Thursday, December 29, 2005
On the disc are also songs that Layne and Evan have sent me of 'the brothers' singing. I love it when they come up. The kids always want to know which uncle is singing. I mostly know but I have a hard time telling between Layne and Evan. Dean laughs at their schmaltzy singing and arrangements and general goofiness. He is jealous. He wishes that he had brothers like that to sing and play with.
So I mended shelves and unpacked boxes of books that had been packed for more than 2 years. I love my books. Why had I left them packed for 2 years? It is good to see my old friends again. Like the copy of Little Women with JM on the inside cover (Mom's initials). Silly maybe to unpack them all when I am sure it won't be long until we will have to move from here. But I hate living in the state of suspension. Better to be here while we are here. Anyways, all my books (and Dean's who is a likewise lover of books) are unpacked. I also totally rearranged the living room furniture. I think it is the best arrangement yet. I like it. It is a joy to sit in, now. I have a little bench by the window now ready to start little seedlings in a month. Flower seedlings and tomatoe seedlings and pepper seedlings and melon seedinglings.
The first night (after the rearrangement) Dean and I watched the Last Samurai (a DVD which Drew owns - he and I saw it at the theatre - and Dean has never watched). For the first time we could sit comfortably without moving furniture to watch. Dean liked the movie. It was the 3rd or 4th viewing for me. Japanese is such a gutteral language. It is like they are in contrast to the Chinese who are so nasally. It is like as a culture they swore they would never sound like that. Maybe Japanese is not so gutteral when they are not talking about war... They yelled ALOT in the movie.
Yesterday I ran my other Christmas break mini camp. I had 8 kids from 4 - 12 and they were mostly boys. Whew! That was a lot of energy. It was fun, though. We made candles for New Years and played upset the fruit basket (they loved that game - they didn't want to stop!) and went for a hike and painted. My friend Abbie came in and did an hour with them about India (where she was last year) and their traditions for this time of year. It was not so much a camp of teaching but more a camp of keeping the energy going in the right direction. And it went okay, I think. So today I rest. I would still be sleeping if Rhiannon hadn't woken me up. I'm reading a book by Amy Tan - the Bonesetter's Daughter - and I am really enjoying it.
Monday, December 26, 2005
We were under the tree by 8am. The kids all liked their Santa stuff. We don't go to extremes and try to get a few gifts that are meaningful or useful and promote our family values. Kaetlyn, Drew and Erin help Santa out for each other and that is fun. Erin got the family a DVD player. Yahoo! You can't even RENT VHS anymore in Vernon - it was getting to be very slim pickings! Dean got me a beautiful healing fairy. Just when all the presenting was done and I started work on the turkey, Bethany called and we opened our presents together. I am so honoured to have her drawing of me. Beautiful! And I don't have a copy of that picture myself so I really, really like it! (funny - when Dean sees it, he says how we are all good at drawing. I look at him quizzically and say, Bethany, Amy and Martha and that is all of us? That is only 3 out of 12 and if my parents had stopped at 3 kids, no one would be good at drawing. He is always trying to categorize us!) Beth also sent me some foot stuff from Lush which I love and there is no Lush store in Vernon so it is a real treat - and the Little Women video which I have been wanting for years. No one will watch it with me - they are all too cool but I love it!
While the turkey cooked, Dean and I walked the dog. Then Erin and I played Scrabble (when Kaetlyn plays, we call it squabble) while sort of watching her movie, Guru. That movie is really funny! Although there are some questionable parts where we had to fastforward and distract Rhiannon. Then the kids set the table beautifully. By candle light we had our turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry juice with gingerale, brocolli and cheese, yams and curried peas (Justin made). Erin never made the apple pie so we just had the usual goodies for desert but mostly we were too full to even think about sweets!
Later we watched Rhiannon's Christmas DVD - The Secret of NIMH and then Drew's Christmas DVD, Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - very funny and I went to bed after working on Dean's Christmas present. I am making him two hats but I couldn't make them without trying them on his head as when you have no hair the fit has to be exactly right - so I gave him balls of yarn for his gift. I am making one out of bamboo! It is black and silky and 100% bamboo! Weird. That one will be for on stage. The other I am making out of Lopi wool for keeping his hairless head warm in the cold.
That was our Christmas. Today everyone just laid low, played with their Christmas things, ate left overs (yum!). I went and visited a friend who was lonely and has no family for an hour or so. And the day is over already...
Saturday, December 24, 2005
I did have a bit of grief with Kaetlyn and Drew who didn't want to do their chores. They said I was ruining their Christmas eve day by making them work. *sigh* It is so nice when this ego-centric stage ends... I did protest that it wouldn't have been much of a holiday for me if I have to do all the work by myself. Kaetlyn said, why did we have to have a big dinner and why did the house have to be clean - who cares if there is mold growing in the toilet! Why indeed! It did get all worked out in the end but not after some severe-ness on my part. We went to the service at the Alliance church which had less singing and more preaching than usual and I was dying to sing. I love to sing Christmas songs and no one else really does. I was really looking forward to Martha being here and playing our piano and singing with me... The preaching was very nice and their pastor is from Scotland and had a kindly brogue. He very gently talked about how turning to Jesus at this time of year (and always) helps us to get centred again from our hectic lives. They have a part when all the children go up to the front and they tell the Christmas story. This year Rhiannon ran up there. They told the story but left blanks and let the children fill in the blanks. Rhiannon got to speak into the mic and say that the angel said not to be afraid. I could see her little hand there waving each time there was an opportunity (now where does she get that from....?) (you all might be too young to remember that about me - Doug or John would know and John was always the same way)
We picked up Erin and Justin and had our Christmas Eve dinner - this year vegetarian quesadillas (Justin if vegetarian) and I made my famous artichoke dip and put out all the goodies. I gave my little Christmas Eve talk about what Christmas means and then we each opened a gift. I opened the one from Kaetlyn who gave me some pj's and some scenting candle burning thing. We watched a Christmas Carol (I had to put Rhiannon to bed part way through at her request - I hope that is a good sign) and now all the kids are off to bed so Santa can come. I am waiting for them all to fall asleep. Then the long task of Santa begins.
I picked up Bethany's gift for me today and opened the box and put all three presents under the tree. I am so excited! I can't wait to talk to her tomorrow and I REALLY hope my gift for her got there today!
I hope Rhiannon will have a better night than she has had for the last couple! She has woken up in the middle of the night the last 2 nights and stayed awake for about 2 hours in which time she comes into my room and wakes me up several times (usually just after I have fallen asleep). Last night she woke me up so often and so thoroughly, that I couldn't fall asleep for more than an hour after she finally did. She is just so excited. And today is Christmas Eve. I'll have to wear her out really good today. Too bad we can't go toboganning somewhere which we like to do when there is actually snow on Christmas Eve. Maybe Dean can take her to the park... Probably physical exertion will do the trick (well, I can hope, can't I?). I remember how mom used to drug us when I was Rhiannon's age. Too bad they took that stuff off the market... A little dose of Phenogren went a long way on Christmas Eve...
Merry Christmas all my lovely, beautiful, wonderful sisters. I look forward to talking to you, Beth, on Christmas. Call me when you are ready. I am sure we will be 'up and at 'em' bright and early (well actually it probably won't be bright yet...) I love you all!
Thursday, December 22, 2005
It is raining here. Raining and raining. Almost like a bit of Nanaimo right here. No wind, though. Drew is very discouraged as the snow slowly disappears and his 'run' for his GT slowly melts to mush. "It was such a good run, Mom! Look at my scraped up leg from when I crashed and then Jared crashed and it was so fun!" (boys!) as he proudly shows me his calf all scratched up. Of course, Drew gives me much more detailed accounts of his slides down the hill and every nuance. He loves sliding.
I love to read Laura's posts of what you are all doing in Nanaimo. I feel a bit sad, too, to not be there and sad because I have never been there. I am jealous of Katie and Laura and Martha and Sarah and Bethany and Amy who always had lots of sisters. Brothers just don't do things like that. Makes me homesick for a time I never had.
I mailed off Bethany's present (the rest of it) today. I sheepishly went up to the counter and asked the nice mail lady if there was any chance of getting it to Nanaimo before Christmas. She laughed at me. I sent it express post and they are delivering on Saturday. So you COULD have it before Christmas - or you will get it on the 27th. Whenever you get it, you MUST open it with me on the phone because there are explanations needed and I didn't write anything on them. And then I realized that I forgot one of your little presents - it is sitting on the shelf beside where I wrapped everything. As I left, the mail lady said, "Last one?" I grinned and nodded. I didn't bother telling her it was my only one. Then she would know...
Well, I am off to make more peanut brittle
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Amongst all of that, I taught them. First I taught them about their bodies. They loved singing so we I taught them Hinges and Do As I'm Doing and we talked about all the wonderful things we can do with our bodies and how to look after them. Then I told them a story about emotions using puppets. Then we played a game that used our minds and we talked about how we use our minds to remember, solve problems, etc. Last, I taught them about spirit - listening to the still small voice and the magic of believing.
Today, I will canvas for washing windows and make peanut brittle... Dean is sicker so I will baby him. He finally got home late, late, late Monday night (well, early Tuesday morning would also be accurate). Then he had to wash windows yesterday. Today he will rest. I make him tea out of fresh ginger and lemon and that seems to help. At least it hasn't turned into bronchitis which it usually does for him. So, I'm off to make peanut brittle!
Sunday, December 18, 2005
I was especially glad that I did it at this busy time of year. Luckily I agreed to drive her there (she doesn't drive) months ago when I wasn't thinking about how busy I would be. When the time came close, I wondered what I had got myself into and if I should back out. But I am not a backer outer. I was so glad that I arranged things so I could go. It was wonderful to recharge and take that time out for myself - a luxury I would not have allowed myself otherwise. And really such a good idea!
I was so looking forward to seeing Dean when I came home. But he was not here. Their bus was not plugged in so they can't leave until tomorrow morning. I miss him. If I wasn't expecting to see him, I would not miss him quite so much. But I do. I miss him a lot. Our bed won't feel large and luxurious to me tonight, it will feel empty...
I guess it will be all the better when I see him tomorrow, right?
Saturday, December 17, 2005
And Laura, where is our bike trip thing?
Rhiannon had her piano Christmas concert today. She did very well - even remembered her whole notes in Jingle Bells which she struggled with remembering. Dean's parents were there and really enjoyed it. She played two songs on her own and her class did an ensemble (she played tambourine). Poor Dean had to miss it again. He is playing Panorama tonight.
Kaetlyn and Drew are busy with their peanut brittle business. They were taking it easy - not going out that often and then suddenly they realized that there is only 7 days left. SEVEN DAYS left. Eeep! I wish I was more like Katie (but at least my laundry room is clean... I know, I know, it is Brent's fault. Funny how that is, it used to be Laura's fault or my fault...)hehe.
Well, I had better go and finish vacuuming the living room and making my grocery list...
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Just wanted to share that with you. There is something else that is troubling me. I haven't been able to get a hold of Martha in 2 weeks (since I spoke to you, Katie) (errr, I mean Jollee..) I have tried calling several times and never got an answer. She hasn't called me which is unusual since she moved. Does anyone know anything? There are so many factors in her situation, my imagination goes a little wild. If anyone has heard anything, please let me know. You can e-mail me if the information is too personal. When I read Amay's post about being worried about something mom told her about, my mind went immediately here.
Other than those pressing issues, the Christmas baking and tree decorating went well. It was very fun to spend the time with Erin. I made a batch of shortbread, 9 batches of peanut brittle a double batch of sugar cookies (and icing) and started the Nanaimo bars. Whew! And then she and Justin took me out to dinner at a new Indian restaurant in town (Vernon's first!). The food was delicious. I got chicken korma and we shared some pakora and samosas. I went from there to the free workshop we were offering last night at the Inner World School. Several people signed up but only 2 showed up... 'tis the season. We had a good talk with those that showed up. It was on Transitions in Family Relationships so I had lots to say.
Well, that's it for now.
slightly tired chick out.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Erin is coming today around noon to do Christmas baking with her mama. Funny how things that she couldn't be bothered with when she was at home and even actively avoided, she likes to come home and do, now. We are also going to decorate our Christmas tree this afternoon when Kaetlyn gets home from school. We bought it at one of those places where you cut down your own on Monday. It is a grand fir and it is the most beautiful tree I have ever seen! We had quite a time getting it into the stand! It is standing a little crookedly but that will have to do! We had to saw off some little bit but the saw was incredibly dull and it took soooo long with Dean and I trading off sawing! Then we got it into the stand and then it fell over. So it is standing now - however crookedly is fine with us.
