Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Devil, A Pirate and a Nun Walk Into a Bar....

Halloween is one of the best times for the girls and I. We are hard core when it comes to this holiday. We are out from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm - rain or shine. This year bested last year because of no rain, but it was very chilly (in the 20's - which will seem insanely cold to some of you and ridiculously warm to others...but it is all in how I perceived it, really. That is what is important here.)

Pepper joined in the merriment for her first Halloween by sporting a pirate skull and crossbones collar. Avast! She is a damn fine cat, she is.
Maya was a pirate of the cutthroat group of "I must bare my midriff although I am only 9 and my Mom gave me that look and I had to promise it was just for Halloween and not real life" pirate crew.

And Sophie was, well, herself.

We practiced looking menacing.

And then lost all our menace when faced with a "sister".

Sophie was just a bit nervous by the moving and shaking skeleton thingy just off camera right.

Fog machines are cool.

Our Pumpkins. Mine is the small one. It is supposed to be really cool and polka-dotty. The polka dots proved too small to provide enough oxygen to the candle flame - even though I carved eleventy billion of them. Therefore, the top is off the pumpkin. And it doesn't even look cool.

But it had cool pumpkin potential.

Then we arrived back home. And even though sugar was racing through our veins, we were tired anyway.

Really tired.

Sugar coma tired.

Hope you had a great time too!


Shari and the ghouls

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Lessons From the Past

Four years ago today my Dad passed away. I stood in the middle of the kitchen in my old house listening to the silence after the announcement. I couldn't cry right way. John came up to me and hugged me and didn't say a word. I was able to lean on him and have no fear of falling. I'm glad he was there.

I think my current situation has much to do with that day. I am craving that feeling - that "It's okay, I've got you" type of trust. It can become exhausting when you are the one that does the falling and, at the same time, the one responsible for the picking yourself up.

It's not going to be where I've been looking.

It might be hard, but it is not impossible. I always appreciated my Dad's honesty and strength. Even when I was making horrible decisions in my life he would tell me to face those decisions and do everything I could to make them right. "But, God dammit kid, try not to make them in the first place."

I hear you, Dad. Loud and clear.

Grandpa Lars and my Dad, Gunnar.

My favorite picture.

*Sorry about the picture quality, but I don't have a scanner.....

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Make Up Your Damn Mind, Already!

So I had a phone call from the one person that I have been wondering about.

It was just a voice mail, but it still made my heart leap a little. Not a leap of love, but more like a leap of "there is a possibility to end my long draught of celibacy". It would be easy. It would be good. It would be nice.

Sometimes I just miss the smell of a man. Good god, that sounds ridiculous doesn't it? But, like I read in a Tom Robbins book once, sex is 95% smell, 5% touch. I tend to agree.

The last time I posted on this subject I got the comments that I was expecting. I must say, however, that Ant was the one that nailed my feelings about it all....

Ant said...
Hum. I get the thoughts of "fuck it, let's just go out and get laid" on a semi-regular basis. Then I go and do my Friday Dance and end up thinking a lot clearer: Sex without strings doesn't exist for me, and tough-talk notwithstanding, I don't think it exists for most other people either. So even though I've got a sneaking suspicion I'm sounding a lot like my parents, I advise caution. Until the woman comes along that completely and utterly knocks me off my feet, I'm perfectly content to Friday Dance the night away. The relationship hassles of something that isn't working just aren't worth it.


He is so right. You all know that Ant is my mental soul-mate, right? We have amazingly similar views on things. When he wrote this comment it was in my plans to email him back and thank him for bringing my mind back to normal again. (Thanks Ant, a bit late...)

If anyone knows how to get by on the "Friday dance", trust me, it is I -I have been celibate for two years now. The Friday dance is some of the best sex I have ever had - quick, to the point, a-wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am sort of pleasure. But the man smell is missing. And the warmth of bare skin. And the laughing. And the falling asleep afterwards with my head on the chest of a breathing and, dare I say, aromatic male.

I can remember exactly how he smells.

