Sunday, October 30, 2005

Mad Scientists

When you ask most boys what they want to be when they grow up they say “football player,” or “fireman.”
Not my boys.
Both of my sons want to be scientists.
The oldest is a good fit for science. He is uber-tidy, loves math and science and is fascinated by the world around him.
I think the younger one wants to be a scientist because he likes the idea of mixing things together in hopes of an explosion.
David brought a set of flasks and beakers home from school this week and made my children remarkably happy.
All weekend they have been mixing water, sugar and food coloring in their mad science experiments.
I just hope if they decide to follow their interest in science, they find a lucrative career in the process.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Pumpkin bust

I fear there is no hope for me. I can’t even win a pumpkin carving contest at a neighborhood Halloween party.
Maybe it was the out-dated paper I used. I should have gone with something more trendy, more contemporary, more now.
But on the bright side, my son won first place with his rendition of Sponge Bob Square Pants. We believe it was the googly eyes that did the job.

I would write more, but I am suffering from an unfortunate stomach ailment, made even more pronounced by the fact that we ate cheesy fries for lunch. I knew I was in trouble while I was in Toys R Us and got that rumbly in my tumbly.
I trotted to the nearest bathroom, which was closed for cleaning. So I sent my son in to make sure there was no one in the men’s room and made him guard the door while I did what I had to do.
I was only slightly embarrassed when I came out and found a puzzled 12-year-old boy waiting for his chance at the men’s room.
I believe I will be taking an Imodium with a Pepto Bismol chaser and heading for bed, now.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Pomegranates 101

Someone asked about how one goes about eating pomegranates. If you are eating the dark red commercial pomegranates, I would suggest you either a) wear your old painting clothes or b) strip naked and shell the fruit in the bathtub as those suckers stain!
Crack the fruit open.
Inside you will find several segments filled with seeds and separated by a thin membrane. You want to eat the seeds, not the shell, the membrane or any other part of the fruit.
Hold the open fruit in your hand with the “open” seed side facing down. Use the other hand and a spoon to whack the back of the fruit. The seeds should spill out into your hand.
You might need to peel off membrane and repeat the whacking process several times before you are complete with the process.
Put the seeds in a bowl of water. Extra bits of membrane, shell and bad seeds will float to the top. Skim them off the water and empty the seeds in a strainer. Pat dry.
You can eat the seeds as it or put them in a Dixie Salad, a traditional fall dish served in Southern Utah.
Ingredients of Dixie salad are pomegranate seeds, apples, pecans, and whipped cream. Some people also use raisins, but since no one in our family likes raisin, we usually skip that part.
All of the ingredients are grown in southern Utah.
Slice the apples, chop the pecans, throw in the pomegranates and raisins and glue it all together with whipped cream.
My brother-in-law uses pomegranates in jelly. This does take a lot of pomegranates, and a lot of time. So I don’t do it.
Pomegranate juice is also used in grenadine. I’m sure some of you are familiar with the use of this ingredient in mixed drinks.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The pomegranates are in!

This is big news in our house. My husband grew up with pomegranates in his back yard. They used them for baseballs.
Where I grew up, pomegranates were rare and wonderful. All the children pooled our money in the fall to buy one pomegranate and shared the seeds.
David loves to tell this story as an illustration of how different our lives were.
He grew up in the deserts of southern Utah.
I was born and raised in the mountains of Wyoming.
We have since moved to the middle ground of northern Utah. But every fall his mother picks pomegranates, boxes them up and sends them to the family.
We have developed quite a fallowing of people who look forward to the fruit each year. We send them to school with our children, give them to our family doctor, David takes them to work, and we spread them about the neighborhood.
This year I need to add my work colleagues to the list of people who shall receive pomegranates.
The southern Utah pomegranates are unusual in that they are not red and hard, they are pink and have soft seeds, and are very sweet.
They are just another small tradition in our family.

