Thursday, January 03, 2008

Something New

I have been thinking of doing this for awhile....don't hate me.

I have transferred my blog to Wordpress. Will you still visit? Will you give me your opinion? Will you update any links and keep me on your Blogroll?

Please come...

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Best Year Yet

It has been a long time since I mourned the passing of a new year.

For quite some time I have welcomed the new year with a "Man, I'm glad that's over. Hopefully it will be better this year" mentality.

Looking back on 2007 I feel nothing but sadness in seeing it retreat. It was the year that I finally clawed my way into a position (dare I say career?) that actually pays the bills. It was the year that my house really became MY HOUSE. It was the year that John (the ex) no longer had control of me. It was the year that the girls really came into their own in many ways. It was the year that I finally felt solid in my friendships.

I am sad to see it go.

What in the world can 2008 hold? I know one thing for will be the year of painting the kitchen red. It will be the year of ripping up the living room carpet to reveal the awesome old wood floor beneath. It will be the year I plant some sort of perennial in the yard. It will be the year that I let go of resentments that I have been holding for so long that they have become a safety net. It will be a year of adventure and laughter with my girls. And it will be the year that my only resolution is to blog more often.

I'm excited.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Little Christmas Eve

Today is Christmas Eve, but more importantly, yesterday was Little Christmas Eve. This is a holiday that I always thought my Grandpa Lars made up in order to have an excuse to eat lutefisk, pickled herring and fish eggs. But it seems like he came by it honestly, bringing it from the old country....

December 23rd: “Lille julaften” - “Little Christmas Eve”
Most Norwegians decorate their Christmas tree in the evening of Dec. 23. The decorating of the house and the tree is done by the entire family.
There is a start in the top of the tree, and electric candles-shaped lights on the branches. Tinsel, hearts, angels, nisser and sometimes flags are a part of the tree decoration. Heart shaped christmas baskets made of colored, glossy paper is a decoration which s widely used.

I decided to have a get together in honor of this most wondrous of holidays. Taking a page from Grandpa's book it would give me a reason to drink wine and take pictures of my friends in front of the Barbie tree. As you can see, the true reason for the holiday (the decorating of the tree and giving of baskets) was lost on both him and me.

Pickled herring. Bring it on.

Since my house is very small and I had invited 8 grownups and 6 children I made the executive decision to allow the girls to open up their biggest surprise gift last night. I have been working madly since Thanksgiving to convert this little outbuilding in the backyard into a super cool pre-teen hang-out room.

It all started when I found an air hockey table on Craigslist for $35. Soon after the lime green papasan chair was found using the same wonderful website (also $35). My boss donated a rug, my friend some beautiful drapery panels, I bought a double bean bag chair ($50) and we used the desk and an easel to "art-up" a corner of the room. Eric and Natalie, the best ever neighbors spent four hours on Saturday helping me pull it all together. Without them I could have never been able to do this......

We needed to do this as soon as possible into the night in order to off-load the numerous children that we had no room for in the main house. I love that video. I love Sophie's screams, but what I love most is Maya, at the very end, looks over at me with the I-am-going-to-cry-in-front-of-all-these-people face and shakes her hand at me. Maybe being her mother allows me to see how overwhelmed she is....if you didn't pick up on it watch again, it is wonderful.

The rest of the night was spent in the company of wonderful weird friends. The room was filled with laughter and craziness. Also? I received the most incredible gift I think I have ever received....

Sean made it! Isn't it breathtaking! Here is a closer picture....

Oh! We took prom pictures in front of the tree, too!!

The following picture really sums up the night for me......

Oh...I almost forgot. This party was brought to you by the letter "T" -

And the number pi -

Grandpa would be so proud.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Water, Water Everywhere But Not a Drop To Drink

This last week saw the most rainfall in on day ever recorded for Seattle and surrounding area.

That's a lot of rain.

South of here in a town called Chehalis, Interstate 5 was under 8-10 feet of water. Here is an aerial photo to help illustrate the craziness:

Isn't that amazing? The Interstate is actually under the water - the road pieces that you see are the elevated exit ramps. Yikes.

The "God Clouds" lend a 40-days-and-40-nights sort of effect that I really like.