Maybe I can get it out of my system. Maybe all it will take is just one time. Maybe I won't want him to keep coming back.


Maybe I won't get attached....

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

My Favorite Season

“Best of all he loved the fall … the fall with the tawny and grey, the leaves yellow on the cottonwoods, leaves floating on the trout streams and above the hills the high blue windless skies."

Ernest Hemingway

Monday, October 23, 2006

What I Did This Weekend - Distraction

You may notice that the weekly segment's title this week is changed just a bit. The "we" has morphed to an "I".

I can't deny that everything done this weekend was totally for my own benefit.

I spent Friday night with three friends drinking mulled wine and playing Cranium. My team won by the way. And we hardly cheated at all!

Saturday was spent doing chores and getting ready to go to a Halloween costume party with my friend Jeannie. We went as Nick and Nora - the characters from Dashiel Hammett's Thin Man series. I was looking quite smashing as Nora in my sparkly, fringy black dress, red feather boa, insanely high heels, and even more insane red lipstick.

But, the MapQuest directions were no good. We had no phone number. We drove in circles.

And then we went to eat at the Thai place by the mall. There was no shortage of strange looks.

Sunday was spent lolling alongside the Carbon River. I lay directly down in the sand - the finest sand ever on the earth. It's made of ash and glacial silt and lahar leavings. It's beautiful stuff, like powdered sugar. The girls played in the clay - making quicksand and taking turns saving each other from it.

My heart just wasn't in it.

Saturday Voldemort got married.

I thought I would be okay with it. I have had since Spring to come to the realization that I had missed my chance. For two years he had been so sweet. Said all the right things. Sent me little notes in the mail like this:

"You bring light to the world. It has been dark here lately. I need to see you soon."

No matter how I replay it, I still made the right decision for me. I couldn't go there. I knew he was looking to get married and have that picture perfect thing. He needs his own children. He needs his own non-watered-down experience. And I can't and won't have that to offer for quite some time.

But still, it hurt.

Friday night I was telling on of my favorite stories about my college roommate and I watching "Let's Make a Deal" and how the adorable, young, and obviously broke couple made us cry. They would have been totally happy with Door Number One - but it was quite obviously not the best door. All of a sudden my laughter dissolved into tears. They all thought I was just doing the patented Shari-laughing-so-hard-she's-crying thing. But I had just realized how fitting the rest of the story was. I wasn't able to finish it then, but I will now....

The damn audience pushed and pushed them to choose another door. Laura and I yelled, "No! You'll be happy with this! What if you get a goat (or something)?" I was on the edge of my seat with worry for them.

They chose another door much to my dismay. And guess what?

They won a trip around the world. The honeymoon they never had.

I would have never imagined it was possible.

I'm not very good at that game.


Thursday, October 19, 2006


When I was very young my Grandma would take me to Melrose to visit her friend Hazel.

Hazel was a very old woman. Her house had that old woman smell, which to me is not unpleasant. It's a smell that stinks of dust bunnies and old wrinkly skin and cat hair. I know that I am quite alone in my love of this smell. I know.

She had cats. And old furniture. And what seemed like millions of tiny glass figurines - mostly... of cats.

She was a very tall woman, even though her upper back was hunched by her age.

In my later elementary school years Hazel came to live with my Grandparents. She must have been too old to live alone, but at the time I just thought it was great that she was going to be right there for me to play with.

My Grandparent's house was only about 200 yards from my house. Just a short jaunt past the flowering almond tree, over the irrigation ditch, and I was there.

Hazel wasn't necessarily overly attentive to me. I just liked her. I talked to her incessantly when she was doing her needlepoint. Often she would limp outside to sit in the passenger side of my Grandpa's light blue Mazda B2000 pickup in order to soak up the sun through the windows.

I'm sure she would have liked to enjoy her sunbath in peace. To loll peacefully in the sun like her adored cats. But I couldn't let that happen.

I would jump into the driver's seat and ask her where she wanted to go. Invariably she would croak, "Monticarlo!" And off into the imaginary sunset we would go.

When I learned that Monticarlo was not necessarily in the continental United States I just drove over the ocean floor, pointing out sharks and giant clams like the greatest 9-year-old tour guide you can even imagine.

Those were the best road trips of my life.

We never arrived at Monticarlo - if we did then the game would be over.

Later, when I was in Junior High School - specifically sixth and seventh grade - Hazel had to go into the rest home in town for care. She was over 90 years old.

It was long enough ago that lunch hours were our own as students. We were allowed to walk around town as long as we were back in time for class. Most kids walked to the penny candy store or to "Snappy Service" for two for one hot dogs.

I walked across the street to the rest home.

I would go sit with Hazel and listen to her stories. I would gush my own life stories out to her as if she was my 12-year-old equal.

She asked me if I would bomb all the Macaroni and Cheese factories for her. They served it to her all the time and she hated it. I promised I would and we shared a conspiratorial giggle.

Hazel passed away not too long after I got into High School - in a part of town too far away to walk to visit her at lunch. She left me some wonderful things.

The first was a cedar chest made by her father at the turn of the century. It is not just lined with cedar, but made entirely of the red, aromatic wood. The lock plate is hand-hammered copper. It sits in my Mother's house, waiting for a time when I have a house where I have enough room for it.

Another treasure is a friendship ring made of rose gold. It is two snake like creatures that twine around the finger in opposite directions. One has a red gem eye and the other green. The soft metal has been worn for so long that is melded together and smoothed out in places. She must have worn it many years to get it that way.

The last thing is a quilt that was actually made by my Aunt for my birthday two years ago. The squares of the quilt, however, are all needlework that was done by Hazel as she sat at my Grandma's house, with me blathering on and on as she patiently listened - and stitched through time.

I had carefully packed the quilt away so nothing would happen to it, but I have decided to unfold it, air it out and enjoy the comfort and warmth of it.

You have to do that with memories now and then.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Exciting news from the work front....

My boss got a promotion, which means that I will be applying for her old job.

I really, really want it.

A lot.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

What We Did This Weekend - Pumpkin Patch

We didn't even mean to end up at the Pumpkin Patch today. We just went for a walk on the River Trail - and lo and behold - there we were!
On the walk there, we did have a great opportunity to catch falling leaves in our umbrellas. If you haven't tried this, you should.
Sigh. Man, I love this place. It just overwhelms the senses.
And the huge sawdust pile and wheeled toys with which to ride down it is just about the best thing ever.
Four Pumpkins.
And, of course, the requisite corn maze.
And warty gourds. (That would be a great name for a rock band. The Warty Gourds.)
Mini Pumpkins!
And my personal favorite, Cinderella pumpkins.
Wish you could have been there.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

You And Me Baby Ain't Nothin' But Mammals

Okay. I have a dilemma.

I have been feeling a bit lonely of late. This, too, shall pass - I know. But I am wondering if I shouldn't venture out a bit.

And by saying venturing out, what I really mean is, heading back to something well known and comfortable.

I don't have time or patience for a relationship. Hell, I don't really want a relationship in most peoples' view of the word.

What I want is the option to see someone when I want, not get hung up on them, and keep up with my everyday living as if nothing has changed.

Is that too much to ask?

I don't want a bunch of phone calls or emails - one every few days or so; once a week maybe?

I would like some companionship that has no strings attached and that I know I will enjoy. And I know just the guy. It's been done before with fantastic results.

But still I hesitate.

The thing is, I tend to start liking the person that I have sex with. Against all my rules and all my plans. I don't want to get stuck in the drama of the liking, the having to stop a good thing because of the liking, then the feeling bad because the person I like, I left.



And I know what you all will say. But I stand firm. There is no reason that I need someone in my life. I truly believe that it would be absolutely ridiculous to start in with someone, have them meet my girls, have it not work out.....etc.

My girls are worth waiting until they grow up. At that point I will put myself through all the crap I want. But it's not about me right now.

This person knows my rules...they don't need to be attentive for long periods of time, they don't meet my girls, they don't....well, get involved.

