Friday, October 30, 2009

A Technological Obstruction and an Idea

I had a very creative post ready to write yesterday, but was completely railroaded by the loss of my camera's USB cable. My creative writing, you see, was completely dependent upon several photos that are still on my camera. I've looked positively everywhere for that cable and can't seem to locate it. I even looked under the printer, as was suggested by one of my Facebook friends, and there is no underneath to our printer.

It was a very frustrating day to say the least.

The cable is still MIA and I fear it will never be found.

Now I am about to embark upon my 2nd participation in National Novel Writing Month, or nanowrimo for short. I'm pretty excited but have not done a lick of outlining to prepare. I have a few notes, but all I know about the book is from this summary that's been bouncing around in my head. I think it would sound great on a jacket flap or maybe as a book description on

January is having a fine death, thank you very much. She spends her days and nights at dance clubs she was too young to get into when she was alive, sitting in on her favorite band's recording sessions and even flying to Hawaii first class. With the help of her Spirit friends Hank and Meg, January learns to get around most of the pesky little challenges that pop up from not having an actual flesh and blood body.

Still, there's one thing she can't quite do that she misses more than anything: reading. Seeing a book or the words on a page is no problem, but without her body she can't turn pages or even pick up a book. And reading over stranger's shoulder's is getting old especially since she can't find anyone with good taste in books...until Boysname. Not only does January love everything Boysname reads, she's thrilled to find out he's also a writer...and a pretty good one at that. The more time January spends with Boysname, the more she falls in love with him. That's when her lack of body really begins to haunt her.

January soon finds out, however, that eternity is not as eternal as she thought it would be and she's forced to face the past and make a decision that will change her death forever.

Does anyone have a good suggestion for "boysname?" I'm looking through the school directory, all the Scottish baby name finders on line and a couple books I have sitting next to me. Might be time to pull out the Friday Harbor telephone directory.

Anyway, wish me luck.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Get on the Bus

Sometimes no amount of preparation and organization can prepare you for that one seemingly insignificant event that comes out of nowhere and will ruin everything.

This morning, Jonah's jacket was zipped, his lunch was in his backpack, and he was eager to get out to the bus stop, even though it was a little rainy. Getting Jonah on the bus is one of the most important events of every morning. It allows me to save gas by not driving him to school myself. And since I take care of another little boy Isaac's age, it also keeps me from having to herd two 5 year old's into the car for a 2 mile round trip drive that takes no less than 15 minutes.

I was particularly looking forward to Jonah getting on the bus because I hadn't yet had a chance to sit and eat my Bob's Red Mill 5 grain hot cereal with delicious dried blueberries and creamed honey.

I opened the front door, gave my I-love-you's and have-a-good-day's and Jonah was off. He did a gravity defying leap from the front porch over the 2 front steps and landed on his feet with just the tiniest bit too much forward momentum.

In literal slow motion he rocked forward from the jump onto his knees. His hands slowly moved out to stop his molasses-like fall, but it wasn't enough. The rest of his body continued in its trajectory and his little face just kissed the ground, all slow and cartoon-like.

Physically, Jonah was tip top; emotionally, he was a mess. He jumped up and ran into the house, holding back sobs, just as the bus pulled up to the bus stop.

I grabbed a towel, dried him off and hugged him. "You're OK." I reassured him over and over. "The bus is here and you can still make it."

"No I can't," Jonah said. "I'm wet."


I toweled him off again and assured him he was not wet.

"Yes I am," he said, pointing to one dime-sized spot on his right pant leg and a pea-sized spot on his left pant leg.

I started to panic. My voice rose in pitch and volume. "Get on the bus, Jonah, it's right there. You are fine. Get on the bus, get on the bus, for the love of Pete, get on the bus!"

Several parents looked over as I grabbed Jonah's arm, fully prepared to drag him in my bare feet, through puddles and piles of dead leaves, out to the bus. He would not budge.

Finally, becoming increasingly aware of the scene I was creating and recognizing this was a battle I would not win, I went back inside. "Wait in your room until I've finished my cereal," I told Jonah, as calmly as I could, as the kid-filled bus pulled away. "I will drive you to school."

