Thursday, October 30, 2008

8 houses

Fancy, over at Fancy Schmancy tagged me for a little game called:

If you were as wealthy as the McCains, where would YOUR eight homes be?

Actually, I read that he has 13 homes...but who's counting, right? Anyway, the rule of the game is that they all have to be, like the McCains, within the United States...which, damnit, rules out the Italian villa next door to George Clooney. I just don't see the need to own more than 2-3 homes in the US; what about the rest of the world??
Anyhoo, here are the 8 places in the US that I would want to own homes:

1. Stanley, Idaho

I have a deep love for this area; it's just a couple hours outside Boise and is so, so beautiful. I've always said that if I ever win the lottery, I'm going to buy several hundred acres in Stanley, build a small cabin right in the middle of it all and put in a landing strip so that you could only access it via plane. No unexpected visitors! ha! This would be our "escape from everything" house. No TV, no phone....NO COMPUTER ACCESS DAVID. Just plenty of books, binoculars and hiking boots.

2. Castle Valley, UT.

I love Southern Utah. It is breathtakingly beautiful down there, with hundreds and hundreds of wild canyons full of natural arches, wandering creeks lined with Cottonwood Trees, weird sand-stone formations, ancient Indian dwellings under the cliffs and amazing birds. You could go out exploring every day for years, and still not come close to seeing everything. It is really a magical area. Castle Valley is a tiny community 20 miles east of Moab; it is (as you can see in the photo) a lush, verdant valley surrounded by stunning red-rock sandstone cliffs. Many environmentalists and naturalists call Castle Valley home, including one of my favorite authors, Terry Tempest Williams.

3. Next, and this is more about the house then the location (most of them are in California or Illinois) , I would buy a Frank Lloyd Wright house because owning a FLW has been a dream of mine since I was young. I just love his designs; they are modern yet warm.

The one I would quite possibly KILL for is this one. (I can't copy/paste the photos so you'll have to follow the link). It is the epitome of everything I love about Frank Lloyd Wright design and it is, quite simply, MY DREAM HOME. It's on 80 acres, between Monteray, CA and Yosemite National Park. It's actually for sale, for a cool $2.7 million. Worth every damn penny.

4. Hawaii. Gotta have a place in Hawaii, right? I found some land on Kauai that would do.

It's $6,000,000. With $1.2 million down, your monthly payment would be $31,000. And that's just for the LAND people. But look! Private beach! And I think I see a spot to pitch a tent.

5. Manhattan. Food, music, arts, food, I was hoping for Upper East Side (my understanding is it's more bohemian, where the wealthy, artsy, liberals live). But I require a view of Central Park, so all I could find was this penthouse on the Upper West Side. It's $21,000,000. It's a bit over-the-top (who owned this place, Liberace??), so we'll have to redecorate. But that shouldn't cost more than a couple million more. The view is lovely, though, no?

Oh my god. I've only bought 5 homes and I'm EXHAUSTED. I still have 3 more to go??? Uugggghh. This real-estate-collecting is, to quote W, hard work.

In fact, I'm losing my motivation and my blood sugar is crashing. So in the name of brevity, I'll just list the rest:

6. Vermont. I'd find a huge old barn and convert it into a home and have many, many acres with some horses.

7. Alaska...this one is for David. He gets to choose where. As long as it's on a lake or river. Honey, I'm happy to allow you one house out of 8. Because that's how I roll.

8. I'm stumped on the last one. Really....there's no where else I can think of. So YOU, my readers get to choose the last one. How's THAT for being a socialist??

Oh, also, I'm supposed to "tag" some people to play the game. So if you are reading this and have a blog, consider yourself tagged! Come on, Jodi, Jacki, Heaher, Robyn, MP...whoever else. You're up!

Oh, and be sure and tell me, in the comments, where we should buy our 8th house.

One word:


I've owned Subaru's my entire life. My first car, at 16, was a little Subaru Brat that I inherited from my dad (quite possibly the strangest purchase he ever made, because he was a 6 foot tall, pick-up-driving cowboy....but who was I to question?? I LOVED that car). Whenever it was time for a new-to-me car, I always went with a Subaru...4 of them over the years. Oh sure, I strayed briefly and bought a Mitsubishi Montero; I thought it would be bigger and safer for hauling around an 8 pound infant. Turned out to be the most terrifying car I ever owned; it had non-stock wheels on it, which caused to to perform the equivelant of a back-handspring whenever it encountered snow. Such an attractive quality in an SUV when you live in Oregon, right? So I went back to a good ol' trusty Subaru.

But I always longed for something more sexy, more stylish...something European. Subaru's are sort of the equivalent of "sensible shoes", you know?

So last spring, I finally got my sexy European car. And if you've been following this blog, you know how that turned out. The car? Is one gigantic Swedish LEMON.

