Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Snow

Here in Montana the snow keeps falling and falling. Moose and I have decided we LOVE snow like this. We are also glad that we are leaving it all behind and it is not our problem.

We have been having so much fun in Montana. I would like to have been blogging more but we are having trouble uploading pictures. There will indeed be photos of the kids up to their armpits in snow.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Perfidy

Perfidy
Pronunciation:
\ˈpər-fə-dē\
Function:
noun
Inflected Form(s):
plural per·fi·dies
Etymology:
Latin perfidia, from perfidus faithless, from per- detrimental to + fides faith — more at per-, faith
Date:
1592
1 : the quality or state of being faithless or disloyal : treachery 2 : an act or an instance of disloyalty

That is how I feel about the movie The Tale of Despereaux. I can't believe Kate DiCamillo allowed such a hack job of her lovely story. I am hoping she at least was paid an obscene amount of money and had no control over what the studio did.

The themes of love, revenge, and FORGIVENESS were completely lost.

So, please do not see the movie. Read the book, read it again and again. It is an easy book and you can read it aloud to even your little children. They will love it, you will love it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Keeping Christmas

I was supposed to give a talk in Sacrament meeting today, but church has been cancelled because of the snow, again. As you read this we are attempting to drive to Montana. Merry Christmas.

Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year. It is so wonderful to sings songs, decorate , remember Christ's birth, eat treats, give gifts to loved ones and reunite with our friends and family. In fact as soon as Sacrament meeting is over today our family is driving over the river and through the woods to visit our families in Montana.

On my husband's iPod is a playlist of Christmas songs to listen to as we drive as well as a reading of my favorite Christmas book “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens.

Near the end of the story Ebeneezer Scrooge a previously mean and selfish man pleads with the Spirit of Christmas Future saying “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The spirits of all three will live within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.”(1)
I wonder, how can we keep Christmas all year long as Scrooge pledges?

In the Dec 2008 Ensign President Monson quotes President David O'McKay
“True happiness comes only by making others happy—the practical application of the Savior’s doctrine of losing one’s life to gain it. In short, the Christmas spirit is the Christ spirit, that makes our hearts glow in brotherly love and friendship and prompts us to kind deeds of service.
“It is the spirit of the gospel of Jesus Christ, obedience to which will bring ‘peace on earth,’ because it means—good will toward all men.”
President Monson continues:
“Giving, not getting, brings to full bloom the Christmas spirit. Enemies are forgiven, friends remembered, and God obeyed. The spirit of Christmas illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than things. To catch the real meaning of the “spirit of Christmas,” we need only drop the last syllable, and it becomes the “Spirit of Christ.”' (2)
The Spirit of Christ.
We have covenanted to be like Christ, to stand as a witness for him and to do the Lord's work here on Earth. When we serve others we are serving the Lord.
Matthew 25 :40 tells us
“Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

To Keep the Spirit of Christmas all year long I propose that we must serve one another all year long.
Why should we serve? How can we serve?
We serve not only to help the Lord answer the prayers and bless the lives of others but serving changes us.
In the April General Conference of this year Carlos H. Amado spoke at length how service changes us and I hope you will bear with me as I read his words concerning the matter
“Service makes us strong in our faith and useful in His kingdom. Service gives us purpose and courage in life. It brings us closer to God and helps us refine our divine nature. It teaches us to love and understand our fellowmen, and it helps us forget about our personal desires, eliminating selfishness, pride, and ingratitude. It teaches us to think of the needs of others, which allows us to develop the virtues that the Savior possesses.
Kindness, love, patience, understanding, and unity will increase as we serve, while intolerance, jealousy, envy, greed, and selfishness decrease or disappear. The more we give of ourselves, the more our capacity to serve, understand, and love will grow.
Those who serve will always seek to please God and live in harmony with Him. They will be full of peace; they will have a cheerful countenance and a spirit of kindness.
Those who serve will strive to ennoble, build, and lift their fellowmen; therefore, they will find the good in others, and they will not find reason or have time to become offended. They develop the virtue of praying for those who criticize. They don’t expect recognition or reward. They possess the love of Christ.
Those who serve will always be willing to share what they possess and what they know at all times, in all places, and with all people.
Those who serve even in adversity will maintain a living hope of a better future. They will continue to be firm in the midst of a crisis because their hope is in Christ....
With divine inspiration, King Benjamin declared, “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17). Those who serve will have greater understanding of the personality and attributes of God.” (4)
What a wonderful, description of the many ways service perfects us.
In my home you will find untidy piles of paper everywhere. From time to time I will find tucked here and there in corners and drawers “thank you” notes. These notes are from many people whom I have served in some way. I don't keep them around or mention them to say “Look at all the service I have done.” I keep them because each note reminds me of a time when I looked beyond myself and did something for someone else. With every act of service I have learned a lesson and grown a little bit. It is nice when I am rummaging around for a coupon, or a shopping list, or that plastic part to something I saved 3 years ago and find a little card that reminds me of these lesson I learned.

Service takes us out of ourselves for a a time. We take time to think of some one else to remember that they are a child of God as well. When we return to ourselves we are more able to appreciate our blessings, strengths and relationship with the Lord.

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf reminds us
“When we reach out to bless the lives of others, our lives are blessed as well. Service and sacrifice open the windows of heaven, allowing choice blessings to descend upon us. Surely our beloved Heavenly Father smiles upon those who care for the least of His children.
As we lift others, we rise a little higher ourselves. President Spencer W. Kimball taught, “The more we serve our fellowmen in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our souls.”9...
As we lose ourselves in the service of others, we discover our own lives and our own happiness.
President Lorenzo Snow expressed a similar thought: “When you find yourselves a little gloomy, look around you and find somebody that is in a worse plight than yourself; go to him and find out what the trouble is, then try to remove it with the wisdom which the Lord bestows upon you; and the first thing you know, your gloom is gone, you feel light, the Spirit of the Lord is upon you, and everything seems illuminated.”(5)

Since hearing those words from President Uchtdorf. I have been trying to seek out opportunities to serve. Now instead of waiting to be asked, I call sister Jones and say “I need to bring a meal to Sister ---. When can I do it?” I teach, I give advice, a hug, a listening ear, moral support, love, food and sometimes handmade gifts. Sometimes I just take time to talk on the phone about whatever.

Once I started looking I have found countless opportunities for service. I simply make it a goal to do more service. More sometimes it is a little, sometimes it is a lot but I shoot for “more.”

One of the greatest opportunities to serve that I have been blessed with is being a visiting teacher. Time and again I have come to love, really love the sisters I was assigned to serve. I enjoy the responsibility of looking after them and being their friend.

Sometimes it is hard for us to serve. Service does not have to be a big, grand gesture. The little things are often the most helpful. I remember one time when I had a particularly trying day and I returned home to find a gift on the doorstep. The gift was wonderful but what meant the most to me and completely changed my attitude about the day was a note inside that said “I'm so glad we have become friends.”

Thomas S. Monson said
You are, ... surrounded by opportunities for service. Often small acts of service are all that is required to lift and bless another: a question concerning a person’s family, quick words of encouragement, a sincere compliment, a small note of thanks, a brief telephone call. If we are observant and aware, and if we act on the promptings which come to us, we can accomplish much good. (6)
We can do service in quiet simple ways. My father reminds me to do every little thing you think of to help someone because it can't hurt and you never know what will make a difference to some one. Sometimes service can be done secretly. One of my fondest memories is of taking a big box of toys, clothes and food and secretly leaving it on the porch on Christmas Eve. I may never know how that event affected the recipients but I know how it changed me.

We can also use our talents to serve, singing a song, or mending clothes. Doing something for someone that they can not do. One of the most fulfilling acts of service is teaching someone to do something that you know how to do.

When I was preparing for this talk I found a short article in the Dec 2003, Ensign
When new neighbors moved into a house up the street, I was mindful of the hardships faced by the previous family who had lived there and regretted the missed opportunity to serve them. I yearned to help,.... but I felt inadequate and uncomfortable reaching out to someone I did not know well.
Now, with a new family moving in, I determined to become friends. They were warm and loving, and the friendship grew easily. Soon after their arrival, however, a tragedy occurred—the couple’s baby died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Remembering my hesitancy to reach out during the previous sister’s time of need, I wondered what to do—anything, even something small. How could I express my heartfelt sorrow to this family? I knew their hearts were broken, and this time I determined not to be afraid to reach out.
“I can make rolls,” I thought. “They have to eat sometime, and rolls are easy to make.” I knew that baking rolls would not compensate for the loss of a child, but it was something I could do to show my love and concern. When I went to their home with my humble offering, I realized that my visit offered a small bit of consolation—the rolls were not necessary, but they had given me a reason to visit.
Since this experience, I have realized how often my fears have prevented me from serving as the Savior taught. It is important to show we care—through visiting teaching, home teaching, or visiting during a time of need. At first, we may wonder what to say, but the Spirit of the Lord will guide us if we put aside our fears and reach out to others" (7)
I liked this story and chose to share it because I often feel like what I have to offer is not good enough, “What will people think of me if I do this for them? Will they be offended? Will I be intruding? This person wouldn't appreciate all the time I put into this.” I often hesitate to serve because of fear. I am reminded that fear is not of the Lord.
If we are afraid , are too shy, or don't know how, if we can't find a place to serve we can always pray for opportunities to serve and for inspiration on how to best serve.

We can never predict what the Lord has in store for us, whose prayers he will have us answer, whose life we will bless.

It is easy to serve our friends and family, the people we know. Sometimes we need to look outside and serve people we do not know or find it difficult to love.
President Thomas S. Monson has remarked
Along the pathway of life you will observe that you are not the only traveler. There are others who need your help. There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save.” (8)

Scrooge did keep his promise and learned to be joyful and serve his fellow man In the final paragraph of A Christmas Carol it is remarked “...And it was always said of him that he knew how to keep Christmas well if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!”

After the lights and tinsel are packed away, when the gifts have been given and used I pray that we can remember the Spirit of Christmas as the Spirit of Christ and find ways to serve our fellow men and in so doing serve the Lord. Perhaps our service will bring sunshine to the gloomy Oregon rains, more joy in the spring, more friendship in the summer and warmth as winter approaches again. Let the gift of service the year round be our gift to the Lord this year.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Holiday Drink

I like to watch Martha on TV. I have noticed that she REALLY likes the parts when they make grown up beverages. She seems . . . extra animated. Even when a guest asks a question about an alcoholic beverage her eyes light up. Methinks Martha likes to hit the sauce from time to time.

Well I don't drink, and I don't think you should either so here is a fun and festive non alcoholic drink for you.

Take one pomegranate, roll it around on the counter squishing all the little seeds inside. Be careful not to split the skin. If you do split the skin just use that spot for the straw. Cut a hole for a straw, insert it into the pomegranate and enjoy fresh pomegranate juice. The end.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The 5 stages of snow in Portland


****Special Post by Guest Blogger Moosedrool.****
How the city of Portland deals with snow is a lot like the 5 stages of grief. First everyone is in denial, where they stay home and convince themselves that the snow will go away soon. Then the anger starts as people realize they hate driving in snow. Then barganing starts when folks start to go places again, slowly and only if it's a short distance to drive. Next comes depression because even if the snow were to all go away, we still have another 4 to 5 months of cold, cloudy, rainy weather. And finally acceptance as we all buckle down and go on about our lives all bundled up.

Everyone except ODOT. They apparently are stuck in the denial phase. Every year it seems we have severe enough weather that closes down the roads, and every year ODOT shows that the most they can do is hold press conferences and close the roads. Other cities have snow plows and even hire equipment to help clear things up.

Needless to say, with the closure of I-84, we had to find an alternative route to go home for Christmas. That route took us through Seattle. It would have taken us further on to Spokane, but it got dark and late and we decided to hole up in a hotel and wait for more daylight (and hopefully for more snowplows). For the kids who didn't have to drive all that way in the snow and ruts, they are having a great time jumping on the beds and watching cable tv. For the rest of us, we only have another day of snow covered mountain passes to look forward to. I miss denial.

Merry Christmas!


Each year home is a little different. Each year it seems more desirable to stay in our home for Christmas rather than traveling for 11 hours on potentially treacherous roads to "Go Home."
I still look forward to going home but my house after so many years feels like home too. Nevertheless, I'll be home for Christmas. That is assuming we make it through the blizzard.



Here's to snow drifts taller than I am, family, old movies, antiquing, cowboys and Anna's Greek Salad. Soon I will be marveling at the top of Lookout pass and saying as I do every year, "It is so pretty here."

May the peace of the Lord be with you and your family as we celebrate his birth and his remarkable gift to us.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Baby Its Cold Outside


There is about 6 inches of snow in my driveway, or there was before Moose took the leaf blower out.

Chains are now required in the Portland Metro Area. Tomorrow we attempt to drive to Montana.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Observations Upon Watching The Sound of Music - specifically the "Do, Re, Mi" sequence


Gretel's dress should have been a smaller version of Martha's. The yellow shirt does not go.
It is more likely that Maria would have used fewer patterns when dressing 7 children out of curtains.

Who chose that fabric for Maria's undershirt? It makes sense for the 60's but it would NEVER have been used in 1930's Austria. It looks like a hair shirt.

Leisel's dress is so adorable, I think I will make myself one.

This is the voice of experience talking, I have made my share of pieces out of old curtains. Maria Von Trapp, Scarlett O'Hara, Samurai Mom.

Oh and yeah, kids who have never sang before learn to sing like professionals from the song "Do, Re, Mi." Sounds fishy to me.

Cheating

I love hasbrowns. I really love them. My mom always made them from scratch, so imagine my surprise when I learned the hard way that you don't just grate a potato into a pan and cook (read grey gooey mess). Then I learned about frozen hashbrowns and while I felt very guilty using them (because they are so much more pricey than a plain old potato) they were so easy.

The other day I tasted these at Costco
Dried hashbrowns. I know it goes against all my food principles. They aren't even organic and everyone knows potatoes are the #2 thing to make sure you buy organic (#1 is strawberries). But they looked so easy and tasted so yummy. So I bought a carton and am making them now. YUM.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Samurai Mom's 12 days of Christmas

(10 Lords A Leaping by Anne Geddes)
This is a little song I started singing to Nutmeg last year at bedtime. Moose thinks I should share it with all y'all so here it is. It has absolutely nothing to do with celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior but I like all of these things. I have no idea what I would do with 12 tatting shuttles.

The First Day of Christmas My True Love gave to me
A Nutmeg in a Pear tree
On the second Day of Christmas My True Love gave to me
Two Turtlenecks
On the Third Day of Christmas My True Love gave to me
Three Fountain Pens
On the Fourth Day of Christmas My True Love gave to me
Four Petite Blythes
On the Fifth Day of Christmas My True Love gave to me
Five DPNs
On the Sixth Day of Christmas My True Love gave to me
Six sheep for shearing
On the Seventh Day of Christmas My True Love gave to me
Seven wheels for spinning
On the Eighth Day of Christmas My True Love gave to me
Eight books for reading
On the Ninth Day of Christmas My True Love gave to me
Nine classic movies
On the Tenth Day of Christmas My True Love gave to me
Ten warm pashminas
On the Eleventh Day of Christmas My True Love gave to me
Eleven skeins for knitting
On the Twelfth Day of Christmas My True Love gave to me
Twelve tatting shuttles

Holiday Deal

I did a little Holiday un-shopping today. By un-shopping I mean, I went out to the shops and returned things.
At the Lego Store I like to think I made some one's day. After I returned a gift that was no longer needed I handed my $5 coupon to a lady in line who had a pile of Indiana Jones Legos in her arms.

At Target I returned a towel and Christmas lights for 24.98 or so. Then I picked up leg warmers (because I know I will never make any for myself and it is -15 degrees in Kalispell), a small gift for Commander C's best buddy, a pair of socks on clearance, and the main point of the trip, a pair of Yoga pants for myself so all the guests at Christmas don't have to see me in my jammies that have holes in the crotch. The pants were 19.99.

Or so I thought. At the register, my total was 19.44. What? "I asked the clerk really, that's the total?" I accepted it and then looked at the receipt the pants rung up as pants for $4.98. I was sorely tempted to go get 3 more pairs. In the end I left Target with needed necessities and about 5 and a half bucks.

I love a bargain.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Weenie!

Today is my little sister "Weenie's" birthday. I know it isn't a very nice nickname but we gave it to her when we were kids and it stuck. I can't do a very good birthday tribute to her because I don't have very many pictures of her that she was willing to share.

Weenie is my best friend (apart from Nutmeg). Isn't it nice to have a built in best friend stuck with you forever? Someone who has to still know you even if you fight with them once in a while or forget to do something for them. Someone you can call when you are out and say - "Will you look up such and such for me because I am lost." We didn't really become friends until after I graduated from high school. I realized she was my best friend after we were both married.
To show that I am a good sister I chose to post the picture where I look funny and she looks good rather than the one where she looks like a weenie and I look fabulous.

Weenie has 3 adorable children. I love them a lot and they are very, very cute. I would say the cutest , but have you seen MY kids? I love them and tell her all the time that I will take them if she dies or just wants to get rid of them. Her daughter "Little A" looks just like her.

Weenie likes to craft and scrapbook. Weenie also likes to spend her husbands money. Weenie has a lot of common sense which is a good thing. Weenie has the smallest ears of the 4 sisters which makes her the winner because we think small ears are a mark of beauty.

Weenie is one of my co-partners at MissMossMadness our Etsy site. She makes nursing covers. weenie also has a blog The Best Things in Life Are... which she doesn't update much but she complains enough when I don't.

Weenie deliberately deceived me when she was expecting her 3rd. I kept telling her she was pregnant and she continually deceived me because she wanted to keep it a surprise and thought I would tell!

Weenie loves to make apple pies and doesn't really love chocolate which is weird. Weenie is not very sentimental or emotional and sometimes I wonder if my parents really did pick her up at the reservation because she is not like me in those ways. We are the best of friends when we are apart but when we get together at reunions or Christmas we always fight because I take things seriously ans she doesn't. GRRR!

All in all I love my sister and I wish her a happy birthday and I wish I could see her at Christmas even though I know we would fight.

P.S. Weenie, I will post more pictures of you if you send them to me.
P.P.S. Moose thought I should post the picture of you when you were pregnant in a bathing suit, but because I love you, I refrained.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A christmas Flick for You


Mommy Bee asked about people's favorite Christmas films and I thought I would reply here. I love the classics, It's a Wonderful Life, White Christmas (oh, those circle skirts!), Holiday Inn, Little Women etc, but last month I watched one that reallv stuck with me. It is called Joyeux Noel and it is a French film about a Christmas cease fire in WWI.

It made me think not only about the horrible pointless bloodbath that was the war to end all wars but about the true spirit of Christmas and how people are all the same despite their geographical boundaries. i picked it up on Netflix, I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Nutmeg Fears The Jolly Old Elf


Well Boba Fett is afraid of Obama and Nutmeg is afraid of Santa Claus.
That's right, she is terrified that he is going to come through her window. She asks each night in a worried voice if Santa is coming tonight as she clings to me. I was just dancing and singing to the Jackson 5's Santa Claus is Coming to Town and she came up to me and said "Mom our home is not a town, right?"
Yesterday we rounded a corner at the Pittock Mansion ans ran into a Santa and I was afraid of an incident but I think she knew he wasn't the real thing, his beard was pretty short, and he was awfully skinny.

What should we do? Spill the beans? She isn't quite 3 years old yet, that seems harsh, I never remember believing in Santa and I don't feel deprived of anything?
Personally I don't do anything to promote Santa but I don't disillusion anyone anyhow. Besides Santa came in very handy the year Commander C had a problem with stealing and he got a note from Santa and no Bionicle.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Things I wish My Husband would do

Stop getting plastic bags at the grocery store,

Dance with me

Put up the Christmas Lights

Frijoles

I can make refried beans, but it is stinky and requires forethought. Is it OK to eat the junk from a can and keep all those pinto beans in the food storage knowing that I COULD make refried beans if I wanted to?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Intarsia Vortex

I have been consumed by gift making and preparations. I have been tangled in a mess of intarsia knitting in the round. It is a mess - not as bad as the picture (which is of my horrid acrylic stash) but close. If you receive a gift from me with intarsia in the round know that I love you very, very much. If you do not,be happy because even though I don't love you that much your gift will look much nicer.

Friday, December 05, 2008

November Reading List


I have been very busy crafting for the holidays so I haven't read much lately but here is what I did read.

Pride and Prejudice - by Jane Austen
Practically perfect in every way. Except I still can't reconcile that it is better to bribe Wickham to marry Lydia and be stuck with him for the rest of her life than a temporary indiscretion of a 16 year old.
7 out of 7 thimbles

Currently reading
Tending the heart of Virtue- by Vigen Guroian
An interesting book about how fairy tales teach virtue.

The Mahabharata
An Indian Epic Poem - the shortened version

I am finding it hard to read while knitting, I can't hold the book open.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Dear Relief Society Sisters

Dear Relief Society Sisters,

If something happens to me like a fiery plane crash or a snowy mountain automobile accident or alien abduction and you are sent in to clean my house, take care of my family or pack things up, Please know that I have every intention of organizing that cupboard of bowls, pans and dishes as soon as Christmas is over. Please do not judge me on the cleanliness of my home try to remember how fun and creative I was and realize that the messiness is part of the artist temperament.

The same goes for my sewing room although I do not have very many intentions of cleaning that up.

Thank You,
-Samurai Mom

P.S. If you want to have a go at organizing that cupboard go right ahead and try. Note those little black flakes in everything I think come from the tracks on the drawers and I am sure are toxic so you should make sure you wipe everything out before you use it.
P.P.S. And the food storage is under the boy's bunk bed, behind my bed, in the linen closet, behind the fridge in the garage, in the shower in the downstairs bath AND behind the books on the brown bookshelves.

The Tree

On Saturday we we trudged out to our favorite tree farm and cut our tree.
We had a tough time finding one that was tall enough but the one we did choose has a fabulous shape. I think it is the best formed tree we have ever had. There are very few empty spaces, and they aren't very big. 10 feet 3 inches this year. We like to have 12- 13 feet.
We always get a tall tree because it is tradition. Moose's family has always had a tall tree. We also
figure that if we are going to have to waste money heating that big vaulted ceiling we might as well get some use out of it.
I am in charge of lights. Each year I curse Martha Stewart for teaching me the proper way to light a tree. I takes a LONG time, tons of lights(9 strings this year) and is a pain to take off at the end of the season, but it is so worth it.
I love my trees, they are so pretty, the reaction from people when they walk in is priceless. Even if it never gets decorated fully. Moose usually wimps out on me at the end of the decorating. He claims he will do it later. Then eventually I will be expecting company and have to haul the ladder out to the garage and it never makes its way back out.This is just a gratuitous shot of Nutmeg in her new Christmas dress that I did not make, and bonnet that I did make.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Odds and Ends

Things I noticed today on my way to the torture that is shopping for foundation garments.

-Girl in the passenger seat of the yellow Mercedes Kompressor pulling her gum out of her mouth in a long string and letting it pop back in.

-Someone folding a tank top in the front window of a shop and the tank top was folded so narrowly. There is no way that is 1/4 the width of any woman.

-I think that there is a size limit at Victoria's Secret, I have never seen anyone that worked there that was not toothpick thin. I wonder how they explain that to the equal opportunity people. And honestly, it is so humiliating to explain to those girls the requirements of a woman that has borne 3 children. May they have stretch marks, the painful kind.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Puppy Fever

I think that the puppy fever has passed. I don't know what it was but for about 5 days I had a serious case of puppy fever.
I know what brought it on. When my dad walked in the door last week he said something about a dog and breeds that don't shed and how it is so good for the kids and before I knew it my firmly held position of no furry pets in the house had gone right out the window in an obsession to find the perfect puppy. For the kids yes, but since I am a clever mom I KNOW that any and all pet duties would fall to me so I had better love that puppy. So I decided I would get a puppy that I liked for me and claim naming rights and take it on solitary walks in the green space.
On the second night of the puppy fever I couldn't sleep and got up and read about dogs on the Internet until my computer turned itself off (at 2 am it goes to bed.) I very quickly settled on a Scottish Terrier because they are so very me don't you think? They like to be the boss and the center of attention, they are friendly and loyal but suspicious of strangers. And they are so very stylish, classic but unusual only a Scottie would go with my fabulous 50's skirts. I also liked that they are small enough not to be in the way but big enough that they aren't ridiculous.

Then I found THIS ad
Irresistible, non? And then I was hooked I was going to get a Scottie under the Christmas Tree on Christmas day and name him Banquo or MacDuff or some other fabulous name from the Scottish play and we would be pals.

After a few days I started realizing that dogs are expensive. Especially Scotties. Apparently Scottish Terrier Puppies are $500 to $700 and even "adopting" a grown Scottie will set you back $450. (Remember the good old days when you could get a dog for free?) Then add all the shots, and vet bills, and doggie beds, and leashes,and toys, and food, and dog dishes. And Scotties are seriously high maintenance what with the haircuts every 7 weeks. Apparently there is A way to groom Scotties and if you deviate you will be arrested by the doggie police and I KNOW there is a large unit here in Portland. So that is I don't even know how much money - every 7 weeks. Or you could learn to do it your self and buy all this dog grooming gear and have one more person in the house to complain when it is hair cut night. Plus a stylish Scottie would certainly need a tartan coat.

And did you know that there are Scottie play dates and Halloween parties!?!?! Apparently doggie playdates are fairly common, I don't get it, setting up playdate for kids is weird enough for me.

So nearly $1000 in the first year and high maintenance of the dog's coat and the picking up of... well you know what combined with the ultimate realization of the mere possibility of fleas. And that's it, I was done, no puppy.

Now, in hindsight, I am glad. I think it was a big step for me, I am not a dog person. When I come to your house and your dog sniffs me, or licks me or jumps on me, I am not even mildly amused. I am trying not to let you see the repulsion. So just the 5 day puppy obsession must mean...something. Right? I am progressing.

