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Showing posts from September, 2005

Nothing today...

I still laugh out loud whenever I think of this story about my brother Ken. One day he was taking a load to the dump... a whole pickup full of stuff. Well, at the dump in Eugene there are all kinds of recycling opportunities on the road leading up to the actual dump - places for your used tires, the typical glass and plastics, old furniture... so Ken drove up to the recycle stations and was able to empty his whole truck out into one of the appropriate recycling bins. I'm sure he was feeling very proud of himself, being so environmentally conscious and all. But then, he realized that there was no way to turn around where he was, so he would have to keep driving forward until he got to the dump. So he creeps along behind all the other dump-goers, until he gets to the little check in booth. The lady in the booth looks at his now-empty truck with a puzzled expression and Ken rolls down his window, says "Nothing today!" gives a friendly wave and quickly pulls a u-turn to hea


So today Gracie entered our home. I feel as though I gave birth, started potty training and have to make sure everyone in the house in bonding correctly all at once. I'm totally exhausted and stressed out. Is this normal? She is still for sure the cutest thing I've ever seen, but I'm so worried that she's going to potty in the house that I'm not sure I can enjoy her... I'm so uptight about doing everything right. I think I need to make a list just so I can relax. Then I'm going to put her in her crate and call it a night. Asia is at his first "Poker Night" tonight. This was one of his ideas for his midlife crisis issue - I'm all for it. There are for sure much worse things he could be doing with his crisis. I asked if he was going to come home smelling like cigars and beer and he said probably - although I know he's too much of a priss to engage in either one. The kids were supposed to have a BBQ at school today... I had arranged ever

A post from my daughter

"Today I'm going to get a dog. I am so excited. I even get to go with my Mom to go get her. She's keeping me home from school so I can go with her. I've been asking for a dog for six years, no no no, seven years. I think we are going to have so much fun with her. I think she will be a great family pet for our family. She's the cutest little dog you are ever going to see."

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match...

Talked last night to Ryan, our quasi friend/brother/son/ex-roomie. The poor guy was driving home from a class he attended about kidney disease and how to manage it... he and both of his brothers were recently diagnosed. It's a degenerative hereditary form of kidney disease... Ryan is not quite 29 and his kidneys are functioning at around 50% right now. So at the class, they talked about how exercise and diet can make a world of difference for someone like him. He was pretty overwhelmed with all the information, and the fact that for him, the changes are not really optional. If he wants to keep his kidneys healthy - he's gotta exercise regularly and eat a low sodium, low potassium diet. Now, Ryan is your typical bachelor. When we were at his house in August, his cupboards were pretty bare. I don't know what he eats. But from now on, he's gotta cook at home, from scratch. No fast food, no canned food etc... this - for a guy who's entire repetoire of culinary creat

Blog Blackouts

Seems everyone had the same problem today. This morning when I opened the "Create Post" window for my blog, there was just nothin' to say. I stared at the screen for a couple of minutes, then hit the little black X in the corner... hoping to be able to come back later inspired and full of great stories to share. I went to teach a class, finished early, then came home. Thought about the blog - still nothin' to share. So I decided to read some of my favorite blogs - the ones in my "daily blogs" folder on my favorites - the people who always inspire me to comment - my blogging friends. Well, darn it - none of them have posted either. Okay, one did, but her post was about having nothing to post about. What's going on here? It's like some sort of strange Tuesday vibe... Whatever it is, I've got it bad. Nothin' to say. Now get back to your life - and I'll go try to find something interesting to share with you tomorrow.

New beginnings

So I've been thinking a lot about the puppy - go figure. All my life I've been pretty much anti-dog. My best friend's family always had a dog, and I hated her. Him? I can't even remember the name (how sad is that, Corey? I keep wanting to say Charlie, but no, that's your Dad... really, it's right on the tip of my tongue... oh well.) We never had a dog - just cats growing up. All the neighbors had dogs, and they always seemed stinky and slobbery. But we're getting a dog. A really cute dog . I've been walking around the house thinking of all the things I need to do to puppy-proof... move all the shoes, put the shredder somewhere else, buy baby gates, clean out the cupboards, organize the closet... wait - I don't have to do that - it's just a puppy. But - I have this urge to accomplish accomplish accomplish... the little mundane tasks I've been putting off are now in the forefront of my mind, and I'm just itching to get busy. I think I

