Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ooooh nooooo

Like many people, we have a mouse problem this time of year. We (ie. David) has caulked and nailed and plugged holes with steel wool. The good news is they are no longer frolicing on our dishes and partying in the silverware drawer, because that? Made me want to burn the entire house down.

No, now they just scamper around on our kitchen counters. After finding banana after banana having been burrowed into and hollowed out (which, I admit, is sort of cute but still....eewww), we took to putting the bananas in the bread box. There is NOTHING left out on our counters that resembles food, and yet every morning, I find still mouse poo in the corners and behind the blender. Which causes me to go all Mommy Dearest with the Clorox cleaning products.

As you know, we live with a small, tyrannical animal-rights activist. We have been warned not to kill any mice in our attempts to discourage them from eating our food and, you know, leaving hanitvirus on our forks.

Which means, of course, that we just waited until she went to her dad's for the week before setting up our ammo. David had purchased some high-tech contraption that looks like a harmless black box that you put some dog food in and then, when they go in, basically shocks the shit out of them. I'm sure he researched the crap out of that thing before purchasing it but the fact is? It doesn't work. So I set out a couple of the good old-fashioned snap traps.

First morning: nothing.

And then? This morning....the trap had indeed been set off. But there was no dead mouse. Instead (oh I can hardly bring myself to even write this) there was a tiny pool of blood behind it.


That's right: I am WORSE than a mouse killer. I am a MOUSE MAMER.

Anna must never know of this. I threw that damn mouse trap in the garbage and will never use one again. And I'm going to buy some very tiny baindaids and a shot of whiskey and leave them on the counter when I go to bed tonight.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It gets better

In response to the recent rash of gay-teen suicides, writer Dan Savage started the "It Gets Better" video project. It's such a simple, yet beautiful idea: gay men and women who made it through years of bullying and and pain and rejection and came out on the other side, tell their stories to encourage gay teens to stay strong and to stay alive, because it does get better. So many people, from musicians and actors to "regular" people and even President Obama have participated in this project, including this new video by some of the employees of Pixar:

Also, there is another blog you might want to check out. One of my best friends from high school, Mitch and I reconnected on Facebook after having lost touch for many (like 20) years. I was not at all surprised to learn, when we reconnected, that he is now living as an openly gay man; I'd suspected during our high school years in southern Idaho that he was gay, but understandably he was in denial to himself and the world at that time. What I was surprised about is that he is Mormon!! It seriously took me weeks to wrap my head around that fact. How could my gay, progressive, liberal friend be Mormon??? But according to him, he could no sooner choose to not be Mormon than he could choose not to be gay. Ok. I have to respect that. And even more so, I respect the fact that he refuses to hide who he is. He was won over the leaders of his stake (in San Fransisco, so of course they must be a bit more tolerant) and even teaches Sunday school.

The really wonderful part is that Mitch is very active in getting the Mormon leadership to change their stance on gay people so that others, like him, can live their authentic lives while pursuing their religious/spiritual beliefs. He has stood up and outed himself and demanded respect for who he is so that others can do the same. He has spoken out in front of many LDS congregations, from SF to Seattle, sharing this which he wrote. It is beautiful and powerful and thought-provoking. I am so, so proud of him!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


zzzzzzzzzzz....oh. Hi. Yeah, I'm awake. Are you??

Well, clearly I don't have much to write about lately. BUT! For those of you who know that I've been battling this...fatigue thing for the past 5-6 months, there is good news! I FEEL BETTER!! I FEEL NORMAL!! This is a huge relief because I was beginning to think that "exhausted" was my new normal.

I'm not sure what caused this shift in energy for me. Two things I've done differently in the past week or two: I've been running again and I can't tell you how much I needed that. It's a catch-22 when you don't have energy, because the last thing you want to do is exercise, but I know I feel better and more energetic when I do. So that's helping.

And I tried acupuncture. When we were in Boston recently a few of us were chatting and the topic of acupuncture came up. David's brother Jim has an awesome new girlfriend, and she mentioned that she had suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome years ago, and the thing that finally cured her was acupuncture. Well I have made many, many visits to my conventional doctor, my naturopath, and a pulmnologist over the past several months, with NO improvement, so I figured trying acupuncture was worth a shot. The guy I went to is also a practitioner of Chinese Medicine (which I guess goes without saying for an acupuncturist) and in addition to the poking, he gave me some Chinese herbs.

So I don't know if it's the running, or the acupuncture or the herbs or a combination of the three, but I AM SO BACK, BABY!! It feels GREAT to feel great again.

Look out world, I'm ready to kick some ass.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

::doing the right thing isn't always easy::

Remember how a couple of weeks ago I wrote about how I was determined to someday get my daughter a horse? Yeah, well, said child has an uncanny ability to recognize when my resolve is weakening. So somehow it went from "Honey, I know that you want a horse more than anything in the world and I want to make that happen for you someday" to "We might buy a horse this weekend!" I know! Jeezus, between my impulsiveness and her ability to pounce on an opportunity, it's a miracle we didn't run out and buy an entire horse ranch while David was out of town all week. For one thing, she and I went to go see "Secretariat" and I got all "Nobody is going to tell me I can't get my daughter a horse!"

Well, nobody except for my calm, reasonable and maddeningly rational husband. And he didn't exactly say "no", although I think the word "divorce" might have been bandied about. Actually, he gently and calmly reminded me that buying a horse for a ten year old child is not a great idea IF you are trying to raise a child to grow up to be a productive member of society who understands that one must WORK for what she wants.

