Monday, February 8, 2016

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, February 8, 2016

Outside my window...  the sun is shining, a breeze is blowing, and it's actually kind of warm.  Weird, for February, but I'll take it ;D

Hearing...  a quiet house.  Tate and Gunnar are both studying, the dryer is tumbling, and - although "warm" - the weather is still cold enough I have the windows shut.

Pondering...  I just don't get retail!  It is February, people, which means temps are still cold and we could still get snow.  And Gunnar has grown out of his jacket.  The boys all have real winter coats (ski coats, y'know?) but they almost always just wear a fleece jacket.  That should be easy to find, right?  I mean, around here you'd wear that at least ten months out of the year!  But NO.  Stores are ready for spring.  And by "spring", apparently they mean spring at the equator because everyone had shorts! sleeveless tops!  sandals!  bathing suits!  Stuff we won't be wearing for months yet.  But fleece jackets?  That took four stores, and we were about to give up until we found one (just what he wanted!) hiding on a clearance rack.  So hurray for getting a twelve-buck jacket, but what kind of crazy IS this?

Because, PS, this may have been the first time EVER I've gone into Walmart and come out without buying a single thing.  Do I get a prize?

Praying...  still praying for more work for Kerry :D

Thankful...  a couple calls have come in (potential work), we had a fun time with the youth group earlier last week, and a great time at my folks' yesterday for their annual "Soup-er Bowl" party.  Which was even better because that whiner - Cam Newton - got his comeuppance.  Ahhhh, that was soooo satisfying!

Wearing...  really?  Jeans.  A t-shirt.  A lime green sweater.  Whoop-de-doo.

Creating...  had a lot of fun on Saturday at my friend Nicole's house for a card-making party, and now I'm on a roll.

Looking forward to...  the long weekend!

In the kitchen...  cleaning up a lot of leftovers - ginger chicken, mac and cheese, chicken soup, rice, chili, and I don't know what else is in there.  Whew!

In the learning rooms...  we are officially half-way through the year.  Gunnar just "stays the course", but Tate has finished his Civics course and is starting Economics.  Some of it boggles my mind, but I like the personal budgeting stuff we go through.

Around the house...  nothing new from last week.  I like having more open surfaces... a few pretty things, but not clutter!

One of my favorite things...  the relief of getting all the bills paid (this morning) and still some money left over.  (Of course, there's a lot of month left too... ;D)

A few plans for the rest of the week...  my calendar is blessedly blank - love it!  Of course there's all the usual... homeschool, high school, college, CAP... and a long weekend coming.  Oddly, Tate has Friday/Monday off school, but Wyatt has Monday/Tuesday.  Go figure.  I suppose that's because some college classes are M/W/F or T/Th and they don't want to miss too many of the M/W/F ones?  Just guessing.

A peek into my world... 

Gunnar and Po

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Brain Dump

Good grief.  I meant to get online this morning, and where did the day go?  It's after 6pm, completely dark, and the wind is howling.  Crazy.

1.  I'm so proud of my neighbor, Bea.  Her husband (my distant cousin) was in the hospital over the weekend.  He's got heart trouble.  They ran some tests, sent him home, and told him to see his cardiologist right away.  Well Bea, being a sweet little old lady, called the office and they gave him an appointment on March 8.  When she told me, I was a little stunned.  I told her that I was pretty sure when the ER said to get in to see the doc "ASAP", they didn't mean "in a month".  I suggested she call back and push a little.  I told her the receptionist probably isn't allowed to hang up on her unless she's being verbally abusive (not something Bea is capable of), so to just get on the line and keep saying "that's not acceptable" until she gets something that IS acceptable.

But I wasn't sure she'd do it, y'know?

I told her my Grandpa-Lee-and-the-doctor story.

The next morning, as Gunnar and I were getting back from our walk, Ralph and Bea were pulling out of their driveway.  On their way to the cardiologist!  Way to go, Bea!

2.  My Grandpa-Lee-and-the-doctor story.  My Grandpa Lee lived (independently!) to the age of 94.  He was one of the calmest, kindest people you could ever meet.  One winter he got really sick.  Bronchitis, maybe?  Well he was a little tiny guy, not even a hundred pounds soaking wet.  And old!  He called the doctor and they told him the doctor could see him in a couple of weeks.