Introducing Gracie

I thought maybe I could wait until we brought her home to properly introduce her, but I can't stand it. So blog readers, meet our new pure-bred Boxer, Gracie... We spent about 2 hours today falling in love with her. The kids could hardly believe their eyes when we pulled up at the breeder's house and they saw ten little doggies running around in the sunshine. It was nothing less than idyllic. For me - an avowed non-lover of dogs, alas - it was love at first sight. I instantly knew which one was ours - just from that tiny picture. She was my dog - my new baby - my project. I've spent the last three days studying and reading everything I can get my hands on regarding puppy training... I'm determined to do this well... and I want to enjoy the process. Isn't she just the cutest thing you've ever seen in your whole life? I get to pick her up on Thursday. I can hardly wait.

Saturday Morning

For some reason on the weekend I need the structure of a list. I just looked out the window and had a stare-down with Jack, the squirrel. E. has named every squirrel that frequents our backyard Jack, which I think is nothing short of a stroke of genius. That way we don't have to distinguish whether Jack is the one with the bushy tail or the chubby cheeks - they're all simply "Jack." Last weekend we were at a park and collected about a million acorns to bring home for him - so he's a happy squirrel. I've got almost every single Jack eating out of the palm of my hand. Work was great yesterday - just busy enough that I had plenty of interaction, but slow enough that I was able to accomplish some projects. I rearranged a bunch of product and everything looks so nice... I also had time to finish a class sample. I always love when I can get samples done there - gettin' paid for it is a bonus. S. has her second soccer game this morning. They lost last week - bu

Aristic Endeavors (Or "Get Your Butt off the Couch and Do Something!")

This morning I was feeling sort of aimless, having gotten the kids out the door and finished my cuppa joe... I find that if I don't immediately get into my studio and get to work as soon as they leave, then I lose the motivation to do so. So this morning I watched a little news, (feeling such dread and helplessness over Rita) then tried to read my new (used) Eugene Peterson book, "Leap Over a Wall". I think I'm getting a cold and I really wanted to just take a nap but wouldn't allow myself the luxury... nothing was flowing. So of course, when I pulled up the "create post" screen for my blog - there was nothing to say. That's when my brilliant idea came. "Go take pictures." Alrighty then. I grabbed my cameras and drove to Manito Park - my favorite getaway in my neighborhood. There I wandered the gardens, taking shot after shot after shot. I love that I can compose a shot with my digital camera and then recompose it instantly to correct a

Soggy shoes and torture chambers

Oh brother. That's all I can say about this morning. The kids were all up early, which is fine - it helps us get off to a good start. It's nice when I'm not waking them up at the last possible minute, trying to get everyone motivated and moving to be ready to go on time. So we were all up and dressed and I managed to get everyone heading in the direction of breakfast... they get their cereal picked out and everything is going smoothly until we realize we're out of milk. Now how that happened is totally beyond me, because last night after dinner there was at least a third of a gallon. I paid close attention to that because I knew I'd be out running errands after dinner and was glad I wouldn't have to stop to get milk. (I'm ALL for the return of the milkman - wouldn't it be glorious to have milk waiting for you on the stoop every morning?) Okay - no milk. Plan B. We get through breakfast. Chores. For some reason nothing ever goes the way I want it to -

Right now...

I'm sitting cross-legged on my couch with my favorite blanket and my laptop It's 10:13 p.m. Asia is watching "Law and Order" The kids are asleep all snug in their beds I'm wearing jammie pants and a black t-shirt The dishwasher is running The book I bought tonight at the used book store is sitting on the coffee table I'm about to go take a bath and get ready for bed My nose is running - I think I might be getting a cold I just saw a preview for a new show called "Three Wishes" with Amy Grant - I'm all teary eyed just from the preview

Amazing what a good nights' sleep can do

I'm beginning to gauge my days by when I wake up... if I peek out from my sticky eyelids and it's already light outside my windows, I give a little silent cheer and my whole day looks better. It's so much better than laying there wide awake hours before the sun has even appeared on the east coast... This morning it was good and light out - I didn't wake up until 7:30! Yay! I'm happy. K. and I had a wonderful evening together. He came with me to my class - and charmed the heck out of everyone there. Equal to his ability to drive me completely batty is his ability to captivate total strangers with his larger than life personality... it's fascinating and annoying at the same time. Annoying mostly because I would love to be able to appreciate him the same way others seem to... fascinating because I wonder where this gift came from... most certainly more from Asia than from me. Remember, I'm the one who inadvertently makes people feel ignored and unimportant. As

Up and at 'em!

