Showing posts from April, 2009

Peas on earth (or in it)

I find myself wandering out to the sodden deck in my bare feet (so as not to get any socks wet. Heaven forbid I put on shoes or even sandals) every hour or so to see if any peas have sprouted in my garden. I know it has been less than a week, but it's hard not to check!

I'm glad I planted when I did because it has been wet ever since. The next dry day we have, I'm going to start planting carrots. The beans will have to wait until late May.

I have a little pot with oregano, basil, and chives planted, and they've sprouted. I hope they like it by the only south facing window I have access to (the other south facing window in the house is in the boys' room and if I were a plant, I'd be afraid to be in there).

C'mon peas!

The Burnsville 500 (inches)

Last night was the last Pinewood Derby any of my children would ever participate in. It is Matt's last year in Cub Scouts. Jim is not a worker of wood by any means and I think he's glad to be done with Pinewood Derby cars (this was the 9th one). I tried not to get involved with the Derby other than to watch it and cheer on my son's vehicle; I'll do every thing else to help my sons advance rank in the Cub Scout program, just not help with the Pinewood Derby car. I can only do so much, and so much doesn't involve coming within 10 feet of a band saw, or watching my sons come within that 10 feet either. I'd get very nervous. Think "freak out."

Our parenting philosophy, when it comes to school or scout projects, is to let the children do as much work on their projects as possible; and (forgive me for doing this) we tend to raise an eyebrow at some of the nearly professional-looking cars that the other Cub Scouts bring to the Pinewood Derby. Of course…

I looked around the corner and what did I see?

The end of school gunning straight for me!

(sung to "Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree")

It wouldn't be so bad, but it is hard to get anything done with children around, even big children. But we will have plenty to keep them busy. I think Hayley will have summer band lessons and girls' camp, Paul has a scout camp, Jimmy is going to EFY in St. Peter, Matt and Hayley both want to do swimming lessons. And as always, I'll have fake child.

Remember my unfinished projects? I'm getting close to finishing the shrug! I just have to sew up the sides and find a pewter brooch to act as a clasp. And I finally got another copy of the sock pattern and was able to turn the heel last night at Paul's band concert. (No pictures from that because I was too busy knitting. If you want to see pictures of Paul playing his horn, go here. Or here.)

Want a really good chicken recipe? I made this last night.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or whatever birdie meat you ha…

Poetry corner to combat Monday moodiness

Like a child

Adventure awaits
Beckoning with a beam
Courage to do
Daring to dream

Enjoying the day
Fearing nothing at all
Glad to be here
Heeding the call

I stand at the ready
Jumping at a chance
(Kite-like in the air)
Leaping into dance

Most of the day
Noontime and night
Opens up to the willing
Perchance to take flight

Quivering with energy
Roiling and ready
Summoning the will
Tighten up, hold steady

Up to the treasure
Vivacity hath
Where does it lie?
X marks the path

Yearning to play
Zealous, facing the day

OK. Poetry slam is over. Did you make it this far into my post?

I picked a writing prompt from a list of ideas. Guess what the idea was that prompted me to write this? No peeking at other's guesses!

Have a wonder-filled day!

Edited to add: Hayley and Matt are memorizing poems for Grandma Olsen. Hayley has already memorized one called "Abou Ben Adhem" at Grandma's request. It's a beautiful poem and one that makes Grandma a little teary because her father knew it and she recited it t…

Give peas a chance

Today I will plant peas. I have had it on my to-do list for several days, but the ear infection and several unexpected events (like missionaries showing up unannounced and chatting for over half an hour after using the bathroom, and another vehicle scare involving inability to shift into overdrive and going 45 mph down a road on which people like to go 65. I think my car might need a walker to help it get around) prevented me from getting out into the dirt and shoving seeds into it.

So my mantra for today is "I will plant peas. I will plant peas. I will plant peas."

But first I have to blog. Which I am doing right now. I don't know WHY I have to blog, and WHY I feel compelled to do it most every day. Most blogs I read don't update every day. And what I post surely isn't earth-shattering, earth-shaking, or even earth-twitching. Perhaps I blog to remind myself that I did something nearly every day, even if it was only thinking a few thoughts and writing th…

Furry leas

The other day, Matt and I were in the car, driving through an industrial part of town when Matt asked me a question. His voice carried all the way from the back of the van (he loves to sit in the way way back) despite loud groanings from my aging vehicle, bumpity-bump noises from driving on a wretched wretched road, and my left ear canal hosting a cage match between white blood cells and invading forces of throbbing evil. Matt's voice is unlike that of another child of mine, whom I have to command to speak up even if she is sitting right next to me, talking through a megaphone, and all other sound has been sucked out of the universe.

Matt asked (this is what I heard), "What does 'Fur Elise' mean?"

Ah, a music question!

