Monday, March 31, 2008

i'm outta here!

i'm at the beach, so don't expect to hear too much from me this week - unless something drastic and exciting happens! tho personally, i'm hoping for naps & seashells...

Friday, March 28, 2008


some of you may remember the frog debacle of 2007 - the lone frog who would sit on our porch and croak his little heart out night after night...after night. and how it made curtis crazy. crazy enough to go grab the frog and chuck it into the woods! (i did not know at the time this was what he was doing - i clearly would have stopped him!) where many frogs croaking can become white noise, one very loud frog all by his lonesome is very disruptive to sleep!

well, welcome to the bird debacle of 2008! of course, it's only been one night so far, but last night as we were about to drift off to sleep, around 11:15pm, a cheerful song bird began his morning salutations. 6 or 7 hours early. incessantly. this poor deranged/confused bird sang it's heart out, all by itself in the dark. we began to wonder what had caused it: was it a pet, escaped & confused? or perhaps a little bird run away from a children's book, marching to the beat of it's own drummer? curtis suggested that perhaps it was wandering the forest, asking everything, "are you my mother?" but i must confess, after my indignation at curtis' treatment of the frog last summer, that my last conscious thought last night was that i hoped an owl would hear the bird and swoop down to eat it so i could go to sleep. i'm not proud, i'm just saying...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

a few of my favorite things - part II

the creator of the egg mcmuffin died yesterday. by all accounts, he sounds like a lovely man, and i for one am grateful to him for the glory of the mcmuffin. (seriously. i love those things.)

three sleeps til the beach! hooray!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

a few of my favorite things

meg came downstairs the other day and came upon me reading, and said, "mom, did you know you were smiling?" i did not know, but i was not surprised. i had just bought (for the 4th time, after lending and losing it repeatedly) 'the princess bride', and was just into the part where westley declares his love to buttercup; "if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches". it's the only book i've ever read that makes the movie so much more enjoyable to watch, while at the same time completely outstripping it on the page. if you haven't read this book, go get a copy. i swear you'll be on the couch grinning....

and last night 'mr & mrs smith' was on tv. we had the dvd, but have misplaced it (lent it?), so i put up with the commercials and enjoyed every second of it. from the moment in the opening scene where john (brad pitt) confesses sometimes he wants to kill his wife (my angie jolie), to the unravelling of their secret, to vince vaughn shouting, "i almost killed you right there, ma, you have no idea!" and the quiet rage in john's "biiitcch" at finding his stash gone, and one of my favorite lines of all time - "i can't believe i brought my real parents to our wedding." i love that movie. every scene is a delight, and i laughed out loud many times. (you all know i am a big fan of angie, but i'm really not a fan of brad, lest you think i only enjoy it because of a "cute" boy).

and also, deer in my yard in the morning. there were three this morning, munching happily away at whatever is under the dead leaves back there. gorgeous.

now really, go read 'the princess bride'.

Monday, March 24, 2008

the fruit bowl

i'm not sure what this says about me, but this is my fruit bowl.

i took an inventory:

11 writing utensils, a nail file, cell phone charger, 2 nail clippers, 2 safety pins (one large, one small), 2 nail polishes, a handdrawn birthday card for meg, 2 random ointments, 11 ponytails elastics, a pencil sharpener, an eraser, 4 guitar pics, 1 barette, and one unglued pencil topper (optimistically awaiting repair). zero fruits.

i am vaguely ashamed. :)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday - or - What I Learned During Lent

so, lent is done. and i didn't talk about it much here, but for lent, i gave up the internet & email from 9:30am til 7:30pm every day. the hope was that in breaking this (minor) addiction, i would be able to be more present to my family, my life, and to God. it's true that, particularly in the evenings, i was a far more engaged mom & wife, something i loved, and am going to try to hold on to. it was funny during the day to notice how much the internet is integral to my life - be it finding directions, making plans, or getting a recipe. but the biggest thing i learned is this: i am a champion procrastinator. originally, i wanted to use a good chunk of my time during lent to find ways to connect with God in a deeper and more relational way. well, i kept my lenten internet fast, but the chances i had for quiet and reflection, times that could have been prayerful or relational with just me and God (who i profess to love, by the way) were easily laid aside in favor of napping, laundry, walking, groceries, novels, napping, vacuuming, kitchen cleaning and napping. this is not something i'm proud of - rather it is something i can't ignore.

