Monday, December 15, 2008

Hell Bent for Leather

Dad: "Scout (age 5), It seems that if I ask you to do something, you do the exact opposite!!"
Son (age 8): Calmly like he says this all the time....Yeah, Scout, you seemed HELL BENT on doing that.

My son is 8. We live in the woods. He reads books about dragons, and pirates, and magical boys. We don't watch TV.
This is one reason why what he said the other day is funny, beyond the fact that he is just a kid, he is an innocent one.
My brother-in-law, Dan, laid down some vocals for his friend's recording. It is a spoofy album about Arnold Schwarzenegger. The song he helped out with was a cover of Judas Priest's fantabulously touching "Hell Bent for Leather".

Clearly my son listened to the song, and understood the lyrics. It also shows what a genius my kid is (I know, I'm biased) to use a phrase he heard once 3 weeks ago, in context in another situation, and have no idea that it might be an edgy thing for a 3rd grader to say.

You can check out the aforementioned music at this link (I didn't embed it on purpose, it is loud) and hear Dan's background vocals:

Kids say the darndest things....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Crusty Bread

For the most part, I am modest by nature. I guess I just needed to brag a bit about my latest baking experiment. Baking and brewing are a bit of a science experiment for me, and more creative than mopping, cleaning and folding. It also is rewarding to see my kids and family loving something I have made. Seriously, they do not love that the floor is clean.

On that note, I wanted to post my latest loaf of crusty, chewy, European style bread. Let's face it, it is just yummier than a regular loaf. Mine turned out perfectly. It is crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside. It took more patience than elbow grease, and I can wait, if it does not take much work. So there is my not-so-modest-side coming out.

Friday, December 05, 2008

That Darn Cat

This is the cat that I drove to my mother-in-laws house for safe keeping while we were on vacation for 3 weeks. This photo was taken when it was a bit smaller and did it's job of hunting with more gusto. I drove this cat 2o minutes away, out to the highway, down a country road, in a pet carrier. I dropped him off and didn't even think of him until we returned.

When we got home, Martha said that the cat had stuck around about half the time we were gone, and then had disappeared. I felt a bit bad (mostly for the kids), but something in me told me that was not the end of the story. When we arrived at our house, there was X-ray the cat. He was hungry. He walked home through the woods one mile as the crow flies. He had to swim across the Deer Creek to get here. How did he know the way?

Clearly he loves his home, not us, but where he lives. I had heard stories like this before, but never thought that they were real. And I don't have a guilty conscience about a 'missing' cat.

Banksy in Bethlehem

I love Banksy. He is a anonymous graffiti artist who has art on walls all over the world. I think only a few people must know who he is and they keep his secret safe. His work sells for millions and he is still alive (incredible!!). I like his stuff cause it is political, or ironic, and timely.

I have been interested in him, and the mystery of him for some time. When passing through the Israeli wall into palestine to visit Bethlehem, I was thinking it would be a perfect place for a person to make a political statement. The place is full of intense irony. As it turns out, as I was thinking that, we round a bend to see some of Banksy's work. I whipped out the camera and did my best to get a photo of it, which I did. I also got Selma's head.

The wall that surrounds Jerusalem is to protect against the violence that Palestine is up to around there. Palestinians don't go to Jeruslam and vise versa, though they are 3 miles apart. One needs a permit to work in one place or the other. The wall helps further divide the two raging inhabitant of the land.

I am not an expert about the strife in Isreal, and yet can clearly see that neither side is seeking peace. They are however trying to protect themselves without peace. It seems as if it is not working. It seems that if there is a leader who is truly striving for peace, then that person does not live long (it seems to be a theme amoung radical peace keepers-watch out Tony).

I wanted to share some other interesting snaps I took.This is a cross I saw on the path that Christ rode on into the city of Jerusalem on a donkey. This is an adventure in missing the point if I ever saw one.

This is a photo of Justus in the "manger". You know, the "real" one that jesus was placed in after he was born. I think it was totally taboo for him to hop in, so I kicked him out before a grumpy manger nazi saw him, and after I took a devious photo. Who's kid is that?

A Bit Buttoned Up

Here are the latest photos of our progress on our atrium. The new roof for the entire house is sitting in our drive, and will make the whole house look so different! The new roof will be put over the old one, and is a cream colored aluminum (okay, some sort of metal, I am not sure what kind).