I replied, "'Fur Elise' is the name of a song by Beethoven. It's in German, and it means 'For Elise.' He wrote it for one of his students to practice arpeggios I think." I thought to myself that perhaps I'd consu…


I have another ear infection. Blah. This is like my 6th one in probably as many years. I never had them as a kid (that I remember anyway). Then again, I didn't have seasonal or dust allergies as a kid either. So I'm stuck with a bum ear that hurts for a few days until the antibiotics' magic kicks in (oh sweet sweet antibiotics, how I love you!). I was amazed yesterday--when I realized that I needed to see a medical professional with legal prescription-writing power, the clinic actually had an available slot during the one hour time window that I was able to go! And I was in and out in fifteen minutes. (Too bad the pharmacy at my favorite store took close to 45 minutes to fill the prescription. And since it was my favorite store and I had to wait, I couldn't just stand there. I had to go buy two bottles of blood orange Italian soda, Yogos, flower seeds, new earbuds for iFlossie, yogurt--as suggested by the nurse practitioner-and a Neti pot--also suggested by t…

Practice writing a short personal essay on getting off a plane

The plane ride was shorter than all the other times I flew from my Midwestern home to the Pacific coast; we must have hit an unusual tailwind going west. I wore a dress on the plane. Not so unusual, I had always worn dresses on plane trips. The dress was a dropped waist floral knit, very comfortable, very pretty. I wore pearls too, the pearls given to me by my mom and stepdad for my high school graduation. Come to think of it, I made the dress to wear for my graduation party too. Both were two years old. Both signaled my transition from childhood to independence, taking life into my own hands.

Maybe the flight was short because I was nervous. It wasn't the first time I'd flown solo (not that I piloted--of course I hadn't. I'm strictly passenger material); I flew out to college and back all by myself. I knew planes. I loved planes (I still do). I love the sound of overhead compartments clicking shut in succession as the flight attendant strolls down the aisl…

Into the wayback machine

Time for more old pictures of me, the not-so-bad version! Unless you think 80s fashion was of the devil, in which case, you might want to look away.

My senior year was really the only year I participated in anything. It took me that long to finally realized that it was fun to hang out with people (or to get a driver's license so I could get myself to and from activities and work).

This is the Woodwind Quartet (notice there are seven of us. Perhaps the director couldn't count. He never was known for being particularly smart). I am second from the left. Call me a band geek, but I LOVED being involved in music.
I only went to Prom my sophomore year but I managed to repurpose the dress for a theater awards function during my senior year (I didn't win anything). You can see the tip of my show peeking flirtatiously out from the hem of the dress! (I wish I could still fit into that dress. Too bad Katie wore it for Halloween several times and destroyed it. YES, I'LL ADM…

Shot in the (not so) dark

I got to check off one more thing on my list of things I've done that it had never occurred to me to do or that I could do. I gave someone a shot.

I had to get up at 5:50 a.m. to do it (oh yeah, feel sorry for me! I see a few of you rolling your eyes). (The shot is for fake child's mother. For privacy issues, I won't discuss why she needs a shot, or why I am the one giving it to her, etc.)

I wasn't nervous--needles do not scare me--but I was a little concerned that I might do it wrong or cause FCM (fake child's mother) some pain. FCM and her husband gave me a demo last week, so I knew what to do (in theory). I was worried that my bathroom wasn't clean enough though. Last week when they gave me the demo, my bathroom was not at its best. I was a bit red in the cheeks. Not so this morning. The job of cleaning the bathroom was entrusted to Paul this weekend, and as usual, he did an admirable job, even if he went a bit heavy on the Soft Scrub for the counter…

On deck and on letters

Matt and Hayley wanted to sleep outside last night. We've had beautiful weather this last week (this week should have been spring break for the kiddies) and they begged and pleaded and used puppy dog eyes on Jim and me (no, it is NOT "Jim and I" in this instance) until we relented. Actually I didn't know that I had relented until I woke up this morning and went out to the dining room and saw them on the deck in their sleeping bags. I hope that Jim knew that he had given his permission too.They are only about a foot outside the deck door, but hey, outside is outside. Personally I don't see what is so fabulous about sleeping outside on slabs of wood cushioned only by blue foam that wouldn't support a feather. Judging by the picture, they also read by flashlight on the deck. That makes my neck hurt just to think about it. Oh well, whatever. They enjoyed it and survived it and will probably want to do it all summer. I can save money on laundry, at least.


On track

Track season is in swing for Paul. Last night was the only home meet all season so I HAD to go. And I brought my new camera to test out its sports-picture-taking capabilities.

