Monday, May 26, 2008

Pillows & Tagged

So I was ready for a new pillow! I like mine firm, fluffy and about 3 1/2 inches high and the old one was too flat for my tastes. I learned the hard way last time I went pillow hunting that more expensive is not necessarily best when I found a buy-one-get-one-free offer at Costco for their finest pillows. Now, I can't see myself paying $25 for a pillow, frankly, and even two for that price seemed a bit indulgent, but I thought maybe I'd been missing something in all my cheap pillow years, so I did it. They were horrid. I hated them. A week later I was back in Wal-Mart, and since I'd blown my pillow budget on the nasties, I purchased the $4.99 specials. Lo and behold. I loved the cheapos! Loved them! Best pillows I'd ever slept on!

Therefore I was once again in the pillow aisle at Wal-Mart, looking at the bottom rack (where the cheapo pillows reside) and I found three varieties of environmentally friendly pillows! How weird is that? I mean, Wal-Mart is hated by a large part of the population (especially in my local Northwest town) for its non-PC-ness . . . and here they are with sustainable, hydrogen peroxide bleached, recycled water bottle fiberfill pillows in biodegradable packaging! I picked the ECOTEX & nextlife pillows and so far, I'm sleeping good :)

I have to throw in here that Baby Bear started clapping on Sunday out of the blue. He's apparetly chosen Sunday as his official Milestone Day, as things like new teeth and cuteness appear mostly on Sundays. He's such a handsome kid and when he smiles he looks so much like my maternal grandpa it takes my breath away. I also recently found a photo of myself a little older than Bear is now, with my parents. It's a studio portrait and the little me looks amazingly like little him--when asked who was in the photo, Princess identified my mom as me, me as Bear and my dad as, well, try not to laugh, John the Baptist. Now, this photo of my father shows him as a skinny, clean shaven man of about 25 and Princess has never known him as anything but robust and furry-faced, but seriously, I was trying so hard not to choke because I was laughing so hard!

After I correctly labeled the picture for her she did wonder why Granny and Grandpa where in the picture together, and thus I had my first heartbreaking (for me) moment of telling my kid that my parents used to be married but now they aren't. I only said a sentence or so, since she is ony four, and she was not really interested in more than that and quickly went back to her computer game, but it did hit me a little hard. Honestly, I still have times when miss terribly my family being intact, even after all these years, even after all the work I've done to come to peaceful terms with it and to create positive relationships all around.

Cynthia tagged me.

Big 5 Tag
What were you doing five years ago?
Waiting for my first baby to be born, frantically stocking up on bibs and burpcloths from eBay.

What are five things to do on your list for today?
Well, my day's mostly over and they're still mostly on the list: blog, write a CU lecture, make Father's Day plans for for surprising my husband, make a chocolate cake from scratch with Princess, list 37 things on eBay.

What are five snacks you enjoy?
Pizza, ice cream, chickles (cheese+pickles), cottage cheese topped with 5 bean salad, nutella on graham crackers.

What five things would you do if you were a billionaire?
Pay debts, buy homes for the people I love, visit people I love who live far away more often, vacation to places where people I love do not live, dance.

What are five of your bad habits?
Worrying, fussing, optimisim, grumpiness, panicking.

What are five jobs you have had?
Photo session scheduler, fine art notecard packager, ballet teacher, newspaper librarian, companion (in the old fashioned personal-assistant-of-all-trades sense).

What five people do you want to tag? Anyone who actually reads this :)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Baby Bear had his 9 month check up today--he's only 3 inches shy of 3 feet tall! We saw a new doc, not our regular one, but I liked her . . . she kept cooing at him and saying how perfect he was :) As a mom, that tends to get people on your good side!

We hit Wal-Mart after that and I found nifty storage boxes for the kid's room that came filled with my favorite wipes! Happy me! I also found a purple ruffled basil plant and some wax bean and cucumber seeds. I've been looking for bean and pea starts with no success--maybe I am just too late in the season for them. On the way out there was a fundraiser for a local resource that feeds the homeless and when Princess saw the semi-preciousness of the stones in the key chains, bracelets and necklaces, she wanted one so badly and I gave in. She now owns a citrine turtle key chain. We talked about where the money was going and why we were doing it and she enthused about getting to help others and getting a turtle in return.

Then we all three schlepped off to the chiropractor for our Official Evaluations post fender bender. It was nice to be done with that. Now all I have left to leave this disaster behind me is to send the papers back to the insurance company and be done. This particular experience is just another thing to help me learn to relax and go with the flow.

