Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Calling All Cards?

Not long ago, I posted a little blurb about a cool chick I call "PurseLover".  That name came from part of her "title" printed on her business cards.  I sorta fell in love with the idea of having an interesting title like that.  Here is the deal though.  I need help picking one out.  I honestly do not know how many people read this little bit of a blog, but if all of you (feel free to do it anonymously) would give me a few suggestions, I think it would be fun.  Admittedly a wee bit self-indulgent on my part, but fun! In my profile I described my occupation as "Full-time mom/part-time yogi.  While accurate, it lacks the flair I am looking for. Perhaps though, I lack the flair I am looking for? There's a title for you...Flairless Middle-Aged Mom/Yoga Instructor. Oooh... perhaps I should rethink this calling card idea altogether? Hopefully someone out there can come up with something better.  And it's ok with me if you make me sound more interesting than I really am, but please Help!

Wii Wish You A Merry Christmas...

Well, I managed to make it 16 years before giving in.  I said, at the birth of our first child, "No, kid of mine will ever have video games!"  Sixteen years was a good run, but I finally acquiesced (ok, I protested some). Santa brought the family a Wii for Christmas.  I know that I will regret the acquisition at some point, but for now, everyone is enjoying some fun "together" time. They are playing side by side, big & little, skilled & unskilled with relatively few arguments.  I have sat nearby reading, sometimes joining in, and observing the funny things kids say when they think no one is listening.  For your amusement and mine I proudly present...
Wii say the darndest things
"I totally ninja'd that! 
"I've got the force."
"I'm not THAT bad at walking."
"Last time you tried to fix something, we blew up."
"Those are really fast units!"
"Holy mackerel, that one is on acid!"
"I got hit in the face with a squash."
"Santa brought us this 'cuz he didn't know that mom hates video games."
"I'll just stand here and look cute."
"I am all crumpled and I twitch, that equals sick."
"I cannot reflect power of that magnitude."
"Can we pleeeease trade bodies?"
"You should have seen that there was a CLIFF!"
"I blew something up for you."    "Awww how romantic."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Blogger on Blogging

You know what?  In the middle of the night, in that odd awake/asleep state, I think of the most amazing topics for this here little blog.  But then I wake up, and "poof" it is gone!  I can usually manage to hang on to it for the first few wake cycles, but that is about it.  Clearly my subconscious is much more intelligent, interesting and thoughtful than my conscious.  Although, Brother got me thinking with his blog--recently started after my constant urging.  What an odd phenomenon is the blog world.  Who are we to think that we have anything to say that anyone would want to hear?  Most of the time, I doubt that my own family (i.e. those obligated by blood or marriage to at least pretend to be interested) particularly cares what I have to rant or ramble about.  Are we truly a narcissistic society, so caught up in our own opinions and postulations as to believe that others would want to read them, to the tune of thousands of bloggers, publishing thousands upon thousands of posts each week? Clearly, yes, we are.  BUT truth be told...I love it!  I have always loved discussing, debating, deliberating, conversing, examining, exploring, analyzing and connecting with people.  This is a new medium that is all. For decades, Americans have tuned in to watch the daily goings-on of strangers that became friends, and families that became part of our own.  The thing is...they weren't real.  From the Cleavers to the Huxtables we adopted these synthetic kinsfolk into our own tribes.  We laughed, cried, and celebrated with Joey and Chandler, Jerry and George, Hawkeye and BJ (or Trapper-depending on how old you are), & Lorelai and Rory.  As a society, we connected through these communal television families. The people were not real, but the connections were.  Through blogging, we have both.  I love the sneak peek into the daily (even if mundane) lives of friends and family.  Do I think that it would be better for us to bind these ties face to face? Yes, but that is not the reality of the times we are living in.  I live 100's of miles from my "hometown".  Also true of my college home.  My friends and family are spread literally from border to border and from sea to shining sea. We have, however, this place to converge, to rally, to reunite, to associate, to mingle, to share, to connect and reconnect.  So, while there may not always be a lot to say, keep saying it.  This is what we talk about around the water cooler now.  Real people, real lives. Ordinary and humdrum at times.  Remarkable and Amazing at others.  Blogging is journalism, poetry, prose, expression, conversation, news and stories.  It is whatever you want it to be.  So, I say...Blog On!
Quote of the day: "A blog is merely a tool that lets you do anything from share your shopping list, to change the world."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cool By Association

I met an amazing artist recently.  Her name is Lori, and her official title (i.e. printed on her business cards) is Purse Lover and Seamstress.  I find that quite intriguing.  I wish I had a cool title like that.  I think actually, that I am going to get one!  Not sure what it is going to be yet though. Perhaps I have to actually get cool first.  Then the cool description just follows, eh?  It just may be a little late in my life to get cool now. I will work on it.  In the meantime, I hope I can get some "cool-by-association" points, by introducing you to Lori.  She has a great (and growing) shop on etsy.  Her stuff is truly unique, and inspired.  She somehow blends the vintage with the modern-the classy with the quirky-throws in a bit of nostalgia and comes up with something you have never seen before.  Perhaps she should add "magical lady" to her resume! (She does look a bit like a tiny pixie straight from a fairytale).  Anyway, I really like her cute things, and I know she would appreciate everyone taking a peek! Watch for a new side bar called "DressUp" where I can let you guys know when I find cute stuff to fill our closets!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

All You Need is Love...