there's this time in the new testament when Jesus looks at all the outward acts of sacrifice and "doing the right thing" of the very religious people and he says, "go learn what this means - i want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices". the do's and don'ts of lent, while not without merit, did not lead me into deeper engagement with God - they lead me to lots of free time where my choices didn't necessarily match up to my spoken desires. and actions speak louder than words, right? this may not seem like a big deal to you, but it's a big deal to me. i very easily get caught up in thinking my sacrifices are making God happy and giving me the inside track, as it were. it's indicting to realize how proud i must seem to Him, parading my small sacrifices around like golden calves. humbling. in the words of david, "i have wandered away like a lost sheep; come and find me." (ps119:176)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

i love you, mom

look how little the baby is! how does it not get squished by it's mom? :)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

i dare you

harvard has put together 5 "implicit attitude" tests - quick tests of our unconscious attitudes & prejudices. i have done the tests for gender bias, race bias and nationality (canada v. usa) ... and it's fascinating. the tests are quick, simple and (i felt) fairly accurate. take 5 or 6 minutes, if you're brave enough to find out what you don't even know you think.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

peeping tom

i confess, i have mild peeping tom tendencies. it began as a girl, when i'd be driving or walking with my mom in the early evening (when it's dark enough to turn a light on, but too soon to close the blinds) and she would point out to me things of interest in the windows we'd pass. this room was beautifully decorated, this one had it's pictures hung too high, those people looked happy, that dining room table was set for a party. we never stood and gaped, or hid to stare, but as we passed we would gaze into the windows and guess at the lives within.

on saturday afternoon it began to rain, and rained well into the evening. once the thunder died down, i threw on an over sized men's raincoat and went for a short walk in it. the clouds made it darker than the hour justified, and many homes i walked past had their lights on and windows unshuttered. not a lot was going on late saturday afternoon, but i walked past one house on the street that made me smile. there weren't a lot of cars in front, maybe only 2, and what drew my attention was as soon as it came into view the kitchen lights turned off, tho there were 5 or 6 people in it. then they came back on again. as i got closer, i saw the tips of two flickering candles, just barely reaching over the window sill to my eyes. i noticed the people, a young couple and 3 older people - parents and grandparents - gathered around a small kitchen nook, smiles wide and arms wrapped around one another, all gazing into the corner, where a very small head of indeterminate gender bobbed alongside the candles. the light in the kitchen that spilled onto their driveway was yellow and warm, and for a moment the chilly rain was forgotten as the joy in that room made it past the window and warmed me. i can only hope that when my windows offer a glimpse into my home & life that they reveal love & joy, too.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

fully alive

yesterday was meg's 8th birthday, and all she wanted in the whole world was a certain doll. this surprised me, cause she's not much of a doll girl, but it's easy enough to make that dream come true, so my mom bought it for her, and i bought it some clothes, and she was delighted! she opened her presents at a restaurant last night, and people at neighboring tables were smiling at her pure delight.

now this morning, her new doll, 'daniella', came to breakfast. apparently, she had a rough night. meg told me she (daniella) woke up with a fever and had to come sleep in meg's bed. then she shared her waffles with d. and when it came time to leave for school, brought her down with a tiny book and asked if she (daniella) could spend the day with me, so she wouldn't be lonely upstairs. of course, i said yes. so daniella is sitting on a chair in the living room, "reading". i overheard meg tell her that she could ask me if there were any hard words in her book, but then meg turned to me and said, 'but she's a very good reader, so you shouldn't have a problem'. all this with dead faced seriousness.

it's been a long time since meg's imagination so consumed her, i love it! i remember being young and thinking my stuffed animals had feelings... so i will take good care of daniella today. maybe i'll make her a sandwich to have with me at lunch time...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

flower girls

i went for a short walk through the neighborhood last night (trying to see if the fresh air would help me feel better). as i passed one of the many houses with only their screen door shut, 2 girls, probably 5 & 7, came flying out, braids bouncing and eyes flashing, calling me to "wait!". i slowed my gait and waved hello, but they continued to yell, "wait! i have to tell you a secret!". who i am to deny the toothy grins of such beautiful girls? so i took 5 steps back to where i'd been, and asked what they wanted. wildly, they looked around, and then the youngest swooped down and picked 2 short stems of the purple flowers (weeds) that grow on the edges of lawns around here, and said, "i have pretty flowers for you!" her sister was quick to pluck another, and hand it to me as well, with dignity only the very young can muster - solemn without being serious. thanking them, i took the flowers, told them to have a nice night, and continued my walk home. i heard their mother as i walked away, scolding them (rightly so) for calling out to strangers to come over - but i couldn't help but be glad they did. the air didn't really relieve me, but those girls did something for my heart that could not have been accomplished any other way, i think. i carried my bouquet all the way home, grateful for it, and the joy that it represented. thank you, girls.

