Friday, July 31, 2009

Pausing While Reading

cover of book, eavesdropping It's not often I have to stop reading, close my eyes and just absorb what I just read. I'm the kind of reader that plows through a book at dizzying light-speed and spends the next month digesting it as a whole. While I am reading fifteen other books.

This one made me pause. Like I said, that is rare. I feel like I discovered a fine wine and I suddenly have to stop and savor it.

It's a book of tone poems, as the author describes his essays on what it's like to be blind and to explore the world of soundscapes as if he is sightseeing. Something in what he writes resonates deeply within me. Perhaps it's the fact that he was a lonely child without the company of other children and he would stand still in the middle of the suburban street and simply listen to the sounds around him. I remember doing the same thing. Perhaps it's the shame he felt of himself. The same shame I felt and still feel when the thoughts I think are deeper and stranger than the thoughts everyone around me seems to think.

All I know as I read on and on into the labyrinth of his book is that it awakens in me a longing to bare my soul to the world as he has bared his. To craft for the world a delicate beauty of words that resonate like crystal and fire and haunt me long after I read them. To go beyond the reporting of mundane childish activities and write something from deep within my soul.

Sometimes I question whether mundanity is acceptable. Where do words cross the line into meaning from meaninglessness? Somehow, when done correctly, even the mundane or the ugly can take on the persona of meaningful art but it takes care and thought and a lot of work. Most days I am just too tired.

But reading such a book is a feast for the part of me that longs for just such thoughts. Someday my own thoughts may squeeze themselves through the mundane. Or they may stay hidden.

Science Investigations

After watching Sid the Science Kid, Curly decided she, too, needed a magnifying glass and science journal.

Curly examining marigolds

As soon as the school supplies came in this weekend, she immediately went on a science treasure hunt, examining bugs, flowers and Fred.

scribbling in her notebook

Then she journaled her findings in somewhat abstract pencil renditions using her new notebook.

in his notebook, not so much scribbling

Little Mister, of course, had to be in on the action, although his drawings looked even more indistinct. Since my mom is a scientist and my dad is an inventor and extremely mechanically minded, I wonder if either of my kids will follow in their footsteps. Matt's parents, too, love science; his dad is a farmer and a vet and his mom is a teacher. I hope to encourage this interest in my kids: to explore their world and apply scientific thinking to what they find. If today is any indication, we'll have no trouble.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Flower Girl, Ring Bearer, Bride, all "my kids".

rehearsal in t-shirts

"Now hold my hand, Little Mister, and walk this way." "O-tay."

kids in wedding gear

Tiny Tux and Little White Dress.

small boy talking to 50's lady.  black and white

Little Mister flirts with the organist while waiting for the service to begin.

black and white bride

My beautiful baby sister... a bride.

eleven-year-old girl in 80's glasses holding a head-headed newborn

It was yesterday at about 3:00 PM that she was like this.

sisters

Now she is like this! When did that happen?

dad handing her hand to groom's hand

Our dad gave her away, just like he did for me six and a half years ago. He lost two daughters and gained two cupboard-raiding sons.

pastor looks like groom

It's handy to have a pastor for a brother, at least that's what the groom thought.

snogging

Also handy to have a beautiful wife around. Lots of good things there...

more snogging

Yeah, I think they like each other.

long shot of bridal party

My sis was smart. She kept the service short and sweet. Just the essentials ma'am.

us playing flute and guitar

We managed to weasel our way into the programme.

me and him

I think I've mentioned before how difficult it is to get Hubby to look like he enjoys having his picture taken. I think it's part of his religion...some sort of Way of Photo Grumpiness.

the four of us

Looks like his progeny are following in The Way.

bride hugging flower girl

My sister has a million more pictures of her and her friends and her cake and her flowers and her guests. But this is my blog.

groom with ring-bearer on his knee

So I'm going to post these instead.

black and white shot of flower girl smiling

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Geek In Training

Nerdy. Geeky. Techie. Our family is hopelessly addicted to technology, mostly in the form of laptops and iPods, although at this point I'm drooling over a Wii and if I can save enough pennies I'm going to get one. But that's not the point of this post. This is...

curly with compaq laptop

Yes, we got our 4 year old daughter her own laptop. Yes, I know, you can feel free to say it in a comment at the bottom of the page.

curly with compaq laptop

The point is, she no longer will ask to use MY laptop all day long. Thus preventing me from feeding my addiction and going into withdrawls where I lay on the floor and quiver.

curly with compaq laptop

Don't worry, it will only be used for educational purposes. Until I borrow it after she is in bed. After all, it has a 3-D video card.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I Meant To Do It

rear bumper with no paint on the corner

I did this a few weeks ago. Hubby parked his car behind the van and I did not notice it. What a shock when I backed up and... whack!

I look on the bright side. It wasn't a person. And the Stinky Banana Car looks the same as it did before.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Organizing

Yesterday I had a day entirely to myself. Hubby and the Goombas went to Tri-Cities for the day and I got to experience the unusual sensation of taking a whole entire shower without anyone interrupting me (except the dog). I almost didn't know what to do when I got to sit down to the piano and play for as long as I wanted to without having to jump up and wipe something.



I spent my morning organizing our school supplies for this fall. Both kids seem excited to homeschool; Curly is happily planning on field trips with her best friend, M, and wants to do lots of crafts. Little Mister has big plans for lots of coloring.