Today is Hunky Hubby's Birthday.  Happy Birthday Love!   This is the 19th time we have celebrated this occasion together. Yeah!  So, as a tribute...41 things I love about HH (41 is just a random number--it isn't because that is how old he is or anything like that!)  He...
41. Has great legs
40. Will eat almost anything
39. Is amazingly strong 
38. Loves the outdoors
37. Helps with laundry and yucky chores
36. Always calls me by cutsie pet names
35. Whenever I see something I like he always says "buy it" even though I never do
34. Doesn't watch sports except BYU football (and that is with me)
33. Is ridiculously smart!
32. Works really hard
31. Is careful with money
30. Works at staying physically fit
29. Is sweet to kids
28. Mops the kitchen floor on his hands and knees
27. Keeps the yard looking nice
26. Always supports my quirky ideas
25. Has a terrific smile
24. Is a good athlete
23. Doesn't stink when he gets sweaty
22. Grows a nice beard and mustache, but shaves before I get tired of it
21. Tells me I am a good cook, even though I am not
20. Tells me I am good at other things, even though I am not
19. Probably actually believes I am good at those things
18. Is cuter now than when we met
17. Is incredibly good with babies
16. Cleans up poop and puke
15. Is not a work-aholic
14. Always does the driving on long trips
13. Takes us on long trips to cool places
12. Is quite brave
11. Likes to camp, hike and bike with me
10. Has a good sense of humor
9. Doesn't mind that I am ornery and sarcastic 
8. Is an Eagle Scout (c'mon was there any doubt?)
7. Knows what good music is
6. Likes foreign movies
5. Laughs at the same stuff I do
4. Has awesome burns!
3. Has good taste in shoes 
2. Is adventurous
1. Is mine!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The SanFrancisco Treat

Perhaps I have already used up my allowance for walks down memory lane, but I thought of a couple of other truly memorable holidays.  So, good news or bad news first?  Ok, good it is. *Warning* This is another story that makes Hunky Hubby look pretty dang good...
I have always wanted to learn to play the flute.  Maybe not always, but a long time, for sure. About 7 years ago I mentioned this to HH, and he remembered. At Christmas,  I was never more surprised to unwrap a gift in my entire life.  I always ask for, and usually receive, very practical, useful and frugal gifts.  Everything else has always seemed extravagant.  This gift still makes me smile.  Every time I pick it up to play, I think of that wonderful Christmas!  Thanks babe.
Now...the less happy memory, that actually turned out to be a rather happy memory, or at least one that I can tell the kids when they get to whining about stuff that they don't have!
I was away at college Thanksgiving 1990.  Money was tight, so I stayed at school for the holiday break.  (If my mom reads this ... I know you would have flown me home, but I didn't want to spend the money, ok!)  My friend Pam was in the same boat (I know she is reading this!).  We were the only 2 in our whole building who did not go home for the break (insert sniff).  We were in dormitories with no kitchen, but our "House Mom" said that we could use her kitchen If we wanted.  Only it never occurred to Pam or me to get any food to cook in this kitchen! We were fine the first day or two of the break, with the cafeteria and restaurants open. Then...Thanksgiving morning.  We head to the kitchen to cook up a nice, even if perhaps untraditional, Turkey Day feast!  I am sure you have figured out by now what we found! (Laughing yet Puma?)  Ya, nothing much.  The only thing in the kitchen was Rice-A-Roni, icecream cones, and some tremendously freezer burnt vanilla icecream.  That was our feast. And believe you me, we were grateful to have it!  We boo-hooed and felt sufficiently sorry for ourselves for most of the day.  But...guess what else?  The pizza places deliver after 5:00pm on Thanksgiving...who knew!?
Quote of the Day:"Be yourself, everyone else is already taken."
--Oscar Wilde playwright 

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

StockingStuffers and RollerSkates

As the holiday of greatest gift giving speedily approaches, I turn my attention, not to Christmas presents, but rather Christmas pasts...Golly, I crack myself up!  We all have those fond childhood memories of a favorite Christmas spent, or gift received.  I  share just a few of mine. Stockings were a huge deal in my childhood home.  Brother, Sister and I would go out to the living room to find our GIGANTIC stockings overflowing with little surprises.  I think Santa did this so Mom and Dad could catch a few more minutes of sleep as we were allowed to open these before they got up. We would take turns pulling out each individual item, allowing ample time for oohing and aahing.  It was never anything more than candies, nuts or maybe even socks, but it was my favorite part of Christmas morning.  The best stocking stuffer was the ubiquitous 1970's, every girl has to have one in her back pocket, comes in a million flavors, "only Bonne Bell's got 'em" Lip Smackers! The guys are all saying, "What is she talking about?"  But the chicks remember 'em. One whiff of that fake grapey smell and I am ten years old again.  Ah, memories...
A favorite, every-other-year cuz you outgrow them, gift I remember well was roller skates. I grew up in California, so we could actually use this gift christmas morning.  The year I got my first tennis shoe skates was memorable as well.  I looked awesome skating to school with those peeking out from the bottom of my Dittos.  I was rad!  I relished the 1980's gifts of sweaters that were 3 sizes too big, gaudy plastic jewelry & leg warmers, and the new fangled musical storage device,the cassette tape, along with the boom box or Walkman to play them! 
Fast forward to my first Christmas with Hunky Hubby.  (Well, our first married Christmas...the year we were dating at Christmas, he went skiing with some chick named Heather, but that is a post for another day!)  We were poor college students and we would be heading to my parents house for Christmas so HH said we should not do a tree. I really wanted one.  While I was in class one day, Hubby managed to get a little Charlie Brown tree for free from the cubscouts who had given up on selling the sad sapling.  He dragged it to our little apartment and borrowed lights from a neighbor and covered it with Christmas ribbon tied in little bows.  I knew he was a keeper from the beginning!  I have the added bonus of being married to a Christmas baby.  I try to be careful to make sure that his birthday is special and doesn't just blend into the next week.  That includes not wrapping his birthday presents in Christmas paper turned inside out!  
We of course have our own traditions now with our own little family.  A favorite of everyone's is putting out the Nativity scene. 
When our oldest (girl, 16) was about 4, we painted ceramic Nativity pieces. She was in charge of the animals.  All went well until she got tired of brown donkeys, brown camels and brown cows.  We, therefore, have a purple cow with black spots and a gold head in our Nativity scene.  Yes, it is one of a kind...just like this daughter!
Have yourself a Merry little Christmas...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Conversations with Brother--We aren't the only ones, right?