Freaky bug

Generally I'm not a fan of bugs. But this one is just so cool looking. My 11-year-old son spotted it on the front window as we were leaving for church Sunday. It was still on the front of the house when we came home three hours later. So we had to capture him on camera.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Brace yourself

Are you sick of harvest / Halloween / fall photos yet? Too darn bad if you are. I just signed myself up for a photo a day in November challenge with my scrapping friends. Since I am the one hosting the challenge, I can't exactly duck out because my life is too busy. What was I thinking?
Here's a taste of things to come. The family went to the Pankratz Pumpkin Patch to buy pumpkins last night. Love the setting, love the pumpkins, love the photos. This is only the second year the pumpkin patch has been in business, but it's already a tradition for many people in the community.
Somehow picking a pumpkin out of the bin at Walmart doesn't have the same charm as going out in the field and clipping it off the vine does.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Where did I go wrong?

My plan for the day:
1) Make bed as soon as I get up.
2) Clean kitchen while getting children ready for school.
3) Take a shower, and throw in a load of laundry.
4) Pay bills
5) Make calls for news stories due tomorrow.
6) Run to scrapbook store to buy paper to finish project.
7) Throw dinner in crock pot.
8) Finish scrap project.

My reality of the day:
1) Can’t make bed because child is still in it with me but I go ahead and
2) Clean kitchen while getting children ready for school. Take time to read with Adam and clean out his backpack because it didn’t get taken care of over the weekend.
3) finish cleaning kitchen and go down to start laundry. Realize there is still clothes in the washer from last night, send it on a rinse cycle. Go check e-mail.
4) Read about the doodling challenge at my favorite scrapbook site. Run upstairs, find the doodles from church in my bag, run back down, scan it in and post it to the gallery.
5) Go upstairs to start bills.
6) Realize bed still needs to be made.
7) Rip blankets off bed.
8) clean up candy wrappers, and popcorn on the floor, left by children watching television.
9) Throw trash away.
10) Let cat back into house.
11) Notice the mail came early and there’s a package with paper in it!
12) Run downstairs to post a thank you to Karyln for the package.
13) Check to see if my doodle has any praise yet.
14) Go back upstairs to pay bills.
15) Realize bed is still not made.
16) Throw lunch in the microwave and make bed.
17) Eat lunch and read the new TV Guide magazine. Decided I do not much like the new format.
18) Clean up the kitchen.
19) Gather up bills.
20) Balance checkbook, and start paying bills.
21) Answer phone, it’s my boss at the newspaper wanting some information from the computer downstairs.
22) Get him the information and send photos taken over the weekend to the photographer.
23) Answer e-mail question from friend.
24) Answer phone and interview Stansbury election candidate.
25) Finish answering e-mail.
26) Call paper photographer who says the photos did not arrive and could I please burn a CD and take it to him “sometime today.”
27) Go upstairs and finish paying bills.
28) Go back downstairs and burn CD
29) Run to the newspaper with the CD.
30) Drop bills at the post office.
31) Pick up paper for layout. Show owner of new scrapbook store samples of my work. Give her my name and phone number as someone who is interested in doing pages for hire.
32) Wonder why I never get anything done.
Realize I really should pull the clothes out of the washer now,
But I need to call candidates for the story I’m working on for Thursday,
But the Healing Horses and Pumpkin Walk stories are due tomorrow,
And I don’t know what I’m going to fix for supper,
And David is home,
And the boys want to go pick out a pumpkin at the local pumpkin patch and …

Clearly the plan was derailed somewhere along the way.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Hankering for the homestead