Grandpa Lee wasn't having that.

"Two weeks?  Two weeks?  I'm ninety-two years old.  I'll be better or I'll be dead!"

They worked him right in.

3.  Bea is trying to teach me to knit.  She's got her work cut out for her.  She got a little piece started for me (a dish cloth) and knitted a row while I watched, and then turned it over to me.  Good heavens.  Where did all those holes come from?  And how come it keeps getting wider with every row?

Pretty sure I need another lesson or twenty.

4.  The youth group and a Burmese dinner.  A friend from church (Katlyn) went all the way to Myanmar to visit our other friends from church (Jim and Breanna) who are missionaries there.  Since the youth group has a special friendship with them, Katlyn offered to cook a Burmese dinner and show them all her photos.  (We ended up having it here, because our house it a little bigger, but it was her night :D )

She was a cooking maniac!  Three curries, rice, and a special salad.  The vegetarian lentil curry was mild (but... vegetarian), then there were the two meat curries.  Since she didn't have the goat or water buffalo they might use there, Katlyn (being a native Alaskan) substituted caribou and moose - yum!  Her "non-spicy" curry was... pretty spicy... and delicious!  The spicy one?  I just touched it, licked my finger, drank a large glass of water, and called it good. ;D  Then there was the salad...

Apparently Burmese people just love to eat fermented tea leaves.  They'll make a salad with that as the centerpiece, and add little bits of other things... shredded cabbage, chopped tomato, cilantro, garlic, lime, fried peanuts, dried shrimp, and probably more.  To make sure no one got sick from the fermented tea leaves, Katlyn seared them in hot oil to kill any bacteria.

We all tried it.  We really tried.  I loved the fried nuts - peanuts and something else - cashews? lentils? I don't know, but delicious.  The actual pickled tea leaves?  Well, I suppose that's an acquired taste ;D (And a very unique smell, by group consensus somewhere between wet dog, stinky feet, and urine.)

It was a great dinner, and a fun time seeing all the photos :D  We miss our friends and are looking forward to their visit this summer :D

5.  Katlyn also brought a special chart.  We all know there are cultural differences to deal with, and this chart highlighted a great many that have to do with food.  Titled

The Food That Shouldn't Eat Together

it was full of food pairings one should avoid, and the consequences of ignoring advice.  For instance, you thought you might have something with...

* honey and coconut?  Think again!  NAUSEA.  
* How about mango and "musk deer" (the photo showed a raccoon)?  NAUSEA again.  
* Pork and curdled milk?  DIARRHEA!  
* Some kind of pepper and sesame?  NECK OR BACK STIFFNESS. 

But I really think I'm doomed because...
* Bamboo shoot and "edible globular fungi" (mushroom?)  DEATH.
* Chocolate and ground nut (peanut, right?)  DEATH

Of course, it's a lot easier to avoid things like
* A black "ice lolly" and mole (photo looks like a rat).  DEATH

But of course, if we took it literally... 


6.  Meanwhile, now it's nearly 10pm and the wind is still crazy, and... LIGHTNING! Notice that it's not "lightening" (thought it is lightening up the sky), but it's lightning.  Which means I'll probably shut down and unplug, because power surges.

7.  But first...  I promised Kerry I would make us each an "adult beverage".  Seems like the perfect night for a hot buttered rum.

Hope your weekend is fabulous!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, February 1, 2016

Outside my window...  rain.  I'll tell ya what, 39F and raining can feel a lot colder than low 20's and snowing.  *sigh*  I think about this when Wyatt or Tate is at work, and I know they have to go out in the parking lots and round up shopping carts.  Cold, wet shopping carts.  Brrrr!

Hearing...  a very quiet house.  Just Gunnar is home with me, and he's reading.

Pondering...  sometimes I have the strangest dreams ever.  Why???

Praying...  now would be a really good time for more work to come in for Kerry!

Thankful...  we're all healthy!

Wearing...  "work" clothes - I've been cleaning and rearranging, packing away my blue/silver winter decorations.  I don't have (or want) much that is specifically Valentine oriented, but I've been putting out some red things :D  Red, and turquoise, and some bright, cheery, yellow primroses.

