Friday, August 29, 2008

More Book Reviews!

Ok, I've read a few more books in the past two months, so thought I'd offer a few more reviews:
"Love Walked In" by Marisa de los Santos - this book is about a waitress at a diner who meets the man of her dreams when he walks into the diner, and then she finds out he has a daughter, who's mother has abandoned her in the throes of a mental breakdown. The story follows her relationship with the daughter and how it grows. Cute story, but I didn't like the ending.
"A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini - this was a GREAT book by the author of "The Kite Runner" and every bit as good, if not better, than his debut novel. The story follows two women over about thirty years in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion, through the Taliban, and up to today. It's full of tragedy and horrors one can barely imagine, and yet, it's a story of perseverence. I loved it!
"Marley and Me" by John Grogan. A story about a man and his (very bad) dog. After reading this story I've been a lot nicer to Shade, our own (very bad) dog, and he's become my best friend, following me around the house, and sleeping on the floor beside my bed. I never knew I was such a dog-lover. What is happening to me? Thanks Mr. Grogan.
"Oh My Stars" by Lorna Landvik. For some reason, I really like this author. I've read three of her other books - "Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons", "Patty Jane's House of Curl" and "Your Oasis on Flame Lake". This book follows Violet, a young, homely, one-armed girl during the Depression years. Violet is on a bus to San Francisco where she plans to jump off the Golden Gate bridge and end her life, when her bus crashes in North Dakota. The passengers are rescued by two men, and that starts off a chain of events that leads to fame and fortune. Very readable. Landvik has a great way of making her characters likable and real.
Currently reading "Burnt Toast" by Teri Hatcher. So far it's mostly about not eating the burnt toast, which, metaphorically speaking, means not taking the crappy stuff and believing you are good enough to get the nice, golden, hot, buttered toast, just like everyone else. Can I get a big "hell yeah?" She's not the greatest writer and her insecurities practically jump from the pages, but it's got some potential.......I'll keep reading it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Wonders of Digital Mammography

First off, if you think this post is going to be about the wonders of digital mammography, you're wrong, because I don't even know what those wonders are. But I will say this post is about boobs, and not the hot kind. So, if you don't want to read about boobs unless it involves low-cut blouses or visible cleavage, just stop reading.

I had my mammogram today. That wonderful rite of passage for women over 40 because, hey, who doesn't need yet another thing to look forward to, after expanding waistlines and new wrinkles? I arrived on time (ok, not really but I was only about 6 minutes late, which, for me, is about as "on time" as I get), and checked in. Just as I was filling out a lovely questionnaire that included drawings of boobs, I was called in to "get changed". Now, I'm familiar with the "here's your gown, take everything off from the waist up, gown opens in front." But at this particular location, I was ushered into a "changing room" (which had no door, but a curtain that would not close the gap on either side, no matter how hard I tried). Stacked neatly, were triangular folds of cloth, which I presumed to be the gowns. Oh, no. I stripped to the waist and proceeded to put on a.........cape? Yes, I was Superwoman, or O Mighty Isis or some other superhuman, braless, boob-saggin' character. Once I figured out how the thing worked - seriously, ONE snap, at the neck and no other way to "cover" those boobies unless you clutched the thing to your chest like a bank robber holding a wad of cash. Once I was caped, I was instructed to put my belongings in a locker. The only lockers available were floor level, so imagine my delight in trying to stash purse, bra, top, jacket and book (in case I had a long wait) into a locker, all the while clutching my Super Cape to my chest, while my boobs stretched and strained to reach the floor (hey, they're not as firm as they used to be! Gravity......). I somehow managed that task when a very elderly lady emerged from her dressing room asking "do you know how these things work?" I looked up to see the poor octogenarian standing there with her cape at an odd angle, clutching it just as fiercely as I was. I attempted to help her which resulted in a rather hilarious display of both my 40-year-old breasts (after all I had to let go to help her) and her 80-year-old breasts (as I tried to angle her cape just so and fish for the ONE snap available!). After I was way more intimate with the poor lady than I should have been, I finally sat down to wait, clutching my cape with one hand and attempting to read a magazine with the other. After just minutes I was called in by a cheery woman who announced she'd be doing my mammogram today (yay!). Once in the room, all modesty was thrown aside as this woman manipulated, squashed, squeezed, lifted and spread my breasts, smashing them between two plates of glass so that I thought that yes, perhaps it WAS possible for my breast to just rip away from my chest wall. After each tortorous interval she said "I know this is not comfortable" and I just smiled and tried not to cry. Blessedly, once she got her pictures the machine had a "release valve" and those plates popped open. I swear my breast gasped audibly in relief! When it was all over, I again arranged my cape to cover as much of my breasts as possible and marched out into the waiting room, where I was met with three other caped avengers. I announced "That was FUN!" and turned the corner to the dressing rooms. As I was dressing, I noticed my breasts had taken on a fierce red color, as though they had just been slapped. Tucking them into my bra, I silently said a prayer that everything comes out normal. Because from what I hear, if it doesn't, the next mammogram is akin to a cement mixer running over your chest. And I'd just as soon bypass that torture. My poor "girls". Perhaps they'll forvige me if I buy them a really pretty bra? Personally, I think they'd feel better with a shot of tequila. Or two. One for each.

