Saturday, November 14, 2009

Atrium Construction

Got the place finaled, and now we are putting in a floor!! By 'we' I mean Tana and Silas.
Looking Good!!

Emma the Pug

After 5 years of yearning, Justus got a pug. Her name is Emma, and she is 4. She came to live here from my friend, who was overwhelmed with child rearing and doggie-rearing. She is a good girl, and so tiny compared to our other dogs.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sail Away With Me.

Just a few of my favorite folks sailing, on what was nearly a perfect day. Okay, as perfect as humanly possible. What a joyful day. Just after this, we caught up for a moment with a pod of dolphins. I am guessing there were 100. We were calling them like Burt calls fishies on Sesame Street onto his fishing boat. Fortunately they did not fly into our boat.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Dressed to the Nines

Here we are dressed up for Halloween last week.

We are dressed to the nines, in that we have 9+ yards of fabric on each!! Well except for Justus, who is wearing just 2 yards.
We went the whole nine yards on cloud nine that evening!!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Searching for a Heart of Gold

Nevada County is my hometown. I know that there have been 33 years of change, since I got here, but what is good, is that it is slow. Slow changes, as opposed to the changes I see as I drive into Sacramento, or out of Reno. The pace there is faster, there are more cheaply made homes, tilt-up commercial buildings, wide roads and jammed cars. The pace in other places is too fast for its own good, but that is not what this is about. Here, certainly is not there, and yet things do change.

Take for instance the "Heart of the Gold Industry" mural on the Del Oro theater. Some time ago, the owner painted the building (which was in disrepair) covering up the mural that has been there for my lifetime, and then some. Now, after great deliberation, expense, and time, a new fancy mural is going onto the wall.

It is just the thing for angry, sentimental bloggers and snarky letters to the Union editor. There are many reasons folks dislike the newness.

I found myself out late, and alone last week. It was still and cold. On the scaffolding for the new mural, were flood lights and workers (artists?) putting up the mural in the dark cold.

I also found myself feeling sentimental and sad as the men worked. I'm glad I'm not writing angry, foul words in local paper about how I HATE it, because I don't. I simply felt sad that they would be working in the dark. It was like watching a theater production that no one was supposed to see, knowing how terribly angry this new art is making some folks.

I think my sentiment points out something bigger inside me. I'm having trouble changing. I also feel as if I had to paint over some old murals that were a sign of who I am. It is an expensive, deliberate and time consuming process. I feel sad to see the old parts of me needing to be repaired, but glad there is a light shining in me while construction continues at night.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


We got our room finally finalled. This means it is no longer the building dept. problem, and all the finish work left is ours.
The kids made it on a pretty long up-hill hike to Loch Leven Lakes.

A tiny kitten was in our gutter, all flea ridden, covered in burrs, and starving. It survived a week, and now is 2x as big. Should we name it? It maybe too late, we already love it!

In other news, there is no news. Nothing ironical, nothing unusual. Just routine! Life is full and wonderful!

Monday, August 24, 2009

We Will Not Comply

This is "old" now, but still relevant for me.
I hesitate to post it only 'cause it might not be as meaningful and powerful to you. It is mainly too personal for this introvert, on the public internet.
I guess I am feeling radical tonight, and don't care to hide.
It broke a beam of light into a dark bit of my heart.
It is radical! Maybe it will be for you as well.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

School Kids

A theme in parenting for me has been an understanding of how little control people actually have over the universe. In 1999, as little control over the situation as I could have, I did. After that, it was a slippery-slope of learning my life isn't really about me. Since then I have had to surrender two times to fortune, messy bedrooms, and mostly unselfish love!
All of that to say, my kids are out-of-control CUTE!

Justus, age 9, grade 4
Scout, age 6, grade 1
First day of school 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

August Garden

No real change in how the garden looks, but the big change is the food! I guess I should post photos of that. Really what is the point of a garden?

Scarry Tree

This tree used to look like a Christmas tree. I would post a photo of what it used to look like, but you know what a Christmas tree looks like already, so I'll post a photo of my dead Christmas tree.

