Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Would You Rather

I love playing that game. You know the one. You come up with two horrific scenarios and ask a friend - or stranger for that matter - which one they would rather have happen to them.

It's a perfect ice breaker. A great way to get to know someone.

"Would You Rather" could be successfully used as a quick way to weed through the dating pool.

"Would you rather sleep with George Bush or John Kerry?"

"Janet Reno or Margaret Thatcher?"

"Fall 10 stories and half way down catch your eyelid on a nail or have three toenails pulled out by a large man with needle nose pliers?"

"Never be able to speak again or only be able to speak an completely unknown language that no one else understands."

You can see how you could gleen all important things about a person this way. Right?

Well, Sophie and I were playing the other day. With children it is sort of important to not have sexual references or gory scenarios. "Would you rather live in a tent or a cave?" is a good one for children. (Just so you know....)

She came up with one that stunned me. I still haven't decided on my answer.

"Would you rather be a worm on a sidewalk while girls are playing jump rope or lick peanut butter of of a hobo's foot?"

No hobos were harmed in the writing of this post.

Monday, February 27, 2006


Back at the ranch it is calving season.

It is also -37 F. That's right, that's negative 37. Fahrenheit.

Little wet afterbirth-y calves sometimes don't do that well in extremely cold conditions - as you can imagine. Amazingly, many do just fine. But the ones that need it are getting some pretty great treatment about now.

I was talking to my sister (newly home from Antarctica. Hi!) who relayed the following story.

The cold calves are being hauled to my Mom's house and put in the mudroom (thank God for mudrooms). The floors have radiant heat which slowly warms the calf without shocking it. My brother's kids, Rhiannon (6) and Lars (3), are in charge of rubbing the baby calf down with towels. This stimulates and warms the baby.

Plus, it's just a fun thing to do.

The kids have decided that this gives them naming rights, and they fight over this right amongst themselves.

A few days ago two calves came in while Lars was there alone. This gave him clear and inarguable rights to naming.

And, well..... he is at that stage when learning new words - sometimes kind of "forbidden" words - is really taking hold.

He named them Fart and Penis.

This is Lars, calf's name unknown.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Hypothesis - I Believe That Megan Will Be Proven To Be A Snotty Show Off

She got..........(drumroll)..........



Actually, she was very disappointed. But I turned her around. They were only sending 15 projects from the entire school. I pointed that out to her a few times AND shared the fact that I did absolutely terrible projects as a child. Her's blew anything that I ever did way out of the water.

But, there was one problem she hasn't quite gotten over.

You see, my former friend Megan has three kids in Maya's Elementary School. Every damn one of them moved on to the district Science Fair.

Let's see - 15 kids. All 3 of hers are going. Do I feel a mathematical formula coming on?????

x=percentage of school Megan's uterus is personally responsible for representing at the district science fair


Holy crap! Her kids make up 20% of our elementary school's representation.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Einstein Needs To Step OFF

The Finished Science Fair Project


The Guinea Pig prefers the Orange over the Grape!

Who knew????!!!!!

PS - Set up is tonight, judging tomorrow during the day and awards tomorrow night! Wish her luck!

Friday, February 17, 2006

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things...

Just for the record, I would like something like this next Valentine's Day....

or this...
or this....

If you haven't been to www.foundmagazine.com yet - go. These are just some examples of what you'll find there. I could spend hours on that site.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


I was shopping for construction paper at the Dollar Store last night and realized that I truly love that store.

The kitsch is so so so very fantastic. I could spend hours there.

As I have said before, Sophie loves the ceramic figurines and has amassed quite a collection. Here is her latest find.

There are two more in the series. This one is named "Love" and she is saving up for "Faith" and "Hope".

Good God. I have "faith" that there is no "hope" for the child due to her "love" of crappy knick-knacks.

But the biggest find of the night was two racks of personalized items.

There were notepads. There were pens. With names! And sayings!

I have just started in a new position at my company and work closely with two other people. I have found they are just as sick and twisted as I am. So naturally I thought that they might enjoy having an extremely dorky notepad and matching pen with their name on it. Their names were there - Candice and Daniel. But Shari? Shari is never there. There is Sherry, Sherri and Sheri, but never Shari.

That's when I decided we all needed aliases anyway.

According to our notepads I am "Savannah", Candice is "Marissa", and Daniel is "Rick". My pen tells the world I am "Born to Shop", Candice is a "Bingo Mama" and Daniel is a "#1 Bowler". And if you thought it couldn't get any better than that..... along the bottom of our notepad are cutesy little pictures.

"Rick" has soccer balls.

"Marissa" has ponies and horses.

And "Savannah"? Dogs with hats.

Yeah. Dogs with hats.

I have no idea where that came from. But that is the beauty of the Dollar Store.

What would your notepad and pen say?

Advice For Dick Cheney From My Eight Year Old

Maya wakes up every morning at 5:30 A.M. so she can spend time with me. She lays on the couch and keeps an eye on the traffic report while I run around the house getting things ready for the day. (Even though I am taking the train now, she still keeps a vigilant eye out for any information on the Hwy. 167 congestion.)

Today, between traffic reports, she saw a news story about the Dick Cheney shooting incident. She walked into the kitchen with a perplexed look on her face.

She said, "Mommy, did you know the Vice President shot his friend?"

"Yes, honey. That was a bad accident, wasn't it?"

(I am serious about quoting this next passage because it was so profound that after I stopped laughing hysterically, I wrote it down...")

"Well, yes, but even I know.....
  1. Never go hunting.
  2. Never hunt with a gun.
  3. Never point a gun at your friend and accidentally shoot him."

While she was making her point, she was actually holding up one, two, then three fingers to emphasize her point.

Adults sometimes miss the simple, logical things - don't they?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

And Moving On From Valentine's Day Drama.....

To get things back on the happy track, Maya has brought home her second essay. Remember the first guest blogger post? Remember "The Worst Week Ever"?

(no editing was done to essay to keep originality intact)

Twisty Tooth
by Maya

Twist! Twist! I was at dinner at home wiggling my loose tooth. I was six years old when I lost my first tooth! My Mom said "why don't you give that tooth a little twist".

So, I did. I felt something werid and guess what? My tooth was on its side. It hurt but I was ok with it. Blood came out.

I just yanked it out. When my tooth came out it didn't hurt anymore. I was glad. My mom said "I'm going to get a visit from the tooth fairy. I put my tooth in a tooth bag I got from a book. I felt something werid so I went into the bathroom to see where my tooth used to be. I jumped up and down because I was exited.

I went downstairs to eat. We where having corn. I put a peice of corn where my tooth used to be. It looked like I had a yellow tooth.

I might not twist another tooth agian for a long time because my mouth felt werid when I pulled my tooth out.

(When I get exited I feel werid.....)

It's Over....

At least this year I didn't get a postage due valentine from a gay man.

I mean it could have been worse.

I got nothing. Except the love of my fellow bloggers and good friends. I appreciate that.

Why am I still disappointed then? I am tough and uncaring and make dark and cynical music mixes! How much more heartless do you want me to be, world? Even with a 2 week preparation period I was unable to overide the inevitable loneliness that the marketers want every single woman to feel on Valentine's Day.

No good dirty rotten bastards.

I was talking to my best and greatest friend Megan last night when her husband and children came bursting into the house with happiness and love. I was jealous. And I cried. Right there on the phone.

I am not proud of that.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

It's Allllllliiiiiiiiiiiivvvvvvveeeee!

I know that you are all worrying yourself to death over the fate of the Minty Squirrel. Let me assure you, everything is okay. It is now happily in residence at my house again, running, and basically happier than ever.

A special thanks to KOM who gave me absolutely brilliant mechanical advice when it comes to the squirrliness that is a Festiva. I, however, did not need to use any of his brilliant ideas.

I am not telling you what was actually wrong with the car.


Moving on....

I decided the time for pampering this wonderful chunk of a car was well past due. I washed it AND had a car phone installed....

Happy Valentines Day ya bunch o' schmucks! I love you!

If you love it so much, why don't you marry it?

Thursday, February 09, 2006


After walking around all day yesterday wondering why the hell the crazy man at the bus stop (see previous post) made me so happy, it finally hit me.

It reminded me of Jim.

Jim was my very best friend from high school who killed himself eight years ago.

I had a dream a few years after his death that he was hovering above me in the sky, upside down and dancing. He looked down (up?) at me, smiled a huge smile, and burst into confetti.

The joy I felt in that dream while I was standing there having "Jim confetti" fall on my head was indescribable. It lasted for weeks.

I finally was able to deal with his death after that dream.

Last night I was thinking about him and remembering when I found out about his death. It was so unbelievable that I couldn't cry. But I wrote. I sat down a wrote a letter to his parents describing the times Jim and I spent together and what it meant to me.

It was a bit passive/aggressive,I suppose, because his parents had left him to fend for himself in Montana when he was in 7th grade. They bought an old hotel as an investment, went back to Arkansas, and left a 13 year old boy to live in a grungy old bum hotel by himself.

His sister later married the rancher across the river from our ranch and Jim moved out to live with her.

They missed out on a great guy. I felt like they didn't really know him.

What follows is the verbatim letter that I sent them. It's long and you don't have to read it, but I think it's important to post. It's my reaction and words only moments after I found out that my best friend was never coming back. If my house burns down, I want to have record of it.

Man, I miss him sometimes.


Jim always wanted me to write a book. I suppose that this will be the first chapter. A best friend that helped me through some of the hardest times in my life is now gone, but I'd like to share what he meant to me. The words do not come easy, but through the tears the memories still have me laughing.

Walking back from "Snappy Service" with Melissa while in 7th grade a new face rode by on a bicycle (no hands, of course) and tossed that first "Hi ya'll" in our direction. That was the fist time I came in contact with Jim. We giggled at his southern accent.

In 8th grade our friendship grew. I have pictures to prove it! At graduation Jim wore his incredibly dapper rendition of a Miami Vice outfit. This included the thin white tie, blue shirt and matching white pants. I'm not sure if he had the Don Johnson white shoes or not, but if he didn't I'm sure he wanted to.

After that, Jim moved away, but came back our Junior year of high school. I remember him coming to visit as some friends and I were heading to a basketball tournament in Butte. He was embarrassed I think to have come over and have us leaving. I invited him along. We all squished into Adam's red VW bug and chugged to Butte in a driving snow storm at approximately 30 mph.

By the time Senior year 1989-1990 rolled around, we were inseparable friends. Since we both lived in un-cool 25 miles from town and were in sports, we carpooled almost every day. This was a bit trying for me when Jim drove due to the fact that whe was absolutely always running late. Mr. Kolski in first period Physics developed a special hatred of our mid-class interruptions.

There were times when I drove my father's pride and joy - the AMC Matador, but Jim had a COOL car. (And I mean cool in more ways than one) First of all it was pretty cool to have a 1960's model Ford Mustang convertible in Dillon. Convertibles are few and far between in that part of the country. The down side to this, however, was the fact that the car had, if I remember correctly, very poor heating. In fact, it might have had no heating at all. Did this stop us? Ha! Of course not. We simply wrapped ourselves heavily in Army Surplus down sleeping bags and away we'd go. Our feet may have felt like dead logs on the end our legs, but there is nothing like seeing the faces of people on the I-15 interstate as we'd drive past them in February with the top down!

Jim was a natural athlete. I never tired of watching him at track meets win the 100 meter hurdles without even trying. While everyone was warming up and preparing for the race, Jim would be eating a sandwich (or something just as ridiculous). He ran effortlessly and never really cared if he won or lost (but he always won).

I remember one night in particular that many people were exposed to the hilarity that was Jim - that I was privileged with every day. Jim was in the school play "Funky Winkerbean". Of course, Jim played the part of Funky Winkerbean because he was a ham. In one scene Funky was taking his trumpet lesson. It was supposed to be a very shakey version of some easily recognizable tune. Jim had been playing the trumpet for a long time at this point and was good enough to really fake it well. Knowing, that this was the last night the play would run, he decided to shock everyone - the audience, fellow actors and even me - by launching into a raucous jazzy tune while sliding around on the floor and climbing over chairs on the stage. It was the most shocking, hysterical, and perfect thing I have ever seen. I laughed so hard I was literally lying in the aisles of the auditorium with tears running down my face. And I was not alone. Jim was a sort of a cult hero in our school after that.

At the end of our Senior year we know that we would be going our separate ways.We were both a bit "high spirited" we did not deal with this realization very well. Actually, we began to fight and pick at each other. By the week before graduation we weren't even talking. One night I confronted him, screaming that he was a huge jerk that didn't value friendships, etc, etc.... By the end of the conversation we both realized that we didn't really want to be without each other. We had become each other's mutual habit. We both had significant others, this friendship was as true and honest and friends could be. No one has given me the feeling of just "being" that Jim gave me. He was so much more than anything I have had with anyone else. I believe he was my true soulmate.

The saddest day was the day that he left to go down south to go the Citadel. He came to Missoula and spent two days with some friends and me. I had to work the day he was leaving. He drove the good ole Mustang up front of the bicycle shop where I worked and come in to say goodbye. There really wasn't much to say, and he drove away after a brief hug was exchanged. I cried and I watched my best friend drive away and leave me wondering when I would ever see him again. And more importantly, how he would ever be the same Jim after being in a military school. That next year, the first in college for both of us, I finally heard from him after he got his phone privileges. He had a hard time that first year. He did leave the Citadel for a college in Arkansas, but ended up returning and completing his degree at the Citadel. He sounded like he conquered a demon when he graduated. I was so proud of him.

The next few years we only kept in touch with the very occasional phone call. I think we were on a six month or so timer. He did moved out to Seattle for a while. I helped him find a place in West Seattle. I was pregnant with my first child when he came , and had her while he was here. I was busy being a new Mom and couldn't figure out why Jim would never stop by to visit us.

Come to find out, he had lost a camera that I had let him borrow and was too embarrassed to tell me. I can't imagine that he would believe I would rather have a camera than a friend. He hated Seattle with a passion and moved back home.

I did see him one more time when I took my daughter back to Montana for the summer. He was staying at his sister's across the river and came to visit.We drove around the ranch on my grandmother's golf cart taking turns holding my daughter Maya. We talked about everything that had gone wrong, and how he could make it right. He had hope and inspiration again. My friend Jim was back.

I've talked to him on the phone a few times since that day. It seemed like everything was okay. That we was still looking for that magical something that would fulfill his dream. A dream that he couldn't explain in words. I was cheering for him from afar. Silently hoping that he would find it, and show me the magic too.

Hey Stanley! It's Cold Out Here!

I don't want to alarm anyone unnecessarily......

But the Minty Squirrel may be dead.

It was alive on Monday morning when I drove to work, and when I went to start it after work - nothing. Not even a glimmer of life. Now, I am assuming that it is just the battery, but because I can't do anything about it until this weekend, I have started an alternative commute strategy.


I walk to the train (takes about 15 minutes). It is still darkish out, and one day it was even foggy and mysterious. That day I pretended I was in an old movie and I was a glamorous yet dangerous spy.

When I depart the train, I get on the bus that brings me right to work. I actually get to work in the same time frame, sometimes faster.


