Sunday, December 30, 2007


I have too many New Year's Resolutions bouncing around in my head. I know that I ought to narrow it down to two or three resolutions that I really try to stick to...but I'd like to lay them all out here to look at first. We'll see later about the narrowing.

I've also thought about putting them into categories, so that I just have two or three big resolutions, with lots of bullet points, but it's really the same thing as having lots of resolutions, isn't it? Just more organized.

Be more healthy:
1. 5 fruits and veggies a day.
2. 8 glasses of water.
3. 7 hours of sleep a night. (even in a resolution, I know 8's just not realistic)
4. Get up before school to use my new treadmill!
5. Incorporate new fruits and veggies into our lives.

Be more happy:
1. Try to sit more, not rush from one project to the next.
2. See more friends, make time to talk on the phone.
3. Be nicer to Matthew.
4. Enjoy Anna.

Be more holy:
1. Don't sleep too late to go to church. Enjoy both services.
2. Read through the Bible. I got a 90 day Bible last year and made it to day 15. :( Try again. :)
3. Pray more in a more focused way. I'm good with spotty prayer, little moments during the day, but not so much with the dedicated time.

And then there are the things that seem to me to be more like goals than resolutions. I'm not sure what the difference is.

1. Support more local business and buy more handcrafted things.
2. Take the GRE and start my master's program.
3. Find more new music to love.

So...15 things. We'll see how it goes.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Weekend projects

I had a big weekend of crafting. I have a whole pile of things I've been meaning to try, I finished two of them this weekend, and I finished the monster Christmas quilt I've been working on forever. We decided to stop the quilt a little early, to try to tame the hugeness a bit, and I bound it from the front instead of the back to help with that a little too. It fits nicely on the bed now. Matthew says I can't put it on for real until after Thanksgiving, but here's a picture.
I also made a crochet snowflake. I've wondered about thread crochet, and if it would be fun or terrible, and I would say, after completing this, that it's neither. Once I got the hang of it, (which took quite a while) it wasn't terrible, but I never really enjoyed it either. I was always looking ahead and counting down, hoping to be finished. I do think it looks pretty cute though, and it'll be nice to have something I made on the tree. I did the glue and pins thing tonight, so here's a picture of it all spread out and drying.

I started and finished another project yesterday which I am very very very excited about, but I'm not showing pictures because of gifty conflicts. :)

And I started the practice version of Anna's Christmas Dress, the one I'm going to make out of my bridesmaid's shawl. I'm making this one out of a pretty denim fabric that Megan gave me, and using a pattern for the first time in 20 years. I made the (lined!) bodice tonight, after 2 phone calls home. Mom helped me cut it out yesterday. For some reason, this kind of sewing makes me very nervous. Something about having a pattern maybe? There is a right and a wrong way to do this, and if I mess it up, it won't fit. The other times I'm just making it up as I go, I figure there's a good chance it won't work anyway, so there's no pressure. Maybe that's it. It's strange to feel so nervous about it. And Mom's so calm about it, and gets nervous about her quilting. It's funny how we're different. Here's a picture of the bodice.

Oh, and I wanted to mention a failure too, just so you know it's not all glory. Last weekend I tried to make Anna a pair of leggings out of the sleeves of an old sweater, and it didn't work at all. I couldn't get the pieces to come together right or stay stitched, one leg was longer than the other, it was a mess. But if anyone has a sweater they don't want anymore, I'd love to try again, so bring it or send it, and I'll cut it up! I eventually gave up on the pants and stitched what was left of the sleeves into little gift bags, so if you get a funny looking Christmas present, that's why. Desperate lemonade.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

If only I could knit...

then maybe you would all receive these for Christmas....

"Knitted masks make great gifts! Skiers love their sporty look..."
"Misses' ski mask starts with a warm dickey, ends with a gay pom pon on top"

--McCall's Christmas Make-it Ideas 1967

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Kiki's Wedding Part 2

Out of order...sorry. This will be ridiculously long and overly detailed, for Megan and Sara and anyone else who missed the day.

The wedding day was warm and sunny with a slight breeze. I never would have predicted such weather for October 20, but I should have known that God would deliver for Katrina.

We went and got our hair done in the morning, mine was flippy and cute and I went against the hairdresser's advice and got a red headband to match my dress, and was very happy. Katrina's hair was woven up and was glossy and gorgeous. We all went to the salon together, and then ran out to Claire's together to get my headband and some clips for Brandi. It was funny to run errands together, the day felt normal and not, normal and not, all day long.