Sensitive, stubborn kid: 1

Mom: Who am I kidding. If I were keeping score, being a mom would just make no sense at all.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Big Words

A while ago I read "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" by Muriel Barbery. It is a bestseller in France and has been translated into many languages, including my personal favorite, English. Translation into my native tongue, however, did not always facilitate my understanding of this complicated, yet I believe, beautiful story.

I was so overwhelmed at times by the vocabulary, I started to write down the words I did not know. Occasionally I would look them up but for the most part, kept them like a collection of strange, beautiful things.

Maybe if I'd studied harder for the SAT, or read more Talmage and less Twilight I might have a better vocabulary and my Hedgehog list would not be so long. Also, I realize I may have just exposed the fact that I actually have the vocabulary of an 8th grader. (5th grader?)

However, there is a chance that "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" is actually a pretentious book with snobby characters who just don't want you to understand them, even as they practially beg to be understood.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I've Been Sew Busy

After getting inspired at Fabric Depot on Monday, and with a little help from my mom, this is what I did on Tuesday. I call it, the Margaret MEGAN Sling Bag. this one has the cross body strap design.

I was so excited to find this really cute flower button to add to it.

On Wednesday I completed the Margaret ALLYSON Sling Bag with the shorter shoulder strap.
Personally, I think this button was just made for the bag.

Finally, on Thursday, I completed the Margaret ANGELA Sling bag, again, with the shorter shoulder strap and funky button.

The pattern and instructions for the Margaret Sling Bag can be found here, or by googling "margaret sling bag." The instructions are straightforward and easy to follow. There are pictures for every step.

I have so enjoyed my own Margaret Sling Bag and get compliments on it all the time. I hope Megan, Allyson and Angela also enjoy their bags. It's a fun and functional bag that might just get you a loads of compliments too.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Under Construction

Scraps from my current project

Monday I drove out to Fabric Depot with my mom. It was my first ever visit to this fabric nirvana and certainly won't be my last. The only way I could have been more inspired is if the fabrics were organized by color instead of brand. Still, it was absolutely amazing in a dangerous way that could possibly spur a personal and expensive sewing renaissance.

I will only admit this because I know my coupon-deal getting czar sister, Allyson, does not read my blog: If I had spent 3 minutes checking around on-line I probably would have been able to find a coupon and avoid the minor panic attack I had checking out with my 5 yards of fabric and 3 funky buttons.

But the real serious hyper-ventilating came when I failed to use my JoAnn's coupon because of a little thing I like to call "complete coupon incompetence" and ended up paying full price for 9 yards of fuseable interfacing, 5 yards of solid fabric and 2 spools of thread.

That's OK though (breathe, breathe) because it will all be worth it when I showcase the darling things I am making with my full-price fabric.

I can't wait to go back to Fabric Depot, but next time, I promise I'll use a coupon.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mouse Politics

Earlier this week, we finally put two and two together and realized there was a mouse in our 1994 Honda Accord. (Two and two turned out to be a nest of shredded pink insulation in the trunk and what sounded like chewed up bits of plastic rattling around every time we turned on the fan. Somehow the mouse poop covering every seat eluded us.)

Robert got to work cleaning out the car and setting traps. We were both shocked to see what this clearly left-wing, liberal mouse did to President Regan in the April 2009 issue of Time Magazine.

Poor Ronnie!

But then I turned the magazine over and realized the mouse was more of an equal opportunity president shredder. Independent maybe?

Of course all of this begs the question: Why do I feel the need to put this mouse in a political box? Can't we all be brothers?

In this case, no, we can't. And it's not really a box I want to put him in, as much as a spring loaded, peanut butter filled, life ending death trap.

Sorry Peta.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Shoes I Wore

Driving Ethan to school today, I couldn't help but notice the shoes of the girls walking to middle school: Uggs, Converse, tall fringed boots, and many shoes that actually looked like slippers.

I feel pretty sentimental about my middle school footwear, even though in retrospect, many of my footwear choices were not super practical. Still, the 80's were a good time for shoe fashion. Not as good as the 70's, but since my mom never let me get that pair of Bare Traps to wear with my Dittos, or the vinyl go-go boots to wear with everything else, my loyalties really lie with what kept my feet looking sweet in the 6th and 7th grade.

