Friday, August 31, 2007

by the numbers

Number of living, buzzing wasps on the inside of the kids' bedroom window this morning that alerted us to the "wasp problem".

Number of dead wasps I tweezered out of the windowsill tonight, resulting from a combination of ant killer and a really hot day.

Number of minutes it took to get a piece of clay and block the wasps' point of entry.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

meet Jake

Jake is/was my sister-in-law Tina's rabbit, but she went off to college so he needed a new home. We are happy to have him, and he fits in with the black & white theme we apparently have settled on for our larger pets. (The rat colony presently includes some brown, though it too was B&W for a time.) He's about 6 years old, and hopefully has another 2-4 years with us.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


While visiting my parents this last week, I pulled some of my mom's Erma Bombeck books of the shelf to peruse. I remember being aware as a child that my mom enjoyed Erma's writing, and I remember her column in the newspaper. I think I even went so far as to crack open a couple of the books to get a laugh. But oddly, at the ripe age of 10 or 12, the humors of domesticity, motherhood and marriage didn't appeal to me. But it's amazing what two decades, a husband, two kids and a house can do to one's perspective. One thing that struck me was how little has changed in the realm of mothering since 1976 when she published Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession. I'd also say that motherhood probably hasn't changed much over the past 1000 years, but I don't think that is true. The Industrial Revolution changed motherhood, and family life in general, drastically by moving fathers out of the home and leaving mothers as the sole caretakers in the home, and also by suburbanizing life for these mothers and children. Additional children were no longer an asset by being extra farm workers or contributors to the family economy, but rather a liability that must be educated and provided for.

But back to Erma... what's not to love and laugh about from a woman who said

"My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first one being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint."

I also read her very autobiographical A Marriage Made in Heaven, or Too Tired For An Affair. In this book she chronicles her marriage to her husband and their journeys through parenthood, home buying, dual careers, illness, retirement, etc. Something I found particularly interesting was her account of the beginning of the feminist movement. She writes that Betty Friedan came to her town to give a lecture, and she and her friends attending, expecting to laugh and be entertained by a woman who knows what their lives were like. This was not the case. Erma writes that Betty expected an anger that they didn't feel, and rather than feel compelled to join with her, the women felt defensive and threatened by the attitudes of this woman who should have been "one of them."

This prompted me to ask my own mother what her impressions were of the Equal Rights Amendment at the time. She said that she felt strongly that the Equal Pay for Equal Work was important and is still something that hasn't been successfully dealt with, but she did not have favorable views of Betty Friedan and the majority of her goals. She said the worst thing to come out of the feminist movement was an attitude that men are obsolete or irrelevant, and she thinks that has caused a lot of damage, especially with so many single mothers who have chosen to raise kids on their own, the children grow up without a male authority figure, which can be particularly hard for the sons. It was interesting to hear her thoughts on the matter. Especially in light of the several hours I was able to spend in the company of fellow feminist Mormon housewives over the weekend.

I am very glad to live in this generation and in this country, with all its myriad shortcomings and failings, that allow women so many opportunities. To imagine the pain of being a woman in many Asian countries today, where every time you conceive you hope desperately for a male child, as their chances for survival, health and happiness greatly exceed those of a female child. To live a difficult existence where you would grieve for your daughter at her birth, knowing all that she would suffer and her limited opportunities and dependence upon men for every necessity and pleasure in life. What a sad and desperate existence.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


The kiddos, the fluffhound and I are up at my parents' home in Idaho. David thought we should take a "vacation" so he could work a lot this week. He has a big deadline at work September 1st, and he feels bad about neglecting us when we're there, so we left! We drove up yesterday and arrived about dinnertime. It's a big step for my mom to allow the fluffer in her house. She is NOT an animal person. Actually, she can appreciate animals. Outside, and from a distance. She did think the baby quail that were hatching at the Fair today were very cute, though. I think a lot of it is the idea of having to care for the animals, as well as the mess potential. And while I'm sure she would prefer not to have our fluffy "kid" here, she's so nice and gracious about it that you wouldn't know it even bothered her. I'm pretty lucky to have my parents. I love them.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

a mom without a voice...

is like a . . . well, it's like a . . .

Well, although I can't complete my comparison, I do know what it's like, and it's REALLY difficult. I'm now acutely aware of how many questions Noodle asks me on an average day. Lots. I thought I was okay to whisper back, but according to WebMD and Wikipedia, whispering is WORSE than talking in a soft voice because whispering irritates/strains the vocal cords more. Poop. And we have some friends coming over in a little over an hour. I don't know that I can be much of a hostess.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

this week's projects

In spite of all the germs, we have managed to have some fun.

We did walnut shell boats earlier this week,

and made some more clothespin dolls today. WE made the first ones at a birthday party last week, but Noodle really wanted them to have arms, and we wanted to make MORE!

oh to be healthy again!

August has not been a good month for me. I started out with a case of shingles, which gratefully was a mild case, and I did get to meet the nicest doctor ever at the clinic, but the antibiotic he gave me in addition to the antiviral medication to treat the shingles gave me a yeast infection. That cleared up at the end of last week, but Monday morning I woke up with an awful sore throat and my eyes had goobers on them. I think it's just a really bad head cold, causing drainage and buildup everywhere, along with chills and general achyness. I'm finally started to feel a bit better today, but still have the sore throat and keep sweating in weird places at odd times. I'm normally a very healthy person, so this series of illnesses has been particularly annoying. Perhaps I wasn't being grateful enough for my good health. Spud has been sick this week, too, which means I've not had the greatest nights sleep this week, either.

/end whine

Monday, August 13, 2007

sick kitties

I took the kittens to stay with one of the foster coordinators for a while to see if she can nurse them to good health. The antibiotics they were on effectively killed their appetites, so they've not been eating well. Hopefully she'll get them back on the road to health and they can come back to stay with us until they are old enough to be adopted. Sigh....

1000 words

Saturday, August 11, 2007

she's home!

I got a call yesterday evening from some neighbors around the corner who had "found" Minnie. She was hanging out on their lawn with them, and they said she acted like she wanted to go inside the house. We rushed over, thanked them profusely, and brought her home. Noni was very happy to have her back. Last night they were both on the highest shelf and Noni was biting her neck while she licked his face. They are a couple of lovebirds sometimes! By the time I got my camera, though, all they were doing was this:

I'm just so happy to have both my kitties home safely!

Friday, August 10, 2007

lost kitty

Well, I guess she's a full-grown cat, but she'll always be my kitty. While we were out on Tuesday evening, Zion and a friend snuck back to our house to get her bike. They left the door to the garage and the door from the garage to the back door open. On Wednesday afternoon, after being gone late Tuesday night and all of Wednesday morning, I realized I hadn't seen the cats for a while. They frequently hole up in a cozy napping spot, so it wouldn't be unheard of to not run into them for a few hours. I checked everywhere in the house, but no cats. (Our foster cats are all shut in one of two rooms, so they were unaffected.) After a while I found Noni under the shed in the backyard, but we have yet to see any sign of Minnie. I think she was an outdoor cat in her pre-shelter life, so I'm hoping she at least has some street smarts. But I REALLY hope she comes back home to us. We miss her a lot, and Noni misses her even more. I've never seen a more bonded cat pair than the two of them. Please pray and send good thoughts that she'll find her way back to us. We have posters around the neighborhood and are taking more out tonight.

I'll probably be scarce the next several days or week as we keep hunting for her.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

my finest hour(s)

I am the proud winner of Andrea's Silliest Thing contest. Yes yes, please applaud. I was relating this honor to David tonight, and a wave of other, even sillier, perhaps, incidents came to my mind.

One summer in college (I think it was after my junior year, but maybe not) our ward was divided up into four teams for various activities. The winning team at each activity would receive temporary custody of a lawn chair. This was no ordinary lawnchair, either. It was one of those cool ones with the folding back and leg rest that are nearly impossible to situate in such a manner as to be remotely comfortable. Anyways, the winning team was supposed to decorate the lawn chair with their team colors and bring it back to the next activity, where the competition would resume and the cycle continue. We were the yellow team. Now my roommates and I, as well as a couple of the guys on our team, really got into the idea of the team. We all got yellow lensed sunglasses and wore yellow shirts when possible. We even came up with a cheer.

"Bananas UNITE!
Bananas SPLIT!
Go, Bananas! Go go bananas!
Go, Bananas! Go go bananas!

