Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Month in Facebook Statuses

First, not sure "statuses" is a word. Second, I didn't realize how much I updated my Facebook status in February. It is entirely possible that I have a problem.

(Statuses (?) start from from February 1 and go through February 28, 2009)


...had so much fun at the Melting Pot last night. sad her grow light isn't working. watching The Office on blogging.

...thought the ER was nothing like they show on Scrubs.

...was just given a time limit by her 4 year old to get off the computer. He wants to play too. owns a pink feather boa. Envy me. not loving "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle." making pork ragu over polenta and thinking of Debbie. tempted to watch Dancing With the Stars after finding out Belinda Carlisle is one of the stars. I wonder if she still has the beat?

...has just about had it with little boys who leave the front door wide open. going to order lemon raspberry cream cheesecake. (Or maybe white chocolate raspberry truffle?) going to give "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" another chance. going to do an Art Literacy presentation on Jennifer Bartlet in her 1st grader's class.

...Looking forward to book group tonight.

...wants a Macbook. And some coconut curry chicken soup. glad for the tom kha recipe, now I just need me a Macbook. going to the Barefoot Sage.

...wonders what the world is coming to. trying to stay motivated. really hoping that "Charmed Thirds" and "Fourth Comings" arrived at my library today.

...loved the creamy asparagus soup she had for lunch and is wondering why it did not return the favor.

...feels a manifesto coming on. uploading photos to a painfully slow Costco website. Painfully...slow.

...was just reminded that U2 is awesome. Did they just say "sexy boots?" pondering bangs. so grateful for Yahoo's best and worst dressed Oscar's list. And to think I came "this" close to buying a mermaid dress.

...loves the rain. OK? There, I said it. I don't miss the sun, I have missed the rain all winter and I love listening to it. Bring it, rain! reading. picking out all the black jelly beans. having an internal struggle. no longer struggling and is off to Trader Joe's for a Thai salad. anticipating a dark and stormy night.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Things I'm Looking Forward To

I've been talking with a friend about strawberries. More specifically we've been talking about the berry lady who organizes a huge order of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and Marionberries every spring/summer. The berries come in big and small buckets and in the case of the strawberries, are hulled and sliced and ready for any kind of strawberry preservation project you might have in mind.

In June I'm going to make strawberry jam and strawberry fruit leather.

The Father Son Camp-out
I'm starting to think of movies I can rent when all my boys are on the Father-Son Camp-out in May. Last year I rented "P.S. I Love You" which was horribly wonderful. Horrible because I cried through the whole thing and wonderful because there was no one else around to witness the embarrassing blubber-fest.

If you have any suggestions for good chick-flicks to watch on the night of the Father-Son Camp-out, please let me know.

"Silent on the Moor"
I believe March 9th is the day "Silent on the Moor" will be released and I'm already on the library's waiting list (3 out of 4!). Can't wait for the latest adventures of Lady Julia and Brisbane.

Hopefully it will be a dark and stormy day when I get the book.

My Garden
Next week I'm going to plant peas, broccoli and maybe chard if I can find some seeds. I am excited to think that in a short 65 days, we could be eating fresh peas and in 70, broccoli.

And don't forget my marigolds. They are doing splendidly! I am looking forward to the day, maybe in May, when I plant them all over our front and back yard.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sunday Scribblings: Trust

This is a continuation of Sunday Scribblings: Art

When the bus finally reached the MOMA, I made an efficient exit and headed straight towards BART, the folded note laying flat in my front pocket.

I fed my ticket into the turnstile and ran down the stairs just in time to make my train.

I found two empty seats in the back corner of the train and sat down tossing my bag onto the adjacent seat. I tried to appear angsty and menacing so I could enjoy the ride with my personal space still in tact.

I reached into my bag and pulled out the current senior English assigned book and tried to muster interest in Hester’s plight. It was not easy. The mohawked teen and his tattooed girlfriend whispering to each other by the doors were far more interesting.

I forced myself to focus and finally got into the story.

“Do you mind if I sit here?”

I looked up. It was him

“Uh, what are you doing here?” I said.

“I’m riding BART. Do you mind?” He gestured to the seat, then sat on the edge, scooting over to occupy the full seat as I pulled my bag to the floor.

“I thought you said you lived in Pacifica. This train is eastbound.”

“Yeah, I know.” He said.

OK, this was starting to get a little disturbing. I really didn’t know anything about this guy other than the fact that he’d been coming to the art enrichment programs at the MOMA for a few weeks.