I am going to start a periodic series of posts I will call Conversations with Brother. And yes, that is an authentic photograph of Brother playing air-guitar, apparently unaware of the fact that he is holding an actual guitar. Quite frankly, although he is a decent guitarist, his air-guitar competence is far superior, and it was a riff that allowed the greater of his two skills to shine.  I digress...When we talk, we often get to laughing and cannot stop.  I don't know if anyone else will find our conversations even a little bit funny, but I need to preserve them for my own records.  So here is the first. Preface:I have mentioned before that my brother and I love making lists.  Lists that we often debate and discuss in-depth for whatever sick, twisted and pathetic reasons.  I hesitate to even share this story with you, but it really illustrates our odd obsession very well.  During a rather lengthy phone conversation recently with Brother, I mentioned that I often get odd looks when I reference some of the lists in public. He questioned when and why. I share the rest of the story in transcript:
ME: Well, let's say I am at the gym and a John Fogerty song comes on and I say, "woo hoo--5th best rock vocalist ever" People look at me kinda weird.
BRO: Why? That is cool.  If I heard some chick say "wow that guy is the 7th best drummer ever", even if she was wrong and he was actually the 15th best drummer ever, I would ask her to marry me.
ME: (uncontrollable hysterical laughter)
BRO:  What is so funny?
ME: So, hypothetically, if you heard some girl say "Keith Moon is the 7th best drummer ever", even if she is wrong and Keith Moon is the 15th best drummer ever, you'd think she was cool?
BRO: Ya, except Moon is third.
ME:  (even more intense uncontrollable hysterical laughter--he takes this stuff soooo seriously, it was hypothetical!)  Just outta curiosity, who are #1 and #2?
BRO: C'mon!  It is so obvious!
ME: Well (temporarily forgetting his name) the drummer for Zeppelin is surely up there.
BRO: (a little irked at my obvious lack of focus) John Bonham, yes #2.
ME: (messing with the kid)  Um...Michael McDonald from The Doobies or maybe that one-armed guy from Def Leppard.
BRO: Are you trying to make me mad?  Ugh!  Ginger Baker...hello, hands down, no question!
At this point I realize, of course, that there is no point in arguing with the lad, he never changes his mind!  I also pointed out that he is the nerdiest nerdface that I know and perhaps we both ought to have a psychiatric evaluation.  Other people talk about this stuff, right?  We can't be the only ones... 

Friday, November 28, 2008


How many cooks does it take to stuff a turkey?  One, but you really have to squeeze him in...
Would you like some crackers to go with that cheeeeeze?  It made me laugh, but I'm not that smart.  So, I wearily hung up my apron as we observed one more milestone to mark the passing of yet another year. There was something very satisfying about having a quiet day at home with just Hunky Hubby and the little ones, even if they are not all that little anymore!  I talked to some 'far away' family too. Always nice. Brother was baking a lemon custard pie with Meyer lemons off the tree in our parents' yard.  Yummy!  I wish I could have been there to try it.  He gave me a hard time for serving chicken instead of the traditional turkey, and omitting some of the less healthy albeit customary dishes of Thanksgiving.  He can be quite set in his ways at times! Our dinner was perhaps different (lighter) than the standard Thanksgiving fare, but in the end it was tasty (yes, I do say so myself) and we enjoyed the nice day together--thankful for family, friends, food and a nice, cozy home.  I hope we all take this spirit of gratitude into the coming holidays and the new year.  It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...
Quote of the Day: "I am thankful for our house because it has a family in it."
--Rebekah accomplished 1st grader, ballerina and future princess

