Sunday, May 31, 2009

An Iconic Symbol

You may remember my daydream a few weeks back. Somehow it became a need and then an obsession in remarkably little time. I found a suitable bike in a far flung shop and Liberty Bell and I have been zipping along the Bethany Trail in iconic style since Mother's Day.
She is a Free Spirit make and thus the name, Liberty Bell. Unfortunately. I have not yet found a suitable patriotic bell to attach to her. I shall keep a few copies of the Declaration of Independence in my basket as I ring Liberty throughout the land.P.S. It turns out some skirts are more suitable for iconic biking than others.
P.P.S. I can not ride Liberty Bell without a gigantic grin on my face, it is that fun. Seriously a vintage bike feels different. We make other people smile too!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


At Outdoor School the little kids were taught how to cook things on a campfire. You need to have 3 parts of your body on the ground for stability, 2 feet and 1 knee. Nutmeg absorbed this instantly and solemnly the put lesson into practice. She was absolutely adorable, folded up into a small package roasting marshmallows in complete seriousness. No laughs, or giggles or smiles.
Meanwhile, I tried to make a campfire outside of our cabin. I had seasoned firewood, moss, 14 pieces of paper, 3 piping hot coals, a half of a box of matches and a cotton ball with petroleum jelly and still could not produce a fire. Even the paper was reluctant to flame. It was humiliating. My poor kids sat there watching me for 45 minutes trying to get a fire for campfire stories.

The next day I took the wood into the cabin to dry out more and borrowed a lighter. I had a blazing fire in 1 minute. We increased our carbon foot print by throwing log after log on the fire.
The kids and I stayed up late telling stories, roasting marshmallows and staring into the fire. The stories were good but they were too chicken to hear The Owl Witch.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

No Mosquitos and He is Doing Fine

There were no mosquitos at Camp Zarahemla. Well, there was one but it was on someone else and Boba Fett killed it.

Boba Fett reacts very poorly to mosquito bites; he gets tennis ball sized welts.
Apparently he also reacts badly to having his picture taken with his mom.I won.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


I didn't have a single picture of Commander C at Outdoor School. That's because I never saw him. When I did see him he was decked out in a grey hoodie with his backpack on his back and his rope tied around his waist. At night he showed up to cabin at dark and slipped into his bed with his night vision goggles on, a pencil in his hand, his journal and a Calvin and Hobbes book. ( I snuck a peek into his journal and it was just pictures of stick people fighting.) Luckily Sarah was the official photographer for camp and took this picture as proof that he was there.

Just another tidbit. Today, as we were on our way home from Cub Scouts Commander C said, "Gavin made.....No. Gavin DARED me to pull the fire alarm." With wide eyes I asked if he did it. "Yes." Did the Fire Department come? They did not. I am suprised I wasn't met at the door of the church by a group of angry den mothers. Bless them.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Dear Soldiers,
To you who have given your lives to protect our country and the freedoms we hold dear.

Thank You.

Thank You also to your families.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday Night Cinema

The Children of Heaven
Date: 1997
Director: Majid Majidi
Starring: Amir Farrokh Hashemian, Bahare Seddiqi, Mohammad Amir Naji

The first time I watched this film I was so touched by the story. I love the selflessness and solidarity the brother and sister share. The fathers attempt to get ahead just little bit for his family. I was reminded how truly blessed my family is. We have so much. It has a happy ending which is always nice when the story involves children.

The film is Iranian and has subtitles.
6 out of 7 thimbles

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cuter Than a Chipmunk

We are back from Outdoor School at Camp Zarahemla. The camping was lush (more about that in a later post.) The kids had the time of their life.Nutmeg had " a bad time" because she kept falling down. She has a scary looking scrape under her left eye that she acquired when she tripped on the side walk and landed face first. Luckily I took these photos BEFORE the fall. She had numerous other falls and I lost her in the woods no less than 5 times.She was the cutest kid there as you can see. She and I spent a lot of time alone together. It was nice to be with her and not have other things on my mind. Just me, my daughter and the trees.

