a kid!

This is what Baby Bear is eating these days--little bits of lots of stuff. He loves broccoli, cheese, chicken, hot dogs, and most fruit (no raspberries)--I love chopping things up and putting them on his tray and watching him investigate and snarf!

My friend Lisa blogged a while back about her new cat, and finding that he is likely at least partially an Egyptian Mau. As I was reading the description she gave, I though, "Hmm, that sounds like my kitty." So I checked around online and found tons of info that confirms my sweet cat is definitely, at least partially also a (bronze) Egyptian Mau! Then my sister send photos of her new kitten and he must be too! Very cool. The quirk about these cats that fits my fabulous Mau the most is that the moves her tail constantly when she is happy or content--in most other cat breeds this is considered a sign of aggression or distress (at least this is what my vet has always said), but in Mau's it means they are at peace with the world.

Here are some photos from our 4th of July picnic at the park on the bay. The sunset was amazing and the weather that night was perfect in every way. It is the first time we have gone down there to see the fireworks and it was SOOO worth the hassle! They were incredible. I did have to carry Bear, in the stroller, up and down about 10 flights of stairs each way (and that is not an exaggeration--we parked at the top of the towers as there was no parking at the beach level), but other than that it was delightful in every way.
Are you tired of garden photos yet? I love my garden in case you can't tell.

I have peppers! These will be red bell peppers eventually :)

Can you believe there are this many tomatoes on one little vine? These will be Yellow Canary tomatoes which are supposed to be little tiny things.When my mom came to live with us a couple years back she brought me all her rose bushes. They spent almost three years in pots, and finally got planted next to the driveway during the spring before Bear was born. They spent a year in recovery from my horrific mistreatment of them and this year most of them bloomed beautifully, including this Queen Elizabeth. One day Princess came in and told me she needed to "paint the garden". After some discussion and compromise, I got out the easel and picked one rose for her to do a "study" (how cute is that?) with and she went to town.These amazing little creatures love the lavender under the driveway trellis. I can't believe I got a picture of a dragonfly!!!Here are photos of the aforementioned yard clean-up my husband did this week. This is out back yard.Happy new little pumpkin.Still happy larger pumpkin.Turned yellow but still strongly on the vine pumpkin (I even tugged on it).What happens shortly thereafter :( WHY?????See all those cute little Blue Lake beans?This was one day's harvest from only three of our pots! The strawberries are doing well this year.I have no idea what kind of tomato this is--it is one of the orphan plants I picked up on the side of the road with the "free" sign on it--but it looks as though it may be ready to eat soon!The Snap Dragons have been roaring this summer--they didn't bloom until November, and then, quite pitifully as you might imagine, so I was surprised they survived and surprised they thrived!I have corn with feathers! I have 4 corns with feathers!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Birthday stuff and lists

Today we got the kids' birthday photos back for their invitations and I love them. There are more than I remember ordering, I think since we are part of the buy-one-get-one-free club, but I am thrilled to get to send these out. I put them in these matching adorable birthday shirts--Princess' says "Birthday Girl" on it and Bear's says "1st Birthday". So I got some of them together and some of them separately. Since this was Bear's official birthday shoot there are a few more of him. Princess will have her actual birthday shoot probably in September with her new birthday dresses. Maybe we'll do them outside this time. She will also get fairy wings added to her photo digitally because she won our local Sears' photo contest with her St. Patrick's Day portrait (she has a definite little leprechaun look to her).

Anyway, tonight I will have my husband help my address the invites while we watch SciFi Friday. There are 2 cute photos of Bear we can send--in one he is standing by that huge studio prop shaped like a "1" which is neat, but you really couldn't see the words on his shirt, and in the other, he is sitting and you can see the words on his shirt pretty clearly. I think I will do the "1" picture for the invites and send the others out as Thank You's and just to family and friends in general.

I am waiting on only a couple things to be party ready except for baking cake and fixing ice water. Since Constance mentioned list making on her blog I think it's only fair for me to show I have some obsessiveness--er, skills--in that area.

Still Need for Party Prep
-Fabric pens for the star quilt friends will sign at Bear's party.
-An old pot for a double boiler to melt glycerin in to make soap favors. Does anyone out there make soap? Does the glycerin wash out of pots safely and easily? Could I use a good pan?
-Princess' invites and candy wrappers--the lady emailed and said the were sent Wednesday, so hopefully they'll arrive early next week.
-Recipe for divine carrot cake to make the ladybug for Princess' cake.
-Foil for the candy bar favors for *under* the cute wrapper--Hershey's doesn't wrap them in foil anymore so they look weird unless you have foil to wrap them in apparently. This is ordered and is coming with Princess' invites.
-Recipes for divine blueberry cake and strawberry cake (yes, 2 kinds) for Bear's birthday cake--Princess chose the flavors so I must comply :)

That's it! The rest is here and ready to be assembled. I really only have 2 weeks from tomorrow for Bear's party to be ready so I must make haste!