Last summer, this tree died.
Then it's needles fell off in the winter.
Then it sat there looking very grim, and quiet.
Then, about 3 months ago it started making noise.

I pass this tree every time I go into my garden, which is quite often. At the beginning of the summer I started pushing the thought aside that this tree actually was making a very loud noise. I assumed that I actually was loosing my mind. Trees, for the most part, are a quiet species. Maybe they are quite loud in a wind storm. Maybe they are loud when children are in them. Maybe they are loud in their last days. I believe that is why this tree is so loud. It is beyond it's last days, even.

My assumption is that it died because of whatever is making noise inside of the tree, and making sawdust. Whatever it is in there, is very very loud for a quiet tree. I can only describe it as clicking/chomping/sawing noise. Passing by you can hear it. If I hit the tree, it stops, but as I walk away, it starts up again.

This to me is a bit frightening. I think everyone hates hearing something destructive, but not being able to see it. And the tree looks so, well, dead. dead things usually aren't loud.


Sunday, August 16, 2009


Here are some photos of my time in Czech Republic.

My students were so fun, I could not have asked for better kids.

My fellow Americans were so fun, inspiring, smart, and enjoyable. I could not have asked for a better set of people to get to know.

The Czech team was like coming home: my sisters and brothers. I could not have asked for better friends in Eastern Europe.

God actually is good.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Apprixomate Math for the Overwhelmed Overachiever

On arrival home from my time teaching English in Czech republic, I've been behind. Here is a post to catch up, cause stuff needs to get done. Here is my list of what I need to keep up on, for the most part. I'm sure I'm missing nearly 1000 things:

  • School supplies
  • Clean, well-fitting clothes for school
  • Dog to vet
  • Buy new car
  • Back to school haircuts
  • Catch up on the laundry
  • Justus to gymnastics
  • Scout to soccer
  • Exercise
  • Restful sleep
  • Tend the garden
  • Keep dishes out of the sink
  • Hang with high school and jr. high students from SPC
  • Keep healthy food in the kitchen
  • Manage my children's bickering
  • Tend my aching back (aka chiropractor)
  • Hospital chaplain
  • Quality time with family and friends
  • Reading a good book/making music to keep my sanity
Of this list, I have accomplished (if I round up) 2-ish. That is about 15%.

15% of my dishes, laundry, garden, exercise, pet care, child rearing, etc. is not super. It is an "F" in school. Though I am aspiring to cast off my over-achiever-ness, 15% is clearly less than what I was aiming for, by not pressuring myself to do all, and be all.

So my plan is to just let it go, by sitting her at the messy kitchen table, and blog. Then I'll hit the dishes and the counter-tops, then the laundry. Then I'll take my kids to the pool next door, and they'll be happy, and I'll be rested. I'll remind myself that life is good. Then I'll drive and pick Silas up from work in our new car.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

July Garden

My garden is making food.
Here is the 3rd set of photos I took of it on July 1oth.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Small Town, Big Fun

Lance Armstrong participated, and won the Nevada City Bike Classic on Father's Day this year. It was a huge deal for him to come to our little place. The only way to describe the mood was 'electric'. Everyone was talking about it, and looking forward to it, like Christmas.

The actual event was super! Everyone was there, and we met up with friends and family just because we live here, together. And that seems to be what was so special about it, not so much Lance, but our togetherness, our community. You could feel the spirit of togetherness, and everyone was relaxed, and having fun. Everyone was cheering, and waving. I know it seems so simple-minded, but it was a truly special day. I felt so glad about my life here in Nevada County, and settled and alive.

Everything was as it should be, except that my camera puttered out, and I only took this one, very bad photo of the world premier cyclist, Lance Armstrong.
Like I said, the photo is terrible, mostly because if you are a person wearing a yellow jersey, then you blend into straw bales in the background, and are overshadowed by a big shadow, cast from the Crazy Horse side of Commercial St. Also a factor is operator error, or lack of superior technology. My camera just couldn't take a photo fast enough for Lance.

Garden #2

Here are more snaps of my garden, from mid June 09. I think we are doing well. I got a drip going on a timer, and feel quite accomplished! We are eating chard, lettuce, strawberries, peas, and cilantro.


It is my opinion that 90% of the stuff on the world wide web is over-sharing. Mail-order brides, photos of road kill, and children's bathroom habits, are just a few random things I am sure you can find, and I haven't even Googled them (nor do I want to). So, this qualifies as 'over-sharing' in my opinion, but here goes anyway.

I'm not athletic. I have been stretching myself over the past 5-6 years to try new sports: triathlons, an endurance bike ride, skiing, running, slack-lining. My mind tells my body to go/do/be, and it does not comply. This is what happened to my hip because of a dim body-mind connection.

I attempted to ride a mnt. bike, clipped in, on a mountain trail. This clearly was too difficult for me, but I was willing to try, before I figured that out.Now, I have this ugly bruise, but what is more, is the knot under that purple mess. Seriously OUCH!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Not Technically Time-Lapse

I intended to call this post, "Veggie Garden Time-Lapse", but found on further investigation, that just showing you my first photo, with the intention of more later, in a series of photos isn't technically "time-lapse". Time-lapse (the more I type that word, the more it sounds funny, try saying several times- weird word) would require patience with with my garden and in the fall, I could show you the entire season of growth. I can still do that in October, but for now, I can show you my veggies, as tiny babies. I love these babies, so rollie-pollies and earwigs, stay away!! I have yet to master the gardener's/farmer's endurance and patience. Each year I try to work on something new on my garden, and maybe I'll work on that next year?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cut Flowers

I love my flowering yard!!! It isn't just how I want it yet, but I have a lot of flowers!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Silas Visits the UK

Silas went to London on business, and then to Glasgow to visit friends. He only took 6 photos, and 3 were of a lake, which doesn't seem so unique or cultural, since we have similar lakes here in California.
He did get to visit our dear friends Nick, Sophie and overdue baby Pragnell-Bell, in their own element. What fun he had!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Careful what you ask for...

While our VW Beetle is in the shop for repairs (which is a story all it's own), we asked for a rental car. This was the only rental available:
I could have 4 more children now, and we could all fit. Or, I could fit 6 bails of straw back there. This car is thick, tall, wide and cavernous. I guess I just want my car back....

Monday, May 18, 2009

Six Sets of Lungs

I was positive that I had nearly lost my mind when I volunteered to make 6 sets of lungs for my daughter's school play, featuring the human body.

The play is sure to be cute, with a gaggle of 5 year-olds parading around as singing skeletons, lungs, muscles, and craniums. I felt a bit guilty from last years play as an adult participant, having helped out a big ZERO. So this year, I jumped on the responsibility as a, slightly sewing machine savvy, kindergarten loving, adult.

After hours of work, tracing, cutting, sewing, drawing, filling, fastening, buying, and planning, I finished the dang lungs.

Then, last night we watched 30 Rock, a TV show (though we watched it on the computer) and what do you know, the opening gag was about the goofy main character acting like a kidney in an elementary school play. Though it must be a more common experience than I had imagined, the sketch did reinforce that I have indeed lost my mind. I really would do ANYTHING, no matter how goofy, for my kids. Making lungs out of felt, beans, elastic and a sharpie counts.

My fingers are still blue from the sharpie!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Baby Bag

A bag I made of oil cloth for my friend's new baby!!

Pets on Furniture

Dillweed the dog really is the dullest light bulb on the shelf, which is why he is such a good dog. It is my belief that pets do not belong on furniture (let your pets on your stuff, I'm fine with that). So that is why Dillweed looks so guilty on the table in our atrium.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Small Distractions

What happens when someone's husband drives his car/VW campmobile to the airport, and parks it in long term parking for 4 days, and leaves the lights on? How long did the lights last in the long term parking at Sacramento Metro Field? I can tell you for sure they did not last 4 days, and now I will tell you what happens to someone who has left the lights on in his car for 4 days with his flight returning at 10pm.

