Monday, June 30, 2008

Quiet weekend

This is exactly how I spent 98% of my weekend, sitting on the shady front-porch with a great book and my feet up.

It was a DELICIOUSLY lazy weekend. No house projects nagging at us, no place we had to go, nothing we had to do. We did work up the energy to go on a 12 mile bike ride Saturday afternoon(when it was 98 degrees out...uuggh) so that we felt like we earned our dinner at our favorite little Greek restaurant. And yesterday we went on a nice hike along a lovely cool stream.

Moby LOVED the creek and jumped in at every opportunity.

This picture has nothing to do with anything, I just like it. Can you tell I love orange? And please note that my flowers are ALIVE. Praise jeebus, I think I've figured this plant-thing out!

Friday, June 27, 2008

I did it!

I worked up the courage, took the dress out of the box, downed a couple shots of tequila (kidding!!) and tried on my wedding dress.

There in my closet, wearing flip-flops, a shamefully dingy bra, stringy hair after my lunch-time run, full of dread and cursing both Ben and Jerry, I slipped it on and.....

I looked just like this. Ok, that's a slight exaggeration, but

It. is. gorgeous.

I couldn't believe it. It fits like a dream, the fabric (silk) drapes beautifully, and the style somehow makes me look 10 inches taller and 20 pounds thinner.

I think I may simply never take it off.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Dress? What dress? Here, look at Anna's pet snails:
They are named
Abbie, Dot Dot, Scooter and Original. She has trained them to do amazing! circus! tricks! such as headstands, crawling on each other (at her command, of course) and the tight-rope.

Ok, I did open the the box and peak at the dress. The fabric is lovely. Tonight I have the house to myself (Anna at her dad's and David out of town) so I will maybe probably most-likely work up the courage to try it on.

Do you think that duct-tape can also substitute as a girdle?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Talk about one-stop shopping!!

In addition to having the George .W Bush Presidential Library nearby we have, in the small N. Idaho town where I work, this: A combination LIQUOR STORE/KNIFE SHOP. Plus, PLUS they sell lingerie! That's right: you can pick up a fifth of Jack Daniels, a hunting knife and a new thong for the weekend, all at one store. Why on earth would you need to shop anywhere else??

In other, completely (?) unrelated news, my wedding dress came today and I am TERRIFIED to even open the box. Can't do it.

I hope Elmer doesn't watch CNN

A couple of weeks ago, my family faced a quandry that threatened to tear us apart. Life as we know it was threatened by an OUTSIDER, my brother-in-law. See, my sister has a GIFT for finding cool old stuff (aka antiques) and coming up with, um, creative uses for them.

I remember once, years ago, when she was visiting me in Oregon. We were cruising along a rural highway at 60mph and she yelled "Stop!!!". She made us turn around and retrieve, from the side of the road where some obviously uncreative soul had discarded it: a pitiful, broken-down cane-backed chair. It once had a wicker seat, but time and the elements had eaten away at it. We were all "What in the hell are you going to do with that?" She ignored us, threw it in their truck and hauled it back to Idaho and to this day it sits in her yard holding a large flower-pot. And it looks fantastic.

She also has a set of vintage leather suitcases (that once belonged to Katherine Albertson, the wife of the founder of the Albertson's grocery-store chain) that she uses as a creative TV stand in the corner of their bedroom. Every time I go to her house, I love to walk around and see what she's done with her latest "treasures."

Anyway, several years ago she found this AWESOME vintage brown couch in mint condition. They didn't need it in the house, and yet it was WAY too cool to pass up. So, Jodi being Jodi, she found a great use for it: she put it on their porch. Now, you should know that she and her husband live in Hidden Springs, and idyllic little community where the most of the houses are built with porches with the intention of fostering relationships between neighbors. In fact, I think homeowners are required by law to spend a certain amount of time per week sitting on their porches, sipping fresh-squeezed lemonade and waving to each and every passer-by. So the brown couch was PERFECT and completely fit in with Jodi's creative landscaping.