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ironic Burning Bush

In the Sinai Desert is the "real" Burning Bush which God used to tell Moses His plan for him. It is at an old cathedral in the middle of nowhere called St. Catherine's.
Here is an interesting photo I took of the bush!!
I would assume smoking around the Burning Bush would be OK.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Blogging from the Holy Land.

Justus' Baptism in the Jordan
The Browns at the Temple Mount. Not our Christmas Card Photo.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Gettin' Dirty

Silas rented a HUGE tractor, and used to to grade our land, and then fill the new room. It was a super fun day, cause Silas got to use a fun toy. I was able to shovel a rake 30 yards of soil around the new room with help from my dad, sister, and friends. I think I personally did 2/3 of the moving. I would like to say that Addi, my sister, is posing with nearly all of the fill, and though she was a HUGE help, the photo is misleading (my back muscles were telling me that I did more than her, but she rode 300+ miles in 24 hours, so she is awesomer).
Fill was expensive enough, that the cost to rent the tractor and was less than buying clean fill. If we had bought the soil and had it delivered, it would have been dumped in our driveway, and then we would have had to wheel it one load at a time into the room. I think we saved money and time.

Somewhat Framed

Here are our walls. We can now use less of our imagination to see what our room will be like.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

How Firm a Foundation

Here are the photos of the day that we poured the foundation to our new room. It is a big extension onto our cute little house. Our friends came and helped us out, and it was a big job. I'll post more as the room takes shape!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cat Allergy

Scout, who is five, asked if we could get more cats. We have one mouser who lives outside, and does his job, though complains a bit about it.
We told her that if we got more cats, then grandma can't come over, because she is allergic to cats. Thinking about this for a second, Scout asked,
"Grandma eats cats?"

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Forms

We are all set to pour the foundation.
Baby steps....

We also packed a cord of wood into our woodshed. An have been playing outside on our slack line. It makes for some great construction breaks.

Just don't fall off or else these babies might come after you...

Out with the Old

We are building an atruim, at least that is what we are calling it for now. So we had to tear down our front porch, and had some help from our family. I'll be keeping a log of our progress.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Enough to Bear

So I think that if you think bears are cool, you are correct. They are cool if you are just looking at them from afar.

Last night to our shock, a bear was near our heads just outside our bedroom window. This has happened before, but before the bear took off quickly. This time was quite different. It came to the window at 11:45 pm, and the dog went mad. He started barking which woke Silas up. I was already awake, knowing a bear was on the porch because it is big and loud. Silas stood up and Conan the Barbarian yelled out the open, though screened, window. The screen seems useless, until if falls off, which it did then i really felt like I was bear breakfast. We are telling ourselves that the extreme yelling out the window knocked it off, but my mind is telling me otherwise, that it was knocked of by the bear in question.

I peeped to silas, "what was it?" then more loudly "what was it?" and he said back, "I am not going to tell you!". Finally he said, oh it wasn't a raccoon, which for sure I knew it wasn't. The snarling, loud thudding being near me, was no raccoon.

Silas saw the bear, he told me "in the field by our house" which really was just off of the porch and heading that way!!

Enough is enough!! I am so done with the bear!! You can't get rid of it, and it is rather scary by your head at night. I am exhausted today, and didn't sleep.....
I can sleep when I'm dead.

PS the photo is near my house, those are me feet, and the bears who made those tracks are just up the hill from me while I was taking that picture. I could see the bears, but they didn't turn out in the photo.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Oh, the Agony

Here are some photos of the madness that was the Agony, a 24 hour bike ride in the Sierra Valley north of Truckee Ca.

My sister Addi, and her husband Yamil, my brother-in-law Dan and his friend Adam all rode 300 miles in 24 hours. Silas, my husband rode 250, our friend Mike rode 270+, and my sister Bethany and I rode 160.

It was quite deflating for me at the beginning because I had 4 flat tire. This meant that we spent 4 hours not riding. We did walk 5 miles, which counted towards our total (in bike shoes in the hot sun, this was the worst part for me).

My awesome sister stayed with me the entire time, even the flat tire times, and we made memories instead of miles. We also earned money for CEM ( fortunately it was not a per mile donation, or then I would feel bad. Thanks to all the awesome SAGgers, my parents especially, and the owner of Tour of Nevada City Bike Shop.

