Friday, April 30, 2010

Vanity, Vanity

I cut off my hair again. This traumatic event occurs about every 5 years, and it's only traumatic for my husband. I introduce the subject of how much I hate my hair and mention that I'd really like to shave it all off. He argues that he LIKES LONG HAIR; I retort that he must like STRINGY, FRIZZY, UNSTYLED LONG HAIR because that's what I have. We go 'round and 'round for several weeks, until I finally wear him down and he mutters, "Fine. Do what you want." I always planned to . . . just needed his blessing.

The five-year interval has never been conscious or planned. Yes, I am a control freak, but I don't sit around scheduling my haircuts five years in advance. In fact, I never even realized I was cutting my hair every 5 years until recently, when I started feeling the need to shave my head again, and began recalling previous coiffes.

My first big chop was in junior high. I visited my very first hair salon ever and asked for the Dorothy Hamill wedge. The next transformation occured when I was 18; I don't remember the details, but I know I removed my long brunette locks because I have a snapshot of me sitting in my dorm room with super short hair grinning like a weirdo college freshman. Then every 4 or 5 years after that, I'd do it again. I had a really cute, spiky style in the 90s that I just loved; I'd dyed my hair black for a part in a play, and I felt very edgy with my slightly goth look.

My last short hair occurred when I was pregnant with the twins, and felt like a cow. A slightly disabled cow. No, make that a small house. I felt like a house had fallen on top of me and two people were still living in it, moving around inside, shaking the entire structure. And no one would let me just lay down and rest with this house on top of me. No, I had to keep walking around and bending over to pick up bags of groceries and pushing the vacuum across the living room floor and driving my daughters to and from school, all with a big ol' house crushing me. Actually, I like the cow analogy better.

I was a big cow with a sore back and aching hooves. And my hair was like a mutated mane of some sort that made me feel hot and exhausted and more cow-ish. So I cut it all off and felt much better.

But it's grown back.

I know it's difficult to notice my hair when you're mesmerized by the slenderness of my hips, but try to focus, people!

I took something like 20 pictures, trying to get my entire head into the frame. I finally gave up. A self-portrait artist I am not. Anyway, here's my short hair, which I would like to remind my husband is not really THAT short. I've had much shorter, so he needs to SHAKE IT OFF.

It'll grow back, sweetheart.

Dinner last night: chicken and garlic pizza

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago:

Thursday, April 29, 2010

To My Four Faithful Readers, I Salute You!

Well, whaddya know? Today is my blog's 2-year anniversary. As usual with me and any momentous occasion, I don't remember it's coming until the day it arrives; I was getting ready to publish an entirely different post this morning, went to add the "Exactly One Year Ago" link at the end, and . . . oh! exactly one year ago I was celebrating my first anniversary. And by "celebrating" I mean "mentioning how I'd forgotten it was my anniversary."

Two years. Normally, I'd sniff at a measly two years. I've got split ends that are older than that. I've been wearing the same bra for longer than two years. I've got a wart on my foot . . .  oh, give it a rest, Kim. I have to admit, though, that in the blogosphere two years is actually a sort of accomplishment. That's what I tell myself, anyway. I have seen so many great blogs come and go in the short time I've been online; who knew that my little site o' drivel would hang in there? Will power, people! Self discipline! Or possibly delusion! and misguided use of free time!

I started this blog in total and complete anonymity. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I received my first comment, which of course was from a random stranger, since I hadn't told anyone I knew about my little writing adventure. I honestly didn't realize how important my readership would become to me—no man is an island, and all that. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for checking in on a regular basis. You really are the reason I'm still here after two years . . . turns out that writing by and for one's self isn't all that gratifying.

In honor of this 2-year milestone, I will be adding a new feature. You think "Dinner Last Night" is exciting? You can't believe the genius of "Exactly One Year Ago"? Well, now I've come up with "Exactly TWO Years Ago." Enjoy.

And thanks again. I really, really mean it.

Dinner last night: Polish sausages and spinach

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago:
Here We Go . . .

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Do You See What I See?

* A big THANK YOU! to A Peek at Karen's World for selecting me as Blog of the Week. Thank you for the honor, Karen! *

The older I get, the longer winter seems. This morning, though, I noticed on my drive home from the kids' school that the willows are starting to blossom. There's no turning back now! Spring has officially arrived in Alaska. I took a quick run through my yard to find more proof . . .

Aha! The daffodils are coming up!

There's my rhubarb!

If you look closely, you can see new buds on the shrubs!

Just look at our lush green lawn! Oh. Um.
Check back in 3 weeks, please.

Dinner last night: cheeseburgers on the barbie, french fries

Exactly one year ago:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Pressure is Killing Me

As an Alaskan blogger, I feel obligated to post stunning scenic shots of the Last Frontier. There's just one little bitty problem. April is about the worst time of year for capturing anything remotely pretty or colorful. Big, wet snowflakes started to fall about 30 minutes ago. Big, wet snowflakes falling amongst barren, leafless trees . . .

Aren't you glad I took the time to step outside and
photograph this gorgeous landscape? No?
Well, how about this . . . 

At least the sky is blue in this shot I snapped last week.
Although I am feeling the need to pop an anti-depressant after
looking at those bony tree fingers silhouetted against a cloudless sky.

Maybe a couple of cute kids will help my photography . . .

What? You don't appreciate a
good mud puddle when you see one?

Here, I guess this will have to do . . .

When in doubt, post a picture of a moose.

Dinner last night: spaghetti and meat sauce

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Time Has Come

I have been incredibly spoiled with an extra room in our home where I am able to lock myself away to sew, scrap, wrap gifts, and putter. I figured that my time there was limited, and sure enough, I've been asked to vacate.

Currently, my two oldest girls sleep in bunkbeds in a cute room that they share. They've always shared a bedroom, and it's never been a problem until recently. My oldest daughter turned 12, and with that birthday has come the usual sorts of preteen issues. I'm not one who puts up with whining or silly demands, so my eldest daughter has had to convince me that letting her move into her own private space will be worth the sacrifice of losing my craft room; her reasoning has indeed persuaded me, and I have agreed to move out.

The biggest challenge is relocating all my art and craft supplies to a safe place, where the twins can't get to them. After much consideration, I've decided on the guest room. One, the room has a door that locks. Two, although the guest room is used a lot by visiting family and friends, it's certainly not used on a daily basis. When we don't have company, the room sits there empty and idle, so taking over a corner of it won't get in anybody's way. Three, there's an odd little nook in there that is just perfect for sticking in some cabinets and a counter.

My husband and I disagreed over what kind of cabinetry to put in. My husband is all about quality and workmanship, plus he did not want to ruin the Alaskan flavor of the guest room by installing white laminate cupboards. I, on the other hand, am all about cheap and fast. So I stomped my little foot and demanded the inexpensive do-it-yourself set of cabinets that we could purchase from the home store and put up in a weekend. I had to promise my husband that the craft center is temporary (we can easily detach everything once we find something better) and that, while they are there, I will do something artsy and creative with the exterior so that they don't look like a garage work shop has moved into our guest room.

You and I both know that those cheap cupboards will sit there in all their white glory for the next ten years, but, hey, some of us need our illusions to help keep truckin' on through life.

Dinner last night: tilapia in a sour cream sauce, cous cous, green peas

Exactly one year ago:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fun Evening

Last night I passed by the living room window just as a strange cat was skulking around the corner of the house. I watched as the grey feline headed straight to our deck and squeezed under! Oh, no, she di'int. I called to my husband, "A cat I've never seen before just went under the deck." For some reason that announcement got him right out of the easy chair; he slapped his leg for Daisy and they headed outside to chase that cat away.

Did I say chase that cat away? I meant to say, bark like a maniac for at least 45 minutes. You see, Daisy followed her nose right after that cat and got stuck under the deck. STUCK. We tried yelling. We tried cooing. We tried doggie treats. We tried the hose. Nothing could get that beagle out, and, in fact, I think she had squeezed herself into such a tight spot that she literally couldn't turn around and then could not figure how to back out. Finally, my husband had to get his drill and unscrew a plank so Daisy could crawl to freedom.

My 9-year-old was crying in relief, and immediately welcomed the filthy mud-covered dog into the house. Noooooo! We spent the next 5 minutes chasing her through the kitchen, the dining room, and the family room, where we were able to grab her and drag her to the bathroom for a shampoo and rinse. Then I sent everyone to bed, mopped up the muddy paw prints, and fell into bed myself.

The strange gray cat is still hiding under the deck.

Don't let this clean, quiet, calm beagle fool you.

Dinner last night: chicken, rice, corn, green salad

Exactly one year ago:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I Thought April Fools Was 2 Weeks Ago

Things were humming right along up here in beautiful Alaska. The snow had melted. The sun was shining. The twins and I were spending bright, happy afternoons out on the deck. Per usual, whenever I decide that spring has arrived, the very next day we get hit with a snowstorm. Last year, I demanded that my winter tires be removed; the next day, SNOW. The year before that, I had set out some plants to harden; the next day, SNOW. This year, I'd pulled out the capri pants and cute sandals; the next day, . . .


Lonely lawn chair,
where I sat basking in the sun TWO DAYS AGO.

To make matters worse, my husband asked me to start parking outside a week ago so that his Precious could have its own protected space. "It's spring," he said. "Don't be a baby," he said.

This morning the electronic sliding doors on the minivan were frozen shut. I could not get them to open, despite my pulling and tugging and coaxing and threatening and crying . . . you get the point yet? I was not happy. The only door that would open was the front passenger. All four kids had to crawl across the front seat and into the back. Then I had fun contorting myself into one big muscle spasm while securing the twins into their car seats, with Daisy clawing at me like an insane rabid freakazoid in her attempts to get to the girls by squeezing past an immovable object, namely my big butt.

April, April
Laugh thy girlish laughter
Then the moment after,
Weep thy girlish tears.
                                                                             —Sir William Watson

Dinner last night: chicken tostada

Exactly one year ago today:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sunday Morning Transformation

If there were a Bedhead Contest, I'd win it.