I remember learning from my Dad many things regarding rain and the weather in general while growing up on the ranch in Montana. He is the one that taught me that rain or blustery weather is coming about a day after you see the horsetail clouds high in the sky. I knew almost exactly how much time I had to get back to the house once the thunderclouds rolled over the mountains to the west of us. I knew how much rain it took to fill puddles to a certain level. One-tenth of an inch filled the regular small puddles, one-fifth of an inch overfilled the small puddles and surprising random puddles would show up. At one-half inch or more the possibility of a "gully-washer" loomed and I would excitedly monitor the end of the lane for gushing mini-rivers from the mountain.

He explained the differences in the soil. There was the clay and the sandy loam. They caused the water to behave differently. While flood irrigating (see "Surface Irrigation" in this Wikipedia article for explanation) I was always amazed that he knew the topography of every field and how the soil would accept the water. If you ran the water over one specific area of the field for a specific number of hours you could irrigate a totally different and separate part of the field just by understanding the geology involved in the water table.

Dry fields actually "boil" as water running over the dry ground absorbs into the ground around the alfalfa. The water replaces the air pockets in the ground and if you stand really still and listen you could hear the whispering agricultural hot-tub of bubbles.

I loved flood irrigating.

My Mom called to make sure that I was okay this weekend. I was explaining to her that I don't even need to watch the news anymore to know how much rain has fallen. We have had an inch of rain in 24 hours if I get a large puddle at the end of my driveway. We have had two inches of rain if I get a corresponding puddle in front of the steps.

This rain was different. Yes, first I got the end-of-the-driveway puddle, then the in-front-of-the-steps puddle - but I found out when we get 5+ inches of rain in a 24 hour period my entire driveway fills with about 1-2 inches of standing water.

"Well, now I know how to measure that kind of rain," I told her.

She was really quiet for a few seconds.

"Wow. You sound exactly like your Dad. He was always talking about how much rain filled up what puddles around here. I had forgotten about that," she said.

The above reminiscence would have never happened without her statement. I had forgotten all about it, too. It is amazingly comforting that silly things like rain vs. puddle measurement can be so deftly connected back to him. It assures me to think that in some ways I display something, anything, that was once his.

That is the best Christmas present of all for me.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Tis the Season

The girls and I have been talking.

We've been talking their entire lives. About anything and everything. They are smart and well-rounded and funny as hell.

And they totally get it.

They brought up the conversation about how artificial Christmas is. It started with them laughing hysterically at some toy commercials. They are sharp enough to point out that Bratz dolls, Barbies and My Scene dolls are all one in the same. Sophie noticed that if parents aren't willing to buy Bratz, they will probably let their kids have My Scene dolls. And everyone seems pretty fine with Barbies.

"I bet they are all by the same company Mom. That way they get the money no matter what. I don't want any Barbies this year. Everyone buys them for us and we have a hundred. I don't even play with them. What a waste of money."

Then we discussed artificial Christmas trees versus real. I like the idea of real, but love the ease of use of artificial. Our old artificial tree was showing its age, so we "Freecycled" it. When out shopping for another I kept walking back and forth in front of this tree thinking, "Oh no. I can't. Can I? Is it ridiculous? Oh my god, I love it. But I can't. Can I?" and on and on.

Finally I did.

The whole Christmas theme was identified. And the girls came up with the final them out of a few different contenders. It is.....

"Have an Artificial Christmas!"

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Playing Hobos

I was called home from work at 2 pm today due to the fact that Sophie was running a 102 degree fever. Again.

Now the last fever, although posted about yesterday, happened all the way back on Thursday.

I have been wondering....did she have this fever all weekend and I just didn't notice? I didn't take her temperature again after the throwing up night. She seem perky and cool to the touch.

Is this a re-occurrence or a continuance?

Damn. I hate to think she was feeling puny all weekend. It is hard to tell with her. Sometimes she just won't complain. If something better comes along than feeling sick, I swear that girl will just up and choose it. Can't fool those school nurses, though. They are tough hombres (or hombrecitas).

The funniest thing about fevers are the delusions. (That is written purely sarcastically, by the way.) Earlier this evening Sophie piped up from her pillow propped place on the couch with this gem...

"Mom? When I'm in 5th grade and can take band, I want to play the hobo."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

It's Not Thanksgiving Until Somebody Throws Up


Once again, the day held may things to be grateful for....