The photos are misleading, because we all look happy, the point is agony, which happened pretty quickly into the ride but there aren't as many photos of that.
And here I am.....There are a few more good pics at

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Scout wanted to know on our recent trip to Yosemite, why the rock was called "half-dumb". This is a good question, if it were the real name of the rock. We thought of many answers for her. One is that it used to be wholly dumb, but has gotten smarter over the years. Or, what was left of the rock is the dumb half, it really is difficult to say, why the rock is called "half-dumb".

That was just one of the awesome and cute things that happened on our trip to Yosemite at the beginning of June. Here are some photos of our clan in the woods.

For me the highlight was the hike up Half-dumb. It was super hard, and every time I finish something that hard, I feel like I can do whatever I set my mind to (within reason). Also it was fun to be with my sisters, their husbands, and my dad. What a fun thing to do with your family, and how awesome it was for my dad to get to do the hike with his posterity.

My dad spent his childhood stomping around Yosemite because his grandpa worked at the stables on the valley floor in the 50's and 60's. It was fun to see what was the same, and what had changed in the last 50 years.

Also because there were so many of us, we all took a huge number of photos on our digital cameras. Here are the links if you just can't get enough of all of this Yosemite stuff.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Am I Change??

New prophets are rising up who try to change the future, not just predict it. There is a movement bubbling up that goes beyond cynicism and celebrates a new way of living, a generation that stops complaining about the church it sees and becomes the church it dreams of (The Irresistible Revolution, p. 24).

I want to be the change I want to see in the world. How can I orient my life, so that I am focusing on others. Besides my children, who are easy to focus on, sometimes they are little vacuums and I have to hover over a bit, how can I really focus on treating others as myself. I think that to get around this commandment, I simply isolate myself so that I do not have to actually practice who I say I am. This way, I do not have to participate in the lives of others, because I know it is hard, maybe even too hard. Think about what I love, gardening, reading, solitary athletics, watching movies? How involved in the life of my neighbor are those?

Can I really treat others as I would like to be treated? Am I really saying that I want to be left alone, by isolating myself? I do not. I want to engage in a meaningful way with whoever is in my path. I find myself, lately, closed to those in my path out of frustration. Even blogging about this further insulates me from relationships.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

May Play

We have been around a bit this May. Justus and I went to Monterey Bay Aquarium and slept on the floor in front of the Open Ocean exhibit (shark, tuna, schools of fish). It was a marathon of fun, and we are glad to be home. I was so grateful for who Justus is. He is such a great kid, and I am so happy to be his mama.
On a sad note, Scout has an abscessed tooth from a bike accident in the fall (see previous post). She will loose the tooth, but a new one is on the way by the time she is 6. She can use a straw through it until then.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Shall We Overcome?

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual,

"Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

On this day, in 2000, Silas and I were able to worship in the first church that MLK pastored. The same church where he started his peaceful protests and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. 
 I mistakenly thought that instead of a service of worship, it would be only a service of civil rights. It is a good cause, but not the main thing. I was terribly wrong.  It was a judgmental opinion.  It was a worship service full of people who were striving to serve God! The church was full, and we truly were worshiping our with our family. 
 At the end of the service, we held hands, with MLK's friends, and sang 'We Shall Overcome'.  It was one of those moments I was made for. To hold the hand of the hand that held Martin Luther King Jr.'s and sing that hymn. We were singing, not because minorities are as oppressed as they were a generation ago, but because God wants us to be free. A kind of freedom that is independent of religion, gender, or race (see above speech). 
I want to be more like the people at Dexter Ave. Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. It is a hub, a central station, for the freedom train. Free in our hearts, and free in body.  The words of King's speech were not just for the oppressed black, but for me.
 It was a small thing that day, to worship, to eat, to sing, to hold hands- far away from my white mountain childhood. Though I was far away, I was home. I felt part of something bigger than myself, something right and a bit more free than when I arrived. How can I deny my heart's been set free? Free at last, free at last....

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


I never really go for resolutions, but...

I have resolved to be a better tennis player in 2008. This is a new concept for me, to make an athletic goal. Though no one reads this blog, it will be reason enough, having written it down for the world wide web, to stick to it. Maybe I'll keep you posted.

So to start, I have a lot of self loathing about tennis. I feel like a looser at it, so I don't try, and am afraid to try. Now, I am going to try, and forget that I don't like myself when I am no good at stuff. It is no good to just like things you are good at, and not try. The new me will be happy to be myself, not good at tennis, and all the other ways I'm not perfect. I'm still fun, and tennis is fun too!!

PS here is a bikini is crocheted at my sisters house at Christmas.