It’s possible that I also might have noticed that he was tall, had thick, wavy brown hair that I personally felt was wasted on a boy and should have been mine, and dark brown eyes that some might call “thoughtful” if they were so inclined to make those kinds of observations, which I was pretty sure I was not.

“Then, I think you are on the wrong train.”

Why was he here? Did he want to make sure I didn’t snitch? Keep me silent-- permanently? Make me an offer I couldn’t refuse?

I quickly went through my mental self defense file: Fingers to the eyes, jab and dig, violent stomp on the inside ankle, knee to the groin, car keys to the face. I casually fished around in my bag for my keys while trying to make eye contact with anyone on the train who seemed strong and heroic. Of course no one was looking.

“I just wanted to thank you for not saying anything about…you know.” He patted the messenger bag still slung across his chest. “I know this looks bad, but there is a very good explanation. You have to believe me.”

“Why don’t you enlighten me?” I suggested.

“I would love to,” he started, “but…”

I shook my head and turned to look out the window into the blackness of the tunnel. I suppose I didn’t expect him to confess, but why go all the trouble of following me on to the train if he didn’t at least have some kind of story to share?

“I know I’ve given you no reason to trust me.” He said. “But I just want you to know I’m not a thief.”

I turned and looked at him.

“My name is Marcus.” He held out a hand as if he wanted to shake and I took it-- reluctantly.

“And will you be attending art enrichment at the MOMA next week, Marcus?” I asked.

“No, I won’t be back.”

I can’t say I was surprised. “The perfect crime.” I said, giving him a weak smile.

“This is my stop” He said, getting up. “Maybe I’ll see you around.” He smiled back at me as he made his way to the exit.

I watched him slowly ascend on the escalator as the train pulled out of the station. If he was trying for “mysterious” he was only slightly off the mark. As for “confusing” and “maddening”—bull’s-eye.

I turned, leaning my back against the wall of the train, stretching my legs out to the empty seat next to me and meant to get back to my book when I noticed it.

Down by my foot, in the seat that was moments ago occupied by “I’m not a thief” Marcus, was a folded up piece of notebook paper.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

And Now, What You've All Been Waiting For...

...Pictures of my toilet.

I got a box of bathroom cleaning goodness yesterday as part of my Bzz Agent responsibilities.

The main item was the Dow Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner. (In just 14-21 days, you too can have a clean shower!)

As an extra added bonus, however, I also received the Dow Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Cleaning Gel.

Oooh, this thing is weird: It's like a cookie press for your toilet. No kidding.

You get a little tube filled with the aforementioned "toilet cleaning gel" and a plunger apparatus to use with it. Then you squirt out these little stars of gel under your toilet's rim. Each time you flush, a little of the cleaner comes off, keeping your toilet fresh and sparkly for seven days. (We will just have to see about that!)

Cons: The scent is a little intense for me and it appears there is a strange alien life form living under the rim of our toilet bowl. Kind of scary.

Pros: For the first time EVER, the boys are remembering to flush the toilet after each use. Ahhh! They are really excited to see that little gel blob get smaller and smaller. Also, flushing seems to tone down the scent quite nicely.

As for the Automatic Shower cleaner, I don't think it's going to work out for us. It's supposed to lay flat against the wall but we have an awesome dispenser type thing that eliminates the bottle build up in the shower.

Well, see for yourself:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sunday Scribblings: Sports

Sadly, this story is 100% true.

I joined the swim team when I was 15 because my friends were doing it, which admittedly, is not always the best reason to do things. As it turned out, my friends, along with almost everyone else on the swim team had been swimming competitively since they were out of diapers. Or so it seemed.

Nothing shined a greater spotlight on the disparity between my skill and the skill of my swim team teammates than when coach asked me to demonstrate the butterfly for her.

We went down to the far corner of the pool, I waded out about 20 yards from the wall and leaped forward into the water. I envisioned every graceful, massive-shouldered Olympic butterfly swimmer since Mark Spitz as I heaved my body up, out of the water with singular leg kicks. I brought my arms up and around and tried to synchronize my stokes so I was up when I was supposed to be up and down when I was supposed to be down.

There was a moment I realized it was taking a long time to span that 20 yards to the wall. Much longer than it should. I felt more like a struggling, drowning butterfly than a graceful, flying butterfly.

I did not give up though. I kept swimming with the mistaken belief that the next series of strokes would be the ones that would finally put my body into butterfly harmony.

I reached the wall, stood and looked up at my coach, breathing hard and waiting for her verdict.

I admit, there was a small part of me that was hoping she’d pronounce me a butterfly prodigy; that she’d praise my unique form as the most innovative sports development since the Fosbury Flop. I could revolutionize the sport of swimming!

“Don’t worry,” she said, turning to walk away, “I won’t ever have you swim fly in a race.”

And that pretty much sums up my athletic ability.

Friday, February 13, 2009


My last post was a little negative so I thought I'd share a few positives.

About my book complaints, I was referring to "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. While I still have my original gripes, the second half of the book was actually much more encouraging. The chapter on family dinners was especially enjoyable, and Kingsolver's assertion that cooking is a dying art was food for thought.

I was very much intrigued by the chapter which covered cheese making and am actually looking at taking a cheese making class next month in Yamhill.
Look at my lovely little marigolds!

These plants are just putting forth their second or "true" leaves. I'm so excited to see them grow and am already thinking about the different places in the yard where I will plant them.

Finally, I made these frosted sugar cookies today. Even though everyone here at home loves these cookies, they are a bit labor intensive, so I don't make them often. I figured, however, I'd make the effort for my sweetie for Valentine's Day since I know he will truly appreciate it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Gripe (or two, or four)

People who don't know how to walk on an indoor track
It's a 3 lane track. The sign says slow walkers/runners stay on the inside lane. People! Assume you are the slowest and move to the outer lanes to pass. Please don't meander down the middle of the track with your walking buddy, essentially taking up the entire track and making me break stride when I have to suck it in and press up against the wall to pass you. Come on! It's like freeway driving. There are slow lanes and passing lanes.

Oh, never mind.

Kids who come into my house and don't shut the door
I know I've got a super fun house and playful kids. I'm happy to have you here. Just SHUT THE DOOR for the love of Pete! I'm pretty sure this is the same rule in your house because as I drive up and down the street, I've noticed the doors to your homes are always closed. You need to close every door when you come in...garage, back, front...close them! Especially when it's, you know, FREEZING outside. Or when it's 102 and I've been running the AC just to keep the house at a balmy 80. CLOSE THE DOOR!

Extreme food and lifestyle choices and the people who push them
I agree that there are problems with transporting watermelons to my grocery store from Chile in January. It's creating issues with pollution and probably global warming but it's just not natural. Watermelons are for July. OK? They taste better in July. It makes sense to wait. Additionally, I admire you for your choice to eat only local foods grown in season. YAY! You are amazing. I don't know how you do it...especially in January when there is pretty much nothing growing unless you live in Southern California.

But you do realize that not everyone has the luxury of living on 20 acres and spending the time when most people have to go to work tending heritage turkeys and heirloom tomatoes, don't you? Or gathering wild morels for crying out loud.

Some of us have microscopic yards and CC&R's that prohibit livestock.

And yes, I realize that buying from Farmer's Market only seems more expensive; that the real cost is in the damage we are doing to the world by perpetuating genetically modified plants and bringing hard, unripe, flavorless food thousands of miles to sit on a shelf for 5 days. But not all of us get a royalty check every month supplementing our household income so we can pay $2 for a bunch of kale at the farmer's market instead of 50 cents a bunch in the store. (Not that I'd eat kale in the first place.)

A shortage of heart shaped Valentine Jr. Mints
Just can't find them anywhere. They are even better than regular Jr. Mints, if that can be possible.

And while I'm on the subject of Valentines, I really miss the valentines that used to come with cute little white envelopes. You know, the ones you'd get for people in your class? Now you just fold over a teeny tiny little piece of card stock which is expected to hold together with a miniature heart sticker. Whatever.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sunday Scribblings: Art


I looked around the art studio to see if anyone else had witnessed the theft. I appeared to be the only one.

He had slipped the painted canvas in his messenger bag in one, seamless move as he bent over to collect his conveniently dropped notebook: Open bag flap, stuff notebook, tuck painting, flap down. Just like that.

I glanced again at the art thief as he fingered the curtain of his dark, chin length hair behind his ear. My brow furrowed as I stared at him, wondering if I’d really seen what I thought I saw.

His head went up and he caught my glance. Normally I would have looked away, shied at having been caught staring. I didn’t look away though. I couldn’t. What was he thinking? He winked at me…seriously, winked. Who did he think he was? His look told me he was trying to play it cool, not sure if I’d seen him take the painting or not.

Since the beginning of the school year I’d been taking BART into the City to attend a special after-school program for High School students at the Museum of Modern Art. It started out as a field trip for the Art Club. Ms. Cowl had taken a group of us to view a collection of photographs of surprisingly sensual bell peppers and other veggies by Edward Weston.

Each week a museum docent would present a different artist featured at the MOMA. We’d sometimes even get behind the scenes tours of the museum. As the weeks passed, fewer and fewer of my classmates came to the MOMA and finally, Ms. Cowl stopped coming too.

I didn’t mind going by myself. There was something about spending time in the substantial, granite-pillared museum in the heart of the city that made me feel very sophisticated. I mostly stuck to myself, taking in the grandness and excitement of it all. There was always a different group of kids each week along with the few of us who were regulars. Whether it was shyness or something else, I made no effort to get to know anyone else.

Take this art thief, for example. He was a regular. I’d noticed him over the last few weeks, quiet, introspective, or so it seemed. Apparently he was just casing things out to plan his heist.

This particular week we were on a fieldtrip. We’d taken a bus to a local artist’s studio. He’d shown us around his huge, warehouse-like work space, art table, rolling carts filled with little tubes of paint in thalo blue, mars black and cadmium red and yellow, empty coffee cans filled with brushes of every size and shape, and of course, large and small canvases leaning up against the back wall.

We sat in chairs over by the canvases. I was mesmerized by the organization in the chaos of all those canvases. Most were blank, waiting to be filled, but some had still lifes with what appeared to varied combinations of walnuts, a glass of water and dominos, a hammer and a chipped blue bowl.

As the artist explained his process of getting a concept from his mind, to his sketch book and finally onto a canvas, or in one case, into a statue made from hundreds of pounds of 12 gauge wire, the stacks of canvases kept drawing me in.

As the students now filed out of the studio, back to the bus waiting to take us across town to the MOMA I held back, deliberating. The artist was chatting with the museum docent who’d accompanied us. I was definitely too old to tattle. Besides, I was pretty sure art thief knew I’d seen him swipe the painting. He’d know it was me who told.

I didn’t want to ignore the theft, but I also had a personal rule about avoiding confrontation at all costs. I debated what to do, but was undecided still. An anonymous note maybe? As I walked through the doors leading out of the studio I gasped as I almost bumped right into Mr. Art Thief himself, loitering just outside the door.

“Hi.” He said. “Pretty great studio, huh?”

“I guess.” I said, trying to play it cool as my heart rate slowly started returning to normal.

“I mean, he makes being a professional artist seem like a pretty sweet gig.”

“Uh huh.” I said, rolling my eyes, purely for my own benefit.

“So, I’ve seen you here before. You come, like, every week right?”

Oh. My. Goodness. Did I really have to endure this awkward chit chat? I wished I was on the bus already, far away from whoever this guy was.

“I live in Pacifica. I take BART from Daly City.” He said, so confident that this information was something I’d be interested in.

“Uh,” I interrupted, “I saw you take that painting. You need to give it back. You could probably just run up there right now and…”

“It’s not what you think.” He said.

“What? You didn’t steal a painting that wasn’t yours and put it in your book bag?” I said stopping to look right at him.

“OK, I guess it is what you think.” He said. I shook my head and walked off leaving him behind.

I reached the bus, got on and chose a seat surrounded by plenty of other kids. I’d normally find someplace quiet where I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone, but I didn’t want Art Thief sitting next to me all the way back to the MOMA.

He was the last to get on just before the bus pulled out into traffic. I’d positioned myself well. The only place for him to sit was in the back of the bus. He made his way down the aisle and as he passed, lurched towards me as the bus made a sudden right turn. He grabbed the seat and quickly recovered, continuing on to his seat.

I looked down, wanting to retreat into my own thoughts when I saw a folded piece of binder paper that hadn't been there before, now sitting in my lap.

“Ugh.” I thought. “Leave me alone!”

I considered throwing it out the bus window, but you know: “Give a hoot, don’t pollute.” I shoved it in my bag, planning to toss it in the trash when we got back to the museum.

Curiosity, however, beat out my annoyance and I opened the note.

“Please trust me.” It read.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The "K" Files

Paranormal Kid Phenomena I have noticed over the last 48 hours.