John, the girls' Dad came. Sophie got in a bit of trouble when she adamantly refused to walk with him the few blocks to the store for dish soap. I could not figure out why she was so unwilling to do this. It was a beautiful day...we walk to the store all the time....but the day went on after a time out and a large amount of grumpiness from John.

It is a tradition at our house to get our tired and over-stuffed butts in the car and drive a few miles to see "Fantasy Lights" (a Christmas light extravaganza in a local park - not some weird porn-esque lighting store). Thanksgiving day is the first day that it opens, and it runs through New Year's. For $13 you can stuff as many people in one car as possible and drive through the park with your headlights off to view the crazy and random light displays. Some are beautiful. Some are funny. And some are just plain weird. I submit the following for your enjoyment....

The rest of these are very short videos. It seemed easier than blinding everyone that was driving in the dark with my camera flash. Please ignore the blasting heater and random conversations....

Since we do live by one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, why not celebrate that fact with Christmas lights!

Santa is going a bit more high-tech this year...

You can't catch me...


And these were REALLY cool in person...and HUGE!

When we got home Sophie was complaining of a pounding headache. I reached out to rub her forehead and realized that she was absolutely burning up. She had a fever of 103 degrees and spent the rest of the evening in bed with me throwing up. It's a wonderful life. Amazingly, she was completely recovered by 6:00 am and we went about as everything was normal for the rest of the weekend.

No wonder she didn't want to walk to the store with her Dad, eh?

Stay tuned for day-after Christmas decorations and theme explanation!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Not to be too dorky, but I really am thankful for everything in my life.

I am so lucky to have my girls, my house, my friends (that means you, too!). I love this time of the year and can't wait to get it all officially kick started tomorrow. Today, Maya made the pumpkin pie, Sophie made the homemade cranberry sauce, I brined the turkey....All is exactly as it should be.

I love you guys.

Here are some funny recipes from kindergartner's that you should read, but maybe not try out on the relatives tomorrow...

Ivette - Banana Pie:
You buy some bananas and crust. Then you mash them up and put them in the pie. Then you eat it.

Geremy - Turkey
You buy the turkey and take the paper off. Then you put it in the refrigerator and take it back out and cut it with a knife and make sure all the wires are out and take out the neck and heart. Then you put it in a big pan and cook it for half an hour at 80 degrees. Then you invite people over and eat.

Shelby - Applesauce
Go to the store and buy some apples, and then you squish them up. Then you put them in a jar that says, "Applesauce." Then you eat it.

Christa - Cookies
Buy some dough and smash it and cut them out. Then put them in the oven for 2 hours at 100 degrees. Then take them out and dry them off. Then it's time to eat them.

Grace - Turkey
First you add some salt. Then you put it in a bowl. Then you put brown sugar on it. Then you mix it all together with a spoon and then you add some milk and mix it again. And then you put it in a pan. Then you put it in the oven for 15 minutes and 16 degrees. Then you take it out of the oven and then you eat it.

Jordan Si. - Chocolate Pudding
Buy some chocolate pudding mix. Then you add the milk. Then you add the pudding mix. Then you stir it. Then you put it in the refrigerator and wait for it to get hard. Then you eat it.

Jennie - Corn
My mom buys it. Then you throw it. Then you cook it. Then you eat it.

Nicholas - White and Brown Pudding
First you read the wrapper. Get a piece of water. Stir. Then you eat it.

Wai - Pumpkin Pie
Get a pumpkin. Cook it. Eat it.

Lauren - Turkey
First you find a turkey and kill it. Cut it open. Put it in a pan. Pour milk in the pan. Put a little chicken with it. Put salsa on it. Take out of pan. Put it on the board. Cut into little pieces. Put on a rack. Put in the oven for 7 minutes at 10 degrees. Take out of the oven and put eensy weensy bit of sugar on it. Put a little more salsa on it. Then you eat it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Secret to Holiday Stress

No, it's not yoga. Or volunteering. Or spending time with family and friends.

It's choosing a smart-ass theme.

This year the girls and I are really on the same page. We were discussing how ridiculous people get around Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have been hearing the "Oh my God, I'm so stressed out!" crap already. It is really just a state of mind - a choice.

If you don't want to stress out, don't. Tell everyone you know, "You know, this year I am refusing to stress out over the holidays. Therefore, I am not going to be able to attend your holiday party, Thanksgiving feast, shopping expedition, etc."

I have been doing this for the past five years and it is amazing how many people are not put off by this demand for no stress and personal space. They are so stressed themselves that your refusal is immediately replaced in their minds with little Johnny's Christmas list and the latest grocery necessities.

It may even insult you a bit, realizing how completely unimportant you really are in the hustle and bustle of another person's "holiday". Oh....but it is worth it!

I can't give my theme away until it is finished and ready to be posted with pictures, but I can tell you that the following picture has something to do with it.

Leave your "Shari's Holiday Theme" guess in the comments....

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

You Better Be Careful Or Your Face Will Stick Like That

This picture of Maya (circa 2003 and first grade) always makes me gasp. A first grade girls should not look like that. I remember buying her that dress. It was cotton with embroidered butterflies. It had long sleeves that came down over the tops of her hands in little V's. The skirt was also in a V shape in the front and back. On the rack the dress looked so adorable. So little-girl.

On Maya, it looked completely different.

She takes my breath away to this day with her beauty. The thing about it, though, is she always backs it up in spirit.

Tonight I came home to two breathless girls begging me to go to their schools "Skate Night". It is held a Tiffany's Skate Inn Roller Rink here in town, and it is always horrible (for me). It's cold in there - unless you are skating - crowded, loud, and lasts from 6:30 - 8:30, rendering the entire evening useless for anything else.

I am mean and I said "No".

The begged and pleaded more. The finished their homework without me asking. They offered to pay their own way in. There was nothing to do but relent.

I knew immediately why it was so important for Maya to be there the minute I pulled up. See that kid in the upper left corner of the picture making the crazy face? Yeah? That's Mikey. Maya loves Mikey and always has. This year (5th grade) it is something a little more than just thinking he is really funny and wanting to sit by him because he tells good jokes.

This year she wants to skate with him.

Oh God.

Of all the kids in her class, if forced to choose, I would also choose Mikey for Maya to have her first little crush on. Mikey is funny. He is fast in races. He is actually polite. He came to Maya's violin recital last year even though he played no instrument. Mikey is okay in my book.

So far.

As I was walking out of Tiffany's Skate Inn last night Mikey's Mom tapped me on the shoulder. I have always liked her, but don't really know her. I know that she volunteers in the class a lot. I know that she is quiet and reserved and has a kind face. These things make a good first impression as far as I am concerned.

Mikey's Mom said, "I just wanted to tell you something. If I had a daughter, I would want her to be just like Maya. I see the girls in her class starting to really play some mean games with each other this year, and Maya doesn't do it. She is so caring and good. If Mikey ever brings someone like Maya home someday, I will be the happiest Mother in the world."

Wow. That is some good stuff for a parent to hear.

I am so proud to know that my daughter comes across to the world as I have always felt she comes across to me....

But Mikey better not get to friendly or I will make his face stick like that.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Piano Practice

The girls have started practicing their pieces for the December recitals. I am so proud of how far they have come since they started piano. I wanted a before and after for them to compare their early practice with their recital playing...

Sorry about the lighting and shakiness....

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Extreme Personal Hygeine

It was Sophie's turn to go grocery shopping with her Dad this Sunday. He comes every Sunday EARLY in the morning (7 AM for Chrissakes) and takes them alternately to the store. This is his contribution, I suppose. It could be worse, it could be better. It is what it is.

Every time each girls seems to talk him into something. A DVD. A Nintendo DS game. Shoes. Something. It gets a bit ridiculous, but who am I to judge what he spends his money on? I just don't want them spoiled - but it seems I'm poor enough to offset any spoilage that might happen on his end.

This Sunday Sophie came bursting through the door with her latest prize. You would have thought it was a puppy as breathlessly over-stimulated as she was. No. It was not a puppy. It was a nose-hair trimmer.

(Thanks to the nose-hair trimming people for the image.)

Yes. A nose-hair trimmer. For nose hair. For old man nose-hair (and the occasional stubborn ear beard, I suppose).

I do admit that Sophie has a prodigious amount of hair in her nose. But it is IN HER NOSE. It is not visible. It is normal.