I come from a long and illustrious list-making heritage and have been making lists since the moment I could hold a writing utensil. I also married a list-maker. Princess is doubly cursed and has begun her quest for list supremacy by making lists of squiggles (since she doesn't write enough words yet to make a convincing list) and calling it her List. I can't decide if this is bad or good.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Post Op

Well, the maxillofacial surgeon gave me a thumbs up and a long stemmed rose at the post-op appointment today! He also gave me more medication, for which I am extremely grateful. When I explained the pain, he looked at my original e-rays again and said "Ah. Well that explains it. Considering that I had to shave off about half of your jaw bone in order to get the bottom teeth out, you're right where you should be as far as pain levels go." Wow. Way to make a woman feel better! He also commented that he was glad my husband was home taking care of me--most women are not able to take enough time off to truly heal as they should, and that from meeting my husband in the recovery room after the surgery, he could honestly say that my husband was the most concerned and interested husband he'd seen in all his years of practice :) I am so blessed :)

Today Princess finished her Nature Art class through the County Parks and Rec department. She brought home all kinds of wild art projects during the last 2 weeks and I think she enjoyed it. I am less impressed by the Creative Kids Cooking classes. No information can be found about the instructor on the website or through Google, and so far from the last 2 classes, she enjoyed "all the kids going out to his truck to meet his dog". Hmmm . . .

I started to get some garden photos tonight, but I got really woozy and the battery on the camera died, so this is all you get. Strawberry yield for the day, peppermint, basil, English thyme, peas, yellow crookneck abundance. My husband fertilized the garden last night and weed-ate and mowed tonight. He's such a trooper! The yard is not his favorite place to labor. WHY are my pumpkins getting 2 inches in diameter, turning yellow and popping off the vines??? Help!?!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

From the Land of Less Teeth

Well, I am a little more coherent today, I'm off the Percoset and down to the Vicodan (which I like a lot less frankly--it makes me majorly grumpy). This isn't likely to be long since I am still pretty woozy, but I can now officially share with you all that I have no wisdom teeth! Wow! It hurts a lot, but the meds help and my darling husband is taking amazing care of me and whipping up all kinds of delicious smoothies and texture-free foods for me to eat. I've been in bed for almost a week now, thinking of things to blog about and now of course I can't remember any of them.

The garden is going great! I will try to get some photos in the next day or two. Baby bear is amazing! He now walks just fine with no help, he's done with baby food. I can't believe it is already time to phase out bottles. It seems like just yesterday that he was a tiny baby.

I just joined a new reading website called Shelfari (safari on your bookshelf)--it is interesting to see what people are reading! Feel free to ask me to be your friend; when you do it sends me an email saying how smart you must think I am!

Most of the party stuff has arrived for the kids' parties, and I am hoping to start crafting some of the fun favors with Princess next week. We've got lots to do and the projects for favors are things she has been wanting to do anyway, so I think it will be fun.

Mom will be here a week from tomorrow, and while I know she doesn't want me to fuss, I do want there to be some space and organization and be a little more ready for Baby Bear's party. I want to spend my time with her relaxing and enjoying not cleaning and tidying! I haven't seen mom since spring when we went to visit in Idaho, so I am really excited to have her come and play for a bit.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

We have a new church ladies book group! I have started reading our first book, The Alchemist: A Fable about Following Your Dream by Paulo Coelho. I've only read the introduction and the prologue and already am enjoying the truth there. I adore self help books written as stories--I have several on my shelf already--and was excited to try this one out. From what I have read so far it will be an easy read, but one I will go through more than once and mark up like crazy.

Yesterday we had a fun 4th of July. Aside from visiting with my friend Julie's and the neighbors' families a few times over the years, this is the first time in my married life we've really done something other than staying home and watching the big Seattle fireworks on television. It's also the first time my husband and I have initiated a get together for the 4th. I entertain a lot, just not around Independence Day I guess. We called up a few people we thought might be without company and told them we were going to to the big park on the bay for dinner and to watch the fireworks show. We ended up with just us and four other people but it was fine--we had a great evening! The fireworks were gorgeous and the weather was absolutely perfect.

This weekend we are watching a 2-year-old daughter of a woman from church who is in dire straits. 7-4 yesterday, today and tomorrow. Since we don't have a car big enough for three little kids, I'll be walking to church tomorrow with them all in tow! Princess has loved having someone else to play with and it hasn't really complicated life (except for the transportation bit). The little girl is pretty easygoing--a definite two, but well-behaved.

The garden is happy! We picked another dozen strawberries for lunch today and a few peas. We have more pumpkins, yellow squash and zucchinis and the wax beans and growing well. The corn just keeps getting taller and we have open blossoms on the pepper plants! Lots of tomato blossoms but only 2 actual toms. I have got to figure out what to do about the cabbage! Something is eating the heck out of it and it won't last 'til the first frost at this rate. The celery amazes me. I am amazed that I can grow real celery that looks like celery! Now, I don't LIKE celery, but the rest of my family does (as do the Wonderpets who come and play at our house occasionally) so it's good we'll have a nice supply.