Here he is before the 1600m race. He's looking calm...or he's clueless (it's his classic "what?" face)
He likes to run with his head up. This was taken during the 1600m. He came in 11th out of 18 or so. It was actually pretty good--he shaved a few more seconds off his previous time and he ran varsity. His time was 5:02
This is the start of the 3200m race. I don't know if he ran JV or varsity because there was only one 3200m race. I'm thinking he ran as a JV participant, though. I don't know what he placed--just that he was in the middlish. He was one of two freshman from his high school; the other two entrants from our school were juniors.
Here he is at the end of his 8 laps around the track. The guy right behind him is the other freshman from our team.
Here is what Paul…

Unfinished business

Or projects, actually.

This somewhat psychedelic-looking ruffly rectangle is a future shrug (eh, whatever) for Hayley.I can't finish it at the moment because I'm out of yarn and am awaiting a shipment from the tropics (no, I'm not badgering my yarn supplier). Stare at the blue too long and you start seeing the ripples mo-o-o-o-ove. Then the walls start talking to you. Not really! Hayley will look very cute in it. She likes blue.

More trippiness:
This is going to be a sock (eventually even TWO socks). I'm knitting it while waiting for the blue yarn. The sock is a bit further along than in this picture, but pretty soon, I'm going to have to stop this project and look for the sock pattern so I know what to do to turn the heel of the sock. I have lost the pattern several times already. I have no idea where I put it.

Another project that never gets done: And there is more where that came from. Sigh.

There is also a large pile of pants to be sewn too. I'm doome…

Easter picture dump

Did you all have a nice Easter?

Mine was colorful
and tastyFood coloring--it makes everything festive! And adding a peep makes it cute!

We ran exuberantly in random directions...
...and ambled casually as cousins, discussing egg location find treasure.
We enjoyed one last turn at being young.We enjoyed wearing ruffled, pink aprons given to us by daughters.
And I survived playing the organ at church yesterday, although it could have gone better. Next time I'll leave the savagely-beating, racing, nervous heart at home; it was not helping. Internal organs doing the alien-clawing-its-way-out-of-my-chest routine interfere with brain impulses meant for fingers and feet, causing spastic seizures in the extremities and many, many wrong notes.

After church Jim and I took a walk in Murphy Hanrehan park. We've lived in this area for fifteen years and this is the first time I've been to Murphy Hanrehan park. What a shame I've never been. Jim's been before, t…

Another reason I'm not getting anything done today

I had plans to use the kitchen at some point today (maybe even clean some part of it), but with the children home, they are always IN THE KITCHEN. Our kitchen is very tiny. Stick Matt in it and it's pretty much full. So come lunch time, which seems to be about three hours in length, access to the kitchen is unlikely. Thank goodness they can make their own lunches, at least.

Even when I'm the one filling up the kitchen, someone always has to barge in and say, "Can you get me a glass?" They could get themselves a glass, but I'm in the kitchen, and, thus, in the way. I either have to stop what I'm doing and get out of the kitchen, or stop what I'm doing and get them a glass. Perhaps I ought to tell them to drink out of the hose. Except then I'd have to stop what I'm doing and go turn the water on that leads to the hose. It never ends--the stop what I'm doing.

I'm hungry, but the children-shaped locusts have probably eaten everything in t…


The kids are home from school today because it's Good Friday (good for the teachers), except for Paul, who is at school for track practice.

I don't mind the kids having a day off school except that I never get anything done on those days. So despite my long list of things to do, I'm sure most of it will go undone today. Why? Why can't I manage to function when I've got kids around? They aren't little, they can fend for themselves, they obey, they do their chores when I nag them enough. Why is it that I can't manage when the children are around the house during the day? (and for that matter, when Jim is home, I can't seem to get in gear)

Maybe part of it is because no matter how independently functioning the children are, they STILL have to ask for things, or tattle on each other, or need reminding of things they should be doing.

"Mom, where's the stapler?" "In the drawer," I say. "No it's not." Then commences a…


I haven't blogged much about Katie lately. She's been working and knitting and texting and calling and attending Archuleta concerts.

And she got to do something I've always wanted to do--attend a Seder. Granted, I don't know much about the Passover meal beyond what I've read in the Old Testament (and that it involves horseradish and unleavened bread and the males must wear kippot), but I think it would be touching to get up close and personal with the symbols and hear their meaning read out loud in Hebrew (and hopefully English so I'd understand).

The family that Katie lives with (Jim's cousin and her husband and son) are of Jewish heritage and Sara's (the cousin) grandfather came to town to celebrate Passover with the whole Wright family. And they kindly invited Katie to join them. Aunt Karen sent some pictures and, hoping I don't offend, I'm going to post a few here. Karen, thanks for sending pictures!
Happy Passover!

How I came to watch the fake child

I don't talk about fake child much on my blog for privacy reasons, but today I wanted to write about how babysitting came about because I believe God was watching out for me.