There was even a little dance to go along with the cheer.

So, after one of the activities, we thought we had been wrongfully robbed of the lawnchair, which instead went to the blue team, and ended up at Aaron's
house. (We were all single then, though his wife Katie was in our ward. I can't remember if she was part of the yellow team.) We decided we should reclaim what was rightfully ours. We dressed all in black, unpeeled many bananas, loaded up our mustard, and headed over. I'd gone over earlier and snuck down to Aaron's bedroom in the basement and made sure the window was unlocked. A couple of the girls were in charge of "decorating" the sidewalk with the banana peels and mustard while I snuck in through the window. It was one of those small basement windows, so I was doing some good yoga maneuvers to get in and out, but we got it! I passed it out to an accomplice, then climbed back through the window, and we ran to the car. Our getaway driver, Rebecca, was SO EXCITED (and this did happen frequently) that as soon as we were nearly all in, she honked a few victory beeps on the horn. Unfortunately, Aaron and a friend were quicker than would have seemed possible, and they pieced together the puzzle really quickly, and lay down in front of and behind the tires of the car. We were furious, and Rebecca was kicking herself for giving us away. We tried everything we could think of to get out of there, but we weren't willing to play chicken with these guys' heads, so after about 40 minutes of standoff, we caved and returned the chair. Only after requiring that they take our picture with the chair in the car as proof that we nearly succeeded in our mission.

I actually have a couple of photos of this. If I find them, I'll have David scan them in and post them.

the earth says hello!

I took Daisy out for a run this morning, and I loved the feeling of my lungs working and breathing the cool morning air. Of course that wore off eventually, but it was great while it lasted. There is some new construction not too far from our house, and in the little strip between the sidewalk and the road where there will eventually be grass, there are hundreds and hundreds of those mini-sunflowers. It was gorgeous! I have some of those sunflowers in my front yard, courtesy of the birds that ate at my feeder this past winter. We would see some of them land (often the red-winged blackbirds) and perch on the footrest, dig their beaks into the seeds and then fling their heads wildly back and forth, scattering all sorts of seeds everywhere! I thought it was rather a buttheady thing to do, but at least I get to enjoy the sunflowers now.

On a somewhat related note, I still giggle at myself sometimes when I'm running with Daisy. I don't think most people would consider a fluffy white little dog as much of a running companion, but I have found her to be perfect. She is actually quite a speed demon, so there is no worry about her keeping up, but she doesn't pull my arm off with her enthusiasm (it helps that she's only 14 lbs) but she does keep me going often times when I'd rather walk. Many people get labradors for jogging partners, which is actually ridiculous as a single lab could easily be a jogging partner for a half dozen people. Kind of like getting a Ferrari for commuting to work when a Kia would suffice.

Friday, August 03, 2007


From the Fair a couple of weeks ago.

the squeaky wheel...

So I now preach the gospel of "Got a problem, write the company". In the past year I have contacted several companies when I wasn't 100% satisfied with their product, or when I had a problem with the product. I received a replacement swirly lightbulb, a replacement thermometer, a replacement timer (the timer worked, but the LCD started fading after one day of use), and just now I received replacement combs for our pet clippers. And while I only needed ONE comb, she sent me a whole pack of NINE! Pretty sweet. I always appreciate companies who really do want to keep their customers happy. Writing usually only takes about 5-10 minutes, including the time spent looking up contact information, and I think it more than pays for itself.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

True or False

I'm catching up tearing pages off of my "Wizard of Oz Trivia-A-Day" calendar, and I read the following question:

T or F: Professor Marvel's crystal ball was a real antique.

I flip the page and read:

Winged Monkey.

What?!? Then I noticed that I'd turned two pages, but I think "Winged Monkey" is a perfectly respectable answer to a true or false question.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


So, in my effort to be a more fun and interactive mama, I taught the kids how to use the sewing machine today! All they were ready to use is the pedal, so I "steered" the fabric, but Noodle did the stuffing and I showed her how to stitch the opening closed by hand. It was a lot of fun, and they enjoyed picking out their own fabric and using the rotary cutter. Amazingly, Spud didn't slice anyone in his efforts.

And, stealing an idea from my friend Andrea, today I'm grateful for cleaning up the playroom with the assistance of obliging hand puppets.