Monday, June 26, 2006


I realized that I referenced the Shamrock story in the previous post thinking that I had written about it in this blog at some point. After perusing the history files, I see that I have never shared this story in the blog genre.

It's a shame. One that I will try to alleviate today. Then maybe, you can see where the hysterical laughing/crying jag came from.

Look Who's Coming To Dinner

My sister was born on March 16th - the day before St. Patricks Day. Did I mention that her name is Shannon? Yes. Shannon, the Norwegian-Irish lass.

I'm not exactly sure how "Irish" lambs are. I suppose there are some of the little buggers roaming about the Irish countryside.....

I distinctly remember the day - I was probably 4 or 5 when my Mom and I carried this adorable little lamb out to the bus stop to surprise Shannon for her birthday. The lamb had a little green ribbon around it's neck with a pin on it that said, "Kiss me I'm Irish".

We named the lamb, of course, Shamrock.

Shamrock grew, as lambs are wont to do, into a full-fledged sheep in a very short time. He had no idea he was a sheep, since we were on a cattle ranch and had nothing to compare himself to. He hung out with the rowdy cow dogs where he learned to chase cows, bulls and cars.

The cows and bulls were so totally freaked out at the sight of a woolly little lamb rushing toward them menacingly. Herding the cows using Shamrock was definitely more expeditious than using the dogs.

The cars, on the other hand, didn't seem to notice a difference.

Shamrock also loved to head butt.

He also liked to head butt people in the butt (which I supposed would be called a butt butt - but I digress...).

I had a little white pony-riding helmet that had fingernail polish painted polka dots in red all over it. I would wear this helmet and spend an afternoon head butting the pet sheep.

(It is about here that the hysterics began to creep towards the surface. I mean, really. How in the world can this story be real? It's ridiculous.)

After a few years my Dad announced that Shamrock's car chasing days were through. He had found him a beautiful home on a sheep ranch in Idaho. He would be the bellwether of the flock and never be subjected to any harm.

This was a win-win that was out of character in a rancher. We were taught at an early age that you did what you had to do. My father loved his animals and there are none that were better cared for, but it was a business. And business is business. (The story of Patches comes to mind here - but that is for another time.)

So, Shamrock went away to Idaho with many hugs and tears, but happiness was in our hearts that he would be happy and safe. I still have the image in my head of Shamrock ambling over rolling green hills, bell on collar, leading the sheep to greener pastures.......

Be very careful in believing that the grass is always greener.

A few months later, Grandpa was over at dinner. We were all gathered around the dinner table - Norman Rockwell style - when Grandpa said in his heavy Norwegian accent, "Well, ya, is dis da kid's sheep? It's goot, not too tuff."

We had been eating Shamrock for God knows how long.

The children screamed. Mom insisted she didn't know. We cried and cried and retched and cried.

And Dad and Grandpa got the hell out of the house.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

What We Did This Weekend - Ant Edition

I don't even know where to start. What a fantastic time...

First of all, it was 95 degrees yesterday - almost unbearably hot. This may have dampened the enthusiasm of some potential guests, but everyone important slathered on their sunscreen and joined in the "sweating like pigs" revelry.

Ant is, of course, wonderful. He was incredibly brave and drove from Seattle - a totally strange city and country and side of the street AND side of the car drive.....and made it, on time and pretty much intact.

Because of a comment in a former post regarding the "No Testicles" rule in my house, he came ready to check them at the door.

And I had a special little bag for him to leave them in that said "Testicles Here".

And he brought the girls gifts and a lovely ceramic Loch Ness Monster for me. And if there is any way to immediately make it into my heart - it is the giving of gifts.

I cannot tell you how hysterical it was to sit at my table full of friends, listening them argue and laugh and talk over one another about so many subjects - work, Walmart (it's evil draw and the white trash Walmart task force that has stymied every damn one of us), KMart, Politics, War, Red/Blue States, single Mothers....I'm sure I have missed many subjects here, but you get the picture.