David and I agreed that it was time to get rid of it; we began doing research and went to the dealer-of-choice the other night. I won't go into the ugly details of how little money we are going to get for the Volvo as a trade-in (let's just say, it ain't that much more than we'd pay for the new transmission)...but, after several days of consideration (and wondering if there was any way I could manage to get into a wreck and total that damn car without it being my fault) we just bit the bullet (well, David did) and we bought new car. Well, not new, but new-to-me and only a year old and most importantly: it's a SUBARU.

No, I did not quick drive down to Southern Utah to take this photo, but this is the color: Willow Green Opal Moss Metallic (how many names can they come up with for GREEN? They forgot "Olive"). I don't actually get mine until Saturday. I didn't think I would ever be this ecstatic to drive a Subaru again, but I am. Oh, I am sooo excited.
And from now on, whenever I drive by some SUCKER driving a Volvo Cross-Country, I am going to point and laugh, hysterically. And then me and my sensible little Subaru will plow right on by.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm just here to serve

I just learned the most interesting thing, and I have to share it with you because, well, far be it from me to keep my wisdom to myself.

A co-worker was just telling me this story in which his normally very straight-laced wife blurted out to her teenage son, in a moment of frustration, "I'm not just blowing smoke up your ass!" Well, this boy had never heard this expression before and was dually mortified; that his sweet mother had said such a thing and really? Just what the hell did that mean, anyway?

So my co-worker did what any other red-blooded person living in the 21st century would do: he googled it. Here is what he came up with, courtesy of Urban Dictionary:

Most literally translating to "trying to get a reaction" out of somebody. Originated from a 16th century technique to determine death by literally blowing tobacco smoke into someone's anus via a long pipe. A reaction indicated that the person was still alive.
You're welcome.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

apropos of absolutely nothing is a story about why I was never cool enough to live in Eugene.

When Eric and I first got together, we left the small college town in Northern Idaho where we'd met and took off on a road trip. We spent 2 months travelling around the southwest: Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona. We lived out of the back of my Subaru wagon and ate black-bean burritos every day for eight weeks. EIGHT WEEKS, people. Not even REAL black beans, but the black bean FLAKES that you buy in bulk from the natural food store and then "reconstitute" with hot water to make a PASTE. This really has nothing to do with the story, but when I think back on that period of my life, I swear I involuntarily burp black beans, just remembering. ANYWAY, we wandered around the southwest and had some incredible experiences. But eventually I got very, very cranky about sleeping on the ground and the once-a-week showers under icy cold water at some dingy campground. I demanded that we find a place to settle, and soon.

The southwest was gorgeous, but it was too dry. Next we headed up the California coast, which was pretty, but it was too crowded. Soon, we were in Oregon, and Oregon was juuuust right. Beautiful mountains, wide-open spaces, huge old-growth trees, the Pacific Ocean, and every where we went, we met friendly, progressive, environmentally conscious people. We settled in Eugene, a hip college town often compared to Berkley. Eugene was a favorite stop-over of the Grateful Dead and Ken Kesey (of the Merry Pranksters fame) lived just outside town. Each year Eugene hosts the Oregon Country Fair, which is a gigantic drug and music-fueled party out in the country; the police don't even BOTHER attempting to get people to put their clothes on or stop smoking doobies. Young people from all over the United States came to live in Eugene, where they could let their freak-flags fly. Shortly after we moved there, our friend Rick came to visit from New Mexico. We picked him up at the airport and on the way home, we drove by a beautiful hippie-chick, long hair and long skirt flowing as she blissfully rode her bike through the center of town, completely naked from the waist up. Rick was ready to go back to NM and start packing.

There were so many things that I LOVED about living in Eugene; it's a beautiful, progressive, very "green" town, with bike-lanes on every road to encourage riding rather than driving. The people were so friendly, every weekend there was some sort of celebration with music and dancing going on, there were always great concerts and authors coming to town...and get this: restaurants (more than one even!) where the entire menu was VEGETARIAN! And the PEOPLE. Oh man, the people were so diverse: you could walk through downtown (closed to vehicles) and see punks on skateboards, a saffron-robed, bald woman meditating under a tree, a dreadlocked guy riding a unicycle and singing joyfully, an elderly woman and her small dog sitting on a bench knitting next to a tattooed hippie playing a banjo on his lunch-break, and a lesbian couple freely holding hands as they browsed the art gallery windows. Eugene also has the most amazing Saturday Market ever.

We made some wonderful, life-long friends during our time in Eugene, and many of them lived in commune-type settlements in the hills outside of town. It was magical, how they lived: in hand-built cabins and tee pees, community meals and huge organic gardens, naked children and chickens running around, goats bleating, peacocks screaming from the trees, nightly bonfires with plenty of pot going around and drumming. ALWAYS drumming .

Both Eric and I immediately felt at home in Eugene, unlike any other place we'd ever been, including the towns we each grew up in. Eric slipped seamlessly into the Eugene scene; after 2 months on the road, he looked exactly like Jesus with a long beard and dreadlocks. I, on the other hand, was always just a bit too....conventional. I just didn't quite "get" the whole hippie/spiritual/New-Agey thing. But I tried, tried to pretend that I spoke the language.

