Friday, November 30, 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Houselights go down and all I see is him
overly bright in the spotlight
greeting his audience
then taking a position behind the long table
one by one plates begin to spin
delicately balanced atop slender poles
first five, then ten
fifteen, twenty
when the last is spinning
he rushes back to the first
begins it all again
we’re every one caught up in the feverish whirling
marveling at the sustained motion
wondering how long he can keep them all spinning
at the same time

And in the dark it hits me
I’m reeling
dizzied by that same fever of spinning my own balancing act
scared to let any of my plates fall
where everyone can see
rushing madly to add another and another
to keep them all in rotation
when what I need most is
fewer plates.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

We are family

I have this fantasy. No, no—before you rush to get out the brain bleach and a scrub brush, it's not that kind of fantasy.

See, I was running on the treadmill the other night, and grooving to my workout tunes, and "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge started to play. I have always loved that song. And it reminded me that for a long time I've had a daydream about dressing up in a gold lamé disco jumpsuit and a 'fro and singing "We Are Family" with my sisters, all dressed in matching jumpsuits and wigs, and shaking our groove thangs. And here's the fantasy part: I look and sound totally fierce while doing this. We all do.

Yeah, I know. That's why it's called a fantasy.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Turkey day wrap up

The last twenty-four hours have been a whirlwind of flour, sugar, and other assorted ingredients. We finally got out the door at 2:30 this afternoon with a pecan pie, a chocolate pecan pie, an apple pie and a green bean casserole, and headed to Jim's parents' home for dinner. One of his brothers and one of his sisters were also there with their spouses and children; it was a spirited group with eight adults and six kids.

After dinner the adults relaxed, slipping closer to tryptophan-induced comas, and the kids played Wii. I sat on the couch cuddling with Audrey, who was feeling a bit slighted that I spent most of the morning baking while she had to watch from her bouncy seat. As we snuggled, I reflected on my blogging exercise in gratitude, trying to figure out an appropriate way to wrap it up. And it hit me: when life gets challenging (as it has for my family this year), I'm just so grateful for my faith, a healthy body, having family around me, and being financially able to have a bounteous meal without whipping out the Visa card to pay for the groceries.

This is one of those years, and that's enough for me.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Crème de la crème

One of my oldest friends, Holly, lives in Munich with her husband and little boy. When Audrey was born, Holly sent me a parcel containing an adorable baby toy, some absolutely divine dark Swiss chocolate, and a tube of the best hand cream. Ever. For which I am truly grateful, because when you're washing your hands a gazillion times a day after changing lots of poopy diapers, good hand cream is worth its weight in platinum. Oh, and it smells like oranges. Mmmmm.

Gotta find somewhere I can get it on this side of the Atlantic. Soon.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Family portrait

Here's a recent masterpiece by our budding resident artist: a picture of our family, including Will and Fiona. I'm the one in the middle with the big hair. It's always a revelation to see myself through someone else's eyes, especially those of my child.

Probably more than anything else, I am grateful for my family. Since becoming a wife and mother, I have laughed and cried more than I ever did before, and my life is the richer for it—I am richer. I owe much of being happy, confident and comfortable in my own skin to Jim, Jimmy and Audrey because I've had to stretch myself on so many levels to fulfill my responsibilities to them, to learn and grow in ways that a job or church assignments or education never required.

I love my husband and children so dearly, for who they are, but also who I am because of them.

Monday, November 19, 2007

First snow for frankencar

As usually happens the week of Thanksgiving, we've had our first snow for the winter. Sleet started falling yesterday as we were getting ready for church, and during the course of the day, it turned to snow. The temperature is still above freezing during the day, but it won't be long now before it starts to stick.

I've decided that in the week leading up to Thanksgiving, I'm only going to blog about things that I'm grateful for (like the Christmas cactus). Today I'm thankful for snow, and here's why. See this sign? It's directly across the street from our house. In its entirety the sign reads: "Snow route. No parking when snow depth exceeds 2 inches. Ordinance no. 3177. Contact police department for impounded vehicles." Living along a priority plow route is definitely a reason to be grateful, though in my case it's probably not for the reason you'd think.

This is Frankencar. Oh, how I've wanted to blog about Frankencar before, but I was always too angry to see straight, let alone put together a cohesive sentance. Our neighbors *cough* white trash *cough* across the street have a teenage son who has been constantly rebuilding his car ever since they moved in this past spring.

Over the course of the summer, a series of Subarus have inhabited the curbside directly across the street from our house. Each one has been cannibalized for usable parts and then disappeared. Only Frankencar has remained, slowly taking shape. One night after eleven as I was getting ready to head up to bed, I noticed a bright flash behind the blinds in our living room. I peeked out and they were arc-welding on their front lawn. Arc-welding. On the lawn. At eleven p.m. In a moment of weak character, I was disappointed to note that they did have protective eyewear.

Once Frankencar was actually up and running (complete with naked silver lady mudflaps bolted to the rear bumper), life across the street was frought with intermittant frustration bordering on rage. You see, in all the piecemeal parts that kid salvaged, he forgot a muffler. So at all hours of the day and night when he revved up his engine to show his friends how cool his car was before they went galivanting around, the entire neighborhood knew it. This was especially frustrating during the last couple months of my pregnancy when I was having trouble sleeping.