He has to get towed to the Wal-mart in West Sac, and buy a NEW battery, and if that doesn't work, he can just pull out a sleeping bag at 1am, lie the seat into a bed, draw the curtains, and sleep the night away in relative safety courtesy of Wal-mart. Tomorrow he can just get up, fix the van, and walk to IKEA for a cup of coffee and some Sweedish Meatballs for breakfast.

What does a person's wife do in this situation. She stays up late, stitching, reading about lacto-fermentation on the world wide web, and blogging at 12:45am about small distractions. I was thinking of blogging about the difference between anger and lamentation, but that has lost its luster tonight. I'm still thinking about it though. I'll let you know how it turns out, about the stranded husband and about the lament.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Seriously Joyful

Today is Palm Sunday.
As I was passing by, a man said, "You look so serious!". I wasn't feeling anymore serious than usual, but it pushed me to quick self-reflection. I responded,
"seriously joyful!". I know that I am very serious, and I take joy very seriously.

Here are somethings I am feeling particularly, seriously, joyful about today:
Worshiping in the morning in a place that felt like home.
Visiting with old friends with the sun warming my back.
Knowing Silas was enjoying the sun and snow, skiing with his uncle.
A brown bag of licorice Silas brought me.
Photos of my friend's new smiling baby in my in-box.
Spring in my yard.
A pint of strawberries in the kitchen.
Kid playing noises.
Friendly neighbors passing.
Gobbling turkeys in the woods outside.

All of that in just one day!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

15 Years!!

Could it really be that Silas and I have been together 15 years? The days are long, but the years are short. We were reminded of the time passing as we climbed what is now the Tarzan Tree House at Disneyland. The first time Silas and I climbed it (and it was the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House), Silas kissed me for the first time! This time, we climbed it with our two very large children, and told them the story of how much we love each other, and how we started in love. Scout was excited, and Justus was embarrassed.

Friday, March 06, 2009


At breakfast I asked Scout what she wanted to be when she grew up. She had mentioned that she was going to let her children wear her belt with the rhinestones. I told her she would have to save the belt for 30 years, if she was up for it.

That got us on the topic of the future.
She said she wanted to be a "driving-pick-up-mom". This seems to be the exact thing that I do, or how she perceives me (I do other things as well, if you can believe it)!!
She then told me she was going to live in the city, and pointed in the direct direction of Grass Valley (she is my girl, with a keen sense of direction). I asked her if she meant Grass Valley, and she said yes, the city, cause she hates the woods. Grass Valley has 12,300 human occupants!! Scout said she hates the woods, because of the bears, which seems like a good point.

I wonder if a raccoon can scare away a bear?

Friday, February 13, 2009

More Snow

It has been snowing on and off for a few days. Sticky, wet snow...

Saturday, February 07, 2009


A girl named Scout and a pair of scissors and 5 years of life experience.

Monday, February 02, 2009

25 Random Things

So, there are these posts going around on Facebook listing 25 random things about yourself. I find it very interesting to see what 'random' things people come up with, especially since they are people I know. I also made a random list and am posting it here, though I am not sure why.
I am more quirky than I seem, I guess. Once I started I was thinking about why anyone would put up with me without laughing a lot at me.

1. I don't follow detailed directions well and usually mess up on final details. This is why I delegate the taxes.

2. I figured out I am dyslexic as a College junior in a class teaching me to be a Special Ed. teacher. I thought this was ironic, but explained A LOT, and I also why I am a terrible speller.

