Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Trying to Jump Back in the Hampster Wheel

So we're back home, trying to get back to real life. Actually, I think I need to start by getting back into the local time zone...

I've been up waaay too late. Late enough, even, to indulge in hilarious junk like "The Late, Late Show". I know, it's awfull, but dang, that guy is funny... And then I can't get up until 10:00. (7:00 in Oregon! And that's when I was getting up there, so it only makes sense...) Oops, so much for feeding my husband breakfast and making his lunch before he leaves for work... Oh well, I'll get there.

So, my posts here have been few and far between, but I'll try to do better now, really. I will. I'm just dreadfully uninspired lately. I haven't had a funny thought enter my head in days. Sigh. I also want to do a more playing with photos and graphics, but without my own computer, that's been a little difficult. Hmmm... I'm due for a new masthead tomorrow, too, being May 1 and all (Ack! Already?). Maybe I'll have to put Gimp on my dear husband's computer... Bear with me if the top of my site says "April 08" for a few days into May... Also, I took most of my photos during my trip on my Minolta, and that means film and developing. (You've heard of it, right?) Aaaand it just occured to me that my dear-heart's laptop is not usually on speaking terms with the scanner, so you may have to wait even longer for those pictures. Hm. See what I mean? This is why I seem to have no blog fodder. But if you have any better ideas, you can leave me a suggestion in the comments, and I'll see what I can do...

We're working on the computer situation and I'm still kind of mourning my laptop. It sits on my desk, dead and silent and I just long to hit that power buton and see the lights come on! However, this is a blessing in diguise, I'm sure. I have so much work to do around here, and I need to spend less time on the www. If Nathan ever gets home from work today, he's going to finish sanding the drywall, and then we'll (are you ready for this?) START PRIMING AND PAINTING MY KITCHEN! This is monumental. I think it's been about a month that we've been about to start painting any day. Aaaaaany day. So maybe I shouldn't speak too soon now. And I have tons of outside work to do. The sun is shining here, but it's not quite warm enough for my tastes. Still, I can't resist, and we spent quite a while outside today picking rocks and cleaning flower beds and picking rocks and digging and raking and picking more rocks. I tell ya, I don't know where they come from. They weren't there last summer. But now it's spring, and it looks like it snowed rocks at some point in the winter. Either that or they just breed right there in my flower beds (shameful creatures). Anyway, I filled a wheelbarrow with them. Next, I should pull some weeds (talk about breeding).

Okay, well, I will now end this ridiculous ramble and maybe tomorrow post something of substance. Or maybe not.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Teachable Moment

I made pancakes this morning for breakfast. Jonah ate at least 7. Mom laughed and said that we should have weighed him when he got here and again when he leaves because she's sure he's having a growth spurt.

So that gave the boys the idea to get out the bathroom scale. Sam weighs 59, Peter, 57, and Jonah, 31.

So later, Sam came out of the bathroom-- "I weighed 59 before I went to the bathroom, and 58 when I got done!" he announced.

We all cracked up.

"Soooo..." Mom said, "How much did your poop weigh?"


With homeschool, there's a lesson to be taught in everything.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Blossom Time

Caution: if you are a certain brother of mine who is far away and very homesick right now, just stop reading now. Go find something else to do, like re-reading my archives.

This past weekend was Blossom Festival here in the Hood River Valley. It's totally gorgeous with all the apple and pear and cherry orchards in full bloom. It's been a nerve-wracking one for the orchardists, though, with the freezing temperatures we've been having. Thankfully for them, there's been snow rather than frost, which is will quickly kill the harvest. With snow, at least they'll get a few pieces of fruit, even if they're disfigured...

I promise you, there is a great big volcano in that photo. No, really, it's there! What, you can't see it? Hm, that's funny. I was sure it was there...

Mom made roasted smoked turkey and garlic mashed potatoes which we all enjoyed until our zippers gave out.

Then we finished it up with some of this:

Best. Cherry. Pie. Ever.


And I made Lemon Drops as a night-cap while we watched, yet again, our traditional chick-flick.

And sadly, this morning, the good spirits were dashed when we woke up to this:

I don't know where spring went. I came here for early spring while it would still be warming up at home, but I hear that the temps have been summer-like at home, and here, it's freezing. What gives? Am I doomed to eternal winter?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Woohoo! Noo Doo!