The week before Audrey was born Jim went over and talked to the kid, told him that we would be having a baby soon, and politely asked him to keep the noise down. Apparently he was pretty embarrassed and for about a month the revving lessened considerably. When it started up again, one of his other neighbors must have complained because code enforcement showed up at his front door one afternoon when I was checking the mail. But that's been long enough ago that the kid is back to revving his engine, any time of day or night.

Which is why it warms the cockles of my unneighborly heart when the snow starts to fall. Because even if it's only for a short season, Frankencar will be gracing the curb across the street from someone else's house.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Thanksgiving cactus

When it comes to houseplants, I've got the black thumb of death. Over the past two decades I've only managed to keep a half-dozen plants alive for more than six months, but then my cats dig those ones up. Or pee in them. Equally deadly.

Right now my only surviving houseplant older than three months is a Christmas cactus, which I bought when Jimmy was a baby. It lived on a narrow bathroom windowsill in our Bellevue apartment, where it got lots of light and moisture. Since we moved to Ellensburg, the cactus has resided on a sunny windowsill above the kitchen sink, where the precipitous perch has been a sufficient deterrant against feline attack, and the conveniently located faucet helps me remember to water it (most of the time). I think the favorable change in venue has permanently altered its biological clock; the cactus now blooms starting in mid-November.

Serendipitously, this provides me with something lovely to look at while I do dishes, just in time for the holiday season when my kitchen is shell-shocked for weeks on end with dirty pots and pans from big family dinners and Jim's numerous baking projects. And anything that makes doing dishes more pleasant is something to be thankful for!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

ZIP it

As you may or may not know, I'm an information junkie. Here's my latest fix, courtesy of my not-so-wicked stepmother, Lo.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Raking and aching (my back, that is)

Guess how I got my workout this weekend?

Why is this woman smiling?! Shes's raking elm leaves while toting a ten-pound sack of sugar...

... a ten-pound sack of sugar who wouldn't go down for a nap!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bosom buddy

Sorry. I lied. This post is in no way related to that hilarious 80s sitcom starring a very young Tom Hanks, Peter Scolari and the incomparable Holland Taylor.

What it is about is a totally cool baby gift I got from one of Jim's co-workers, Gail. The Bosom Buddy is an ingenious nursing shield made of light-weight fabric. It was always difficult to nurse Jimmy away from home because he was easily distracted and didn't like to have his head covered with a blanket. Audrey has been much easier to nurse in public, and in large part because of this gift. Gail's daughter makes them and sells them on her website. If you're looking for a thoughtful baby shower gift (or want one for yourself) check it out!

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, no, I wasn't paid for this post. I just believe in sharing a good product I like as much as warning away from a poor one (see below).

Friday, November 09, 2007

@#$%! sony

I'm not nearly as steamed about my Sony NW-E507 mp3 player as I was last year (when I left a nasty review about the product on Perhaps time has dulled the pain. Or maybe I'm just more jaded about electronics than I used to be. I think what still chaps my hide the most is I bought the NW-E507 when it first came out and was ridiculously expensive, because I wanted a really nice player for working out that would last a long time—and then it went haywire on me almost exactly a year after I bought it. It still works (sometimes, if I stand on my head and cross all my fingers, toes, and eyes), but it's unreliable and a total waste of money. I feel like such a sucker.

Take my advice: buy a cheap mp3 player. The technology changes so rapidly, when one wears out you can replace it with a better (and often cheaper) model. Oh, and avoid Sony like the pestilential multi-national conglomerate it is.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Strength courage & wisdom

Tonight I was back on the treadmill, listening to my workout mix on my @#$%! Sony mp3 player (but that's a story for another time), and into my ready ears flowed the words of one of my favorite tunes:

It's time to step out on faith
I gotta show my face
It's been elusive for so long
Freedom is mine today
I gotta step out on faith
It's time to show my face
Procrastination had me down
Look what I have found

I've found strength, courage and wisdom
It's been inside of me all along
Strength courage and wisdom
Inside of me

Gotta love India.Arie. Whenever I need the inspiration to take care of myself, this song renews my faith in my own ability to do what's necessary.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Tri, tri again

Back at the beginning of October I got a clean bill of health from Dr. Herman and I was so excited to be able to start biking, swimming and running again.

Then I blinked, and October was gone.

So today was it. Halloween-candy-eating-couch-potato amnesty is over. I got back on my treadmill and it was a modest workout (I walked three miles in sixty minutes), but it was a workout. Feel the endorphins... ahhhhhhh!

I've got just under ten months until the Titanium Man Triathlon down in Kennewick. I did it a year ago Labor Day weekend, and I'm going to do it again in 2008. I'm starting out slow so I don't hurt myself; I went to, where I got a great training program last time around, and found one that will get me started: the "Aggressive Couch to 5K".

It's good to have a goal. I get things done when I have a goal.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Soul sistah

This weekend I drove over to Seattle with the kids to help out at my mom's while she underwent surgery to repair three ruptured discs in her back. The timing was unfortunate because she and my stepdad will be moving in a month or so, and both of them have had major health problems. Two of my sisters, Meredith and Dorothy, were also there and we spent as much time as we could packing and cleaning.

In between a bit of female bonding and comic relief.

Here and there.

Thursday, November 01, 2007