For quiet time we read Leaf Magic by Margaret Mahy, and Princess was terribly upset at the end. I finished the final sentence and was enjoying that delicious warm feeling that you have after reading a wonderful, touching story and she began to sniff and then snuffle and then launch into full blown hysteria. I finally got her calmed enough that she could show me the page that had upset her so much and it was the page where the leaf was trapped in a dark box all alone. She had fallen in love with the leaf and was devastated that it was shut up in a box and then truly distressed that it had been turned into a dog.

She has such a tender heart and she sees life in everything from rocks to paper dolls to the crispy worm she found on the front steps this morning ("he's just tired mom"). I tried to help her see that it was like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly--a happy thing, a good thing, but the loss seemed too great to her . . . despite my attempts at comfort, diversion and explanation, the poor dear cried herself to sleep. I hope that as she grows I can help her keep the empathy and compassion she was obviously born for while teaching her how to handle change with as much flexibility and grace as possible.

"The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail."

Monday, May 19, 2008


As of Sunday I have a 6 Tooth Boy! Three on top, three on the bottom, and the left side is definitely winning. And today, my baby took two steps by himself! Oh my goodness! I can't believe it. Princess was not a really early walker, but this kid is cruising. Yes, for those of you trying to add it up, he won't be ten months old for another ten days. Watch out world, Bear is on the loose. Well, technically we have baby gates up, but he's more able to be on the loose, quicker anyway, then he was last week. Crazy.

Three beds in the back planted now and they're growing! Corn, pumpkins, potatoes, celery (which I hate but Princess loves), tomatoes, peppers and cantaloupe (yeah right, one can dream I suppose). Tomorrow I'll work on the onions, yellow crook neck squash, acorn squash, zucchini, Brussels sprouts & cabbage. I am hoping to get the herbs in this week too--I have purple sage, lemon thyme, tarragon, chives, oregano & parsley to plant. The garden is a great place to work things out lately. Makes the achy shoulder ache, but certainly does the rest of me some good. I recently found this quote and it made me smile--I sneak glances out the kitchen window much more frequently when I've just planted things!

I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation. It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or a rose of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green.
--Nathaniel Hawthorne

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Ladybuggary

My Princess came in from the front yard a couple weeks ago to tell me how excited she was about her new "Ladybuggary". I had not ever heard this term before, but she told me (with no little amount of condescension at my ignorance) that it means a habitat for ladybugs. Not to be confused with an ordinary
"Buggary" which is a habitat for
regular kinds of bugs or a "Sluggary"
which is a habitat for slugs.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Thank you to those who sent me nice notes in response to the last post. This week has been one of the most difficult I have had in a long time (and it is only Thursday), coming on the tail of another challenging week. I am hoping to finish up with some lightness. I meant to respond personally, and I will as I get myself together here, but I wanted to say thanks.

Yesterday was the worst and last night I after Night Writers I fell apart at the feet of two very wise women and I am so grateful for their willingness to sacrifice their sleep and comfort to let me talk myself through some of the things I have been struggling with and share with me some of their own life lessons. Today of course, I am trying not to regret it.

I have a hard time trusting people with my weak moments. I talked to a friend about this once, and I think it comes down to me believing I am a pretty strong, happy, person and worrying that if people see me in a moment of weakness or frustration that they'll forever after that see me as this needy person. Gratefully, my moments of complete and utter overwhelmance (new word?) are few and so I generally find it safer to just get through them by closing my eyes and hanging on until it's over instead of asking for support. I am afraid that if others see me as incapable of dealing with my life, even for short periods of time, I might be judged (by myself and them) by that moment instead of who I feel like I truly am--the person I am the rest of the time. The majority of the time. While I believe I am shaped by my struggles to a certain extent, I don't believe that I am my struggles and I hate the idea of giving people that impression.

I have truly worked on overcoming this phobia and opening up in the past few years, but apparently it's time for me to kick this dish up a notch (bam-bam-bam). I am a believer in the idea that if a challenge comes to you, it's time to deal with it and you are ready to do it and have the tools even if you don't realize it. I suppose that is sort of encouraging when I think about it. I can do this. I can get through this. I am meant to get through it.

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
- Anais Nin

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Daily trauma--you know what I mean

For those who will fight bravely and not yield,
there is triumphant victory over all the dark things of life.
-James Allen

Yesterday was just one of those hard days when it starts out bad and just gets worse. It seems as though there are times when practically every struggle you have jumps up in your lap for a cuddle and doesn't want to get down.

I usally love the rain. Living in the Pacific Northwest, you don't have a lot of options if you want to be at peace with the weather. The last couple days though it has poured and poured and frankly, I am not in the mood. I could really use some sunshine.