To that end I collected our supplies at home and supplemented with new markers, crayons and watercolors from the store.



I had decided that our drawer, overflowing with used coloring books, wadded paper and dried-up markers needed some help if I was going to retain my sanity as a homeschool mom.



I found these: placemats that the kids can color and that should spark interesting discussion regarding maps and planets. There are some with dinosaurs, shapes and handwriting.



Anything that saves paper and can be reusable is a plus in my book.



For instance, this handwriting board uses dry erase markers. Since they tend to stain hands and clothing, Little Mister is banned from using them, much to his vocal chagrin.



I filled our craft box with play dough, craft sticks, beads, construction paper and old crayons to melt into candles. I also collected glue sticks, scissors, pencils and erasers. Even Little Mister has become adept enough at using scissors to leave tiny triangles of paper all over the floor, snipped from the ragged edges of his coloring papers.



Our back porch has never looked better and having a home for my homeschool supplies makes me happy. I couldn't wait yesterday for my family to get home so I could show them.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Garnish for Steak

mouthwatering steak, corn on the cob and strawberries

Now that you have a lovely Petit Sirloin that has reclined in a mesquite marinade all afternoon and is barbecued to a tantalizing medium rare, you need the final touch to make your husband cry and to entice everyone within a five-block radius into drooling and knocking down your door demanding to have some.

I'm talking of course about caramelized onions. Trust me, they really put this baby over the top. And they are SO easy! Here's the secret:

Slice half of a Walla Walla sweet onion in to super thin slices. Leave them in rings if you can. (I'm not usually that talented with a chef's knife.)

In a non-stick skillet or wok, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles.

Toss your onions into the oil. Sprinkle with half a teaspoon or so of salt and (are you ready for this?) two teaspoons of brown sugar. Aaahhhhh.....

Let the bottom layer get a touch of brown on the edges then turn. The sugar will caramelize in the oil, but keep stirring and turning from time to time so they don't scorch. When they are good and limp and light brown, remove from heat and serve immediately on your barbecued steak or chicken. (2-3 servings)

Yummy!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sheer Bliss. Really.



This may look like a toilet and utility sink to you. Well, okay, it IS a toilet and a utility sink. And yes, it is in a little downstairs corner with unpainted concrete walls and lots of pipes overhead.

But to me it's sheer happiness. Bliss, in fact. You see, our house only had one bathroom previous to today. So when our Small Group was here and we had 25 people, we all had to share. People don't like to share. Not really. Oh, of course everyone is really nice about it but you know inside they are thinking, "C'mon! One bathroom?? Really? You've gotta be kidding me!"

The other reason I am really extremely happy about this toilet is this reason:



See this guy? He made me so proud. He bought all the stuff to build the platform and helped me measure and plan and cut and saw and drill and screw. Then he measured more and went back to the lumberyard and bought plumbing supplies.

Usually he shies away from this type of Do-It-Yourself-And-Don't-Blow-Your-Wad-On-The-Plumber type thing. But this time he dove right in and did great! We had the platform built in no time (it's necessary to raise the toilet up so the sewer line can drain outside without a pump) and plumbed everything. What a guy!

(Note to those who might notice, i.e. my Dad: Toilet was not hooked up yet in the picture. It's ok.)

Good Friends

There's nothing like the company of good friends, the ones who feel as comfortable as old tennis shoes.



Of course they don't LOOK like old tennis shoes.



They are the ones who are willing to come to the park with us and sit for hours talking while our goombas run around like maniacs and get as dirty as they can.



They don't even deny connection with these noisy, dirty children.



Good friends are the ones who will nerd it up with you and not look at you with a strange expression when you want to talk about Thomas Merton or winemaking or differential equations or the etymology of the word "faltering".



They're the ones who call us unexpectedly on a Tuesday and announce that they're sleeping in our basement that night.



They play hide-and-seek with our children.



We always have to go visit Bucer's coffeeshop. Every. Single. Time. I love it.



Of course, this guy is my very best friend. Even if he doesn't know the etymology of the word "faltering". He's the one who reads Thomas Merton. That makes up for it.



This guy is pretty friendly too. At least, I like him.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Women's Ministry



The Women's Ministry team at our church plans unusual outings. This time it's a Photo Scavenger Hunt.



Along with a few Goombas, we ran around the college campus like crazy people for three quarters of an hour looking for objects on a sheet of pictures.



Of course I was determined to win so I didn't stop to take pictures. I just got a few before and after.



My daughter has never run so far in her life as her bright pink cheeks attest. I'd like to note that our team DID win (we had two Alums) and got a gift card to the ice cream shop where we all went after the game.

Hooray for a creative team and good ladies' fellowship!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Not Having Any Fun

My kids never have any fun, poor things.

all pictures in set are of curly and mister having a blast at the aquatic center

It's quite pathetic, really, to realize what a terrible summer they are having.



The never get to go anywhere.



No fun activities.



Usually we sit at home and count words in the dictionary.



Of course the children are sadly neglected.



They rarely see their Daddy at all.



I fear they will never learn social skills or problem-solving.



They're so sheltered, after all. They might not even learn to talk.



Deprived. That's what they are.



Experts say it's unhealthy for children to have too much fun.



And of course they would shun a sugary drink. My children would not think of touching such a thing.



Nor would their parents stand around like idiots taking pictures of their shadows. Nope. Wouldn't happen in THIS family.