Thursday, July 28, 2005

It Takes A Village.....

So I went online today to find a workaround for PRB: "Table 'TempMSysAccessObjects' Already Exists" Error Message May Occur While Using the Compact and Repair Database Utility and I ended up here reading this.

I, too, am almost at a loss for words… and not just because someone so in-tune with the latest parenting trends should know researchers have disproved (disproven?) the whole “Mozart Effect” intelligence theory.

I am seriously considering adding google ad sense to my blog just so I can donate the proceeds to a fund for this poor child’s therapy.

Now, I admit, I am a fan of Brain, Child magazine and some of the theories of John Rosemond so that makes me a little schizophrenic in my parenting “style” anyway but this article really just made me think, “Well thank all the powers that be…. I am not that woman or that child or that poor, poor husband!”


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on….

Subtitle: I got my world rocked on Monday night.

…. And, no, it wasn’t the usual my-husband-is-amazing-in-the-sack kinda rockin’. We had an EARTHQUAKE that was an actual geographic event. (As apposed to the state of my living room after Sweet Boy plays an especially rousing game of “wrestle the rocking moose”) FIVE-POINT-SIX. So why do I live here instead of California again?

It rattled the lights. I was lounging on the couch with The Husband eating an ice cream bar. All I could think was, “Who started a load of laundry?” because it felt like the load was unbalanced. The Husband said, “That was either an explosion or an earthquake.” We looked at each other, it faded and then came back shaking harder and he said, "Grab the baby" and I went tearing up the stairs (ice cream bar clutched in one hand... no natural disaster is gonna get between me and my fudgcicle). By the time I got back downstairs he had the scanner and the news on and was talking to his parents on the phone.

Our house has a rock foundation so we weren’t too worried about structural damage. The only casualty was the sedum I'd just transplanted into a rusty wheel well that was sitting up on a wood chunk (it’s cool… not nearly as ‘neck as it sounds…. Pictures when I get my camera back) The “planter” tipped over and the wood chunk rolled away.... I turned it over, gave a quick Earth Mama blessing and shoved the plant back in.... whether it lives or dies depends on it's little plant will to go on.....

I won't lie... the shake kinda shook me.... It was one of those, "What do we do now?" moments..... The first thought was something had exploded on the train tracks (that happened once before) but then it went on and we knew what it was... I guess there have been lots of aftershocks but I haven't felt anything. I often bemoan the fact that we live in a land-locked state and the resultant lack of good sushi but this week I was more than happy to be high, dry and tsunami-free.

Friday, July 22, 2005

The Last Best Place

Hey all-

For those interested, here are the links to the "Last Best Place" articles. Some guy from Las Vegas wants to trademark the phrase..... Might I suggest he be very careful the next time he visits our fair state.... I imagine there are folks who take offense....

Last Best Place Editorial

Last Best Place Trademark Article

The Gov's gonna fight it...

Thinking of you....

I opened a new container of milk today and thought of Greenie when I saw homoginized on the lid.

Here’s my pitch.

This is why I think Sierrabella (or anyone else interested…. But I need to approve of you first, sorry….) should move to Helena or Montana in general.

1. Housing prices are still fairly reasonable in Helena or the Flathead valley. (Getting pricey in Missoula & Bozeman.)
2. It really isn’t as hick as some people think.
3. It is much more hick than some people think.
4. We have an airport.
5. All those typical outdoorsy things….. biking, hiking, fly-fishing.
6. Some decent indoor things (get your mind out of the gutter) for cultural enjoyment.
7. Park Avenue Bakery

Reasons to stay away from Helena:
1. No sushi.
2. Really bad radio stations.
3. Loads and loads of new subdivisions in the valley.
4. We’re getting an IHOP.
5. Walmart: It’s not a store, it’s a lifestyle.
6. Those delightful winters.
7. We have a speed limit again and the tickets cost more than $5.