But Scottie fever has yielded positive things.
I now know that Scotties are the most stylish dog, period.
Trader Joe's has Scottie shaped licorice candy in the stores right now.
The picture at the top of my post is SO cool.
And last night surrounded by yards of soft black terry cloth I made this
Everyone LOVES him. Moose said the words cute and adorable of his own volition.

Tomorrow I will make more and have them for sale in my Etsy shop.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sabbath Leaves

Our Beautiful World: I had so much fun tramping through the woods yesterday looking for a Christmas tree. It was cool but not too cold, wet but not soggy, the air smelled wonderful.
Blessings: For wonderful parents who drive 20 hours out of their way to come visit for Thanksgiving and spend the entire time serving my family.
Striving: To get through the coming month with grace, neither forgetting to do anything nor forgetting to make memories with the children.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hide and Seek

New game around here, hide and seek. My hiding place in the corner behind the coat tree, no one ever finds me. Tee hee hee hee. I'm so sneaky,

Friday, November 28, 2008

Turkey Review

Thanksgiving went off well, the only hiccups were when Nutmeg knocked my computer desk over, (incredibly, my ancient laptop continued playing You Tube Christmas carols without a blip) and when the Arizona wing of the family found that their turkey had not defrosted. You might wonder why this was our problem, well Mr. Moss had the fantastic idea of hooking up the webcams and having dinner together. 3 siblings in Arizona and our family and Grandma and Grandpa in Oregon. The younger siblings were in Montana because they couldn't come to Oregon.
This is the Arizona part of our Family, oddly the girl on the screen is not a member of the family, but a friend. It was so fun to see everyone preparing dinner together.
This is the Oregon wing of the family just before digging in.
And Moose finishing off a bottle of Sparkling Apple Juice.
The food was great, we tried sausage in the stuffing this year and decided it was OK but we won't do it again. My yams were great. Pies tasted fine.
It hardly felt like work, my mom kept everything so organized and I feel like I hardly did any work. I am so glad someone else made the rolls. I don't ever want to do Thanksgiving alone again.Dad spent the whole week fixing up little things in my house like sticky doors, crossed hot and cold water lines and my broken FAUCET! I think my parents should come visit more often! We miss them already. The first think Nutmeg said this morning was "I want Grandma." The kids are counting down to the drive to Montana for our Cool Yule.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Motley Crew and a Terrifying Tale

These are our Thanksgiving pies, a sad display, I know. We were a sight to behold, Moose strumming on the guitar, Boss Moss teasing Nutmeg, Commander C stirring the lemon Pudding at the stove, Boba Fett stirring the pecan pie, Grandma Whitehouse making the meringue and Samurai Mom getting ingredients for two pies at once. Mom put the crusts in the pans so they looked much nicer than when I do it and I thought that was an auspicious start. But alas it was not to be.
The pumpkin had this funny bubble in it that split and then sunk, the lemon meringue has questionable pudding and a flat split meringue. And the Chocolate pecan, well it boiled over in the oven making the pie look very sad indeed and in smoking up the kitchen right now and the corn syrup burn on the bottom of the oven as the turkey roasts.

Let us hope that they taste good and that the smoke alarm does not go off.

Before I tell the terrifying tale I will mention that I made a Chocolate Pecan for the ward pie contest this year and I was robbed. First, I looked at my pie after the judging and there is NO WAY 3 judges tasted the pie, there was a half teaspoon sized bite taken out, that is all. Secondly, the judges were all men and the winners were all fruit pies, obviously they were not qualified to judge a chocolate pie. I had sufficient praise from others however. Now, on to my tale.

It was Thanksgiving 1997, London.
Our abroad program was an American school, with American students and British instructors.
Happily, the director of the program arranged a Thanksgiving day feast at a small French restaurant. We all convened and while the dinner was not quite a traditional feast the basics were there and it was acceptable. Then it was time for desert. The servers went around the room taking orders apple or pumpkin pie. Some ordered the apple but most drooled at the prospect of some pumpkin pie and ordered that in their southern drawl (most of the girls at Hollins abroad were from the south.) The instructors did likewise on our recommendation. The pies arrived and those who had ordered pumpkin were a bit perplexed. The pumpkin was not a custard pie but a pie like an apple pie, with little slices of pumpkin in a syrupy filling! I am not joking people! We were appalled but tasted the pie with trepidation followed by disappointment, it was gross. No rich velvety delight for us. We vehemently declared to our British Instructors that THIS was not pumpkin pie and tried to explain it though none of us knew enough about baking one to do it accurately.
Ironic that in England we could not get a custard pie.

(Proof I was there at the infamous Thanksgiving feast, I have no idea who these people are, but the woman in the center was our Shakespeare instructor and the man sitting was her partner. I thought that was SO shocking and metropolitan.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Can't Take the Pressure!

I love that I have blog fans. But I can't handle the pressure. I have been very busy the last few days cleaning for Thanksgiving festivities and entertaining my folks, I haven't had time to blog, but my fans are so disappointed that I am not blogging, I have been ordered to sit and blog but I can't do it on demand people. See Samurai Mom stressing about blogging on demand.