All of this old machinery on display around the grist mill reminds me of the family ranch where I spent my summers as a child. The ranch was homesteaded by my Grandfather. He had only one child who live, a daughter, my mother. After she married my father he eventually ended up working as a ranch hand.Our summers on the ranch were long and warm. I remember playing on the farm machinery, robbing the wood pile to make boats and floating them down the creek.My brother and I spent a lot of time in "the shop."The shop was carved out of the end of a old log cabin. Most of the cabin was taken up by the bunkhouse once used by teamsters who traveled the road and stopped for the night at the ranch.But that was before my time. Eventually the "new road" was built and the winding dirt by-way passing through the middle of our ranch property was traveled only by residents and occasional fishermen.Some of my best childhood memories are tied up in the ranch. I remember reading "Black Beauty" while curled up in the living room next to the heat vent on rainy summer days. On warm days, I explored the garden, sucking the nectar out of the columbines and making mud pies, decorated with grape hyacinths and lilacs.
At night the sky was large and dark and full of stars. Frogs in the creek lulled me to sleep in my cozy little spot of security, in our little two bedroom house.My children have a much larger house than I did on the ranch. They have television, soccer games and access to the community swimming pool.But I feel they are deprived. All the organized sports and computer games in the world will never take the place of the simple joys, and simple freedoms, I had as a child on the ranch.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

And now for something completely different

Pumpkins. Good for pie and Halloween decorations. But this is not your run-of-the mill pumpkin decor. The family went to a pumpkin walk at a local grist mill historic site and David spotted this fellow.
I had to take the picture. It's just too funny.
Anyone have any idea what I can use for a title?
Even if you don't, please at least sign in so I know who is reading my blog.

Friday, October 21, 2005

All is safely gathered in ...

I suppose I am something of a freak because I don't really get excited about fresh vegetables. But then I visit a farmers market and see lucious colors like this and the part of me that came from my home ec. teacher / art teacher mother starts getting warm and fuzzy thoughts about things like home-canned salsa.
I can't say my mother loved to can peaches, choak-cherry jelly and the like, but she did it. By autumn the basement was full of jars with small slices of summer carefully preserved.
I don't can fruit like she did.
For one thing, it costs a fortune to buy the equipment and you can buy commercially produced fruit for half of what it cost to can it yourself.
For another thing, I'm just plumb lazy. I have too many memories of my arms chapped and itching from helping peel peaches all day to volunteer for the job now that I am an adult.
But every now and then I get a whif of fresh peaches, or I see the artistry in a basket full of tomatoes and I think it would be nice if....

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Eye see you!

We passed another milestone. Logan just got glasses. My sweet little nerd boy was actually excited to get them. I don’t know if he thinks they are cool, or if he was just happy to be able to see the world again.
As is traditional with things like glasses, he also just went on his first overnight scout camp. So, I’m sending my son to an overnight hike with several other 11-year-olds, a brand new pair of glasses and hopes that both he and the glasses come home tomorrow in one piece. What are the odds?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Attack Cat!

Seriously, the cat thinks she's part dog. One of the ways she plays with the kids is she chases them. If only she was cuddly, she would be a perrrfect pet.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Good news and bad news

One of my favorite things about my job is I get to use one of the company cameras. It’s a D-Rebel. I would never have been able to afford one otherwise, and I would have a hard time justifying the purchase, even if we could scrape together the money.
But the D-Rebel has opened up my scrapbook world like nothing else.
Another thing I like about my job is they send me on assignments where I can use my D-Rebel doing things I wouldn’t normally do.
Like last weekend’s visit to the local pioneer village and grist mill. I drive past the place on a regular basis, but until I was assigned a story there, I hadn’t really spent any time looking at it in detail.
Saturday, I did. It was a lot of fun. I managed to take some great photos. I enjoyed being out in the sunshine ~ even though it was windy, and I was given personal attention by the site operators who took me all over the place.
One of my least favorite things about my job is the pay. I am making more than I would in an entry-level fast-food job, but just.
You know you’re on a tight budget when you come away from a fender bender that leaves the side of your car wrinkled, but in good working order and a $200 check. Woo hoo! $200, now I can go by groceries!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Finally! A good soccer photo

I have the hardest time getting good soccer photos. Adam is a goof-ball, when he plays soccer he skips and whirls and jumps around like the six year old that he is. we have a great many photos of him doing his little dancing run, and ballarina kicks. But I haven't managed to get a cute, close up photo.
Well, yesterday I did it. We were waiting for daddy so we could go to soccer and I was playing around with my camera. Nothing like idle time to make for a good photo shoot.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