Wow, I'm moving SO slowly this morning. I was woken up around 3:30 and it must have taken me an hour or more to get back to sleep... I was determined not to get up though. I've got too much to do today and I really didn't want to start the day at 3:30. So I laid there, remodeling decisions and ideas running rampant through my head. Ugh already. I wish we could get started with the kitchen and then just be done. I hate choosing floors and counters and cabinets and deciding what to keep and what to replace. I'm trying to honor Asia's frugality and get by with our current stuff (stove, island etc.), but I really would love to replace them. We compromised yesterday though, and I think he's happy with his end of the bargain. I still really wish I could get double ovens, but oh well. (I can already tell this is going to be a rambly post - bear with me. Or not. If you're as tired as I am, maybe you should just leave now and come back on another day when I'm m


I was working my normal Friday afternoon shift yesterday when I got a phone call. "Apropos, this is Cate." (They call me Cate at the store because the owner's name is Kathy... we avoid all kinds of confusion that way...) I hear Asia's voice. "Your son is devastated." In the background, I hear nothing short of wailing - and it sounds like it's coming from the older of my two boys. My heart immediately starts thumping in my chest. I hate it when something happens to one of my kids and I can't be there. Sympathy is not Asia's strong point, so I just want to run home and give hugs where needed and let K. tell me what's going on... "What happened?" Asia explains... apparently there are district-wide enrollment shortfalls for our schools, and because of that they have to make adjustments with class lists and teachers. K.'s teacher - the man he hoped he would get all summer long - is being sent to another school and K. has been

The Friday List

Here we go: My calendar is filling up quickly, even with the lack of "church related" busy-ness I usually tackle each fall. Between piano lessons, classes, soccer games, school schtuff and remodeling related appointments, there's a heckuva lot happening over the next few months. I don't mind it though after the tedious same-ness of summer days. K. is going to play trombone in the school band. Hmm, a loud brass instrument in the house - what a great idea ! At least it's not a stringed instrument - there's nothing worse than listening to beginning strings, in my opinion. I got a round trip ticket to Portland to go visit one of my best friends in the whole world next month. Get this - it only cost me $23 each way... if you don't fly Southwest, you really should. And you should go to Southwest Airlines and download the "Ding" - because that's the only way you'll find out about smokin' deals like I just got. I also was able to buy ticket

"Son of a Brick!"

Fortunately, that's what E. heard last night when he walked into the room where Asia was watching an episode of "Lost." He probably wouldn't have even paid attention to the phrase, but when S. heard it, she immediately gasped, then looked from Asia to E. and back again to see what they were both going to do... "What?" asked E. "What did he say???" "Nothing," replied Asia, hoping to let it slide. No such luck. "What - did he say a bad word?" Asia: "What did you hear?" E: "Son of a Brick" Asia: "Okay, son. Now you know. You may not say that, okay? It's inappropriate." E: "Alright, Daddy." End of story. I remember when I was growing up, fart was a bad word. We couldn't utter it - although my brothers and I would say it to each other. In our house we didn't fart, we poodered. I know - it's worse, much much worse. I have vivid memories of my Dad walking into a room, wr

Autumn Gaiety

I woke up this morning to a pretty thick fog - up and down the street it encased the homes in it's misty shroud - oh how I love these cool September mornings. I took the time yesterday to pull out my autumn decor - I LOVE decorating for this season - my living room colors are perfect for the golds and oranges and browns that are beginning to show outside. It feels so warm and snug in here - makes my heart very happy. I also went downstairs to my spare closet and traded in the summer stuff for sweaters, fleece, turtlenecks and jackets. I delight in wearing cardigans and socks after three months of flip-flops and tank tops. Mmmm - it's so snuggly. I'm much more inspired toward new beginnings this time of year than in January. It just feels like the time for change - with the refreshing change of weather and the start of the new school year. I totally get into a groove, thinking through my priorities, plans, hopes and dreams and plotting my agenda for the next year. I'm