Rhiannon is so excited. I think the years 5 - 7 are the apex of Christmas excitement. She is just bouncing around all day. Whe wakes up around 6:30 and starts singing on the top of her lungs while still in bed. (Dean doesn't really enjoy that part!) We put the lights on the tree last night, much to her delight. I've got shortbread in the oven right now and I am about to go make peanut brittle until I run out of ingredients (I think it will be sugar).
And did I tell you that I have managed to get Rhiannon sleeping in her own bed?! YES!! She just got her reward the other day for sleeeping in her own bed for 14 consecutive nights! Ah blissful sleep! What a difference a good night's uninterupted sleep makes! (say good bye to yours, Sarah!)
Saturday, December 10, 2005
I am exhausted. There have been busy, busy days with no breaks. Thursday was the gala so all day Wednesday and Thursday were spent in that preparation. Friday afternoon I had volunteered to head a homeschooling activity (do I have a screw loose or something?!) We did beeswax candles. So I spent Friday morning searching for sheets of beeswax and getting that ready. This morning I had to get up early and make peanut brittle as Kaetlyn and Drew had sold it all. I took them out selling. When we were done, we had 45 minutes to eat lunch before the recital started... Then I come home and rush to make dinner and start the fire and, and, and... At times like this, I really miss Dean in a practical way. Being a single parent is no 'cup o' tea'...
Friday, December 09, 2005
These are my last moments with Erin's digital camera. So perhaps I am going a little overboard. I love digital cameras! Anyway, I have always loved the winter dawn here when we get to see it (ie. don't have the dreaded 'valley bottom cloud') So when sleeping-in failed this morning I took these pictures of the dawn view from my patio. This is looking Northeast towards Lumby. Its the view from my kitchen table.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Now can't you see what I mean about my nose jobs being obvious in the picture?
Okay, maybe I took them out too soon - their still damp but at least they are not 2 inches long...
Yesterday blogger was going so slow and kept not uploading my pics after waiting for 15 minutes! So I gave up. I'll try again now.
This is the first one that I crocheted from a pattern. My hat doesn't look anything like the pic on the pattern but I like it. It is pink and white wool with a mohair blend trim.
This next one is made from one strand of blue and one strand of grey wool and aplaca - the tourquoise (looks like green in the picture) is alpaca - soooo soft but too small for my giant head so I can't model it for you.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
I still have that bag on my foot and my crack doesn't feel as painful today. My right knee hurts in the cold weather and then my left heel is cracked. I hardly know which leg to limp on...
I will take some pics of my new hats later today for you. I have to give back Erin's camera on Friday. I've made some with ear flaps with Alpaca wool which is very, very soft.
Monday, December 05, 2005
Sunday, December 04, 2005
In the freezing cold weather, Redfish played outside downtown last night for the opening ceremonies of the Nordic skiing world cup. At -11 it was a pretty chilly event! I wore leatards, my pajama pants under fleece pants with thin socks, and wool socks and a tshirt, thin sweater under thick sweater, my coat, a neck thing a wool hat and my gloves. But other fools (who probably moved here from Vancouver) were wearing thin jeans and shoes and freezing. I didn't get to stay for their whole set as Rhiannon wanted to go home - she was really tired. We got about half of it but I didn't get to hear a new song I really, really wanted to hear. Oh well.
Before that we went to Penticton for Dean's Nana's memorial service. Their entire family (less 4 great-grand children) was there and we fit in this tiny room. Can you imagine? There was Dean and our family, his sister Katherine and her family (3 kids) his brother, Mark (who is gay - his two kids who live in Calgary weren't there) Dean's 1 and only cousin, Michael was there (but his 2 kids were sick so were at home with their mother in West Van), Dean's parents and his mother's brother, Uncle Barry and his wife. That's it. Can you imagine having a family you can fit in a short paragraph? It was nice and it was the first time I saw them all at once. All the grandkids except Dean spoke. Dean played a beautiful arrangement of Amazing Grace. Uncle Barry spoke and that was pretty much it. The chaplain read some scriptures. We went to Uncle Barry's after the service where he had some food catered and everyone got to visit. We could only stay for an hour as Dean had to be in Vernon for his gig. Rhiannon didn't want to leave. His family is very funny and his cousin Michael was telling us hilarious stories. We were laughing until we cried.
Before that I was in Armstrong at the Farmer's Market. I picked up my old neighbour, Evalyn, who knits slippers and drove out to Armstrong in the bitter cold. We were originally supposed to be up on the stage (death at these events) but we managed to wrangle a better spot on the floor almost immediately. In fact we ended up with 2 tables as someone didn't show up. There were a few people who didn't show up - must have had car trouble with the cold. The room was about the size of the gym (cultural hall?) rooms in the LDS chapels. They had people set up around the outside of the room facing in and then people on the inside facing out. We were at the back of the room facing out (facing the samosa man). In the past, we have always been near the door. I don't think our location was ideal. I only sold 2 hats but I sold more peanut brittle than I have ever sold before there. People were trying them on and saying how beautiful they were and would say they would be back after they made their rounds but they didn't come back. I did trade with some teen age girls who made some very pretty jewlery (or at least Evalyn did it for me - I had to leave early for the Memorial Service). I don't know if it was the location or what. Several times people with children in tow would handle the children's hats and then ask how much they were. When I would say the baby ones were $10 and the children's were $15, they would drop them like a hot potatoe. That doesn't seem like too much to me? When you consider the cost of the yarn and the time it takes me to make it. I'd pay $15 for a beautiful hat for Rhiannon... I'll post some more pictures of more recent hats I have made later. This Farmer's Market only costs $25 to go in and I only have to pay half of that so it was not a loss however you look at it. I just need to find a way to sell these hats... Any ideas are welcome.
