Sunday, 29 January 2012

Notes, and Obligation, and Love

Remember that time I told you about those SUPERLABOURINTENSIVE lunchbox notes I was making? To be fair, they don't really go in lunchboxes anymore, but I persist in calling them that. They're little squares of cardstock (I think about 4x4"), on which I put collages, stickers, or whatever. See?

You get the idea.

Well, I started those some time in the middle of last school year, and they received rave reviews from the children. So I carried on enthusiastically. Over time, though, inspiration has started to fade, and the time commitment required has gotten rather huge. I am happy to continue because they like them so much, but it was becoming large amounts of Obligation (as well as larger amounts of Love) that kept this project going. And then-- THEN. I gave Clover some scrapbook materials for Christmas, so she could start her own book. She's done well, and it's a cute book, but she's also used the materials for something as well-- purse notes for ME!

They are just the cutest.

So, I'll keep on making these notes.

With lots and lots of Love.

And a smidge of Obligation.

Friday, 27 January 2012

The things I say...

"Please do NOT skewer my face with chopsticks!!"

And he didn't. But really-- I had to ask?

Tuesday, 24 January 2012


Neptune: I love Halloween costumes! You get to wear them for Halloween, and then you have a costume to play with afterwards.
Me: I wish I got so much use out of my costume! I haven't come up with another occasion to be a peacock.
Neptune: Yeah, well, your mom might not like it if you were running around the kitchen in your peacock costume.
Me: Oh, I don't think she'd mind. But I guess the real difference is... you're 8, and I'm 24.

Neptune: Yeah. I was thinking that, but I didn't want to say you were too old...


Sunday, 8 January 2012

2012: Shaping up to be a winner

Ok kids, you heard it here first: We have concrete evidence that 2012 may ACTUALLY a pretty awesome year. I mean, don't count any unhatched chickens or anything, but all signs point to positive. For example, I will (hopefully!!) be starting a Masters in Teaching programme in October. This is Very Extremely Exciting, and I can't wait. AND my dear friend, whom I have now known for 20(!!) years, is going to be living with us in Seattle for a couple of months over the summer! AND another dear friend (this one a hilarious, marvellous, super fun lady from college) just came and spent Monday-Saturday hanging out with me! We did lots of fun, touristy Seattle things, and had a blast. I'm absolutely determined to go visit her in Hawaii some time this year, as well as to make one or two other sorjourns to visit long-lost friends. (Well, not lost, exactly-- but certainly out of reach.)

Aloha was here just for a few days, but we were determined to enjoy the time we had! We went on a whirlwind tour of Seattle, making sure to hit all of the Important Locations. That meant that between Monday and Saturday we went to the Space Needle, rode the monorail, went to the Elliot Bay Book Company, ate honey lavender ice cream at Molly Moon's, got lunch (her) and french fries (me) at Dick's (hey, I may be vegetarian-- but I do know Dick's is an institution!), made tamponimals (ie animals made out of tampons-- yes, really), walked around Green Lake, explored Archie McPhee, got lunch at Tutta Bella, made friends with the Fremont Troll, climbed on old machines at Gasworks Parked, played to our hearts' content at a playground on MLK, got hot drinks at Starbucks (of course! Even though neither of us likes coffee...), took a ferry to Bainbridge Island, rode a carousel on the waterfront, and went ice skating. It was a really, really fun week!

Windswept on the ferry!

Monday, 2 January 2012

New Camera

I have been having so much fun with my new snazzy camera-- a Canon EOS Rebel T2i, currently equipped with its kit lens. I bought it last Tuesday, and started out by taking repeated photos of my grandparents' patient dog, Tally.

In this one, only her nose is in focus. I still kind of like it, though.

I moved on to taking pictures of my grandpa's "Bear Den." Yes, that's a mounted goose next to all of the guns. Yes, that's a bear skin rug. And, yes, he did actually shoot the bear from his bedroom window. Montana!

Several days later, after a long series of practice photographs of a poinsettia, my friend Kale and I went on a photo excursion in Ballard. We visited Cupcake Royale and Bop Records, and photographed to our hearts' content.

Finally, after some lovely meanderings in a lovely area, we returned to her house and lovingly tormented her critters.

I have a lot to learn about this camera, but so far I'm really enjoying the process!

Sunday, 1 January 2012


The beginning of the year is always a time for resolutions. I've found I do best with a short list of very specific goals that are easy to carry out (eg: Stop eating meat). I struggle with "be more organised" or "be healthier." But specifics? Those set me up for success. So with that in mind...

1. No more disposable cups. Not from Subway, not from Starbucks, not from the water cooler in the corner of the room. None. I have an insulted cup I love, and I've ordered a "cold drink tumbler" from Amazon, so I should be set. I'll just use those over and over (and over and over) again, and never have to throw away another cup. Hurray! And if I forget to bring them? Well, how often does one really NEED a cup of coffee or a fountain drink? For me, the answer is: never.

2. No disposable cutlery. In my stocking I received a little set of bamboo utensils-- fork, spoon, knife, and chopsticks. I'm prepared for anything!

3. Do one "special activity" with my sister every week. I get busy, and don't make this a priority. This year, I will. It could be watching a movie, playing cards, baking something, or eating lunch together. Every week that we are both in town, we will do at least one special activity.

4. Learn how to take higher quality photographs. This is certainly a more general one, but I hope I'll be able to muddle through anyway. I just bought a Canon Rebel EOS T2i, and I've LOVED experimenting with it so far. I'm hoping to learn a lot over the course of the next year (and the rest of my life).

5. Publish at least two blog posts every week.

What are your resolutions?

2011: A retrospective

Let's be real, 2011. There's no two ways about it-- you've sort of been a bitch. I'm actually kind of impressed and fascinated by the level of "shitty" you have achieved! Oh, don't misunderstand-- you've had some really good moments too. I've had some good times with friends, fun adventures with the kids, and been truly impressed with the way a community can activate to help and support one of its own. So it wasn't a complete loss, but man, it got close.

Ladies and Gentlemen, 2011: A tragedy

1. In February, I had to leave a job with a family that I love, because the father had fewer hours at work and was going to be home much more. Thus, he could get the girls off to school himself. While I still saw them occasionally, it was with much less frequency. (On the positive side, I got to start that job again this November! I didn't know that would happen in February, of course, so it still sucked-- but I'm very glad to be back!)

2. In April, my wonderful boss (Clover and Neptune's mother) was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. She began intensive chemotherapy treatments in May, and had a stem cell transplant in September. It was a long, hard path for everyone-- her especially, of course-- and I'm so delighted that she is cancer free and slowly recovering from her treatments. She won't feel at 100% for months and months yet, but she has kicked cancer's ass quite thoroughly, and we're all thrilled.

3. My parents, who would have been married 31 years, had their divorced finalised in June. No surprise, of course-- they'd been separated for a year, and divorce proceedings were, well, proceeding. But still sad, of course.

4. Just as A was finally bouncing back from her stem cell transplant, my grandmother was hospitalised and diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. This was a tough blow-- we had always been close, and I have many fond memories for summers and Christmases spent at her home in Montana. She and my grandfather visited us wherever we lived, and she was one of the kindest, most generous people I have ever known. She passed away on December 20th, at the age of 91.

I'm starting 2012 with the fervent (and desperate?) belief and hope that it will be a good, joyful, successful year for us all.

Welcome to a new beginning!