The curl is just for fun, since my hair is actually pin-straight and baby-fine. Tomorrow, it will go back to it's original form, but with a fun, edgy cut.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Play all Day

Yesterday, we made a trip to the Portland Children's Museum. It's a wonderland of play. Totally fun. There was so much to do, that at first the kids were a so overwhelmed that the didn't know what to do first-- there was a huge water-play area (Jonah's absolute favorite, my absolute least), a "dig pit" with tractors and shovels to dig in piles of rubber gravel, a play hospital, a play store and cafe, a clay studio, and kazillions of other things to do and explore.

The cool thing about this place is that there are no rules, it's all pretty safe and innocuous and theres endless possibility for imaginative play. Even the one-year-old in our group got to roam and play.

After I managed to keep Jonah from soaking himself with water, I couldn't tear him away from the ambulance, and no one else was allowed to drive. Typical male.

Everyone got their faces painted and then got dressed up for a dance party on the stage.

Peter has the best disco moves I have ever seen! (Not sure if you can see it in the pic... Sorry 'bout the poor pictures, once again. Imagination, folks.)

Afterwards, we needed to find food. Mom treated us to Ken's Artisan Pizza (after driving awhile to find the place...). This is the coolest (hottest?) pizza place ever. It's a restaurant with a big wood-fired oven where they cook their pizza and bread on the 800 degree hearth. It is the best pizza I have ever had. Wow. So good I could have wept. But I didn't. Anyway... Totally awesome, and a great local beer to go with it. We split some gelato for dessert. That meal was the best part of the day. The place was packed, and people were amazed that we took seven kids in there, but they were all great!

What fun!


My laptop is dead. Lifeless. Muerte.

It's served me well... for all the three months it's been in my service. I was quite attached to it. Apparently, it had an electrical problem and fried itself. Looking back, I saw the signs, but I put my fingers in my ears and my palms over my eyes and pretended I didn't notice a thing.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do now, since that was my only home computer. AND it had all my stuff on it. Most of it was recently backed up, but there are still things on there that I need, so I'm going to have to look into dredging the hard drive. In any event, I miss it... a lot.

Thus the light blogging lately. It's just more difficult to post without my trusty sidekick.

No Gimping for me. Also, no working on website editing like I had planned... One site needs tweaking and another needs updating, but I'm gonna have to wait until I get settled with something else.

Poor old Stinkpad.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Trim

So I managed to get some pics off my camera, but you'll have to excuse the poor light and color since I still can't Gimp 'em without my 'puter.

Yesterday, before Mom came home from work, I cut the boys shag hair. The only way I could convince them to let me do it is by promising to do this first:

But I didn't leave them that way. The overgrowth is now under control. Sorry, the before-and-afters are on my film camera (alas, the downfall of having both film and digital). Just trust me when I say, it was bad. Reeeeally bad.


Okay, so I know my posting has been a bit light. I was kinda busy packing and traveling, and now I've been kinda tired... I think we're mostly adjusted now. We both slept until 7:00 this morning, and that's just about perfect.

And I have another hitch to my posting ability... my laptop doesn't seem to have survived the trip. (Thus I can't get my digital pictures off my camera and into Gimp...) ARG! I've been mourning that ever since I hit the power button and nothing happened. I was really careful not to let it bump around on the trip... I don't know what happened to it! Dad has a computer guy who owes him work and he was supposed to come work on Dad's and Neal's computers, but so far has not showed up. I'm really praying he can find out what's wrong with my laptop (if/when he finally comes) and that it's easy to fix. Maybe some sort of loose connection or something? (But I know that laptops are a different animal from desktops... so I hope this guy is good) Laptops shouldn't be this delicate. They need to be able to go places. And I've taken it places before. I do have hope, since it once healed itself of a screen-inverter problem, so maybe all it needs is a little rest and chicken soup. Anyway, I'm praying hard, cuz I'm a little attached to it...

Anyway, the flight went well. It was actually the easiest trip I've had since Jonah was born. Here's the real shocker: he actually --oh, I can hardly even say it-- slept... for nearly the whole second flight. That is a first, people. He hasn't ever slept on an airplane. Not even when I flew with him when he was two months old. Never. Cry, yes. Howl, yes. Whine, absolutely. Sleep? No way. But he's older now and maybe wiser, too. He played a lot and whined a little on the first flight (I packed him his own back-pack with all kinds of surprises in it and he did have fun. Only a few times did he say, "I wanna get off now"). On the second flight, I put headphones on him and turned the DirecTV preveiw to Animal Planet. I figured that when the preview time ended, I would turn on the movie that I had on my laptop (little did I know at the time that my laptop would not have obliged). When the preview ended, I looked over at him and he was out! I took his belt off and laid him down with his head in my lap. And, get this-- I read a book. I can't remember the last time I read a book on an airplane. Wait... scratch that... I can't remember the last time I read a book. Yeah, that's more like it. But I actually got three-quarters of the way through a short Taylor Caldwell novel --novel!-- that I had brought along. When we started to land, I had to sit him up and put his belt on. He was not happy about this arrangement. He kept up a steady lament-- "WAAAAHH Idonwannabelton!...Idonwannabelton..." all the way down, but that was as bad as it got.

