Thursday, 26 November 2009


I'm sitting in the kitchen, drinking mulled wine, listening to Christmas music, and tending a fire. My brother and Dad are off traveling (currently in Oman, and having a wonderful time of it), and my mom, grandmother, sister and I are kicking off the Christmas season in style (please see the reference to mulled wine).

And yes, I am thankful. For so many things. I would list them all, but I think that would get a bit saccharine for everyone's taste, especially mine. Therefore, I will simply list five-- not the top five, not a random five, just five.

1. My wonderful family-- they are hilarious, fun, and up for just about anything.
2. My glorious friends at college and around the world. We bake, go to parties, travel together, take care of each other, and laugh an awful lot.
3. The opportunities I have had-- to live abroad, travel extensively, study abroad, go to college, etc.
4. My health, and the health of those I care about.
5. The Most Wonderful Job in the World-- I am so fortunate to be able to spend my summers nannying for two fantastic kids, and of course to see them at other times of the year as well. They crack me up, occasionally (often) confuse me, and I love them dearly.

I hope you are having a truly lovely Thanksgiving, eating lots of delicious food, and getting to spend time with those you care for.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

I am so pleased!

Last night, one of my friends told me that she is going to try to be vegetarian.

I can't tell you how pleased I am! I try really hard (and do reasonably well) at not being That Vegetarian. You know who I'm talking about-- the vegetarian who feels it is her duty to inform everyone of the errors in their ways? Nobody likes her.

But by the same token, I do feel strongly about vegetarianism. It is absolutely the right choice for me, and I think it would be a healthy, responsible choice for many, many people.

Thus, it's hard for me to contain my jubilation. I'm so proud of Jill for doing this, and equally delighted whenever one of my friends announces she or he is going to do this.

Just makes me want to jump up and down :)

Sunday, 1 November 2009


In case you were wondering if Halloween was fun, it was.

(We were aliens. Obviously.)

Tuesday, 27 October 2009


"I cannot go to school today,"
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
"I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I've counted sixteen chicken pox
And there's one more--that's seventeen,
And don't you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut--my eyes are blue--
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I'm sure that my left leg is broke--
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button's caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained,
My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is--what?
What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is. . .Saturday?
G'bye, I'm going out to play!"

Except, I am actually sick. And it's a Tuesday, not a Saturday.

And my name is not Peggy.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009


Sometimes, contentment is nothing more than a fiercely boiling tea kettle, a stack of psychology studies, and a purple highlighter.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Making Good Choices

I was working on homework in my room, and my friend Pearl came in, looking for black thread and a needle. I told her that if I had any, it was buried deep in my closet, so she decided to go next door and ask another friend, Loris. Then, if Loris had what she was looking for, we wouldn't have to dig through all of my stuff.

She came back a couple of minutes later with no needle and no thread, but with two bottles of hard cider, and no more interest in sewing.

She always manages to amuse me.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Phone conversations

I just had a 30 minute long conversation with Clover. It's so funny to think that when I first came to college, I would call her and we would talk for MAYBE 5 minutes. Maybe.

Those five minutes went about like this:

Me (Blythe): Hey! How are you?
Clover: Good.

B: Anything exciting happen this week?
C: Uh-uh.
B: Well how's school going?
C: Good.

And so on. During the conversation tonight, she talked a blue streak. And it's so funny to hear how her intonation is sometimes just like mine. She told me that something was "just hilARious." It's such a "Blythe" way to say it.

Love it.

****Also, I just updated my blog on today. Check it out, if you're interested!

Monday, 14 September 2009

In Which The Straps Would Have Made All the Difference

Once upon a time, there was a young lady who was majoring in psychology. Her school required her to complete a senior thesis, and she had chosen a somewhat difficult path-- working with children. It was no given that a principal would allow her to work with the children at his/her elementary school! This young lady (we'll call her "Blythe") was very fortunate, however, because her mother used her impressive connections to convince a principal to allow her to study the kindergarten students at his school. Upon receiving the phone call with the good news, Blythe became so excited that she jumped up and down and around and around. This would ordinarily not have been a problem, but at the time Blythe was wearing what is commonly referred to as a "strapless dress." The dress in question did not withstand her enthusiastic jumping, and slid, quickly and fluidly, from just under her arms to just above her waist. Naturally, this impressive spectacle happened in front of the dining hall at dinner time, and many were witness to the event-- particularly one girl who was studying on the lawn and got quite a laugh at Blythe's expense. Blythe had to agree, however, that it was a funny incident and was-- quite to her surprise-- not the least bit embarrassed. She did, however, resolve to be more careful in her enthusiastic displays.

The End

Sunday, 6 September 2009

I'm baaack...

Sort of.

I'm really only back for a little while (and then randomly, every now and then after that) to tell you about a fun new endeavour my friends and I are working on.

We have created an online magazine called Real Smart Women, written from an early-twenties standpoint and sharing what we learn as we learn it-- how to change the oil in a car, find good, affordable health insurance, work with kids, decide what we want to be When We Grow Up, etc. It's half blog, half magazine, and the best half of both. Please stop by and visit! We are working hard to get it totally ready, but it is available for perusal even as we are are improving it every day.

Please swing by and visit!

Friday, 28 August 2009

Taking a Break

I'm taking a break (as you may have noticed). I am focusing on wrapping up summer and beginning my senior year. I should be back within the week-- maybe even earlier, if there is something I desperately need to write about!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009


Well, hello there! I'm sorry I wandered off (once again). This time, I was visiting a friend I haven't seen in years. I was in the Midwest, hanging out in Chicago, then partying it up at the Indiana State Fair and hanging out with my friend. It was good times. More on that later.

BECAUSE I've been such a slacker, I have a LOT to say. So, I'm writing in chapters. Read whichever ones interest you, and skip over the rest. This might be long.


This has been happening for years, but in the past few days especially, I have been repeatedly mistaken as the children's mother. By the Comcast service guy, by the lady at the dog park, by the woman at the skating rink. I don't THINK I look old enough to have a 9 year old and a 6 year old (I'm only 22!)... and yet, that's what I keep hearing.

"He's adorable, is he your only child?" from a lady at the dog park when I was there with just Neptune.