But one day her husband, who we lovingly refer to as Elmer (as in Fudd), decided the couch had to go. He thinks is was too "hillbilly" (as if there even IS such a thing.) So there was MUCH discussion and even voting amongst family members far and wide; if Jodi wasn't allowed to have a couch on her porch, HOW CAN WE CALL THIS THE LAND OF THE FREE? Elmer lost by a land-slide and the couch stayed.

And then, this morning, I saw THIS. What is this world coming to?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Waist not want not

I work for an organization that conducts random drug tests. The old "pee in a cup" thing used to really offend me, not because I have anything to hide. But it's so...degrading, ya know?

But now, it doesn't seem so bad when you consider that if you lived and worked in Japan, your boss would occasionally come ask you to raise your shirt so that he could MEASURE YOUR WAIST. And if it turns out that you exceed Japan's new obesity guidelines (men must be at or below 33.5 inches, and women must be at or below 35.5) you are given an exercise plan, a diet and a certain amount of time to whittle that waist down. If you fail to do so, the company you work for is FINED by the government.

Why has Japan had to take such drastic (pun intended) measures? Japanese people are, by nature, slim people. They have been this way for CENTURIES due in part to their healthy regular daily diet of Miso soup, vegetables and a small portion of fish. This average Japanese meal is about 600 calories.

But guess who came to town? The golden arches. That's right: a Big Mac, fries and large soda comes in at over 1300 calories. So now that the Japanese have access to American fast food, they're facing an obesity epidemic, much like our own. American fast food is changing the shape of people on the other side of the planet. How's that for progress?

Monday, June 23, 2008

she cares about critters

Yesterday Eric came over to see Anna and said, as he walked into the house, "Your house is turning into a zoo!" We have on our kitchen counter at the moment a 5 gallon tank with a tad-pole in it (which Anna caught from the pond at a local plant nursery on Saturday), a beta-fish, and some sort of plastic terrarium housing a worm and snail experiment. Plus another 20 gallon tank with 18 fish in it. And that's just the kitchen/dining room. The tad-pole is actually pretty cool; he's got two teeeeeny little back legs sprouting already.

So yes, my kiddo is an animal nut. And now her summer nanny has introduced her to a group (flock? pack? herd?) of Yellow-bellied Marmots living along the river in Riverfront Park. Pretty much every day now they go and feed them; Anna was very worried that they would starve if we didn't feed them at least once over the weekend. As you can see, they are very malnourished! That one, I swear, must weigh at least 25 pounds!

Here she is wearing her "I care about critters" t-shirt, which is her new absolute favorite thing to wear. For those of you who don't know, this shirt has a drawing done by my father, who was a talented artist and animal lover. Just like Anna. Unfortunately, she never met him; he died in 1981. My sister Jodi took one of his drawings and had it put on to t-shirts for all of us a few years ago. It's a pen and ink drawing of a tough-looking cowboy, hand-feeding a grasshopper to a baby bird, and it says "I care about critters". I love that she loves this shirt, drawn by her grandpa. And it certainly pertains to her! I wish we had it in every color; she'd wear it every day if she could.

In other weekend news, David put up my window flower baskets. It's looking pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself. (click on the photo to get to see the ORANGE flowers I put in there.) We spend so much time on the front porch that yesterday a neighbor kidded us about hauling our bed out there. That's not a bad idea. It's just such a nice way to connect with the neighbors; practically everyone who comes by stops to chat about the amount of work we've done. Yesterday alone we took 3 different people through the house for a tour. Anna, the little entrepeneur, suggested we start selling lemonade and cookies when people stop by for a look! She is, afterall, saving up for a horse someday.

And now for something completely random:

This morning, on my way to work, I saw that there is a new Presidential Library in the tiny reservation town of Worley! Look! According to the sign on the back, CIA Headquarters is located in the basement of this building.