We went back to Katrina's house and had some lunch in the basement, peeking out every so often to see the tent and the deck, all prettied up with curtains and tulle and red flowers and bows. It was all so pretty and perfect and so Katrina. Then we did our makeup, and Katrina did mine, just as she has for every major event in my life. I felt bad, having the bride fix me up, but she's Katrina, and didn't mind a bit. (And really, she'll be much happier with the pictures this way. I'm a disaster. There's a reason she always helps me.)

Anna arrived and Brandi fixed her hair. She sat still for the curling, and was adorable in her white dress. We girls all got into our dresses, and prayed and cried with Jeanne just before we went upstairs. The music started, stopped, and then started in earnest. The grandparents and parents were seated, and there was a nervous moment when I couldn't remember when I was supposed to start down the steps. Also there were lots of wasps. We all walked in to "Window in the Skies" by U2. I was nervous and excited and happy and very very shaky. Watching the girls walk in was unreal. The ring bearer came in with his red suitcase, looking dapper and proud. Anna slowly came down the aisle, pausing to drop petals, spin around, offer petals to individual guests, until finally Joe cajoled her to the front. Katrina walked in to Mark Cohn's "True Companion". Her red shoes were perfect, we could see them as she started down the steps, all white dress and bright red shoes. She did have to pause at the bottom to shake the wasps out of her veil, but kept her composure mightily. I've been trying to research wasps at weddings, to find the country where they're good luck, surely there is one, but I can only find information about WASP's at weddings, and I get frustrated. A prize to anyone who can find it for me!
She walked in with Bobby, and we all cried, but not as much as Joe. Kent did a great job with the wedding. He told Joe how lucky he was, and it was clear how much he meant it. What a blessing to be married by someone who loves you enough to choke up. After the ceremony, I heard a couple of the groomsmen commenting "That pastor was actually pretty cool". I felt so proud. I'm sorry I can't say more about that, I was trying not to cry, to enjoy the moment, to dodge the wasps and steel myself for the sting, willing myself to be silent and not ruin the wedding if it did happen, to watch Anna, to not fall over when Anna pushed me, and to be "in the moment". (We had a conversation about mindfulness on the way home from Denver, and I'm trying to practice that more) (Obviously I need the practice).

After the wedding we took pictures and then got to sit around under the tent and chat for a couple of hours before dinner. It was just what Katrina wanted, a day that she actually got to spend with people, and have some time to enjoy it.

The dinner was delicious and fun, and then we headed out to the Knight of Columbus Hall for the reception. We had lined the tables with white cloths and black table runners, with red candle holders and white votives and red and black guitar picks personalized for Katrina and Joe. They were a big hit, everyone said they were a great idea. Whoever thought of that is a genius. :) Their cake was three layers, with a red ribbon around the middle and lyrics from
"True Companion" written around the outside of the top and bottom layers. It was gorgeous and cool and delicious. Chelsea and Brandi and two groomsmen gave toasts and did a lovely job. We did the Grand March all the way through, Katrina and Joe danced to "Picture in a Frame" by Tom Waits(?) She told me 3 or 4 times and I never remember. Matthew and I got to dance a little, the bridesmaids all got to dance a little, Anna danced with Joe, we had cake and beer and cheese and meatballs and got to see lots of people.

I loved being a bridesmaid. I think, maybe even more than being a bride. But there was a dance, so it's not really a fair comparison. Bridesmaids get to be bossy, and I do love that.

The next day there was a brunch out at Lance and Jeanne's house, I was glad to get a chance to talk more with Jeff and Brandi and Jenny. And then they opened presents!

It was a great week.

Kiki's Wedding Part 1

I know I'm way behind everyone on this one, but late is better than never.

I'm so thankful for all of the time I got to spend with Katrina doing wedding stuff. It was such a special time to spend together.

We went to Denver for her Bachelorette, and I got to spend a regular evening at home with the couple. We watched the Rockies play, ate Burritos, cleaned the apartment, it was fun to see them together at home. It's so strange still that she's married, and that Joe is a part of my life now, but a happy strange. It's made me even more thankful for my friends, who are still so much a part of my life, because it is funny to all of a sudden share someone with a husband. I'm also really thankful that Joe is a fantastic guy who loves her and I think he'll be a great addition to my friend-family. (Framily?)

Anyhoo, we went downtown on the train and ate sushi and then went to Mynt and Hush. Katrina got free drinks and we danced and were reminded that it's always good to take Chelsea with you. We got in the back door free at Hush, because she's so darn cute. Or, "scrumptious", according to the guy we walked by on the sidewalk.

On the way home the next day, the four girls from High School once again shared a car. Katrina, Chelsea, Brandi and I had a wonderful time. We talked the whole way, about this and that, like no time had passed at all. It's amazing how our lives have all gone different directions. I like to think about our different paths, coming from the same center, and back to the center again for the wedding. It's a pretty flower in my head. Were I a writer, I think we'd make terrific Chick-Lit.