So there, I have deconstructed my day. Sometime today I have to go and pick up all my stuff from Evalyn. And I have a crack on my heel. I've never had one of those before and it really hurts. I'm going to go soak my foot and put some more oils on it.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
It doesn't look as though Martha is coming here for Christmas. She can't afford to get here. Probably better that way so her kids can be together for Christmas. What do you guys think of getting a sister package together or a family one, I don't care if brother's contribute and sending it to her? I could do my own from here. I know what it is like to be a single mom at Christmas. Very lonely and no one thinks of you. It doesn't have to be an expensive proposition - just some little pampering things that let her know that we are thinking of her. I think that she could really use some family support right now - especially if she is going to be successful in staying away. Anyways, what do you think? Does someone want to organize the Nanaimo contigent?
And Laura, have you done the sister's bike hike thing yet? I would really like to get it printed and send it down with my Christmas package. Could you please look at it and add your two cents worth and send it back to me?
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Now as for piano music, let me be clear. I enjoy the piano with other instruments and even by itself. But when it is by itself, it is not enough to occupy my mind. I wanted to do something else - like read - while I listened but I don't think that would have been appreciated - especially as I was near the front. I like to sing along with the piano. Maybe there is other music on the piano that I would have enjoyed more - more moody music like Beethoven or boroque music (sp?). But North American piano music from the 1890's on was.... not enough to stimulate me.
I am tired this week end and I am trying to relax. I have been working really, really hard. Canvassing 3 hours a day and then doing the stuff for the school and being a mom. I feel guilty because I haven't got Rhiannon to practise her instruments all week and she can't practise without me. Life just starts rushing, rushing, rushing at this time of year. I need to schedule my time better. I am not generally a live by a schedule kind of person but I think one would be helpful right about now...
It snowed here yesterday. We got about 2 inches and it is melting today. I was out canvassing while it snowed really hard and I actually got 5 jobs. That is exceptional. I guess no one wants to go out and wash their own windows in that kind of weather. It is supposed to get down to -16 with a high of -7 by Wednesday. If it gets that cold, we will be out of business. I am pretty much booked until Tuesday as it is. I'll have to wait and see what comes with the weather. Very often in the long term forcast, very cold weather is forcasted but it doesn't happen. It would be very good for the ice wine people, though. It has to be at least -8 at night for them to harvest the grapes. The sooner it happens, the more juice is in the grape and the more wine they can make.
They are planning Dean's Nana's memorial for either next week end or the one after. Bad for us. Next week end I am in a farmer's market in Armstrong on Saturday. The following week Dean is in Canmore for a big paying gig. We really can't afford to pass up on money making ventures at this time of year... If they have it next Friday, that might work out. Redfish is playing at the Nordic World Championships on Dec 3. $1000 for one 45 minute set. That is good! That is at night so it won't be affected by whatever they decide about the memorial service.
Well, I should go do something productive...
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Then when I got home, I was working on sending out the invitations to the Inner World School Christmas Gala, Dec 8 and I got a call from Dad. He was on his way to pick up Mom from Martha's a week early and take the van back they had bought for her. I don't know if I did the right thing, or not (I think I did) but I got in the middle. I talked to Martha and to Mom and to Dad and got them all calmed down. Dad went back to Nanaimo and Mom is still in Cranbrook but not staying at Martha's (which is probably better). It was rather stressfull and all consuming for the evening to be in the middle of the drama. I was concerned about Martha feeling alone and there being a rift - there has been enough of those. Mom called me to thank me today so I think I did the right thing by getting involved.
While doing that, though, I forgot entirely about a client I had at 8:15 and I missed the appointment and didn't even think about it until I went to bed at 11:00. *sigh* I HATE it when I do that!
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Today will be very busy. I am leaving in an hour and half to go canvassing for windows while Dean washes. Then he will take a break at 11 and drive me home to get changed and ready to go. Then Rhiannon and I are going to the homeschoolers swim. Right after that we are going to our next concert in the series we signed up for in September. Today it is John Arpin, a pianist who is supposed to be the king of ragtime. Should be fun. Dean will pick us up from the Performing Arts Centre at 3:45. I got up at 6 this morning to get everything done at home first. Gotta go pack our bathings suits...
Monday, November 21, 2005
So that is my good news of the day. Dean is still not home. Their vehicle broke down just out of Kananaskis (sp?). They had to rent a UHaul to get home. He said he wouldn't be here until late. He didn't sound good. There was a cat in the house they were put up in, in Banf and he lost his inhaler and hadn't brought any allergy drugs with him so he was sounding all weezy. I'll be glad to see him tonight.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
These are my thoughts on the matter. You know the 10th article of faith which ends with "that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisical glory". Now, I have thought about that quite a bit. What if God is not going to just miraculously return the earth to its paradisical glory. I know in my own life, things have not happened like that. Of course, God could make my life perfect and solve all my problems. But it seems to me that the purpose of my life is to learn. And I learn by sorting through my problems and gaining insight into myself. So, what if we are responsible to return the earth to its paradisical glory? What if it is up to us to learn to take responsibility for our effect on the world around us and to work together with each other to repair the damage and stop its progress? What if there will be no miraculous happening that will make the lion lay down with the lamb but that we (the lion of the developed western world) must lay down with the lamb? These are the things that I think about deeply. I believe that it is up to us to do these things. This is why I am involved in the Inner World School. I see it is a seed to change the way we relate to ourselves (where it always starts) and to each other and the world around us.
Anyways, these are my Sunday thoughts that I wanted to share with all of you!
Saturday, November 19, 2005
Dean's grandmother (known to all as Nana) died last week. She was 94. She had been gone for a long time. I think it was really hard for her when her arthritis got so bad she couldn't live on her own and then she had a stroke before Rhiannon was born and had to be in one of those long term care places where you basically live in a very small room. She was in a very nice place but I think it was really hard for her to be so dependent and she just slowly ebbed away. I saw her last the summer of 2004 with the kids but she didn't really know who we were. She enjoyed us visiting, I think, and we took her for a walk in her wheel chair and stuff. Apparantly she just stopped eating. She was ready to go. She died in Dean's mom's arms (it was her mother). There will be a memorial service in Penticton (where she lived for more than 70 years) in a week or so. Dean was sad and cried a bit but not that she is finally gone - she needed to go but just for the important part of his childhood that she was. He used to visit every summer from North Vancouver for at least 2 weeks. I'm glad that I got to know her while she was still 'with it'. She had a great sense of humour and loved all my kids - especially Drew - she had a thing for boys! The memorial service will be the first time I will be at something where his whole family is there. His brother will be there from Toronto and his sister from Kamloops and his cousin (he only has one cousin, can you imagine?) from West Vancouver.
Well, I had better go get ready for the party (why does one clean the house in advance of these things?! It makes no sense!).
Friday, November 18, 2005
I made up a song yesterday on the spot while teaching the geometry class at the Inner World School. Here it is:
Isosceles, Isoscles it is a special triangle.
Isosceles, Isoscles it has two sides the same.
sang to a happy, little ditty that does bear some resemblance to a tune on the Caillou Christmas Movie that Rhiannon was watching that morning. I wish I could plan to have such inspiration - it just came to me as I was trying to get these 5 and 6 year olds to remember what an Isoscles triangle was - we were making them out of pipe cleaners. I sang it to them and got them singing it and then we marched around banging on drums while we sang it. It was brilliant! Next week we will work on recognizing them...
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
I have really been working on sorting through my mixed feelings about all of this. Of course, I wish that I had enough to do at the Inner World School that I didn't have to do this. But doing this allows me to stay at home with my kids and homeschool Drew and Rhiannon and continue working on building up the Inner World School. So it is a good thing. I just get tired sometimes of pushing, pushing, pushing. Sometimes, I feel like I have been pushing, pushing, pushing forever and not getting very far. And I just want a rest. But no rest is in sight presently. So I'll just have to push on.
Snow is here. But not to stay, I don't think. It is pretty close to 0 outside and it supposed to be warmer in the next couple of days. The snow is pretty and Drew and Rhiannon had fun in it first thing this morning. It is warm and cozy in here with our wood-burning stove, crackling away. Dean has been busy splitting wood for us to use when he is gone. He leaves Thursday am early for Banff and area. He won't be back until Monday. I've been busy baking for him - making muffins and biscuits and stuff like that to eat while he is gone.
Well, this Chick is going to bed.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
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Muffins – Pineapple Carrot, Blueberry, Banana Nut, Saskatoon (while supplies last) – all muffins available in regular, low fat/low sugar and/or *wheat free.
Peanut Brittle (DK’s gourmet peanut brittle)
Cherry Chew Bars
Chocolate Chip Cookies (available in normal or *wheat free)
*Spelt is used instead of wheat – add $1 per 6 muffins or cookies
(diabetic information available upon request)
Friday, November 11, 2005
Andrew and I went to the Remembrance Day service at the multiplex. We have it indoors now so all the old veterans can sit instead of march and stand in the cold. I think it is better, too because that way more people can see the service. I wept as I have wept the last couple of years. I think it is having a son that, for me, has made remembrance day so significant. It is by far boys and men who go to war. I dread to think that that could happen to my precious and sweet boy.
Together Drew and I have read books around this time of year that are topically significant. This year we read Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden which I have mentioned before. It was really well written and my heart was heavy reading in it about the realities of trench warfare and the senselessness of killing our fellow men and what men had to do to themselves to be able to do it. I weep for all the precious, sweet young men who served their country and were required to do these horrible things just to survive. I weep far more for those who survived and returned home changed and damaged forever than for those who died. I weep for families torn apart and decimated by war. I weep for the young German and Japanese men who died and I pray for us all. I think there is something very powerful in our whole nation joining together to honour our fallen dead and to pray for peace. I pray for peace. I pray for that the conditions that lead to war to be resolved in other ways. Isn't it truy insane that in the 21st century, we are still killing each other to get our way? I pray that my boy will never be called upon to do what others have done and even still do for our country. I pray to be better at having peace in my own home. I pray for kindness and understanding and acceptance. I pray for the whole world to understand that it is the power of love that heals and changes.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Today I crocheted 6 hats and made 16 batches of peanut brittle which amounts to 32 300gram boxes (there'd be more if my family didn't nibble quite so much >:-[ ) Its 2:30 in the morning. I just have to print out the lables for the boxes and afix them - well, actually, I could probably take them with me. I'm doing the Christmas Farmer's Market to sell my hats and peanut brittle. I'm doing it with my friend (old neighbour) who knits slippers. Anyways, I'm really tired but here are two more hats that Kaetlyn modelled for me for my catalogue.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Drew's birth was a very healing experience for me. I had him at home with a midwife who was a member and a friend and just incredible. In fact, Drew is now sleeping on the futon he was born on. Weird, eh? (don't worry, it had a shower sheet over it - which I also still have saved in the bottom of my linen closet - just can't throw it away...) The midwife is also the one who really got me onto homeschooling which I started just one week before Andrew was born. Wonderful memories.
We had our family birthday dinner tonight. Erin and Justin came up. Drew ordered burritos from the family kitchen which I had to look up a recipe to make as I had never actually made burritos before. They were quite good. I think I will make them again - very filling. But I think I would make my own refried beans from black beans instead of kidney beans which agree more with my digestion tract, if you know what I mean. We had ice cream cake from Dairy Queen for dessert. His birthday present from Dean and I is his guitar. Erin and Justin got him an X-Box and Kaetlyn and Rhiannon haven't got him their gifts yet. He's going to have 2 parties so that way I don't have too many boys in the house at once. He's going to have a daytime party for his 4 friends around here (who are hyper and loud and I am not too fond of having in the house...) and then a sleep over party with a couple of more sedate friends from Coldstream by where we used to live. That way he gets his big 12 year old celebration and I will actually live through it. Because I don't think I could live through a house full of boys. No, I don't think I could. Imagine being Karen and not being able to send them home... 5 boys all the time...
Anyway, that is my day. Andrew is happy. X-Box made his day.