My son: The photographer

Here's all the proof you need that it doesn't hurt to have a good camera. My 11-year-old son informed me yesterday morning that he needed to have "something" done for the reflections program at his school That Same Day!
So I handed him the camera and sent him outside, after giving him a few pointers on balance and framing the photos.
Here are some of the photo he brought back. Notice the pink streak of the jet trail in the sky photo. I really liked that touch.
Both of my boys want their own camera, and we are thinking about getting them inexpensive digital cameras for Christmas.
This may have convinced me it's the right thing to do.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Object lesson

I remember an object lesson I saw as a child in church. The teacher had a bag of sand and a bag of pebbles.
His goal was to put the sand and the pebbles in a mason jar.
In his first attempt he poured the sand in the jar and then tried to fit in the pebbles, of course, they didn’t fit.
Emptying the sand out of the jar, he next put in the pebbles, then again poured the sand in the jar. This time, it all fit in the jar perfectly well.
The object of this lesson is if you take care of the big things first, the small things will fit in around the corners.
Sadly, though the object lesson impressed me, I have followed the advice with limited success.
I usually manage to get the biggest pebbles in my jar. I hit my deadlines and send my children to school in clean clothes.
But the sand and the smaller pebbles trickle away sometimes half-done, often not un-done as I busy myself with the fine art of stalling.
So many things are more interesting than paying bills. Laundry, bleck, it doesn’t matter if I do it today or tomorrow, there’s always a fresh supply. Cooking, ho hum, I’d really rather not, thank you.
I think perhaps the greatest stumbling block in my life is the inability to put the big pebbles in my jar first. It’s so easy to fritter my day with minutia, bogged down in the sand of life.
So my goal for the rest of the year is to get a grip on time management, figure out which of the big pebbles must go in the jar, and cut down on the amount of sand I send through the hourglass.
Any suggestions?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Working with Tweetie

It’s 9 a.m., the children have gone to school, my husband has gone to work and I am in my blue Twitty Bird pajamas, a diet cherry Pepsi by my side, settling down to earn myself a few dollars.
I am a work-at-home mother, one of legions of women who have found a way to use their skills to bring home the bacon without leaving the house.
As I write women in my neighborhood are babysitting children or operating preschools, baking cakes and slicing fruit, teaching piano lessons and cutting hair. They are all earning money from home.
What are the advantages? Well, I mentioned one. I get to work in my blue Twitty bird pajamas. There’s nothing quite as nice as rolling out of bed, grabbing a slice of toast, turning on the computer and getting down to work. I save so much time when I don’t have to bother with niceties like showers and make up.
Today, as one of my children is sick, I am free to let him stay home, wrapped in a blanket, while I go about my business. I don’t face the dilemma of rather I should send him to school sick, scramble for a sitter, leave him home alone or call my boss and explain why I won’t be getting today’s assignment finished.
Working from home offers flexibility un-heard of in the nine to five world. I can throw in a load of wash, make a phone call, write for a little bit, and then unload the dishwasher
It adds another level of efficiency to the multi-tasking for which mothers are famous.
This summer while repairmen were fixing our roof, I found myself helping one man plug in his electric saw while I used the other hand to answer the phone and ask questions about an automobile accident.
As any work-at-home mother can tell your, the lines between paid employment and household tasks get blurred. Generally this is a good thing, but it can also present problems.
Women who leave home to go to work don’t usually have to figure out when their job is done at the end of the day.
Not I. For me work happens when the phone rings. Which, as everyone know, is during dinner. Sometimes I find myself shushing my children so I can complete a phone call. It’s hard to come off as a professional if you have to excuse yourself during an interview to rescue the cat or pour a glass of milk for your six-year-old son.
Working from home is not for everyone. It a bad career choice for people who are not self motivated, and it is usually not as lucrative as more traditional career paths.
But I feel blessed to have found a work-from-home job that is a perfect fit for my skills and training. I’d love to say and write some more, but the buzzer on the dryer just rang, and I need to hang up the shirts before they wrinkle.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