Going...  to enjoy the quiet :D

Reading...  trying to read The Silmarillion, by Tolkien.  I'll see what I think of it.

Looking forward to...  going out to dinner, maybe tomorrow!

In the kitchen...  French dip sandwiches for dinner, turkey taquitos tomorrow, and a "Myanmar Evening" on Wednesday :D

In the learning rooms...  Gunnar is not a happy camper right now.  It's hard to remember that negative exponents aren't actually negative numbers.  Why???  And he has to write A Paper.  It's supposed to be a research paper, but I'm willing to let him substitute a (future) CAP assignment if he'll Just Do It.  (He does NOT love writing!)

Around the house...  the aforementioned red and turquoise and primroses. And a lot more open space and clear surfaces than before.  I love Christmas and all the decorating... All The Decorating.  And then I'm so glad to change over to winter, because it seems so light and sparkly, and there's about half as much of it.  And then... then I go a lot more minimalist and feel a sense of relief!  Because clutter (even "good" clutter) is like mucus - I feel like I'm choking on it after awhile.  And now?  I can breathe again.  *happy sigh*

The Mother Load...  knocked a lot of things off the list over the weekend, but I keep forgetting a phone call I need to make early in the day (time zone issue)!  Arrgh!  But I had a great cooking/baking day on Friday.  I made:
* three loaves of whole-wheat sour-dough bread
* two loaves of cranberry/orange bread
* a double batch of kanelbullar (cinnamon rolls with cardamom and orange)
* nunnymolers (for you Redwall fans)
* five turkey pot pies (four for the freezer and one for dinner!)
* and prepped stew for Saturday, and pizza toppings for Sunday

A favorite quote for today...  
Everything happens for a reason.  
Sometimes the reason is that you're stupid and make bad decisions.
- Bill Murray

Or let's be generous, and call it a learning curve ;D

One of my favorite things...  easy plans for dinner (like French dip sandwiches!) :D

A peek into my world...  no snow at our house, but it's not far up the hills!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, January 25, 2016

Outside my window...  a clear, sunny morning.  When Gunnar and I went for our walk this morning (before sunrise) we saw a beautiful, nearly-full moon hanging low in a blue-to-pink sky.  Even this non-girly-girl who normally detests pink can appreciate it in nature where God put it!

Hearing...  Wyatt and Tate talking down in the kitchen.

Pondering... the Mother Load.  It's always weighing on me.  Grrrr.  Actually, I just crossed a bunch of things off, but it's still multiplying.

Praying...  work for Kerry - it's just the right time for a whole bunch of work to come in, right?

Thankful...  I have all three baby quilts done and all my sewing stuff picked up for awhile, clearing the deck for other tasks.  That feels good :D

Also, Sunday school was MUCH more productive this week.  It just happened that we were talking about the story (from John 5) where Jesus heals the man at the Pool of Bethesda.  I had pre-printed get-well cards the kids could color and decorate, to encourage someone not feeling well, and was brainstorming about who we could give them to.  And wouldn't you know it, we had two kids out sick yesterday.  I'm not glad they were sick, but it's just interesting how that worked out.

And boy did I get a shock - a good shock.  We were reviewing our memory verse, Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and courageous.
Do not be terrified.
Do not be discouraged.
For the Lord your God will be with you
wherever you go.
I had only given it to the kids last week, and we do one verse for four weeks, so I didn't expect them to know it yet.  We said it together a few times, then went around the class and the kids tried to say it on their own.  (They're motivated since sometimes I bring little chocolates as a reward, because God's Word is sweet, right?!)  Anyway, the adorable little four-year-old sitting next to me was the only one that said the whole verse, word-perfect.  The other kids suspected he was reading it off the card in my hand, but he's only four!  I asked him if his mom had practiced with him over the week, and then I remembered... he wasn't there last week.