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving all.  We will be spending a quiet day at the house with our little fam.  Here is the menu for the day...
Roast Chicken--the six of us cannot eat a whole turkey, plus I found a good deal on organic freerange chicken--go with the flow ya know!
Asparagus --with a nice sauce I saw Emeril make on TV
Sweet Potatoes --not sure how I am going to do these yet, I will see what they say on Thursday
Mushed Potatoes --This is Idaho--it's the law!
Apple Cake --Thanks to my friend Eve for the recipe, really yummy and easy. I can use the last of the apples from my own tree, and it is great topped with fresh cream from the dairy down the road--let's hear it for eating local baby!
Pumpkin Pie --wimping out with canned stuff, but I will do my own crust--does that count?
Crudites, Crackers & Cheese--gotta have something for everyone to munch on while we are cooking. Of course everyone will be full by the time dinner is served, but hey, it is Thanksgiving, right?
Salad of course will make its way to the table as well, and we will top it all off with a nice sparkling cranberry/lime punch that I am going to make up as I go along :)
The most important part of this holiday is celebrating our earthly abundance with food, family, friends and gratitude for all of it!  I hope that each of you has a pleasant day and that we can all be truly grateful for the blessed lives we lead.  For those friends and family whom I will not see around my table this year...I love you and God Bless!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Adventures in Simplicity the Final Chapter

Today we are playing hooky. The kids have a day off school today, so we are eating yummy whole wheat banana pancakes (recipe will come up soon) and lounging around for now.  The weather looks to be quite nice today, so we will eventually venture outside to play in the leaves or perhaps head to the water to feed the geese the leftover pancakes.  The "Adventures in Simplicity" are at an end, for now.  I had so much fun I intend to revisit the theme periodically.  It taught me something quite miraculous.  I was forced this week to really look each day for something that brought me a simple bit of joy.  And darn it, if I haven't had a pretty great week!  Sometimes it only takes noticing the wonderful things that surround us to make us grateful.  We do have to look though.  I am as guilty as the next busy woman of sometimes neglecting to do this.  But, if we look, it often is the simple things that bring us the most joy.  So, I loved my little adventure, and even though I may not blog about it everyday, I will try to be more conscientious about noticing.  Simplicity rejuvenates! 
Quote of the Day: "In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity."
--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poet

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Adventures in Simplicity Chapter 4

Sunshine, Saturday, wooly yarn & football! One of those simple, lazy weekend afternoons.  I do not get these very often, so I know how to appreciate them when they come my way. Just getting started on a few wintery hats.  I always seem to gravitate toward little homey projects this time of year.  The weather forces me indoors & the holidays are just around the corner.  Nesting syndrome I suppose. Comfort foods make their way to my table more often than they probably should this time of year as well.  If it had not been unseasonably warm, I would have likely had a fire going too, but the sun shining in through the big picture window was warmth enough today.  Just a few simple pleasures for a somewhat simple gal and a rather lazy cat, who kept trying to play with the yarn! Simplicity comforts...
Quote of the Day: "If there is a solution to a problem, there is no need to worry.  And if there is no solution, there is no need to worry."
--The Dalai Lama

Friday, November 14, 2008

Adventures in Simplicity Chapter 3

I said when I started this blog that it was to be an "experiment in reaching out to long lost friends and perhaps making a few new ones."  So far, it has worked.  I have reconnected with a few old friends from the college days.  Better than yearly Chirstmas cards, I am so thankful to feel truly engaged in their daily lives now.  What a wonder this modern age is!  I have also been able to make a few new friends (AW!). I did not know, however, that some of the new friends would be in my own family.  I don't want to single anyone out, but just as an example...I have a niece that I inherited when she was about 11 or so (that is, I married her dad's little brother).  I watched her and the other nieces and nephews I inherited (perk of marrying the youngest of 6 children--lots of built in kids), and the ones that have come along since, grow up over the last 18 years. Many of them now wonderful adults with families of their own.  But, like most extended families, we spend a few birthdays &  holidays together and see each other at weddings and funerals.  So,  I have not really had the opportunity to know all of them as well as I would like.  Back to Niece...through this 'experiment in blogging' I have been able to get to know her as an adult, and I just adore her!  I have been able to stay up to date on other family members that perhaps I have know better, but have moved far away.  My own sister, only a year my junior, read my blog for the first time and said, "I never knew you were so serious!" Good relationships enrich our lives.  Sometimes we take for granted the simple pleasure of knowing our own family, perhaps because they are right there under our noses. Simplicity connects!
Quote of the Day: "Real love stories never have endings."
--Richard Bach author 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Adventures in Simplicity Chapter 2

I captured this picture of my little girl enjoying the simple pleasure of stretching out on a freshly mopped floor with a set of American Girl books that she discovered on her closet shelf--leftovers from a big sister who has now outgrown them and is reluctant to admit that she ever liked them at all!  This is a child who really knows how to relish a moment.  She reads aloud with enthusiasm and dances spontaneously to music we can only assume is in her very soul.  One of my greatest lessons in life came from this little one.  She is now going on 7, but when she was around 3 years old, one evening she dutifully prepared for bed by changing in to jammies and getting her own teeth brushed.  She then hollered out, "I am ready to get talked in!"  Our ritual, then and now, involves a story and a discussion of the days events.  It is only a few minutes interaction, but it is time for her alone with Mom and Dad.  I try to remember every night to take just a second with each child to say goodnight. It is my time to slow down and remember that someday, these beds will all be empty.  That incident was years ago and she is much bigger, but even now,  I am not sure she knows that she is being "tucked" in...  Simplicity inspires!
Quote of the Day: "Don't worry about [kids/people's] behavior so much, as keep affirming their potential."
--Steven Covey author and speaker