Example: while we lived there, I worked at a restaurant down town. My co-workers were, unsurprisingly, of the hippie/new age sort. They were always sharing recipes for home-made soap, discussing the pros and cons of solar power or a newly discovered pattern for sewing your own organic-cotton maxi-pads. Once, I came up to the bar and overheard my friend Patty having a conversation with our friend Richard the bartender. As I walked up, I overheard her say "Yeah, I'm hoping to sit in a sweat this weekend. I love to do sweats". Richard said "Me too. Man, you just feel soooo good."

Me, the dork from Idaho? I say "Why are you guys talking about sitting around the house in your SWEATS??"

They both looked at me, utterly speechless, and then Patty carefully and slowly (while trying not to laugh) explained that they were discussing the Native American spiritual tradition of the SWEAT LODGE.

And that, my friends, is why I was never cool enough to live in Eugene.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Wasn't there a Stephen King book/movie about a killer car? Well, my car isn't so obviously murderous; it's much more cunning. It wants to kill me slowly. Death by poverty.

This car (a Volvo Cross Country) is my dream car. I have wanted a Volvo station wagon ever since I was 14 and babysat for this very cool German couple who drove one. The mother's name was Helga; she and her husband were hip, progressive and had great style. So when I finally got my Volvo station wagon, I even named it Helga in her honor. I bought it from my former sister-in-law for "a steal"; they had had it for three years and loved it, but they have a thing against driving any car with more than 50,000 miles on it. (WTF, right?) Anyway, they'd taken perfect care of it and it was immaculate and I could not have loved it more.

I think my (at the time future) husband might have mentioned something about Volvos being very expensive to repair, but I was blinded by it's creamy leather interior, heated seats and steering-wheel stereo control. I think I said something to the effect of "But honey, it's a Volvo! It won't NEED to be repaired, thanks to it's superior German engineering, silly! I'll drive this car until the day I die!" Which, if this car has it's way, will be sooner rather than later.

Not three weeks after I bought it, the transmission freaked out. I could NOT believe my luck; after all, it had less than 60,000 miles on it!!! My sister-in-law had NO problems with this car whatsoever. And believe me, she could easily afford to pay for repairs. Luckily, that time, all it required was a mildly expensive "software download". Then there was the oil change that turned out to cost $1800. And then it needed very expensive new tires. A few months ago (immediately following the $1800 oil change), I had to admit that I was in over my head and that the car had to go. I tried to sell it; I did....but it didn't sell and then we sort of decided that SURELY we were done pouring money into it and it would now last forever, right?

Guess what? Last Thursday, the transmission died. Yes, it needs a new transmission to the tune of $6000. Unheard of for a car with less than 70k miles on it, right? There's really no explanation other than that the car is possessed. And I have been forever broken of my desire for fine German engineering.

I'm looking at Toyota, Subaru, Honda and possibly Nissan. Anyone have any experience and/or advice on any of those?

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Well, are you proud of yourselves? Now that you've barred me from writing about politics, I don't have a damn thing to say.

So here, look at this cool picture I took the other day. My commute to and from the Indian reservation on which I work consists of driving through "the Palouse", the rolling hills of N. Idaho where they grow peas and lentils. It is beautiful. One day last week I decided to take one of the many back roads, just to see what there was to see. Turns out, not much. A few old farm houses and this:

I have no idea what the hell it is; it looked almost like an old train car hovering 30 feet off the ground, but I'm assuming it is some sort of grain storage. Any ideas? Anyway, it was this wild lime-green color covered in rust, and the sky was almost black with clouds. Of course, I've manipulated it a wee bit to exaggerate the contrasts, but it turned out pretty cool, no?

In fact, it reminds me of the photos my friend Rod takes. He finds old farm equipment, cars and tractors and photographs them; the rustier the better. Then he manipulates the colors and has them printed on canvas so that they look like paintings. So, so cool. You can see his art work here; look under "photos on canvas". I love the images of flowers too.

Have a great weekend, ya'll.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Enough of this silly presidential election! Let's talk about my dog.

This is Queen Beatrice. Bea believes that she belongs in the middle of any and all love that is happening in the house. Whether it's me loving Anna, Anna loving Moby, David loving me or Moby attempting to love his favorite stuffed squirrel, Bea must get in the middle and stay there until you give in and give all your love to her. She insists on sleeping right between David and I, preferably on her back with all four paws in the air, because there is nothing this dog loves more than to have her stomach rubbed.

Also, she is a fierce protector. Once, there was a large, LOUD machine that appeared out of nowhere (well, it came out of the closet, actually); this machine proceceded to move around on the carpeted areas of our home and Bea wasn't going to stand for that. She barked and growled and snapped at it until it went away. And the other day, there was a similar monster with a hose-like nose that really got her riled up:

I, for one, feel much safer knowing that Bea has got our backs covered, if and when the Aliens arrive.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

my last political post (I think)

Imez asked her readers to explain to her WHY we are voting for whichever Presidential candidate we support. She is a Ron Paul supporter but wants to know specifics about how we made our choice for either Obama or McCain. My niece, Heather, posted side-by-side details on how the candidates stack up on some issues that are important to her. Now, I have had fun being snarky about McCain and Palin, but I guess I haven't really been very specific about WHY I am voting for Barack Obama.