He WAS reading.  And he's not just reading like a little kid.  You know, "The fat cat sat on the mat."  He was reading "commanded... courageous.. terrified... discouraged... wherever".  He was reading Big Words.  Amazing!  (He got TWO chocolates ;D)

Creating...  shower invitations for a baby shower I'm hosting in April.  Yes, I know.  That's kind of crazy.  But after a few minutes on the phone with my pregnant friend, and the (pleasant!) negotiations  it took to find a date that worked for both of us, I thought I'd better get the word out NOW, in case our guests have the kind of convoluted schedules we do!

It's complicated by the fact that her baby is due right before Easter, and her husband is a pastor.  That's probably their busiest time of the whole year.  But we worked it out :D

Going...  already been for a walk, so the only place I'll have to go is to drop Tate off at work, and that feels good :D

Learning...  to ask more questions.  Tate and I were at the Tech College last week meeting with an advisor to get some info about how they do Running Start.  Tate had specific questions about various programs he was interested in, and got a lot of helpful insight.  Anyway, the advisor asked us if he wants to do the "regular" AAS program or the AAS-T program.  The latter prepares you for transfer into a four-year university.  I assumed the latter would substitute some higher level classes, but the load would be about the same.  WRONG.  Every single quarter of the AAS-T program has well over 15 credits.  It was killer.  One quarter required the student to take twenty-five credits, which included five credits of calculus and five credits of Engineering Physics, along with fifteen credits of classes in the program.  OhMyGoodness that looks insane.  We'll switch him to the regular AAS program.  If he wants to continue to get a four-year degree later he can take those extra classes then at a manageable pace.  Whew!

Looking forward to...  cooking a turkey this afternoon ;D

In the kitchen... yah, a huge turkey.  Looking forward to the leftovers!

In the learning rooms...  Gunnar has a lot of writing to do today (not his favorite thing).  Tate had no public school today (end of semester) so has been working away at his homeschooling and on the book he's writing.  Wyatt is off to the college for his crazy-long day.

Around the house...  I had thought I was going to put away all the winter decorations over the weekend, but decided to leave it up a bit longer.  Had the boys take down all the outside Christmas lights though.  We keep hoping maybe, just maybe it will snow.

The Mother Load...
* help Wyatt prep for Spring Quarter registration - what credits/classes does he still need?
* help Tate fill out paperwork/application for Running Start at the Tech College
* photograph Quilt #3
* wrap quilts
* call Worldview (again!) about Tate's registration and accommodations
* cook turkey
* make "Lazarus" cookies (maybe Friday) for Sunday school next week, so they can wrap them in Fruit-by-the-Foot... and eat them on the way home after Sunday school, because I'm no dummy ;D
* bake sweet breads/muffins for baby shower this Saturday
* plan dinner for Saturday - my brother and Naomi are coming up
* continue cleaning in office/craft room
* take stuff to consignment
And I'm sure there's more.  Much, much more.

Noticing that...  the days are just a little bit longer.  We have just a little more light in the evenings.

A favorite quote for today...
Restlessness and impatience change nothing except our peace and joy.
Peace does not dwell in outward things,
but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly
on Him who has all things safely in His hands.
Elisabeth Elliot

One of my favorite things...  seeing the sun rise.

A devotional thought from our church bulletin...  ("here" is earth, "there" is heaven)

I pray, O God,
that I may know You and love You,
so that I may rejoice in You.
And if I cannot do so fully in this life
may I progress gradually until it comes to fulness.
Let the knowledge of You grow in me here,
and there be made complete,
so that here my joy may be great in hope,
and there complete in reality.

Lord, by Your Son You command, or rather,
counsel us to ask
and You promise that we shall receive...
I ask, Lord,
as You counsel through our admirable Counselor.
May I receive what You promise through Your truth
so that my joy may be complete.

Until then let my mind meditate on it,
let my tongue speak of it,
let my heart love it,
let my mouth preach it.
Let my soul hunger for it,
let my flesh thirst for it,
my whole being desire it,
until I enter into the joy of the Lord,
who is God, Three in One,
blessed forever.  Amen.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  homeschool/school, Gunnar's violin lesson, boys to CAP, Wyatt and Tate to their jobs... the usual.  And a baby shower on Saturday :D

A peek into my world...  a blast from the past.  Kerry and I went to a costume party as cockroaches... sort of as Gary Larson would draw cockroaches going to a formal event.  Because... just because.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

When It Rains On Saturday

My younger self would never have believed I would say this, but...

