Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday morning ...

when "sleeping in" ended at 5:45 a.m.
Have I come to that new stage of life?
Not really. Just volunteered to give someone a lift to work bright and early.

A look at our week here where the wind has started again this morning
and we could use some fresh snow.

Wednesday morning Brock fell asleep driving. He gave Alyx a ride to work and was
on his way home when he hit the ditch and rode it for quite a length at 55 mph.
He says he caught some "serious air". I nearly had a heart attack.
Thank goodness for seat belts and teens that wear them.
Between the seat belt and being asleep ... he was probably saved from some
serious injury.
This guy looks like he might have a more comfortable place to lay his head
than on a steering wheel.
At least the steering wheel isn't going anywhere now .. the car is toast. 

Friday I started working on these buggers. I think, between Friday and Saturday, I spent about 12 hours working on numbers and paper piles. I'm still not done.
I do have a hint at this point that includes ...

at least a little of this. I have played with my deductions on my paychecks this year. To the point that TurboTax asked me if my income and my federal withholding had been entered correctly. Um, yes. I sort of needed the money all year long.

Money. A necessary evil.
So is laundry soap.

In mid October I went to Costco. Pretty bad when I can tell you when I went to Costco! Actually, I just saw the receipt in my tax quest. 
Please come on this little journey with me.
If you purchase 2 large boxes of Tide from Costco and they say 180 loads on the side of the box, how long do you think they ought to last?
I'm no longer washing wet little people bedding in the morning.
I don't have littles changing clothes every 15 minutes
after jumping in a mud puddle or just because they feel like it.
It is winter and the clothes are much bulkier and layered more,
but 3 months later I was out of laundry soap and there was still a full box with
63 loads written on the side when I bought these.
That means that we have supposedly washed 423 loads of laundry
in 3 months. 35 loads of laundry a week. Once upon a time, yes.
Not anymore. Simply impossible.

Out came the measuring cup and the calculator.
317 loads/180 loads = 2 oz per load
Take out a measuring cup and check where 2 oz is.
It is 1/4 cup ...  if 8 oz is still 1 cup and new math hasn't changed that too.
I'm going to help you out. 2 oz measured against my finger is about the height of my finger nail when I pour detergent in that green scooper.
Unless you are washing the delicates or an itty bitty load of laundry,
who uses 1/4 cup of laundry soap in their wash?
The box doesn't even recommend 1/4 cup for a full load of laundry.
Now I know why the boxes are empty. It is more like 90 loads instead of 180.
Tide has some explaining to do.

The things I come up with when my hubby is gone for weeks on end.
I've come to the point of complaining about laundry soap?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gotta love a girl ....

who loves her Carharts ...
enough to add them to her Christmas wish list.
Now we just need to find the time to wear them!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An ode to court(ing) and love.

I'm awake and the time is only 5:37 a.m. I've already hit the e-mail box and FB for a quick check. Nothing that I'm looking for in the e-mail box.

Just recently I've put my nose back in The Five Love Languages book. Do you know that there is also a book for teens? I've seen, or heard of, the one for kids. Now I want to read the one for parents of teens. Life's learning curve sometimes throws me for incredible loops. I'll be the first to say that I have a difficult time with teens. Love 'em to pieces, just found it much easier to diaper bottoms and clean up puke. I am trying. That's all I can say.

While I'm on the subject of teens .... Brock has already posted something on his FB about court and the likes. I figure that gives me free reign. If he hadn't, I'd keep my mouth shut. It is irrelevant what he managed to get himself into, the path to correcting the mistake is what I find fascinating. His misdeed is certainly not irrelevant to life. He isn't the first to fall into this trap and won't be the last. It is irrelevant to this topic. Yesterday we met with Youth Court. I had no clue that a "jury of his peers" meant exactly that. I hope your child is never found in this position. I really want to expose you to the other possiblities available. Youth Court is found nationwide, in every state except Connecticut, from what I was told yesterday. High school students train to run the entire court room. They play the positions of judge, defense and prosecuction (with first and second chairs) and everything else. They have the case file before the court date. The defense "attorney" will call his/her "client" and discuss the case. Following the evidence in court, they deliberate and they pass sentence according to guidelines given them. I just took a quick peek at the site and must correct something. It looks as if there are different variations of the Youth Court, with adult judges in 51% of the courts. Whether or not a high school student is headed for law school, or something in the field of law, this looks absolutely fascinating! What a great way to learn about our justice system and see it work first hand. A fantastic way to be involved in your community, to positively influence your peers and make a difference in today's world. Retired Justice Sandra Day O'Conner is very active in the organization as well. If you have a teen, or know a teen, gander over and take a peek.
..... and in other breaking developments around here ...