Every girl in 7th grade had a pair of white Minnetonka moccasins with the red and black beaded thunderbird. There was no way I could have shown my face in the halls of Canyon Middle school without a pair of these beauties. I wore them with my Jordache jeans (but not 501's because my mom said they were "boy pants" and would not buy them for me) or a pair of burgundy cords. They really went with everything. These shoes didn't really do well in the rain, but sometimes wet feet are just a sacrifice you have to make for fashion.

My Cherokee wedge sandals were a sixth grade mistake that took me from an awkward 5 foot 8 inch 12 year old to an even more awkward almost 6 foot tall 12 year old. I could barely walk in these shoes and wore them exclusively to church with my favorite Jessica McClintock Gunnesack dress. I did not own a pair of genuine Cherokee wedge sandals because they were expensive. I bought a knock-off pair from Ross for $9.99. I did learn a valuable lesson on parenting from these shoes, however. That is, sometimes it's best to bite your tongue and let your kids make horrible fashion mistakes and hope they will learn not to be so stupid in the future.

What could be more cool than the wavy sole of the Famolare sandal? Nothing! My exact pair of Famolare's were a little lower than these shoes and I wore them with nicer pants, including a lovely pair of lavender pants that went with some kind of unicorn-rainbow shirt. Of course, because of my extreme height, these shoes pretty much made any pair of pants I owned into floods. Good thing I was oblivious because these shoes were comfortable and stylish and I loved them.

In the 80's I loved espadrilles and ankle books (the more funky the better) and Keds. But my favorite 80's shoes, and possibly the best shoes of all time, are the fringed white majorette boots that went with an awesome white patent leather bag and a white Esprit angular jacket. I wish I had a picture.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Salt and Pepper

When I was a little girl, my family would drive every summer from the Bay Area in California to Lakeview, Oregon to visit my grandma and grandpa. For many years grandma and grandpa had a house in town that they lived in most of the time. They also had a little house out at the ranch, about 10 miles from town.

The ranch house was small and old and had a pendant lamp hanging over the kitchen table that you could raise and lower just by tugging on it. The faucet over the sink ran a magical liquid called "ranch water" that was loads better than city water. There was also an old wood burning stove that grandma cooked on.

I remember a round plate on the stove top with a little notch in it. With a special handle, grandma could lift up the plate and throw in the paper napkins from dinner and they'd burn right up.

Always sitting right on top of the stove, ready to season a tasty ranch meal, were grandma's salt and pepper shakers. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to get the salt and pepper shakers for my very own. Grandma was no longer using them, and after asking nicely and verbally staking my claim to my mom and aunts and cousin, my mom surprised me by bringing them to me.

I didn't waste any time filling them up and setting them in a place of prominence in the kitchen. They started out on the stove top, just like grandma had them. After they heated up to a million degrees from sitting right in front of the oven vent, I decided to move them to the counter.

I love them. They remind me of grandma and they remind me of all the good times at that Lakeview ranch house: playing in the hay barn, riding the 3-wheel ATV, searching for arrow heads out in the fields, jumping the irrigation ditch, and going into Grandpa's shop and seeing all the first and grand prize ribbons Grandpa's steer won at the county fair pinned up on the wall.

I love my grandma's salt and pepper shakers.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Top Drawer

I thought it would be fun to share the story of my High School senior picture photo shoot. It's a great story involving a sunburn, a small car accident a lot of drama, and one sweet perm. Telling the story, however, would require a visual (i.e. my senior picture.)

I sifted through the top drawer of my nightstand in search of my senior picture because this is where I keep all my random things that I don't really know what else to do with.

I didn't find my senior picture, but I did find lots of other things.