Then I talked to Kami, the gal from whom we currently lease a horse and my go-to gal for all horse-related questions. She told me that she thought it would be best to wait, because the rider that Anna is now is not the same as the rider she will be in a couple of years. So if we bought a horse to suit Anna's needs and abilities now, in 2-3 years we'd be looking to replace it with, say, a barrel-racer or whatever.

Somewhat coincidentally (or maybe not) my friend Jennifer mentioned in an email how her first-born child is driving her mad because he is lazy and doesn't want to have to work for anything. In fact, he can't be bothered to get his driver's license because it's "too hard" and too much work. That does sound a lot like a certain 10 year old I know. And I'm smart enough (barely) to know that we want to nip that behavior in the bud right now.

So yeah. I knew that I had to go home after work and break my daughter's heart, because I am a BIG FAT IMPULSIVE DUMB SHIT who got her hopes up and basically said to her "Nobody is going to tell us what to do! Let's go buy a horse!"

As soon as I got home, I sat her down and had the talk. I explained it all to her, why it was important to wait, both Kami's argument that she will grow and change as a rider a lot in the next couple of years, and also how I realized (without implicating Davey as the bad guy) that one of my most important jobs as a parent is to teach her the value of working toward something. How it will actually be a lot more satisfying for her to earn it and she'll appreciate that lesson later in life....blah blah blah.

And then the crying and wailing and sobbing and thrashing and gnashing of teeth commenced. She was, as expected, disappointed and heartbroken and I felt like the worst. parent. ever. I knew I was doing the right thing, I was just so mad at myself for getting her hopes up. I held her for awhile while she cried and then she wanted me to go away. At one point I checked on her and she had pulled the hide-away bed out and was under it, crying and "working on something". I figured it was a note of the "I'm running away from home" sort, but I should have known better. This kid expresses herself through drawing. Eventually she came out of the room with a smirk on her face and handed me this:

(in case you can't read that, it says: "No! Not til you're 122! Oh wait you'll be dead by then. Did I mention I lied? Sucks for u.")

Yeah. OUCH.

For a split second I was devastated, but then I couldn't help but burst out laughing. This kid knows how to WORK it, doesn't she?

I went in and said "So this is how you see me, with glowing red eyes and big fangs?"

"AND A BIG NOSE", she made sure to point out.

Then we laughed and hugged and she was all better.

Why didn't anyone TELL me parenting was so hard? I HATE having to be the grown-up. Luckily I have a pretty great kid, with a big, beautiful, forgiving heart. Sigh.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

::My new craft obsession::

Last Saturday my friend Sarah and I, along with my kiddo, went to a really wonderful bead store and spent 3 HOURS making earrings. It was so much fun! I was like a kid in a candy store. All the colors and textures; glass, shell, bone, stone...the possibilities were endless!

Well, I spent most of Sunday night literally dreaming about earrings and beads and by the time I woke up on Monday I knew what I had to do: play hooky from work, go the to bead store and change my entire esty site from handbags to earrings. As you know, I can be a wee bit impulsive. Go ahead, laugh. I'll wait.

(For those of you who do not know this about me: I am the person who decided to marry the man I'd known for all of 12 hours after meeting him on Oh, and we hadn't actually met in person; he was in Alaska and I was in Washington state. We'd only emailed and talked on the phone for a few hours. But I knew he was the one. A few days later he flew down to meet me and we pretty much got engaged that weekend. And now I have the most amazing husband in the world. So who's laughing now, huh? Huh??)


So Monday morning I got up, applied for a business license (something I just could never bring myself to do as a maker of handbags for some reason) and Washington State Resellers Permit, and went off to the wholesale bead store for supplies and tools. All this with a whopping 3 hours of experience under my belt. I then spent Monday afternoon making earrings.

Here's a funny aside: I had an idea of how I wanted to photograph them for my etsy site; I have a glass "vase" thing that I put smooth dark rocks in. I planned to use that and I wanted some greenery and/or fall colors in the background. So yesterday at lunch I went out into the Palouse countryside to take photos. I had driven up this country road and found the perfect spot: an old gate with some beautiful trees behind it. So I got all set up and was taking photos when this rusty, beat up little pick-up comes screaming past. They slam on their breaks and back up at 30 miles an hour, and I'm pretty sure I heard the theme song from "Deliverance".

The passenger leans out the window and asks "What are you doing?" "Just taking some pictures", I reply calmly, wondering if I'm on private property or something. "Of rocks in a vase on a fence??" he asks, incredulously. "Of some jewelry I made. It's a nice background." "Oh." and they speed off, laughing, I'm sure, about the strange ways of city-folk.

Anyway, Go look! I am so thrilled!

Even my ex-husband, Sir Grumpybutt, sent me such a nice message this morning, telling me that I had obviously found my creative niche and that he is proud of me.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Father of the Year. For life.

My first marriage was to a man who, while he has many, many wonderful qualities, he did not have the ability to "not sweat the little things." He is as kind and gentle as can be, but he is a moody artist. I can't tell you how many family outings were completely ruined because, say, as we were pulling out of the driveway I realized I'd forgotten our (then) baby's diaper bag or my sunglasses. I would quickly run back in the house, retrieve the item and be back in the car within minutes. But this would be enough to cause him to quietly seethe for the rest of the day. As in, not speaking to me or our child during the entire outing, withholding his love and affection. Now, I'm smart enough to know that it wasn't really about me forgetting my sunglasses. But still. I spent years walking on egg shells, hoping that nothing Anna or I did was going to ruin our time with him. Living with this man was like living with Pig Pen, only instead of dirt swirling around him at all times, it was a black cloud of misery. I eventually divorced him for this very reason, hoping that once I (the cause of the black cloud, I thought) was gone, he would be happy. That hasn't happened, of course.