So, aside from the fact that I'm a bleeding heart liberal and would no sooner vote for a Republican than I would feed my child to a starving dingo, here are the key points that have led me to believe that Barack Obama is the candidate that best represents ME and my values.

These aren't all the issues I agree with him on, but they are, to me, the most crucial and most decisive.

1. Gay rights: Obama has said he will support civil unions (which will provide committed gay and lesbian couples with the same legal and health benefits of a married couple), he believes that gays and lesbians should have the legal right to adopt children, and he will not approve of any measure of discrimination against gays.

2. Abortion: he will keep it legal and therefore safe. He believes that sex-education is crucial to reducing the number of unnecessary abortions.

3. Health Care: He will work to provide affordable health care for all Americans and believes that insurance companies should work for the patients, not for the pharmaceutical companies.

4. The war. Obama was against the war from the beginning; he wants to get our troops out of there as soon as is safely possible, returning power (and responsibility) to the Iraqi government.

I immensely respect that Barack Obama took his Harvard Law education and, despite being offered HUGE money to work on Wall Street, he returned to the South Side of Chicago to help improve the lives of people who didn't have the opportunities that he did. He has devoted his life and career to helping them get an education and/or job training, to provide social services to assist working mothers, to help people get off welfare and to break the cycle of poverty.

Furthermore, I just feel strongly that Barack Obama is a man of INTEGRITY. He is not willing to compromise his beliefs or values in order to get elected. He is gracious, calm, reasonable, and stays respectful when faced with attacks. That speaks volumes about his character and how he will handle pressure as president.

I'd like to hear which ISSUES have caused you to support your candidate.

Monday, October 20, 2008

All the plumbers in the house, pull your pants up!

The fact that Sarah Palin went on Saturday Night Live and was a great sport about them skewering her? It made my cold, black heart melt just a tiny bit.

Can I get a "woot woot" from the senior section?

pumpkin carving

My ex-husband, Eric, and I always had a tradition of pumpkin-carving parties. In fact, now that I think of it, we MET at a pumpkin carving party in college. Well, we had an art class together, but that party was the first time we hung out. Anyway, once we moved to Eugene, every year we would have a bunch of friends over for dinner, wine, and pumpkin carving, all of us crammed into the living room of our second-floor apartment because it was too cold to be outside. Those are great, warm memories of times with wonderful friends. The tradition went by the way-side once we moved to the Oregon coast, but it's one I've missed.

So yesterday David and I had "the family" over to carve the pumpkins that Christina and the girls and I got last weekend at Green Bluff. I even invited Eric's girl friend BECAUSE I AM SO NICE AND EVOLVED AND I KEEP TRYING, damn it. I also happen to know that Halloween is her favorite holiday (insert your favorite witch joke here). Ahem. She thinks it's just wrong that Eric would want to continue to have a friendly relationship with the mother of his daughter. Yeah, that is just WEIRD, isn't it??
Hey! Maybe Eric and Christina should get together. Then we really COULD be one big, happy family! Oh wait, I already tried to make that match when we were all in college together...Alas, I ended up with him. But that's another story. Anyway, here is Eric, Anna, Skyler, Piper and Christina.

Poor David awoke yesterday with a cold so he spent much of the day resting. However, he did rally for our usual Sunday afternoon cooking ritual. On Sundays we spend some time preparing food for the week, as we know we aren't motivated to cook in the evenings after work. We almost always make marinara sauce (to use for home-made pizza and pasta) and sometimes lasagna. Yesterday I made butternut squash pasta and brownies and David made the most wonderful pumpkin rolls from on of the Moosewood Cookbooks. After carving pumpkins, we all sat down to dinner together. Eric got his "baby fix" by playing with Christina's girls; I know tht he regrets not having another child, and the girls miss their own daddy like crazy. So it was good all around.

I went to bed feeling incredibly blessed to have my ex-husband and one of my dearest college friends nearby to be part of our family now, AND to have a warm and loving new husband who welcomes my ex into our home.

As my sister says, life is good.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

quilt: 5 kate: 0

Now I understand the logic behind quilting gloves. I have poked myself immeasurable times and have managed to use practically every Hello Kitty band-aid in the house....and I STILL got blood on the damn quilt.

Friday, October 17, 2008


When I was a teenager, I developed a galloping case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Aside from the raging, slobbering, thrashing hormones that turn teenage girls into, depending on the day, either the Tasmanian Devil or a puddle of sobbing insecurity, there were other things happening in my life that I had no control of and that, in effect, turned my world upside down. (wow, that was the longest sentence ever, which I guess apropos when discussing puberty.)