Monday, March 10, 2008

got a couple minutes to waste? feed the hungry!

so this man, john breen, in indiana, has built a little vocabulary building website. and for every word you get right, his corporate sponsors donate rice to the UN world food program! hooray! so go to and kill some time! feed some people - AND TELL A FRIEND! he's already fed thousands of people, just through something he started as a way to get his son to study for the SATs! this is what thinking outside the box gets you, my friends. now if you'll excuse me, i'm going to go see just how fine my vocabulary really is!

**update** my best vocab level before i went to bed was 49 ... and i got over 9000 rice grains...

Saturday, March 08, 2008

winnie the pooh and the blustery day

this wind would definitely send pooh & piglet flying! my goodness!

i had forgotten, (though i believe i mentioned it last year as well), how much spring looks like fall here. the hardwood trees, which leaf out in emerald buds, are slower to wake than the ornamental and flowering trees, and so spring comes in reds and yellows and white - the white trees looking laden with snow, not blossoms - the indoctrination of my albertan childhood. amid the towering, bare hardwood trees, the small red or yellow buds make everything look like we are in october or november, not march. i keep waiting for the flush of green - i need to consciously remind myself that the fall array is spring here, unlike my youth, where no tree flowered (though all were a startling green after so many months of winter.)

and speaking of towering trees, the pines that sway 3 or 4 stories tall, bent by this fearsome wind, cause some minor "eep!" as we watch them leeaaaannn their way across the yard...

Friday, March 07, 2008

the feel good story of the day!

you have got to read this! it makes me want to move to germany an buy a mc flurry! you go, mc donald's!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

glory & bliss

oh, the glory! oh, the bliss! sarah's lunch involved eating outside on the patio...and between waiting for annie to show up, lingering over appetizers, and enjoying the day, we were outside for over 2 hours; talking, laughing and eating. and i got a wee bit of a sunburn! now, don't get me wrong - i know they're not good for my skin or my health, but this is the first time this year the rays of the sun have warmed my skin like this! pink forearms aside, i think it's something to celebrate! :) hooray, spring! la la la!

and in other news, i found a great book at the library that made me happy ("killer year" - a collection of short stories by thriller authors who had debut novels in 2007), my baby brother called me not once, but three times today (previously unheard of!) just because he loves me, my girls were happy, supper was yummy, and i had nothing to do tonight.

glory & bliss.

that's enough

good morning! (yes, even good morning to you, snarky anonymous commenter.)

today is going to be a good day. it's my friend's birthday, it's the only night since last thursday that i don't have a commitment and the sun is shining. i won't lie - there are definitely things today that i wish were different, but in the broad strokes, my life is good, and i have nothing to complain about.

curtis just finished a book called 'the irresistible revolution' (which i recommend to everyone) and in it the author talks about, what he calls, "the theology of enough". as in, stop stockpiling - we have enough. you don't need it - you have enough. take that money that would replace your perfectly good whatever, and use it generously for someone who does not have. it's a simple concept, really. and here in america, a good chunk of us have not only enough, but considerably more than enough. and if you don't have financial resources, what other resources do you have that you could be generous with? time to babysit for a single mom for free? time to make dinner for someone in need? an old couch for an international student? old cell phone to give to a women's' shelter? a wise woman (that'd be you, mom) once told me a sign of a healthy, whole life is that it becomes a resource to other people, and that's some of what this theology of enough is talking about, i think. going beyond the consumer driven mindset of accumulating for myself, and beginning to think about the person next door or across the ocean who needs the active generosity of someone who has 'enough'. just something to think about.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

can words speak a thousand pictures?

by the end of this week we will slip back into the pre-spring chill, but yesterday was...

girls on bikes after school, both outgrown the small metal frames with winter, hunched over madly pedaling, brown hair flying, bug-eating grins

front porch sitting in late afternoon light filtered through the budding trees

dog walking and laughing with jaya, for miles and miles, in sunshine and warm wind - the kind that blows life into you rather than out of you

windows open fresh air bird songs cats in sunny patches on the floor

driving with the windows down and music up


Monday, March 03, 2008

spring has sprung?

well, at least for today! sunshine + 72F = SPRING! how come all of life looks better when the sun is warm? what magic is carried down on it's rays, what secrets are whispered by the light into my skin?