I share this all now because of what happened on Anna's birthday. I knew that David (my current and final husband) had had a rough day at work. I had picked up Anna and a friend and taken them horseback-riding, and on the way home I called David and asked him to pick up a pizza for dinner. He, of course, cheerfully agreed to do so. When he arrived home with the pizza, he went straight for Anna, gave her a big kiss and said "Happy birthday Sunshine!!" Then we all had pizza, opened presents, had cake and played for several hours. He sat by Anna on the couch and she lazed around, feet on his lap, and he patiently put together a complicated and frustrating toy she'd received. He was his usual even-tempered, affectionate, mellow and loving self. Anna had a delightful birthday, full of laughter and playfulness and love.

And then last night, almost as a second thought, David said "I didn't tell you what happened when I came home last night" (the night of Anna's birthday.) He then explained how on his way home from work he had stopped at the bike shop to pick up his bike. As he pulled into the garage, he heard the tell-tale, sickening "CRUUUUNCH": the sound of his very nice, very expensive bike colliding with the top of the garage door.

He got out of the car to see that the wheel of his newly-repaired bike was completely crumpled. The bike rack was damaged, probably beyond repair. And the rack on top of his car was cracked.

And then this darling man came in the house, never uttered A WORD about it, and joyfully celebrated his step-daughter's tenth birthday. When I expressed shock at this after he told me what happened, he said "Well, I wasn't going to ruin her birthday! It's just a bike."


The thing I love so, so much about this man is that he conciously chooses, every day, to be the kind of father he didn't get to have, because he knows how it feels to be a kid walking on eggshells.

In other words, this man I am married to? Is a grown-up. How lucky am I?

Friday, October 1, 2010

::horse crazy::

If you know my kid or have read this blog for long, you know that she is absolutely, 100% HORSE CRAZY. I swear she came out of the womb this way; one of her very first words was "hee hee" (horse) and it's been all horse, all the time ever since. When she was about 2 she started going to a day-care where there were horses in a field next door. Every day we would stop to visit them and give them carrots. Soon we discovered that the man who owned the horses happened to be the father-in-law of Eric's employer. He gave us permission to take Anna in to the field and put her on the back of the one she called "Vanilla", who was ancient and gentle. She had a couple of horse videos that she would watch over and over....and over. She would tie bits of string and yarn and cords around our long-suffering dog to make her into a horse to lead around. She has never, ever been interested in dolls or fairies or princesses; ALL her imaginary play revolves around horses. She has a bedroom full of toy horses and all she is interested in reading is about horses. She has taken riding lessons since she was 5 or 6 and this summer I was able to lease a horse for her to ride as often as we can get out there. My daughter is turning 10 years old on Monday and she STILL, every single night, puts on her "bridle" (yarn and a necklace) and "gallops" around and around the dining room table on all fours, pretending to be one of the great race-horses she has read about. Every pair of her pants has holes in the knees. Every single day she gets on the internet and finds horses for sale to show me when I get home.

As she inches toward her teenage years, I think about what will keep her mind and spirit occupied so that she doesn't get involved with boys too soon, or drugs god forbid. She is not interested in soccer or softball or jump roping or dance or any of the other extra-curricular activities her friends participate in. Horses are her life. And I just don't ever see that changing.

And so I have made it my life's mission to get this kid a horse within the next few years. With the economy the way it is, there are thousands of horses available for sale right now, at "bargain basement" prices. There are so many beautiful horses in need of a good home, and I just happen to know a kiddo who has a whole lotta love to give. My ex-husband, not surprisingly, can come up with a dozen reasons why we can't get her a horse (he's a half-empty kind of guy). I say that if we put our minds to it, we CAN. Yes, we'll have to find a place to board a horse, and yes that can be expensive. But we happen to live in "horse country"; surrounded by hundreds of miles of fields in every direction. I drive by at least 4 horse ranches on my way to work every day. I believe if we put this "out there" in to the universe, it will happen. One day we'll connect with someone who knows someone who is willing to board for a reasonable price because they know how it feels to be a ten year old girl who can think of nothing but having her own horse. Or perhaps we could barter something in exchange for board; I can paint a barn or muck stalls or fill in on feedings when the owners are out of town.

I want this for her because I know it will have a profound effect on her life. Also, because I was lucky enough to grow up riding horses, I know how free you feel when riding, and the truth is, I love horses almost as much as she does.

Look at this amazing beauty I found on Craigs list today:

Twelve year old half Arabian, half Tennessee Walker. He's participated in 4-H (something I Anna wants desperately to get involved in), lessons, parades, been ridden in rodeos by a rodeo queen, trail riding etc . Anna just happens to want an Arabian "more than anything in the whole world!!"

Sigh. I know the time isn't right, but one day it will be. And I can't wait to see the look on her face.

Am I crazy?

Monday, September 27, 2010

::perfect fall day::

Anna was supposed to ride in her first-ever Pattern Racing event on Saturday, but as we were packing our lunches for a loooong day at the arena, we found out that it had been canceled. She took it amazingly well, despite having been giddy with excitement and anticipation for weeks ahead of time. We decided to go out for a trail-ride anyway, and it was a beautiful morning. Once home, I'd planned on sewing but she suggested a bike ride instead. It was far too beautiful a day to be inside sewing. We rode our bikes down to Manito Park, which is truly one of the loveliest parks I've ever been to. In fact, it was designed by the same design firm that did Central Park. And it's 8 blocks from our house. Anna took me straight to the special "friendship tree", so named by her and her friend Saskia. It is the ideal secret tree, with branches that come down to the ground, creating the perfect hiding spot for two girls to hang from its branches and spy on people.