It started simply enough: a need to have the things on my dresser arranged "just so", straightening all the shoes in the house, a little "tapping" here and there. Tapping, by the way, involves, well, tapping your fingertips on certain surfaces as you walk by; for me it was the kitchen counter. So as I'd walk through the kitchen I would just tap the fingers of my right hand on the counter FOUR times. Had to be four. Then my best friend Kim and I discovered that we both counted the number of steps we took across a room; it had to be an even number or you had to go back and do it again. I remember thinking, specifically, "If I tap this counter four times, Joel will notice me tomorrow" about a blond surfer-boy that both Kim and I had a gigantic crush on. Did it work? No. But that just made me try harder.

It was strange, yes, but I don't remember it causing me much anxiety or embarrassment. I'm not sure my parents even noticed it until, when my dad was killed, my OCD got even more pronounced. The strangest ritual, and the one that ultimately caused my mother to question my odd behavoir, was what is now referred to in my family as "That Towel Thing". See, I would get out of the shower and oh-so-casually drop my towel on the bathroom floor....but then I couldn't stand the edges showing, so I'd tuck the edges all under so that the towel resembled a little, round mushroom. And then I'd leave it there, as if I were a normal and totally carefree teenager who couldn't be bothered with picking up a towel. I also remember, in high-school, that I couldn't stand any sort of dirt or paper or ANYTHING on the floor of my beloved Subaru Brat. My friend Paige used to tease me mercilessly because, before I would get out of the car, I'd have to pick up any stray straw-wrapper, clump of mud or lint from the carpet. David, if you are reading this, you will now understand why, for me, having a dirty car is actually a triumph of sorts.

I didn't know the name of what I had; hell, I didn't even know there WAS a name for what I had other than just "strange". I just gradually outgrew the belief that I could control my life or my environment; I finally realized that bad things and good things and confusing things and unexplainable things were going to happen to me regardless of whether I performed these rituals or not. Years later, in college, I read about OCD and said "YES! That was it! That's what was going on."

As Anna has gotten older and significant changes have occurred in her life, I have watched her struggle with various compulsive behaviors: in kindergarten it was compulsive hand-washing. Her hands got so dry that they cracked and bled. Then in first grade it was some hand-washing, but mostly the constant need to go potty. I took her to her pediatrician to see if she had a bladder infection or something that was causing this feeling; she didn't. Both of those times the behavior eventually went away and I sort of forgot about it.

Then this year, as soon as she started second grade, it started up again, the uncontrollable urge to go to the bathroom. It was especially bad at bed-time; it was not unusual for her to get out of bed and go potty 7, 8, 10 times before she settled down. It was frustrating for both of us; for me because she'd insist I get up and go downstairs with her every time, for her because she just couldn't stop it. Finally, one night, she broke down in tears and told me that it was happening at school too. That the teacher was getting frustrated with her and that she felt like she was getting behind in class because she so often missed the teacher's instructions while she was in the bathroom. It was then that had to finally admit that my sweet, sensitive 8 year old daughter was suffering from OCD too. I immediately contacted the teacher (with Anna's permission) and explained the situation; she was extremely kind and helpful and offered some suggestions. I told Anna about my experience with OCD, what it was, what I thought caused it (worrying and lack of control over the events in your life) and that I was going to help her with it.

My next step was to begin some research and I purchased several books on the subject. I did not (DO NOT) want to medicate Anna; I outgrew my OCD without any medication or therapy whatsoever. I learned on-line that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be very helpful in treating it and I found a therapist here in town that specializes in childhood OCD. Our first appointment was on Tuesday. I'd casually mentioned it to Anna the day before; she said "Oh good! I hope she can help me with my OCD". But when I picked her up at school the next day for her appointment, it was a different story. We had an hour before the appointment, and Anna spent the ENTIRE HOUR crying, yelling, begging, pleading, threatening and just having one gigantic tantrum, the likes of which I hadn't seen for approximately 3 years. It was AWFUL, and I could tell how scared she was to face this. But explained that if she had a really bad cold or infection or had broken her arm, I would take her to the doctor; that one of my jobs, as her parent, to get her help when she needs it. I didn't back down and eventually I got her in the car; she agreed to go ONLY if we went just this one time and ONLY if she didn't have to talk at all. I figured that was a start.

The therapist, TJ, was an attractive, calm, warm woman in her mid to late 50s. She invited Anna to draw or play while she and I talked and before I knew it, she had Anna talking and laughing. It went so much better than I could have ever dreamed, and by the time we left, Anna said to me "I can't wait to come back and see TJ again. She's really nice!" She couldn't wait to get home and call her dad to tell him all about her appointment and about what OCD is and that TJ is going to help her. It was obvious that she felt a huge sense of relief to hear from someone (besides me) that what she is going through has a name and that it can be treated. TJ encouraged her to give those feelings a name; Anna decided on "The Worry Warts".

Since the appointment, there have been NO repeated trips to the bathroom at bedtime, and last night, when she was in her bed and I was reading next-door in our bedroom, she called out " that we saw that huge spider in the kitchen before bed, I can't stop thinking that there is a spider in my room!" I replied: "That's just The Worry Warts, sweetie!" and she said "Oh, you're right!" and then she giggled and went to sleep.