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Adventures in Simplicity Chapter 1

This week I would like to do a series of short posts called Adventures in Simplicity--celebrating the wonderful, simple little moments that should bring us pleasure and gratitude in life if we let them.  I must tell you, I live on a hotbed for entropy.  Yep, it is true.  For some reason unknown to me, my husband or the children, there are high concentrations of entropy in almost every room of our house, especially in the closets! I despise clutter, but somehow, it sneaks in through the cracks in the mailbox, goodie bags at birthday parties, and the kids' school backpacks.  This week however, I had had enough!  Hubby and I staged a coup, the likes of which have not been witnessed in this part of the world for centuries.  That is, we took back the closets and the cupboards, the drawers and even the kitchen pantry.  Not a single unused appliance, outgrown item of clothing or broken pencil was left standing!  Yes!  I feel like I have my life back.  Keep in mind that I have to do this about every six months, so I have little hope of it staying like this permanently, but perhaps, and for now my space makes me smile.  Simplicity rocks! 
Quote of the Day:"Today you are you. That is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you."
--Dr. Seuss

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A little Advice...Act II

Create a life that reflects your dreams--
 Live a life that defines your
I think I am a bit pensive today.  Those of you who read often might quip, "So what's new?!" But today it seems more serious.  I came across this quote on a blog I follow (a delightful young woman 2000 miles away, whom I have never met) and it really struck a chord with me.  I am trying to figure out what it means for me.  I really do want a life that reflects my dreams, but first I think I have to figure out what those dreams are!  Yikes!  THEN on top of that, I have to then live my life in a way that defines what I believe to be my purpose here on earth.  A bit easier, but still...Yikes!  The description of my blog says, "live life simply and naturally, surrounded by people and things you love".  I think that is my philosophy in a very teeny tiny nutshell--like a pistachio.  There is more to me than just that, but it is a good start.  My dream life is clutter free, physically and emotionally.  No extraneous papers piled, filed or strewn about.  No trivial tchotchkes, no matter how carefully placed, displayed on every flat surface of each and every room.  No fancy choppers, slicers or toaster-cooker-griller-thingamajigs in every kitchen cupboard.  No emotional baggage crammed in the closets or hidden under beds either.  No "she did this" and "he said that"...ugh!  It is also important to me to be a good steward of my physical body and of the earth.  My dream life is simple and natural and I am surrounded by family and friends who mean the world to me.  I like the idea that I can create that. Dig in, get my hands dirty, make something I love.  I am in charge of this life of mine. Number 2! Live a life that defines my purpose.  My purpose?  The purpose of ME?  Ultimately, as a Christian, my purpose here is to bring glory to my Heavenly Father and His Son.  My goal is to return to their presence.  Am I living a life that reflects that purpose?  Hmmm... Somedays, yes. Somedays, not so much.  But again, the choices are mine to make. I truly believe that this earthly mortal journey is ours to relish and appreciate! Like I said in a post back in August, "This last year or two, I have been really trying to open myself up to the possibilities of this glorious, God-given life!  I don't want to just enjure it, I want to embrace it, enjoy it, and truly LIVE it!"  I did say that post was to be continued...I suppose this is the conclusion.  I am going to work on creating my dream life and fulfilling my purpose.  Whew!  Now all that is left to do is the work!
Quote of the Day:"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are."
--Joseph Campbell writer

Thursday, October 30, 2008

One Lunatic Rant & A Game of Tag!

I recently had to go shopping for a new cell phone.  I find this event taxing beyond all reason, but our provider was bought out, rendering my desire to just stay put impossible.  I did not want a fancy new phone, I just wanted to get in and out of there, BUT the little sales girl HAD to give me her pitch.  When she was done, I told her politely what she could do with the "features" and just give me a danged phone that makes calls!  I added that the entire set up is an obvious scam.  Considering how much I utterly loath waste, I find having to replace a perfectly usable phone simply because it is not"compatible" with my new carrier something akin to consumer fraud that should be on all accounts reported to the BBB.  Anyway Hunky Hubby put up with my diatribe, and we left the store with a new phone that lacks (of course!) the only features that my old phone had that I liked.  Ugh!  HH thought I was the most unreasonable cell phone shopper on the planet until...I got this email from Brother.
"I need to get off my bum and go get a new cell phone, but it seems like a pain.  I look in the windows of cellular stores and see all these sales clerks that cannot be thirteen years old.  Seriously, I'm going to conduct business with a junior high cheerleader? Ugh.  I can't face it.  She is gonna tell me junk about the latest brandX super-phone-with-buttons-and features-up-the-wazoo, and then I'm gonna have to feign interest just long enough to say, really all I need is a phone.  Maybe a camera phone would be nice.  THEN she is gonna giggle like the brainless twit that she is, and rattle off some scripted, overly rehearsed, and totally unconvincing sales speech about said brand's super-camera-phone-with-buttons-and-features-up-the-wazoo!  Once again to be polite, I will suffer through it just long enough to squeeze in a comment like, really just a simple phone...nothing fancy.  She'll look at me like a I am some sort of old luddite codger and direct me to the display of 14 phones that come in 68 colors, all fully customizable to the slightest weird quirk the user might have.  Aaaaagh.  The horror of it all.  I just want a @#*!* PHONE!  Then I will strangle her little chicken neck until fluids burst from her eyes and then spend the rest of my days in a padded cell.  Which actually seems like a nice alternative to shopping for a cell phone."
 Thanks Bro, for making me look like a totally lucid and reasonable person.
In lieu of today's quote we are playing tag!  I was tagged by another blogger (Live the Life), so here goes...
7 random things about me
1.  People who stay in the right hand lane when they are going straight, preventing me from turning right on a red light, makes me crazy.
2.  I love to pour milk over my ice cream cuz it makes little crunchy pockets of frozen milk.
3.  When I was a kid I put aluminum foil on my teeth to pretend I had braces.
4.  Unloading the dishwasher is the worst chore ever!
5.  I know all the words to old sit-com theme songs like, Brady Bunch, Gilligan's Island, Love Boat and The Addams Family...plus I actually think it might come in handy someday!
6.  I am always embarrassed by pumping gas, because I am afraid I won't do it right (I have never been bowling for the same reason).
7.  I am a recovering cheapskate (I said recovering not CURED!).
I am tagging shan, pam, kneedled, cyrie 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Albert O'Lantern?