I love a rainy Saturday, with nowhere I have to go.

I'm nearly fifty, so maybe I've reached the epitome of boring-ness, but doesn't that look cozy?

And you know what's great about rainy Saturdays with nowhere to go?

This is what happens when it rains on Saturday...

* I wear my most comfy stay-home clothes all day long
* I make our new favorite french toast casserole for breakfast
(also delicious made with sweet orange rolls!)
* I drink endless cups of hot tea
* I hand-sew the binding on Baby Quilt #3 while Gunnar practices his violin
* I bake bread
* I finish Baby Quilt #3
(now in the wash, getting its wrinkly-crinkly vibe going)
* I fix elk stew in the crock pot for dinner - even yummier with fresh bread
* I curl up in a big chair and read.

Because, RAIN.

For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining, is let it rain.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The rain began again.
It fell heavily, easily, with no meaning or intention
but the fulfillment of its own nature,
which was to fall and fall.
Helen Garner

Some people walk in the rain.
Others just get wet.
Roger Miller

And you can always be thankful you're just walking in it, and not camping! 

It always rains on tents.
Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles,
against prevailing winds
for the opportunity
to rain on a tent.
Dave Barry

What do you do on a rainy Saturday?

Thursday, January 21, 2016


I went to Canada today.
It looked like this:

Don't you wish you had come too?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Color-catcher, oh, color-catcher...

How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways...

Bright blue saturated fabric...

First and second washing

Bright turquoise saturated fabric...

Three washings...

Monday, January 18, 2016

Wait, It's Monday?

Yes, yes it is.  And I don't feel like doing the whole "Grasshopper Days" thing.  Or maybe I just need to revamp it, because some of the prompts just feel stale.

1.  But today is a good day, and not just because the boys are off school.  It was a Hobby Lobby day!  Thanks to an invite from as good friend and fellow creative soul from the chapel, I've made my first foray into Hobby Lobby.  And since today a whole bunch of stuff was 50% off, well, we just won't think about what I spent, but about how much I saved :D

And look!  Polka-dot (blank) cards to customize!  How fun is that?

2.  I also found some fabric that's just what I needed for Baby Quilt #3, that's in the wash right now, because - yes - I'm a pre-washer.  And if you'd seen the color-catcher that came through the first time, well, you'd understand why.  I do love the saturated colors, but I want them to stay where they belong.

3.  And I'm glad it's Monday because Sunday was kind of crazy.  Well, our beloved Seahawks lost, and are out of the playoffs.  No Superbowl for us this year.  We still love them - they're a class act.  It's just too bad they didn't really show up until the second quarter.  But that's not what got me down...

4.  I've mentioned that I'm teaching Sunday school, and I'm just getting a little discouraged.  There are some wonderful advantages to attending a small church, and then there are some... complications.  My little Sunday school class has kids from age 3 up to 2nd grade, and the curriculum - well, the activities in the curriculum - are really directed more towards the kids who are readers.  That means, that it's appropriate for maybe 1/4 of the kids in my class.  So every Sunday, I'm trying to keep my older kids engaged while trying to keep the younger kids focused, which usually means searching the internet for alternate activities, crafts, etc.

So while I'm trying to engage them with some hands-on activity that's meaningful to our topic, they're doing things like

*  "hiding" under the table (yes, I know you're there)
*  acting like a human pinball and ricocheting repeatedly off the other kids
*  asking to be excused to the bathroom for the second time in ten minutes
*  or intentionally drooling on the table and playing in the drool.

I have three boys of my own.  I have a pretty good memory for the crazy things boys do.  I'm trying to be patient and tolerant.  But I still wonder if I'm accomplishing anything of value.  *sigh*

5.  In happier news, Tate has been invited to join the National Honor Society.  Yay, Tate!

6.  This makes me smile...  Gunnar and a little friend in a hurricane simulator.

7.  And for anyone prone to typos...  how did this get by?

8.  And this makes me giggle...

9.  And... that's what's rattling around in my brain this Monday.  How about you?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Friday Brain Dump

Or, a round-up of random thoughts, rattling around in my head...