Okay. So I'm cautiously optimistic about the church... and I say cautiously only because I'm making a conscious effort to be a little guarded. If I weren't, I'd have signed away my soul yesterday - volunteering for all sorts of wonderful ministry opportunities and having the pastor over for a roast. (Good thing I didn't have one in the crock-pot, or it would have been all I could do to stop myself from inviting him over...) We really liked it. I bawled my way through communion... now first of all, you need to understand, that by some fluke of differing ideas about when communion should be held, for the past 6 weeks at least, every church we've gone to has had communion. (Evidently not everyone subscribes to the conservative baptist 11th commandment: Thou shalt have communion on the first Sunday of the month...) So, we've been having lots of grape juice and crackers. All good - for I love the chance to reflect on Christ's wonderful, terrible sacrifice f


Sunday morning. I'm up early again. I don't understand what's happening to my body lately - it seems to want to get up between 4:30 and 5:00 most days. I can't stand to lie in bed, hoping to get back to sleep, so I usually just get up and putter. It's great for providing time to read my bible and pray without any interruptions, so I'm not going to complain... perhaps God is just nudging me along that way. Church day. I'm actually excited about church today. We're trying one that we tried years ago when we first moved to Spokane... at that point it was so brand new, they had no children's programs (like no Sunday School) and our kids were so little (K. - 4 and S. - 2) - having them try to sit through the service just didn't work for us. The pastors wife taught my water aerobics class and I really liked her, but we knew it wasn't the church for us at the time. So today we'll try it again. Asia ran into an old friend from the ex-church las


So today I've got to go to Costco. I'm looking forward to it today, since it's the first time in months that I've been able to go without my three kids. For some reason they feel the need to "ice skate" whenever we are there, running and sliding on the cool, smooth floors until I'm ready to strangle them all and stack them up in that little space at the bottom of the cart. What ever happened to the days when I could strap them into the cart with those little safety belts and keep them right in front of me? They also love to climb on the little ledge by the refrigerated cases, hanging onto the door handles and sidling along, seeing how far they can go without falling off. They turn into little monkeys at Costco. (Have I mentioned how happy I am to have them all back in school?) This is a good Costco month, since I don't need to buy any meat. Whenever I need meat, I end up spending all my money on necessities - last payday it was over $200 on chicken a

simple pleasures

Cup o' coffee art supplies all over my studio Renee Olstead on the stereo e-mail blipping occasionally - take a break and read cool breeze outside - love September ink on my hands out shopping later kids in school a. very. good. thing.

Cast your vote now.

So Asia, my dear husband, is going through a bit of a mid-life thing... I won't call it a crisis, because I don't think it is, but he's recently been feeling the need for some excitement in his life. Some sort of change. Perhaps a vice... (although when I look up that word, I don't think that's exactly what he wants either...) Something to mix things up - give him a little burst of energy - rev-up his mundane existence... Here's the deal - (and I say this with the deepest affection) - he's BORING. (I've known it for years, but he's just now starting to realize this himself.) I love the steadiness, the consistency, the safe-ness of his being boring. I know what to expect. Now, on occasion, I've been known to accuse him of flatlining... usually on a weekend when I want to get out and do something and he's just being his normal, contented self... but most of the time, I appreciate his even demeanor. The other day, he asked me "Do you thin

Just don't do it in public...

So today, as I was grilling the kids about their first day back to school, K. informed me that he'd gotten a bloody nose. Knowing my somewhat socially challenged 10 year old, I had to ask, "Were you picking it or something?" His response? "Um, well, I can't really remember..." (We all know what that means, don't we?) So E. pops up with "Ms. R. told me I can't do that." Oh dear. Was he picking his nose on the first day? (Not that I should be surprised, since his 10 year old brother apparently still does...) So I ask, "Did Ms. R. say there was a rule about not picking your nose?" "Yeah." Again, I have to know. "Were you picking your nose, so she said something to you about it?" "No. I picked it, but it was before she made the rule and she didn't see it." So there you go. It's reassuring that their normal routines haven't been upset in anyway by going back to school. Maybe tomorrow some

Off they go...