Friday, June 20, 2008

it keeps me awake at night

The sound is subtle. It's just a tiny, plaintive cry that comes every 6-8 mintutes or so. This sound is extra mysterious: it happens ONLY at night.

I lay awake and listen to it. "Why", I wonder, "does it only come to life under cover of the night? Is there some sort evil at work here?" Just as I am about to fall back to sleep, it starts again. There is no rhyme or reason to it's rhythm, no cadence I can pinpoint and prepare for. I lay in the darkness, fantasizing about taking a baseball bat to it. And yet, it is so small, so innocuous that usually you don't even notice it is there.

But now it is hungry. It is hungry and it needs something that only I can give it. I do not want to feed it. I want to kill it.

I pull an extra pillow over my head, muttering under my breath. Finally, at last, sleep comes and I forget about it.

The alarm sounds too early for how little sleep I've gotten. I hit "snooze" once, twice, and then finally I haul myself out of bed. I go down the stairs having forgotten about IT, and I begin my morning routine. I turn on the espresso machine, I turn the kitchen radio to NPR, I feed the fish, the dog and the bunny. I head into the bathroom and startle myself in the mirror. I start the task of undoing the damage of too little sleep. As I am washing my face, I hear IT and am reminded.

It is still hungry. I believe I know where the sound is coming from. I sneak toward it, hoping that if only I can keep my presence a secret it will make it's mournful sound.

It does not.

I go back into the bathroom. "EEEP!!" There it is again. Now I think it's coming from the TV room. Again I stealthily tip-toe in the direction of the sound, thinking "If only you'd cry while I am in the same room, I could help you. I could give you what you need. I will."

Again, it evades me, as if it knows I have come too close.

David gets up and I involve him in my mission. He, too, stands silently, listening, trying to pinpoint the sound. The sound that has kept me awake for the better part of two nights now. If only we could find it.


"I've got it!" David yells, triumphantly. "It's in the laundry room!" Aaaaah. I can already feel my body relaxing, knowing that IT has been revealed. That we can feed it and I can, at last, get a good night's sleep.

Luckily, we just bought a new pack of batteries.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lake ride

As promised, here are some photos from my ride yesterday. And although I rode along the lake, it just didn't thrill me like my usual ride down through the canyon does. I'll take photos of that ride today. Anyway, here is the old train bridge that crosses the lake.
There is a big ol' osprey nest on one end of it: It was another beautiful day, although a bit windy along the lake. There were many, many people out ambling, er, walking. People who do not grasp that there are bikers using the trail, too. Bikers going faster than a speeding cow. And I guess it bares repeating: When a biker yells (giving you plenty of time to react)"ON YOUR LEFT", it does NOT mean scatter in all directions across the trail. No, it does not. It means MOVE YOUR ARSE TO THE RIGHT. To the right of the path. Not to Aunt Martha's right. It's really very simple. And while I'm at it, I know you're the same people who drive in the left lane on the interstate even though you are not passing anyone. Jeezus. Just stop it. KEEP TO THE RIGHT PEOPLE.

Ahem. Oh, sorry. Now, where was I? Oh yes, enjoying my peaceful, relaxing bike ride. Here, look at the pretty little flowers!

On the way back over the bridge, I stopped to watch the swallows (while hugging the RIGHT SIDE OF THE TRAIL of course) for a minute and noticed the osprey was off her nest, watching for lunch to appear.

We had a talk and she promised me she would poop on the walkers when they came ambling by.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hi. I have nothing to say.

I know, I know. This is very hard to believe. There are many days when I think WHY AM I DOING THIS STUPID BLOG-THING? I don't have anything interesting to say. Nobody gives a shit that I bought new fabric or that I can't decide what to wear for my wedding or that we painted our house. Is this what my life has become? Yes. And that's ok. Because it means I'm happy. But happy is BORING. There are no country songs about being happy. But, well, jesus didn't miraculously appear on my toast, my dog hasn't run away, and nobody broke my heart this week. I'm sorry.