I know it's not over, and that OCD will probably be a part of Anna's life for years to come, simply because that is how she handles stress. But I can't tell you how good it feels to know that she will be given the skills to handle it. Aaah, progress.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

quilt top in progress

Yesterday I started putting together the top for my first-ever quilt. And for no apparent reason other than sheer laziness, I've decided to completely wing it: no pattern, no design plan, nothin'. I just started sewing some fabric together in a way that made me happy, and because I'm all about symmetry, I decided to go for a geometric design. Have I mentioned that I am completely incapable of cutting pieces of fabric the same size? This would cause most "normal" people to choose another hobby. But nobody ever said I was normal.

Luckily it's for a baby and babies have notoriously low expectations.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

more face book love

How cool is it that I have been Instant Messaging, real-time, with a girl I played with in SIXTH GRADE who now lives in Czechoslovakia?? I mean, how else would that be possible??

Face book, I love you man.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

food for thought:

Ayman al-Zawahiri, a prominent leader of al-Qaeda, once said of America: “We can’t bring down the superpower, but we can make them bring themselves down.”

Well, guess what: since the Sept. 11th, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, that is EXACTLY what has happened in this country. Gas, oil and food prices have sky-rocketed, the unemployment rate is through the roof, the housing market and the stock market have crashed and we have watched our 401-K plans and life-savings become practically worthless. Aside from the ridiculously wealthy, every person in this country is living in fear: forget about retirement; we're afraid we won't be able to make our mortgage payments next month.

Our economy is in danger of completely collapsing and we are seriously facing reliving the Great Depression but for the "bail out" of roughly $700 billion dollars.

Guess how much money we've spent on the war to date: $700 billion dollars.

In the simplest terms, we have spent the money that we needed to maintain OUR economy on fighting a war in Iraq. Meanwhile, their stock market is going up, up, UP.

So with one well-planned terrorist attack, al Qaeda now gets to sit back and watch our economy literally implode. They KNEW we would grab our cowboy hats, saddle up the horses and rush into war that is un-winnable and would cost us billions of dollars. That's pretty fucking brilliant.

Who is paying for the bail out? The American people: you and me and everyone you know. The bailout is going to cost every man, woman and child in this country $2300. As Bill Maher said in a recent show: "That's right, we get to bail out the banks so that they can turn around and loan us that money back WITH INTEREST!"

He went on to say "The good news is that a new study shows that the flow of illegal immigrants has decreased. I knew we could solve that problem: all we had to do was make our country a place that even destitute Mexicans don't want to live in!"

Please, please consider the state of our country and VOTE FOR CHANGE. Real change. Not four more years of the same mentality that got us where we are today.

Monday, October 13, 2008

lovely weekend

We recently changed Anna's schedule so that she is at her dad's house 50% of the time. She had, for the past couple of years, been on a "every-other-weekend" schedule with him and with us the rest of the time. Of course they saw each other more than that because he'd stop by every now and then to take her for a bike ride or read together or have dinner or whatever. But a month or so ago she decided that wanted to make it "more fair". She thought that daddy should get to spend as much time with her as we do. Which is cute but WRONG. (ok, maybe that is more fair...but I don't have to like it, dang it. She's MINE. ahem.) Anyway, my point - and I do have one - is that it was sooo nice to have her back "home" after she was at her dad's for 8 days. I miss that little booger when she's gone.

Saturday morning she and I had a lazy morning on the couch reading. Have I mentioned how much I love that we can just hang out together and read?? The dogs like it, too.

And then we put together her Halloween costume. As I'd mentioned awhile back, she wants to be a Garden Gnome. I googled it to see if I could come up with inspiration; what I'd like to know is WHAT DID MOTHERS DO BEFORE THE INTERNET? And don't give me that crap about "using your imagination." Anyway, I found a Garden Gnome MASK which is infinitely easier than the "felt hat and batting beard" I was planning on making with my imagination. Thank jeebus I don't have to do THAT anymore. Thank you So we dug out some brown leggings and one of my long-sleeved t-shirts, stuffed it with a little pillow and belted it. It is PERFECT. Moby is not too sure...
Later in the day Christina and her girls came for a sleep-over; it's been something like two months since we've had one. We made a Mexican-food feast (tempeh tacos for us girls and home-made posole by David) and the girls drew and colored. And then the gnome mask made came back out...

Christina's girls LOOOVE David and he provides them with great "daddy" energy since their daddy is away so much for work. Isn't Skyler's new pixie-haircut adorable??

The next morning David made espressos for us and Anna went around with a pen and a note-pad taking breakfast orders. Then she made pancakes and smoothies for all of us. I LOVE EIGHT. Such a great age.

I got to read to Piper while Christina and David talked politics (can you BELIEVE I opted out of that conversation?? But when there's a snuggly almost-three-year-old who wants to be read to, well, that's not much of a decision, now is it?)