I'm finally telling people that I have a blog. Like, people other than the people who randomly found it because they have a blog too. I figured, I've been doing this a year almost and I should fess up :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Guess what time it is???

As of last year I have two kids and their birthdays are one month and one day apart, so from now on, August will officially be Birthday Month at my house! I am once again consumed by birthday prep and I love it. I've read a number of negative articles in the past year or so about the wickedness of creating extraordinary children's birthday parties, especially if they are really little kids like mine are . . . and yet, I come from a tradition of beautiful birthdays and I have yet to think they are really a bad idea--I was going to say within reason but I realize that "reason" means different things to different people, and my parties will seem particularly unreasonable to a segment of the population.

What's it about for me? Well, for one thing it is NOT about anyone else's parties. I am not trying to out-throw the party of any other mother of any other kid. Period. It's not about me looking fabulous, or organized or creative or better than anyone else. It's about what I was raised to believe a birthday celebration to be about. Celebrating to the absolute best of your ability, within what you consider to be the realm of reasonableness, the child whose birthday it is. Will the child appreciate every speck of it? Probably not, even when they're thirty. But I don't buy into this being a reason to tone things down. While I do want my child--whatever their age--to be pleased, it's not about impressing the socks off them. It's about me creating a day that I feel celebrates the wonder of who they are and the adoration and delight that they bring into my life. I want the day to be a gift to them, a part of the story of their miraculous births and let even the years they don't remember still be part of our family lore.

I guess that almost makes it sound like it's about me . . . and I suppose in a way it is . . . but that is because they are about me, or I'm about them maybe. It's not the stuff of the party itself that matters--we've had years when it was just us hanging out at home with a couple of close friends and a cake from the grocery store. It is about the way we do the day and the care and attention put into the celebration no matter what shape it takes or the size it ends up being. Elaboration is not always the mark of a lovingly planned party.

The older they get the more input they'll have (and I swear I will let Princess make her own decisions when it comes to her wedding), but I think I will always adore giving my kid the gift of their own celebratory event (although limos and rock stars and live animal entertainment are on my personal "unreasonable" list). I have wonderful memories the ones my mother gave me--she knows how to throw a party!

This year Princess hemmed and hawed and poured over the Oriental Trading Company party catalog. First of the year we were having a bird party with a nest cake. Spring brought a princess theme with a castle cake. Then she became adamant about Spiderman. Now, she's never seen the movie (or read a book about it), but it's popular in the preschool set and all her friends were talking about it and she had to have Spiderman. I waited for the whim to pass. It didn't. So we sat down and I said, "Look. Mommy is the one who does the carrying out of the party--that means Mommy does all the work--and we need to find a compromise here that will make both Mommy and Princess happy." She wanted to know why Spiderman doesn't make Mommy happy. Well, I didn't think the explanation of how wrong I think Kirsten Dunst and Tobey Maguire are for the parts of Peter & Mary Jane and how they (plus pathetic dialogue in all of the recent film versions) have totally ruined it for me was going to fly. And she adores bugs and I have tried very hard to make sure that my own dislike of the real life nasty pesky insects doesn't dampen her own love of them. So I side stepped and we talked about why she liked Spiderman, and of course it had to do with the fact that she loves bugs and saving the universe appeals to her. So I said, "How about a bug party?" Big eyes. Big smile. "You mean worms and everything?" "Of course, honey . . . and butterflies and ladybugs and dragonflies . . ."

Was Spiderman truly the desire of her heart? After our talk, I really don't think so. What she wanted was something she didn't know how to describe and Spiderman was the closest thing she could think of. I think the playground at the park, and a ladybug pinata and cute little bags of gummy worms will work out just fine, for both of us!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Local language & Garden update

An Internet group I belong to has been discussing proposals and engagement stories and it got me thinking about me own engagement and it got me thinking about girl-ask-guy dances (etc.), which led me to search for the word Tolo. In the small Pacific Northwest town I grew up in that was what the Sadie Hawkins' Day type dances were always called and a vaguely wondered why, but not enough to ever ask anyone. I never attended one anyway, so it didn't matter much to me.

Anyway, so today I type it in and head to the Wikipedia answer and am startled. This term is completely geographically local and it has a rich and interesting history! It comes from a local "language" called Chinook Jargon, which was a trading language used by the coastal Native American tribes (and other people as they moved in) from Canada to Oregon up through the first part of the century. I was surprised to find out the words muckymuck (as in high mucky-muck) and hooch (as in home made liquor) are part of this language and have become common in other parts of the country as well--probably made so by traders. Totally random, but very cool!

Our veggie peeler died. We needed a new one. We went to Target and found this one!It is the sharpest thing I've ever peeled with, is ergonomic to the max and is a visual delight to use. I've begun to brighten up my kitchen drawers as my old black plastic dollar store cooking utensils fall apart and I have to say that my new red spatula cheers me considerably at breakfast time. I've made pancakes more times since I got it then I have in my entire adult life! After twelve years of marriage, some stuff just wears out--like the kitchen things you brought to the union!

Garden update!