The week preceding the wedding was full full full. Anna is a dream. She took good naps in Katrina's basement while we wrapped silverware and made programs and tied bows and, and, and. It was fun to spend so much time with Lance and Jeanne, and to remember that I'm a part of that family too.

The wedding day itself was beautifully surreal. I think maybe it deserves it's own post.


We've been super busy this month, maybe I'll have time right now to catch up, this post will be all crafts.

I can post pictures of Katrina's quilt now that she's received it. She was very happy, and I can't wait to see it in her new little home, to watch movies with her snuggled up in it.

I used the rail fence pattern and 30's reproduction prints. I set out to make a red and white quilt, with some other accent colors, but when I got it all put together, I realized it's much more blue and white. I didn't realize how much my tastes influenced it until I laid out the finished top in the living room to look at it. It was PERFECT in that room. At least, it has a lot of me in it, and that's a nice quality in a gift, yes? Also, I intended to do a variation of the rail fence pattern that makes sort of open and close boxes all throughout, but I didn't realize until I'd sewn all of the blocks that I would need to sew half of them flipped. I thought I could just flip them around and then sew them together. So this is what it looks like and I'm still pleased, just a bit wiser.

Anna picked the fabric for the back. I held up two and asked her which one Kiki would like better.

I made another gift quilt a while ago, can't post pictures of it yet, but Matthew said when he saw it "That's so (name of recipient)", so maybe I'm getting better at picking out fabric for others.

I also made Katrina a nightie out of an old U2 Concert t-shirt, I was really really pleased with that. I'm excited about all of the t-shirt possibilities. I forgot to take a picture of that before I gave it to her, but surely I'll make more.

Right now I'm working on a Christmas quilt for our bed. I picked out the fabrics and cut out the blocks, and then Matthew made up a plan for how to put them together. It's my favorite way to quilt, it's fun to do something together. It's a monster though, I think I may have done something wrong in the mathematical step, it's going to be HUGE. Here's a picture of the grid.

I'm also working on a little star baby blanket, trying to use up some scraps. I'm using small yarn and a small hook and making a blanket in a shape! All big steps for me. I think it's coming along alright, I've modified the pattern a bit as I go, I think my version is better. *warning--crochet terms coming* I think it's better to use a decrease rather than skip stitches when making an inside corner, I don't like the holes that the skipped stitches make, and I don't understand the point of the slip stitches and chaining in one corner, they're not pretty. But perhaps I just don't know enough about pattern making. The other problem I'm having is size. I can sort of envision what size a square or rectangular baby blanket should be, but the star shape is throwing me for a loop. How big?
And Joanna just sent me two beautiful old fabrics and some neato pieced oval/diamonds, I don't know what I'm going to do with it all, but it'll be fun.
Oh! And, with our bridesmaids dresses we got shawls out of matching satin, and I'm going to try to make Anna a Christmas dress out of mine. Eeek!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Laura K 10K

I did it!

The 10K was this morning. I was super nervous all day yesterday and couldn't get to sleep last night, but the race was this morning and was so much fun. We started at the zoo and ran down 4th, and past the Cancer Center, and then south on Main out to Sagebrush, and then back through the zoo. It was fun to run with a group of people and I didn't get lost. :) I kept my pace with my heart rate monitor, and finished in 1:10:22 (Is that how you write it?), which was my goal. I was 75th out of 140, so not at all last. I can't believe that it was fun. I'm excited for next year.

Here are a few pictures.

Me before the race.

My fans.

Anna greeting me at the finish.
After the race they did a one mile fun run through the zoo for the kids. Anna was excited and very serious about her race, though she was easily distracted by the animals, and rode for a lot of it on her Daddy's shoulders.

It was a great day.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Susu!

Happy Birthday Susan!

This is one of my favorite pictures of you.
And as a special present, here's one where you look cute and I look super dorky. Why the awful glasses, why?
Happy Happy Birthday.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Anna's fashion

Anna's been dressing herself lately. She often prefers jammies, but today when I came home from school this is how I found her. So stylish.
And then she said "Hi Mama, glad a see you! How school today? Teach little kids Spanish?"
What fun!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Up all night


Anna's been sick tonight, 12:30, 1:30, and 2:30. I can't decide whether to go to sleep or stay up another 30 minutes to see what happens at 3:30. I've washed 3 sets of sheets, and blankie twice. This last time blankie escaped, so I don't have to stay up to get it out of the dryer, but I don't know if I'll be so patient if I've gone back to sleep. I'm glad I decided to call the subline the first time she was sick.

I'm glad I'm a night owl, and that I had a huge nap today because of allergies. I think I'm going to risk it. But I'm laying down on the couch, not back in my bed.

Night night.

**EDIT** And again at 4:45...stumbling back to couch.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


Last Spring the 2nd grade teacher called and asked if I would be on their Technology team this year, they needed a fourth person. I said OK. This Tuesday, I found out what I agreed to...a zillion meetings, a lot of work, presentations, papers, etc. Serves me right for not reading all of my school email I guess. I'm sure I got something about it before she asked me.

I'm not really upset though. It'll be busy for sure, I've got three meetings this week (and two quilting classes, but that's fun) so my week's hugely full. But I have the chance to earn some extra money, and I've been wanting to make a Spanish website for the school, so it'll be a chance to do that. It just makes me laugh that I had no idea what I said OK to.

I was thinking about inservices, and how lots of the time they're annoying, but sometimes you really do learn things that you need to learn. And sometimes they're very basic, but sometimes you need basic, etc. I got to thinking about real life inservices that I wish we could take.

I would like Matthew to take one on the difference between a bolt and a sippy cup. If he tightens the lids, I can BARELY get them off, and I usually get a little angry. Maybe someone could make up a PowerPoint presentation for him, and then they could practice.

I would like one on raising a two year old. VERY specific...These are the things that are going to wreck your baby up, these are the things that are OK.

I think Anna needs a lesson in efficiency. She's the piddliest little thing.

Any others?

Monday, August 27, 2007


Hello, my name is Betsy, I live in the country, and I have a problem with Ants.

I know, it's just a part of living out here.

And I know, it's not that big of a deal.

But I am SICK of ants! Last summer, the first time we found them, I cried. I thought it meant I was a terrible housekeeper and a bad person. Now I know that ants are a part of life in the country, they can get in anywhere and they will eat anything. I've found them in my bed, on a trail to the snotty hanky under my pillow. In the mudroom, carrying back BITS OF DIRT! There is plenty of dirt outside, why don't they eat that? And of course, on the kitchen floor and on the floor by Anna's highchair, the obvious places. I'm tired of following the trail and spraying just a teensy bit of Ant Raid on the entrance spot, and then worrying about poisoning our little family. I'm tired of staring maniacally at the floor looking for moving dots. I'm tired of cleaning up ants and then feeling like I have them crawling all over me for the next hour. I'm tired of stumbling across a new path and literally getting ants in my pants.

I love living in the country, and I love creation. I can even admire them sometimes. How do they do it? I found them a few nights ago coming in by the doorway that separates the mudroom from the rest of the house. In the middle of the house! They were not in the mudroom, just coming out the floor by the door to it. It's impressive, but I still want them all dead.

Eeeeeewww.... I feel so creepy crawly all over.

Saturday, August 18, 2007


Back To School Fatigue

I always forget about how tired it makes me to go back to school. I also always forget (until Open House) how much I love this job. I love the kids, I love teaching Spanish, it's so much fun.

We're using the new curriculum this year, I taught today using the books, and it's fun. It feels like cheating, to just do what the books say to do, but I think it will be nice this year, to have a break, and still feel like the kids are learning, and really immerse myself in this curriculum, to see what it does.

I'm also training for a 10K. I've never done anything like this before, and I hesitate to mention it here, because then if I don't make it, it'll be public, but I want to do it. They're having the first annual Laura K (Kleysteuber) 10K on October 6, and I decided I wanted to do it. It's raising money for the cancer center. I've been running this summer, so I thought I'd give it a shot. I found an 8 week training program online, so this is what I've been following. Anyone want to do it with me? I'm a slow jogger, but I'd welcome the support. I'm off to bed now, I've got three miles scheduled for the morning. :)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Home again, home again

We're back from the cabin. It was a lovely week. This week we're back to work though, in every sense. No more lounging about, eating junk and letting other people take care of Anna. There's laundry up to my ears, a house to pick up, things to put away, and inservices to go to. I LOVE my job, but the first month back is a kick in the pants.

My favorite quote from the trip comes from my Dad, talking to us about how Mom was worried because we kids got there a bit later than she expected: "I don't worry, worry is not a productive emotion." Hmmm, where DO I get my attitudes about the world?

We read the last Harry Potter out loud together, driving Mom crazy in the process. But we finished, and I'd be happy to discuss it with anyone, but I don't feel like I can here-because of the spoiler issue. So just talk to me sometime.

One interesting question from the books though--What would your Patronus be? Mine, obviously, would be a flamingo. Quite intimidating. AND-the subject of much debate during the reading aloud-What is the proper pronunciation of the word Patronus?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

This 'n' that

I've been working on a new quilt lately, and thinking more about the skipping steps problem. For this quilt, I went to a quilt store and chose fabric, instead of using what I already had, or someone else's scraps. I don't know if it is because this is a very special one, or because I paid more for the fabric, or what, but I'm trying hard to make this one nice. I keep calling my Mom to ask what I would do next if I were trying to do it right. I've ironed in between each step, something I NEVER did before. I'm redoing seams that aren't quite right, I'm double checking before I cut and paying attention to my seam allowances. I was thinking...maybe our Moms don't skip steps because they have more experience. The more I sew, the more I realize the importance of each step, and can see the difference in the product, and the more I think that I CAN take the extra time and do it right and still get it done. Maybe by the time Anna wants to sew, I won't skip steps either. It's been interesting to watch myself make this one.

I finished the piecing today, but the fabric I bought for the border doesn't look quite right, so I'll have to do a bit more shopping. I really like it. I hope the recipient does too. My only concern now that it's almost all put together is that it really looks like something that I would like. I tried to pick out things that she would like, but it ended up being very me. It's a good thing we're friends, I guess.

Today I looked up Over the Rhine on a whim, and they have a new CD coming out the end of August. It's playing on their record player on the website, and I love it. I've pre-ordered it. I just love the jazzy, saucy, dark room with candles and red wine feeling of it. Have a listen, maybe you'll love it too.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Book List

OK, I'll play too.

* Bold the ones you’ve read.
* Italicize the ones you want to read.
* Leave in normal text the ones that don’t interest you.
* Put in ALL CAPS those you haven’t heard of.
* Put a couple of asterisks by the ones you recommend.
* Put a ++ by the ones you started but didn't finish.

1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)

2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) **

3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) **

4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)++

5. The Lord of the Rings:Return of the King (Tolkein)

6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings (Tolkein)

7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)

8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)**

9. OUTLANDER (Diana Gabaldon)

10. A FINE BALANCE (Rohinton Mistry)

11. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Rowling)**

12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)

13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)

14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)

15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)

16. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)**

17. FALL ON YOUR KNEES (Ann-Marie MacDonald)

18. The Stand (Stephen King)

19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)**

20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)

21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)**

22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)**

23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)**

24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)

25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)++

26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)

27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)

28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)**

29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)

30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)

31. DUNE (Frank Herbert)

32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)

33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)

34. 1984 (Orwell)**

35. THE MISTS OF AVALON (Marion Zimmer Bradley)

36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)

37. THE POWER OF ONE (Bryce Courtenay)

38. I Know This Much is True(Wally Lamb)

39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant) (Megan just gave it to me, it's on the stack)

40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)

41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)

42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)

43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)

44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)

45. The Bible ++**

46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)**

47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)

48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)

49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)

50. She's Come Undone (Wally Lamb)

51. THE POISONWOOD BIBLE (Barbara Kingsolver)

52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)**

53. Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card)

54. Great Expectations (Dickens)**

55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)**

56. THE STONE ANGEL (Margaret Laurence)

57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)

58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)

59. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)

60. The Time Traveler's Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)**

61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)**

63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)

64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)

65. FIFTH BUSINESS (Robertson Davies)

66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)

68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)

69. Les Miserables (Victor Hugo)**

70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

71. Bridget Jones's Diary (Helen Fielding)**

72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

73. Shogun (James Clavell)

74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)

75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson)**

76. THE SUMMER TREE (Guy Gavriel Kay)

77. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (Betty Smith)

78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)

79. THE DIVINERS (Margaret Laurence)

80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)**

81. NOT WANTED ON THE VOYAGE (Timothy Findley)

82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)

83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)**

84. WIZARD'S FIRST RULE (Terry Goodkind)

85. Emma (Jane Austen)

86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)

87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)**

88. THE STONE DIARIES (Carol Shields)

89. BLINDNESS (Jose Saramago)

90. KANE AND ABEL (Jeffrey Archer)

91. IN THE SKIN OF A LION (Michael Ondaatje)

92. Lord of the Flies (William Golding)**

93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)

94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)

95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)

96. THE OUTSIDERS (S.E. Hinton)

97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)**

98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)

99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield) (We listened to it in the car once)

100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Yum yum!

Anna and I made cookies tonight, and they are really tasty. Like little peach cobblers. Easy too! It's Martha's "Cookie of the Month"

Fresh-Peach Drop Cookies
~4 dozen

2 cups + 2T all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4" dice
1/3 cup peach jam or preserves
2 T fine sanding sugar (I used reg. sugar)
1/8 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda.
2. Beat butter and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 min. Reduce speed to low. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture, and beat until just combined. Add peaches and jam, and beat until just combined.
3. Using a tablespoon, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment, spacing about 2" apart. (If not baking all of the cookies at once, refrigerate dough between batches, dough can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two days.) Combine sanding sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle each cookie with 1/8 tsp. cinnamon sugar mixture.
4. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown and just set, 11-13 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, and then transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

New Music

Shauna had a link to this on her blog, and I really like it. I've been waiting for years for some new Christian music to fall into my lap (I'm not much for actively seeking). I think this might be a find! You can go here and listen.

monk & neagle banner

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

8 years?

Last night and this morning, he watched 9 episodes of Project Runway with my sisters and me.

He is still SO my favorite.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

7 party!

Saturday night we had the 7 party, and it was such fun. I think that everyone had a great time. It was a little warm and breezy, but by evening it was lovely. There were kids running around everywhere, playing games and having fun. I forgot how much fun big parties are.

We had seven layer burritos, seven layer sundaes, Seven up, prizes for the seven outdoor games, and a giant seven to take pictures with.

Here's my favorite prize. A sweet baby blankie with an appliqued seven.

It warmed my heart so to see this sandbox full of kiddos.

And this pool full of wild ones who couldn't resist.
Yay Croquet!

I hope no one minds if I post some family pics. I won't identify people, for the illusion of safety.

Here's somebody awfully cute.

On to the Seven pictures!

We had some VERY distinguished guests. And some regular ones.

So thankful for all of their company. It was great fun.

Monday, July 02, 2007


Heath's comment on the poem set me to thinking. A year ago I wouldn't have dreamed of writing a poem. I hated doing it for school, and didn't enjoy reading poems much. Poetry was something for other people. Snooty people, mainly. (Excepting, of course, Linda)

Then last year, when browsing in The Tattered Cover with Katrina while Anna slept in her stroller, I found a book of poems that I couldn't put down. I bought it on a whim and bravely took it to the cabin with me. That's brave because I was going to show it to Dad, and he's the smartest man in the world, and also literary-so if it was stinky, he'd tell me so. But he liked them, and so I discovered a world of accessible poetry. Good Poems selected and introduced by Garrison Keillor. Susan got me Good Poems for Hard Times for Christmas, and I've also enjoyed it. You should definitely read them.

The poems in these books are more about capturing a moment or a feeling than about any other grand thing. Maybe all poetry is about capturing a moment, and I was too busy feeling bad that I couldn't find the grand something that I missed it. Regardless, these poems make me laugh and cry and make me feel like I can also write poetry. And that it's alright if my poetry is not very grand, if all it does is capture a moment or a time or a feeling. It's a way to scrapbook emotion. And you know I love to keep things.

The poem-a-longs on Linda's blog have also been great fun. I wonder if there is a way to make kids feel this way about poetry while they're in school? I don't know. There are some wonderful English teachers, but kids are hard.

Here is an example from the book. I just flipped through and picked one, there are so many good ones.

I Stop Writing the Poem--Tess Gallagher

to fold the clothes. No matter who lives
or who dies, I'm still a woman.
I'll always have plenty to do.
I bring the arms of his shirt
together. Nothing can stop
our tenderness. I'll get back
to the poem. I'll get back to being
a woman. But for now
there's a shirt, a giant shirt
in my hands, and somewhere a small girl
standing next to her mother
watching to see how it's done.

Anyhoo--Check out these books! Write poems! It's fun!

Saturday, June 30, 2007

A poem

Earlier this year I wrote a poem and I liked it. Having done that, I've been waiting around for my brain to happen upon another line that I liked so that I could write another. I don't love this one quite as much, but still, writing poetry is a new fun thing that I didn't think that I could do. I *think* I welcome comments/criticism. Many thanks to Linda for inspiration--now I ought to get to work on her ghazal.

The good year

Wheat falls out of the lint trap during Harvest.
I smile.
It snowed and iced and snowed too late, and you were worried. (Farmers are always worried).
But this year everything worked.
The heads are tall and full and prices are high (!)

Before Harvest, we couched our hope in allusions.
"Don't put glass windows on the house".
Waiting for hail or grasshoppers.

Now you're cutting.
When I see you-moments when I bring lunches and suppers to the field-you're happy.
This is our good year.

One in ten, or maybe one in fifty.
I pray we harvest enough hope to sustain us;
enough that every year I can smile
When wheat falls out of the lint trap during Harvest.

A productive nap

Today during Anna's nap I got several little things done that had been sitting in my sewing basket forever. Here's a list.

1. I finished the Madgwick baby blanket. I'm glad I splurged on the super cute flannel, because I didn't do too much with this one, and it's still pretty cute because the fabric is so cute. I used the serger to finish the edges, which was a really strange choice, but I tend to learn by doing so...

2. I serged around the edges of some pueblo-y fabric that Matthew's mom gave me, making a nice tablecloth for my classroom.

3. I fixed this sweet little apron that didn't have a neck tie. I've used it for about 4 years, and FINALLY, it's finished. I bought it at an auction, so who knows how long it's really waited to be done.

4. I fixed my yellow and red bandanna--remember it? It was my staple for so long, and then it broke and now it's back! I'm excited.

5. I made a pillow for Jairus and Cephas and Silas. In the random bag of fabric I bought from ebay was this nice pieced square that kind of matches the boys room. Matthew's mom has given me lots of poly-fil lately as she cleans out her craft supplies. I put the two together and there you go!

I've fed the boys in the field, Anna's up, and we're off to town.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Looky looky!

I have amazing sisters. I didn't even have to talk them into it, I just asked and they came, and we finished the mudroom together on Saturday. We hung a pegboard and laid laminate flooring. We used power tools and no one was injured. We did a wonderful job. I'm so proud of us and thankful for them.

Here's before, during, and after.

We also installed the new TV that Dad got Matthew and me for our Anniversary. We had a dickens of a time getting the old CD player out, but sweet Matthew worked on it when he got in from Harvest, and before bed last night, we got the new one put in. I'm excited. I can have Dad DVD me cooking shows, and then cook along with them! I can watch the music DVD's that came with my CD's that I've never gotten around to! I can watch TV on DVD while doing other things! Here's a picture--I cleaned the kitchen while watching Monchy and Alexandra!

Thanks Dad!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

You're it.

Linda tagged me...

5 things I dig about Jesus...

1. He cried when Lazarus died, even though He knew, more than anyone else could, that life is not all there is.

2. He liked to play with the kiddies.

3. He didn't mess around with doctrine. He said to love God and love people.

4. He told John to take care of his Mom when He was gone.

5. John 10:10 It's not just about the hereafter-He wants to make the here better too.

Doing this is an interesting way to take a snapshot of personal faith-It makes me wonder what it says about mine.

Now I'm to tag people...Sarah, Jenny, Susan, Trinket, Michele. (I'll take the girls)

Monday, June 18, 2007

A little bit of catch up

Months and months ago-there were two comment questions that I've never gotten around to answering. It's summer now, so I have time to catch up everything. I adore my job. I don't know what I would do without a summer.

Michele wanted the recipe for Spaghetti Squash with Tomato and Parmesan. This is from the Betty Crocker cookbook.

1lb Spaghetti Squash
2-4 tomatoes
clove garlic
1T olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp basil
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

*Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds and fibers. Salt and pepper, dot with butter. Place in baking dish with 1/4" water and bake @400 30-40 minutes.
*Saute tomatoes, garlic, and spices in olive oil.
*Dig out fibers of squash with fork and top with tomato mixture and Parmesan.

I loved this. It was so tasty. I'm sure the original recipe calls for onion, but I usually take that out. This is from my recipe book, so it's how I fixed it, not necessarily how Betty would. I also think there may be other ways to cook the squash-I don't know if you can cook it whole?

And Sarah asked what kinds of Spanish music I've been listening to. Here's a list of my favorites, in no particular order.

1. Ricardo Arjona: "Si el norte fuera el sur"--This is one of my very favorite favorites. I got it in college, and realized this year that I must listen to it quite a bit, because Matthew was able to sing along as he walked through the kitchen. For him to know the words, but not the language-impressive. I got it because we did a unit on "Ella y él" (#3) in my advanced conversation class. It's still one of my favorite songs ever. I haven't ever gotten any more of his CD's, I don't know why.

2. Vico C: "En honor a la verdad"--Spanish Christian Rap. It's so good. I have "Emboscada" too, and I like it. I like "En honor a la verdad" a bit more.

3. Shakira: "Dónde están los ladrones"--This is actually Linda's. I should give it back. It's a great album. I have "Pies descalzos" too, but this one is my favorite.

4. Selena: "Amor prohibido" is my favorite, but punk kids stole it at the High School, so I have "Live, the Last Concert" which is also very good, and "Ones" which we bought at the Selena Museum, which has a DVD of videos too, which is fun.

5. Intocable: "Sueños"--This is very Garden City. My favorite song is "Sueña" (#1). It's the first song I had the kids sing. I heard it more than 200 times, and I still really like it.