That's the cool thing about being an auntie; you get to snuggle them and read to them and teach them naughty things and then give them back. At one point I walked into the room as Skyler and Piper were asking Christina why THEY can't have a bunny. I said "Do you know why Anna has a bunny and you don't?" (Christina thought I was going to go into my spiel about Anna being older and more responsible so that she can take care of the rabbit and blah blah blah.) But I said "The reason Anna has a bunny and you don't? Is because Anna's mommy is SOOOO MUCH NICER than your mommy." BWAAHAAHAAHAAAAAaaaaaaaaaa!!!

Then, because it was a gorgeous fall day and Christina and the girls have never been before we headed out to Green Bluff to pick pumpkins. Green Bluff is a little community of orchards and family-run farms. You can go out there at any time of the year and depending on what's in season, you can pick your own peaches, apples, berries, Christmas trees and of course, pumpkins. Many of the farms have live music, pony-rides, horse-drawn sleighs, petting zoos, and little country-stores where you can buy fresh pies, apple cider, fruit and veggies, candles, honey etc. We headed straight for the pumpkin patch.

Christina has always been a rebel and a wild-woman, which is a big part of how I came to love her in college. Now that she is supposed to be a grown-up, she has to channel her rebel-energy in new directions. On this day she figured out that if you just jiggled the bubble-gum-machine full of goat food, you didn't need to put a quarter in it. She took immense pride in showing the girls this trick, all the while dancing and chanting "I beat the system, I beat the system!" She's not going to think it's so funny when her girls are teenagers and are out-smarting her.

Gratuitous goat photo. I love me some goats, you know.

One of the farm dogs, a Great Pyrenees; he is a 200 pound teddy-bear. I caught Christina trying to stuff him in her shirt.

I am sooooo glad that my sweet and crazy friend lives nearby now. Love you, Christina!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Good news and bad news

I got my test results back from the ob/gyn.

The good news is that I'm not going to die. I don't even have to have surgery.

The bad news? There is no watermelon-sized tumor which means my stomach? It's just fat.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

me and my shadow

Queen Beatrice has decided that she must be able to see me at all times, so she follows me everywhere I go, from room to room. She plants herself outside the bathroom door, under the dining room table, or at the edge of the kitchen, wherever I'm working.

Yesterday I was home all day, and everywhere I went I saw her little face, eyes on me at all times. I think I could get used to this kind of adoration.

As I folded laundry on the dining room table:

As I made coffee:

As I organized the closet, putting away summer clothes:

As I ironed:

As I unloaded the dishwasher:

As I made dinner:

And then there's Moby. He's far too busy to care where his people are.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Ok, so we all know and believe in the sock monster, right? The one who lives in the laundry room and thinks it's funny to eat just one sock at a time?

Well then, who or what is the thing that lives in my dresser and somehow makes my levis shrink a little bit more every day?

It's gotten to the point where, when I learned that I have a fibroid tumor in my uterus, I got excited because maybe it's one of those, you know, watermelon-sized ones that you read about and when it gets taken out I'll be back to a size 6 without having to work at it.

But then again, having wine, popcorn and Ben and Jerry's for dinner like I did last night probably isn't helping.

Friday, October 3, 2008


This morning I had an appointment with my OB/GYN; I got to get my cervix scraped! Wwwhhhheeeee!!!

But my regular doctor (a woman) was in a delivery. I waited almost 2 hours for her to arrive (which is SO par for the course at this particular office but I won't get into that now, oh no I won't) when the nurse poked her head in the door and, cowering behind her clip-board to protect herself from flying objects, asked if I'd mind if the male doctor came in and performed my colposcopy. I said I didn't mind if it would allow me to put my damn pants back on sometime before noon.

So as I sat waiting for the doctor, naked from the waist down but for the paper-towel draped across my lap, my eyes wandered down my legs and HOLY SHIT I CAN'T EVEN REMEMBER THE LAST TIME I SHAVED MY LEGS. Actually, that's not true. I remember that I shaved them the day before my wedding. So...September 12th. And now, three weeks later, I have more in common with Sasquatch than Mr. Clean.

And I wouldn't have given it a second thought if my regular FEMALE doctor was going to see me, but a male doctor? Oh god, I couldn't let him think I was..was...slovenly and didn't know that small woodland animals had taken up residence. So me being me, well, when the good doctor came in and gave the orders to "stirrup-up", I blurted out something along the lines of "If you feel something brushing your ears while you're down there, don't be alarmed! It's just the hair on my legs ha ha ha!"

Yeah. Better to POINT IT OUT, right? This poor, kind, grandfatherly man actually blushed.