A Haunting We Will Go

The great thing about children is they are easily amused. A few plastic spiders and some fake spider web material kept them entertained for the better part of an hour. And, they decorated the front of the house in the process.
The bad thing about children is they have a short attention span. I'm sure when the snow flies and the webs get soggy I'll be the one cleaning up the mess.
Ah well, it really is worth it!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Happy Birthday Little Brother

Happy birthday, too you
Happy birthday, too you
Happy birthday, Dear Ray
Happy birthday, too you.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Every now and then

Every now and then I need to be reminded my life is more than what I see throught my computer. I walked my son to school today because I needed to talk to his teacher about his diet restrictions. (icky bug, long story, if I told it there would be too much information.)
I took my camera with me.
When I have my camera I notice things. Like the way the sun shines through tree leaves, or the interesting texture of a fire hydrant, or the contrast of white mums against dark leaves.
I noticed the smell of autumn. The brown earth smell that is so different from spring, which also smells like earth. In the spring the air smells of promise, in the fall the scent is deeper, layered and complex, it is maturity of promises fulfilled.
I ponder the contrasts of my world. I see bright, brittle leaves against dull, solid concrete. On a neighbor's porch, I notice all the different shades of white reflected in her chairs, flowers, and cement bunny.
Every now and then I realize there is a world beyond the far away lands of New York and California, or the very close land of my desk and scrap table in the basement.
Every now and then, I take time to be instead of do.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Three questions ... many answers

Earlier today someone posted three questions for us to answer, and so I did.
But on further reflection I realized I had many, many, many more than three answers, because I have many, many many more than one interest.
So I broke out the three questions and answers to fit some of my passions.

1) Who are three people you would like to have over for dinner tonight?
Judge Lisa, Cindy Lee, Sophia C.
2) Who would you like to see walk in the door?
Lisa B.
3) If you could be anywhere else right now, where would you be?
In a scrapbook store with $1,000 to spend, no questions asked.

1) Who are three people you would like to have over for dinner tonight?
David, Logan and Adam
2) Who would you like to see walk in the door?
A cook / maid / housekeeper.
3) If you could be anywhere else right now, where would you be?
In St. George, on the deck of my (imaginary) second house with my family.

Extended family
1) Who are three people you would like to have over for dinner tonight?
LaWana, ReNae, Janene, Ray and their families (I cheated a little on this one)
2) Who would you like to see walk in the door?
Our father (who died 12 years ago this November)
3) If you could be anywhere else right now, where would you be?
In Yellowstone Lodge (reserved just for us) with the entire extended family having a giant house party for Christmas.

1) Who are three people you would like to have over for dinner tonight?
Joseph Smith, Jr. David O. McKay and Gordon B. Hinkley
2) Who would you like to see walk in the door?
Jesus Christ
3) If you could be anywhere else right now, where would you be?
In the celestial room of the Salt Lake Temple.

1) Who are three people you would like to have over for dinner tonight?
Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Dr. Laura
2) Who would you like to see walk in the door?
President George W. Bush
3) If you could be anywhere else right now, where would you be?
In the nation’s capital ~ preferably having dinner with the above mentioned, in the White House.

1) Who are three people you would like to have over for dinner tonight?
Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Martian Luther King
2) Who would you like to see walk in the door?
My father ~ he would love to be part of this discussion.
3) If you could be anywhere else right now, where would you be?
In an English Pub.