Neither crying nor pleas for mercy shall stop this anti-bedhead crusader.

At last! Hair is combed. Sandals are on.
All dressed for church and ready to go. . .

. . . or are we?

Dinner last night: pork loin roast, roasted vegetables, gravy

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thanks, Walt

I don't know a thing about ice skating. You'd think that an Alaskan would be all kinds of expert when it comes to any and all winter sports, but I was born and raised in a small town that didn't have a rink. I do remember skating on a pond once or twice, but that's about it. So my 9-year-old would have to decide that she's going to become a figure skater. Why can't any of my kids like basketball? WHY?!

At her first lesson, the teacher immediately moved my daughter up to Basic 2. Evidently, there are 8 Basic Skating levels you must pass before advancing to Freeskate, where one can start training seriously for figure skating. She passed Basic 2 and, upon her first class in Basic 3, was moved up to Basic 4. Then the kid had to go and watch the Disney film, Ice Princess. That movie combined with her natural and rapid progression has lit a fire under my girl like you can't believe. She wants to practice EVERY DAY. This is totally coming from her, as I would love nothing better than to stay in my pajamas and read a good book, but noooo, she's grabbing me by the hand and pulling me to the minivan so I will drive her to the rink and she can work on her spins and whatnot. We've come to a compromise—I take her every Tuesday and Thursday after school so she can practice for an hour-and-a-half. AN HOUR AND A HALF! I can't get her to sleep in her own bed at night that long, but there she is out on the ice with a stern expression, determined to perfect her sit spin. Her practice is paying off, because two lessons into Basic 4 she was moved up to 5, and then upon completion, graduated to Basic 6. Recap: in less than 3 months, my heretofore unfocused and loosey-goosey daughter has turned into a self-motivated training machine who has advanced herself to a level 6.

Then there are the twins.

Note to self: wash, fold, and give away that shirt.

Just when she was gathering the courage to venture away from the wall,
that big kid had to go and wipe out right in front of her.

I think I'll sit my 3-year-olds in front of Ice Princess this weekend, and demand that they take notes.

Dinner last night: lasagna, mixed veggies

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Who must know the way to make a proper home,
A quiet home, a kosher home?
Who must raise the family and run the home,
So Papa's free to read the holy books?

The Mama, the Mama! Tradition!
The Mama, the Mama! Tradition!

Easter is undervalued by some people as a time of celebration, but I find it to be one of my favorite holidays. Aside from its religious significance, Easter brings our family together in simple ways. Dying eggs is an easy, quick activity, but one that all four of my girls really enjoy. Hunting for the eggs is even more fun. The Easter dinner is an uncomplicated meal to prepare—the ham pretty much cooks itself—and everyone always loves the food. I use any leftovers to make a ham-potato bake, and this year, as she was helping herself to a second serving, my 12-year-old daughter pronounced that it was one of her very favorite meals of the year. My husband's mouth was full, so he just nodded silently in agreement. She and her dad love their ham-potato bake.

When I'm feeling down or cynical or overwhelmed, I might huff and puff and mutter under my breath that little things like a chocolate bunny don't really make a difference. But, actually, they do. Sure, my kids would be just fine without receiving a heart-shaped box of candy every Valentine's Day, but the older I get—or maybe it's the older my children get—the more I see how much our family's little traditions mean to them. The trip to the zoo each spring. The flag cake every 4th of July. The new piece that we add to our Halloween village each October. The customized Christmas stockings that I've made, and then fill with small gifts, for each member of our crazy household.

My kids look forward to these familiar moments. So do I. And if you put him in a choke hold, my husband would probably confess that even he looks forward to his annual package of Peeps on Easter morning. The Papa, the Papa! TRADITION!

Dinner last night: ham-potato bake

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter

Do not be afraid, for I know that
you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.
He is not here; for He is risen,
as He said.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Don't Worry, I'm Keeping My Day Job

I don't remember my dreams in the morning. I know that I dream, because every night between midnight and 2 a.m. one of the twins wakes me up to go potty or to crawl into our bed, and I am usually in the middle of some kind of dream . . . but its memory immediately dissipates like a vapor and I am telling you: I never remember my dreams by the time morning arrives.

This forgetfulness is a fairly new phenomenon. I still can vividly recall several dreams from my childhood, like the one where I fell off the bridge leading to my grandparents' house. That was scary. At some point in my adult life, though, I've lost the ability to recall my dreams. Maybe it's a byproduct of my pregnancies. Whatever. I've accepted it.

Then, this morning, I woke up and remembered every color, emotion, and word spoken from something I dreamed last night. I feel it is a sign from Freud and must share it with you:

I'm standing on a small platform in a smoky comedy club, holding a microphone. I introduce myself: Hi, I'm Kim. Not Kimberly. Kimberly is the name of a giggly, blonde-haired cheerleader. My mother was no fool. She called me Kim, which is more the name of a strong . . . dark-haired . . . Korean man.

Don't ask me what it means. However, I would like to add that the audience cracked up.

Dinner last night: margherita pizza