I can't help but think that when I made the conscious decision to make good, solid friends and put some hard emotional work into improving that aspect of my life, that it has worked out better than I could have ever possibly imagined.

Sierra, Megan and Sean. This is my "so-called-friend" Megan who refused to tell the end of the Shamrock story when I was so hysterically laughing and crying at the same time that I didn't think I could make it through. Her tough love got me over the hump, though.

Ant is way back there in the black shirt. I was enjoying myself so thoroughly that I did not get any other pictures of him. Oops.

But, he did pose for some pictures with the Minty Squirrel that will hopefully make it on his blog soon.

And this is how the girls felt about the day. They played with so many kids in the front yard inflata-pool ALL afternoon. But it was good.

Very good.


Thursday, June 22, 2006


This last weekend I agonized over the Father's Day thing.

There are many ways that John is not a good father to the girls. But they love him, and they don't realize what he doesn't do for them.

They know that he shows up once or twice a week. Takes them to get some groceries on Sunday mornings, buys them a DVD or something and rides off into the sunset - having done his duty.

What do you get a part-time father?

Need I mention that he didn't get me anything for Mother's day or my birthday? No? Okay, I won't mention it.

I don't ever get him anything personally, but I have always been the proxy purchaser of gifts from the girls.

I really, really didn't want to get him anything - but I tried to put my personal feelings about him aside (again) and do the right thing as far as they were concerned.

And I came up with the perfect solution!

I bought them baseball gloves and balls because they both realized lately that they don't really know how to catch or hit. And I am not in a good position to teach them since one of my least favorite AND least skilled sports is baseball.

I had them autograph the baseballs. Maya's said, "I love you Dad, Maya" and Sophie - being a bit more verbose wrote, "Teach me how to play baseball Dad. Love, Sophie".

And they spent all day with their Dad on Sunday. He took them to get groceries and then actually took them to a park and played catch with them for hours.

The gift ended up benefiting the right people. And inspired him to, for a day, be a real father.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

It’s a Wild Scottish BBQ!!

Come and meet the incredible international blogger – Anthony Stell (of fame, of course)!

When: Sunday, June 25th 1:00 PM to whenever – but I do have to go to work Monday….

Where: Shari’s house
Why: Because! I have never met him! What if he’s all crazy like Braveheart? I can’t be left alone with that!!

I will provide hamburgers/cheeseburgers, etc. I am counting on everyone else to bring other types of food. I still have some beer from my birthday! But not a lot...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Drunken Chicken

My Grandpa Lars drank wine.

He was an immigrant from Norway so there was always wine, pickled herring and lutefisk around.

It wasn't good wine. It was some variety of white from Ernest and Julio Gallo that had the twist off cap and came in large bottles, from even larger cases down in the cellar.

Where do you get wine like that in cases? It's a mystery to me.

He also used a spitoon - which I had the uneviable chore of dumping out.....but that is an entirely another story.

Another chore I had was to haul his empty bottles out to the "empty bottle place". There was no recycling on a ranch in Montana so these bottles would pile up. I can't remember who would eventually haul them away after the pile got too big, and where they would haul them to, but the pile always existed in some form.

Yet another chore, that I shared with my sister for many years, was feeding and watering the chickens.

I hate chickens.

Remember Rocky the rooster? If not, please read this post and view these pictures for some background information. I tried to feed, water and collect eggs when he was in the outside pen. If fast enough, I could outsmart the bastard by shutting the little chicken door that led from the inside coop to the outside pen. This was usually done with manic running, crying and flailing of sticks.

There was a little creek at the top of the hill where we would get the water. Being small, a bucketful of water was too heavy for me to lug down the hill without spilling it all over my legs.

So I used one or two wine bottles from the pile.