Then we rode into Duncan Gardens, which is absolutely stunning this time of year. There were many photo-shoots going on, Senior portraits and brides in their gowns.

On a mission to rescue lady-bugs from the fountain:

I love the tulip metal-work on the rail along the marble steps leading down into the gardens.

I can't stop looking at this one:

Of course I didn't have the "real" camera; all these photos were taken with my iPhone, using the Hipstamatic app, which is, quite possibly, the coolest thing ever. It would take me hours upon hours of frustration and swearing in some editing software to get anywhere close to this. But with Hipstamatic you just chose which "film" and frame you want, and viola! Artsy genius.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

::sister wives::

If you know me at all, you know that I have a wee bit of an obsession with plural marriage. I have read pretty much every book on the FLDS (Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints) that I can get my hands on: Under the Banner of Heaven, Shattered Dreams, His Favorite Wife, Daughter of the Saints, The Lonely Polygamist (which is fiction, but it's by one of my very favorite authors). And you can count on me reading pretty much every other book on the topic that comes out. I just find it fascinating.

While I believe the religious beliefs behind plural marriage to be completely NUTS, I say if they are consenting adults and if it works for them, have at it. I mean, who wouldn't want an extra wife or two around the house to help with the childcare, the cooking, and the cleaning? In fact my friend Sarah and I call each other "sister wife" because she thinks my husband is just the cat's pajamas and she says she has a strong back (which is great because SHE gets to be the one to play horsie with Anna for the next 9 years) and she loves to garden. She might even be willing to can some peaches and bake the occasional pie. It should be noted that Sarah is a lesbian, so I wouldn't have to worry about the actual "sharing" of my husband. I know!! It sounds perfect, doesn't it?? Unfortunately Davie won't cooperate. He says he can't even keep one one wife happy, why the HELL would he want two??

Anyway, there is a new show coming out this fall called "Sister Wife." I generally loathe reality shows and have managed to never get sucked in to one, but nothing and I mean nothing is going to keep me from being plastered in front of this show every damn week.

The fact that the, uh, "man" of the house has shaggy highlighted blond hair, drives a two-seater sports car and is obviously nursing some sort of "rock-god-wanna-be" fantasy? Just makes it that much more attractive.

In fact I think I'll invite Sarah over to watch it. We'll eat popcorn (what is it with Mormons and popcorn?) and drink Coke. Or is it Pepsi that the LDS church bought and is now considered allowable when all other forms of caffeine are not?

I can't wait.

What do you think of plural marriage?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

First day, 4th grade

Look at my beautiful girl. Please note the fact that her hair is clean and brushed (she even let me straighten it a little, to smooth it out) and SHE IS NOT WEARING BLACK.

Third grade will go down in history as the year my child wore the exact same outfit, every day: skinny black jeans, black hoody sweatshirt and black converse sneakers. She still wears black skinny jeans almost exclusively, so when I came home yesterday and saw her riding her bike in the driveway wearing these PURPLE jeans, I literally almost drove into the fence. Her friend Saskia had brought over some pants that don't fit her anymore; when I saw these I thought "Yeah, right." In fact I had basically put them in our "take to the thrift-store" pile. But behold:

She was so excited this morning after she got dressed that she just had to go show Davie, and she couldn't stop hopping, grinning from ear to ear. Is there anything better than finally getting to put on your new school clothes?? I'm a stickler, like my mom was, for not allowing her to wear school clothes until school starts for precisely this reason.

Someone, though, is not happy about the idea of her person going off to school for the day. Perhaps if she parks herself by the backpack and lunch box by the door, she'll get to go.

Happy long-weekend!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My mom feels the same way*

(have your volume up for full "peeling out on hardwood floor effect.")

Not my dog; found via Youtube. I am SO going to try this on my dogs when I get home, though.

*Actually, my mom doesn't even like the word "fart". Growing up, that was the "f" word in our house and if she heard you say it, you were guaranteed being swatted with whatever she had in her hand at the time.

Happy long weekend! We're going to Seattle to eat, drink and be merry!

Friday, August 27, 2010

::fat pants::

Today is one of those delightfully cool-ish days when it juuuust starts to feel like Fall. Which made me oddly excited to put on some pants for the first time in many months. See, all summer long, every single day, I wear skirts or dresses. Loose, comfy and cool. And so I went to the dresser and pulled out my favorite skinny-legged orange cords, which I planned to wear with some cute sandals and flowy top.


I could not zip up said orange cords. Not. Even. Close. So I put them back and pulled out some lightweight chinos. Couldn't zip them either. So then I pulled out my "baggy" Levis. Yeah, guess what? I couldn't get those suckers buttoned if my life depended on it. See, at this time last year (when I bought all the above mentioned pants) I was training for a marathon, running 25-35 miles a week. Even then I didn't weigh that much less than I do right now, but apparently I was considerably leaner. And having NOT run since, oh, February or so, the muscle has been replaced by flab. Specifically flab around the middle. I've really noticed it lately, catching a glimpse of my reflection when I am not holding my stomach in. I might look a little bit pregnant.