So, of course, it is pumpkin carving time.  Like everything else it seems, this is no longer the simple task it once was.  Nope.  Triangle eyes and crooked, single-toothed grins have gone the way of the rotary phone and rabbit ears.  
So deciding how to carve Jack has become quite a mission.  That said, our littlest carver (female age 6) came to me the other day and said she wanted to carve her carefully selected pumpkin like Einstein. Shocked, but slightly impressed at my obvious parenting skills, I asked her if she knew what Einstein looked like.  She said, "Yes, he is tall and green and has black hair and screws in his neck."  I will let you fill in the punch line on your own.  
Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

10...(ok 7) Seven Things I am Loving Right Now

There are more than 7 things that I love, but these just photographed well...
The table by the big picture window.  The kids draw, do homework and daydream here.
My new doorknobs.  Yes, doorknobs.  I just really like them!
A necklace that I bought from a young woman whose husband recently passed away.  It reminds me to "follow my heart" and to never take for granted the people I love.
Love this cookbook.  Great recipes, and great pictures.
The new firepit in the back yard.  Yes, it is finished.  I can't wait to have a mallow roast and make some s'mores. Yum!
The kids enjoying the last few warm days...
Lovely colors in the yard...

Monday, October 20, 2008


I am afraid I am starting to sound like a broken record, but we had our annual pumpkin patch this weekend, and I loved seeing all the little ones thrill at such a simple thing as picking a pumpkin.  At the grocery store, all detached from Mother Vine and his siblings, it is hard to tell where Mr. O'Lantern got his start!  A couple of the kiddies couldn't resist plucking a big red juicy apple from the tree on their way out as well.  It is so chic right now to be "green". Everyone is on the reduce, reuse and recycle, all organic bandwagon, but we are completely detached from where even the most ubiquitous of all personified gourds comes from!   Some folks at our little 'earth-fest' were surprised to hear that you can actually eat a pumpkin as well as carve funny faces into it.  There was something just so sweet about the kids running to find their perfect pumpkin.  Some chose tall and skinny, others wanted short and fat.  Some cared about shape, others color.  Two little girls wanted the smallest pumpkins they could find, while the bigger boys went for the whoppers!  All in all, the weather was fine, the company was good, and the pumpkins were harvested.  I would say, a weekend well spent!
Quote of the Day:"I never met anyone I couldn't learn from."
--Henry Eyring scientist

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dueling Banjoes

This is the scene this morning at our house.  Quite a few mornings actually.  The kids all play various instruments, and have to get their practice time in...sometimes simultaneously!  One french horn, one piano, two boys, two different songs (both very loud) and one mom trying to pack lunches in the next room while keeping her ears plugged!  It got me thinking though.  Both songs were very pretty, but together they were just a lot of loud noise.  If I concentrated on just one of the songs (to offer encouragement and positive feedback from my kitchen post) it sounded nice.  Both compositions competing for my attention was the problem. I was reminded of something one of my ecclesiastical leaders said recently, "We should begin by recognizing the reality that just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it.  The number of good things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them.  Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority attention in our lives." (Dallin H. Oaks Good, Better, Best)  We are constantly given so many opportunities to do good things in this life that we are often run ragged by them.  If we exhaust ourselves on those things which are good, we leave little time for the things that are better or best.  I see this with my teenagers' friends, and young moms especially.  The kids are soooo involved in good things (sports, music, dance, debate, clubs etc) that they have almost no down time.  We have become so focused as a society on achievements and accomplishments, that ordinary creative play is a lost art for kids. Adults feel like they (and their kids) have to be busy all the time. The overscheduling of children and families means we are spending less and less time together with those we love. The family dinner table has all but disappeared. I miss the idyllic Walton family gathered around that huge farmhouse table to share a simple meal together.  I suppose this rant is just a reiteration of two past blogs (Balancing Act and Feeling Groovy both in September), but perhaps I needed to hear it one more time.  "Slow down, you move too fast..."
Quote of the Day:"The purpose of an education isn't to become wealthy, but to become rich."
--Willis Blaine teacher

Monday, October 13, 2008

Everything's Coming Up... Pumpkins and Apples?