1) Who are three people you would like to have over for dinner tonight?
L.M. Montgomery, Lousia May Alcott, Mark Twain
2) Who would you like to see walk in the door?
3) If you could be anywhere else right now, where would you be?
At an Italian café.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Spectacularly imperfect

I am not perfect. I am remarkably, amazingly, spectacularly imperfect. This truth continues to plague me, as I wish very much to be perfect.
Here are examples of my imperfections:
In writing a story about the Salt Lake Astronomical Society I called it the Salt Lake Astrological Society. They were not amused.
When doing a layout about my cat in the sunflowers, I forgot to put the “f” in flower, so the word read “sunlowers.”
After washing, folding and hanging all the laundry, I went into the laundry room to discover the clothing rack had toppled over into the cat box.
Let’s not even talk about the mess that is my house.
But, yesterday I did a perfectly wonderful job of cleaning the spice rack. I soaked the bottles, scrubbed off the labels, printed new, correct, matching labels, dried the bottles very carefully and replaced all the spices. The job took me all day.
So now I have a kitchen covered with spices, smelling like a combination of oregano and cinnamon, and a refrigerator empty of everything except a few spills.
Alas, one of the most annoying thing about not being perfect is so many things in my life go unnoticed if I do them, but are glaringly obvious if I don’t do them.
On a daily basis I wipe fingerprints off door jams, pick socks off the floor, throw away food packages left on counters, and wash the gummy goo off the lid of the garbage can. But, it is clear I don’t dust the mini-blinds, wash the windows or clean out from under the bed on any more than a semi-annual basis.
I am in awe of people like Bree of “Desperate Housewives” fame who have matching flatware on a well set table every night. I would very much like to send my children and husband off every morning in freshly ironed clothes, a breakfast of banana-nut waffles resting in their tummies, clutching nutritious, delicious home-made lunches. But the thing is, I like to sleep, I like to scrap, I don’t like to cook and iron and I don’t have all that much self control.
So I just muck along, doing the best I can.
Maybe I use “astrologer,” rather than “astronomer” but I got the other 287 words in the story correct. Not perfect, but not bad, either.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Thought on Sunday

I have been challenged today to write about why I love Sunday mornings on what is one of two favorite Sunday mornings every year.
Today is the semi-annual Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love Conference weekend because I can watch church in my p.j.s and not feel at all guilty. I also love the twice yearly injection of words of hope, encouragement and counsel from my church leaders. Conference brings such a peaceful feeling to my home, and it reminds me why I go about my ordinary life every day.
But normally, Sunday mornings are a little hectic. I’m a last minute kind of gal, and on Sunday I’m busy making sure we have all our ducks in a row for church. If it is my week to teach, I’m putting the final (or maybe first) touches on my lesson.
Until January Sunday mornings are my one time to sleep in during the week.
But starting in January my church will be meeting at 9 a.m. for a year. The good thing about this is I get my Sunday afternoon nap. The best time to sleep, ever.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Attack of the Ya-Ya Scrappers

Friday night plans included a girls night out with my Ya-Ya Scrapper friends. But I had been away from home for two nights in a row, and Adam was acting like he was going to be sick, and I had a raging headache. So I stayed home and watched a tape of “Survivor.”
This morning at 7:30 a.m David woke me up and said, “You’ve been TP-ed.”
Sure enough, toilet paper streamers were strung from the sunflowers and trees in the front yard. Written on the storm door in lipstick were the words, “Ya-Ya,” and on my doorstep was a bag with a pair of Tweetie pajamas in it.
So I took photos, (as would any self-respecting scrapper) and called Michelle. “Ya-Ya!”
I think you want my mom, said the 14-year-old girl who answered.
Apparently the Ya-Ya’s didn’t watch a movie as planned. Instead, at 11 p.m. they went to Wal-Mart. Jessica, who was carting her 4 week old baby, had to stop and nurse him, so they sat down in the pajama department so Kade could eat.
While they were their, they found pajamas for everyone, Scooby Doo, Tinker-Bell, Bambie, etc. They decided we need to wear our Ya-Ya jammies at our next event, so they picked up a pair of Tweeties jams for me.
Perhaps the funniest thing is how well the pajamas match an ongoing joke about me with my scrapbook message board. My user name is SageHen, but recently, with Katie Cat’s propensity of bringing live birds into the house, I changed my avatar (the picture next to my profile) to match the cat problem.
Coincidentally, the words printed all over my new pajamas are “What puddy tat?” I may never take the jammies off again.