Friday, August 22, 2008


We had the joy of spending time with our adorable Kaden, my great-nephew (which makes me sound SO OLD) this past weekend. He is the most delicious, sweet, laid-back, beautiful little boy ever! His disposition is so easygoing, and he has the most incredible blue eyes. The best part about him is his ready smile - he will be staring at you with the most serious face and just break into the biggest grin. He really rewards you with a smile or a hug, running into your arms, at just the right moment. He even said "I yah you" to me twice! Which I, of course, translated to mean "I love you"! I think I kissed his little face off - I couldn't get enough of him! I'm so sad I won't be able to see him until he's over two years old next time. These photos should capture a little bit of his darling personality!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pig Pickin'

We traveled to Coeur d' Alene, ID last weekend to attend my sister's annual "pig pickin'" celebration. I'll add some photos so all can see what a pig pickin' is but it's basically "grilling" a whole pig over an open fire for many hours (overnight) resulting in the most delicious pork you've ever tasted! It's really unique, one of a kind and like nothing you've ever had before. Of course, it takes many guests to devour a whole pig (and that never happens - lots of leftovers!). Guests bring side dishes and my sister fries up some hush puppies and it's all a big, delicious feast. It's been a family tradition for decades now, and it's nice to see it go on and have the "pig cooking talents" handed down to the younger generations. This year, Harrison got to go along to pick up the pig, helped with getting it started and "fired" it twice. Hopefully the photos I've included will give a taste of what a pig pickin' is like.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hannah is 13!!!

I've been remiss in not posting until now - Hannah has turned a milestone age! 13! We celebrated with a party, first swimming at Martha Lake, then back home to make pie iron pizzas, s'mores, have cake and ice cream, sing karaoke until the wee hours (staying up to mark her 1:01 birth time), and finally, the girls spent the night in the camper. I say "spent the night" because they DID NOT sleep at all. They stayed up all night, talking and carrying on. Jeff, Harrison, Arlie and Rylie slept on air mattresses in the garage (to "guard" the girls against things that go bump in the night). But it was all for naught, as the girls didn't sleep a wink and probably made our neighbors mad in the process (tent trailer walls are thin!). In the morning we had chocolate chip pancakes, bacon, and Hannah opened her "family" presents. Then, she and her best friend Jessica slept most of the day away. The photos are of the whole group jumping in Martha Lake, Hannah in the morning w/ her "birthday table", and the cake Hayley made. We didn't have 13 candles, or a "1" and a "3" candle, so Hayley improvised with 8, 4, 1 (8+4+1=13). Good times!