They are more like toques only fancier than toques. Here are some pics of the latest ones that I took with Erin's camera. I've actually compiled a catalogue. Rhiannon has inheritted the giant head so this hat could actually fit a small adult head. The others are a medium adult and a large adult.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
As they sang all these songs of small towns and communities, I longed for my home - the place I consider my home town - Terrace. I am sure it doesn't help that Drew and I are reading a novel set in Haida Gwaii that describes the scenery up there in lush detail. After all these years, my heart aches for that place. It was so incredibly beautiful - the energy of nature was stronger than the energy of man (if that makes sense). It was still so wild and natural. I long to be there. Truly, if I could, I would move back in a second. My teen age years in Terrace were a gift. I had great teachers, good friends, good community. Some day I will return, I think. Whenever I go back up there (which hasn't been often - only three times since I left when I was 16 and one of those was for my grad) it is always hard to leave. I want to stay. It still feels like home to me. And none of my kids have ever seen it. I want to take them all to my 25 year grad reunion in 2008. Of course none of my friends (close ones, anyway) live there any more but I still love the place and the feeling of the community there. I think it was a good place for Doug too. He probably suffered more than me because he had to spend both grade 11 and 12 away from there. He had such good friends and we had friends in common. The best time he and I ever had together was there in our Theatre Arts class that we took together and with our mutual friends. We started to like each other then.
Ah nostalgia! This one never goes away for me, it always comes back. I don't miss any place like I miss Terrace.
I am busy making my hats. I make at least 3 a day. I made myself a little catalogue. I'll scan in a picture or two for you later.
Friday, November 04, 2005
Well, nothing so exciting here. We had a fun Halloween. Luckily Rhiannon recovered in time. She had a nap and woke up totally recovered. We went trick-or-treating in the mall at 4:30, then came home and the kids went out around here. There were lots of houses who weren't doing Halloween. Sad. But Kaetlyn and Drew persisted. Kaetly went as a 50's chick and drew was a hippie. He started as a ninja with a costume that Erin made him but he didn't like the hood so he changed to a hippie which he was last year. Rhiannon was supposed to be a princess but changed a the last second to a tiger.
Anyways, Rhiannon got tired after only a little trick-or-treating - she hadn't had much to eat since being sick so her and I went home only to get home and realize that Kaetlyn had the house key (Dean was taxi-ing Erin around for work). So we trick-or-treated right close to our house and our cats (Tigger and Sheebah) followed us to every house. People would be afraid that they would sneak in their doors but they were just following us. Eventually Dean got home with the pizza (a Halloween tradition) and we got into the house. Kaetlyn and Drew were home shortly thereafter with their haul and we had pizza and they marvelled over their candy.
Then we went out to Coldstream where we used to live and trick-or-treated our old neighbours who always love to see the kids and then went to the fireworks/bonfire on the beach of Kal Lake. The fire was huge and the fireworks were spectacular - I love the ones that go under water and then pop up. Then home for excited candy eating and eventually bed. Dean stayed at home to hand out candy. We didn't really get alot of kids. We ate more of our candy then we handed out.
Some weird Halloween things: I actually had adults come trick-or-treating to the door! Two young mom's with a baby in a stroller only the mom's held out bags for themselves, too. And really, the baby is eating candy?! Then we had 2 teen age girls ring our bell at 10:21pm! I told them all my kids were in bed and we weren't handing out candy any more. Honestly!
So that was Halloween. Next I have a Famer's Market thing coming up next Thursday that I will be selling my hats and peanut brittle at along with my old neighbour who knits slippers. Today is busy. Rhiannon has a make up lesson for piano in 45 minutes and then we have a homeschooling activity at 1 and then I have clients at 6!
Monday, October 31, 2005
Anyways, just a short update 'cuz I don't know when I will be able to do it again as a busy, busy week looms before me.
Ciao for now.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Anyways I haven't had quite as much time to myself as I thought I was going to but I'm making the most of it. Dean got up as noisily as possible at 7am and clumped around the house in his shoes and did laundry, etc. So much for sleeping in. If I fully wake up in the morning, I can't be back to sleep. No matter how tired I am. So I got up. But I took my time this morning. I had a nice shower, I made some nice tea (dandelion, parsley and uva ursi) and read to Andrew from a book we are reading together (3 Day Road by Joseph Boyden). I meandered downtown to pick up some more thyroid medication. I have been on dessicated thyroid for quite some time but the company that makes it stopped and eventually sold the right to make it to another company. In the meantime - no pills. Consequences are dire if I don't take it for even one day. Exhaustion. So a pharmacy in town started making their own from Porcine powder. I went to buy some of those this morning. I got a nice surprise. I was told that they wouldn't be covered by medical but they are. So I didn't have to pay. (Because of Kaetlyn's diabetic supplies, we reach the maximum for pharmacare and then don't have to pay any more)
Then I worked on the computer, getting the last of those lessons posted on that Chautauqua. Although on-line attendance at the Chautauqua sharply declined after Wednesday so I don't think anyone but me has seen the last lesson (or one or two other people). But the postings will be there for years as a resource so I still have to get them done. I have the last lesson to do tomorrow. I took breaks to do crocheting and to take Drew to the bike store to look at bikes and dream about his next one. He needs a really sturdy bike. He found one that he really likes and I think we will start making payments on it - like for his birthday. It is too expensive to get all at once but it is his 12th birthday coming up in a week so I will put some on it for him. I really want him to have a good bike - we like to bike together.
Then we went out to lunch on a whim. I took him to a Greek place in town. Little ghosts of Katie and Laura were sitting there with me. Remember when I took you out for lunch for your birthday? I think it was Katie and then I said you could invite a friend and the friend had to be Laura? Or was it Laura and the friend had to be Katie. I don't remember. But I remember how fun it was to take you there for that new experience. Pita and tziki (sp?). Yum. I still love Greek food. Then I crocheted some more. Worked more on my lessons. Erin came over and used the sewing machine. Drew was never able to connect with his friends today so he was hanging around all day.
Now I am tired. My eyes, mostly. They want to be closed. Too much looking at the computer screen and small stitches. I'll sleep in tomorrow and hopefully Drew will go play and I can be .... ALONE.
Friday, October 28, 2005
Relationships are the hardest work the I, personally, have ever done. Sometimes I think I am absolutely no good at it. Sometimes I am just plain tired and worn out of it. I want too much, demand too much. Feeling that way lately.
Trying to figure out what to do for an income for the winter months when there is no window washing. I was hoping to be able to have an income from the Inner World School but that is not going to be enough, yet. Which, I guess, is realistic considering we haven't even been open a year. I am busy crocheting my hats and I have a couple of craft shows that I will do and a couple of stores that will buy them. That will bring in a bit of money. Got to figure out something soon - it is only a matter of time until there is no more window washing.