**I am not only doing our income tax return, but the kids' returns as well. That means we have 5 of them to do. Thank you Tia for not working yet. I got one done last night and was rewarded with a major look of relief on someone's face.
**Manged to move 3 months of cd pictures to an external hard drive. This counts in the pitch 25 things a week category and I need to play catch up.
**The temp this morning is 30 degrees. We saw rain yesterday.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Saturday project.

I think I've got it.
Don't make a plan. Just wing it.
If you're in the mood to do something .. go for it.
This has been on my list for a while and we got it done yesterday!
I was trying to get Tia to go on a photo shooting jaunt with me,
but she wasn't buying the idea. Hmph!
Will try the sales pitch again today and see what happens.
So, off to other things.
I'm cheap. I love to reuse things and remake things. Sometimes out of necessity,
and other times because it is just so much fun. Repurposing has forever been my life ..
long before it was anything trendy or fashionable.

Last Mother's Day the kids made me flower pots that were chalkboard painted.
When Blayde bought the paint, he really bought paint.
The extra has been sitting in the closet downstairs, just waiting to be put to use.

First I took a chalkboard off the wall. It was rather difficult to write on. I had picked it up at a yard sale a long time ago and repainted the frame from a nasty orange to an antiqued red. Yesterday I took some sanding blocks to it and smoothed out the chalkboard finish. Then I started painting. Three coats of chalkboard paint on it .... 

as well as Tia's closet doors. (Hubby is probably going to have a comment at this point!) Her closet has a total of four doors in 2 sections separated by a space of wall for an outlet. They aren't anything small, but they were nice and smooth.
If you're going to try this, I highly recommend spending the money on the brand of paint that I used. Rolls on nicely and dries incredibly fast.

After everything was dry ... up they went.
Will see what happens when we clean these up.
I have no clue if they'll be just as brilliant looking the next chalking session.

The rails on these doors are a bit tweaked. Tweens, teens, frustration, impatience and closet doors don't all work together very well sometimes. They're on tho' ... with a little help from Fred. And let me tell you something. My youngest daughter has screw drivers that live in her room. Just for days like this when something needs a little tweaking. She wields them with quite a hand. I'm impressed. 

I hope I don't live to regret this.
Next we need to get some paint for the walls ... pink.
This way she gets her touch of black and I flat refuse to paint a wall black.
Out of the question. Not going to happen.

Then we get to be creative in the bedding department.
Cheap. Good quality. Probably sewn because I'm not buying comforters.
Pink and black polka dots? Pink and black stripes?
Gonna be fun!

For my husband ...

whose feet are sweating.

 The chickens are loving the warmer weather and lack of wind.

Makes me want to run out and put candles on the cake!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

At 6:29 a.m. on a Saturday morning ....

snow is falling ... lot's of it!
The kind that made a fallen tree continue it's final descent to the ground.
I really had a nightmare last night that it was raining.
When my eyes popped open this morning I had to run and check.
Thankfully, my subconscious had confused the forms of matter.

Today I'm off to a Skills Lab (I really don't remember what it is called.) at work for about 4 hours. This is my mantra. "We are so fortunate to have this opportunity to increase our learning and skills ... especially on a Saturday morning." I missed it last year. I happened to be enjoying a bridal breakfast in Minnesota that same morning with some very special people. Today, I'm going to don the Smurf blues and be thankful.

My bills are paid.  (Refer to above "thankful".)  I haven't sorted the last week's mail yet, but we'll just pretend it doesn't exist. Delusion, denial and delirium are working very well for me at the moment. And to be perfectly honest, my little cheatbook of online bill paying serves me very well. It makes life so much simpler .. as long as you don't happen to forget things like the internet bill. Then it might get a wee bit challenging.

Enjoy your Saturday! The boots and the broom are calling my name.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I wish I was a journaling kind of person

I have often tried, and just as many times I have failed, to start the journal. Record what it is that I am going through in my life so someday later I can look back at it. Perhaps to learn from it. Perhaps to celebrate that it no longer exists. Perhaps to be thankful that I survived it.

Yesterday I was cleaning paper in a different corner of my world and came across something that was written in late July of 2008.