5 coupons for Aveeno Active Naturals products, expired on 12/31/08

2 hairbands

4 non-working watches

1 domino

2 AAA batteries

1 nail file

1 book light, batteries dead

1 cherry ring pop, still in packaging

1 day-glo orange sticky notepad

1 Mickey Mouse disposable camera, still in plastic in hopes that one day it will be a valuable collectible.

1 one dollar silver certificate

1 Chuck E. Cheese token

Pages 47 - 50 of the Book of Mormon

1 Starlight mint

1 Mother's Day Sacrament Meeting talk (excellent!)

3 pieces of Bazooka gum

Student ID from Brigham Young University

Cassette Tape with a 24th Birthday Greeting from Thomas S. Monson impersonator

deck of 52 playing cards, purchased in Victoria, BC

10, 3-day Disney park hopper passes that I meant to add to the kid's scrapbooks.

2 Space Mountain Fast Passes for 12:50 - 1:50pm on February 20, 2008

Student ID from Canyon Middle School

File folder containing paperwork I brought home from the hospital after Isaac was born.

2 pages of family practice providers associated with Providence Medical group in the Portland-Metro area.

Stack of random pictures covering a 30 year period, including one of me as a Brownie during some confusing initiation ritual that I never quite understood.

2 thumb drives

1 child health and development record, not filled out

1 child's immunization record, not filled out

1 ticket stub from Stephenie Meyer's "The Host" book signing at the Baghdad Theater in Portland

1 Alaska driver's license

1 Utah driver's license

1 Autopia driver's license

2 Christmas booklets with the talk "In Search of the Christmas Spirit" by Thomas S. Monson that I was supposed to deliver to women in my ward

My patriarchal blessing recommend

A photo copy of a newspaper article from sometime in the 60's featuring one "Bobby" and his favorite Christmas present ever.

Large stack of cards, home made and bought, from Robert, the kids and Grandma. Including one from Betsy with original puffin artwork.

A note from Robert:
17 March
Our sliding glass door was totally unlocked last night.
p.s. I think we can live without milk or only buy a quart

1 hair clip

27 pens, pencils and markers

1 leather palm pilot cover (no palm pilot)

2 laminated inspirational quotes that used to be in my scriptures

2 pennies (one is plastic)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hunker Down

This morning I was feeling very antish as I considered the jars of tomatoes, peaches, pears, pickles and fruit jam sitting on my shelves. I felt very stocked up and prepared for winter. All that preparation was hard work, but so worth it.

The ant in me also took note of the wind and the rain and the cooler temps. With the food on the shelves and the thermostat turned up, it is now time to hunker down for the duration.

I realize there are plenty of good days left; blue skies, sunshine and piles of leaves to be jumped upon. However, there is something very instinctual telling me it's time to read books.

It just feels right.

You might not have 57 quarts of tomatoes on your shelf, but you don't have to approach winter completely unprepared. To help the inner ant in you hunker down and get through the colder months with a stack of books at the ready, here is a list of some of my favorite reads for your consideration.

Can't get enough werewolf love stories? Maggie Stiefvater's "Shiver" is a fun teen romance about a 17 year old and her relationship with a wolf who changes into an 18 year old boy one fall. Stiefvater's writing is lyrical, quite literally in parts, and full of beautiful descriptions.

My only critique is that there could have been a bit more character development for my taste: a little more light shed on why Grace and Sam are so obsessively in love with each other. Check out the youtube book trailer here.

"When You Reach Me," by Rebecca Stead is one of those books that I've a) blogged about before, and b) can't say too much about for fear of ruining what makes this book so great (i.e. that holy cow moment when the missing puzzle piece falls into place and changes the way you perceived the whole story.)

I loved the message of this book too. It's a juvenile fiction, so be sure to share it with your favorite juvenile.

"Tamar" is an old favorite (from a couple years ago) that I was recently reminded of by MT Anderson at a book signing. If you love spy stories and love stories, and stories of the Dutch resistance during WWII, this book is for you.

Told from several different points of view through out the story, Mal Peet crafts an exciting and moving tale of love, lies and espionage. And if my recommendation isn't enough, MT Anderson said it was a gem.

Have you been living under a rock for the last year and not heard about Suzanne Collins, "The Hunger Games?" Time to experience rock-free living and read this book. It's dystopian, which might not be your thing, but you really need to give it a shot.

Here's an exciting trailer to get you all pumped up, or freaked out as the case may be.