Ah, the most blessed day of the year... the day they go off to school - made all the more special by the fact that this year, they're all there. Don't get me wrong, I adore my kids. But I also adore sending them off to learn - learning to face the world, learning to read and write and arithmatic with their fellow students, learning to make friends and be friends and deal with enemies... it's all good stuff for them and I love that we have a great school where I believe they are safe and well-taught. There was a little apprehension from all three - will they make new friends? "will the others think my new backpack is cool?" what if I can't do the math? "do you think I'll like my new teacher?" - questions being asked all over the country today, I'm sure. I was reassuring as I pushed them out the door. Alas, kindergarten is really short, and since I went out to breakfast with my girlfriend Rebecca, (who also sent her youngest off to schoo

12 hours and counting

In exactly 12 hours we will be walking to school, my 3 kids and I... We had a great day today - I got the house cleaned up a bit, despite the extra bodies lying around, and even got to scrapbook a bit. I organized too, which always makes me happy. This evening we walked over to a local park where the Spokane Symphony puts on a free Labor Day concert each year. We have done this for three years running, I think - maybe four. It's quite an event, with people bringing tables and chairs and lavish picnics. We always see lots of friends and neighbors there. We met Asia's Mom there tonight. The symphony played "Clair de Lune", one of my very favorite songs of all time. I was in heaven, with Asia's head in my lap and my three kids lying on blankets all around. I was able to just close my eyes and revel in the music, and love for my community and the promise of an empty house in the morning. A perfect end to a lovely summer.

Who decided to add an extra day to the weekend?

Weekend. Loooonnnngggg weekend. I have a love/hate relationship with long weekends. Mostly hate, I think. Especially when the extra day is a Monday. Monday is my day to get back in gear - start the laundry, pick up all the crap that has accumulated on my kitchen counter, sweep, organize - reclaim my space in the house that all these other bodies have been violating... Today is Monday, and I can't really do any of that. After all, all the bodies are still here. Asia's idea of a perfect weekend is: watch tennis, play tennis, play some brain-melting video game, watch some more tennis, eat some Safeway Chinese, watch at least 3 episodes of some old "Star Trek: The Next Generation" or "Law and Order", then maybe take the kids for a walk to the park. My definition of a perfect weekend? Garage sale-ing, a little shopping, attending some sort of cultural or civic event, sleeping in, a little home improvement, maybe, a little time in my room to create, great meals

It's a caffeine kind of day...

I have this problem some days... if for some reason I am woken up any time after, say, 2:00 or 3:00 am, chances are, I won't go back to sleep. This morning it was E. coming in our room around 4:00... I asked Asia to get up and deal with him, because for sure if I get out of bed, I won't get back to sleep, but it didn't matter. I laid there until 5:00, then decided to get up and make my coffee. The good thing in that, of course, is that I get to come out to my favorite chair, read my bible and pray while the house is totally dark and quiet, and get to bloggin'. I'll do my workout as soon as I'm finished here and have three of my daily goals taken care of before 6:30 am. The garage sale is happening - I called to put the ad in the paper, so I'll be busy tonight after work, getting everything set up... I'm more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of garage-sale-haver - I'll sort of price stuff, but not everything. I'm easy, as far as prices go


Lord over the wind and the waves and the sea - Sovereign. I am brought to my knees in the face of such suffering, and humbled by my selfish heart. How is it that it takes an American tragedy to pique my sorrow, when every day there is terrible anguish and misery the world over? Forgive me. I am overwrought. Paralyzed by guilt over the ease of my circumstances. Heartbroken by the sheer depths of what could only be Your compassion. Restless with helplessness. Make me more mortified. More sorrowful. More poor. Strip away the daily distractions that turn my eyes from the desperate circumstances of this world. Make this heart heavy with anguish my daily companion so I can better understand how many people need you. Because life sucks. It's messy and painful and unwavering in its punishment. The world is drowning in the disease of sin just like New Orleans. Only You provide hope in despair. I cannot go. I cannot wrap my arms around those mommas with their crying babies. I cannot bring