I love reading Real Simple magazine. Maybe I enjoy it so much because the simple life is what I crave. The article in front of me is: What are the top three things on your lifelong to-do list? What would I put on my list today? After reading other folks' lists, I had to sit and ponder a bit. Then I had to look back at where I've been and where I am today. When I go home in the next several days, I'll be able to sit on my porch, look at the green, breathe the cool clean air, enjoy the quiet and be thankful. So much of life is about dreams and hopes. Dreams of "someday" and of "other places". Some days carry us through very stressful times of life. Hope for our children. Hope that what we have taught them will remain with them. Hope that God will remain the center of their being. Hope that they remain humble. Hope that after the children are grown and gone, there will be a quiet time to sit side by side with the love of my life. We can putter at our own hobbies. At peace with each other and ourselves. So, what would I put on my list? What would I want to do? Someday I want to walk the moors of Ireland with my husband. I want to watch the fog swirl and feel the moss on my feet. I want to finish my children's Christmas stockings. Someday when I'm no longer here, I hope they can feel the love in every stitch. Lastly, I want quiet moments. Quiet moments are the life blood of my soul. They settle, calm, rejuvenate. They make me whole so I can love, teach and enjoy all the beautiful people in my life.

We have beautiful freshly fallen snow today. The world yesterday was that flat light sort of day where you really can't tell if the small road in front of you is plowed or not. I took the camera and had few moments of quiet rejuvenation while marveling at the beauty of it all.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I'll call it a day.

  • 9 hours of work done and dinner made (second evening in a row!)
  • chickens fed, watered and non frozen eggs picked (Had to throw away 6 eggs the other day that were all frozen.)
  • lasagne for dinner tomorrow night is in the refrigerator
  • basket of fire starters filled
  • nap taken
  • check book caught up
  • car plugged in for the nite
Missed walking a mile tonite and it is now rather late to be getting blood pumping.
Kids go back to school tomorrow morning after another 4 day weekend. That means that I must must must must hear the alarm in the morning. My brain is wired in a wierd sort of way. It knows when it can sleep in (that means until 7 a.m. if you're thinking I've really got it good over here) and it is pretty good about knowing when it can't. This morning it could ... and did. Tomorrow it can't. Period.

Have a great Wednesday! Our forecast is calling for either flurries or light snow throughout the rest of the week with highs of low 30's by the weekend. It is going to be just grand!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

That was fun!

Sometime between last Tuesday night and Saturday late afternoon ... the wind blew in Anchorage. I decided that was okay.

Anna's first drive to the "big city". She did awesome!
While all our children can now legally drive ... 2 of them with an adult in the car ...
it might be a while before I dare let the youngest behind the wheel.

We never even made it to the mall. Kohl's was good enough for all of us.
Anna made a haul ... and I'll save my purchases for an entire post about why women/mothers feel like they can't spend money ... and feel guilty when they do.
Then off to see the ice sculptures.

Look at these charmers!

Awesome creations! It was a tad on the chilly side. So chilly that you start wondering if your pants are falling off because your butt has gone numb. That kind of cold.
Have a hard time hitting the button on the camera because you're not sure you have fingers anymore!

Then out to eat at Red Robin. Do you ever throw money into these machines? We use to. It was the fun thing to do before you left Denny's. Jari has spent many quarters in those things. I tried my hand at it with no luck ...

Tia won her prize ... we had wonderful greasy, juicy burgers ...
and laughed our noggins off.

Meanwhile, back in Palmer, the wind has stopped blowing. The thermometer said -18 this morning when I brought Anna to work, but the wind is silent. The house is silent. Even my Christmas tree is safe!

AnnMarie ... I'll have to find another way to come have coffee with you!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Enough is enough.




By the time the light winds hit on Sunday night, I really won't care if it is 30 below. We haven't seen much of anything below zero this winter. Not that I'm a fan of freezing my lungs everytime I take a breath outside, but this wind has sent me over the edge. Seriously.
I'm hanging on by my fingernails ... and those are nearly chewed to the quick. Maybe I've developed a bad attitude about the whole thing. Maybe? Yes, I have. We've had nearly 6 weeks of hurricane winds this winter and I'm ready to be done with it.
Tuesday evening when I brought Jari to the airport, Anchorage was absolutely beautiful!! Frost laden trees, snow everywhere ... no wind. I'm heading there this afternoon. Just so I can walk outside and not be blown nearly to Nome.

Friday, January 14, 2011

HaPpY BiRtHdAy JaRi!

"Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You."  

"Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!"

"If things start happening, don't worry, don't stew, just go right along and you'll start happening too."

