Monday, April 30, 2012

Looking Like a Real Skater

My 11-year-old daughter recently competed in her second figure-skating competition. She's starting to get the hang of it.

I watched nervously, shivering in the bleachers and trying not to shake the camera, but she actually seemed to be having fun out there on the ice.

She's learning to keep a smile on her face, even when she's concentrating and gathering her strength to jump or spin in front of the judges.

She so enjoyed the feel of medals around her neck that she refused to take them off when we went out to a restaurant for a celebratory dinner.

Where's MY medal for sitting on a cold, hard bleacher and not bawling as I watched my baby girl skate her heart out? Oh, alright, I guess it's not always about me.

Dinner last night: steak & veggie stir fry over noodles

Exactly two years ago:

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Exactly four years ago:

Friday, April 27, 2012


Three moose have been hanging around our neighborhood. I've tried to capture them on camera, but they are sneaky devils.

They've been chowing down on a neighbor's cottonwood tree that fell over in a bad windstorm last fall.

Aha! There's one of you.
Let's see if I can catch a clear shot of the other two . . . 
You can run, but you cannot hide.

On the other hand, maybe you can hide.

I swear to you, I did NOT photoshop that picture. That birch tree is some kind of magic portal leading to Harry Potter's train station, I guess.

Okay! Finally! Two down, one to go . . . 

I never could attain a clear view of the third moose. I snapped almost 50 pictures, but every single one was either blurry or of its behind.

I've got a bad feeling about that third moose.

Dinner last night: halibut tacos, refried beans, corn

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago:

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

They Say that Breaking Up is Hard to Do

I really thought this Spring's breakup would be a doozy. We received so much snow over the winter, I figured on some flooding when it all started melting. Remarkably, breakup hasn't been bad at all. I'm wearing my rubber boots when I walk the dogs, but the ground isn't much wetter or muddier than usual.

The birds are returning in large, honking flocks to the rivers and lakes. I tiptoed down to the edge of Moose River hoping to snap some photos of the many ducks and geese swimming around, but they all flew off. They're a little skittish, I guess, after their long trip.

A few ducks flew back in and began swimming toward the opposite riverbank. I waited and waited . . . and waited some more for a couple to swim a little closer, but I finally gave up, took my camera apart, and packed it into my rucksack. 

As I stood up and started to walk away, two huge swans took that very moment to glide in for a water landing. Thanks a lot, swans! I've got a bunch of pictures of ducks in the distance that I will never look at again while you float regally by in totally anonymity. Next time, swans. I'll get you yet!

Dinner: buttermilk chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, salad, corn

Exactly one year ago:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Just When I Thought I Was Out

My twin daughters have finally reached an age where they're not quite so destructive. As babies, they scribbled on walls, pulled down curtains, and knocked over anything that wasn't nailed to the floor. Now that they've turned 5, they're old enough to help with chores. With a little nagging from me, they make their own beds and put away their toys. They haven't destroyed any closets lately or emptied 500 boxes of board games all over the floor.

I had to go and get a puppy.

Lupine peed on her bed, so I removed the outer cover to wash it. I never dreamed she would literally TEAR APART the mattress.

I'm trying not to panic, but I'm freaked out by that stuffing.
I'm pretty sure it's human hair.

Dinner last night: beef stroganoff

Exactly three years ago:

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Back into the Box

Easter's over, so I guess I'd better pack up the decorations. I am in a very good mood, because I lost only a couple of plastic eggs (to the puppy's sharp little teeth) and chipped a deviled egg platter (between you, me, and the lamppost, the chip was actually my fault for not wrapping it better last year—it shifted in storage and smacked up against something.)

I am truly and sincerely amazed that my little paper chicks and sheep survived the twins' grubby paws. This was the first year I put them out, and miraculously, the girls obeyed my commands to look and not touch.

Can you believe the humans did not kill us?

Shhh! Stay quiet and maybe those kids won't notice us . . . 

I try to keep my eyes open after any holiday, because that's when I find cute decor items sitting in the back of the store on a clearance table for 50% off. The other day I spent a whopping $5.50 for a carton of beautifully painted eggs that I can incorporate into my Easter decorations next year and a little welcome sign that I can put up now.

Spring? What spring? We've still got piles and piles of snow in the yard . . . 

Dinner last night: sour cream enchiladas, corn

Exactly three years ago:

Monday, April 16, 2012

It's a Beautiful Day

For the first time in at least two weeks, I woke up feeling almost normal. What is it they say? When you've got your health, you've got everything? Something like that. Well, I've got my health back.

Oh, shut up, Kim. The last thing we want to hear is a litany of your health problems or how you've overcome them. 

But I've been sick!

We don't care. 

You don't care that I'm feeling great? Oh, you care. You care very much that my back muscles have relaxed out of their spasm! You are happy, nay, you're giddy to hear that my horrible persistent barking is now a mere niggling cough! And you are positively thrilled to learn that my throat doesn't hurt any more!

Yeah, well all of the sudden we're feeling a sharp pain in OUR necks and it seems to be caused by you, Miss Exclamation Point.