I think my family makes me a little silly I am actually contemplating getting a dog, a cut little Scottie I think. My dad informs me that they don't shed. I have always said "No animals in the house." I am not an animal person but the boys deserve a dog.
Comments?

Friday, November 21, 2008

All The News That's Fit to Sew

Let the joyous news be spread: Violet has been repaired! When the shop called and told me she was fixed I was beside myself with joy. NOW I feel I can post about our weekend of fabric.
This is Fabric Depot, the first time I walked in, I cried tears of joy. I had never seen so much fabric in one place. The picture is part of the store, I couldn't fit it all in one picture.
This is the lining for my new coat.
This is the lining, green wool and pattern laid out. Guess what? I am about half a yard short on the lining so if anyone is headed to Fabric Depot, let me know.
Nutmeg likes to help me sew. She is in charge of pins. Don't panic! She is more nimble with pins than most male adults.This is Nutmeg trying not to cry when I told her she couldn't put pins in her mouth until she was 10 years old.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shalom in Eggplant

My latest knitted sweater. With its completion the Crazy Christmas Knitting can begin.
The Shalom.
Knit in Cascade 220 with double strands on 10 1/2 needles. It was a very quick knitI haven't blocked it yet, I like it too much to take it off. It is very warm (in fact it might be too warm for a fine day like today) and I love the button.

Get in Shape Girl!

Remember this?!? If you are too young, don't worry you didn't miss much except a near brush with an eating disorder.
Another thing about not being as young as I used to be is that I am less confident confident that the remaining traces of motherhood will disappear from my body, especially with Candy Cane Joe Joe's and Pumpkin Pie hanging around the house. Since there are only a handful of activities I will even attempt, let alone enjoy (archery, kayaking, hiking, swimming, yoga, and going on walks) I have settled on walking.
When did I decide this? Last night in bet at 12:30 am. Did I go this morning? No, I slept instead. What am I going to do while walking? Knit and listen to stories on Moose's iPod. What about the weather? That, you see, is a big problem, but today was a beautiful fall day, too bad I was asleep.
I will try again tomorrow. Do you dare me to wear a side ponytail?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Evidence That I Have Given Up

A few days ago I posted in on my Facebook status that I had given up. I received many friendly admonitions to keep holding on and to eat some ice cream. I don't know what my friends thought I was giving up on but I was referring to my kids. I am just going to let them run the show from now on. I gave a valiant effort for 8 1/2 years, but now I give up.
As evidence, yesterday I sent Moose out to the store just to buy corn dogs for dinner. We NEVER buy corn dogs, I think they are the junkiest food you can have. Yet, there I was telling my husband to go buy a box.
As further evidence, the children have had corn dogs for 3 meals in a row now. I mean really compared to sugary cereal corn dogs are the healthy breakfast choice, right?

Monday, November 17, 2008

They don't make them like they used to...

Just a few observations about my trip to the sewing machine repair shop today.

The thing about sewing machine repair shops is that they are really the pharmaceutical company reps of the sewing machine world. They aren't in the business of fixing beloved ancient sewing machines they are in the business of selling outlandishly priced, sleek, shiny computerized machines that do everything but play music while you sew.

So when I arrive at the shop of course I have to try to guide in a 2 year old and open the door while holding a bajillion pound sewing machine. (I don't know how much it weighs - but it is all steel.) Then once I get in (this has happened more than once) there is no one to help me so I put my machine on the desk by the door, remember this is a heavy machine. Sooner or later some middle aged lady hustles up to me and says "Oh, don't put the machines on the glass!" Ummm, where am I supposed to put it? It weighs a bajillion pounds. You would think that instead of a little sign on the desk that you can't see when you are lifting a vintage sewing machine, maybe they should put a small table out specifically for resting your machine????

Then said middle aged lady takes me and my machine to the back of the shop and proceeds to say with a heavy sigh. "I don't know if he can fix it. It is SO old." with the subtext of "You are so stupid, why don't you buy one of our fancy, sleek, plastic machines?" When I brought Violet in for her fist check up I got the same attitude "Why would you buy such an old machine?" Hmmm let me think $50, style, tons of functions made of steel so it is more durable than ....well anything but a determined 2 year old in a messy sewing room, no computer parts to freak out on you....

I miss the little man that used to run the shop, he was nice. He seemed to like old machines and he would take pictures of the kids with a Polaroid camera for the kids to take home. They used to sell used machines back then. I miss you old man who used to run the sewing machine repair shop.
Anyone know of a sewing machine repair place in Portland that does not discriminate against old machines?
I think once Violet's remains are safely back in my possession I will send this post to them anonymously.

In Memorium

Violet the Kenmore sewing machine was made in Japan before I was born. She was a lovely shade of vintage mint green and I am sure made an anti-feminist housewife very happy when her husband bought it for her. Not much is known about her early life except that in her youth she sewed through some one's finger, but I like to think she had been abused and that is why she did it.
After she sewed through some one's finger she was left with the injured person's roommate who many years later sold her to me for $50.
It was love at first sight. Violet had more than 50 attachments, cams, monogramming plates and automatic buttonhole feature and many, many feet.
Violet sewed Nutmeg's purple and black dress (my piece de resistance), Little Red Riding Hood , the Smocked Easter dress and the Petite Blythe wardrobes of 2007-8.
Violet met a violent end when Nutmeg pulled her off of the sewing machine table because the cord was wrapped around the leg of a chair she was moving.
I wish we had pictures of all the fun times we had together. Remember the time I thought she needed an expensive repair and I fixed her myself? We are hoping for a resurrection but there was a broken piece of metal involved. If you know of a organ donor we would gratefully appreciate to donation.
-Heart brokenly,
Samurai Mom aka Sewing Dervish.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sabbath Leaves

Our Beautiful World: Last week when I was outsize winterizing the yard I found these little mushrooms growing on our mossy tree. I tried my hardest to get a good picture of them. I love moss and mushrooms.
Blessings: I am so grateful for Facebook. No, really. it is so fun to be able to keep up with people that have moved away and keep tabs on what your friends are up to on days when you don't see them.
Striving: to be nicer, to be more disciplined.