I'm really grateful for modern medicine and a country that has adequate access to it for many people (I'd be dead several times over without it), yet navigating the healthcare and insurance systems is so frustrating and exhausting. I'm at the end of my rope with it all, once again. It seems like when this happens (which is does with miserable frequency), a step appears at the edge of the ledge and I manage to press on and find the competent and kind doctors I need. So for now, I will try to just be still, take a step back and wait for a solution that doesn't involve me hollering and any of my current "providers".

It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out--it's the grain of sand in your shoe.
-Robert Service

I'll pose these questions for anyone reading--answer all or none. Totally fishing for wisdom & clarity here :)

1. What do you do to cheer yourself up?
2. What do you do when you like a doctor and the office staff is terribly difficult to deal with?
3. When a someone tells you that they need space (from you), how do you react?
4. How do you approach projects that appear to be elephant-sized?
5. Do you let others' insecurities, negativity or frustration change your mood or attitude?
6. What keeps you going when others question your goals?
7. What do you find most challenging about building a close friendship?

You and I cannot give up, no matter what the size of our struggles. We were not meant to be fear-haunted and defeated nobodies. There is something deep in our hearts saying that we belong to something higher.
-Paul H. Dunn

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Crossing things off the list & Early gifts

I got a box from my dad and stepmother today with a really kind note, NEW SILVERWARE to add to my meager supply and this:

Which I think is meant as a bit of a joke :) I do not buy Jell-O and my husband was practically apoplectic with excitement at the thought of making Jigglers!

Yeah me! Today I finished and mailed a project I started before Baby Bear was born. My grandma wanted to create a family history book for her sisters and children that detailed the descendants of her parents. I got so sick while being pregnant that it was all put on hold the end of 2006. I did some work on it the end of last year and then again last month when I was visiting her, and I really wanted to get it to her. We had an understanding that this would be a work in progress--a workbook of sorts for each person to make changes to and update.

Gram turns 79 on Tuesday and as I was getting her birthday presents ready to send I decided that it was time to finish the books up and send them off to her. So, this morning I printed close to 1500 pages of family group sheets and personalized card stock dividers, packed them carefully and took them to the post office. Any prayers you can spare that they arrive intact would be most appreciated! Of course there is the updating and filling out of additional details and frills like photos and copies of documents that needs to happen, but the basics are finished and I am breathing a sigh of relief!

Also today my Visiting Teacher dropped by this:

Isn't that beyond sweet? I know there are those who sniff and scoff at "treats" being part of the program, but personally, I love goodies and flowers and poems and stuff. I love that someone took a moment to think of me, I love them dropping it by and surprising me, and I love having something bright and happy and sweet on my table, reminding me that someone cares enough to take the trouble.

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Garden

"We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses."
-- Abraham Lincoln

I think every single potato start I planted has come up. It's more than a dozen and I'll have to give some away I think. We planted Russian Banana potatoes, All Blue, and Red Thumb and I am so excited to have them grow! I choose the blue and red varieties specifically because they stay colored during cooking. So many veggies don't :( Like the purple green beans I planted last year. Very disappointing.

Last night I did my first real weeding of the season. I got most of the side bed done and I'm going to put corn seedlings in tonight. I'd love to get corn this year! That bed will also have canteloupe in it, and maybe watermelon if I can find a decent seedless start. I got part of bed #1 done as well, which is going to have acorn & yellow crook neck squash, zucchini, and pumpkins, with peas at the ends on trellises. Next the herb bed needs to be gotten together because I have some starts to go in it and I will dig up the rosemary from the front yard to put there too.

Finally, I am avoiding bed #3 because it will be an absolute monster this year. It thinks it's part of the Amazon jungle and has overgrown itself to appropriate proportions. Everything I palnted in it is dried up, but it managed to find enough recruits to scare me away so far this year. That is where the tomatoes and peppers are going (with beans on the ends) though so I need to get started. I also have a bare space in the ground, rather large, where a tree got removed this year, so I am filling it with caulifloower, broccoli and brussels sprouts. I figure if they don't survive, I won't fall apart, so they get the crummy spot :)

I am happy to be out in the earth again, out doing somehting really useful. It's not that I adore the actual work of gardening, or the science of it (I am a stick it in the ground and pray sort of person), but I love both the instant and faith-demanding results. And I learn a lot in my garden, and I get really great ideas about the rest of my life while I am at it. The garden, while not restful, is meditative for me.

"When the world wearies and society fails to satisfy, There is always the garden."
-- Minnie Aumonier

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Friday = Blue (on Thursday)

Here is my final Week of Color post. Bear got one tooth on Saturday and one more on Wednesday!!!