So praise God we got here in one piece and we've got lots of fun things planned. Hopefully, there are picture posts to come...

Monday, April 7, 2008


W H Pewter Uppercase Letter E DSC_0036 E Exclamation mark

i The letter T S

S/Southern Pawn Shop cropped - yellow tiled p003 Subway Mosaic R I I DSC_0033 Copper Lowercase Letter g

(This is way fun!)

Yesh, it is finally spring here! Spring takes so long to get started in this neck of the woods. But now, it's just glorious! 60's and sun! Wahoo! It's been a loooong winter, folks.

I can hardly tell that I even have a small child in my house. Well, technically, I don't. He's been outside non-stop (I think he spent two solid hours digging in some sand from a broken sandbag), until starvation drove him in around 3:30. He ate, and I decided he should have some quiet time. He hardly protested-- just went up the stairs and crashed in his bed where he is now sound asleep! (amazing!)

I went out and planted my cool weather veggies. Peas, lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, broccoli, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi and radishes. And I had helpers. Plural. An almost-three-year-0ld (child) and several curious chickens. These chickens are too friendly. One of our Amish neighbors said that they just want to lay their eggs right in your hand. They get really excited when I dig in the garden. They have to be right in there pecking up all the grubs and worms that I unearth. They peck and scratch right by my hand, and if I push them away, or pick them up and toss them, they're like boomerang-chickens-- immediately reappearing where I'm working. "Hey... what's that? peck peck Yum! Worms. peck What's in your hand? peck Seeds? Got food? peck peck peck Mine! peck More? peck peck Lemme taste it! Dirt, worms! peck peck peck... Quit tossing me! peck I wanna eat! peck peck" I had already planned to cover everything with chicken wire so they (hopefully) won't scratch up all my seeds, but I could hardly get the seed in the ground before the chickens started scratching. Very determined birds, they are. And hungry.

Every spring, my Dad's silly rhyme always comes back to me:

Spring is sprung
The grass is riz
I wonder how
My spark plug is?
I never really got that. Every time he said it (frequently in spring) I said, "huh?" But it's forever burned into my memory, and I'll probably be doomed to repeat it almost daily every spring myself.

So, I have about 47 hours remaining until my flight to Oregon. AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!! Yeah. I get so nervous about flying! I've done it kazillions of times, but I still get this terrible anxiety for about two days before until about the time my first flight takes off. Only then does it subside a little. The number of things that could go wrong is ENORMOUS. That's my issue. Most likely, it will be completely fine. And I just keep praying about it. That really does help. Meanwhile, I just keep tying up loose ends... I baked more bread and cookies to put in the freezer for my dear husband, and I'm washing every stitch of laundry. Tonight, after Nathan gets off work, we can record hymns. Tomorrow, it's packingpackingpacking. Wednesday-- take off. I've got some fun stuff for Jonah to do on the airplane, and I need to download a fun movie to my laptop that we can watch (if I can summon up enough battery juice). However, when I talk to Jonah about flying on an airplane, he says, "No, I not go on a airplane. It's too scary. I stay here." Hrm.

Oh, and I'm told that it's not very spring-y in Oregon now. That's just not okay. It finally warms up here and then I'm supposed to go back to winter? I think not. But I'm packing sweaters.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


I just finished this project that I've been working on for two days:

I used this very cute pattern and I followed it very carefully (Except for the part about using material from an old felted wool sweater. I don't wear wool, so I don't have any of those around). It's a little gift for my friend's baby who is being baptized tomorrow morning and we are the baby's sponsors. So the idea for this was, you know... Jesus' Little Lamb...

...Except it kinda looks more like a deer or goat than a lamb...

And I'm a little concerned about that face... It doesn't quite look as benign as a newborn lamb's should... Also the "monkness" of the little head. I do like the leggy little body, though. Very realistic.

I thought the two different soft, fuzzy fabrics were a clever idea on my part, but I didn't quite get the effect I wanted.

But still, it was my first attempt at a stuffed animal, and I think it'll do. It had better, or else I'll be the lame, giftless godmother... Thought that counts, right?