I vividly remember lying on the ground on top of the culvert and dipping the glass bottles into the creek. It was fast running and you had to hold on tight. You also had to dip the mouth of the bottle just halfway under the surface in order for the bottle to fill quickly - water in, air out.

The smell of the wine would waft up into my face and I would inhale deeply. I loved that smell.

There was always some wine left in the bottle - and I never thought to rinse it out. Those poor chickens were constantly drinking what amounted to watered down wine - at least when I was fetching the water. I wonder if they noticed.

While remembering this last night I came to an amazing conclusion - one that has given me the possible opportunity to forgive Rocky.

He was just an angry drunk.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

June 15th

It was my Dad's birthday today.

He never made much of his birthday. We always shipped our cows to the upper pasture on this day.

I think he did it to divert attention from it.

I thought about him a lot today.

He liked talking to people while sitting for hours in his truck. Just parked and talking.

He liked rocks and would bring me home cool specimens to examine.

He liked animals, taking care of them, raising great cows, spoiling them by feeding them special hay on the holidays.

He liked root beer floats. He even had special root beer float glasses that he would fix them in. You could come in on a hot summer night to find Dad, covered in dust from haying, sitting at the kitchen table with a frothy ice cream and soda treat in a fancy glass - scooping at it with his special long handled root beer float spoon.

He liked to complain about the rich California fisherman that would pay big bucks to float by the ranch in their guided fly fishing excursions.

He liked to quietly cause trouble. Then laugh about it.

He liked giving the dogs rides on the motorcycle in the evenings.

He liked his life. And I miss him in his death.

Happy Birthday Dad.

I hope you have all the best root beer floats and assorted paraphenalia. I hope you and the dogs ride the motorcycle every night. I hope there are no touristy fishermen where you are.

And I hope you are still causing a bit of trouble now and then.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Elementary, My Dear Sophie

From Sophie's Detective Notebook:

Grace's CD is gone.

Clue 1 - My Mom left it on the kitchen table.

Clue 2 - Mickey poot it somewhere.

Clue 3 - We don't know where it is

That's all I know. Get a clue.

Clue 4 - The hamburger looks suspicious. And so does my butt. Shari looks suspicious cus she poot the CD on the table.

I wonder.

Maybe my friend has a CD that has Mamma Mia.

I think she was taking these notes during the birthday barbeque. And the butt thing? She is seven and into bathroom humor.

I, too, wonder.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006


This kitten thing has been such a work in progress. The girls have been bugging me forever to get a puppy or a kitten. And a puppy? That would be like having a new kid.

Cats can fend for themselves. If we are gone during the day we won't be given the guilt trip thing that dogs are so good at.

I really need any addition to the family to be relatively self-sufficient.

When we went to the Humane Society I tried to prepare the girls to be open to older cats too. I think it is such a bummer that so many older animals are not adopted because everyone wants a baby animal.

But I also wanted an animal that would bond with the girls.

We visited with the kitten first - and the girls were totally taken with it, of course. So was I. But I felt this undercurrent of irritation from the employee that was helping us. I'm sure it is heartbreaking to see the older animals constantly passed over.

I explained - in front of her - that we should view some other animals that might be older, too. The employee perked up and said, "Oh, I have the greatest orange tabby. He's a year old and my favorite one here."

She almost skipped out of the room to go get him.

He was a beautiful cat. Orange, with tye-dye rings of cream. He reminded me of a cat that we had growing up named Daisy. When she put him on the table, he immediately head butted all of us in succession. He was so, so very happy to have some attention.

But he was a tom. And a year old. And I thought he may spray all around the house even if neutered.

Maya was truly taken with him. I think she understood his heart. She is a quite a bit like him. She likes to have attention and love almost constantly. She likes to be in direct contact with someone - holding hands, sitting on my lap, or just sitting next to me. I have to bargain with her almost every night to sleep in her bed.

She saw herself in him.

And the thought that something so like her could be in a little cage in a pound just about killed her.