"Oh, Mom, just look over here!" from a lady at the souvenir store outside Yellowstone, when Neptune and I were there last summer. (Firstly: I am not a mother at all. Secondly: I am certainly not HER mother. Why was she calling me "mom"?)

"I know, it's scary watching your kids skateboard for the first time, isn't it?" from the woman who was at the skate park with her kids.

And the Comcast guys addressed me using the kids' mom's name, assuming I was the Lady of the House. Nope.

In short: I was quite grateful to the 7 year old who approached the kids and me today and asked, "Are you their nanny?" YES! YES I AM!


Today, after lunch, the children crept into their dog's crate, and begged me to lock them in. I hesitated briefly, aware that many people may [quite reasonably] frown upon the idea of locking children up in a cage. After a moment, I realised that the people doing the frowning undoubtedly did not spend much time with children. And so, I twisted the lock.

I was never more than a couple of yards away, cleaning up after lunch. The children had a splendid time, feeling downright ridiculous in their situation. I even took some pictures, and made a short video on my camera. They could not have possibly been happier. (And, yes, I would have let them out any time they wanted to.)

Then, the phone rang. K picked it up in his office in the back of the house, and shortly appeared with it in his hand. "It's for Clover," he said. I, casually, walked over the cage, opened the door, and handed Clover the phone.

K, seeing all of this, did not react in the slightest.

This is because the man has children... he understands.


You're laughing, aren't you? You think that tofu isn't wonderous at all. You think it is, at best, boring-- at worst, disgusting. At least, that's what I hear from most adults who haven't been raised on the stuff. (I am an oddity, myself. I love the stuff, and only started eating it a few years ago.)

That is why you may be surprised--

That the children, LOVE (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE) these baked tofu nuggets. Yes, it's true! They RAVE about them-- even Clover, who likes approximately 1 vegetable (green beans) and 1 fruit (apples). Clover, who has survived on a rotation of peanut butter and jelly, fish sticks, and pasta for the past 9 years (ok, VERY SLIGHT exaggeration). Yes. That Clover. She and Neptune LOVE tofu that has been coated in wheat germ and baked.

I can't even handle it.


Last week, I visited Daisy, a friend of mine from Indiana. She and I met when we were four, and I had just recently moved to Indiana from Mexico City. Our mothers instantly were friends, and we followed suit.

Eighteen years later, we are still close. She and her mother met up with my mother and myself in Chicago for a long weekend. We shopped (oh, how we shopped), ate, and had generous amounts of wine and cocktails. It was a weekend not to be forgotten, and very much enjoyed. From Chicago, I returned with Daisy and her mother to Carmel, a suburb outside of Indianapolis. Oh MY has it ever grown! I couldn't even believe it.

And let me say, there is nothing that feels stranger than standing a street you used to live on, one you haven't walked down in 10 years. A street, ind you, that I once rollarbladed on, learned to ride a two-wheeler on, and played "night games" with my friends all summer long. It was where we had lemonade stands, and where a neighbourhood friend and I would drag wagons full of American Girl Dolls to each other's houses to play.

From there, I walked to my old elementary school, a couple of miles away. I couldn't go in, as it was closed, but I took a minute to swing on the playground and remember some moments from my time there.

I'm not old. In fact, I'm young. But going to a place where you were VERY young? Where you had to ask permission every time you wanted to walk down the street? Where you genuinely thought you were bringing in the big bucks with your $0.25 lemonade for sale? Well, there's something about that that makes a person feel old.

The End.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Oooh perfection

We had a great day this Thursday. Really, I can’t think of a way to have improved upon it.

Clover, Neptune and I met up with Lynn, Fleur, and Penguin at 10 for tie dying and a playdate.

Let’s talk about tie dying, shall we? It is a disaster waiting to happen: permanent dye, not enough materials for everyone to be working at exactly the same moment, etc. Why do we do it, then? Because the potential for success is even greater. Sure enough, the kids exceeded our wildest expectations. They were patient, asked nicely for the materials they wanted, worked hard on their projects, and didn’t intentionally cover themselves in dye. (Clover was fairly multi-coloured by the end, but that was accidental… I think.) My shirt turned out really well, and I can’t wait to see the kids’ and Lynn’s!

After a lengthy clean-up session, the kids took turns rollerblading (timing it themselves so that everyone got an equal turn), and being loud and crazy. It was ok, though. We like loud and crazy, as long as there are no working parents in the house. It was perfect.

After lunch, we took our crew to see Annie at a nearby theatre. I have to admit… I don’t like that show. It’s just a bit too saccharine for me. Though I don’t like the show itself, the performance we saw was lovely—a cute mix of talent and Just Plain Cute. We all liked seeing another summer companion of ours (a friend of Clover and Fleur’s) play Sandy. She was too cute for words!

And then? THEN, as if that wasn’t enough, we went to my house to roast hot dogs (vegetarian or beef, depending on your preference) and marshmallows over the campfire. It was a smoky, sticky mess, but oh man did we have fun! We ended up getting the kids home almost an hour late (with the parents’ permission), but I don’t think anyone minded a bit. Hey, when everyone’s in a good mood, I am happy to prolong the day!

Not such a remarkable day, I suppose, except that good humour, patience, tolerance, and giggles reigned supreme. THAT makes it a perfect day in my book!

Friday, 31 July 2009

It's a Hard Knock Life

My life is Really Really Hard. Just to give you an example, I present to you: This Week.

Monday: Was forced (FORCED, I tell you) to spend the day at the beach (Jetty Island). Had to dig in sand, was required to splash in waves.

Tuesday: Had to go to the pool and play with Fleur, Penguin, and Lynn. Then went to Fleur and Penguin's [air conditioned] house for a playdate. Children played. Lynn and I chatted. Life was challenging, to say the least.

Wednesday: Saw Harry Potter on an IMax screen, and explored the Pacific Science Center.

Thursday: Though I was nothing short of horrified by the arrangement, I HAD to take the kids to a water park. Did I enjoy the water slides and wave pool? Um, no, of course not. Not a bit.

Friday: We sat on a balcony and watched the Blue Angels perform acrobatics. They were so very close, and did some really impressive stunts.

It's rough, I tell you. Rough.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Wild Waves Theme Park

Today, I took the young 'uns to Wild Waves Theme Park, a water park about 45 minutes away. They were unimaginably excited. When I got to their house at 8:30, they both had their swimsuits on and were eager to go. The fact that a) the water park didn't open until 10 and b) that Clover hadn't yet had breakfast absolutely failed to faze them. I edged my way around them, and through the still-open front door, shoving poodles in front of me as I went. (It was quite the entrance, though not dissimilar to most other days.)

At about 9:00 we got out the door. We were still gong to be early, but the excitement radiating of the children was too much to keep inside! After an uneventful drive... we arrived.

I would like to note that it reached over 100 degrees here today. In the PNW, we rarely get temperatures in the upper eighties, never mind the 100s. It was the perfect day to take Neptune to a water park-- if it was less than 90 degrees, he would shiver his way from one attraction to the next. That boy has absolutely 0 body fat.

Carrying on: We strolled through the warm weather, found ourselves a locker, and then scurried off to the wave pool, lazy river, and many different water slides. The children were Positively Delightful. They waited patiently in lines, didn't fight about which attraction we would go to next, and talked about how much fun they were having. (Of course, Neptune also managed to appear to be drowning Every Single Moment he was in the wave pool, but that's neither here nor there. That's just kind of how he acts in the water. And YES, I was always within arm's reach.) It was just plain old fun hanging out with them!

So, after you've taken our advice and headed off to Jetty Island for the day, I would like to recommend that you get yourself some tickets for Wild Waves, and head that direction.

After all, it is Clover and Neptune endorsed.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Sun: 1 Blythe: 0

Let's talk about red. You know what's red?
Lip stick.
Some parrots.

My. body.

Oh, sunburns. I made my Facebook status the other day was "Blythe likes having a job that leaves her with sunburns... even if she doesn't like the sunburns themselves." That pretty much sums things up.

Today the young 'uns and I went to a place called Jetty Island, in Everett. It was a bit of a drive, but was totally worth it. You take a cute little ferry out to the island, and then set the kids loose. The water is warm and shallow, and the beach is incredibly sandy. Throughout the day, Clover and Neptune would chirp, "I LOVE Jetty Island!" or "Can we come back soon? Like, tomorrow?" or "Wow, I'm so glad we came!" or "We're SO LUCKY to be here!" Warmed my heart, I tell ya. Almost as much as the sun warmed my skin.

Do you live within driving distance of Everett? Then make a pilgrimage to Jetty Island. As my kids will attest, it's totally worth it.

Actually, we'll probably see you there.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

"It's a Secret"

Today, while Clover was at soccer camp, Neptune and I went to get ice cream. I told him that this could be "our secret" because I didn't want Clover to be sad that she had missed out on a treat. Neptune understood, and promised that we would keep it to ourselves.

Later, Clover asked Neptune what we had done all afternoon while she had been at soccer.

True to his word, Neptune replied...

"It's a secret."


Saturday, 11 July 2009

They Crack Me Up

After mentioning that Neptune found another child "not a pleasure to be around," I felt it necessary to share some other excellent Things My Kids Say:

"[Our dog] can jump like a cantaloupe!" (both kids at once)

"So, you know how lions eat cantaloupe...?" (both kids)

K: "Ok, say goodbye to Blythe. She's leaving now, but you'll see her tomorrow."
Neptune (age 4): "But... who will take care of us?"

"It's not gonna happen, so you shouldn't wish for it!" (Clover)

"Are we going to drive through Spain [on the way to Montana]?" (Neptune)

"Stop steppin' on your leash, yo." (Neptune, to his dog)

"When Grace (one of their dogs) steps on me, I choke on my liver!" (Neptune)

"I'm going to go off the diving board a couple of times, but then I'm going to play with Penguin. Because I like Penguin more than I like diving boards." (Neptune)

Monday, 6 July 2009

Zoo Journey

It's good to be back.

When I arrived at work this morning, the kids were bouncing off the walls, and talked to me in very loud, fast, high-pitched voices about all the things they did in Montana after I left. According the them it was areallygreattimebutsometimesitwasabitcrazybeinginonecabinwithsomanypeople. That's not precisely what they said, but, well, you get the idea.

After I had heard many stories about their Montana adventures (including how one child was, to quote 6-year-old Neptune, "Not a pleasure to be around."), I informed the young 'uns that the marker tattoos on Clover's legs must go before we adventure out into the world. What began as a fierce scrub of marker became an hour long bubble bath for both kids. They sculpted bubble-headdresses for each other, blew bubbles (I closed the shower curtain) and had the time of their lives. Finally, I plucked them out so we could get ready to go to the zoo.

And by "plucked them out" I mean "coerced them into finally, FINALLY exiting the tub... but not without splashing most of the bathroom with water." (Actually, despite the enthusiastic splashing, they were quite cooperative when I told them that bath time was over... though I did agree to let them wash their hair first, since they SO wanted to.)

And then, after some reading, writing, math, and lunch.... we headed to the zoo! It was a bit of a gamble, weather-wise, as it had been spitting rain in the morning, but by they time we got there, it was gorgeous. The only trouble was that the pay machine in the zoo parking lot would not take my credit card, and I only had 4 dollar bills. A very kind woman handed me a dollar, saying, "I've been there!" Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers. Nice people make me so happy.

Then we spent whole afternoon at the zoo. I LOVE the Woodland Park Zoo. It's great! They have a brand new Humbolt penguin exhibit, as well as many other fabulous animals. Today, we saw the HUGE brown bears fishing. We were mere centimeters away from the bears, separated only by the glass. It was so cool! The kids and I agreed that we were really lucky.

That, my friends, was a great day.

And, in case you were wondering-- YES. The kids were a pleasure to be around.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Home Sweet Home

You missed me, right? The whole two weeks I was gone, you were thinking to yourself, “Where has Blythe gone? I miss her, and her cupcakes, and her bubbles.” You didn’t even know I blew bubbles, did you? Though you probably assumed it. I’m a bubble-blowing type of person.

Anyway. I know you missed me. You can stop worrying now, though, because I’m back. I went with “my” kids and their grandparents on a week long sojourn to Montana, where we stayed in their cabin.

When I say “cabin” I really mean “lodge.” Or “estate.” Or “log mansion,” as A, the kids’ mom, suggested. The cabin has three stories, a walk in pantry, and a hot tub. It is beautiful, and comfortable, and truly fun to be in… but perhaps not a “cabin.” I digress.

During our week in Montana, we went on many adventures and had a great time. We picked wildflowers, strolled around the yard, went on a 3 hour horseback ride (definitely the highlight), visited the Museum of the Rockies, splashed in the hot tub, played pool and… well, you get the idea. It was fun being away with the kids, enjoying the outdoors. The kids were in ecstasies, riding in the back of a pick up and rafting down the river.

When we weren't enjoying the outdoors, we were enjoying the Museum of the Rockies, in Bozeman. Pictured here is the largest t-rex skull ever discovered. Neptune was impressed.

The kids were quite excited for the horseback ride, but when we woke up on Friday morning, it was raining. And then we heard thunder. Ai. I cannot even describe how relieved I was when the clouds cleared away for 3 hours exactly-- precisely enough time for us to go on our ride and return. The kids had the time of their lives. Clover struggled with a more stubborn horse, but did a great job hanging in there when the going got tough. Neptune was perched atop the largest horse I have ever seen, and was (rather to my surprise) totally in his element. He was totally comfortable, and loved the experience. I thought he would like it-- I did realise he would like it so much!

This is Nephi. He was my trusty companion for the trail ride.

After a week at the “cabin,” A and K (the kids’ parents) showed up and I left. That “cabin” was going to house 4 families for the next week! I’m looking forward to hearing the stories when I get to work tomorrow.

Meanwhile, my mom and I headed off for a day in Yellowstone, before heading to Missoula to visit family.

And now? Now, I am back in the PNW, and eager to begin this new week with the kids. It’s always great to travel, but sometimes the coming home is just as wonderful as the going away!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Cupcakes? Don't Ask Me Twice!

On Friday, the kids and I were running around, completing a variety of errands. One of the the places we were headed was Michael's, the craft store. As we pulled into the center that houses Michaels, Clover piped up from the back seat, "Hey, Blythe, look! New York Cupcakes."

She was right. It was an adorable little pink-and-white shop, and we were driving past it. This problem had to be fixed immediately!

I turned the car around in the parking lot, and headed back to the shop. We parked outside and peered in, entranced by the fluffy, cupcake-y goodness of the store. They even had a pink refrigerator.

"I wonder if they have mini cupcakes," I pondered. The kids suggested that maybe this was worth a quick look. You know, just to satisfy our curiosity.

Casually, like we had been planning this all day, we sauntered into the store. Our eyes grew wide. It was even better inside! No mini cupcakes greeted us, however. We were disappointed for a minute, and then caught a glimpse of the full size cupcakes. Oh man, they looked good.

I glanced down at the children. They looked up at me, knowing perfectly well that I was already eager to experience this cupcake situation, and that begging and whining would work against them. The waited to see what I would do.

"I'll make you a deal," I said. "If you guys pinkie promise to eat healthy lunches, then we can get cupcakes now and save them for dessert." What kid wouldn't take up that offer? They stuck out their pinkies, and we linked them, one at a time.

Then we got down to the Very Serious Business of deciding which cupcakes to get. Finally, Clover decided that she would go with lemon, and Neptune and I each got chocolate with butterscotch frosting.

Then, cupcakes carefully encased in a layer of plastic, we headed to Michael's. Before too long, we were home again, and all were eyeing the cupcakes. I whipped up lunch-- complete with apple slices and green beans for Clover, and blueberries and sugar snap peas for Neptune.

And after that?
Oh, then it was cupcake time!

At first they looked kind of like this:

But before too long, this is all that was left:

Saturday, 20 June 2009

"When you hear that final bell, drop your books and run like ---"

Did you ever sing that song on the last day of school? At the elementary school I went to in Indiana, it was expected that the last day of school would bring a chorus of:

No more pencils, no more books
No more teachers' dirty looks
When you hear that final bell,
Drop your books and run like hell!

The most rebellious of us would actually say "hell," and then giggle hysterically. Their bravado was not matched by the rest of us, who would substitute a loud "BEEEEP," or sometimes just clap our hands over our mouths, making sideways eye contact to appreciate the disobedience of what we almost said.

Where am I going with this, you may ask? Well, Thursday was the Last Day of School for Clover and Neptune, and they are now officially on summer vacation! You can tell for sure, because it rained all of yesterday. Such is life in the PNW.

The last week of school brought all sorts of different activities, but most notable from my perspective were the class parties. Both Neptune's kindergarten morning tea and Clover's 3rd grade class party were on the same day but, thankfully, at different times. I went to both.

Neptune's morning tea was so darn cute. The kids performed colour songs, letter songs, BINGO, and-- my personal favourite-- the goonie bird song. I wish I could accurately convey the hilarity over a blog, but it's really impossible. They all had homemade bird hats, though, if that is any indication. The best moment of the programme, though, was during that song, "Skinnamarink-a-dinky-dink.Skinnamarink-a-doo I love you." It came with a whole prescribed set of gestures, but on the line "I love you," Neptune defected from the ranks entirely, and pointed at me. It was adorable.

And then we had rainbow cake. That was pretty great too.

After Neptune's morning tea, I grabbed lunch and then headed to Clover's party. I was moderately disappointed that the 3rd graders didn't sing, but managed to get over it. I poured soda over ice cream and handed out rootbeer floats, and watched the kids freak out from the sugar high. Hey, I was entertained, and that's what this is all about, right?

That afternoon, our unofficial playgroup, consisting of Lynn, Fleur, Penguin and another family and their nanny (a total of 8 nannies and 3 kids, including us), headed over to a park with a beach. We threw water balloons, splashed in the lake, and buried the children in the sand (which they requested, I promise!). It was definitely insane, but the kids had fun and so did the nannies. Happiness all around!

And thus begins summer vacation. More stories from Friday once I get my pictures off my camera!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

What's in a name?

Clover and Neptune no longer like their nicknames-- not their blog nicknames, but the actual names that everyone calls them. For the sake of argument, we'll say that Clover's real name is Elizabeth, and Neptune's is Andrew.

When I left their house Friday evening, they were called Lizzie and Andy, as they had been their entire lives. By the time I showed up again on Monday, Lizzie had a sign on her door that read "Beth's room," and Andy made it clear that he wanted to be known as "Rattler" from now on.

Or maybe "Viper."

He hasn't quite decided.

Clover is more than determined, more than steadfast. People will call her Beth, and they absolutely will not call her Lizzie. Woe betide them if they should try!

I am sitting back and waiting, eager and amused to see how the whole thing turns out...

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Wait... What?

Clover's school has a third grade talent show, and all the children who wanted to participate had to sign up by last Friday. She decided that the talent she wanted to demonstrate was taking a picture with her feet.

That's, well, an interesting concept...

Made more interesting by the fact that she doesn't know how to do it.


Monday, 8 June 2009

Weekend, Shmeekend

What a successful weekend!

On Friday, I did a really impressive job at turning 22. The kids got out of school at 12:00, and we had pizza and cupcakes for lunch with our friends Fleur, Penguin, and their nanny Lynn. After lunch, Lynn and I took the kids to meet other friends (code names yet to be determined)-- three kids with their nanny. Yes, there were 7 kids and 3 nannies involved in this outing! And where were we going, so loudly and enthusiastically?

To see Up! Greatest. Pixar. Film. Ever. If you haven't seen it, please scurry out and do so. If you HAVE seen it, please join me in quoting it allthetime. (Who else thought the greatest character was Doug? He made me laugh through the entire film.)

After the movie, we hurried home to get Fleur and Clover ready for soccer, and then I left to go get ready for my birthday dinner.

Hammer and Wednesday both live in the greater Seattle area, and Joanna drove up from Oregon to celebrate as well. (Can you believe that she drove 3 1/2 hours to come celebrate a birthday? She's great, I tell you.) Lynn met us at the restaurant, and we all had a perfectly lovely time. I love PF Chang's. It is easily my favourite restaurant, and I love any and all excuses to go there. Coconut curry vegetables with tofu? I could eat that until I drop.

After a rolicking good time at PF Chang's, the five of us returned to my house to have cake with my family, thus continuing the good times. I have had the same delicious chocolate cake every year since I turned 10. There is a reason for this. It is unbelievable.

(Side note: Wednesday and I had a conversation last semester about who made the best chocolate cake. We agreed to a bake off this summer... until she tried the chocolate cake we had at my birthday, and realised that our cakes were exactly the same!)

Following cake, we headed out to My Favourite Bar Ever-- Bleu. It's on Broadway in Seattle, and is just an all around interesting place. It's teeny, and each little table is sectioned off with red curtains, so it's just you and your group. Our server was hilarious, calling Hammer "brother" when he ordered, and generally being really friendly and enthusiastic. We all ordered a series of different drinks, and passed them around the table so everyone could taste them. I started off with a raspberry lemon drop-- the most memorable drink from my 21st birthday! Other notable drinks include Gin Fizzes, Long Island Iced Teas, and Mojitos. At the end of the evening, I was given a Birthday Cake Shot (peculiar little beasty of a drink) and told that, as the birthday girl, I couldn't possibly pay for my drinks.

So I didn't have to.

And then he gave me two of those Andes mints instead of one. THAT is going above and beyond as a server, my friends!

The following couple of days were much more low key, and on Sunday Joanna and I headed out to Pike Place Market for a while. I think Pike Place Market is just such a fun mix of tourists and locals, food and crafts, flowers and oddities.

And that was my weekend.

I hope yours was great as well!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Well, knock me over with a feather!

My friends, something remarkable has happened.

Clover, who likes two vegetables, and two vegetables only (green beans and spinach)...

Clover, who can reliably be expected to eat only a handful of different food items...

Clover, who is likely to hate a food item on sight...

Yes, THAT Clover--

She likes tofu.

I found out last night, when I made it for dinner.

Well, knock me over with a feather.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Perfect Moments

When I was young, I read the book Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery. It was one of those wholesome, girl-on-a-farm-growing-up sort of books, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. (Incidentally, I also was infatuated with Anne of Green Gables by the same author.) One of the things that characterised Emily was what she called "the flash." When "the flash" happened, everything around her appeared to be unbelievably beautiful. She described it as if the curtain veiling the faery world had been pulled back for the briefest of moments.

I don't experience "the flash," of course, but I do have similar moments. Ever now and then I realise that everything is just about perfect. Yesterday evening, I had one of those moments.

I was laying on a beach chair by the lake as the kids propelled themselves around in their neon inner tubes. They were laughing and splashing and yelling, "Blythe, watch this!" and "Hey, Blythe! Blythe! Did you see that??" Of course, I saw it all-- the twirling, the paddling backwards and-- my personal favourite-- the tipping backwards into the water.

We threw the biggest rocks we could into the lake, and watched the explosive splashes. We played "fetch." The moon was slowly coming out, the air was clear, and the sky was blue. During the day, the temperature had spiked in to the nineties (odd for the PNW), but by the evening it had cooled to the mid-seventies or so, and was as pleasent as it comes.

Yes, I think it was pretty near to perfect.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

A Fun New Game

This game was invented by Clover, and inspired by a particularly enthusiastic golden retriever we met at the off-leash dog park. Oh yes, it's that good. Those of you with dogs may recognise this.

1. Find some sort of projectile, preferably something that floats. Though a beach ball was the original object of choice, various sand toys work well too. Here we have two shovels that were used yesterday.

2. Throw these projectiles as far out into the lake (or pool) as the children are willing to go/as far as the children can go safely. 3. Laugh to yourself as the children "fetch" the objects, returning them to you on shore.
4. Repeat.

Note: It is possible that only Neptune and Clover find this game fun. They are, after all, happy to play any game that involves being in the water.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Excuses, Excuses

There are many reasons why I love my job-- the kids are fabulous, the parents are great to work for, I get to spend my summers having water balloon fights... and have a really unbeatable excuse to buy fun treats like this:

It's two cupcakes dressed up like a Maltese! Remarkable, right? I can't wait to show the kids-- Clover especially will be as amused as I am!