Sleep Walk Peeing
Kid gets up to pee in the middle of the night, but instead of using the toilet, he uses the kitchen sink, a bathroom wastebasket or the carpet in the middle of his bedroom. Kid has no recollection of sleep walk peeing in the morning.

School Bus Miracle Cure
Kid is sick. Moans, groans, keeps parents up most of the night. Can not possibly go to school. Condition seems to dramatically improve once the morning school bus comes and goes.

Sleep Anomaly
Kid stays up all night coughing, moaning, groaning. All signs for daytime exhaustion are present yet kid exhibits no need for sleep during the day. Situation exacerbated by sleep deprived parents who stayed up all night listening to said moaning and groaning and who begin to exhibit zombie-like qualities.

Not Me
A being, invisible to parents, who leaves every light on in the house, eats Saltines like a rabid squirrel on the living room furniture and spills lemonade on the kitchen floor and doesn't wipe it up. Only kids are witness to Not Me's heinous crimes and seem happy to rat him out to their parents.

Taste Seer
A peculiar quality possessed by most kids which gives them the psychic ability to know whether they will like a food without even tasting it.

Call Scully and Mulder. I will not rest until I discover the truth behind these paranormal kid phenomena.

Well, I'll start after a nap.

The truth is out there!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How To Be a Boy: Loading the Dishwasher

1. When your mom agrees to let you make French toast on the condition that you clean up afterward, do your best to ignore when your mom reminds you that "cleaning up" includes doing the dishes too.

2. Offer her some delicious French toast to distract her from the fact that you have not cleaned up your mess.

3. Make yourself scarce.

4. Reappear in the kitchen 1 minute before you are supposed to be at the bus stop for school.

5. If your mom has realized that you didn't clean up and reminds you now, quickly open the dishwasher, place the orange bowl and round cake pan in the dishwasher in any old way. It's helpful if she is looking away while you do this.

(Pay no attention to the neat way other dishes are arranged in the dishwasher and do not reflect on what the dishes looked like when you've unloaded clean dishes from the dishwasher in the past.)

6. Fast! Close the dishwasher and yell "goodbye" as you run to catch the bus.

7. Don't worry about having to re-do your silly excuse for loading the dishwasher. The bus will be long gone before your mom even notices.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Sunday Scribblings: Regrets

Overall, life is pretty good. Focusing on regrets seems like picking at the threads that make the tapestry of my life. I could remove one thread, but how would that affect the whole? My silly, regrettable threads may not be of the best quality or the brightest colors, but they're part of the whole picture; a picture that, as a matter of fact, I'm quite satisfied with.

That said, I do have regrets:

I regret spending 2 hours playing Word Challenge on Facebook yesterday.

I regret having that second piece of chocolate fudge cake last Wednesday.

I regret that I haven't exercised for two weeks.

I regret ever purchasing pants from Costco.

I mildly regret spending so much time reading in January that I wrote almost nothing.

I regret not knowing what I really wanted to do when I was in college.

I do have one regret that follows me along, nipping at my heels like a really annoying little Yorkie and will not leave me alone.

Over and over I have talked myself out of taking risks because of fear.

Maybe it was fear of rejection or fear of failure. I just think it was fear. I didn't see how something would work out, so I wouldn't even try. I would convince myself that it was a nice dream, but not something I actually needed.

When I was in New York for 3 months as an intern, I thought it would be great to check into becoming a writer for Sesame Street. I knew I wouldn't automatically be hired as a writer, but I could get coffee for Bob and Susan or dust Caroll Spinney's dressing room. I could comb Cookie Monster's fur or clean out Oscar's garbage can...anything.

Sesame Street combined my love of writing for children and my interest in advertising. What is Sesame Street anyway but a collection of advertisements for letters and numbers.

Sesame Street and I were born the same year. I remember the original Mr. Hooper and Kermit the Frog. When Crystal Galye was on Sesame Street I was pretty sure she had the most beautiful hair ever. I thought Bob and Linda were in love and would eventually get married. I feel connected to Sesame Street.

While working for Gannet in New York City, I found out where Sesame Street was. I got their phone number. I found their address. I could have walked to their offices on my lunch break or called them to find out about job openings. Something! I was right there. I could have done something.

But I didn't.

I convinced myself that I was fine going back to Utah. I had to finish school after all. Besides, I didn't really want to live in New York City. It was too expensive and I'd never be able to find a place to rent, even if there was a job. Which there probably wasn't.

I regret letting fear hold me back.

I need to stop doing that. Because I still do it. Sometimes.