"Oh the places you'll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all."

"You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So... get on your way!"

WiShInG YoU a SpLeNdIfErOuS KiNd Of DaY!
(all quotes courtesy of Dr Seuss)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

If you don't drink coffee ....

you might just want to start.
'Cuz you're in for a long one here.

I did promise to be back here on Wednesday. It is now evening and I had plans on attending Bible Class tonite. However, the wind is about to blow my house over and I really don't care to even hear it ... let alone walk in it right now. So I'm home instead.

This dear gal here brushing her teeth with her feet would happen to be my sister Becky.
She and Mom and came for the past weekend to help us celebrate our anniverary.
This is what happens when you start those conversations that just move from one thing to the next. Somehow ... and I really have no idea how ... we ended up on the subject of a person I saw at the airport in Seattle. Or was it Portland. I can't even remember. Anway, when I mentioned he had no arms or legs ... people knew of him.
Google promptly led us to his Attitude is Altitude website and then we were on to others as well. Becky shared her agility with us. Oh heavens! Go on and check the site out sometime. Share his You Tube videos with your children. It is most motivating. I haven't screwed up the gumption to give it a try quite yet. Not You Tube. The tooth brush thing.

While I worked on Friday, Jari took them to Hatcher Pass, to the Noisy Goose for lunch, the Tsunami Warning Center for a tour ... and visited. We had Landa's over Friday evening to visit which was super fun. Someday it looks as though there may be a connection between those two families .. a mighty close one at that. :)

Saturday morning we had coffee at Ryan & Ambers, saw Denali, had lunch at the Cadillac Cafe and then more coffee at Ross & Denise's. Yes. We can certainly put away the coffee. I think the above photo ended up being a Saturday evening entertainment after watching Becky's wonderful presentation of she and Wayne's recent trip to Ecuador. I think I might someday like to do that myself. Not yet. The beach first.

Sunday we were totally eclipsed by visitors, laughing, singing and eating. In this photo here, we were getting ready to watch a dvd presentation put together by Frans, Jenny and family. Complete with priceless singing. Thank you guys so much. I wish I had gotten a picture of my round window up near the ceiling. What a hoot. Covered with a striped towel. Marvelous time with marvelous people.

Then on to the rest of the week. Monday evening worthless and good for nothing. This aging thing sort of stinks. Too much in too many days and then good for downright nothing. Jari had brought the gals down to the airport, leaving at 3:15 a.m. They both made it home safe and sound ... as did he.

Last night I took Jari to the airport for a late flight. Flying south out of Anchorage also seems to involve a middle of the night ride. He was probably a tad exhausted today. A flight delayed to begin with and then delayed again in his connecting stop of Portland due to weather. He was at his destination today. I must tell you that the temp there right now appears to be about 57 degrees and the winds at 6 mph. A little envy going on over here right now.

Not anything close to balmy over here. I actually checked the earthquake center today to see if we had a whopper because the house was shaking. Not. Just the wind. Now, as I write, the temp is at 23F with a windchill of 3F and winds gusting to 54mph. I'm telling you. It is almost enough. See how bad it is? I'm now taking pictures of trees of all things. For years Becky and I would have a Christmas Day telephone visit about ideas for next year's Christmas card. Not kidding. We really did. Now I'm shopping for next years tree instead. The one the red arrow is pointing at is it. I have no clue how tall that thing is. Stands gads higher than my house does, maybe it is close to hitting 4 stories tall. I want the top of it. The problem is this wind. It just seems determined to knock that bugger right over. I've never seen it list quite as badly as it did today. Keep your fingers crossed. I want that thing in my living room next year. Not the whole thing. Just the top 15 feet or so. 

And that is about all this nut case has been up to. I did sort through a year's worth of reciepts today. I cleaned out the paper pile. I did swish 2 loads of laundry, picked up my dear daughter from the bus and made dinner. Other than that ... I've been worthless.

Rather than be totally worthless, I grabbed the camera for a bit.  Kim has a contest going on about your favorite white. (Click on the link to check it out.) 
I really don't have one favorite white. I love them all.
I have a wee bit of white around me.
In fact, it might almost be considered a problem by some.
I agree with you, Kim, white IS a color.  
Upper Left: White sunlight seen through frosty white trees. Upper middle: An antique store find that sets off my silver creamer and sugar. R Middle: White coffee cups are a must. R Lower: A plate with a ring of hearts given to me by Frans & Jenny, topped with another white bowl. Far right: White china all ringed with silver.
Bottom left corner grouping. Top Left: 3 sets of white creamers and sugars all of different types of white glass. Top Right: White vases of red berries. Bottom Left: One of many white treasures from Aunt Martta. Bottom Right: White roses

If you haven't drained the entire pot of coffee by this point ... great job!
I am going to find me a blanket, a cup of cocoa (too late for coffee) and a book. Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

When the heart is filled beyond words.



