Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Chapter of Household Don'ts

Just in time for the holidays...

In my aspirations to be a better housewife and thus a better member of society, a series of fortuitous events led me to an article in Good Housekeeping first published in 1885. The article is entitled, "A Chapter of Household Don'ts" and is "divided into verses for easy and profitable reading." I have copied down the following "don'ts" in order to spur the modern woman on towards greater household etiquette and attentiveness. You are welcome.

-Don't stand when you can sit just as well.
-Don't put off the mending from week to week.
-Don't you know that vinegar will clean the isinglass in the stove doors?
-Don't you know your floor oil cloths can be washed in buttermilk or kerosene?
-Don't give little children two languages to learn,--first baby-talk, then afterward true pronunciation.
-Don't hesitate to place a piece of zinc on the live coals in the stove; it will clean out the stove pipe.
-Don't throw away nice woolen stockings when the feet are worn out, but cut them down for the children.
-Don't fail to be clean and tidy in every nook and corner, but Don't be a slave to a shining stove or carpet.
-Don't do unnecessary work because your mother or grandmother did. There was not half so much to be done in her day.

Fortunately for me, there are 12 mg of zinc in my Flintstones vitamins so I'm hoping those will clean my stove just as well. Happy housemaking this Christmas!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sometimes, When I'm Awfully Low...I Watch Sesame Street.

When asked what I was thankful for at Thanksgiving dinner last week, I almost said Elmo. But considering I'm relatively new to Andrew's side of the family I opted for something more traditional...like friends and family.

Fortunately for my conscience, this answer was sufficient as I consider Elmo one of my friends (and a member of my family because technically he's a monster...and there are some monsters in my family?...not working I know). It's just that he always puts me in such a good mood. Five minutes with Elmo is the equivalency to 30 minutes with an aging golden retriever or one hour with a basketful of kittens. Elmo just does good things for the soul (...like Jesus[I was also thankful for Jesus]). I don't know why I always laugh when Elmo laughs, or why the idea of Robert De Niro as Elmo still strikes a chord with me, or when Elmo tells Ricky Gervais to essentially "get off" him...ahhhh there's just something about it.

And while you're at it, why not watch Elmo's prank phone call ?(not associated with Sesame Street).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On Words

While Andrew and I have been apart, we have relied almost exclusively on one form of communication: writing letters. What a slow and tedious process! The effort it takes to write each word, to spell it correctly without using spell check, to think about what I actually WANT to say before I start writing...the process has felt arduous at times.

And yet never before have I said so clearly what I mean to say. Not something close to it. Not the first cliche phrase that comes to mind so as to avoid (God forbid!) awkward silence. But what I actually mean to say.

What a bad steward of language I am. Language! One of God's most magnanimous gifts. The English language! So rich in history that it would include the King James Bible. And yet I settle for my good, great and cools. As if no experience would ever merit a more prolific word. Not to mention my likes, ya knows and whatevers--just to make sure I never make a distinction someone might be able to argue with. And I won't even mention my hyperboles (how many times have I said I am going to kill something?).

How I want to care more for words. To be someone who speaks with clarity and precision. That may mean learning a few new words, reading a few more good (and I mean that in the truest sense of the word) books and processing things a little slower, but I believe these things matter. Language matters. Being able to say what we mean matters.

I hope that I can learn to be a better steward of language. And if not of language, then at least of silence where, as Marilyn Chandler McEntrye writes, "the best words begin."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Speak Friend and Enter

It seems travelling has become something of a hazard these days. With the H1N1 epidemic, we are cautioned to wear medical masks, carry hand sanitizer and as always, avoid touching things.

While on our way to Hawaii a few weeks ago, I was battling a bad case of bronchitis-death. Kari and Sarah can attest to the fact that I tried to find a mask to cover my face so that when people heard me coughing on the plane, they would see I respect their personal health boundaries. Apparently they don't sell medical masks in the airport. They do however, sell H1N1 masks online. They look like this:

The problem is, nobody warns you about flesh particle diseases. I too did not know the dangers of the skin associated with older Hawaiian men. Apparently it has a chaffing/flaking ratio of 10:1 compared to the normal human. Take for instance this friendly man who sat across the aisle from Kari. I know you can't see him super well but he's got on purple running shorts...a white tank top...a fanny pack? Sounds like a good time to me.

False. After he stood up and more or less "mooned" Kari, he gave his body a good ol' shake resulting in this winter wonderland:

I might take The Mines of Moria over this. Perhaps it may be better to go around with all over body protection when travelling:

At least we had fun in Hawaii.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Do it for your Country...Make a Cheesecake!