I will admit that I secretly hoped that I might have one of those perfectly harmless but gigantic cysts on my uterus that you read about while standing in line at the grocery store: "Woman who thought she was 6 months pregnant actually had a cyst the size of a Rhode Island!!" And then the doctor would cut it out, hand it to me, and I'd get my picture in the paper, smiling and holding a Butterball turkey-sized cyst while wearing my cute size 8 orange cords.

But, well, I went to the doctor this morning to follow up on my pneumonia and go over my blood work and he failed to mention any unusual 40 pound growth. Which means that I really am just fat.

Which leaves me with a decision to make before it really is pants-wearing-season. As I see it, my options are:

1) Purchase an entire new wardrobe of big-girl pants. Spandex must be really, really comfy; that's why you see so many really big women wearing it while shopping at Walmart, buying their cookies and Diet Pepsi in bulk.

2) Sew elastic panels into all the pants I have, like maternity pants. What?? I have some really cute pants, damnit, and I want to wear them.

3) Move to Southern California or Arizona so that I can wear dresses and skirts year around. Ppphhfffttt. Who needs pants? Of course, I will have to convince my husband, my daughter and my ex-husband to move with me.

Oh! I just thought of one more option:
4) I could join one of those religions where the women aren't allowed to wear pants. So they wear, you know, calico dresses all winter, with their snow boots on underneath. Do Mennonites have to believe in God? I might be screwed.

Seriously....what am I going to do???

PS. If you suggest anything with the word "diet" in it, I will hunt you down and EAT you.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

summer time

World's worst blogger.

I suck. Luckily no one reads this blog but my mother and sisters, unless I've lost them too. But hey, here are some pretty pictures I just downloaded!

One thing you may not know about me (or you do, if you know me at all) is that keeping plants alive? Not my specialty. The joke in our house is that the only reason my child is alive is because she can tell me when she's hungry. How she survived the early years before language, I do not know.

Anyway, last year I started a rock garden in the back yard, because rock garden plants are very low maintenance, which is definitely the main criteria if you want to survive under my care. My thing with plants (and children) is that I forget to water them for months at a time, and then I drown them with several gallons of water at once, figuring I'm making up for my incompetence. My friend Christina literally weeps for the plants in my care: "They're talking to you! They are begging for water! Can't you hear them??"

Luckily, I love succulents. And the beauty of succulents is that they hardly ever need water! Woohoo!!

Last night while lovingly WATERING my rock garden and gloating over my success, I noticed this plant that I don't recall putting in the ground. Is it a weed? Meh. It's green and it's alive. Good enough for me.

This was just some little succulent, minding its own business, and then one day it sprouted this weird, leggy growth, about a foot tall, with these sweet teeny flowers on the ends. I like it.

Hen and chicks: gotta love 'em. Totally my kind of plants: you plant one, water it once every six months or so, and it is so grateful that it rewards you by propagating all over the place. If only children were this easy. Oh. Wait...


My favorites: Moss Roses. They add so much lovely color.

Snap dragons remind me of when I was little. In fact, sometimes when no one is looking, I can't resist the urge to snap one off and make it talk: "Aaarrggh!! Ahoy matey! That sun sure feels great today, doesn't it?!" Why do snap dragons talk like pirates? Or is that just me? Has anyone else noticed that the neighbors won't make eye-contact anymore?


Last Friday was meeting some friends/co-workers for lunch in the little town of Tekoa. To get there, I drove through the Palouse on roads I'd never driven. I really, really love the Palouse. The scenery is just gorgeous and the little farming communities are so charming. People sitting on their porches, old guys driving their tractors down the road, kids riding horses in the fields....There's something really appealing about that simple way of life, isn't there?
I was afraid of being late for our lunch date, so I didn't take as many pictures as I wanted. But I couldn't resist capturing this beautiful little scene, near the tiny town of Waverly.


I've also been doing some sewing. This is a custom-order Hooter Hider (also known as a nursing cover), made for someone who knows she is having a boy.

And i couldn't resist whipping up a matching onsie.

And last but certainly not least: Beatrice, aka: Bea, BB and, most often, Beast. She loves nothing more than laying on the back deck, watching the world go by.

She's got a terribly rough life. I think she's plotting her escape.

Hope you're enjoying your summer. I can not believe how quickly it's gone by; school starts three weeks from today. Which reminds me, does anyone know how often I have to water a 4th grader?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

::do NOT let my daughter see this::

Borrowed from Cute Overload.

Jod, you MUST get a miniature pig for the new Elmer and Ellie Mae ranch!!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

sister hood of motherhood

Uuggh. I just got back from the grocery store where I witnessed a 3-4 year old girl having one of those EPIC melt-downs that only a child of that age can have. She was crying, screaming, face bright red, banging her little fists on the ice-cream freezer door; she'd spied those adorable little Ben & Jerry's single-serving containers and she was NOT LEAVING until she got one.

The poor woman apologized to ME, because her daughter was blocking my Ben & Jerry's. I looked at her with complete sympathy and said "No need to apologize; I've been there myself. I am so sorry you're going through this right now. It will get better." I thought she was going to burst into tears right then. I left the ice-cream isle and as I gathered the last couple of items, paid for them, and walked out of the store, I could STILL hear the little girl screaming and saw the mother trying to physically force her into the cart and out of the ice-cream isle. I could tell by the mother's face that she was at her absolute breaking point.

We've all been there, when the urge to say and do things you'll regret later is so huge, so overpowering, that the ONLY thing stopping you is that you are in public and you don't want others to witness the child-abuse you are momentarily flirting with. I remember the first time I actually thought "Now I can kind of understand how it happens, how a parent who is overly exhausted with not enough support could just snap" and lash out at a child who has pushed you way, way beyond your limit.