This book is non-stop action and edge of your seat suspense; a book that you might want to clear out a whole day to devour greedily. Then run out and get the second book in the series, "Catching Fire," and devour that one too.

"These is my Words" is the fictional diary of Sarah Prine living in frontier Arizona. Her tragedies (and there are plenty) and her triumphs (yay!) are matter of factly recorded by this honest, tough, admirable young woman.

What makes this book so unputdownable, for me, is the insight into Sarah's character. I love a good character and I love knowing exactly what is going on in her head. This book took me right where I wanted to be.

Oh, and did I mention there is a fabulous romance? Sigh.

Read it!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

First Class for a Day

You know what's great about flying first class?


I can only assume that my first class seat at economy class price happened because of my last minute flight booking. Other than the little nagging suspicion that I'll one day find a bill in the mail for a $40 hot towel and a $23 cup of creamy mushroom soup, I think I actually got something for nothing.

Well, not exactly nothing. The economy flight was pricey for my budget, but I know first class would have been a lot more.

After I boarded early and was served a drink by the flight attendant, I found it hard to look at the schmucks making their way back to coach. On the one hand I felt guilty for abandoning my true caste. On the other hand, I felt this new, higher caste demanded I not acknowledge the minions.

I sat back in my extra wide, fake leather chair, extended my legs and started watching the free TV and movie service that cost a whole $6 on the other side of the curtain. After a while, the flight attendant came by to describe the evening meal: a creamy mushroom soup, garden salad and cheesy chicken sandwich in pita bread. Later, after a refreshing hot towel the meal was served. I noticed the real metal flatware and the individual salt and pepper shakers. The food was divine!

First class has it's very own bathroom. The commoners on the other side of the curtain are not allowed to use it. This means no lines, no waiting and, in the words of Jerry Seinfeld, it smells like and English Garden.

Because first class is at the front of the plane, first class passengers are also the first to disembark the plane. The jet way pulls up to the plane and seconds later we are on our way.

Can I ever go back to coach?

I don't really have a choice, unfortunately. The good news is that I fly so infrequently that I'm sure by my next flight, I will have forgotten all the fabulous perks of flying first class.

(First class, I will never forget you!)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Meeting Ella

On September 30, 2009 my newest niece, Ella Pearl, was born.

Ella was born with a chromosomal defect called Trisomy 18. Only about 5% of babies with Trisomy 18 make it to a live birth. Ella has several heart defects, trouble breathing on her own and a few other challenges associated with this syndrome. Trisomy 18 babies do not have a long life expectancy.

Last week I was thrilled to be able to travel to meet Ella, along with the rest of my siblings and parents. I hope that our visit offered some comfort and support to my brother and his wife during this challenging and exhausting time.

On Wednesday we all met at the Children's Hospital and were brought into a special room to meet and hold Ella. There were two nurses, a hospital pastor, a special photographer, both sets of grandparents, Jason and Megan, and Me, Allyson, Angela and John. My two other nieces and nephew were also in and out of the room

The room was crowded, but quiet. After we'd all had a chance to hold Ella, my brother gave Ella a father's blessing. It was the sweetest thing I've ever heard.

We left around 12:30pm and Ella was taken off her heart medication and was not expected to live very long. Jason and Megan have kept faithful vigil at the hospital to be with their sweet little girl who will celebrate her 2 week birthday tomorrow.

At times like this I am grateful to know about God's plan for me and for all his children here on Earth. I know that because of Jason and Megan's marriage and sealing in God's holy temple, their family, every member, including Ella, will be together forever.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Unable to Resist

I was in Target today looking for the normal stuff one looks for when one goes to Target. Specifically, that singular thing you have no idea you need or want, but once you see, you know you can not possibly live with out.

Mission accomplished!

When I saw these sock monkey slippers in the sock section, I didn't have to think twice before throwing them in my arm basket. Other than the short pause when I realized they would most likely be cheaper closer to Christmas. But I realized they'd probably be SOLD OUT closer to Christmas. I also thought of Fred Meyer's half price slippers they sell the day after Thanksgiving.

But honey, they don't have sock monkey slippers at Fred Meyer!

So the sock monkey slippers are mine and I'm happy.

Fall may now officially start.