Whoa, no need to get persnickety. I'm feeling much better, is all I'm saying. So much better that I honestly believe I could post every single day this week about the beauty and happiness that surrounds me!

Save us from this woman and her roller-coaster emotions.

I am NOT manic . . .

. . . I am a Gemini.

Dinner last night: steak and cheese quesadillas

Exactly three years ago:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Uptown Moose

I was driving around the inner city yesterday looking to score some crack when I was slowed down by a mama moose and her calf taking a leisurely stroll across the the road.

Moose typically do NOT possess 5 legs. Thanks, shaky hands. I need that crack NOW.

If I would have been carrying my good camera, I'd have composed an artsy shot in my rearview mirror . . .

. . . and my mirror would have been clean. Oh, and I would have zoomed in so you could at least see the moose walking down the middle of the street.

That's what big red arrows are for, I guess. Who needs a good camera anyway? Viva la cell phone.

Dinner last night: ham and bean soup, cornbread

Exactly one year ago:

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Sunday Morning Transformation

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Aftermath

I hope you all had a lovely weekend. We received an April shower on Saturday, which normally would make me very grumpy, but this year made me quite happy . . . we have beaten the largest snowfall record in southcentral Alaska's history. It's official: 133.6" fell throughout the winter of 2011–12. In case you're not sufficiently impressed by inches, that's over ELEVEN FEET of snow. Alright, I'll stop bragging now. Or is it complaining?

We celebrated a quiet Easter at home this year. I've been feeling poorly the past 10 days or so, and I just didn't possess the energy to wrangle the family out the door to church or to host a dinner. So we hung out in our pajamas all day and watched that wonderful Easter classic, Zathura. We did hide Easter eggs indoors for the girls, because, you know . . . there's ELEVEN FEET of snow in our backyard. Okay, a lot of it has melted off, but still. Brightly-colored eggs don't blend in too well with white snow.

Watching our daughters dash about searching for treats reminded me that I should never enter them in any sort of public Easter egg hunt or, for that matter, in a public treasure hunt or scavenger hunt of any kind. They possess no fear, no sympathy, no self-control. My precious angels would mow down the other children like runaway bulldozers plowing over a patch of helpless marshmallow Peeps.

Even the dogs joined in the chase. They had no idea what they were looking for, but they ran wildly about the living room just the same.

Happy (belated) Easter, and may your baskets be full of Cadbury creme eggs.

Dinner last night: ham, scalloped potatoes, asparagus, jelly beans

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sorry I Asked

The other morning, I visited the grocery store to pick up snacks for my daughter to take to a class party. I had put off the errand for several days because I'd been feeling really, really awful with a cold/flu and kept thinking I'll feel better tomorrow, but my health had actually declined with each passing day. On top of all the aches and fever, my back went out. Finally, I bucked up, drove to the store, and shuffled in to grab some packages of Teddy Grahams.

I limped up to the counter and the cashier said, "Hi, there. How are you?" Normally, I just say hi when people do that to me. How are you? has become a rhetorical question, and is basically another form of Hello. I was feeling so poorly, however, that I couldn't stop myself from croaking, "Well, actually, I'm not very well at all. I feel really sick this morning."

And do you know that guy did not say one more word to me? He didn't even attempt "Sorry to hear that" or "Oh, too bad." Nothing. Silence. He hurt my feelings, if you want to know the truth of it. I know I was ill and a self-pitying mess anyway, but he couldn't even muster a "Hope you feel better"??

His impassivity was so blatant that I would have preferred an actual insult. I could have handled, "Keep your cooties to yourself, lady!" But his blank face and refusal to converse any further almost made me cry.

I have a suggestion for all the people out there who habitually ask, "How are you?" when they couldn't possibly care less and don't really want to know the answer . . . STOP SAYING IT. A simple Hello! or a pleasant Good Morning! will get the job done just as well without offending us sick people who are desperate for a drop of human kindness.

For those who really do want to know, well, then, God bless you and thanks for inquiring. I'll try not to bore you with the details.

Dinner last night: spinach and cheese ravioli, beef burgundy

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago:

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Kneesock Years

For my entire adult life I have teased my younger sister for her childish obsession with her socks. They had to feel just right—soft but not silky, snug but not tight—and most importantly, reach well above her knees so that she could fold them exactly once to sit just under the patella or, when feeling a bit chilly, she could wear them over her knee caps for additional warmth.

While recently perusing an old family photo album, my brain processed some information that rocked my world view and caused me to question my very sanity.

My sister was not the only one wearing knee socks. There I am SMILING whilst sporting long white cotton socks. What is happening to my universe? How can this be? It was my sister who insisted on wearing them . . . my sister who weirdly pulled her socks up as far as she could . . . my sister who threw a hissy fit and REFUSED TO WEAR TIGHTS when our mother suggested she wear them like a normal child . . . wasn't it?

Um. Well. Heh heh. Maybe I mixed up some of my facts.

Dinner last night: salmon patties with creamed peas

Exactly two years ago: