Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Scope Creep

We made it to Portland in good time, thanks to the "lead foot" gene I inherited from Grandma Hanna. Keira, Steve and I sat around and planned out the project. Our project for the weekend (Thursday, Friday, Saturday) is to build a mantle and flanking bookcases in Keira's family room.

Enter husband Nathan. The project now entails some drywall repair and perhaps tile installation.

Keira and I are fighting a rearward battle against "scope creep". Let's just hope this project stays to manageable proportions and doesn't become a time and money pit.

Monkey Pants

If you have to ask...

Sherri was telling me all about her woes this morning. Her daughter Lauren is in first grade and evidently the first graders are doing a jungle themed play at her school. I'm not sure what part our budding thespian has, but Sherri is somehow involved in the costumes. She was on her way to drop off cheetah material to the mom who was sewing costumes, and then she went home to dye the monkey pants.

How often can you say that. "I have to go home and dye monkey pants."

Monkey pants.

Monkey pants.

Sorry, I just like saying it.

Monkey pants.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Speed Racer

The last time Nathan visited his Aunt Keira (more than 2 years ago), he used his camera to make a video of the entire trip home from her house (over 200 miles). Steve was the driver. We'll see how long it takes us tomorrow. I'm guessing it will be longer than 3 minutes.

The Gentlemen's Laundry, Part II

"Art" is now on one wall.
Manly storage.

The Gentlemen's Laundry

Yes, this is the laundry room.

It is also the downstairs bathroom. The one I'd like the boys to use most - after all, they all sleep downstairs. I would like the upstairs hall bath to be more of a "guest" bath. So I don't have to mentally cringe, and verbally apologize, when my visiting teacher asks if her child (or worse yet, herself) can use it.

The shelves that Nathan built. The paint is still just a little tacky, so I'm not putting anything on them for a day or two.

I still have a little more to do - mostly just organizing the shelves over the washer, and hanging my "art".

Monday, April 28, 2008


It can be fun to paint a room. Load up your roller with a fun color and roll it onto the wall. Instant gratification. That's not the kind of painting that I'm doing today (and probably tomorrow). No, I'm doing fiddly painting. Cracks and crevices (crevasses!), corners and edges. I was hoping to be able to use the roller on the beadboard - but it left too much paint in the crevices - so I had to use Ol' Betsy - my favorite edging brush.

I have to say, it's looking good, even if I am only painting it white.

Pardon me, NOT white - "Swiss Coffee". Granted, I don't know much about coffee, but I do know that it is generally dark brown. Cafe au lait is French for coffee with milk, right? So I understand that it is light brown. Evidently the Swiss take their milk with a drop of coffee - because it is pretty darn white.

I hope to be done painting by tomorrow, because the day after that I'm heading down to Portland ... where I hope to help Keira do some painting.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fence Me In

Last summer Andrew and Steve put in our fence posts. We already have a fence on either side of our back yard - but now that a new walking trail might be put in behind us we're looking for a little extra privacy.

With Nathan home it looks like it might get finished.

Hey, Nathan! I've got a couple more outstanding projects.

  • baseboard moldings on the landing and in the upstairs hall.

  • new sink/vanity in "guest bath" (Tia and Keira could do that one - after all, they helped me do the same with the master bath)

  • new chandelier in the entry?

  • new blinds in both offices and the master bedroom

  • oh yeah, we're going to Portland this week to do some projects for Keira - new mantle and bookcases.

That's enough to get started on.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Work in Progress

I'm nearly ready to paint my laundry room. Nearly. Steve still needs to get one more piece of beadboard to finish off the construction, and Steve and Nathan are going to tweak the shelves that Nathan built for me, and then hang them.

I finished painting and framing my "art" for the walls. Keira had a great idea for naming them. Piece #1 will be "Sad Clown", #2 - "Dogs Playing Poker", and #3 - "Kitten on Shawl". In reality they are all pictures of trees. Remember yesterday when I said that I pretty much only paint trees? It would just be too boring to name them stuff like "Solitary Tree", "Two Trees", etc... I did branch out (ha ha), and painted a couple of bushes on one (which are just trees minus the trunks), and some water on another. Maybe I should name the trees with water something like "The Ancient Mariner".
Sounds a lot better than "Trees with Pond".

Friday, April 25, 2008

Art 4-Sale

Just kidding. About the 4-sale.

I was talking to Suzanne today about a picture I was going to frame and put in my laundry room. She asked if maybe she could commission some art for Emma's room. I told her I pretty much am only goodish at trees. If she wants trees, I could deliver. Anything else, well, let's just say I'm no Michaelangelo. Or Rembrandt, or... (you get the picture). I think I could turn out a credible Jackson Pollack on demand, but that's about it.

...unless you want trees.

Dropped Calls

I dropped my cell phone in the toilet last night. It was only in the water for a second - I immediately grabbed it, took out the battery, blotted up all the water and left it open all night to completely dry it out. It's still acting funny - I was able to call Steve on it this morning, but he couldn't hear me. When I plug it in to charge it, it repeatedly makes little beeping noises. Things are not looking good for it.

In the past I wouldn't have cared too much what replacement phone I end up with, but now I'm not so sure. David was visiting us last weekend and had his new iPhone. It's sooo cool. I do have to ask myself, "How badly does a stay at home mom need a phone that can browse the web?" My answer (unfortunately) is , "I don't need a web browsing phone at all, darn it". The iPhone has lots and lots of other cool features that I also don't need. Ah well, it's fun to dream.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


At last count I had seven (7!) Bundt pans. Today I found a new one that I didn't already have. I'm not sure if I should count it as number 8, or add up all the individual cakes that it can make. If I do that I end up with thirteen. As everyone knows, thirteen is an unlucky number....

I think I need to look for another pan. Maybe I'll get lucky.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bureaucracy At Work

Roz is alive and well. She works at the DMV under the name of "Sandy".

Nathan and I spent an hour and a half at the Department of Motor Vehicles. I suppose it could have been worse. For a while I thought it might be a lot longer. We hadn't planned on going up there, but since we had some free time and all of his identification documents - thither we went.

Steve and Nathan had looked online to find out what documents Nathan would need to replace his lost license. The list was a little confusing, redundant and in some cases, obscure. We gathered up everything we could find - on the theory that it's better to have more than you need, than not enough. I put it all in a file folder so that we wouldn't lose anything. When Nathan and I finally got up to the counter this is what we got.

DMV worker (hereafter referred to as "Roz"): Spell your last name.
Nathan: W***
"Roz": First name.
Nathan: Nathan
"Roz": Date of Birth
Nathan: **/**/85
Roz: Is your address......
Nathan: yes
"Roz": That'll be $15, and you may step over to the camera.
Me: Don't you want ANY identification???
"Roz": We still have his picture and information in the computer.
Me: Are you sure???

Here is a list of the contents of our file folder:

Certified Birth Certificate
Selective Service Card
Driver's Ed. Diploma
Insurance Policy
High School Transcript
3rd Grade Class Picture

I'm just a little disappointed that she didn't want to see any of it. After all, he was such a cute 8 year old.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Operation Battleship

Combined YM/YW tonight. My MIA Maids are in charge. A recipe for disaster? Fine, they planned a disaster. We're playing "Battleship" with people as the playing pieces.

Nathan, Danny and I are going to go over to the church later on this morning and attempt to set up a screen between the two sides. I'm hoping that four bed sheets will be plenty - too bad they aren't a uniform battleship gray. We do have one gray sheet (with white stripes), one blue, one light turquoise and a green plaid sheet.

I hope I don't need to use all four sheets-I think it would look more like laundry day than an epic sea battle.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Out of the Blue

"Lori and I goofing around" circa 1977

I got an unexpected phone call this afternoon. I haven't heard from Lori in probably a dozen years. We have exchanged Christmas cards faithfully every year - Christmas cards with pictures and newsletters - just enough to have an idea of what each we're up to - how many kids (now grandkids), what vacations we went on, that sort of thing, but we just don't talk often.

I met Lori over 40 years ago - we were friends all through school. Her parents had a little house over on Fairview Drive. It was in that house that I watched Neil Armstrong take his "one small step" on the moon in 1969. We played with dolls together, had sleepovers, listened to classic music such as the one about Camp Grenada, and played board games like "Mousetrap".

Good times. Good times.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Family Reunion

Me: It's time to take some family pictures.
Cory: I'll take the pictures!

Quite the speedy volunteer.

Too bad we didn't plan ahead - not that we could have. But it might have been nice to have somewhat coordinating clothes. As it is we ran the gamut from dressy church clothes to pajamas. We had very little notice as to when David would be visiting - but with him in town for a day I managed to get everyone in one place for Sunday dinner. And pictures. We'll have to do it again in a couple of years - when Andrew gets home. Of course by then Alex might be gone....

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Is There Hope For the Species?

Steve and I had the dubious pleasure of chaperoning the stake dance this evening. Dress was casual. So was pretty much everything. We were on parking lot detail (making sure there were no steamy windows, drug deals, etc...). In between our rounds we went into the gym to warm up (baby it's cold outside!). It seldom seemed like anyone was dancing. Maybe we were just missing it. Maybe.

I informed Alex that if I had to go, so did he. He probably moved around more than 1/2 the people, combined. I'm almost tempted to sign him up for some dance lessons. He has the energy, flexibility - he's just lacking in the rhythm section.

Near the end of the dance I was sitting next to parents of a young woman. We each pointed out our kids. Frankly I was happy that Alex was mine. Their young woman was quite the boisterous dancer, while not having anything like unto a dancers usual body type. Her parents had pointed out Alex to her earlier and told her they thought they had found someone who could keep up with her. This is one time that I'm glad that Alex dances to the beat of a different drum.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Are You Freakin' Kidding Me????

It is April 18th. A-P-R-I-L 1-8!!!!
On the right of the picture is the lovely hanging basket that I bought yesterday at Costco. I think I'd better bring it inside so it doesn't die.
Global warming. Yeah right.

Where In The World?

I wonder if the food allowance for Andrew's mission is any higher? If it is maybe he can taste one of the famous local delicacies.

A Little Home Improvement

Where Are My Sisters When I Really Need Them?

Steve and Nathan spent 2 hours at Home Depot last night. I hesitate to even ask what all they got. Hopefully they did get everything we need to finish up our downstairs bath/laundry room.

Our laundry room has been in a state of 80% done for 3 or 4 years. Steve now has more experience (and a lot more tools) than he did then, so here's hoping. He's got plenty of assistants - Andrew has the day off today, Nathan will be around this morning and tomorrow...there's just not that much left to do. Come on guys, work with me.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

WASL..Day 2

For today's episode of WASL, Daniel has part 2 of the math test to look forward to. He was done early with part 1 yesterday, so I'll want to make sure that I am somewhat in the vicinity.

I will have Miriam with me during the test time - but frankly, 1 two year old is easy. Easy. We could go to the store, the library or the park(if it was dry enough). Fortunately for me (and Stephanie) she's not the type to throw too many tantrums. I suppose being the 3rd child has something to do with it. The farther down the line you are, the more opportunity you have to learn the futility of unnecessary tantrums.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Moving Experience

The furniture delivery men came again today. The third time was a charm - they finally brought the right replacement piece for our new sectional.

I felt sorry for them the first two times they came out (it was the same 2 men both times). Today I felt even sorrier. You would sort of expect the men that move furniture for a living to be at least a little burly. A couple of muscles. Nope. Not today. Both the moving men today were slightly built, Hispanic men. Lugging a couch down a full flight of stairs, then lugging another one up.

I try and point out these labor intensive and "unfun" jobs to my boys - as reasons to get a good education.

Here We Come A WASL-ing

It's that time of year again. Yeah, it's spring, but more importantly - it's WASL time! I think the acronym stands for "Washington Assessment of Student Learning". I'll be dropping Danny off at the SHoPP (School/Home Parent Partnership...)office where the test will be administered to the eager young students that are being homeschooled through the school district. Two afternoons this week, two afternoons AND two mornings next week.

I hope Danny doesn't suffer from any test anxiety. It's not like the test even matters or counts for anything - until a student is in 10th grade. Then it counts. Supposedly you can't graduate unless you pass the dreaded 10th grade WASL.

Fun, fun, fun.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

All Boy(s)

I am somewhat of an expert on boys. I am bristling with (and sometimes at) brothers, swarming with sons and I have grandsons galore. I have worked for many years with cub scouts and boy scouts, I have a father, husband and son-in-law. I am surrounded by boys.

This truth I hold self evident: Boys make noise. That's not the same as saying that they are noisy. My boys aren't particularly noisy. They are just capable of making a lot of noise.

Girls aren't always quiet, but if they are making noise it's usually talking, sometime shrieking, and if you're really unlucky an awful lot of giggling. Boys will bang on things, make sound effects for toys cars, drop things just to see what happens, kick things just because they can - and then when you ask them to stop they'll look at you with innocence fairly dripping from their faces and say "what noise?"

Happy Birthday, David Hanna

"The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age."
-Lucille Ball

If you're out there somewhere, and using Google, maybe you'll see this! Happy birthday and I hope you're having a great life.

Monday, April 14, 2008

3 Degrees of Separation

We have a new elder in our ward, Elder Ellingson. He comes from a small town about 20 minutes from Longmont, Colorado. His grandfather lives in Virginia. Nathan had dinner at his grandfathers house a couple of months ago - his grandpa told Nathan that he had a grandson serving a mission in the Everett, Washington mission. Elder Ellingson and his companion had dinner at our house this evening.

Our world just got a little smaller.

Back in the Saddle Again

It's been a little tough to get moving this morning. It's not so much that it's Monday, it's more the fact that Danny and I have had 9 days off. Nine days of not taking Alex to seminary, nine days of no math, nine days of no social studies, language arts, p.e., science....and only a little bit of piano. I was going to have him do more during spring break - but I was pretty wrapped up in Nathan getting home. We all were to some extent.

So far this morning we've spent an hour on algebra, an hour on syllogisms and other language arts stuff, 30 minutes reading, 30 minutes piano practice, 30 minutes working out of the social studies book. Now Danny is building "The Great Wall of China" - I'll give him another 1/2 hour or so. Science and P. E. are all that we have left, plus our regular Monday advisor meeting at the school district office. I'm looking forward to getting the WASL testing schedule - since all the testing is done at the district office I will have hours of free time that counts towards our weekly school attendance.

It almost makes me wish he was back in school. Almost.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Elder West School of Tonsorial Artistry

Evidently Nathan bought himself some clippers while on his mission and learned to cut his own hair. I have to say, his haircut looked just fine to me. I guess Andrew was intrigued by the "do-it-yourself" aspect and wanted to give it a try himself. It's not quite as easy as it sounds, but I think with a few more practice runs, he might just be able to pull it off. He only needs a few simple supplies:

  • clippers
  • mirror
  • honest missionary companion (who won't lie and say "yes, you got it even in the back" when you didn't come close)

Let's Talk

After a two week hiatus, we are back to our regularly scheduled schedule.

Stephanie and Cory (et al) came to our ward to hear Nathan's homecoming talk. Nathan did a fine job - the meeting even ended a couple of minutes early. I told him that I appreciate it when speakers quit when they are done - as opposed to rambling on. It is definitely a sign of maturity when someone is given just a few days to come up with a 20 minute talk, and they don't complain. In that respect I'm not very mature. I still like to "haggle" over just exactly how long the member of the bishopric wants me to speak.

me: "When you say seven to ten minutes, do you mean closer to seven?"

them: "(relieved that I didn't just say no) However long the Spirit prompts you to talk"

me: "We'll be out early"

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Spring, When a Young Man's Fancy Turns to....Outdoor Household Maintenance

Some much needed 2nd story window washing.

Nathan, back in the saddle again. We've missed his mad weed whacking skills.

Andrew helping out with the gutter cleaning. We've never actually cleaned our gutters (this link is for Michael)- I'm embarrassed to admit, but now that we have the extra tall ladder....maybe we'll do it again.

Your Call is Being Recorded.

My computer is about 90% recovered from its reformatting.

I just noticed that I don't have a printer installed.

I just noticed as I was about to try and print something.

That's okay, no hurry. I'll just give my tech support a call when he gets out of the shower.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Blank Slate

I asked my husband to clean up my computer's been running a little slow and being a bit frustrating at times.

I now have a blank slate. He got everything cleaned off, now he needs to reinstall programs. (Don't tell me I should do it myself ...I have all this great "home-grown" tech-support, it's just a little slow)

My desktop is on default, I don't have programs and files that I usually have access to. And my husband ended up having to go in to work this morning. He has to go to a meeting - he asked me if I could pick him up later....maybe this was his plan. Clean off my computer so that I would NEED him - that way I would be more likely to be willing to drive all the way in to Everett to pick him up from work. Hmm.

His evil plan just may work.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Technological Advances at My House

Top Cartoon:
frame #1: "Hold on, I feel a bad mood coming"
last frame: "That was fast"
"I call it my turbo bad mood"
Bottom Cartoon:
last frame: "I can't establish the right posture for a turbo bad mood"
"You just haven't mastered what I call the 'Stinking Lotus' position"

I'm trying out new (new to me) technology. I can use our new printer to scan pictures/documents and save them on a memory card. I don't know how to enlarge the picture yet, so apologies for the unreadable text. These cartoons appeared yesterday and today - and reminded me of Keira's blog (yesterday's post: Disconsolate).

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


It's a bird, it's a it's Elder West!
Nathan's back home again.

Counting the Minutes

I was hoping Nathan would call. I just got off the phone with him - he's all alone in the Atlanta airport. Not having been alone for over 2 years it's got to be more than a little weird. I think he's picked up a little Virginian accent.

Just over 6 hours. 360 minutes.

Leavin' On A Jet Plane

I woke up at 2am this morning and couldn't get back to sleep for well over an hour.

Nathan's first airplane ride of the day is from Dulles to Atlanta. It departs at 3:15pm (Eastern time). That means he'll be boarding around noon Pacific time. He has about a 2 hour layover in Atlanta, then it's non-stop to SeaTac (he gets in at 9:14pm). We've got the signs made. Alex will hold the one that says "Nathan" and has balloons painted on it, Danny will be holding the "Welcome Home Elder West" sign. Andrew doesn't get off work soon enough to go, but he'll be waiting for us at home.

I don't have too much to do today. The boys and I have gotten the house cleaned up and a bed made up for Nathan.

I guess it's time to go out and kill the fatted calf.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Reading Lite

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it here before, but I love our dentist. I probably have. He is the nicest guy. Our family has been going to see him for 13 years. He was about the only dentist in our general area we could find that takes our dental insurance (we have GREAT dental - it pays 100% of everything - no co-pays or exceptions that we've found).

I had to go in today to have some routine follow up stuff done for my root canals. Not too much fun, but I got through it fine. Of course it is 5pm and the Novocaine hasn't completely worn off - did I mention that he uses a LOT of Novocaine?

Anyway, I wanted to mention one other thing that I like about him. No, two other things. First of all, his office doesn't smell "dentisty". Some offices I've walked in practically trigger a panic attack just from the smell. Second, he has the best selection of magazines for an office that I've ever seen. He has a rack that is two magazines high and about 5 feet long, the magazines are neatly stacked about 4 or 5 deep. Surprisingly he doesn't have "People", he has things like "Smithsonian", "National Geographic"(watch the credits), "Architectural Digest", "Cottage Living", "Sports Illustrated"(NOT the swimsuit issue, ever), etc... I could just sit there and browse through magazines.

Magazines I don't see there: "People" or "Parenting". I'm especially glad not to see "Parenting". I think that is the only magazine they ever have laying around at our pediatrician's office. Now there's a depressing mag. - all about being a better parent - when you're in the doctor's office because little Jimmy is sick - or better yet, little Nathan just broke his arm for the 3rd time.

Eye Candy

"I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine."
Pride & Prejudice - chapter 5

Keira assures me this is not fluff. I am sort of yearning for a P & P fix, but I don't have 6 hours to sit down and savor it, so this will have to suffice for the nonce. I'm glad that my husband even likes the "Colin Firth" version best - he thinks Elizabeth is pretty darn cute. I don't mind that, since while he's looking at her I can drool in peace.

"I cannot fix on the hour, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun." P & P chapter 60.

It's Only a Day Away

Tomorrow, Nathan comes home T-O-M-O-R-R-O-W.

Monday, April 7, 2008

I'll Give You Three Guesses

So....we're waiting for Andrew's mission call. He turned his papers in a little over week ago, so it could come pretty much anytime (We got Nathan's call in 1 week). On Saturday we got a postcard from Nathan - he said that he was guessing Andrew would either be sent to a Pacific Island country or Bolivia. Keira suggested that I do a post about it, so here goes.

Elder Nathan: Pacific Islands or Bolivia

Keira: Ontario Canada, Guatemala City, Wisconsin

Alex: Hackensack New Jersey, Brazil

Danny: Africa, Washington D.C.

Me: New Zealand, Orlando Florida, Japan

So...give us your best guess. One or two foreign, one or two domestic. I don't really care where he goes, as long as he goes the distance...

The Best Two Years

Last night, after the grandkids went home we watched "The Best Two Years". I'm not usually a fan of "Mormon" movies, but I love this one. Not only do I love it, it has today's countdown number in its title. Very serendipitous.

Speaking of 2 (we were, weren't we), the Playmobil Noah's Ark I got for the grandkids has 2 each of 13 kinds of animals. Including people. I was a little disappointed not to get Shem, Ham and Japheth - and Noah himself looked a bit young to me. I happened to have a gray haired and bearded Playmobil figure, so I swapped out the black hair for gray. Now Noah looks more like a biblical prophet instead of a hippie.
Looking forward to seeing Nathan the day after tomorrow.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

This is the Song That Never Ends...

The subject of this post is "Songs that were played, and played, and played, and played, and played....on the radio - until I got completely sick of them."

Steve's blog reminded me of that with his post today. He mentioned the song "The Rose" by Bette Midler. It was way overplayed in 1980. Another Bette song that was way overplayed..."Wind Beneath My Wings". It's just sappy. And maybe "From a Distance". Okay, enough about the Divine Miss M...

How about "No Such Thing" - John Mayer. Great song, but I'd like it a lot better if I hadn't heard it about a million times when it first came out.

#1 all time over played song.....drumroll please....."You Light Up My Life" by Debbie Boone (1977). I was away at college - and the local radio station - the only one that played top 40 played this without ceasing one day. It was the only song they played. The. Only. Song. I think they did it because it was the Homecoming Theme. It was relentless. Chinese water torture is nothing in comparison. You just couldn't get it out of your head.

So...what song do you wish you could get out of your head?


This week! Wow, it's hard to believe how close. I'm so glad to be focused on Nathan coming home, so I'm not fretting about when Andrew's call will come and where he will go.

Matthew 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

I guess I am doomed to be a person that tries to take some thought for the morrow. It's my fate to be a bit of a worrier - I'm pretty sure that tattoed in invisible ink somewhere on my body are the words "failure to plan is planning to fail".

That reminds me, I need to make a to do list for the week....