No Chipmunks Were Harmed in the Making of This Post.

There were a multitude of chipmunks at Camp Zarahemla this last week. Boba Fett was enamored. He wanted to touch one. After some tears because "Chipmunks just don't like me." and some discussion he decided to make a chipmunk trap. He enlisted some 13 year old boys to help him make a trap.
Can I just say how cool homeschooled kids are? These 13 year old were enlisted and put a lot of time and thought into this trap on their last evening at camp. Thanks Woodward Boys!
No chipmunks were caught but Boba Fett was very happy with the trap.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Into the Wild

This afternoon I head out to the Cascade "wilderness" for 4 days of Outdoor School with my kids. There will be fire, dirt, bugs, sunshine and more rain. I am not bringing Moose, he has to work. Moose says that I am "very, very brave." I can't figure this out because this is not different that when he leaves me for business trips except that when he goes away on business trips I don't have the novelty of 50 other kids, the woods and fire to keep them distracted, lots of moms for me to chat with and no housework.

The things I am worried about are the garden, will Moose remember to leave out the milk bottles, will the house be cleaner than will I left it and will Moose decide to do something crazy to the house while I am gone?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday Night Cinema

Guys and Dolls
Starring: Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, Jean Simmons, and Vivian Blaine
Date: 1955
Directed by: Joseph L. Mankiewicz

This movie is H.O.T. Brando simply sizzles as Sky Masterson and while Sister Sarah isn't as sympathetic a character as one might hope you can't help but feel jealous that she goes home with him.

The songs and choreography are fantastic, the set and costumes divine, the women are women and the men are men. There are no contractions used. There is gamboling and love.

You will be singing many of the songs for the rest of the week.

7 out of 7 thimbles

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Secret of Getting Your Husband to Do What You Want.

I think that I have discovered the secret of how to get your husband to do what you want. It is a risky procedure but if it pays off it pays off big.
When the situation arises state you case firmly and with all of the logical reasons and then say "Yes" to whatever it is he wants to do.

If he wants to buy a Jeep tell him to buy a Jeep. Eventually he will feel guilty because you are being so nice and all of your points against the Jeep were really good points. The next day he will come home and say, "I am not going to buy a Jeep and this is why." and then repeat back all of your sensible points. Urge him again to buy a Jeep and his desire to be contrary will solidify his resolve to not buy a Jeep.

If your sons would like him to take them to the ward Father and Son Camp Out and he really does not want to go camping simply state all of the reasons in favor of him taking his sons on an overnight camp out and then say "You don't have to go. I'll send Commander C with Brother D. and Boba Fett can just stay here and watch movies with you." Before you know it your husband will be planning for the camp out all thanks to you for agreeing with him and to Boba Fett for his big brown eyes, thick glasses and the excitement of a 5 year old.

Tonight Moose and the boys head to the beach for the campout and Nutmeg and I are going to party with the girls!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Pillow Talk

One picks up a lot of things as a computer guy's wife. One of those things is an immense vocabulary of acronyms. Couple that with a husband that works at a large semiconductor company and you have a whole lot of letters flying around. Most of these abbreviations have no meaning to me whatsoever, but like a foreign language immersion class, I have come to the point where I can speak little bit of computer jargon. (My html is rather good, not as good as my French but certainly better than my Spanish.) Come on over and I will amaze you with words like PHP, EC, C++, AR, OR, VI, Shell and PERL.

Once Moose was rattling on about some thing that someone was trying to do and somebody had a plan and wanted to do something when I piped up and said, "That's silly, why don't you just use (insert acronym/computer thing here?) " and he said "That's exactly what we should do!" I don't know what we were talking about but I found it a bit frightening that me the lowly hausfrau of a Unix SysAdmin could see the logical answer over the MBAs at the company. (Perhaps they should hire me and our stock would finally go up???)

Last night as we lay in bed Moose was lulling me to sleep with tales of Santa Clara, terabytes of disc space and cfengine. In my mind cfengine is this sweet hot rod car engine where people pour in buckets of letters and out come comely uniform packages with a ribbon tied around moving in a line down a conveyor belt. I started laughing and when asked I explained my vision. Moose simply said "Actually that is not far off." Then he snatched my pretty car engine away and made the process way more boring and now I know what cfengine does.

Sometimes I wonder what I would have been if I had not been anti-computers in the beginning. I did have a grade of 105% in my CS 101 class in college, I knew how to physically put together a computer which saved the day when Moose's first build your own computer parts arrived, and I put the navbar back on the top of this very blog which is apparently a huge feat that involved style sheets and CSS or something and I thought it was rather easy. The fact is computers aren't as scary as I used to make out. If I do become hot computer geek girl will I channel Penelope Garcia or Lisa Calighan? I think the answer is obvious.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mother's Day at Council Crest

Unlike many, I love Mother's Day. I think it is lovely to remember all the things that mothers do for us, I find it a fulfilling and gratifying day not a day that makes me feel like I don't measure up. Look on the bright side ladies!
In the past many of the ladies have worn corsages to church on Mother's Day and I used to feel left out. Sunday morning I made my own, but this year the ladies who wear corsages are no longer in my ward and there were only two of us sporting fresh flowers and I felt a little odd. Six other mothers and I sang a lovely song in sacrament meeting called "Keeping Sheep" about being mothers in a world that doesn't value our work and the primary sang "The Family is of God" which is such a neat song.Thankfully, my neighbors had a garage sale this weekend so my children could afford to get me some mother's day gifts. I am actually kind of excited about the gold Christmas ornaments. I think it is sweet that they thought about me enough to buy me gifts.
We had our traditional Mother's Day picnic up at Council Crest Park. Council Crest is the highest point in Portland and logically it has the best view in town. You can see Mount Hood, Mount Adams, Mount Rainier, Mount Jefferson and Mount St. Helens from the top as well as the entire city and most of the suburbs.Council Crest used to be an amusement park and (according to this card) "The Dreamland of Portland, Oregon." Now it is just a nice calm park with a great view, It is an off-leash park which is not so great for picnickers but fantastic if you have dogs. We have had many canine visitors at our Mother's Day Picnics over the years. This year there was some construction going on and the west side of the park was fenced off.
One of the reasons I choose Council Crest for my mother's day picnic is because of the statue of a mother and child near the entrance to the park. It was stolen in 1990 but found years later and returned.
Here you can see how the park is encircled with blossoming plum trees. I love how the petals look like pink confetti on the ground.
The mother's day photo - I love how the kids look terrified underneath their smiles.
Boba Fett pretending he was "a bad man drinking wine." (I don't make these things up.)
My family running away from me.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Saturday Night Cinema

Star Trek
Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Leonard Nemoy
Date 2009
Directed By: J. J. Abrams

I didn't understand what they meant by a "reboot" of the series, now I do. Pay the $9.50, see the movie, love it. Brilliant.

7 out of 7 thimbles

*** I am totally silk screening a shirt with the Star Trek insignia on it like Kirk wears.***

Friday, May 08, 2009

A Lesson in Civics

Yesterday, I rounded up my small band and drove them down to the Salem for Homeschool Apple Pie Day at the Capitol. Homeschool Apple Pie day is when homeschooling families from across the state descend upon our legislators to let them know we appreciate that we have the freedom to homeschool and give a face to the the term "homeschoolers" in the hope that they will have kind thoughts about us the next time they pass the Homeschool Freedom bill and the Governor vetoes it again (because he sits firmly in the pocket of the teacher's union.) We give the representatives apple pies.
My illustrious Representative, Mitch Greenlick, (yes, remember how he ran almost unopposed last election) refused to accept his pie. His office claimed he was on weight watchers. He is getting chubby so he refuses our annual gesture of peace??? He didn't have to actually eat it himself. Mitch and I have traded e-mails about homeschooling and we do not see eye to eye. Please someone run against him next time!