During our visit this cat looked over at the picture that was painted on the wall of the visiting room. It was a picture of a little yellow house with a picket fence and a tree in the front yard. He looked at it and meowed.

I looked at Maya and her eyes were full of tears. I said, "Oh Maya! What's wrong?"

She looked at me, the tears spilled down here cheeks and she said, "He says he wants a home."

So I cried.

And the employee, who was in the room at this time cried, too.

We talked it over and decided that although we loved the orange tabby, the kitten would probably be the best for us.

It tore Maya's heart to pieces to have to choose.

When we walked out with the kitten in it's little cardboard carrier I felt as if the Humane Society employee was convinced that this was not your run of the mill "hey, let's go get a kitten" situation. The undercurrent of disapproval had evaporated in that visiting room full of tears.

I really hope he gets his yellow house, picket fence and tree. That would be the perfect ending.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Grizzly Bear - Guest Blogger Style

by Maya

I was hiking in the forest. It was a rain forest so it was wet so I saw a lot of footprints. I think I saw a bear foot print. I wonder if it went to a cave.

I wasn't scared but I was scared because my friend was out in the forest. If the animal sees her in the forest he's going to have a tasty lunch.

All of a sudden I heard screaming.

"What was that!" I said. "It sounded like my friend!"

I followed the screaming. Finally I got there. It was my friend but she was in big trouble. A grizzly bear was trying to eat her! Then the bear looked at me like he was going to eat me too.

My friend and I climb up a big tree. I was happy to see my friend. The grizzly bear growled and started to pound the tree.

I was shaking like an earthquake.

Then I saw a vine and I told my friend to follow me from vine to vine. When we landed I was shaking again because I didn't like going up an swinging from vine to vine.

I looked at my friend. She looked really scared.

I was glad to get away from the grizzly bear. But I bet there are more where that came from. So we went back to camp.

We told everyone in camp to look out for more grizzly bears. I said to do what I did. But no one saw a grizzly bear for the rest of the summer.

The End


Sunday, June 11, 2006

I Triple Dog Dare You....

I am going to share with you a little secret with you.....I cannot turn down a challenge.

I am one of those people that make even the simplest things in life about winning and losing. I want to be first. The best.

It's irritating really.

I have toned down quite a bit since my "younger" days, but it is still there. Still whispering, "I bet you can beat that person across the intersection when the light turns green," or "I can make the best birthday for my kids EVER, even without any money!".

For the past two months the girls have been earning money to get a kitten. I pay them a minimal wage once a week to do their chores, and as an additional incentive, I told them that they would get extra money if they did something to help out around the house without me having to ask them.

This caused some strange and random things to be done.

Maya trimmed the entire edge of the lawn with butcher scissors, for one.

They worked hard.

So, we went to the Tacoma Humane Society on Saturday to see what they had.

We viewed cats of all ages. One was a year old orange tabby - he was so incredibly loving and adorable - but he was also not neutered and I was not going to break my "no testicles in THIS house" rule.

Then there was the kitten. The employee felt that she needed to warn us ahead of actually visiting with the kitten that it was....well, a bit feral, as she put it. I grew up with true feral cats so I was expecting a spitting ball of fur and bones.

She brought in this little bundle of frightened kitten flesh, plopped her on the table.....

And she immediately started purring.

Truth be told, I was feeling as if the employee had challenged my cat bonding capability, so I was ready to prove her wrong by doing my best wild cat wrangling and impressing upon the Humane Society my great "cat whispering" ability.

There was no need. It was love at first sight for all of us.

Pepper is the new member of our family. Currently being accosted by two little girls, wrapped in a pink baby blanket, carried from room to room in a basket....and absolutely loving it.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

What We Did This Weekend - National Trails Day Edition

Boy, this has taken me awhile to get posted. Sorry! These are all from last weekend when Anika and her fantastic son Jacob came to visit from the great north country, Canada. We had such a great time with them. And there was mud.