Thursday, 28 May 2009

One of the many reasons I love my job

Blythe: ...and we went camping, and ate tofu dogs and vegetarian marshmallows! It was great.
Neptune: Were you happy?
Blythe: I was very happy.
Neptune: But were you completely happy?
Blythe: You know, I think I was pretty nearly completely happy.
Neptune: But you couldn't have been completely happy.
Blythe: Why not?
Neptune: We weren't there.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Home Again, Home Again, Riggidy Jig

Summer is officially here! I have splashed in a river, eaten several popsicles, slept in, and applied sunscreen with a desperation normally associated with the terminally ill seeking a cure. It's pretty great.

I spent my first non-senior-week days of summer in Sacramento, with my friend Okapi. (I love having code names. They crack me up.) Her family lives in a fabulous area right by a large park, and we spent a couple of happy hours wandering around there, making flower crowns, frolicking in the river, and becoming acquainted with Grandfather Oak. Okapi's dog, Tio, joined us. He had a lovely time, but was a bit of a drama king whenever he got some stickers in his fur. He has such a cute face, though, that we forgave him.

Back at the homestead, there were chickens.I held a chicken! I scattered feed! I collected eggs in my skirt! Many childhood dreams (largely brought about by Little House on the Prairie) were fulfilled. In addition to chickens, there were films (I finally saw Casablanca), board games (Clue is not so challenging with only two people), unpacking Okapi's room, and an impressively large batch of flan, made my Okapi's mother. I'd never had flan before. What a treat!

All in all, my time in Sacramento was utterly joyous.

Thursday rolled around quickly, and soon I found myself in the car for a 13 1/2 hour drive north. I arrived in my driveway at 9pm, and have since settled in to being back in the PNW. The weather is cooler, the air is clearer, and I'm back in the same geographic area as my family and the kids' family. It's a pretty good deal.

On Friday, I went to see Clover's soccer game, and discuss the schedule for the rest of the school year with her mother. It was a lot of fun to see her play again, and man can she run! Fleur is on the same soccer team, and though she is not as much of a runner, she is a very good goalie. I also got to play with Neptune and Penguin, bouncing around a mini beach ball and just hanging out.

I start work tomorrow, and could not be looking forward to it more.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Senior Week: My Week in Pictures

Last final on Thursday, various adventures Thursday-Saturday, and then Senior Week started in earnest on Sunday. My friends and I met for brunch, and chatted about what we were going to do that day. Joanna was picking her boyfriend up from the airport, Leel had about 15 more pages of a paper to write by the following day, and Hammer had some studying to do. Jill and I were fairly aimless.

A couple of hours later, I sent a text to Jill:
"Want to go to Disneyland?"
About a half hour later, I got a response.

So off we went!

Once we got there, we took the traditional "excited and waiting for the tram" photograph.

Then we went on Space Mountain. As you can see, Jill was very brave. She was ready for adventure!
Everything is Mickey Mouse shaped. And delicious.
Notice the castle and the Matterhorn in the background.
Then we high-tailed it over to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We thundered along the tracks, and squealed with great enthusiasm.
Then it was time for the Toy Story ride, which provided us with super 3D glasses. Cute, huh?

And that, more or less, was Disneyland. We went on many more rides, of course, but I leave you to your imagination for the rest of that.

MONDAY: Another SoCal adventure, but this one to the beach.
Don't we look wholesome?
We were all pretty excited to be there.
But then it got cloudy. And cold. That was NOT ok, but we managed to salvage the day, and still had fun hanging out together. And we did get some ocean-frolicking time in before we nearly froze to death.

Jill: Hey Blythe, want to go to Disneyland again?
Blythe: Yes.

And we did.
We went on the teacups... part because the photographic opportunities were so great.
We made funny faces on Space Mountain: Here we are saying "GUILTY," like the judge on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.
Also, we pretended to pout, like angsty teenagers. We're too cool for Disneyland!

WEDNEDAY-THURSDAY: Off we go, to go camping at Joshua Tree National Forest. If you haven't been, go. It's gorgeous-- and the trees make you feel like you live in a Dr. Seuss book.

See, Joanna and Antonio think it's great!
I kid you not, this girl was prepared for EVERY eventuality. That is why her code name on this blog will be Poppy (like Mary Poppins). We saw a group of other campers tossing around a frisbee, and I asked her, "So where is OUR frisbee?" and she pulled one out. Also, a tambourine.
One of the infamous Joshua trees. See what I mean about Dr. Seuss?
This particular piece of rock had lots of little shelves in it-- we called it our kitchen. Joanna and I spent a minute feeling domestic.

The whole huge group of us outside of the Haunted Mansion. Great picture of some, terrible picture of others. Oh well. We definitely had fun-- for Jill and me, that was our THIRD Disneyland trip that week! We are experts.

SATURDAY: Graduation!
Joanna was very grown up.
So was Jill. Don't they look cute in their caps and gowns?
Four happy, educated college grads!
Just hanging out. Taking pictures. We photographed EVERYTHING on Saturday.
See what I mean? Just another picture of us!
Jill got quite the graduation gift from her padre. To quote her: "Dolla dolla bills, ya'll!" We were both pretty impressed. New computer, here she comes!
And finally, that night, we went to PF Chang's (my very favourite restaurant in the world) for dinner. Jill had a drink that matched her dress. I had a pear mojito, which was very, very tasty.

And that, my friends, has been what I've been up to for the past week. Makes sense why I haven't posted anything, eh?

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Finals, Sunshine, Sprinklers and the Great, Upcoming Popsicle

Roughly 15 minutes ago I finished my research methods final. That class was the bane of my existence this semester, and now it is O-V-E-R! That is not the really big news, though. The really big news is that, because I finished this final...


It's true. I'm still at school, still have a few other fun commitments (going to see an improv show tonight, have a meeting on Saturday) but clearly nothing that is Hard Work. Nothing with Due Dates. Nope, now it's all fun and games and things I CHOOSE to do because I Want To. It's a very liberating feeling.