Friday, April 4, 2008

A Nut of a Different Color

Yesterday, my friend S. brought her kids over for their weekly music lessons. While I was teaching lessons, she picked up and started to read my latest copy of Wise Traditions, the quarterly journal for the Weston A. Price Foundation. A little more detail: my friend is Seventh Day Adventist and vegetarian. And this particular issue of Wise Traditions is all about vegetarianism and the evils thereof.

Yes. I do believe the appropriate phrase is "Ohh... sssnap."

So when I came out of the other room, she had a slightly sour look on her face as she closed up the magazine and said, "So... What do you think of vegetarianism?"

Now, am I really so agreeable that she didn't already know this about me? I really need to work on my opinionation skills a little bit...

So, I took a deep breath and said, "Well, I don't believe that it's healthy, so I wouldn't do it."

And thus ensued a classic Vegetarianism vs. Traditional Foods discussion.

"Research blahblahblah healthy blahblahblah live longer... less disease... blah blah blah all the WAPF research is wrong and SDA research is right."

All the usual.

Okay, so I admit that I played the devil's advocate maybe a little. I knew which buttons to push. When I said that a high fiber diet is detrimental and went on to glorify a diet high in saturated fat, she looked at me like I was had cockroaches in my ears. I think she was truly shocked. And I call myself a health nut? She's known my emphasis on eating healthy, but was absolutely dumbfounded to learn that I don't hold vegetarianism as the ultimate ideal of health (but rather, completely the opposite).

(Aside: I'm not in the business of explaining my position on this. It's already been done, and better than I could do it. All the research is there at the WAPF website and many others I could point you to, so if you're interested, start reading. Amazing stuff!)

But what really got me is her supposed "Biblical" defense of vegetarianism. "God knows what's good for us," she said, "and He created us eating plants."

"But we are not what we were when we were created. After the flood, God said, 'Here, these animals are good for you to eat'."

She argued that it was only because people wanted to eat meat and God gave in, but said it would bring disease to them. When asked to explain, she referred to the children of Israel complaining about the manna and God gave them meat and the all got sick. Uh... What? That's the poorest exegesis I have ever heard. It was a pretty sudden and severe illness that they suffered, and we certainly don't have that when we eat meat now! Obviously, that was not the first time they had eaten meat. People first ate meat after the flood ("Because there was nothing else to eat!" she argued. Bologna. The bird had an olive branch, no? There were plants growing when they got off the ark!). In this case, the people were complaining about the food God had given them, so God afflicted them with illness. The affliction had a specific purpose (as all affliction does) and it had nothing to do with eating meat.

My personal theory on that is that the world was WAY different before the flood. After the flood, the world was far more corrupted than before. Perhaps people could no longer get all the nutrition they needed from plants for one reason or another. In any event, God saw fit that people should eat animal foods and we have ever since. Every culture on earth (including Biblical) has eaten some amount of animal foods and knew them to be health-giving. And we should be thankful for the food God has provided for our nourishment.

The discussion ended with her shaking her head in amazement and agreeing to disagree because she could see that we were so far at opposite ends of the spectrum that there would be no concessions on either side.

What I've never quite understood is how someone could really stand to eat that much soy. Yech. Food should be delicious and enjoyable! Bacon and eggs, butter and cream... The yummiest stuff is actually the best!

Decisions, decisions...

So, I'm trying to choose a paint color for my kitchen. I need a perfect yellow. Not bright, lemon, butter, Provence, mustard, orangy, beigy or peachy. Just a perfect, subdued, deep, rich, soft, yellow. That's not asking too much is it?

Here are the colors I'm testing. I know it's hard to really see them from the picture. And I can't really represent different lights, because, well, it's a point'n'shoot camera. So you'll just have to, you know, use your imagination. (Look, I did my best, okay? Try to imagine the colors without the greyish cast from the camera... yeah).

Oh, and here are some gratuitous shots of Jonah, waiting for Daddy to take him to bed last night.

Anyway. So the colors I'm testing are not quite exactly what I had in mind... I'm not sure what to do.

And then I had inspiration. I'll ask you, my lovely and loyal readers (yes, all two of you... this should be interesting) to decide for me! So, vote in my poll, and tell me what you think. I don't promise to follow your decision, but I'll take it into serious consideration. And then go and do whatever I want. But still, please vote! Tell me what you think!