I walk to the bus stop right outside of work, then catch the train from the station home. Then I walk home. This way is a bit more unpredictable it seems. But I am still getting home in very good time. On a good day, the entire commute is only about 30 minutes, compared to an hour by car.

I believe I will keep this as my commute because:
  1. I like the walking thing in the morning and afternoons, it is quite refreshing.
  2. It is faster.
  3. I feel like it will be friendlier to the environment.
  4. If the Minty Squirrel is not dead, this will extend it's poor little life.
  5. Stanley and his friend.

Every morning I am almost 100% guaranteed to catch the same bus when I get off the train. There are always the same two men waiting at the stop. They are both obviously mentally challenged.

One wears the same clothes every day (at least he has Tuesday through Thursday) - Brown pants, a plaid orange and brown shirt that is left untucked, and a hunter's orange coat. He talks to himself, but is quiet and does not disturb anyone.

The other is this fantastic little man...... he is small in stature, carries a lunch box cooler, wears a cap and a moustache. He doesn't talk to anyone but the first man. Today, he was jumping up and down and saying, "Hey Stanley! It's cold out here!" over and over. If you didn't pay much attention or weren't around too long, you would think he was a typical blue collar guy.

Except for the ticks.

Occasionally but regularly, he will look up in the sky excitedly and smile the biggest and most endearing smile you can imagine. It's like his best friend that he hasn't seen for 10 years is hovering up there and just took him by surprise. Then he will glance around at everyone in the vicinity to see if maybe someone else may have witnessed this fantastic event in the sky.

This happens approximately every 2 minutes.

Everyone ignores him. I guess I can see why. But I can't help but wonder if he is very disappointed in us. Where is our joy? Why do we only look at our shoes and not up at the sky where the wonderful thing is occurring?

It must be frustrating.

Today, when he saw whatever he saw up there and started to smile that incredible smile. I secretly caught his eye. With our eye contact, his perusal of the crowd immediately stopped, but his smile stayed.

I smiled. I looked up at the sky. And I met his eye again.

I'm sure I didn't see what he did. But I have been smiling ever since.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Popular

Oh, the paparazzi! They are SUCH a bore.

The sheer level of exhaustion I have been feeling is primarily due to being harangued by the unrelenting international paparazzi.

I duck in back doors, I have my "people" generate false reports regarding my location....but to no avail. One in particular would not leave me alone. So, I felt that if I gave in I may get a few moments peace.

*deep breath*

I have agreed to do a one-time only interview with the well-respected show, 6 minutes.

The interview went well, and I would venture to say it answers all the "everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask" questions you may have about moi. Enjoy...

This Cracked Me Up....

Thanks to Undr (or should I say Screech), I now know......

Which "Saved By The Bell" Character Are You?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Anika, as you may know, is a treacherous wench and evil traitor. She took the side of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Superbowl. Seattle has treated Anika well. Would Pittsburgh have allowed her to just dump food on their table? Would Pittsburgh provide a wooden Orca statue for her son to climb on?

I think not.

Janie knows what side her bread is buttered on.

But, I am tempted to forgive Ms.Anika after receiving this email from her yesterday.,.....

dear shari,

i love you with all my love. and in my heart i was cheering for seattle because, well, they were cuter and funner and better. but in my pocketbook i was cheering for pittsburgh. i am not a traitor, i promise!

please accept this poem as my apology:

i love shari
she's cute as a fairy
and makes me laugh
i wish she was on my staff
i cheered for the wrong team
and now i want to scream
that i'm sorry

love anika

It's hard to be mad after something like that.

Monday, February 06, 2006

What We Did This (Superbowl) Weekend

I'm going to say it to get it out in the open, I've never been a big fan of cheerleading. I kind of look at it like, oh....I don't know....the embodiment of evil? Yeah...that's about right.