Until the 26th, my time is mine to decide what to do with, with very few requirements. Then, on the 26th, I dive headfirst back into The Very Best Job in the Whole Wide World. So even when my time is a bit more in demand, I still struggle to complain. It'll be playtime with Clover and Neptune once again!

And for now? Well. This afternoon a couple of my friends and I are going to the Victoria Gardens mall, and this evening I'm going to the Without a Box show. Tomorrow is an awards ceremony with the theatre kids, and on Saturday I'm taking my mentee to the Rainforest Cafe. Next week brings SeaWorld, Disneyland, and the beach. (Not to mention boxes and packing. But whatever. That's not the point.)


It's summer. And how did I celebrate, the very second I got out of my final? I dashed through the sprinklers on campus, fully clothed. I ran into a girl (Maddie?), who addressed me as "Girl," and was doing the exact thing I was, though she was pants-less and wearing a sombrero. Naturally.

Have I mentioned that I love college?

Monday, 4 May 2009

The Countdown Continues

Tomorrow I have an exam for Energy and the Environment, and on Thursday I have a Research Methods final. Then, well, that's it.

After that I throw myself entirely into non-academic pursuits: getting BLT/Druids all positioned to be fantastic next year, going to see various end of year performances, beginning the packing and storage process, and--not at all to be overlooked-- hanging out at the beach, going to Disneyland, possibly venturing to SeaWorld, and camping at Joshua Tree with tofu dogs in the week prior to graduation. It will be amazing.

However, in between 9:30 Monday morning and noon-ish on Thursday (not to mention the days that follow, which are still busy, though not academic) there is a lot to accomplish. How do I achieve this without going crazy?

Like this:And yes, that's money attached to Thursday-- I need $3 for the improv show, and this way I'm sure to be prepared.

Are you impressed?

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Things I Love About College

1. Friendly, intellectual debates about feminism, America, politics, the moral role of the toy industry, and anything else we can think of.
2. Friends who live just one dorm over, or at the OPPOSITE END OF CAMPUS (a three minute walk)
3. Pizza at 1am
4. The focus of my life is learning. Going to class, absorbing.
5. Intellectual humour. Psych jokes rock!
6. Hilarious, friendly, brilliantly intelligent professors
7. Classes with titles like "theories of feminism" and "psychology of the American Black Woman"
8. Dorms.
9. The dining hall-- someone else cooks for you, AND does the dishes.
10. Clubs, activities, and adventures at your fingertips
11. Guest lecturers (eg Philip Zimbardo!!)
12. Study or paper-writing parties

It is a wonderful, wonderful place.

Monday, 27 April 2009

What a week...

This is been the longest week I have ever experienced.

Monday-- Surgery
Tuesday-- Surgery recovery (aka stuck in bed)
Wednesday-- hall draw, beginning of negotiations for our student theatre group (drama drama)
Thursday-- continuing negotiations for BLT/Druids: settle on outcome after hours of debate (I'll be the general manager! Yay!)
Friday-- phone call from dad, family troubles. BLT/Druids meeting in which our slightly controversial plan is announced. Thank goodness it was accepted
Saturday-- see play at Occidental, Joanna got a call from her mom: Liver/Kidney transplant in the morning. We then stayed up all night with her, so we could drive her to LAX at 5am. The night in the suite was insane. Very weird.
Sunday-- Joanna's mom's transplant. Wobbling through the day on no sleep.

I'm exhausted.

Monday, 20 April 2009

In Which Burt and Cleveland Go Elsewhere

Well, well, well.
The end.

I got up this morning at 6:45 (an ungodly hour for a college student) and got myself ready for The Day. I picked up Jill in front of her dorm, and the two of us drove to the clinic together. We arrived a couple of minutes early, and I signed in. She ate a cookie. I pouted because I wasn't allowed to eat a cookie (or anything else, for that matter). As per usual, I was handed a pager that started buzzing and blinking a while later. (Those blinkers always make me think of PF Chang's, my favourite restaurant ever. Positive association, but I continue to be disappointed that I am not served coconut curry vegetables with tofu when they lead me away.)

I had been told that they were going to do an ultrasound (again) to determine the exact location of the lumps, so they could make the smallest possible incision and remove them easily. I headed in there cheerfully enough, dreading the cold gel but certainly not worried. Then they pulled out.. what was that?

"Wire," Dr. West explained. "It's to mark where the lumps are, so I know where to cut."

WIRE? I was thinking more... Sharpie. You know, something colourful and NOT WIRE. He injected a bit (not enough) of Novacaine, and I winced and whined (I am ashamed to admit) through the wire-insertion procedure. I don't like needles. I don't like needles under the best of circumstances. I'm chipper and chatty when I give blood, and I do give blood regularly, but I never like it. Wire is not a jot better.

Successfully wired, I trembled out to where Jill waited for me, and whined a bit to her too. Oh, the deception! We then headed next door, to where the surgery itself would be performed. We waited in a room that had decorative lamps. Really. There was no way to turn them on, as there were no outlets. Weird.

After a while, I was whisked back, changed into a robe, and had an IV inserted into my hand (more needles!). They gave me ugly grey socks that I think one of the doctors must have stolen from the airplane, and asked me if I had any metal in my body (yes, wire!). They asked me what kind of anesthetic I wanted (general, general, general!) and informed me I was not pregnant (no surprise there). Then Jill came in and kept me company until they took me away.

Then they rolled me away on a bed. I've always kind of wanted to do that. I don't remember a whole lot after that, except being fastened to the surgical table with Velcro straps (what HAPPENED that caused them to make THAT a standard part of operating procedure?), and my arms were outstretched. They pricked me with a needle of something (yes, another needle), put a mask on my face, and--

I woke up in recovery. I felt fine, though exhausted. Jill drove me home, we stopped to fill my prescription for Vicodan, then... well, since then I've been lounging and watching TV shows on my computer, talking to the different people who come to visit, enjoying the flowers and balloons I have so generously been given, and generally feeling shocked that I'm not a) in terrible pain or b) really out of it. I'm only JUST starting to feel the first twinges of pain. If it gets worse I'll take one of my Vicodan, but I'm not there yet.