Other things to consider:
1. The smoking ban (depending on if you are for or against it) Smoking Ban
2. The governor The Guv


In one of my past lives I worked at a martial arts school. (Sidenote: That’s why I was so surprised to see all the freaked out comments about getting “choked out” on this site. Hands down the best choke submission I’ve ever seen was by a 10-year-old girl with arms like broomsticks. She locked on to a senior instructor (a big cocky meathead 200+ guy who has been doing martial arts forever) and he almost went down glassy-eyed before he could even tap out.)

I was fresh out of college and my personality alternated between cocky, quirky & shy. Typical. I lived near Sacramento and didn’t really know anyone so I spent a lot of time working out. I was a kinda cute young thing with a boppy ponytail & red toenails and an easy confidence with martial arts “fighting” that comes from knowing opponents will always underestimate the tall quiet chick. I was pretty slow but long legs and light weigh make up for a lot when competing against women and a long stare, a slow grin & a quick attack will throw off most men.

I was proud of all the women I’d introduced to the benefits of martial arts. I would say, “If I can do it, you can do it too. I’m slow. I have two metal rods in my back and the beginnings of arthritis. I’ve had acl surgery on my knee. I’ve had 3 surgeries on my ankle.” Men are better at sparring for about the first two years. They can rely on strength. Women tend to focus more on technique and, therefore, are better martial artists once they get to a sparring level that requires actually skill rather than just being able to take a hit. Sparring is a chess match, not a slug fest. That said, I’ve gotten more bruises sparring with “orange” and “green” belts than I have from any of the more senior belt levels. No control and too much adrenaline.

Our art was Olympic-style sparring. Not at all street practical and very frustrating for older, slower, stove-up folks like me. Then we started training more in ground techniques. This was about the time the Ultimate Fighting Challenge was getting popular and we would have big parties and get together to watch. So pretty soon another dojang started going south to train with “The Gracies.” And then they were sending someone up a couple times a week to train with interested people in our area. They liked to train at our school because we had good mats and it was very clean. My compulsive tendencies existed even back then.

The Gracies were a concept. Some family members had been in the US for a while. Some didn’t have a whole lot of English but could communicate easily with exaggerated mime demonstrations of moves and drills. Some were a little, um, scary.

One day one of the Gracie boys looked at me. (I’m not saying which one because what if…) It was the kind of look that made me have a deeper understanding of how cave men truly functioned. It made me reconsider my choice of attire on training days. I think it was years before I felt comfortable baring my midriff again… and, of course, by then it wasn’t as spectacular. That look had some raw male testosterone flowing in it. No pomp, no bravado, just a pure sense of what he was capable of and a simple assessment of me. I gulped and looked back. I guess I passed some test because the next week I was invited to do some of the training drills with them. I never got very good. The rods in my back made a lot of the moves very painful for me and I regret I didn’t dedicate enough time and energy to training. But I did learn a few moves that were clean, simple and effective…. When you watch it sometimes you just see a couple of sweaty guys rolling around with each other, but Jui-jitsu is a beautiful art.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Vacation 101