I do have something to celebrate, though. Rhiannon slept in her bed ALL night last night and another previously this week (is the end of a child infested bed in sight?). We are going to walk down to the store and get a package of stickers. She gets one package for each night. A night's uninterrupted sleep is worth way more to me than a single gold star! (see what you are getting yourself into, Sarah?) I remember an RS lesson once where the teacher, speaking of having children, said, "Who would sign up for 3 months of sleep deprivation?" I shot my hand up. Only 3 months?! I'd sign up for that in a second. 3 months. Try 5 years.
Thats all for now, folks.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
It is beautiful out today - mystical. It was foggy this morning and the sun has been on the edge of breaking through all day but hasn't yet (at least not the last time I was upstairs). I had to run an errand for Dean when he was home for lunch and it was a spectacular drive on the east side of OK Lake to pick up a squeegee where he left it. I was on a hill above the lake and still in the fog but barely. Below me, the lake was clear of the fog and the sun was catching just the edges. The tops of the hill on the opposite side of the lake were obscured in fog. Just the steep edges going down to the lake were visible and very green due to all the recent rain.
In our yard, the leaves are luminescent in that strange light of the fog - almost like they are lit up from within. I wrote a poem about that a few years ago. This was written about the view from my bedroom window in the house I lived in then (there was a crab apple tree). This was just when mine and Dean's friendship was turning into something more.
Dull twilight under a ceiling of autumn’s clouds
Stretched thick between forest dark mountains
Sombre backdrop for brilliant amber leaves
Twinkling on the ends of thin, bare branches reaching heavenward
Grey in-between light spills into the room --
The cold colour of grief
My world decolourises
Only the leaves like golden jewels become somehow luminescent.
Friday, October 21, 2005
So we had her birthday dinner last night. I made lasagne for her - still her favourite dish. I think I have had to make that for her birthday dinner for the last 4 years... And we had two cakes that she picked out with Dean. A boston cream and some strawberry chocolate cake. Which I have just had some of for breakfast and now I feel sick. Her and Dean went to a movie afterwards.
It was a beautiful sunny day here yesterday and today. Thank goodness! I love to see the sun! It lights up all the coloured leaves and makes fall beautiful. And you see, here in the Okanagan, winter if full of 'valley bottom cloud'. Because it has to be very, very cold (-20) for an extended period of time for the lakes to freeze. That's only happened once since I've been here (11 years). So in the below zero weather, the lakes steam and we get valley bottom cloud, day after day after day. So sunny fall days are particularly valuable and appreciated.
Today I am nervous. I think I have said before that I signed up with SelfDesign for homeschooling this year. There is a village that we are a part of and they are having a 'Chautauqua' - a virtual one, of course. And I volunteered to do one on the Inner World. So that means that I will post lessons and host a discussion. I am fine with the lessons for younger children as I have run all those at the school. But the lessons for the older kids are 'untried'. So I am nervous. (what if they don't like me?) I was working on my lessons earlier but people kept wanting to chat with me so I exited and decided to check the blogs before I went back to work. Hopefully no one will notice me this time. hehe
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
It has been so wet here. Rain, rain, rain. It is starting to smell like Vancouver outside! It is hard to get windows washed in weather like this. I am starting to suffer from financial stress.
Gotta dash and take Rhiannon to her violin lesson.
Sunday, October 16, 2005
I am sure one of the reasons that it took so long is because I was going through old letters and cards. I have such cute drawings and letters fom Jordan, Evan, Laura, Katie and even Sarah (well some scribbles that Mom said were from you). One day I will scan some in and send them around. My priceless treasures.
It has been a quiet, quiet week end. Went for a delicious dinner at my friend, Bozenka's on Friday evening. Erin, Justin, Drew and Rhiannon and I. Dean was already gone to play in Revelstoke and Kaetlyn had gone to Kamloops for the week end. It was fantastic food, great conversation with many interesting people. But then very quiet the next day and today. Last night Drew went to sleep over his friend's house so it is just me and Rhiannon. Quiet but not free to do whatever I want. I ended up going to bed at 9. I was going to start on the organizing then but I was too tired. Somehow I am still tired today after 10 hours of sleep. Must be that time of the month thing.
It is very yellow outside my dining room window. The walnut tree is a beautiful luminescent yellow and so are the leaves that have fallen so the yard just kind of glows. Pretty. Now that summer is no longer a forlorn scent on the wind but is completely gone, gone, gone, I can enjoy fall a bit. Still dread the coming of winter, though. All that extra fussing. Although the cooking is nice. I line the wintry smells of soup or chili cooking that fill up the whole house.
Well, enough of my meandering blather. I'd better go get dressed. It is 2pm, afterall.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Monday, October 10, 2005
The next day we lazed around watching more movies and Layne helped me fix some things on the computer. While watching movies we began work on the apple pies. We sat and peeled and cut and cored. Then I made the crusts (Dean helped). Once they were baked, we headed over to Eddie (singer in the band)'s parents place in Enderby. Eddie's older brother, Mike (Dean's good friend) was in town with his partner and son so they organized a pot luck get together for all Mike's friends. So we all went - Dean and I, Layne and the kids (except Erin, of course). It was a really nice evening - Mike has really great friends - great, stimulating conversations. And good music, too. Eddie's dad is a pianist - taught music in the school. He has a gorgeous grand piano. Layne sat down and played and played - great sound filled up the whole place. The singing could barely be heard above the piano. We got home around midnight.
So at midnight, I started the preparations for our own thanksgiving dinner that was to happen the next day (today) while Dean and Layne watched a Saturday Night Live dvd they had rented - Will Farrel - very funny. We needed to have our turkey by noon today for Layne to leave on time to get into Nanaimo in time to sleep to recover fromt his week end... So I cut up the potatoes and put them in water, made a greek salad and cut up the bread for the stuffing and stuff like that, that could be done ahead of time.
This morning I set my alarm for 7am (after getting to bed after 1am). I got up and made the stuffing and stuffed the turkey and put it in the oven by 8am. The sun was coming up and it was a great sunrise - very beautiful - yellow sunlight spilling onto red and yellow leaves. Then Layne and I went for a bike ride. He rode my old bike and I rode my new one. He was worried I was going to go too fast - but he has monster muscles in his legs and just powered up those hills. It was a beautiful morning. We rode down to the lake and sat on the sand and visited for awhile. The water was so still. We could see fish jumping and ducks foraging. We could see the yellow leaves of the deciduous trees against the dark green of the evergreens down the shores of the lake. (We were at the north head of lake Okanagan). We rode home and it was showtime. Now all the last minute things that all happen at once no matter how well you are prepared. The turkey was cooked on time and was delicious (although I have had moister turkeys). The stuffing was perfect - just the right mixture of crunchy and soft. We had brocolli and cheese, the salad, mashed potatoes (Dean does the mashing) and yams. Dean's parents arrived right at 12:00 with a pumpkin pie and a strawberry rhubarb one and some ice cream. We said a thanksgiving blessing and at a great meal with cranberry and gingerale to drink.
Layne left - we were all sad to see him go. And that is it. Thanksgiving is over. I had a nap - but not long enough! I'm still tired. (and full)
Friday, October 07, 2005
Layne is here - he arrived here today. I am a bit annoyed at Dean as he is so glad that Layne is here (not that part but the next part) and he acts like Layne is an old friend of his, come to visit him. He has a long list of plans that don't include me. (that's the part that annoys me) I reminded him that Layne is actually my brother and came to visit me, too! We'll see how effective that was. They are gone now to a Redfish practise. Layne has gone along to 'jam' with them. It won't be very late as it is in Steve's parents' basement. But then they are planning on going out.
We went and got two loads of wood with Layne's truck today which was really great. We are building up a good store of wood for the winter. We probably have 2 - 3 months worth now. More if the weather doesn't get too cold.
The weather has been miserable here. It has rained for 3 days straight which is really unusual for her. It makes me think that I would not be able to handle life on the coast again as I have really longed for the sun.
I burned dinner really, really badly today. I made little pizzas from premade crusts that I get at a local bakery. Rhiannon was my helper. The first batch went well but then the second one, something on the bottom of the oven caught fire. It was just a very small little flame - like a candle so I thought nothing of it - made a mental note to clean the oven tomorrow. But I guess it greatly heated up the bottom of the pans. Although you couldn't tell from the tops, the bottoms became solid charcoal. 6 pizzas. *sigh* I hate wasting food! So I cut off most of the bottoms (now they are extremely thin and crispy crusts). The kids weren't too impressed and I must admit that the charcoal taste is a little overwhelming. I can still taste that sour burnt taste in the back of my mouth.
I watched a really good Canadian film last week - "My Life Without Me". I really liked it. I liked the way it was filmed; I liked how it was about ordinary people in ordinary circumstances; and I liked the message of hope and acceptance. I watched Monster In-Law last night. Rather corny and predictable but I really enjoyed Jane Fonda. I thought she was really funny. I thought it would be fun to watch with Dean's Mom - I know she would laugh. Alas, we don't ever seem to do things like that.
I heard from Martha this week. Always hard when I hear from her. I have such a tender spot in my heart and I wish with all my heart that I could rescue her. I know that I can't and that it wouldn't even be good to do it, but I wish I could. I wish that she was still little and I could just hold her for a long, long time. It is hard to see her pain. I wish it wasn't so complicated to make it all better. I am sure she will be okay in the end. She sounds strong and clear headed. But I know it is a hard road ahead. I'm proud of her. It takes alot to do what she is doing.
Well, there you have my rather rambling post...
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Dean came with me to Vancouver as he was playing at the Media Club. I got Laura and I onto the guest list and we went there right after the ballet. But we missed Redfish playing - the ballet took 3 hours (although it felt like 2 at the MOST). We had no clue about the time as we were watchless and were quite surprised when we got there and they were completely done. Dean was disappointed that I missed seeing him play there. Layne was there, too. Laura and I didn't stay long - all those loud sounds kind of wrecked the elegant vibe of the ballet. We talked laying in the bed in the dark until after 3 in the morning.
Layne hooked up with us the next day and we hung out while Laura went to confrence. Mostly they went to a music store (instruments) and I wandered around adjoining shops. I made salmon and potatoes for supper at Laura's after a marathon game of trivial pursuit. Dean won - but Laura was very close and I sucked - as I always do - I am much to much of a 'big picture' person to remember all those trivial details! The guys watched that most lame of comedy shows "Life Aquatic" and Laura and I looked through her pictures. We looked and talked and laughed until 4am and I still didn't finish all her pictures (I worked on a few more this morning, Laura). I learned one thing - that you can tell how much Laura loves Katie - she has takent he most beautiful pictures of her - that really capture her beauty. I snagged a few copies of Katie and Laura and one of mom. Such a talent Laura has for taking artistic pictures! There were great pictures of all of you, of course but I was most taken by the pictures of Katie.
We thought of Katie running the marathon on Saturday - I was so impressed to read her time on John's blog. Imagine running so far in only 4 and 1/2 hours! Wow! Katie, I hope you are really, really, really proud of yourself! I am so very lucky to have such amazing sisters.
Some of my favourite things from the week end (besides the ballet, of course) was having Laura do my hair. I never got to have a sister do my hair before - I was the hair doer. I loved the feeling of it. And getting to lay in bed having looooong talks about everything. I always felt a little alone at the top of the family. With 3 younger brothers who formed a unit that I never really fit into and Katie and Laura were too young for us to have an equal relationship. So it was so wonderful to just be able to talk.
So there is an update - I've got lots to read now.
Friday, September 23, 2005
Then, at New Years when we stayed at Mom and Dad's we were going swimming one night and Kaetlyn had nothing to wear on her feet as she had been on the motorcycle with Dad earlier in the rain and her shoes were soaked. So Mom lent her the clogs Laura gave her from Sweden. Kaetlyn raved about loving them and I also admired them so she gave them to us as she said they were too small for her. Kaetlyn instantly claimed them and they sat in her closet unworn for most of the year. I took them from her (her feet are size 9 - 10 so if they are too small for Mom...) and have been wearing them from time to time. I really like them and I get that same silly feeling I did at 3 or 4 and I am always looking at my feet and at their reflection in the mirror. And I think of Laura everytime I wear them too and wonder what it would be like in Sweden where people evidently still wear clogs. I like the way they make my legs look, too - if my calves were just 1 and 1/2 inches longer, I would have really great legs...
Anyways, those are my silly thoughts about clogs.