1.  You'd think I'd be smarter than this...  my wonderful friends gave me their recipe for the bread Tate and I loved when they visited them.  It's a sourdough bread and requires making and using a starter, as well as a very long rising time (two 12-hour rises).  Though they clearly wrote "3 T potato flakes", I somehow found myself using instant milk powder (this is known as a "brain fart" in our house) and then - in shocking news - my bread didn't rise.  We're trying again.

2.  I found this Cinquain that Tate wrote about five years ago.  (Just FYI, there are lots of guidelines for writing a Cinquain, but the creator of the form actually only had these rules - a five-line poem, the lines have 2-4-6-8-2 syllables.  You can be more specific, but those are the only original rules.)  Here's Tate's:

Downed elk
Sinks to the ground
And sleeps the final sleep
A fat elk makes a fine dinner
Let's eat!

3.  Panhandlers.  We've got 'em, and you probably do too.  I hear (and read) a lot of muddled thinking about helping them.  Particularly frustrating is the mentality of, "I can't judge them, so I'll just be generous and give them money and let God sort it out."  Because God didn't trouble to give you a brain, or expect you to use it???

Our local rescue mission published an article with some great thoughts.  Here's a link to the article, but I don't think they'd mind me sharing some of their thoughts.  Before you hand someone money, ask yourself some questions:

  • Will giving them money change the situation they're in?
  • Will it solve any drug or alcohol abuse problems they might be facing?
  • Will it help them find employment, provide needed counseling, or offer other skills?
  • Will this help them face and overcome obstacles that have defeated them in the past?
  • Will this continue to enable them?

In other words, (i.e. my own...)  If I give them money, is it actually likely to help them, or is it all about my feelings?  Though they did NOT say this in the article, far better to support your local mission than to give panhandlers money!

4.  Love, love, love this graphic.

Especially "not clapping on 1 and 3".  Amen?  ;D

5.  I spent a year in West Australia.  Great memories.  *happy sigh*  Especially since, being on a student visa, there was no question about me getting any kind of employment (not allowed).  What's a girl to do all summer, but go to the beach?  And there was a great one in easy walking distance of my summer host family.  On these cold, winter days (so often dark and rainy!) I frequently check this webcam.  It takes a minute to load, and even then you may see... darkness.  You have to remember that they are 15 or 16 hours ahead of us (Pacific Standard Time), so I check in the late afternoon or evening.  Oh, those brilliant turquoise blues.  That's exactly how I remember Scarborough Beach...

I spent whole days (weeks!) with this view...

6.  And since we're looking at happy pics...  I snapped this one of the boys on Christmas Eve

And with that...

7.  Time for lunch :D  Have to feed those teenage metabolisms ;D

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

In Which the Boys Go Snowshoeing

We get a lot of rain here.  I may have mentioned that a time or fifty.  The up-side of that is:

lots of rain + high elevation = *snow!*

Literally, any day of the year we can drive (and maybe hike a little) and find snow.  And since thus far (from the boys' point of view) we've had an utterly deplorable lack of snow down here in town, the thing to do is go to the snow.  So they did :D  Even the drive to get there is gorgeous.

I'm not sure they actually needed snow shoes, as that path looks pretty well packed down, but it's all about the adventure, right?  And didn't they have an awesome day for it?

Of course, boys being boys, the first thing to do is collect icicles...

... so you can threaten your brothers.

And make sure to get a photo of Dad :D

But don't leave him behind!

Be sure to get a photo of the sun sparkling on the snow crystals...

Look at the view to the north...

Apparently, inspiration struck when they saw this clump of snow hanging over the path...

A little sculpting with the ski pole, and...

Do you recognize it?  I had to ask...

... but then, I haven't seen Alien.

I'd much rather look at this happy scene ;D

Ah, Mt. Shuksan.  I once stood right on the pointy tip-top of that mountain.

And that was their day of snowshoeing.

Check out the difference (traffic) between arriving in the morning...

... and leaving in the afternoon.

Kerry thinks there must've been an accident or something further up the highway (toward the ski area) because traffic was all backed up and people were turning around and heading home.  So glad they got up on the mountain early!