Friday, August 8, 2008


This morning I prepared breakfast for 8 kids. Now, you should know I don't "do" breakfast, per se. For one thing, I'm not a big fan of the usual breakfast foods - bacon, eggs, pancakes. The perfect breakfast for me is a coffee from Starbucks and some type of pastry! Yum! But since I cannot indulge that craving every day, I normally have some sort of appropriately "grown up" high-fiber, low cholesteral cereal. Either way, it's simple, and quick. And I can fix it myself, for myself and no one bugs me. That's how I like breakfast. But today I decided to be the good mom and whip up a traditional breakfast, waking the children with the wafting smells of bacon (stop laughing, it really happened!). But I don't understand bacon. For one thing, here is a food that is bad for you on all accounts. You remove it from it's package and separate the greasy, slimy slices which you then lay in a hot skillet. The bacon pops and sputters and shrinks to about 50% of it's size (if you've chosen a good package that is mostly "meat stripes" instead of "fat stripes"). Whilst this is happening, tiny projectiles of hot bacon grease shoot from the pan and hit you in the most amazing places - eyelid, forearm, and that delicate skin on your chest (which some like to refer to as decollete or something like that but I don't even know how to say it, much less spell it, so whatever). Anyway, I don't understand preparing a food that is so bad for you, actually injures you, and then ends up being smaller than it started out to be, forcing you to eat six or seven slices (not me, of course, I only had half a slice - cholesteral, you know!). Breakfast is just too much WORK and the last thing I want in the morning is to spend an hour at a hot stove and come away with a virtual dot-to-dot of bacon grease burns on my chest. I'm all about the assortment of cereals and carton of milk. Who can complain when there's Cocoa Puffs, Fruit Loops, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and that veritable favorite (and, in my opinion, heaven in a box) Lucky Charms? Pour the cereal, pour the milk and eat. Simple. Clean. And injury-free.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Nice 'stache!

Yesterday we spent the afternoon in Seattle, where we visited Pirate's Plunder (one of my favorite waterfront stores!). Harrison combed through all the enticing offerings in the store (real bugs encased in plastic, gold pirate coins, a treasure map in a bottle) and settled on a "days of the week" set of fake moustaches! There's the wild west sheriff moustache, the french police moustache, the Hitler look-a-like, even the grandpa moustache (appropriately, for Sundays). Here are some photos of him sporting his 'stache! Nothing like a caterpillar on your upper lip to say "distinguished"!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Granite Falls, Verlot, and Bigfoot!

Today was a long day, full of adventures we didn't even know we were going to have! Not knowing what the day would hold, and always being one to be prepared (I should have been a Boy Scout, damn it!), I packed the car with beach towels, noodle floats, fishing gear, beach chairs, and a special backpack for Harrison that included all the essentials he might need for hunting Bigfoot. Yes, our day's singular goal was to go out and hunt Bigfoot - well, that was the goal for Deven and Harrison......the rest of us were along for the ride. We headed up to Granite Falls and stopped at a pizza and pasta joint for lunch, and stopped at the hardware store for some foam to take imprints of Bigfoot's footprints. Then, we headed up to Verlot and beyond to see the old Pilchuck cabin, and ended at the Ice Caves. That's where the Bigfoot hunt started. Harrison and Deven had spent the morning preparing for the hunt by downloading and memorizing all of Bigfoot's roars (surprised, angry, scared). They headed off with their pack and we took a walk to take nature photos. Some evidence was found (flattened grass, snapped trees), but alas, no Bigfoot photos or sightings. However, at Green Gables grocery on the way home, Deven did find a scale version of Bigfoot, complete with "stamping feet" so the day was not a total loss! After that, we stopped at the river for some fishing and wading. No Bigfoot there either! Finally we stopped to pick up Flower and headed to Lake Bosworth for some more fishing. No Bigfoot, and no fish! But we had fun and made our way home around 10 p.m. where we had cereal for dinner and everyone headed off to bed (except for yours truly, the blogger!). Enjoy the photos!

Saturday, August 2, 2008


So, we've had my niece Flower visiting this week and she is a riot! The photo is of her on "crazy hair day" at camp (she achieved this look using water bottles - genius!). Her sense of humor kept us laughing all week. When Shade (the most vocal of our dogs) was whining at the door she looked up and said "What's that, boy? Timmy's in the well?" We laughed so hard and that will definitely go down as one of our favorite lines now. She does have some dorky qualities, though. For example, she seems unable to handle a drink in a normal glass. I was about to break out the sippy cups with "no spill" lids! Even when she was enjoying a shaved ice at the neighbor's house, she managed to drop her spoon on the floor, complete with a blob of shaved ice! And she especially enjoyed our broken water dispenser on the fridge! More than once she got doused with a jet-stream of water, soaking the floor in the process. Oh, we had a good laugh at that (over and over again). She even surreptiously filmed our arguments with her cell phone (which, I have to say, she uses even more than Hayley, which I never thought possible!). And she ate all the "retarded" M&M's that I threw at her. What a kid!