At that point what you need is someone to step in: a spouse, your mother, a friend or neighbor...someone, anyone who can put some physical and emotional space between you and your child so that you can take a few deep breaths. So that you can find your center, so that you can think and gather your wits about you and walk back into the line of fire with a calm mind and a plan. You need someone who understands to step in and help you, just for a minute or two.

I saw all of that on that mother's face and I wished there was something I could do. I thought about trying to distract the child, I thought about asking the mother for her list and her cart so that I could finish the shopping that needed to be done. But being a complete stranger I couldn't really do either of those things. I walked out to my car feeling sick with helplessness.

Should I have done something? Was I minding my own business or did I take the easy way out, heading home with my own Ben & Jerry's? What would you have done, if anything?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I've met my match

(actual instant-message conversation I just had with my much, much older husband) (ok, it's only 4 and a half years, but I love to give him sh*t about it.)

david: Holy crap it's hot here.

kate: Is it? What's the temp?

david: Feels pretty good. 87 degrees.

kate: Don't you have AC in your new office? Old people are supposed to be extra careful in the heat, you know.

Aren't you happy that I'm not sick anymore and back to my old self??

(no response)

kate: ….hello?


david: I'd bite you if I had any teeth left. Who's Bueller?

kate: Oh dear. Of course.
You never saw “Ferris Beuller's Day Off”, did you?
You were probably busy translating some obscure Russian opera. Or on top of a mountain in Chile eating the most amazing posole made by a 104 year old native woman.

Oh man, I am ON today, baby!!!

DON'T EVEN TELL ME YOU NEVER SAW FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH or I'm going to have to leave you for a younger (less intelligent) man.

kate: You're speechless, aren't you. I know...I don't blame you... it's hard to keep up with me.

david: I figured it was a reference to that stupid matthew borderick movie. And of course I saw fast times. I love Phoebe Cates.

kate: Hhmmpphh.

david: Please get sick again ;-)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Yesterday afternoon Anna was watching one of her favorite shows, Pit Boss. It's a "reality show" of sorts on Animal Planet, about a group of little people in LA who rescue pit bulls. There is the main guy, "Shorty", a couple of male helpers and a female secretary, none of them over 3 and a half feet tall. So yesterday Anna calls me in to the TV room: "Mom! Mom! I just found out that that girl on this show is a lesbian"....then:

"What's not to love about a tiny lesbian?!?"

Oh god, I love that kid.

That reminds me of once when she was probably 3 or 4, you know the age where they will blurt out anything no matter how inappropriate? We were in the grocery store when we practically ran right into a little person pushing a shopping cart with 2 of his own children inside. I watched, paralyzed with dread, as Anna sized him up (har har); she had never seen a little person before in her life. I couldn't run the risk of telling her not to say anything, because then of course she'd loudly ask why. I held my breath as she silently watched him pass us, terrified she'd blurt out something mortifying.

Then, to my complete delight, she said "Well that's a cute little daddy!!"

She has such a beautiful, open and loving heart. If I do nothing else of consequence in this world, I will always be proud of the daughter I have the great fortune to raise.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I have been a wee bit obsessed watching this killdeer nest, which is located about ten feet from the front door of our office. Today all three eggs hatched!

Can you believe how well they blend in?? I wonder if tomorrow they will already be up and running.

**Edited to add: when I left work, one of the babies (I assume the "big" one on the right in the photo) was indeed up and running, right across the road!

Which reminds me that when I was in Boise for the Hillbilly party a month ago, my sister Linda and I saw two of these teeny little fluff-balls running in the road. There was traffic going by in both directions and by some miracle, they didn't get hit. But they were too small to get up on the curb! We stopped the car and we each chased one around until we could give them a hand up onto the sidewalk and to the safety of the tall grass. They are so small (and not real bright); it's a miracle that the killdeer population continues to grow! Will try to get a picture of the baby tomorrow; he wouldn't let me close enough tonight...

Friday, June 25, 2010


When my ex and I first got together, we went on an epic road-trip from our college in northern Idaho, down through Montana, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, California and ended in Oregon. It involved more powdered black-bean paste than I care to remember and pretty much camping for the entire three months. It was an incredible adventure that I will never forget; we saw amazing places, met interesting people, and learned a lot about each other and ourselves. We learned, for example, that camping was Eric's idea of "vacation". We learned that my idea of vacation is NOT camping.

There is nothing easy about camping. First you have to go through the garage and various storage closets to gather all your equipment and supplies, taking inventory of what you have and what you need ("I found the flashlight but the batteries are dead. We have spoons but no forks. Where are the damn forks?? I know we bought bug-spray last summer. Have you seen the tent stakes??") sorting and arranging it all, stuffing it all in the car and then you drive to your destination. You find a camp-sight that is somewhat close (but not too close!!) to the foul-smelling toilets and far enough away from the neighboring camp-site that you won't be kept awake by the house-sized RV's generator. Find a spot for the tent that is flat and not too rocky, dig out aaaall the supplies, set up your tent and sleeping bags, light the citronella candle in a lame attempt to keep the bugs at bay. Cook dinner in several stages over an open flame, scrub pots and pans with sand to remove gunk. Next you must put everything back in the car so as not to attract wildlife. Then and only then do you get to collapse into your sleeping bag, feeling every stick and rock under your back and wishing like hell that you'd remembered your pillow. Sleep, thrash, repeat. Then you pack it all up, stuff it in the car, drive home and then spend another hour or two putting it AAAALLL away! Wheeee!!! I always come home from camping exhausted and in need of a vacation.