I don't know if she was teased at school, but if she was I would have thought it would follow normal Sophie patterns. She would cry. She would pound on her pillow. She would be dramatic. But this nose hair thing came in completely under the radar. And she wasn't at all shy about wanting this thing. She ripped it from the box and started explaining all of it's features.

  • It was silver and shiny.
  • It trimmed nose AND ear hair.
  • It came with a little brush that you could clean the nose hairs off after trimming was over.
  • It was washable.

It was insane.

For the next 30 minutes Sophie was in the bathroom giggling uproariously and trimming like crazy. Every now and then I'd hear, "It tickles!" and "Whoa! That was a good one!".

I could not get her to stop following me around the rest of the day begging to be allowed the chance to trim my nose hair. I refused and touted all the wonders of nose hair. She looked up my nostrils and said, "Mom, it's a jungle up there. C'mon. Can I?"

It has not happened, but I don't put it past her to do it while I'm sleeping.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Diabetic sugar coma encroaching....

Can't write...can't think straight.....4 hours of trick or treating....

Monday, October 29, 2007

Speaking of a Drawer Full of Toys....

Wonderful Christine's comment on the previous post made me realize that I have a story that I have not shared with hardly anyone....and would not have necessarily wanted to share. Unfortunately, a few years ago I made a vow to never keep anything secret that anyone could possibly hold over my head.

Sometimes that vow really sucks. But I suppose I would rather just tell everyone now before Sophie decides to blog about it when she gets a bit older and realizes just how funny the story really is....

In my first long period of celibacy (yes, this is my second period of celibacy thank-you-very-much) I was coming up on my second year anniversary of no sex. I decided right then that I would either need to lay myself right down and have a big ole cry OR....I could have a party. That was that day that my Celibacy Celebration was born. My period of celibacy lasted three years, enough to have two Celibacy Celebrations AND a Shari Got Her Groove Back Party.

The first party was met with some confusion and embarrassment by my friends. But enough Margaritas into it, they begun to understand. One of my "friends" went up to the DJ in the club we were in and had him announce to all present that it was my second year of celibacy and everyone should congratulate me, etc. Amazingly enough, the intelligence level at this particular establishment was such that for the rest of the evening, really drunk men kept slurring "Happy Birfday Sweetheart"'s. I was not impressed. And the celibacy thing started really making a whole lot of sense right about then.

The second year people were really ready. There were gifts. There was food (Penis-shaped Pasta Salad, mini wieners, plastic cutlery with anatomically correct handles....). One of the gag gifts was a tiny vibrator in a case about the size of a Life Savers package. It (the package) had the multi-colored rings and the words "It's a Lifesaver!" on the outside.

The "Lifesaver" has resided in my underwear drawer ever since.

Ahem. Moving on.....

This summer, during one of the many barbecues, Sophie came running out onto the deck with the Lifesaver package in her hand.

"Mom! What's this? I thought it was candy, but look! What is it?" she said as she took the vibrator out of the package.

I moved very, very fast.

Amazingly enough, everyone who was at the party had been distracted only moments earlier by my neighbor Eric, and had gone over to his house. The only person who witnessed the disaster was Natalie (neighbor and wife to Eric).

Oh my God we laughed hard. And Sophie knew that what she had done was incredibly funny, although she didn't know why. She also recognized immediately that this incident had the miraculous power to make me immediately embarrassed and willing to threaten her with horrific bodily injury if she tried to tell the story to anyone.

I suppose that I didn't threaten the correct person in this situation. The other evening as I was leaving Natalie and Eric's house (the girls were spending the night over there with their friend Grace) I heard words that made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end.

Eric said, "Good night. Maybe you can spend your evening with a roll of Lifesavers."

Natalie is totally going to get it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Go Kiss Yourself


I think that Autumn has the same effect on me that Spring has on most people. Hmmmm....I'm impatient. I want to travel. I want to be surrounded by people. I want....I want to have crazy anonymous monkey sex with almost any random passer-by.

Don't worry I won't actually do it. Its just that I want to.

In reality, I can have perfectly good sex with myself. It is even more likely to be more satisfying. I can handle that. I could maybe go for the rest of my life not having sex with anyone - but I miss kissing.

You can't kiss yourself.

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