My husband has officially been Private Brown in the Army for one week now. But rather than talk about depressing subjects like Andrew being in the military, I would rather share pictures of baking! Why? Because blogging is about sharing things you're proud of and making your life seem perfect. So I've decided to try and compare my Army wife status to food -- because baking is a lot like life: you have to make do with what you have, be creative, share with others, find joy in the simple things and try not to get fat. If my life right now were a baked good...it would be a:


because they're alone but luckily they have a large number of friends that stick with them.

A Pie:

because it doesn't matter how pretty you make the crust look, it's what's inside you that really matters (like healthy Holy Spirit fruits).


because sometimes you forget to clean as you go because you're not Martha Stewart.

A Cake:

because it's big enough to share with other people even if it is just one little cake...and also you can put Army men on top of it and make it a military defense cake:

Did anyone follow this post? Didn't think so. But Andrew will be coming back for Christmas hopefully. He's in South Carolina for basic training for 10 weeks and then he's going to Georgia for Officer school for 13 weeks. Come over and have food with me. I make a pretty decent cheesecake.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Year of Paper

Today is our one-year wedding anniversary. We celebrated a bit early this last weekend with a trip to Newport. It was pretty fabulouso. We stayed at a bed and breakfast a few minutes from downtown, ate a ton of seafood and tillamook ice cream, went to the aquarium and played on the beach, met some sea lions and avoided awkward conversations with strangers.

Year one is the gift of paper, so I was pretty pumped when Andrew (not that he knows anything about traditional wedding gifts) bought me a copy of The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original Classics. We found a brand new copy in a consignment book store on the beach for $15! As much as I love Martha Stewart, I love my husband more. So here's to love and good food!

We are one with the sea lions.

Now I just need a copy of The New Classics... birthday anyone?

We found a mini sea lion -- a.k.a. a slug

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

To All the Expectant Mothers:

A lot of people seem to be pregnant this time of year: KeriAnn, Julie, 2 girls at work, another girl in our church and probably some other people who don't know it yet (Kari? Sarah? Karyn?...Me?). Doubtful.

Anyway, some of you may have forgotten what the birthing process is actually like. Thankfully, I always have this video to go back to. Even though I'm with a bunch of first graders on this trip, viewer discretion is advised.

What is this lady talking about? "Now those chains around the baby's legs do not hurt the baby ok?" Not ok...it's actually not ok.

"Well there's a little blood when you have babies...that's just how it goes."

No thank you. I'm going to wait just a little longer until someone cranks something out of my body with chains.

But to all my pregnant friends: good luck.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Chance Meeting

I grew up on a farm. Well, technically I grew up on an orchard with animals but nevertheless, I've had a lot of experience taking care of animals (and I suppose causing some to die as well).

One animal that we raised every spring was ducks -- particularly mallards. Mallard moms tend to be pretty poor mothers (sort of like octo-mom) because they neglect their babies. Usually half of their babies either get eaten, or they become separated and aren't allowed to return to their family. So, every spring, we would find where the mallard mom had laid her eggs and "steal" about half of them and incubate them ourselves. Their chance for survival was much greater, and after a few months when they finally had feathers, we would release them back into the wild (there is a point to this story).

So imagine my surprise last weekend when I notice that traffic is actually stopped on Lancaster because of these:

Baby ducks. Mallards to be exact. People were sort of freaking out over these 2 little bugs. The ducklings had somehow wandered out into the road and were running back and forth between traffic. A few people were wandering after them but they didn't really know what to do. The crazy thing was, I knew exactly what to do. I knew these babies would never be allowed to return to their family, and there mom was more than likely already dead. I knew how to raise them, what to feed them, what to do with them etc...and I thought, "What are the odds?" I'm sure there are other people in Salem who have experience raising mallard ducks, but in that moment, one of them happened to be on the corner of Lancaster and Cranston. God must have cared about these little ducks.

So I tried to catch them. One was already sort of hurt so he was pretty easy to get. The other one took me another ten minutes which included running in and out of the street, waving at cars (including 2 cop cars...whom I'm assuming didn't stop because they weren't the animal police?) and literally running as fast as I could down the street. But eventually, I got them both. Just call me Snow White.