The truth is, camping is only relaxing for a few hours between your arrival and departure. I'd much rather spend my time actually hiking, biking, swimming, kayaking, reading....or oh! I know: relaxing.

Ok, ok, there are SOME things I still enjoy about camping (or would, if I actually went, you know, camping). Falling asleep to the sounds of night-hawks and crickets. Waking to the sounds of the birds as the sun comes up. Taking a nap in the shade after a day playing in the lake or hiking., that's about it.

I have to admit that at this point in my life, my idea of "camping" involves a log cabin within walking distance to a lodge that serves bacon, fresh-squeezed orange juice and huckleberry crepes.

My husband David and my daughter, however, still like the idea of actual CAMPING. In fact, there is talk of a possible camping trip this summer in Glacier National Park. You may have heard of Glacier while reading the latest report of grizzly mauling.

Grizzlies consider a tent to be the dry, uninteresting tortilla that must be endured to get to the soft, pink meat-flavored filling.

In fact just a couple of days ago, some poor sap camping somewhere in Montana awoke to the unmistakable sensation that the side of his head was being eaten. Because IT WAS. An otherwise "harmless" black bear bit through his tent and made a snack of the guy's ear. Fun!

Call me crazy, but I just can't sleep when I'm afraid for my life.

And so, it seems to me that this is the perfect "camping compromise:

See, one of these little beauties would provide bear-proof shelter, a somewhat comfortable mattress and a place to keep your stuff. That's all you need. These babies are so light that they can be pulled behind a Volkswagen!

And think of how spontaneous you could be, which is the other thing that drives me crazy about camping: it is IMPOSSIBLE to say on a Friday afternoon "Hey, let's go up to Priest Lake for the weekend!" Even car-camping involves the above-mentioned excavation of the dark corners of the garage to find all the bits and pieces and supplies and equipment. This process literally takes hours. You can not spontaneously tent camp. Period.

With one of these little trailers, however, it's all in there: the plates, forks, coffee-maker, matches, flashlights, sleeping bags, bug repellent, stove! You simply grab your clothes, hook your little trailer to the car and you GO!! To Priest Lake! To the Oregon coast! To Canada! To Glacier!!

The fact that this is one orange has nothing to do with it. Swoon.

Of course, if we ever win the lottery, one of the first things I'd buy would be a sweet vintage Airstream.

Maybe a little something like this. A 1948 Airstream "Wee Wind". Have you ever seen anything so adorable?? It's even for sale, but they don't say how much which means "If you have to ask, you can't afford it."

A girl can dream, right?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

my body is betraying me

I haven't had much to say around here lately because I have pneumonia that won't go away and basically it's all I can do to haul my carcass to work every day. But I just thought that I would share two things that are occupying my mind right now because, you know, I have no pride and it's my job to help you feel better about yourself.

*I guess this has to do with my hormones going all wonky on me due to peri-menopause, but I have the most foul body-odor lately. And the really freaky thing? It's only one arm-pit. Righty is perfectly normal and lovely, but Lefty smells like a small rodent moved in and died. WTF body??

*Also? The really cool thing about being a middle-aged woman and having pneumonia? Every time I cough I pee a little. I know, fun right??

So, carry on with your day knowing that you are infinitely more normal and well-adjusted than I am.

You're welcome.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

mind blowing

I just saw this (via a local blog, Dwell Well) and I am speechless. Go HERE to get a visual of how big the oil "spill" in the Gulf really is.

The other day I was listening to one of my favorite pod-casts, The Story, and heard Riki Ott interviewed. She has a PhD in marine toxicology and she just happened to be a commercial fisherman in Prince William Sound 21 years ago when the Exxon Valdeze spilled its (relatively small comparitively) contents into the pristine waters of Alaska. She has spent the years since then involved first-hand with the cleanup and aftermath and says that 21 years later, you can stick your hand a couple inches down in the soil and come up with oil. Oil doesn't evaporate and it isn't going anywhere.

I can't even begin to imagine how this monstrous amount of oil is going to effect the fish, the birds, the marine mammals and the people who's livelihood depends on the Gulf.

It's not a partisan problem; you can't blame current or past presidents for this. But the fact that the oil companies were allowed to drill into the bottom of the ocean, reap billions of dollars worth of benefits without having a rock-solid disaster plan? That is just unforgiveable, and we must end the free-reign that the corporations have on our natural resources. If anything good comes of this disaster, let it be that we finally begin to stand up to the corportations and demand accountability.

Monday, May 31, 2010

coming home

One of my favorite blogs, for the vicarious pleasure of ranch/farm life, is Pioneer Woman. She takes the most incredible photos of life on their Oklahoma ranch, of her children, their horses and cows and dogs and the people who work the ranch. She also has a special section of her blog that is all about photography, and she often has contests for people to enter their own photos on a topic that Ree selects. Currently, the topic is "Coming Home", and as you can imagine, there are literally thousands of photos of soldiers coming home to their loved ones.

I was just scrolling through them all and it's enough to make even an old, black-hearted liberal like me shed a tear or two, especially this Memorial Day. Head on over and check them out. Just be sure to have the kleenex handy. The ones on Ree's blog are simply her own favorites; there are thousands more over on the Pioneer Woman Photography Assignment Flickr page(click for link).

