Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Weekend Can Beat Up Your Weekend

Glorious weather. We're talking in the 70s, people! GLORIOUS. The three-day weekend was a perfect balance of work around the house and yard with fun and relaxation.

We took lots of walks and picked handfuls of dandelions.

We rode our bikes.

Memorial Day is the first weekend many Alaskans begin gardening in earnest. The plants have been hardened and finally can go in the ground, unless you're a scatter-brained brown thumb who forgets about her bean plants, leaves them out over night too soon, and kills them. Then you spend Memorial Day weekend at the greenhouse, purchasing your starters. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Who needs gardens any way? Hanging baskets are less work. Harumph.

Dinner last night: barbecue chicken, baked beans, potato salad, watermelon

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Prayer in Spring

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
                                                                                                                      —Robert Frost

Dinner last night: teriyaki salmon burgers

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago:

Exactly three years ago:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I Fear I'm Raising Savages

Read this article and tell me what you think. My kneejerk reaction is one of puzzlement.

Why would parents—mothers, in particular—try to prune the "boy" out of their boys? What is wrong with a tough, rough and tumble boy? Why can't boys run and play and yell and crash their toy cars and shoot their play guns without their parents being accused of promoting gender stereotypes? Is allowing little boys the freedom to express their testosterone-fueled tendencies fundamentally worse than stifling their energy and encouraging them to wear pink, play with Barbies, and use their inside voices? Everyone seems so concerned about the few "who do not fit into gender norms" that our society is vilifying the majority who do. 

I'm a rube from the wilds of Alaska, but I appreciate a strong, hard-working man who doesn't cry when his feelings get hurt, and I'm secretly hoping my daughters will grow up to marry men who haven't been shamed as boys to be quiet, sit still, and paint pastoral landscapes like good little gender-neutral citizens.

To all you moms out there who are letting your boys "just be boys" . . . good on ya.

Dinner last night: tuna noodle casserole, watermelon

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sand Dunes are da Bomb

How was your weekend? Mine was great. I grabbed my girls and a couple of their friends, and told them to go take a flying leap. Off a sand dune, that is.

And, boy, did they jump . . . 

. . . and roll . . . 

. . . and ROLL . . . 

. . . AND ROLL!

Yes, that is a real sand dune. On the coastline. In Alaska. It's too cold to wear swimsuits, but 60° temperatures don't stop us from getting sand in our shorts.

Dinner last night: chicken ranch pizza

Exactly three years ago:

Friday, May 20, 2011


No one—and I mean no one—is happier to see the school year end than my 10-year-old daughter. She has big plans for the summer, including but not limited to: building a fort in the woods behind our house, riding her bicycle every day, and eating lots of ice cream.

School's out for summer!

Dinner last night: chicken pot pie

Exactly three years ago:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

People Call Me Many Names, but "Helicopter Mom" is Not One of Them

My 13-year-old was awarded Outstanding Science Student of the Year.

I am embarrassed to admit this, but I didn't even realize my daughter was taking science this year. Had you asked me two weeks ago about 7th grade science, I would have responded "No, I think they take science next year in 8th grade." She has never said one word about science, science class, science homework, or science teachers. You may be thinking, "But, Kim, surely you talked to her science instructor at parent/teacher conferences." AWKWARD SILENCE.

The only parent/teacher conference I attended this school year was at the end of first quarter, and the only teacher to whom I spoke was the 7th grade math teacher. You see, the conferences are held at night. In the hot, loud gym. And you have to wait in long lines to speak with each teacher. I COULDN'T TAKE IT! I made it through the math line, and I was done. Er, finished. Whatever. No more parent/teacher conferences for me.

What about report cards? Yes, she does receive them, and I look at them briefly. She receives the same grade in every class, and I'll let you figure out which letter of the alphabet is repeated. A quick glance is all I need to see that she's excelling; I'm too impatient to itemize each line on her report card.

When I asked my husband if HE remembered our daughter ever mentioning a science class, he had to think for a long time. "Yes!" he finally cried, in a rather triumphant tone. "Remember that one time in the car when she complained that they were starting a unit on the human reproductive system? She yelled GROSS and refused to discuss it any further."