We have been baking!  After the heat of the summer (i.e. too hot to cook) it is nice to get back into the kitchen and start mixing up some sweet treats.  Kids number 1&3 were anxious to try their hands at apple pie and pumpkin bread.  Especially since #1 got to wear the cute apron my sister made for ME (crazy wool socks optional)!  Both turned out well, and we have been enjoying them for a couple of days now.  Yes, even for breakfast...yum!  I am not a great cook, but when it is chilly out and there are fresh apples from the tree, there is something quite satisfying about the smell of apples, pumpkin and cinnamon wafting through the house.
Quote of the Day:"Vegetables are a must on a diet.  I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread & pumpkin pie."
--Jim Davis cartoonist

Let it Snow!

Yes, this is the making of the first snowman of the season.  I told you winter comes early in Idaho!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Just Peachy!!

Well, we are expecting our first real cold snap of the season this week. Snow a possibility in the forecast. Winter comes early in SE Idaho,  but right now I am love, love, lovin' Autumn!  We made peach and blackberry pies this week.  The peaches came from Utah where the growing season is a bit longer than here, but the blackberries were right out of our own garden!  Since the advent of quick cross-country trucking, and refrigeration, the art of eating seasonally and locally has been lost.  Only a few short generations ago, people ate what was produced in their own area and only while it was in season.  Don't get me wrong, refrigeration and easy transportation of goods is a blessing, but there is something so mindfully simple and pleasant about knowing and seeing exactly where your food comes from.  
Not too long ago I read a lovely, amazing, beautiful book called Plenty: One man, one woman and a raucous year of eating locally by Alisa Smith and JB McKinnon. The young couple spent an entire year eating only food that was grown within 100 miles of their Vancouver, B.C. home. Even if you never plan on trying the experiment, the book is a great read.  I must admit, that I have not yet had the guts to go completely local (with 5 other people depending on me for their sustenance-there would likely be a revolt) but I am easing them into it.  I am becoming more aware of what is available in my own area, and adding variety to my own garden.  When we eat foods as they are in season not only are they nutritionally superior, but they taste better and are cheaper!  I also think that our bodies were designed to feed on those things that naturally come from the earth during certain times of year.
The changing of the seasons really gives us the opportunity to reconnect with the earth and with nature.  Go to the farmers market and see what is fresh this week. Taste the difference in food that is really ripe.  Take a drive, or even a walk, and see all of the changes in the trees and flowers.  Smell the air.  Take advantage of all of it.  Perhaps in your area Fall lasts a while longer, but I know that here, winter is just around the corner.  I will relish that when it comes too (only through March though), but for now I am love love lovin' Autumn!
Quote of the Day:"Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."
--Pablo Picasso

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Is This a Kissing Book? Oh Ya!

I don't know where to start.  I like to keep things upbeat, and simply muse (or rant) about the things that are going on in my life.  I like to think that in almost every situation, we can find some good.  Some lesson to be learned.  Something positive to focus on. I am going to try...
I recently saw an old episode of Everybody Loves Raymond in which the lead character, Ray, is speaking to a friend about marriage.  He says, "Ya, we have been married eleven years, and there is no end in sight."  Double entendre duly noted, that is quite poignant.  When Hunky Hubby and I married, because of our religious beliefs, we ended the ceremony not with "until death do us part", but "for Time and all Eternity."  So I can say, 17 years--with no end in sight!  I am so thankful for this...most of the time! (it's a joke sweetheart)
So, HH and I love to get outdoors when we have our "mom and dad time".  We often go backpacking, but the last couple of outings have been mountain biking.  SOOO much fun. Usually.  
Yesterday, we dropped the kids off at school and headed to some trails fairly close to home. The trail we take is difficult, but we know we have plenty of time to make the 15 or so mile loop back to the truck and get home before the young'ns do.  Obviously this is not what happened or I wouldn't be blah blah bloggin' about it.  The first 13 miles goes smoothly. Except for some parts of the trail that are not in good shape, we are having a good time.  The leaves are starting to turn color, and the weather is perfect!  Near the end though, we cannot find the last turn-off to get back to the truck.  We try several different trails, including one that was a horrible downhill bushwhack, followed by an arduous UPhill bushwhack back out (this required carrying our bikes a good deal of the time).  We are quickly loosing time and patience. We finally decide to just backtrack and go out the way we came in...another 13 or so miles!  In the end our fun-time 15 mile jaunt turned into a 30+ mile fight-waiting-to-happen, who's-sleeping-on-the-couch-tonight major expedition!  HH kept his cool the whole time.  He is just level like that.  I lost it pretty good once near the end.  On a rather steep and rocky downhill, he got way ahead of me.  When I came to a fork, I wasn't sure which turn to take so, I stopped and waited for him to realize I was not there.  It took what I considered WAY too long for him to come and retrieve me, and I let him have it!  Poor kid, he just took it and said how sorry he was and tried to soften my scowl by adding, "I will always come for you" in his best attempt at a Westly-like fake British accent.  He is cute.  I reminded him, however that he should have not lost me in the first place!  He agreed.  I will never doubt again.  So, it is still 17 years with no end in sight...
We both found a positive.  Hubby said that from now on, every mountain bike trip we take will seem way more fun and pretty easy.  I loved the new bike seat he bought me last month.  It's way more comfy than my old one and I was sure to thank him for it. 
Quote of the Day:"Pray for your marriage because God will fill the void and sweep in and muster feelings for your spouse you never thought you had."
--Patricia Heaton actress

Monday, September 22, 2008

Writer's Brick?