6. Natalia Lafourcade: "Natalia Lafourcade"--This is really funky and fun--jazzy.

7. A.B. Quintanilla y los Kumbia Kings: This is one of my favorite bands--. I love them, except when they sing in English, and then I am forced to skip songs. Again-I may be influenced by the fact that the kids loved them, and so we listened to these CD's lots in class. I would recommend any of their CD's-I especially like "Amor, familia, y respeto", "Shhh", and "4"

8. Juanes: "Un día normal" and "Mi sangre". I listen more to the first one, but I like them both. It's Pop.

9. Andy & Lucas: "Andy & Lucas"--This is cheesy pop, but the lyrics are clear and simple, so I like it for that reason.

10. Limite: "Soy así" and "Por encima de todo"--Tejano. I really love "Soy así". Incidentally-lots of their music is written by A.B. Quintanilla too, so really-I love everything he does.

11. Crystal Lewis "La colección" I had this CD in English-she's a Christian singer who I liked in High School, and when I found the CD in Spanish I was so excited.

12. Monchy & Alexandra: "Exitos y mas" This is Bachata-from the D.R. I adore this CD, but Matthew can't stand it.

I noticed in making this that most of the people that I like have put out new CD's since I quit teaching at the High School and paying attention. My Christmas and Birthday lists are taking shape nicely.

So there you go-two answers, not too late.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


No, not the dangerous kind.
As in purging STUFF. The last two weeks I've been on a getting rid of things spree. Precipitated, I think, by too many people commenting on the amount of stuff in my basement. And helping clean out Grandma's house, and realizing I have WAY too much, and helping Megan and Travis move, etc, etc. I have donated/thrown away/Freecycled at least 30 bags/boxes full of stuff. It feels wonderful. I highly recommend it. It's hard to get rid of the first thing, but after that it's easy and fun. Here are a couple of pictures of completed sections. You'll remember that prior to the purge, you couldn't see the walls and the boxes went out at least 6 feet. All of the baby clothes are now in nicely labeled tubs instead of all of those copy paper boxes, and all of the boxes that I was saving because "they're such nice boxes" are broken down and ready for the next fire.

Please don't comment anything like "It's about time" That hurts my feelings.

Now I'm considering starting to finish the basement myself. Matthew suggested it yesterday (I think he was joking, but I took him seriously). I like to get things done, and I've always thought it looked like fun. We'll see what happens. I need to finish some other things first.
FYI-my favorite website- Craftster-was just redesigned and it's much easier to navigate and explore. Go have some fun there, I know you'll be inspired to make something. And making things is good for us.

I've been getting up early-before Anna-and going out for a little jog. I've read before how early morning exercise is wonderful, even for non morning people, but I didn't really believe it. Boy, I do now. I wake up feeling good! I never wake up feeling good. And the mornings are sometimes still and always beautiful. I ran with my Mp3 player today, but I think I prefer the birds.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Bowling Blankie

I wanted to post a picture of the Howard Blankie because it's really cute. It was my first attempt to use the slinky fabric, and it was slippery. It's just flannel on the front, slippy stuff on the back, with a little batting tied in to be comfy. It was quicker than a crocheted blankie, but it doesn't look as nice, but the fabric is neat, and I like the idea of having the two contrasting textures. I wish I were better at detail and working to make things right, but I like to FINISH projects.

I know it's ridiculously early to think about this--but every time I sew something I think of who will be available to teach Anna to sew. It has to be someone more careful than me, I'm always skipping steps. Megan and I were discussing the "skipping steps" tendency. My mom is a careful sewer, but I'm like a wild renegade 8 year old with the sewing machine. I don't pin, I don't measure, I don't iron, I don't redo things. And Megan--She's muchly much much more careful than me, and actually rips out seams and likes things to look perfect, but even she admits to skipping steps that her mother would not. Is it natural to do less than your mom? If that's true, then is my slap-dash attitude going to cripple Anna? Do I have to cultivate perfectionism to save her from a life of crooked seams? Or is it genetic and already too late?

Anyway-here's the blankie. I like to think that baby blankets should be imperfect so that you don't feel bad about the poo.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Save the Date!

It's been a while since we really did it up--
Start getting excited (and making travel plans).

Lots more information and planning to follow, but I want you to put it on your calendars now.

Yay for numbers!

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Look! We did it! We went from this...

to this!

In just two years! I remember talking to Matthew about being patient, and asking how long it would take, and finding it hard to believe we would ever have a lawn. And now we do, and it makes me so happy. And it gives me lots of extra hope for the trees. Here they were a year ago, I can't even see the tree in this picture. They were tiny.

And here are the trees...

and the lilacs this year. The lilacs started out even smaller than the trees, and look how robust they are now!

Someday I'll look out and feel this way about our windbreak, and our shade trees, and our flowers and our patio (future goals)

And because I really don't have many hobbies... I planted a garden today. It's not very big, just a zucchini, yellow squash, cantaloupe, and two tomatoes. I'd like to be a big gardener, but I'm not sure I'm cut out for it. I'll start with this teensy plot, and we'll see what happens.