I have been riding my bike every day; that is one of my favorite things about summer. I bring my bike to work and go out at lunch and ride on the Trail of the Couer d' Alenes. It's part of the Rails to Trails program, an old railroad line that has been paved and is now a gorgeous 72 mile trail through N. Idaho. The trail head is right outside my office; I've been riding down to the lake and back; 6 miles down and 6 miles UUUUUUUP. I can't even tell you how much I love it: the climate and smells and sounds remind me exactly of Garden Valley (where we grew up, for those of you who aren't related to me.) There are dry grassy areas full of grasshoppers and crickets clacking, and then you pass through a lush canyon with a creek trickling through it surrounded by huge Ponderosa Pines. The sound of birds is almost deafening: robins, swainson's thrush, varied thrush, flickers, kinglets, chickadees, nuthatches. With the warm summer air it's absolute HEAVEN. Today I'm going pass on the muscle-burning ride back up hill; I'm going to drive down to the state park and ride along the lake. I'll take some photos.

In the meantime, here. Look at my bunny. Oh, and my daughter is cute too.

Monday, June 16, 2008

fabric love

I can't even begin to tell you how much I LOVE this fabric. Ever since I saw this made by flour clothing (maker of little kids' clothing so damn adorable it almost makes me want to breed again), I NEEDED to get my hands on some giant-buffalo-plaid. I looked at all of my favorite on-line fabric suppliers and couldn't find any. And then I was in my local Joanne's the other day and stumbled upon it crammed in with the children's fabric (?!)...and not only in red but ORANGE!!! Orange buffalo plaid, people. I love it almost too much to cut into it...but I'm envisioning some sort of fabulous retro dress. And I won't even care if I look like I'm wearing a gigantic table-cloth. I shall wear it proudly while peddling around on my cruiser.

PS. If you've been losing sleep over it, I chose the LONG, IVORY version of the dress below. And, thanks to JCrew's current sale (3 days only girls; go get those short-versions of ya want 'em) I saved 20%! Bwahahahahahaaa!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I think we have a winner!

Do you like how I did that? Get you all to vote between not two, not five but SEVEN dresses.....and then choose one that's not even on the list?! HA! I made you feel like you had some power and then WHOOSH! I yank it out from under your feet. That'll teach you to try to tell ME what to do.

No, really, this was my very favorite choice from the beginning. Hell, I loved this dress (from JCrew) before I even knew I'd be getting divorced and remarried. I'd seen it when they first started offering wedding dresses years ago and thought, geez, now why couldn't I have found something like that when I got married?? Perfection.

So why didn't I put it in the line-up? I dunno...I guess I thought it was TOO plain. But that's really what I love about it, and that's exactly what will make it feel right for our out-door wedding at a barn, I think. I think I could easily go barefoot (if I so choose) or wear some sweet simple sandals and be able to throw on a little cardigan sweater if it cools down. And as my mom said, I can even shorten it after the wedding and wear it again, should I ever need to dress up some warm summer evening.

BUT WAIT! I need you to help me vote AGAIN. Go to this link and look at it in all the different colors. I love the ivory...but maybe I should do a different color? I'm NOT a fan of pastels; I think it's lovely in brown. But would that be weird for my own wedding? Remember, this is not our first marriage and it is going to be a more casual affair. Although brown could make it tricker for David to find something to wear. Also, this dress is available in two shorter versions (the fabric is different and they are available in many more colors than the long version). Here and here.

What do you think? Should I stick with the long ivory version, do the long brown version or do a shorter colored version??

Thursday, June 12, 2008

help me pick out something to wear to my wedding

Ok, so, you know, we're getting married in 3 months short months and I need to figure out WHAT I'M GOING TO WEAR.

Now, it's going to be a casual affair, in a beautiful (modern) barn, in the middle of September. It's going to feel more like a back-yard BBQ than a wedding, and yet, I am much more interested in wearing something "bride-like" than I was at my first marriage.