So, major amount of writer's block this week.  I don't know what it is, usually I have millions of inane things floating around my head (lots of empty space perhaps).  But this week...not a whole lot going on up there.  Actually, the problem is more likely that I have soooo many things right now, that I cannot concentrate enough on just one to put my thoughts down. In my over-zealous attempt to keep myself busy as all of the kids went back to school recently, I have taken on many fun projects.  I start teaching a small yoga class this week. I am also hosting a blood drive near my home for the Red Cross, volunteering in the First grade classroom at my kids' school, hunting down the perfect recipe for my church chili cook-off, trying to build a firepit in my yard out of used bricks from a friend's unfortunate incident involving his garage and a drunk driver's pickup, and flying the first womaned mission to Mars (ok, that one is a joke), but you get the idea. Whew!  I suppose I should be exhausted, but somehow all of this action invigorates me, until around 3:30...then I am exhausted!  We hear so often of all of the terrible things that are going on in the world, I wish sometimes that we would notice all of the good--the people all around us who are helping, lifting and lending hands.  All over the world, I believe there is more good than evil, it just isn't as well reported.  "Old Scratch" must have a better publicist!  I have met some great people when I have taken the time to get involved.   Roll up your sleeves, get your knees dirty, and get out there! We often shun the physical labor that used to keep us fit.  As I spent most of last Thursday hauling bricks into and out of a trailer,  I wondered why the heck I had bothered to hit the gym that morning! But there just aren't that many opportunities to move bricks really, so most days I have to do something.  There are very few opportunities for any hard work these days. Washing machines, cars, riding lawn mowers and tractors have made work and travel easy.  Now we have treadmills , stationary bikes, and exercisagizmos to make up for all of the work and walking we aren't doing...Funny if you think about it huh?  So, writer's block be danged! That is my rant for the day...
I am off to build a firepit.  Guess I shoulda skipped the gym again huh?  Oh well.
Quote of the Day:  "People who grow old well, focus on the growing, and not the old."
--Dr. Dale Vicky Atkins

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Balancing Act

                    Where to begin?  I took some pretty intense yoga training over the weekend. Twenty hours worth to be exact, and, yes, I was a bit sore!  I hesitate to call it yoga training, because I really view it as life training.  I want to share a bit with my readers today (yes, both of you).  Contrary to common belief, yoga is not about being an ultra-bendy, underfed, hippie contortionist.  It is about balance.  In yoga, we strive to bring all parts of our life and our body into balance. Each flexion has a counter extension. And really, we work both directions so that in the end, neutrality can be achieved (go ahead, make the connection to our lives off the mat). Our minds, bodies and spirits are connected.  When one is out of balance, WE are out of balance. On the mat, each movement, breath and pose has a purpose. So should it be in life. The purpose of everything we do should be clear to us. How does this relationship, education, action, reaction, thought, job or project bring my mind, body and spirit into balance?
                      The process of "letting go" is huge in yoga. We honor ourselves and others by letting go of competition, judgement and expectations. Everyday is different. Every body and everybody is different. Respect that. Embrace that. Give ourselves permission to "ease out" of a pose, a relationship, a project, a job or a feeling. One of our instructors gave us some of the best guidance I have ever heard.  She said, "We are the masters of what we are allowing to affect us." Oh ya! Along with that, she cautioned us to not let other people's energy or opinions of what should be, override what we know is right.  
                     In a yoga practice, it is imperative that we listen to how our bodies feel at that moment. Physical or emotional feelings are messages. Our whole lives we are constantly getting these messages; either we will listen or we won't. Whatever you believe the source, God, the universe, your spirit...listen to it. I personally believe that a benevolent Father in Heaven guides us all along our mortal journey, but it is up to us to listen and follow the promptings. Another student said, "Remember in life, even the bad stuff is good stuff." We have challenges and obstacles, heartache and, well...life! What we learn from it and what we do with it, is entirely up to us.
                     Thank you--Sandi, Barbara, Jennifer, Andrea, Larinda, Shannon, Jane, Megan, Natalie, Sarah, Maria, Lynn, Miranda, Cheryl, Linda, and Pamela--some really cool yogi chicks!
Quote of the Day: "The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become."
--Charles Dubois

Monday, September 15, 2008

Garden of Eatin' (horribly cliche, I know!)

So, Friday, I am making dinner, and I go out to the garden to dig up some potatoes, and voila!  I had a little 'lightbulb moment' of gratitude.  I was amazed at the beauty and miracle 
of the earth. In May, I stuck some pieces of potato in the ground and in a few short months, the little spud chunks had each propagated a dozen or so little tater tots (this is Idaho, individual results may vary). Amazing!  Miraculous!  Perfect, beautiful, ovalish Yukon Golds.  I had watered, tilled and weeded, but the little buggers really did this mostly on their own.  What a marvelous creation is this world we are blessed with.  I was so inspired by those little guys, I began to look around the yard and snapped some pix of the last of this year's bounty.
Quote of the Day: "There are plenty of people with loads of money who are anything but rich."
--Suze Orman  
financial guru