I never wanted to babysit children. My mother made the suggestion years ago when Katie through Matt were still little and I pooh-poohed it (and rolled my eyes and gagged and sighed and harumphed) because I had enough of little children, thankyouverymuch. But when the time came for me to contribute financially to our circumstances, it was the best out of some not-very-palatable options. Matt was still at home when I started babysitting for a different family, but that lasted only two years. The dad decided when their second baby was born that he would become primary caretaker and thus my services were no longer needed. I spent one last pre-school year with Matt (although he was in kindergarten) and braced myself for entering the workforce as a substitute lunchlady or noon supervisor or some other non-certi…

Why do they call it a "meme"

Because it's all about ME. MEMEMEME!

I'm resorting to a meme today

1. Five things I've read recently:
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak--I highly recommend this book. Yes, it's about Nazi Germany, and it's about death, but it's a lovely book. The writing style is very poetic.
Part of the introduction to The Art of the Personal Essay. It's not boring, but it's long.
Jimmy's persuasive essay on doping in sports. It wasn't as high-schooly as it could have been. And he writes much better than I ever thought he would. And he didn't complain about having to write it as much as I thought he would.
The nutritional content panel of a packet of 100 calorie snacks.
Knitting instructions for day 6 (the last day) of the April knit-along
2. Five sites I've signed up for
3. Five shows I've watched lately
"Chuck" I have heard that it's in danger of being canceled. Sigh. Just like another favorite, "…

Stuff to do

Ahh, the sweet feeling I get after dinner is well on its way to being cooked! I love my crockpot! I had dinner in the crockpot before Matt left for school. I'll still have to shred the pork (I'm making pulled pork for sammiches later. Yes, I purposely spelled it that way) later, but at least I've got SOMETHING for dinner. If I don't get anything else done (and there is a strong possibility of that) at least I made an effort at dinner.

I have to practice the organ today and every day this week. Next week is not only Easter, but it's stake conference at church and the people in charge of these things asked me to play the organ. Rrr (they asked our regular organist, but she declined). Not that I mind playing the organ, but when I play in my own ward, many people know that I am not world's best, or even ward's best. But I'm pretty sure they appreciate my efforts and willingness. Now we will be combined with two other wards and I'm a little bit m…

No more monkey clinging to my back

I just submitted another difficult assignment for a college class. The difficulty lay not in my ability to write it (as was the case in my writing rhetoric class), but in asking people to read it--having a writer's workshop. I hate to ask people to give up some of their free time to read some pitiful scrap of weirdness (which is what I assume people think of what I write, not what I actually think I write. What I write makes perfect sense to me) for me and then tell me what they think of it. Luckily the people I gave my story to knew how to critique and didn't all just say, "I thought it was good" or "I thought it could be used to line the cat litter box."

It ended up being a 30-page behemoth of an assignment (14 pages contained the short story). Those 30 pages weighed heavily on my mind for many months. I wondered if I would even be able to finish. I contemplated giving up. But I really don't like to admit to my mother that I quit something. S…

Not named the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog and yesterday's lies

Matt likes to knit. He knit a miniature scarf while we were in Florida and when we went to the yarn shop the first time (when Jenni didn't know we went and when we got REALLY lost) the owner of the shop gave Matt a bunny pattern. We got him some yarn and he went to town on the pattern (a six inch square of knitting).

He finished it last night and now has a little green stuffed bunny, which he calls Bunners.It's kinda cute in a little green alien cuniculus kinda way.

So. Yesterday's list of possible April Fool's fibs? Only #1 was true. Thankfully, no cats puked in my laundry. My feet are fine. I'm not preggo. Getting an organ is just a pipedream (PIPEdream, get it? HAR). No conficker here. Kids lunch accounts--fine. My day off remained so. No mousies. Sadly though, no chocolate cake. The dishwasher problem turned out to be a quick fix related to the new garbage disposal, and no outside help was needed.

April Fool's.....or is it?

Ten things that might (or might not) be true:

1. Dishwasher isn't draining. This comes on the heels of a very sickly van (leaky brakes and bad body control module that controls windshield wipers and gas tank sensors).
2. Infection of our computer with the conficker virus.
3. Stubbed my toe on the bed frame this morning and now it is swollen and it hurts to put on my shoes. No exercise today.
4. All three kids needed lunch money TODAY.
5. Cats puked on the pile of clean shirts to be ironed, specifically MY shirt.
6. I'm pregnant.
7. Last-minute babysitting. Sigh.
8. I bought an organ.
9. I found another mouse in the garage eating away at my box of beloved dresses that WILL fit again someday.
10. I baked a chocolate cake to get me through this day of unfortunate events.

PS. Do you have old ties in your house that someone won't wear anymore? Do you also have children? Is Easter coming up? Check out this cool craft! I think I'm going to root through the tie collection of hus…