Always in a whirl, from homemade bread to housework to work-work. Come join the fun, the mess, and don't be afraid to tell me if I'm not making any sense!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Good-Bye Grandad Elton!

After a long and thorough life, Grandad went home to be with his wife. Elton was Tony's last surviving grandparent, and while he lived 350 miles away, was often in our thoughts and hearts.

He was a tough old bird, having survived and fought in 2 wars and a Purple Heart in each (WWII and Korea). The last wound was a hip wound and ended his military career. After his second or third unsuccessful hip replacement (resistant staph infection) they removed the hip and left him unable to walk without crutches. And yet he persevered, still continuing to drive his antique fancy sports car, love his dogs, and generally keep as busy as possible.

About a year ago they let us know that he was beginning to be in kidney failure. He nursed his wife of more than 20 years through 11 years of dialysis, and so when diagnosed he determined that dialysis was not on his agenda. A few months ago he had a smaller heart attack and recovered. This heart attack was quick, and there was little suffering. And he is no longer lonely for his long gone wife.

We love you Elton! We'll miss you!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Miss Maggie's New Site

Frugal Abundance

That Miss Maggie sure has started a winner-again! Her clarity of thought and ability to put things into words really impress me with each of her articles.

Humble Pie: Putting Organics Into Perspective

Making Work Easier

Feast & Famine the Pescatarian Pantry

These are all issues that I deal with on a daily basis! The organic thing, I'm working on dealing with it by purchasing from local growers, rather than buying organic. In some cases, veggies are organic, but aren't certified due to the high costs in doing so. I think at some point the real issue will be finding ways to save petroleum costs (not shipping food 3000 miles) rather than organic.

A friend recommended this book "Coming Home to Eat" On this site you can listen to an interview with the author. And an excerpt can be found here. Find out more about Gary.

Also, on my book list is Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal Vegetable Miracle". You can find some yummy recipes on that site!

Really, what the main thing I'm trying to accomplish is the best food, from the local community if possible, for the least price. And don't forget the love put into the food, it adds nourishment as well!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I don't know who Bob is...

...but he sure makes some interesting points! Some of his points I certainly agree with, others, I'm not so sure. Don't read if you aren't willing to see that someone might consider parts of the Bible incorrect, or that it might make you upset.

Narcissism in the Bible

The Wit and Humor of Jesus

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Each day I drink at least one quart of nourishing infusion. They seem to help my digestion, keep my heart palpitations in control, help me rest. Yesterday, I was getting a strange feeling from the motherwort, usually it makes me feel good, yesterday the feeling was odd...sort of a warmth in my chest and a little tightening. The feelings quickly went away after a minute or so, but would come back with every drink.

About infusions...

Things you can say on Thanksgiving and get away with it:

Ok, its a little naughty, but loads of fun!

1. Look at those huge breasts!
2. Tying the legs together keeps the inside moist.
3. It's Cool Whip time!
4. If I don't undo my pants, I'll burst!
5. Whew, that's one terrific spread!
6. I'm in the mood for a little dark meat.
7. Are you ready for seconds yet?
8. It's a little dry, do you still want to eat it?
9. Just wait your turn, you'll get some!
10.Don't play with your meat.
11.Just spread the legs open and stuff it in.
12.Do you think you'll be able to handle all these people at once?
13.I didn't expect everyone to come at once!
14.You still have a little bit on your chin.
15.How long will it take after you stick it in?
16.You'll know it's ready when it pops up.
17.Wow, I didn't think I could handle all of that!
18.That's the biggest one I've ever seen!
19.How long do I beat it before it's ready?

Trying to Learn Patience

Ladybug likes to help in the kitchen, but it takes more time to show someone than it does to just do it. Patience has always been a tough skill for me to learn.

However, Ladybug is showing a real inclination to learn "womanly" skills for the first time ever, and really its my responsibility to teach her, right?

So that is my goal for the week, let Ladybug help, and maybe even help her to make biscuits by herself, as that is something she wants to do.

And considering the fact that I forgot the baking powder tonight...they are likely to be better than mine anyway!

Don't Ya Love Saving Money?!?!

Yesterday, I went to Bi-Mart and found my mom the crockpot for Christmas. Her whole kitchen is stainless, and I found a stainless one with 4 settings and 6 quarts for $15.00! Great deal, as it is normally $30. Then today we went by an estate sale and found some wonderful deals.

For my friend who is getting into canning, a pressure cooker in fabulous shape for $6.

An antique oil lamp that hangs on the wall for $3.

A brass candle holder that hangs on the wall for $4.

An older aluminum muffin tin (the sturdy ones that didn't discolor) for 50cents.

An oak neato rolling pin $2.

A big basket $1.

All of these things are gifts for family and friends, so I'm really excited! It was great for the 4 of us to get out together. Everyone smiled and had a great time!

Friday, November 23, 2007


Today's been a bit of a rough day. Between last night, and today trying to deal with the kids, I'm having a tough time. The kids are being good, they just need a mom, and I'm not one right now. I'm going to get up and try to improve my mood until tonight. What I could really use right now is some time on my own, but that is not going to happen.

Thanks for listening.

Well, today is better. Some of the short-term troubles are resolved, but what of the long-term troubles I do not know. Time will tell, I suppose.

*Saturday Night*

Does anger ever make you cold? Usually, I get hot anger, but my anger today is cold, and blank, and tucked away. It seems to make me feel safer.


Two of my darling grandmas were with us yesterday at my moms. Grandma A is over 80 (I think she's 85, but a lady never tells, does she?!) And Grandma J is 79 (I only know because she is mom's mom).

Aren't they beautiful?

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Lovely Days

Last month during our work conference I took these pictures out my hotel window. It was nice to get away, even if I was working the whole time!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Thursday, November 22, 2007

How Much are You Worth?

Moms work hard, there is no doubt about it, but "does anyone appreciate it" is the big question. Maybe in some households, but in mine, as in some of my friends, then men just don't see clutter and dirt. And it doesn't seem to matter to them. The dirt can be there, or not, the clutter can be there or not. It's no big deal. But it is, and it might be to you, too.

So after a difficult discussion with my husband tonight, I thought I'd see if I could figure it out. If we had to pay someone to come into the home and do what I do every day, how much would we have to pay her? Well, according to this site, my work is worth $91,977. They break it down by job, by hour, and by zip code. So it seems the work that I do around the house is worth it after all.

Now, if only I can convince my husband,

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Running With The Wolves

Many of you know that I've gone by Coyotemist for a long while. When I was a girl I thought it was great fun to howl, at the moon, at the sun, at my brother. I just howled for the fun of it. Somehow, along the way, I lost the love of howling, or forgot that I enjoy it so much. Sometimes I howl with the children, Ladybug and Taterbug think its great fun, too. But you know how adults can be self-conscious...

My plan is this: to become more in touch with the side of myself that sings out loud, and dances even if people are watching, and, of course, howls at the moon. I'd like to continue reflecting on Ms. Este's book. If its not interesting to you, you are welcome to skip over this section...

Part of relearning to love howling is relearning to love myself, regardless of being chubby, having a messy house, messy car, or whatever my self-flagellation of the day is. In fact, I'd really like to get rid of the self-flagellation completely. Want to join me?

I've been thinking how drawn my children are to stories with magic. They definitely prefer Shrek to Disney at this point in their lives. It is quite interesting how the stories that children are told are becoming more and more "politically correct". However, the old stories without the correctness helped to educate children about the real world. I'm not sure that the "new versions" of stories are actually teaching children anything about life the way the old versions did.

In Norse mythology Hel is the goddess of the underworld. The "sin-eaters" (carrion eaters) bring the souls of the dead back to the underworld in their bellies. There, the goddess puts the dead back together again, and shows them how to live backward. Then they become younger and younger until they are reborn and ready to be released back into life. Many of the internet sites about Hel do not reflect this portion of her nature. They do say she is half white and half black, and her bones exist on the outside of her body. But what are bones but the very essence of something. We say "this room has great bones" or "you have good bone structure", what we mean is that there is beauty at the core of something. So wouldn't it make sense, then, that something of the underworld-a genuine being-show us her soul right away, rather than lock it away in some dark place. After all, she already lives in a dark place.