  1. They got off the plane last.
  2. Lala is wearing a sexy t-shirt and purple crocs.
  3. She was packing Little (18 months) in the backpack
  4. Big (She’ll be 6 in September) in a sundress & green crocs.
  5. Middle (3 ½) dragging a giant pink wheeled backpack and wearing red crocs.
  6. I had to buy a pair of crocs just to blend in.
  7. Mine are light blue.
  8. They look ridiculous and I love them.
  9. They only brought one suitcase for all 4 of them.
  10. We spent quite a bit of time at the lake.
  11. Lala & I were the hottest moms there…. Although I stuck with the slimming black one-piece and didn’t bust out the new tankini…. Still have some love handle issues to deal with before the tags come off that one.
  12. We all wore sunscreen and got tan anyway.
  13. We rented a paddleboat ($5 for ½ hour) and saw some big fish…. We also saw a lot of monster snot in the water.
  14. We kept the giant “beach bag” packed at all times with towels & beach toys.
  15. The trusty red wheelie cooler was our best friend.
  16. Sweet Boy learned how to drink out of a straw.
  17. My dear husband got a taste of what polygamy might be like… the multiple wives & children part… not the sex part.
  18. Dear Husband doesn’t want ANYTHING to do with polygamy.
  19. Lala & I decided we would be good partners….. except the sex part.
  20. She did all the laundry while she was here.
  21. I scored a good enchilada recipe from her.
  22. We painted the bathroom purple. Actually, silverberry.
  23. We painted the dryer white.
  24. We both think a good vacation involves painting something.
  25. The kids were very good.
  26. Her kids are good shoppers.
  27. My son is a climber.
  28. We went to the carousel. It is way cool. Rides are $1. One of the horses has a dead bunny strapped to the back of the saddle. We did not point this out to the girls. Other riding animals include otters, big horn sheep, bison, um, darn, I can’t remember any more.
  29. Lala makes great “kid mix” for snacking.
  30. I made great “grownup mix” for snacking.
  31. We snacked a lot.
  32. Margaritas in a bucket are a good thing.
  33. We can still raise hell in Target… even with 4 kids in tow….. we are a force to be reckoned with.
  34. We had healthy meals most of the time.
  35. We ordered pizza once…. The first night they were here. We got our old favorite. Double mushroom, extra cheese, no sauce. Try it. You’ll like it.
  36. We only ate fast food once….. tacos & pizza at the mall while we were getting Montana t-shirts, Croc sandals & a stuffed bunny.
  37. We took the kids to see the helicopter at my sister’s workplace. Little said, “Oh.” And was completely spellbound by the ‘copter. I have never seen anything so adorable.
  38. My son, of course, was more interested in “driving” the lawn tractor sprinkler around the yard.
  39. My sister was very pleased with the picnic we brought. She really likes ham and oreos.
  40. Big & Middle loved the Smokey Bear stickers & rulers.
  41. Even after eating, well, everything in sight, I only gained a couple of pounds so there is hope the tankini tags will come off this summer.
  42. We watched fireworks from my aunt’s deck on the 4th.
  43. She has a great house on Mt Helena with a good view of the big display in East Helena and all the smaller displays in the valley.
  44. People in Helena spend a lot of money on fireworks.
  45. My husband won’t let us do fireworks….. that’s just part of life being married to a firefighter.
  46. There isn’t much better than sitting in a comfy lawn chair with a snuggly little boy wearing batman jammies watching fireworks.
  47. Especially when you add in a big glass of red wine & a slice of key lime pie.
  48. Lala’s family has a language of their own.
  49. We watched the Great Foo-howie of the fireworks.
  50. We said, “Cwhwah-haa” for croissants.
  51. We called each other Momjado. (From mom-would-you….)
  52. Sometimes when I say something odd I realize it is a lalaism. Like calling a shopping cart a buggy.
  53. Her kids pay a “mom tax” when they get candy or treats.
  54. We watched “Nemo” and re-remembered all the great quotes from it.
  55. My husband wore jeans to the lake.
  56. We drank a lot of coffee with hazelnut creamer.
  57. I mean a lot.
  58. We went for a “nature walk” and saw baby deer twins.
  59. We didn’t see any snakes.
  60. Gunnar was a good dog and tolerated two little girls pulling him two different directions with two different leashes.
  61. The front wheel fell off the wheelie stroller.
  62. We fixed it.
  63. We walked to my in-laws and decided we were tired so we called home and had the husband come and get us.
  64. The girls got a good picture of the mama deer that seems to be living in the old collapsed barn.
  65. We wore baseball caps, t-shirts & shorts every day.
  66. We only had to do laundry once… or twice.
  67. We played tourist and got Montana gear for everyone.
  68. We saw the former governor in Dillard’s.
  69. She talked to the kids and welcomed them to Montana.
  70. She has a very cool purse made from license plates from her dad’s old truck.
  71. They taught us how to “eat the orphans first” when eating grapes.
  72. We taught them it is ok to pee off the porch.
  73. They helped us turn Sweet Boy’s car seat around.
  74. Sweet Boy loves it.
  75. Little & Sweet Boy spent a lot of time “talking” to each other.
  76. We have no idea what they were saying but they sure thought it was funny.
  77. Sweet Boy did a “happy dance” every morning when he came down the stairs and saw them there.
  78. He cried the morning after they left.
  79. I almost did too.
  80. Husband wasn’t nearly so sad…. I think the polygamy scared him.
  81. 3 small children and a mom don’t make as much of an explosion as you might expect when they unpack.
  82. We rented a minivan.
  83. It had a dvd player.
  84. We watched a princess movie in the driveway.
  85. The minivan was a dream to drive.
  86. We bought stuff for s’mores and never made them.
  87. Lala couldn’t get over what great ROCKS we have here. Apparently, in other places, you pay big money for such rocks.
  88. I sent her home with a few small rocks in her suitcase.
  89. We didn’t go to a garden center once while they were here.
  90. It took extreme control.
  91. We are a menace in a garden center…. We always have been.
  92. Lala and I met when she was a freshman & I was a sophomore in college.
  93. We lived in a dorm called “the virgin vault.”
  94. She is the wittiest and funniest person I know.
  95. She also gives good advice.
  96. She bought an adorable fossil purse while she was here.
  97. Then she bought another one.
  98. After they left my husband told me they can come back any time.
  99. I miss them all terribly.
  100. I want them to come back and move in next door so we can make a stepping stone path between our houses.
  101. I’m going down there in October. Get ready.