I love the idea of something retro-ish but WHY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO ALL THOSE MODELS HAVE 14 INCH WAISTS?? My sweet and very helpful sister has volunteered to remove a few ribs for me with her new cutlery. And I appreciate that. I do. But I have a very low pain threshold. So let's review some options, based on the body (and flaws) that I have. Also, keep in mind that I will most likely be barefoot and will have just a simple white flower in my hair. No frou-frou veil or anything of the sort...but still...I want to look pretty and somewhat like a bride. Important factors to consider when helping me decide: I am 43 years old. I could lose a few (ahem) pounds (but can't promise that I will) and most importantly: I have NO WAIST.

First, I'll show you some pictures of modern dresses that I like, all from JCrew:
I think this is simple, lovely and elegant. It's also $850. But I think I could have something very similar made (in off-white linen maybe) for a fraction of the price.

I also think this is sweet and simple. But maybe too young?? And also, would the bow at the waist accentuate part of my body I do not love?

And then there's this, which is hand-made by etsy seller Jane bon bon. I am wearing one of her dresses right this minute and I LOVE it: it is beautifully made and fits me as if it were made for me. I feel great in it.

Aaaand then there's this little number which, oh my, totally speaks to my quirky-retro side. I ADORE this, probably more than I should. But is it just a bit too much? (David, you don't get to vote.) (I know, I know, he IS the man I'm marrying, but he doesn't really appreciate retro as much as he should.) This would definately, um, "surprise him in delightful ways."

And then there are these patterns which I could have made: Clean, simple, elegant. Maybe too plain? Maybe WRONG for a woman who is not 6 ft. tall, 104 pounds, 23 years old?

Hello, Doris Day! Again, WHAT IS WITH THE 11 INCH WAIST?? Were women in the 50s really built that much differently? Were there SERIOUS UNDERGARMENTS involved? Did they not have Ben & Jerry's back then??

Imagine the long version in an ivory-colored linen or maybe eyelet cotton. Kinda Goldie-Hawnish, don't you think?

So. What do you think? Are any of them right or even close? Or just all wrong? Please take a moment and vote up on the left.

And, it probably goes without saying, but I can't promise I'll take your advice. But I do promise to appreciate your advice. I do.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


True to form, Moby has decided that if WE love bunny, then he does too. He is the most gentle dog; remember last year when I brought home that orphaned fawn for the night?
Moby was SO sweet and gentle with that fawn. And he's the same with Rootbeer. We let the bunny roam around the TV room while we're in there, and he has learned that Moby is no threat at all. In fact, last night Moby got down in the "Let's Play!" position in an effort to get bunny to romp. But bunny's a lover, not a fighter.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

the sunshine house

Here it is, in all it's sunshiney glory. Now, I know some of you (read ALL) voted against painting the sun, but we HAD to.

See, one time shortly after David and I very first got together, and he was still living in Alaska and he and Anna hadn't yet met, he and I were talking on the phone. Anna wanted to talk to him, but she was too shy. So we decided to sing him and song, and we sang "You Are My Sunshine". Well, apparently, for him, that was IT. Sitting in Alaska that December day, fresh out of a very ugly marriage and divorce, he saw "the light at the end of the tunnel" when he heard us singing that song. And from then on, he has called us his "two sunshines". So you see, we just HAD to paint that sun, with it's three rays reaching toward the sky.

In other news, I think I MAY live, although I do have bronchitis/pneumonia and I slept until ELEVEN THIRTY today! It's a good thing too, because if I'd woken up when David and Anna got up, I'd have killed myself because IT SNOWED people. That's right. June, what, 10th?

Al Gore is a LIAR.

Global warming my ass.

Monday, June 9, 2008

wait for it....

Tomorrow there will be photos of our house, freshly painted with the accent trim. I'll warn you now, we didn't entirely take your advice. But it looks awesome and we love it. And our neighbors do too. Unless they're just saying that out of fear that we'll come after their homes next.

In other news, I think I have pneumonia again. Crap.