We were unofficially expected to dress in church clothes. I wore a nice skirt and so did Nutmeg but I could not see my boys putting on their ties for this event. I chose my battle and asked only that they wore their nice jeans (without holes) and their nice long sleeved red shirts and the Heeleys were not allowed. I forgot to put on my boots before we left so my ensemble was topped off with tennis shoes. I was so worried that I was going to look like a weirdo. No worries, no one noticed my shoes because as I forget living in the super cool homeschool metropolis that I do, a lot of homeschoolers are of the type where the women dress like pioneers and have really long hair with those gravity defying rolls where the bangs should be. My feet were really low on the out of place scale. Our little group of Mormons looked downright secular.

We had a tour of the Oregon Supreme Court, watched the opening of the senate and said the pledge with the senate (tears.) We went to the House of Representatives where we heard the passing 2 bills that are a complete waste of government resources. The final arguments of the "Honest Pint" bill were being discussed and Oregonians, your representatives are a bunch of clowns. They had a lot of fun thinking up clever ways to show their enthusiasm about a full 16 oz of beer. Finally one man stood up to speak, he pointed out that this voluntary program was a strain on the already over-worked health inspectors and a completely unnecessary function of government. Besides it is voluntary so the people who aren't serving honest pints don't have to participate. Matt and I were so pleased with him that we started clapping which is not allowed. We were chastised by the speaker but we were on our way out so we didn't get in trouble.

A complete waste of government time in a state with 12% unemployment. I am so glad my children witnessed THAT.
The kids behaved better than expected but not as well as hoped. What is evident is that they need more education about how government works but they are 3, 5 and 9 so I have a few years yet. Nutmeg played in the puddles, Commander C had a bad attitude and Boba Fett thought about only one thing the picnic planned for after we were done. It was pouring rain when we were done so we had our picnic in the van.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

My Breadmaker is in Danger of Being Outsourced

A while back I read about this book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day on a blog. The title sounded interesting and I decided to request it at the library thinking it would be just another fancy cookbook that would be hopelessly out of my league. I was so wrong!

This book is awesome. If you like home made bread but don't have the time this is the book for you. The longest part of the process is the actual baking.

You mix the dough (enough for several loaves) let it rise for 2 hours and then put it into the fridge until you are ready to bake. Then you pull out a lump of dough, shape it and then bake it. That is it.

We have been baking 1-2 loaves a day and loving it. The bread is delicious. Get the book because there are several master recipes and many specialty recipes including pastries!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Blythe Manor

There has been a lot of decorating around here. Samurai Mom has ruined a good pair of yoga pants with paint. I have been decorating the doll house that we have been making for the Blythes. The kids have been ecstatic with the house. This morning they drug down our measly doll furniture collection and were trying to play house, I suggested that we use some blocks to make temporary furniture - they went wild. Many of these ideas were theirs. I particularly like Commander C's bank of 3 beds and the bathtub. I also love the bubbles in the bathtub, the sinks, toilet and washer dryer. Who know block with holes could be so handy? So would you like a tour of the house?
Janie is deciding on paint colors and wallpapers.
The nearly finished house ( I still need to glue down the carpet and paint trims)
Penelope (in the foyer) explains that the mural won't be painted for a few weeks.Janie, Penelope, and Betsy watch the old TV while they wait for the flatscreen to be delivered.

Betsy and Janie are the Kitchen enjoying Sushi.
Greta climbs the ladder Commander C invented for going up stairsGreta enjoys a bubble bath while Betsy powders her nose.

Penelope talks to Greta and Betsy before they lie down for a nap in the bank of beds.

Snow White listens to some fly tunes on the phonograph.

Janie sews some bedding (because those block beds are kind of firm)

in between loads of laundry.
Next, we need to paint the outside of the house and have the roof installed.
Thanks for checking out the house!