Oh! But then, today, I was making bread. The price of wheat and spelt (and I use spelt all the time) just recently skyrocketed, so I was using Kamut (still not cheap, but right now it's way better the price of spelt!). I love Kamut flour. It's delicious and has the most beautiful golden yellow color (can you see where I'm going with this?). And it hit me: I know what color I want to paint my kitchen. Kamut. It's the perfect yellow. But I can't seem to find it on a paint chip. Do you think I could take a piece of the Kamut bread dough to the paint store and have them use their machine to color-match it? I'm sure they do fabric and wall-paper all the time, but bread dough? Sure. Sure... It wouldn't hurt to ask, right?

(Okay, so this photo doesn't do the color justice, either. It kinda looks like ordinary bread dough. Again, imagination. It really is loverly...)

Oh, and to make matters worse... I also have to pick a stain color for my hardwood floor. This is tricky. I'm not a fan of the usual oak color for floors. I lovelovelove dark hardwood floors. They're so rich and dramatic and striking. The trouble is, I've already experience dark colored flooring when I painted my living room floor a dark chocolate color. It shows. every. stinkin. footprint. So mainly, it's beautiful when it's clean.

Sigh. Color picking is agonizing.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Adventure Seeking

Ah, nature. There's just nothing like being out in the woods on a clear spring day, soaking up the sunshine, bathing our feet in a cold mountain stream after a long hike, watching the wildlife...

Being charged by squirrels and nearly trampled by a bull elk...

Pay no attention to the beam ceiling and skylights. What? Stuffed? Of course the animals aren't stuffed...

Okay, so we weren't in the woods. We weren't even outside. We went to Cabela's.

Jonah loves to watch the fish in the giant aquariums.

Unfortunately, you can no longer feed the big fish in the stream. But they're still fun to watch...

...blissfully unaware of the beavers moving in to attack...

Oh, so the whole reason we made the trek to the most touristy spot within 60 miles is that Nathan had to go out that way to pick up a buzz saw that he found in an ad.

Yeah, that one. I know nothing. When I heard the words "old buzz saw" I put my fingers in my ears and started singing.

So we made a family day out of it. And on our way home, we found a little hole-in-the-wall taqueria and picked up some comfort food:

Mud Madness

Did you know that people get divorced (and possibly commit homicide) over home remodeling projects? Yeah, and I'm pretty sure I know what stage in the project that comes... Right about the time they get to the DRYWALL, that's when. And then, in the midst of flinging still more drywall compound, one person experiences spontaneous combustion and the other drinks paint. The end.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Foolery

I was trying to think of some fun April Fool's joke to do on my blog... Some grand announcement that I could get everyone believing and then reveal at the end. Ideas that crossed my mind: "Guess what? We sold our house!" or "I'm pregnant!" or "Our house was ransacked by squirrels!", but I realized that it would actually have to be believable. I just don't seem to have the creativity for such things like I did when I was a little kid...

...Like when we would get up before Mom and change all the clocks back an hour or so on April Fools Day. Every year. "Look, Mom! You're up WAAY to early! You should go back to bed!" Wow, that was original. And she believed us! Really! Every year! (She got us back, though. One year she said "Look at the calender! Today is Thursday, but April Fool's Day was Wednesday! You missed it!" She had saved the previous year's calendar. We were young and gullible and Mom wouldn't lie to us. And video tape it.)

...One of us had the brilliant idea to replace Dad's underwear with Kris' (much smaller, but similarly colored) underwear. I don't know why we thought it was so funny since we didn't actually see his confusion when he couldn't get it past his knees, but Mom sure got a good laugh.

Hmm... I'm noticing a pattern here. It seems that Mom probably got the most fun out of our April Fool's jokes.

Well, maybe Jonah will have some April Fool's inspiration in a few years...

I came across this site about the top 100 April Fool's Jokes:

It includes gems such as this:

#14: The Eruption of Mount Edgecumbe
In 1974 residents of Sitka, Alaska were alarmed when the long-dormant volcano neighboring them, Mount Edgecumbe, suddenly began to belch out billows of black smoke. People spilled out of their homes onto the streets to gaze up at the volcano, terrified that it was active again and might soon erupt. Luckily it turned out that man, not nature, was responsible for the smoke. A local practical joker named Porky Bickar had flown hundreds of old tires into the volcano's crater and then lit them on fire, all in a (successful) attempt to fool the city dwellers into believing that the volcano was stirring to life. According to local legend, when Mount St. Helens erupted six years later, a Sitka resident wrote to Bickar to tell him, "This time you've gone too far!

So, anyway, no jokes from me this year... Maybe if I think really hard, I can come up with a good one for Nathan when he comes home from work late tonight...