And while yes, it did FINALLY stop snowing, it has now decided to RAIN every bloody day in the month of June. We're down to MAYBE 2 months of summer weather now. I'm SO GLAD I MOVED AWAY FROM THE OREGON COAST.

But I'm not bitter.

Friday, June 6, 2008

bunnies, it turns out, do not appreciate leashes

Not even if it's lime green with pink trim.


Thursday, June 5, 2008


Check out my mad skillz

Here is what I can accomplish with 2 hours of time and Microsoft "Paint". Anyway, here's what I'm thinking:

The lighter orange isn't quite the right color; it will be darker, less yellow.

As Anna said last night "How you like me NOW?"

Rather, how do you like this idea?

Also, yes, we know we need landscaping. That's next. We just couldn't take the ugly/dead crap that was there so we (ie DAVID) ripped it out.

Ok, so here's our house, freshly painted. I won't bore you with the details of what it took for David and I to arrive at this color, but let's just say it took approximately 5 months of negotiation and this wasn't my first choice. Now, you should know that this house used to be stark-white, with grey trim. U-G-L-Y. Well, not as bad as, say, pink, but nothing interesting. So the fresh coat of paint is a HUGE improvement.

However. I feel it needs...something. It feels too..."milky" and one dimensional, you know? (Mom, now would be a good time to get my old room ready, because I'm pretty sure David's at home packing my things and cursing like a sailor at this very moment.) Hi honey! I love you! And our house!

Also, we are going to paint the door a cool orange color and will do something with the "sun" above the porch. What do you think about those ideas? Remember that we are going for "unique/artsy/earthy" here; we do NOT want to fit in with the "Joneses". Whoever they are. Comformist bastards. We want the outside to reflect all the hard work we've done inside.

So I'm thinking that if we painted the top 1/3 of the house (the shingled portion) a darker brown, that would give it some depth. What do you think?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


I am SO EXCITED that Barack Obama has clinched the Democratic Presidential nomination. This country is so ripe for change, REAL change, from someone who isn't part of the Washington DC machine. I think Hillary has some strong points, but I just couldn't get behind her; she seemed too willing to say and do whatever it took to get the nomination.

Obama, on the other hand, has repeatedly proven himself to be a man of strength, grace and integrity. He has taken the high-road at every turn, continuing to praise Hillary even when things got ugly. He is one cool-cucumber, and I think he's more than proven that he can handle stress and adversity with a level-head and compassion.

OBAMA 2008!!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


My sweet little girl is into bugs. Always has been. Everywhere she went, she had a net and a jar with her. Cousins, great-aunts and grandparents saved interesting insects for Anna, knowing that no one would appreciate that cool bark-beetle or weird yellow spider they found in their garden more than she would. Eric built a big shadow-box and taught her that to preserve a bug for her collection she could kill it (um, painlessly) by putting it in a jar with an alcohol-soaked cotton ball. Soon her collection included everything from pristinely preserved dragonflies to road-kill beetles. Nothing was too small or too mangy for her shadow-box; she saved and mounted every thing she found. I'll never forget when David, still new to the family, found a beautiful (live) butterfly and, knowing how much she loves insects, showed it to Anna. She, of course, set about capturing it and, um, extinguishing it, to add to her collection. Poor David was mortified that he'd contributed to the killing of this beautiful creature. He BEGGED her to set it free. But to Anna, it was all in the name of science. Fortunately, as time has passed, she's learned to be more compassionate toward bugs and now she loves to create habitats for them to live in before letting them go (usually).

Finally it was time to show her, up close, the metamorphosis of the butterfly. We ordered some larvae and the kit and watched as the tiny caterpillars grew and grew until one day, they all made their way to the top of the container and spun their chrysalises. I couldn't get a decent picture of them in their chrysalises, but here they are just before.

Then, about 10 days later, we had butterflies!! After watching them for a couple of days, we set them free last night:

And not one of them ended up on a pin in her shadow box. I think Anna has had a metamorphosis of her own.