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Yes, it is true. Candy Cane Joe-Joe's are in Trader Joe's stores now. Get them while you can!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bowling while Babywearing

This is one of my favorite babywearing memories. We were bowling and Nutmeg was asleep. It was a little difficult to bowl with her foot getting in the way, but I am terrible bowler anyhow so it didn't make a difference.
This website is having a fun babywearing photo contest. Do you think I will win?

International Babywearing Week

I have been feeling some sadness lately that the things that defined me as a young mother have gone. I am still the same mother but the seasons has passed. I find it strange that people who are meeting me for the first time don't know that I am a babywearing, EC'ing, homebirthing, lactivist, attachment parenting, crunchy mama.

Nutmeg is almost 3 and it is no longer remarkable that she doesn't wear diapers. I never have occasion to strap her on my back - she would rather be running. I no longer make enough milk to feed the world and grow the chubbiest baby that you have ever seen. My "Got Breastmilk?" bumper sticker is somewhere in the pile of stuff that I never look at. I don't speak up during labor discussions because it hardly seems relevant NOW that I gave birth to my babies upstairs on my own bed in this very house. That Nutmeg's birth was the single most glorious achievement of my life.

So when Mommy Bee reminded me that it is International Babywearing Week I felt compelled to make a statement saying this is one of the defining activities of my life. Babywearing made me the mother I am. Babywearing created income, identity and some of the most precious moments of my life. Through babywearing I have taught others how to connect with their precious children. Baby wearing inspired me to make art.

Through babywearing I have lost weight, made friends and been the object of curiosity. I was so used to people staring at me for having a baby strapped to my back that I hadn't noticed that they don't stare anymore, I am just another mother with 3 adorable moderately behaved children. Unremarkable.

When I received my first sling I put it on with a sack of potatoes to practice before the baby came, I have never, ever looked back.
I went everywhere with my baby on my back from hiking up a slippery muddy slope in search of a view to jumping on a trampoline.

This is a compilation of art I have created about babywearing, others have made for my babywearing business, and photos of me, my children and my baby carriers (all homemade.) The slide show is crude- I have no idea how to do this properly.

Thanks to the lady at the Breastfeeding Class for introducing me to slings, to Tracy for insisting that I try a wrap and to my babies for riding around for 7 years.
video

Monday, November 10, 2008

Miss Mossy Lush and Lacy

Well it is finally done. Not that it took me that long to knit, it is just that I was so afraid of finishing it that I left it untouched for the month of October.
This pattern is Lush and Lacy from Sweaterbabe. I knit it in Swish Superwash from KnitPicks in Dublin. Thanks to Mom for the Christmas sweater yarn!
The color is really much more vivid in person. I wish we had better photos. I will be finishing this off with some shiny jet buttons. I love the peplum and the flared sleeves.

Miss Messy

In school I would ALWAYS come out of art class covered in whatever medium we were working in, paint, clay, glue, metal shavings, slivers of wood. My clothes took a beating.
I am still like that. I guess that is one great reason for knitting and sewing - very little residue left on my clothes.
Even when I garden I get filthy. A friend asked me yesterday if I had ever heard of gloves. Gloves, who needs them? One must really get into something for it to be worth doing, no?
So this weekend I have primed, primed, painted, painted, painted and painted again the upstairs bathrooms. My hands have so many colors on them right now. Yesterday I had to wear a ribbon to church in hopes of camouflaging the grey primer at the crown of my head. Hopefully I all of the paint will wash off by Thanksgiving. Meanwhile I will be covered in Grass Cloth, River Rock and Bitter Chocolate.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

He Was Beautiful


The other night I had a dream, a vision of the second coming.

We were standing in a building when suddenly there was a tremendous boom accompanied by an engulfing bright white light that shot in from the atmosphere like a comet. The light was bright brighter than anything you have ever seen but it didn't hurt your eyes. It penetrated the whole world. Every corner, crack and crevice was filled. There was not a soul on earth that didn't see the light. "So this is what it means" cried out my soul "When they say that when he comes again everyone will know it."
And HE was there. His coming had knocked out all of the windows and everyone in the world could see him from where their windows had once been. We were all drawn to him. He was beautiful, blonder, younger than I imagined and did not have a beard. I could barely keep my feet on the ground as they kept rising up behind me so I could fly to him.
Those who were not believers tried to rationalize it all away but they could not because he was there. We were sorry for them but he was there and our hearts were filled up.
I went to him and told him I was not worthy. He understood.

Mosiah 27: 31"Yea, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess before him. Yea, even at the last day, when all men shall stand to be judged of him, then shall they confess that he is God;"