Blue glass in the beach stuff jar in my bathroom.
Cute baby bunting Bear got for his first Christmas. Ready to pack away--it's too small.
Gorgeous vase dad gave me a couple years ago. Sits on the bookshelf in my room.
Love these shoes :)
Kid's couch from my childhood. I mean to replace the funky blue and rust 70's fabric at some point. Currently in Princess' room, where it is climbed on more than sat on.
One of my dad's paintings/collages--a Christmas gift. It's a tiny one, about 4" x 4".
Princess insisted I take a photo of her blue princess ring from McDonald's. Big rock :)
Chinese lanterns hanging in the kids' room. I got them at a gorgeous little store called Landlubber that went out of business.
We won this at a family reunion a few years ago. Princess looked over the goods up for auction (to support the Family Association) and decided she needed to have this. She adores it from afar as it sits on the high shelf in her room and we get it down for her sometimes.
Gorgeous little dress for this summer from (where else) eBay.
Great pot holder made by a lady named Wanda that my sister bought for me as a late birthday present at the festival in the next town over that we went to last Saturday. She chose one with bamboo.
Yes, I am a Nielsen Panelist! And I love it!
I got these bins at Bed Bath and Beyond on sale and tagged them with pictures so that Princess could tell where to put away her toys. Works like a charm for my husband too.
Blue bibs by Rosena. Rosena retired and I'm sad.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Thursday = Red (on Tuesday)

So here you have red day, late. Princess has been so cute, she keeps asking me what color today is, and since we ran out, I've been letting her choose :)
This is the bag we packed for Princess when we went to the hospital to have Bear.
Another new cook book from the Boise Public Library sale.
Little red leather box my mom gave to Princess for Valentine's Day.
Red chair my dad gave the kids for Christmas and a little Rageddy Ann & Andy pillow from Rosena.
Red tulip from the yard--planted by the neighbors in secret a few years ago and still coming up each Spring.
Bushes on the way home from our walk.
Have you ever seen strawberries screaming to be filled more than these? Cheesecake? Whipped cream? Nutella?
It has been a sad seven days. The death of a friend's husband in a tragic, horrific accident and the death of another friend's precious baby girl, soon to be adopted, in a poor foreign country far away from this family that adores her. I believe in life after death, I believe that families will be together in that life as they were in this one, and yet the suffocating pain of loss is so real and so heartbreaking. It is comforting to know they live on, but crushing that they are missing from our circles of family and friendship for who knows how long. No hugging, no birthday parties, no weddings. That's hard and it's lonely.

I've struggled the last few days, wondering how to support and comfort Keeley and now Michelle because I desperately want to do something. I'm not as close to either of them as I'd like to be--life is busy for everyone and it is a constant struggle to make time for the most important things, like friendships. I have a great fear (as many do) of making it worse. Of offending or hurting them, of making it all more unbearable than it already is. I've pondered what I would want, and come up with nothing I feel is useful because everyone grieves differently. What I would want may not be what they would want. I have heard that the worst thing is to do nothing, to stay away . . . so I'm mostly resolved not to, if I can figure out what shape my not staying away should take. It's hard to think of what comes next, though. How do they go on? How do we walk beside them through the valley?

There is a beautiful blog by the wife of Todd Smith (from the group Selah), about the birth and loss of their daughter Audrey and it's a place I've gone on and off the past month. Angela Smith is a woman of great faith, and in her honesty about grief and belief she has brought me a lot of comfort. The strange thing is that when I first stumbled on her blog, I wasn't grieving for anyone. This week, I've been grateful for a place to go that helps me remember that the Creator has a purpose for each of us and though it isn't always what we think it will be or what feels right to us, but if we keep on believing and holding on, we're going to be alright.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Wednesday = Orange

Okay, so it is Thursday. I'm a day behind. Just pretend it's Wednesday. Princess is sick and so is my husband. The baby is teething and not sleeping well. I'm exhausted. But here's some orange for you.
We got these at a consignment store for Princess a couple years ago. It was just after she saw "Finding Nemo" and she didn't care that they were practically falling off. Now they fit her pretty well and she still loves them.
These are scarves that I found for Princess on eBay last year to use for creative movement. I looked for the ones that are actually supposed to be for dance classes and they were hugely expensive! These were "real" scarves and I was thrilled to get a big pile of them in all different patterns and colors for less than a dollar a piece! She loves to get them out twirl with them, and I love to watch her when she does.
I love April Cornell's kids clothing line--Cornelloki :) I got this one on eBay for summer this year.
Until Princess came along, I hadn't purchased anything orange for my home or wardrobe, well, ever. The only color I enjoy less than orange is brown. Yet I ended up with a child who adores orange and yellow. This dress is a surprise for Princess' 5th birthday, so she hasn't seen it yet. Eyelet, gorgeous brilliant orange poppies, delicate green leaves and this stunning green satin belt with a silk flower at the waist. I can't wait to see her face when she opens it!