I hope Becky can send me a bunch of her pictures. My camera did some shooting over the weekend, not nearly as much as I'd like it to. So many special thanks to the many who made our Silver Anniversary such a special occasion. I have another busy day at work, a very busy evening ... I'll see you on Wednesday. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

I'm excited!!

Looking forward to a fun weekend. Actually it has already started. :)

My mom and my sister, Becky, flew into Alaska last evening. Knew that Mom was coming and kind of wondered if Becky was. Sure enough! Becky hasn't been here before so super fun to have both of them here! They'll be off and running with Jari this morning to do a bit of sight seeing as I'm working today. Then .... time is ours for the next few days!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I miss the snow.

I'm whining.
Just. A. Little. Bit.
Our world has looked like this for weeks.
45 degree temps have melted nearly everything ...
and everything left behind has been made into fields of ice.

There are ice grippers for the boots ... and ice grippers for the truck.
When left in an ungripped state, it sometimes has the tendency to slide across the yard.

Can you see why I've had this spring fever going on?
Doesn't it look like it?
Except this morning the temp is hovering at 22 with not a snowflake in sight.

Only windblown, silt covered yuck.

The ice candles are gone. I did get to burn them one evening this year!
Now we have glass votive cups sitting out on the porch ...

I have me a feeling.
I'll explain later, but am guessing that next Wednesday we'll get just dumped on.
More than my broom can handle.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I have an idea ...

for an advertising campaign for Lowe's.
It has to include the fact that you only need to spend $20 (less than lunch these days)
to spend an entire day working beside your loved one.
Just think of the possibilities!

Mission accomplished today ... after that $20 trip to Lowe's.
When we moved into our home there was a large coat closet (seems much smaller now) between the entry and the kitchen.
Coats? Why on earth would you keep coats upstairs when you have a mudroom?
Now, I know. My current coat closet is the railing above the stairs.
We had a greater need for a place to put computers. The living area here is not very big ... and we are sort of connected computer junkies.
Keeping the devices, printers and all the assorted cords in the living room was out of the picture.
We revamped that coat closet and it has gotten progressively worse looking.
It doesn't matter what I say, eating utensils always show up there.
You get the idea.
This was the before ... and I just recently cleaned it.
Computer hard drives sitting on the floor.
So many cords that you'd trip over them if you could.

I'm off today so we headed to Lowe's, spent our $20 and then came home to work.
2 computers, 2 printers, modems, cable boxes and 13 million cords out of the room.
Carpet out. Holes doctored.
Then on to paint. Don't you just love the paint tray?!
Gotta love the extras from the hospital.
Paint went on ....

cabinet went up, all cords were stowed in the cabinet and wound securely.
Both computer boxes went up on the shelf leaving nothing on the floor except for
8 chair legs.
Flooring went in. It still needs some baseboard, but the carpet is now history!
Several things that we are reserving for a later date.
One is to add a white shelf on the right side wall for books, labels, paper, etc.
Another is to replace the shelf that the printers sit on. I would love white to brighten up the room a bit. If not, that's okay too.
Hooks. Somehow, someway, hopefully kind of cute and catchy.
Something to hang headphones, webcams and other hangy kinds of things.
Lastly ... my favorite.
We used a piece of plywood for a "desk top" since we started using this computer nook. The kids have written and drawn all over it. It has oodles of character. Has family names, phone numbers, messages ... everything.
I hit it lightly with a sander and then lightly stained it to darken up the edges to match the part where we've all rested wrists or elbows for the past several years.
Then I put one coat of polyurethane on it. It really needs several more coats.
Not today. Maybe I'll be able to move things and do one half at a time on different nites. In all likelihood, it will stay the way it looks right now.

And that folks ... was my Tuesday.
I did take some pictures outside as I walked around picking up rakes and trash ...
in my sweatshirt.
It is just wrong, this 40 to 45F temperature we're having.
The snow is melting much too fast.
It is, however, conducive to things like spring cleaning.
I remember having the same fervor last winter.
Hurry up and clean it quick.
Soon winter will be here again ... and we can nest in comfort.