So, when both my girls asked if they could please, please, please go to a cheerleading clinic I bravely held my tongue. I firmly believe that what may be one person's embodiment of evil is not necessarily another's. Just as Kahlil Gibran says in "The Prophet"......

"Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in you dreams...."

Yep, not even in my wildest dreams can I try to convince them to hate cheerleading.


If they decided that they want to be cheerleaders, let me tell you, I would be the proudest parent in the bleachers. I would probably deny I ever hated the idea. I am with them 100% of the way. You know? Sometimes it is HARD being a parent.

Practice. I don't have any idea where either of the girls are in this picture.

That night they performed at half time. Their Dad did not think he needed to be there (grumble bastard grumble). I didn't want to be sitting alone in the stands - again - so I called my friend Kristy. Not only did her and her girlfriend come, but she made a sign. My girls were the only ones with a sign. It was so cool!

This was right at the beginning of the halftime show. Sophie is in the front row, 4 to the right of the cheerleader on the far left. And if you look almost directly in the middle of the picture, Maya is the one in the turquoise skirt.

I, once again, showed my dorkiness and inability to deal with excitement by crying all over the place like they were the half-time entertainment at the SuperBowl or something. Why am I always the only parent brought to tears by stuff like this? It must be because my children are so obviously superior....... :)

Speaking of the SuperBowl.... Bummer for Seattle, eh? But the girls and I hosted a bangin' party.

The sun came out for the first time in over a month. I am not exaggerating. Maya is demonstrating the typical Seattle reaction to that big, warm, glowing thing in the sky.

Sophie got into a spring cleaning frenzy and swept the front step.

Right after this picture I mowed the lawn. If I didn't, with sun like that, the grass would grow quickly and engulf the house by sunset.

Snack consumption commences. Maya, Sophie and their friend Grace are raring to go!

And then 5 minutes into the game......

I abandoned my position that had been trying to pull me into the napping blackhole. (note the empty space next to Sophie) Since the game didn't come out the way I would have hoped, maybe I should have just succumbed.

While spellchecking this post, "cheerleaders" keep coming up with the suggestion "charlatans". That made me laugh.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Scientific Method

I know that you have all been just dying to know how the Science Fair Experiment is going. I mean, just what is a guinea pig's favorite fruit or vegetable anyway? You need to know!

What follows is excerpts from Maya's scientific journal:

January 22, 2006

Foods I want to try:


I'm going to put the food three feet away from the Guinea pig. Then I'm going to time him. I'll only do it once every day so the Guinea pig doesn't get full. I'll take pictures of the Guinea pig. I'll let the Guinea pig sniff the food at the starting line.

Experiment one - broccoli

He kept on sitting there. So after ten minutes I decided to start over and put it on two feet it took 6 minutes and 59 seconds. But before he turned in a circle and came back and ate the broccoli. This is how Sunny walked around in a circle.

[adorable picture drawn here]

January 23, 2006

Experiment 2 - Apple

It took a long time. It took 14 minutes and 19 seconds. He kept on turning around and steping on the measering tap. I think he was doing it because my Mom was cooking dinner. We might do an apple another day when my Mom isn't cooking.

January 24, 2006

Experiment 3 - cucumber

He kept sitting there for about 10 minutes. Finaly he got there. He didn't seeem to like the cucumber that much. The time was 11 minutes and 54 seconds. I do notice that he chatters his teeth before he moves.

January 30th, 2006

Experiment 4 - carrots

He sat there for about 1 minute. Then he moved. It took him 9 and 4 seconds. I thought he would get there fast and get there and beat the time.

January 31st, 2006

Experiment 5 - grapes

It wasn't that long. It just took 3 minutes and 3 seconds he just sat then before you now it he's there. I think this is the one that is the fastest.

February 2, 2006

Experiment 6 - lettuce

It took such a long time it took him 17 minutes and 33 seconds. I was so inpatience I thought he would never get there.

Yeah, that lettuce experiment? I was impatience, too.


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