Friday, July 15, 2005


Lovely home on lower west side of Helena, Montana. Oversized corner lot. High privacy fence around backyard… perfect for dogs. Very dog-friendly neighborhood. Dog door into attached garage. Nice neighborhood. Only one shared fence section and it is buffered by your backyard, the neighbor’s side yard and their attached garage… very quiet and private. Established, low-maintenance perennial flowerbeds. Large garden plot. Strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb & garlic established. Beautiful, mature trees & landscaping. Perfect hammock spot. Ranch-style home, pale grey with dark grey trim. 900 sq feet upstairs & 900 sq feet in fully finished basement. 2 bathrooms & 4 bedrooms (2 non-conforming). New Pergo flooring in kitchen/dining/living room. Recently redesigned kitchen plan and new countertops. Refrigerator, stove, dishwasher included. Forced-air heat. Large recreation room in basement. 2 car attached garage with automatic opener. Garage is insulated and sheetrocked for potential conversion to den or bedrooms. Lovely new paint throughout upstairs. Photos available.
Go ahead, make me an offer…..

Still here.... sort of.

Here’s something for the starving masses…. My son loves this stuff… isn’t that odd? Now I’m going back outside. (stolen from the website)

Avocado Gazpacho

3 fully ripened Hass avocados, halved, pitted, peeled and diced
2 cups peeled, seeded and diced cucumbers
¾ cup chopped fresh tomato
½ cup chopped onion
14½-ounce ready-to-serve chicken broth
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup coarsely broken tortilla chips

Remove ½ cup diced avocado for later use. In a blender, place half of the remaining avocado, cucumbers, tomato, onion, broth, lemon juice, salt and pepper; whirl until smooth; place in a bowl; repeat.To serve: Spoon gazpacho into four soup bowls; in the center of each, spoon a small mound of the avocado and sprinkle with chip pieces. If desired, top each serving with a cilantro sprig.To prepare up to one day ahead, follow recipe up to serving directions. Cover surface of soup directly with plastic wrap; refrigerate. When ready to serve, continue as directed above.Makes 4 servings, about 5 cups.

Nutrition information per serving: 296 cal., 5 g pro., 19 g carbo., 25 g total fat (4 g saturated), 7 g dietary fiber.

Note: To convert to a main-dish cold soup, omit the tortilla chips and use:
1 pound cooked, shelled medium shrimp (about 24)
6-ounce can lump crabmeat, drained or ½ cup fresh lump crabmeat (about 4 ounces)
Sliced scallion for garnish, if desired
French bread
Goat cheese or cheese spread, as desired

Set aside 12 shrimp for garnish, then chop the remaining shrimp and stir them into the soup along with the crabmeat. Some crabmeat can be set aside for garnish also, along with scallions. Serve with slices of crusty French or Italian bread spread with a pepper-coated goat cheese or herbed or garlic-flavored cheese spread.

The Joke Answer....

Sorry to leave you hanging for so long.... if you haven't googled it yet (good thinking LadyBug)....