WHY? Why could I not just lay back and be cool (and quiet)? I guess because I am so. not. cool.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

whoa, man

Ok ok ok. Now that I've pissed off 3 of the 4 people who read this blog, let me just say this:

Robyn, the "Free Levi" thing wasn't insulting red-necks. I guess I don't that often point it out, but my entire family is red-neck! My sister's blog is called Hidden Springs Hillbillies because she and her husband (who we lovingly call in Fudd) live in a beautiful, perfect little community full of doctors and lawyers, and her husband does things like going out into their yard in his boxers in the middle of the night to shoot the skunk that has been eating their chickens. He skins his deer and elk right there in the driveway. My brother served moon-shine (I shit you not) out of gas-cans at his WEDDING. So I KNOW people like Levi and the Palins; hell I'm FROM people like the Palins. And that is WHY I can find the humor in it.

Mom, I apologize if my thing about McCain's house insulted you. I just wanted to make the point that the man who refers to Obama as "an elitist" owns nine homes and a private jet. Now, I've said my peace and I'm done.

I just encourage all of you to vote for the person you believe will do the most to turn this country around. 'bout them Red Socks?

Now. Why didn't anyone, and I'm talking to YOU CORGI PEOPLE, why didn't you tell me that Corgis devote their substantial brain-power to FOOD FOOD FOOD FOOD FFFFOOOOOODDDDD??!! My best friend from childhood, Kim, grew up to marry a man who came with a dog, Iris. Iris was so food-oriented that she once ate through the nanny's purse to get to a single granola bar. Iris figured out, through trial and error, how to open the trash-compactor. Once, Kim came home to find that Iris had somehow opened the door to the pantry and OPENED SEVERAL CANS OF TUNA WITH HER TEETH and enjoyed the fruits (er, fish) of her labor.

Guess what kind of dog Iris was? Somehow, I'd forgotten this little detail. BB, on her first day with us, discovered the can of fish food and hauled it into the living room before I caught her. She has been seen snorfling up stray bits of bunny food that she finds on the ground. She has grabbed the babysitter's latte cup and tried to run off with it. And yesterday, she found AND OPENED a brand-new bottle of Glucosamine-Chondroiten and ate almost the entire bottle.

I guess the good news is that she won't be experiencing any joint pain for awhile.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

He's just one of us

The man who wants us to believe that he is "just one of us" is selling one of his "7 or 8...I can't remember" houses. This one has 13 bedrooms and is 15,000 square feet.

Seriously, HOW can anyone believe that this man will NOT pander to the wealthiest 2% in the nation?? And that's NOT you or me, baby.

Free Levi!

I've recently discovered Bill Maher; I've been down-loading his show "Real Time" and listening to it on my commute each day. He and I share the exact same view on politics and religion; I've come to think of him the same way my crazy uncle (whom we no longer speak to because, well, he's crazy) thinks of Rush Limbough: I think that every word out of Bill Maher's mouth is golden.

I won't get into religion or politics today, but yesterday, I was listening to this bit below and laughing so hard I had tears pouring down my cheeks.

Here he is, discussing the poor young testosterone-driven redneck who knocked up Sarah Palin's daughter. The part about "Just let the Palin womenfolk look after it in that Mormon compound they call a house"....hoo, boy. My very first thought, once I heard her kids' names, was "She HAS to be Mormon."

Here he is, Bill Maher:

"If we can't, after all is said and done, make this election go the right way, at least we can save one man. I'm talking about young master Levi Johnston. He's the 18-year-old Alaskan hockey enthusiast who knocked up Sarah Palin's daughter, and the National Enquirer describes him as a "boozing pot smoker who doesn't want to get married." And John McCain thinks he found HIS soul mate.

You know, we've all recently seen how the Republican Party captured this poor innocent out of his natural habitat and forced him into a shotgun wedding. Because, when the 17-year-old daughter of the VP candidate is out to here, it's just better that Levi was introduced as "the fiancee." Looks a little less white-trashy.

But, that doesn't change the fact that right now Levi is America's number-one political prisoner. But, Levi, you don't have to be. This is the 21st century at least in the blue states. You don't have to do this. You have options. You can pull a - you know, a "Juno." Fuck, you LIVE in Juneau!

Or you could do what most people do with an unwanted child: give it to Angelina Jolie!

And, look, if you're worried about the baby, don't. I mean, let's get real, dude. The way you are, at 18, that baby is better off not being around you. You'll wind up losing it or shooting it or something.

Just - just let the Palin womenfolk look after it for a while. One more infant in that Mormon compound they call a house - won't bother anybody. They will barely notice another kid at the table. And soon they won't even remember whose seed it was that produced young "Trink" or "Truck" or... Puck, or whatever fucked-up redneck name they give it.

In any event, we here at "Real Time" have taken the liberty of purchasing the website, There it is: "Free Levi." And, it is yours to use if you want to use it to get folks to contribute to some sort of liberty fund so you can get enough money to get out of that frozen meth lab they call a town. And even if the money doesn't come in, it's not too late. Just grab your skull bong--climb out the window and get on the highway.

I can't actually come and get you, myself, or even let you stay at my place, because I'm pretty sure you'd smoke all my weed.

But, just call me from the pay phone. I know of a safe house you can stay in until after the election. It's - it's like the witness protection program for baby daddies. "

Dude. I love you.