Thursday, May 27, 2010

::random news::

I sold TWO bags out of my etsy shop over the weekend (woohoo!!!) so now I need to get seriously busy sewing! As is totally typical of me, I started my etsy shop, was ALL excited and going to take over the world....and then I fizzled.

BUT now I have my mojo back, have some great new ideas and am going to spend all weekend sewing! Luckily, it's supposed to rain so my husband can't make me work in the yard. He's mean that way.

I did make some very cute (but top secret for now) baby gifts last weekend. They will be wrapped and on their way to Boise. I love that my nieces are having babies; there is just nothing more fun (for me) than making baby gifts. Small, fast and oh-so-satisfying.


We continue to go out riding horses a couple of times a week. Anna is so unbelievably natural and comfortable on that horse; it's as if she was born riding. Which, I guess, in a way she was. Only now, thank god, I'm not the one with the aching knees and back! I do not love driving an hour home from work, quickly changing into riding clothes and then driving another half an hour in the opposite direction to the horses, but as soon as we get there I bury my nose in the horse's neck, take a big sniff and's worth it. Yeah, I'm weird, but seriously? That is one of my favorite smells. Horse. Yum.


Anna and I have been seriously enjoying the Peregrine Falcon cam; all 4 eggs have hatched this week. We love watching the fluffy little chicks struggle with their apparently very heavy heads as mom or dad feeds them.


And that's all I've got for now. Will take pictures of what I manage to get sewn this weekend. Looking forward to my first quilting class in a couple of weeks!

Happy weekend!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


From Cute Overload. The fact that they called this goat "Jerry Lewis" makes me love it even more.

Friday, May 7, 2010


If you need to know just one thing about my daughter, it is this: she loves horses. No, I mean really, really loves them and from the time she could talk, it's been aaaaalll about horses. Before she could even say "horse", it was "hee hee". And every time she saw one, whether on TV or in a pasture, she went crazy. She first got to "ride" when she was about 2 and a half, and there has been no turning back. She can tell you the precise different between the "heavy horses" and has spent probably a good half of her lifetime pouring over her roughly 6 gazillion horse encyclopedias. The kid has horse-juice in her veins.

As she got into elementary school and it became clear that she had no interest whatsoever in dance or soccer or softball or skiing, I decided to get her into riding lessons. I figured it would teach her agility, physical strength, teamwork (horses can be even more uncooperative than a soccer teammate, it turns out) and also give her confidence. We have changed instructors and ranches a couple of times and after about 4 years of trotting, loping and cantering around an arena, it was time for a change. Not that she's done learning, by any means, but she's certainly got the basics down and until she decides to take her riding a different direction (such as English jumping or, say, barrel racing) it seems like it's time for her to just spend time, you know, riding.

We live in town with no place to keep a horse, nor do we have the means or interest to own and maintain a horse right now. So I started looking into leasing a horse. It seems like, especially given the economy, there might be people out there who would welcome a few extra bucks a month toward the care and upkeep of a horse in exchange for Anna getting to ride. After doing lots of research and reading up on the legalities, I placed an ad on Craigslist. I got a surprising number of responses, including several who wanted $100 or more a month PLUS half the boarding and feeding PLUS half the veterinary bills. Um, in that case, I want to own half the damn horse. Preferably the front half, thank you.

Anyway, in the end, I found a great little gal who is in the National Guard, has two horses on property about 25 minutes from us;she really just wants someone to ride and exercise them more than she is able to. For $50 a month (LESS than I was paying for Anna to spend two hours a month on horseback for lessons), we get three days a week (including one weekend day) on "Anna's" horse. Plus, anytime I (or a friend of Anna's) want to ride the other one, well, that's an added bonus. Basically two for the price of one. No extra food or vet bills. I can not believe what a good deal this is.


Breezy is an 18 year old "Back-striped Buckskin". She is a GREAT horse, very responsive, has never thrown a rider and she looooves to run. Anna is in HEAVEN.
They live on 5 acres of beautiful Ponderosa pine forest, and a block away is over 80 acres of trails. It's close enough that we went out last night for an evening ride. It is so pretty out there, morning doves cooing and nuthatches calling.

And the girl next door is also 9 years old and also horse crazy. She like to ride Jet, Breezy's friend. The girls hit it off immediately. Anna is so excited to have a friend she can talk horses with.

This was shortly before Jessica and her horse parted ways and Jessica had to be taken to the hospital for a possible broken thumb and cuts to her face. Bummer. She's only been riding for about a month, though, and she was galloping when she shouldn't have been. Lesson learned.

They even have a big goofy Great Dane named "ORANGE". Oh my god I love her. She is a nut and loves to do that "Hey! You! Person! Come chase me!!!" thing.

She is barely smaller than the horses. I might accidentally steal Orange, just as soon as I can squeeze her into my car.
Did we luck out or what??

Friday, April 30, 2010


When we bought our house, not only was it in dire need of work, but so was the yard. At the end of last summer, I worked my butt of planting and landscaping. David sat around and ate bon bons and gave me directions. ha! I kid, I kid. David did ALL the work. We were a little worried that some of the plants might not survive the winter; luckily it looks like every single one HAS survived, and are now happily budding and blooming.

WOW do I love our new camera!!

I'm off later today for our annual Moms Gone Wild weekend in Leavenworth. It's happening WAY too early this year; we can't even wear skirts and flip-flops, dang it. And there won't be any outdoor music festivals to get wild at like last year. I don't even know if it's possible to have fun when it's cold and raining, but we'll do our best. Now that I think about it, this is probably a good thing...

Happy weekend ya'll!