And that is that. Thank you all for your good wishes, and I hope your weekends have been sunny and fun!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Countdown (and some belated notes on Easter)

Well, it's all scheduled, organised, and written down on my calendar in Sharpie (or would be, if my Sharpie wasn't tempermental-- instead it is on my phone calendar). The Lumps are going to be removed this coming Monday! Everyone keeps saying they are benign-- which I definitely believe-- but it will still be a relief to get rid of them.

Two of my friends-- Joanna and Jill-- are going to be in charge of taking me to and from the clinic, for which I am tremendously appreciative. I have to be there by 8:15, the clinic is an hour away, and we are college students. Like I said, it's generous.

I hope you had a wonderful Easter! Our college version involved a "Classy Easter Brunch" that featured a bunny cake and homemade biscuits, pomegranete jam, quiche, and strawberries. We played "Where in the World is Carmen Sandi-egg-o?" which was a sort of virtual egg hunt. (Joanna and I were really pleased when we came up with the name for it.)

Monday, 13 April 2009

Senior Year? Really?

Today the registration packets showed up in the dorms. These include a course catalogue, forms to list your chosen classes on, and various other (largely useless) pieces of paper. I'm registering for THREE people this semester, because I'm the proxy for two people abroad. Awesome. We have an excellent registration time, though-- 8:30am on the first day of registration. I don't know if registration starts at 8:00 or 8:30, but either way.

That's not the point, though.

The point is that in a couple of weeks I will be registering for senior year. When did this happen? I'm ok with being a junior, that all made sense. But being a senior? I don't know. I feel like it snuck up on me. This will be my last year at college, the last before the Real World.

I know that 21 isn't old, I know that being a senior in college is still really young in the grand scheme of my life, but... It's still time to start making some adult choices, choices that will impact the rest of my life. If I end up with a career I don't like, I can make the effort and take the initiative to change, I'm not afraid of that. But those months will still contribute to how I see the world, how I begin my fully-out-of-school-and-working life. Maybe I'll go to grad school. Maybe I won't. I'd like to do Teach for America.

I'm excited for senior year-- which will be, by all counts, amazing-- but it's frightening how quickly it's come. I gave a tour to some high school students today, who are considering going to my college. I don't think it was really that long ago that I was in their shoes, weighing the pros and cons of different colleges.

It wasn't that long ago, that's the thing. It really wasn't. A lot happens in four years.

Friday, 10 April 2009


It is with great relief that I announce Burt, Cleveland, and I will go our separate ways. I had an appointment a while ago with a doctor who recommended that I get a biopsy, which was scheduled for today. After a few days, though, I decided that I would just sooner have this all dealt with and move on.

I called the office and asked if it was reasonable to just get the lumps removed instead. "Oh, sure!" chirped Dr. West's assistant, Gina. "No, that shouldn't be a big deal at all... let me just talk to Dr. West and get some paperwork filled out, and we'll call you back in a couple of days!"

On Thursday (yesterday), Becky called from "surgical scheduling." She scheduled me for a pre-op appointment on Tuesday and surgery itself next Monday.

And then? Then? THEN the lumps will be gone and I will be free to focus on other things.

Which is exactly how I would like it.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009


My school, like most others, is ridden with stereotypes. We're all, in case you were wondering, rich-lesbian-feminist-daddy's girl-sluts. Obviously this is not true, for the most part. We are not all rich. We are not all lesbians. We are not all daddy's girls, and we are most certainly not all sluts.

I think it is true that we are all feminists.

That is the environment around our school. We question the stereotypes, raise our eyebrows at the way women continue to be limited in their opportunities, demand choices. I am a feminist, and I am a very proud one at that.

I know people, not at College but elsewhere, who do not admit to being feminist. They think that the instant they declare themselves A Feminist, they will have to pack away their bras (if not burn them), hate men, and strive for a top position in a company even if they would really rather be a stay at home mom who bakes cookies. Men balk at the idea of identifying as feminists because, well, they're men. How does it include them?

Feminism isn't about thinking women are superior, or that each woman should force her way into a male-dominated career path.

I don't care whether you, as a woman, choose to become a firefighter, CEO, nurse, teacher, engineer, or stay at home mom. I care that you have the choice.

I don't care if you wear sundresses and high heals or combat boots and cargo pants as long as it is a decision you have made for yourself. I don't care, because it is your choice.

I care that you have the opportunity to do what you believe in, not because it is what a woman does or doesn't do, but because it is what you do.

I care that men feel they have the same opportunities as women to be involved parents, caring teachers, respected nurturers.

I just want us to be aware of the prejudices we have, and that we make decisions about our lives in a thoughtful fashion.

College has almost certainly been a part of my evolution into a feminist, and I am so grateful for it. I still want to be an elementary school teacher some day, I still want to have children, I still love my job as a nanny.

But no one can tell me these are things I must do-- or may do-- because of my sex.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Another Moment for Poetry

This poem just makes me chuckle--

by D.H. Lawrence

A lizard ran out on a rock and looked up, listening
no doubt to the sounding of the spheres.
And what a dandy fellow! the right toss of a chin for you
And swirl of a tail!

If men were as much men as lizards are lizards
they'd be worth looking at.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Why Yes, It IS Spring!

I know there are parts of the country that are still chilly, drizzly, and even snowy. I'm awfully sorry for you, because I am head-over-heels in love with Spring here!

This is the dorm where I live:
Outside of this dorm we have a rose garden. Students are expected and encouraged to gather bouquets of roses. It's not QUITE in full bloom, but I anticipate it will be in the next few days. I will be sure to post an update photograph. Right now you can see the flowers...
But they're best if you get up close and really stick your nose in them. Mind the thorns!
This fuzzy thing is one cool-lookin' flower. They grow on a MASSIVE bush right outside the main entrance to my dorm.
The lilacs are working on blooming, and they already smell incredible. Once they are full blossomed, walking into my dorm is truly an olfactory sensation to be savoured.

Not to be overlooked when one is discussing oflactory sensations: the orange trees. The smell of the blossoms is to die for.

Not to mention they are really pretty...

I didn't even discover these pretty little flowers until I started taking pictures of lots of the flora on campus to share with you all. Aren't they sweet?

I wish I could have made this entry scratch-and-sniff for you, but let me assure you: Life on this campus smells incredible these days!