All of this is making me consider my own dark places, and demons that I have locked up in my soul. In my minds eye, the demons become larger and larger, and heavier and heavier, for each day that I do not deal with them. It is often easier to attack something head on, rather than delay and stall while our perception of the difficulty gets larger. While in truth it remains the same size and only takes on more energy drawn from our fear.

Another issue which is interesting to me, that Ms. Este's addresses is predators. We have predators in life, and predators of the psyche. Young children aren't enabled with the tools to recognize these, and young girls can get caught up with someone they believe to be good, but is not. Most everyone knows a story of the young girl who took up with the older man believing "he loves me!!!" (you can hear the vehemence in their voice!). Some part of them must know the truth (why their words are said so strongly).

I do not want my children to be one of those. They already have good instincts (we were at a place that might not be safe at dark, and was uncomfortable during the day) and they said "this place is weird". I told them to remember that feeling and pay attention at other times in their lives. If that old feeling comes back, get out of there.

Bluebeard story Now, I don't agree with the morals that they have come up with, but the story is the same. If you consider that the different characters of the story might be different parts of oneself then you might see how there are parts of ourselves that we send away-the very parts that might save us! Then the vulnerable is left without the strong parts-intuition, the woman with a voice she uses to proclaim her needs not burying them under layers of facade.


One of my friends is having a baby, very soon. The baby-aches (a desire to have another baby in response to an other's child or pregnancy-my own definition) used to hit me all the time, but now it has been several years since I had an attack. It's not that I am jealous, really, more that I wish I could be experiencing what they are, there is something extremely special and amazing about bringing a new being into the world.

My theory is that my baby-aches are as a result of my miscarriages. Losing potential children can make a person grieve, and want to heal that wound. In the last few years I've done a lot of work to move through this grief, or so I thought, and I really thought I'd moved through it.

This friend, though, is very perceptive. She said that sometimes you can think you've walked the whole path of grief (or whatever emotion) but later you realize that you've only taken a step or two. That mama is so smart!

Tonight, I was reading "Women Who Run with the Wolves" and I realized that a desire for a baby can also be a metaphor for wanting to birth something. Now, in my case it may be a desire to birth something creatively, but in what manner or using what materials I do not know. Honestly, I hope I figure it out, because right now, I don't have time for another baby. Maybe in a couple years, but not now.

The world is my slate! I can create myself!

Of course, I'm still a work in progress.


Paula and I made cheese. Both fromage blanc and chevre from cows milk. The fromage is more sour. I'm really thinking mozzarella might be fun.

She also sent me home with some of Summer's family sourdough. A loaf is baking in the oven as we speak and it smells delicious. So tomorrow for Thanksgiving I'll take traditional yeast rolls, and my loaf of sourdough with some homemade cheese. I'm thinking of putting garlic and rosemary and whatever other herbs I can find into each of the cheeses.

The sourdough didn't rise as much as yeast dough does, but following these instructions the sponge proofed right up, so I think I did it right!


The cheese is interesting. The flavor has changed over the couple of days since we made it. Its definitely a "farmer cheese", something that you would have on a farm. I have to keep reminding myself its the real deal, there aren't any preservatives (other than natural cultures), corn syrup, or any other artificial ingredients.

The sourdough bread is FAN-TAB-ULOUS! And the cheese (with some yummy herbs and garlic) spread on the bread...well...the result is better than I could hope for. In fact, its almost gourmet! Yay us!

Busy Day

Today has been busy! I've done 5 loads of laundry, cooked dinner (simple broccoli and ham in mac'n'cheese), unloaded some boxes, moved some boxes to the shed, dishes, cleaned my bedroom, and tidied here and there.

Tomorrow my job is to bring rolls. My favorite are Miss Maggie's "Fred's Favorite Rolls". It looks like if I start them in the morning there will be plenty of time for them to rise!

My back hurts now, so in a bit I'll be off to the bathtub. First I need to change the sheets (I found the flannel-whoo hoo!) and fold another load of laundry!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Redecorating After Undecorating

As you may know, we almost moved. Most of the house is in the POD still (I need to jump in there and find the flannel sheets today....brrrr it's cold!). We took everything down off the walls and most of the nick-nacks were packed. The house seems almost empty, even though we have furniture in it, and the china cabinet IS empty. The Christmas dishes are coming into the house, that will refill the china cabinet, but what do I do about the walls?

Honestly, I love Christmas decorations, but really don't like taking them down. There lies my dilemma. Do I really go to town on Christmas decorations and redecorate the normal stuff later? Or do I put some normal stuff up and some holiday stuff up?

It may well be a moot point, as I don't have much free time anyway. I'll let you know what I decide!

Christmas Presents

A good friend is always finding things for my kids, so I'm going to make something for her kids. I need to get the fabric out and work out the pattern.

Another friend is having a baby, I was thinking of crocheting him a blanket for Christmas (he should be here well before Christmas, anytime from now on).

Otherwise, for everyone else I'm still unsure what I'm doing. Hopefully, I'll get some ideas soon!

This thing about food...

My pantry is full. Not just sort of full, not halfway full, but really full, as in stacking-cans-on-top-of-each-other full. So its time for a menu plan. At the begining of the year I was planning our meals weeks ahead of time using the Menus4Moms forms. I do like their forms because I can write the kids chores next to the days meal. There are lots of other forms available for free download on the internet, though. Susanne might even have some!

Somehow, somewhere along the way I got behind on planning. The thing I discovered is that meal planning takes time set aside specifically for that purpose. And thats a really tough thing for me...finding time.

Cindy would tell me to "Shop at home!" and "Do instead of buy!". It's time for Christmas shopping, and I just keep buying food, even though I have full cupboards (it's a security thang). With the long holiday weekend right upon me, I'm going to sit down and plan out my meals from here to the end of the year. This will be accomplished using just the food in my pantry! Well, I might have to buy some meat, bread, milk, and coffee creamer, but the bulk of our meals should be found in the pantry already. Besides which, I have to use up those 25 pounds of dry beans at some point!

Sensory Integration Disorder and Household Fun

OK, if you know anything about SID, you know it isn't really fun. Both kids have some degree. We've done brushing, and that weird music. Nothing helps for any length of time. Ladybug goes crazy if you have to rush her in the morning, or you need to brush her hair. Taterbug doesn't like certain foods, and hates baths. Our toughest challenges are Ladybug's meltdowns. Ever seen a 9 year old lose her mind? It's not pretty. Tonight she spent an hour in her room under her blankets trying to pull it together (her choice). Imagine trying to brush said hair after the blankets...

Today I found a new site, OT Exchange. My membership is approved, but I haven't had a chance to rootle around yet.

I'm considering making a weighted vest, maybe one that I can vary the weight so I don't have to make 2. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanksgiving is upon us!

It hardly seems time for Thanksgiving. Wasn't it just yesterday that we had that picnic at the lake in August and got drenched in the freezing rain?

Summer just flew by this year, and somehow, somewhere, I lost fall. The leaves have fallen, and yet, I still keep looking for the sun. It is Oregon, though, so the rain does fall. I'm trying to be conscious about being grateful for the rain, because those folks in Georgia sure would love some of that rain that I want to complain about!

Anywho, we are going to Mom's for Thanksgiving dinner (turkey, yum!). Then we will have ham (double yum!) with Nana and Papa on Friday. I'm thrilled because my darling 79 year old grandma, my aunt, and my uncle are coming up from the Willamette Valley to have dinner with us. Can't spend enough time with Grandma! Also, Grandma Arlene will be there, too, so we'll have lots of wonderful family time.

What are you having for Turkey Day?