Now I need to discern whether I know my rules or not.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Get Your Rocks Off

My dreams are full of symbolism. They are, however, not full of mystery.

Some people have extremely odd and random dreams that would take a team of psychoanalysts months to figure out.

These are not my dreams.

Here is the most recent example from a dream early last week:

I was sitting in a room, at work, by myself at my desk. There was a long line (50 people, or so) of employees waiting to talk to me. All of them had a bag.

In reality we had a Health and Wellness Fair at my job that everyone in my department was involved in. During the fair, everyone who came was given a small brown paper shopping bag in which to put all of the cool free stuff our company and our vendors were giving out.

In the dream, the queue of employees all had these bags in their hands. Somehow I knew they all had the same problem.

The first guy came up to me and we both peered into his bag that he had plopped on the table. There were water bottles, sunscreen, all the stuff I know we had at the fair - but there was also three round, flat massage stones.

You know the kind that they heat and lay on your back? Those.

He was disappointed with his rocks.

I smiled brightly. I could fix this! This one was easy!

"That's okay! I have a entire bin of my very own rocks right here!" I gestured confidently towards a large bin of stones on my right, "You can pick any of them! Help yourself!" a offered with a big smile.

I must say that my rocks were beautiful. They were large and flat- and they had one thing that everyone elses' rocks did not.....they were incredibly shiny rocks. Beautiful, shiny perfect rocks.

He started rummaging in my rock bin as I gestured for the next person to approach my desk. I could help them! This was going to be a walk-in- the-park day of problem solving!

Then I heard a heavy sigh coming from the vicinity of my rock bin.

I looked over to see the man sneer, snort dismissively, and snidely say, "Um..yeah. That's all right. I'll just keep MY rocks." And then he walked away.

He didn't like my rocks.


Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Bombs Bursting in Air

Sophie had a bad day yesterday.

I came home to her weeping on the couch. Her heart was broken. When I asked her what was wrong she sob-yelled, "Maddie LIED to me!"

Maddie is her six-year-old friend from down the street. Apparently she had been telling Sophie all summer long that she believed in fairies.
Sophie's life, the last few months anyway, has totally revolved around fairies and their secret lives. She has spent days constructing fairy kingdoms in the rose bushes.

She make beds, furniture, bridges.....everything - mostly out of rhodedendron leaves and red rose petals (oh, and scotch tape, but only when absolutely necessary).

Maddie had the audacity to tell her that she has just been saying that she believes in fairies so she can help Sophie with the fairy construction. She actually does not believe that the furniture (and general fairy infastructure) will ever be used by any fairy or fairy-like creature.


What a maroon!

Over dinner and many sniffles I told Sophie the story of why the pilgrims came to America and what the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence was. And why it was.

Maddie, because she is an American, has the right to NOT believe in fairies.

Let's just say that Sophie is not embracing Democracy.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


I am feeling restless.

My legs are jumpy and I haven't been able to concentrate very well.

I don't know if the trip to the ocean was a way of trying to get rid of this feeling, or if it is what started it.

I feel like I really have my life figured out - in as much as you can do such a thing. I am very happy at work, I love my family....I am busy....I have great friends.

What the hell is this thing?

You know the feeling you get sometimes when you look at a sky full of stars? That "I don't want to ever, ever, ever die I am so happy" feeling.

It's like that. A feeling so good, but then again, so destined to fail.

What can be missing? I have everything I want and need. I want to stay at home and cuddle my girls while at the same time I want to travel the world by sailboat. I want to make my closets perfectly organized, yet I want to get rid of everything extraneous in my house.

I want to be alone, but I want someone around that I can tell that to. As if being alone is something worth having only if I can emphatically declare it.

I have tended, in the last few days, to fall into fits of hysterical laughter. This is, by no means, a strange thing for me. But it usually means that there is something bothering me.

Hysterical laughter is a great thing because you can laugh and cry at the same time. Sometimes I think it's the best way to be able to cry in front of someone without having to tell them what's wrong.

Don't get me wrong. I am very happy.