3. I am ornithophobic.

4. I wish I could sleep at night like everyone else seems to.

5. I dropped a pepper grinder on my foot from a high shelf and seriously broke my foot.

6. I compulsively listen to a new song I like until it feels right in my head and I can hear all the details.

7. Music is nearly the only thing I really love the details about.

8. I love words and definitions though I can't spell them.

9. My stomach is upset if I am in a group of more than 5-10 people, but I do it anyway 'cause I have to.

10. I gag/barf if anyone else does, if I have to change a diaper, or there is some disgusting mess.

11. I LOVE having clean teeth and inspired ideas.

12. I really only like to buy things if they have been used already.

13. I love being frugal.

14. My two kids are the most beautiful things I have ever laid eyes on, and are for sure, cuter than your kids. My life went from black and white to color the day the first one arrived.

15. Singing satisfies my soul.

16. I always go to the restroom when I get to an new place, just to take a breath, even if I don't need to.

17. Since my birthday is in the summer, I have been in many states and countries for the occasion.

18. I have been in every state in the US but 2.

19. I have bumped into Ted Kennedy, as in, he didn't see us, and we didn't see him, and wham!

20. I love to wear clothes, all the time, and a lot of them. I even like to wear clothes swimming, but that is kinda odd, so I don't.

21. When I go to a zoo, I only want to look at gorillas.

22. I only make our bread and have since 1999. My hands are our 'bread machine'.

23. With few exceptions, my hands are cold.

24. I don't really like ice cream.

25. While in Montgomery, Alabama, I worshiped in Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1st church on the weekend of his holiday. The local paper interviewed me (which seems weird). I sat with his friends, ate Sunday lunch with them, and held hands and sang 'We Shall Overcome". It was one of the most profoundly moving moments of my life, so far. It made history and God's love come alive for me!!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

All Around!!

Though we already know that Justus is an all around great kid, he made it official today by scoring well at his gym meet. He is now the All Around Champion for his age group, all while competing at his home meet!!

The guy was all smiles. Someone said he was a grin with eyes!! His smile made everyone's day, especially his momma's!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Justus on the Rings

Our son Justus, who is 8, is a budding gymnast and has been competing on the weekends in Northern California. He is working so hard and learning so much about himself and trying hard. Also, he is ripped!!

Before & After

Our house in the summer of 2007

Our house in the winter of 2009

Raising My Sister

With a few exceptions, my daughter is very nearly my sister, just 24 years apart! Here is one example of an outfit my sister might have worn when she was five.

Express yourself, that is what I say!!

Vermiculture Works!


This bin is in my pantry, along side most of our food. In just 4 weeks (3 really, I took the photo last week) we have some pretty happy worms, and some very happy soil supplements. I love that it doesn't smell, and is so much easier than taking the compost out as much as I have to. Also, so far no bear has been able to come in to eat it!!

Watch out Garden '09, I'm ready for ya.....

Also a thank you to the people who put this together for us (I won't name names).

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Santa Baby

Driving to see grandma before Christmas we were listening to Christmas songs on the radio. The obligatory secular songs were looping, you know, the one about a hippo (of course there is a Christmas song about a hippo), and "Santa Baby".
Just to jolt your lyrical memory:

Santa baby, a '54 convertible too, light blue,

I'll wait up for you dear
Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight

Think of all the fun I've missed,
Think of all the fellows that I haven't kissed
Next year I could be just as good
If you check off my Christmas list

As "Santa Baby" was playing, Justus, 8, started to tell a lengthy story. We could tell it is going to be a long one when he takes a looooooong breath before he starts. Scout, 5, was frustrated as she was trying to listen to the song, and hearing her brother tell a story.

Scout kindly looks at Justus and says, "Justus, could you please be quiet? I'm trying to hear about when Santa was a baby."

Weather Proof

No, a tornado did not hit our house and trash cans.

The roof is nearly all on, with only one 12-foot fall by our friend Brad, and the new windows are all in. Fortunately I missed all the fun of lifting them into place, not because I don't like heavy lifting (which is true, but I'll participate), but because I didn't worry about anyone getting hurt. Ignorance is bliss.

We are going to clear the rubble, and reclaim our driveway, but later. I can put up with a mess for a bit longer.

The plastic is so that section of roof will not get icy (as icy).