You don't get a whole lot better than that.

Except for maybe, TWISTER!

We all got up early, arrived at the "location", and immediately got lost. We were on the wrong side of the lake. But, it's pretty, right?

Some of the aforementioned mud.

Those shoes were almost lost forever.

This is Anika's Jacob. He is a mosquito (as if it weren't already obvious, geez!).

Our work. None of it was there before we got there. I am proud.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Honey, That's Not Lipgloss

Sophie really wanted a purse and a wallet for her birthday.

I didn't get her one.

It's not that I don't want her to have one, it's just that it wasn't at the top of MY list of what to get her. I underestimated how much she really was counting on these gifts and, therefore, have heard about it ever since.

There is a woman in my vanpool who has 3 (or 4? no, I think it's 3) daughters - the youngest of which is graduating from high school. They had a huge bag of purses that were just going to be given to charity. She thought of me and my plight and generously gave to the "Shari REALLY Doesn't Want To Spend Her Hard Earned Money On a Purse For Her Seven Year Old Child" Foundation (or SRDWTSHHEMOAPFHSYOC, for short).

I brought them home and dumped them on the lawn in front of a screamingly excited Sophie. She chose a silver-sequinned number. One of those little sparkly bags that were very in - oh you know - maybe 10 minutes ago?

Then, I let Maya and Grace (the neighbor girl) each pick one.

They, being smart and frugal girls, decided to go through all the purses in hopes of finding money. This is not a bad idea. So I encouraged them.

Maya found approximately 13 cents, a condom and "Wild Cherry Lube". She was unimpressed by the 13 cents and the condom.....

But she thought the lube was lip gloss.

Thankfully, it was unopened.

I told her that under no circumstances could she use the "lip gloss" because it was someone else's and that is not hygenic. She pointed out that it was unopened, so I used the "I Forbid You Because I Am Your Mother" argument. I realize that this will only work so long, but it worked this time and that is all that matters.

So, if anyone else would like a nice "Wild Cherry Lipgloss" (unopened), a "Large" (whatever) Lifestyles condom and a few thousand slightly used purses....just let me know.


Friday, June 02, 2006

I Was Interviewed By Hell's Leading Daily Newspaper!

Yep, I was.

And if you disagree with anything I had to say, I don't even want to know.

National Trails Day

Tonight Anika and Jacob are coming to visit.

She sounded like she needed wine. She sounds happier now, but still in need of wine.

I'm telling you, boys are trouble. Trouble!!

She is very brave and will be attending a National Trails Day event with my girls and me. We shall learn about nature! We shall rake gravel! We shall cut back blackberry bushes! With out teeth!

Okay, maybe it won't be that intense. I work for a pretty great company that volunteers tons of money and time to getting people outdoors - especially kids.

So that's what I am doing. Getting outdoors with my kids, and Anika, and Jacob - and making something better. You'd be surprised what just a few volunteers can do.

Check it out in your area. Get out there!

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Sophie FINALLY lost her tooth last night. It is one of the important front teeth. A dental rite of passage into the next stage of her life. You know....the big buck tooth stage.
It always makes me a bit sad.
And, strangely enough, Maya lost a tooth this morning. They always loose teeth at the same time. Check this out from July of last year.
She is so proud.

They still believe in the Tooth Fairy, but I am getting a bunch more questions than I used to. Note the bottom left picture/note. "Tooth Fairy, We believe in you. What do you really look like? Draw on the back."

And I did. It was a pretty good picture, too.

And this note is from Maya, you can click to enlarge it. She is allllll about the money. And the cat that I told them that they can get if they save the money for it.

Sophie added the "or a book" on the top. Because, the tooth fairy is also known to bring books.

And, if you're curious, the tooth fairy was both broke AND bookless. She got "Coins From Around The World". Two from Norway, one from New Zealand, one from Mexico and a quarter. She, thank God, was impressed.


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