I think.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Still Life With Grey Cheerios

Plumbers earn their pay. I don't care what anyone says. I don't care if their butts hang out of their pants. They are magical creatures.

Some say bad things come in three's. I always try to disprove this rule -especially when I am on number 2.

This weekend started off with fixing the garbage disposal. I tried all the tried and true tricks, but of course none of them worked. I ended up with the disposal unit seated quite uncomfortably in my lap, fishing out the previous days meal remnants.

It was horrific. And smelly.

I finally found the offending object. A dime was jammed between the side of the machine and the whirly thing on the inside. It was so beaten up it was barely recognizable. I had to pry it out with the business end of a flat screwdriver and a sizeable amount of elbow grease.

It is now, astoundingly, working like a charm.

Isn't it amazing how a garbage disposal can chop food into really, really tiny pieces? Do you know how tiny? I do.

I know how tiny the pieces of food are. A whole soup of garbage disposal offal decided to take the scenic route to the outside world by way of my shower floor.

Coffee grounds, minced vegetables, and strangely enough - completely intact cheerios. How did they make it through the disposal mayhem intact? How does that happen? And should they possibly not be eaten because of this?

Maybe they are just indestructible ninja Cheerios. They are probably the ones that led the revolt in the first place.

Sneaky bastards.

Here is a rundown of my evening:

5:00 pm - Arrive home from work.

5:03 pm - Start cooking dinner in mad rush. (Pork chops, broccoli and baked potatoes).

5:45 pm- Get the kids loaded into the car and head off to piano lessons.

7:30 pm - come back home. Decide I must tackle shower or the house will be unlivable and I will not smell pretty at work tomorrow.

7:31 pm - Realize I have no Liquid Plumber. Call neighbor Natalie and borrow hers.

7:35 pm - Read instructions. "Pour no more than 4 cups of Liquid Plumber in slow drain. Wait 15 minutes. Flush with hot - not boiling water. Do not use plunger."

7:36 pm - Pour almost entire bottle of Liquid Plumber down drain. Put kettle on to boil.

8:05 pm - Put on Sophie's gold aviator Elvis impersonator glasses (eye protection) and pour boiling water down still plugged drain.

8:06 pm - See no change. Grab plunger. Hold breath and tuck lips in-between teeth to protect from possible acidic spray. Plunge.

8:07 pm - Drain clears.

8:10 - 8:20 pm - Scoop sludge and clean out shower with much disinfectant. Run water for a long time just to make sure.

Did I mention that during all of this I was also helping Maya with math and spelling homework and Sophie with two book reports?

I can do anything! I am woman hear me roar!

(I wish I was dating a plumber.)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

What We Did This Weekend - Payback

I knew I would pay for the weekend of beaches and sand and dead crabs. I just knew it.

Seeing that we left the house in a bit of a rush last weekend - so much of a rush that it probably looked like we were fleeing from the law - there was a bit of catch-up work to be done around the house.

The laundry monster reared its ugly head. It was bigger and more ferocious than normal. And...there was a lot of sand that it seemed to have tracked in on its stinky feet.

It is 9:19 pm and the monster has been reduced to a quivering, whimpering lump. But I will not stop until it is dead. Completely. One more load to go.

The lawn has also been tamed. The Pacific Northwest can work magic on the normal lawn grass. We had some rain, then a week of 80 degree weather. The lawn mower was choking on the thick carpet of luscious-ness for the better part of an hour. I whispered sweet nothings in its ear, encouraging it to just make it through one more time.

"The temperature is supposed to drop 20 degrees tomorrow and there's no end in sight. You can sleep in the shed until spring....I promise."

Socks have been matched. As usual there were some that cited irreconcilable differences and traveled to Jamaica to get their groove back. Or at least that's where I think they went.

Summer clothes were wrestled unwillingly into boxes even though I know that there is no possible way the girls will fit into them by the time the balmy weather returns. The closets and drawers are once again jammed with the bulk and itch of autumn. I love everything about autumn - except the closet space.

Looking back on it, the trip was still worth every last grain of sand that got tracked into the house.

It was perfect.


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