Now we have 2 baby ducks in our house. Here they are hanging out with Andrew (they're learning to code):

All that is to say -- I've enjoyed having these "babies" around, but more than that, they've been a constant reminder of God's providence in my own life and of our value to Him:

"Are not five sparrows (ducks) sold for two pennies? And yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are more valuable than many sparrows." -Luke 12:6-7

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summer Reading Recommendations

I used to get a reading list in high school which listed books I had to read over the Summer before school started again in the fall. Since those lists included books like Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Cyrano de Bergerac (what I'm saying is I didn't like those), I decided to make my own reading list. Likewise, maybe you're looking for something new to read this summer. This is what I came up with. Feel free to agree or disagree (not really).

What NOT to Read this Summer:
If you've ever wondered what "Thesaurus Rape" was, this is it. And yes, I work with high school girls so I've actually read all 4. Please send hate mail elsewhere.

Summer Reading Recommendation for Stephenie Meyer:

Saturday, May 30, 2009

What you Missed over the Weekend

So technically this story happened last week... and I know this isn't as important as Susan Boyle NOT winning Britain's Got Talent (although you should seriously watch the winning group Diversity -- Awesome) but it's still worth knowing. This is a documented news story.

I work at a church (I would name it but Andrew thinks someone would stalk me) off Commercial Street. On Wednesday of last week, I went to run an errand and found I could not drive down Commercial Street because there were a bunch of cop cars and they were caution-taping-off the entire Walgreens entrance and Phoenix Inn Suites entrance. I sort of figured someone had been murdered in the hotel and had escaped (because that's what I'm used to in Salem--[our neighbor shot himself and died a few months ago...there was a shooting 5 houses down from us last month...inbd]).

Anyway, when I came back to the church, it was the same story, but now, they weren't even letting people anywhere near that part of Commercial -- they were detouring them to Sunnyside. On my next errand, it was the same story, but this time I saw the Salem Police Bomb Squad (which I didn't even know we had) and I realized that all the hoopla was about a potential bomb.

To be honest, I had sort of thought this already because I had been watching a lot of 24 recently and they deal with bombs all the time, so I figured this probably happens in real life too. What was most interesting is that I'm pretty sure the Bomb squad mobile is just a horse trailer painted white with the words "Salem Bomb Squad" on it, because that is seriously what it looked like. I cannot find an official picture of one but I render it to this:

SOO anyway, when I finally left the church to go home, everything was cleared out and no one had died and I hadn't been blown up either. I kept trying to find out on the internet what had happened...and then I found it.

Apparently, someone had found an "abandoned" duffle bag in the bushes between Walgreens and the hotel and decided to call the police. Yes, they called the police instead of just opening the duffle bag to see what was in there (money?). And of course, somewhere along the way, someone decided it was a bomb. So they obviously brought out their bomb robot, which apparently blows up bombs (what?) so they blew up the duffle bag.


Note: This bomb robot would get completely
handled by ASIMO:

You know what was in the duffle bag?

Hot dogs.
Hot dogs.
They blew up a bag of hot dogs.

Where is Jack Bauer?
That's what you missed.

(Moral of the story: If you find an abandoned duffle bag by a Walgreens, not on a train station, check what's in it before you call the police).

Monday, May 4, 2009

Guidos and Seals

Meet the GUIDOS!

Karyn and Joel were married March 19th at the Reed Opera House. These are the only pictures I have so far but I'm trying to get a few more. Maybe some that Joel are actually in. Congrats on your life goal of marrying a mountain man Karyn. Now you only need a goat!



This face is sooo Karyn:

--In other news--
I went to bake this yam until I (actually Andrew) realized how much it looked like a seal.

May 021

harbor seal

I know it's not the Virgin Mary or Jesus' Cross, but still...I think it's a sign.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Keriann, (and others interested)

Recently I got my hair cut, went to the Tillamook cheese factory, and I'm currently eating cheerios for breakfast. I'm going to do some laundry and I might post some before and after pictures of what dirty clothes look like and then what clean folded clothes look like. But for now here is a picture of my hair and a cow from the cheese factory, some cheerios and my laundry basket. In other news, stay tuned for pictures from Karyn's wedding.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Due to the self-indulgent nature of blogs and the fact that I have no children, I resist the temptation to post things about my life. Perhaps if Andrew and I move away or have kids, I will put this blog to use, but until then I will continue to be counter-culture and continue on my "technology is evil, people never talk face to face anymore" rantings.
ANYWAY, some of you may be asking, "if you never use your blog, why did you change your background?" To which I would respond, "you should feel ashamed for even noticing that" but in truth, I've found that changing my blog background is a good way to connect to my husband. He is a computer programmer and I had to engage in some minimal "coding" techniques to achieve this coveted look. Therefore, I feel I can relate to him more now that I have tested the coding waters and maybe I will even try to program some more complicated things, i.e., a robot.