Okay, five points for recalling that brief conversation, but . . . "What's the NAME of her science teacher?" I questioned. He looked at me blankly. "Do you even know if her teacher is a man or a woman?" I asked snottily. He sighed and turned away. Ha! I stand victorious. He has no clue, either.

Well, whoever you are, middle school science teacher, thank you for awarding our daughter with such a prestigious honor.

Dinner last night: steak, baked potato, broccoli, orange cream cake

Exactly one year ago:
Why Did the Moose Cross the Road?

Exactly two years ago:

Monday, May 16, 2011

4 Out of 5 Birthdays Prefer May

Hoo boy. We're entering the last week of school, which means tons of end-of-the-year activities, including a big dance recital. Soccer practice has started THREE nights a week. In addition, the twins have their birthday . . . one week later, my husband celebrates his birthday . . . two weeks after that, my 10-year-old turns eleven!

May—or as we call it around here, Month o' Cake—is crazy busy.

Birthday. Birthday. No birthday. Birthday. Birthday.

Dinner last night: baked ziti, green salad

Exactly three years ago:

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Eagle Eye

Weirdness. Blogger freaked out this week and ate this post, along with all the lovely comments. Where did they go? Only the Internet knows. I'm re-posting, because I figure you can never have too many pictures of bald eagles. Also, I apologize for my use of "big butt"—an obnoxious phrase that should be replaced with something less offensive—but I'm feeling ornery and am leaving it in. Big butt, big butt, big butt.

On a recent drive, we noticed a bunch of eagles' nests—at least five—built up high in the trees. It's that time of year when momma birds sit on their eggs and wait.

Can you spot the nest?
Here, let me zoom in a little closer . . .

You need some kind of context in order to fully comprehend the size of the bald eagle sitting there, guarding her eggs. Maybe I should haul my huge rear end up there, you know, for comparison's sake, so you can see just how enormous that bird's nest really is.

On second thought, looking at that momma's sharp beak and beady eye,
I believe that my big butt and I shall stay right down here.

Dinner last night: barbecue chicken, potato salad, baked beans

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly three years ago:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Art of Throwing Rocks

Oh, dear. The twins are going through a rock-throwing stage. They love to throw rocks. And not just any rocks. They sneak out into the road at the end of our driveway to throw those rocks. Fortunately, the road is a little dirt lane with the rare passing car, but still. Stay out of the road! Stop throwing rocks!

In an effort to harness their powers of evil, we headed to the beach to let the girls pitch as many rocks as their little hearts desired into the ocean. Lessons were learned. Hitting the back of your sister's head with a rock? BAD. Hitting a floating seagull? GOOD.

The first order of business is to select the perfect rock. This kid prefers hefty-sized.

Next, you throw that sucker with all your might.

This child prefers small pebbles.
Also? She throws like a girl.

Pretty soon the entire family is down at the water's edge. It's rock fever.

Except for Daisy . . . she's too busy smelling dead things on the shore.

Dinner last night: cheeseburgers on the barbie

Exactly one year ago:

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Patience, Patience

Another couple of weeks and maybe I can start shooting some scenic photographs again. Until then, I'll spare you pictures of green moss and sparkling brown mud puddles. Won't be long now until Alaska is looking gorgeous. The geese are arriving daily—always a sure sign that warmer weather is close behind.

My husband and I argued in the backyard about what kind of whistling bird we could hear warbling and chirping from somewhere in the trees. My husband said it sounded like a robin. Yeah, RIGHT! Cute little robins do NOT make a fuss like we were hearing. I figured it had to be some kind of mutant vulture that had found its way to the frozen north. Good grief! The noise!

Hmm. Squawking vultures look remarkably similar to cute little robins.

Dinner last night: teriyaki chicken, rice, macaroni salad

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago:

Monday, May 2, 2011

Please, Sir, I Want Some More . . .

My 13-year-old participated in Oliver! as a member of the choir of orphans and ragamuffins. I'd forgotten how many great songs come from that musical, including "Consider Yourself" and "Food, Glorious Food" (or as I was brainwashed by TV commercials to mutter under my breath: "Cheese, Glorious Cheese!")

My street urchin is the one in the middle wearing ye olde spectacles.

Dinner last night: margherita pizza

Exactly three years ago: