Monday, May 31, 2010

Woot! Guess what I ate for dinner?

Shrimp, that's what!

Yes, I, Kate of Delicious-Land, hater of seafood, actually ate 5 (count them, 5!) barbecued shrimp for dinner.

Shock of shocks, I liked them. I cooked them with butter and garlic salt.  Yum. O.

Let me say it again.

Yum. O.

I'm such a big kid now! LOL

Sunday, May 30, 2010

End of May Snowfall

Here (at last!) are just a select few of the photos we took at Lost Lake last Sunday. Yes, that was May 23rd and we still had to bundle up!

Granted, Lost Lake's altitude is 3,185 ft.  That's still pretty low for snow to be falling.

The path around Lost Lake is 3.2 miles.  A good part of it has a wooden walkway, but there were definitely parts where we had to climb rocks and walk through creeks.  In spots, the path actually took us literally to the water's edge -- within a few inches!

We found this great hollowed out stump that looked just like a throne.  
Of course, the kiddos had to take turns bowing down to each other.

Pretty little stream

See that white dot in the middle of the center tree trunk? Snow. :)

Is this picture incredible or what?  And, yes, that white stuff is snow.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day Wednesday

Slightly more productive than yesterday, thank goodness.

I spent the day working on the new website. I'm pretty good on the computer, yet I am astounded at how complicated the entire process is. Seriously.

I think my eyes are going to fall out my head from going back and forth between said site, said site's html style sheet and the hex chart (color wheel).

And just how much do you think I accomplished in the past 7 hours? I managed to change the colors of some of the text and a couple dotted lines.

Tomorrow I'm heading in to see the graphics expert at Scott's office and beg for mercy. He'll probably have it the way I want it in a matter of minutes, putting my hours and hours of agony to shame.

Yes, I'm taking cookies. Lots and lots of cookies.

I can't wait until I've actually got this site up and running because I'm so excited about it! Not only do I really want to show it to everyone, but I'll actually have a platform from which to launch my moving book. How cool is that?

So if any of you should happen to be WordPress experts and feel the desperate need to do your good deed of the day, leave a comment and I'll get back to you. :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day Tuesday

No writing done.

No research done.

No successful rolls from the new bread maker.

No luck on the new website for my moving book.

No new job info.

No manuscripts edited.

No new photos uploaded.

I did, however, make dinner for a friend, wash what seemed like hundreds of dishes and stare for hours at my computer monitor. I guess not every day can be completely productive.

Day Wednesday, however, will be.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Gauntlet Has Fallen

The Gauntlet has fallen, but we will survive.  We always do.

Scott's company gave him his 30-day notice this past Wednesday.

As challenging as it's been and will continue to be until he's settled in a new job, this layoff is a blessing. The company he was working for has been dishonest, untrustworthy, delinquent and unbelievably rude.

Scott is the most moral person on the planet and he could not, in good conscience, continue working for a company with such total disregard of values.  We gave them ample opportunity to redeem themselves, but each and every time, the executives refused to trust or grant benefit to anyone but themselves.

So in our opinion... good riddance of this idiotic company.

But the layoff means only one more month of paychecks. And since he hasn't gotten paid on time since last October, we don't know what to expect.

There are a couple employment opportunities immediately available for Scott, but neither is anywhere close to our home.

We'd have to move.  Which we were planning to do anyway for this other horrid company, but they so kindly saved us the time and trouble by stabbing Scott in the back.  (I'm only a little bitter. LOL)

We don't want to leave.  We're happy here.  But in this economy, our wants have little to do with where we actually end up living.  It's all about where there's a job.

Here's another blessing in this situation... Over the past month that we've known this layoff would happen, we've been relying strongly on our faith. I have a tendency to get angry with God (however unfair that may be), but this time around, I'm not angry at Him.  I've surrounded myself with His word through music, books, friends, VBS volunteer work and my writing.

Hearing constant reminders of God's love for us helps me remember that everything will be fine.  Better than fine, even.  I feel supported and lifted up in prayer. I feel like God is holding on tight to my hand and won't let go. I have total faith in Him. There's no anger or doubt to mar that feeling.

Spiritual growth is an incredibly powerful blessing.

Please pray that Scott finds another position quickly, in a company that will recognize his talents and morals and be willing to support his growth as person as well as an employee.  Thank you! :)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Parenting First

I actually stood in front of my kids and lectured them.

I don't believe in lecturing kids because from everything I've heard, it doesn't work.  (Well, that and the fact that I never listened when my dad lectured me.)

I'm all for positive reinforcement, natural consequences and two-way respect. Lecturing encompasses none of those.

Remember the teacups at Disney Land? Once you turn that metal wheel even a little, the cup just keeps spinning. Hayley and Emma both seem to be spinning their poor behavior teacups a little too much for my liking. And I don't think they can stop until I switch the ride off completely.

Which is what I had to do.  I am all done with the disrespect, constant bickering, arguing with me, interrupting me, "not hearing" what I say, complaining when I ask them to do something, always believing that the other is being treated better and receiving more privileges.

Even just typing that raised my hackles.  (What are hackles anyway?)

So I sat them down and let them have it.  Big time.

Did it work? I guess we'll see, but as for right now, the arguing about getting on the computer stopped.  Emma finished her homework without further complaint. Hayley headed up to her bedroom to read.

As for me, right now? I'm sending Scott Dairy Queen vibes. Maybe he'll pick something up for me on his way home from Men's Group.

Ape Cave Spelunking

Thirty years ago today, Mt. St. Helen's blew her top in a fit of pent up frustration!  Here's a video of the eruption and it's aftermath...  It's an hour long, but just watch the first five minutes or so if you don't have time to watch the whole thing. 

When you see the rivers in the video, know that the trees and vegetation that were obliterated are still gone.  The Toutle River itself only flows through a small portion of the 1/2 mile wide valley of destruction.  The rest of it is... a sort of sand, I guess--remnants of an exploded mountain.

This past Saturday, we finally made it to the ever popular Ape Cave. At just seven miles south of Mt. St. Helen's, it's an hour and a half drive from our house.

The drive itself was gorgeous... wildflowers, light green growth on all the trees, swollen creeks and waterfalls slipping down the walls of rock on the sides of the road. And the always breathtaking site of Mt. St. Helen's...

And then the cave itself was phenomenal! Technically a lava tube, its an anomaly around the volcanoes in the Cascade Mountain Range.

Some volcanoes, like those in Hawaii, erupt with fluid lava.  When others, like the many in the Cascades, erupt, the lava cools and hardens so quickly that we don't see the typical "hot lava".

Ape Cave is proof that Mt. St. Helen's, at one time, somehow erupted fluid lava and this lava tube was created by it snaking its way underground.

At over a mile long, there's a hard way and an easy way to go.  We took the easy way, which is actually longer.

Don't let the light in these photos fool you.  It was all from the camera flash. There's no natural light. Zero. Zippo. It is so black that you can't see your hand immediately in front of your face.  It was kinda spooky, but also really amazing.

And it was cold down there!  The average temp is 42 degrees.  And the farther in you go, the colder and windier it is.  We came prepared, as you can see in the photo of Emma below. Winter jackets and hats were the desired attire. (Although we did see plenty of people in shorts, tank tops and flip flops.  Seriously, did those people not do any research?)

The cave dissolved into the ground about 3/4 mile from the opening.  It just got shorter and shorter and shorter.  In the photo above, Scott is watching Hayley see how far she can go. 

She didn't get far 'cause she hit her head on the rock ceiling. Hhhhmmmm...

We can't wait to take my brother, Will, and his boys to Ape Cave when they come to visit this summer.  We'd be happy to take anyone else who comes to visit us! (hint hint hint) :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Coloring for moms?

Ever get tired of coloring along in your daughter's My Little Pony coloring book? 

I did. I loved coloring with my girls, but I remember distinct days in which I craved something besides simplistic designs of inane characters. Something besides the common colors of macaroni-and-cheese, carnation pink and brick red.

Finally, a solution!!

This afternoon, I came across a fantastic site:

If you can overlook the obnoxious plethora of advertisements, you'll find a list of subjects. Once you click on one, you can pick out the picture you actually want to color... landscapes, people, flowers, geometric designs, etc.

Here's an example:

So next time you're at Target or Wal-Mart, pick yourself up a super-size box of Crayolas (and keep it super secret so little hands won't destroy it).  

Once the kids are down (and actually stay down) for the night, print out a couple pictures, pull out your Purple Mountains’ Majesty, Tropical Rain Forest and Antique Brass and say good-bye to The Giant Book of My Little Pony.

Color your mama heart out. 

Friday, May 14, 2010

A trip to Whole Foods without freaking out!

I'm not a Whole Foods kind of girl.  Yet I donned my bravery cap this evening and headed in, all for the sake of my food allergy-ridden husband.

Hungriness made him mopey last night. He's so sick of the few things he can actually eat. I can't even imagine how sick he must be of his home-made trail mix and baked potato chips.

So I bucked up and headed to Whole Foods, just to look for a couple new snacks for him.

Yay, me! I made it through the *entire* store without demising into a panic attack.  And the couple things I planned to buy turned into a whole bunch of treasures!

Agave (a plant derived sweetener) syrup is really making an entrance, it seems.  I found several things sweetened with agave, including gummy bears and strawberry fruit pops.

I also read the back of countless brands and varieties of soy milk to find a sugar-free, single-serving box. And find it I did!

Woot! Woot!

Tea. Fizzy fruit juice soda. Lemonade (again, with agave instead of sugar). And some really wicked-looking cookie things.  Squirrel food, seriously.  But they were the only sweet snack food that didn't have wheat, rice and cane sugar.

And, if you're not already sitting down, you might want to. I actually bought...  tofu.

Yes, folks.  Your eyes are not deceiving you.  I don't know what to do with it, but I'm about to find out.  (I'd love to hear any suggestions, Delicious Readers!)

When I got home, Scott heard me pull in the driveway and opened the front door for me.  His gorgeous, baby blues lit up when I handed him the extraordinarily heavy Whole Foods bag and said, "No more going hungry." (The man's already about to blow away.)

Every time he pulled something out of the bag, he did a little dance. I wish I could have gotten it on camera. Hahaha! He even hugged the popcorn bag!

My checking account took a giant hit since I spent almost as much on that single (but very full) bag of food than I do on an entire week's groceries.

His smile, though? Totally worth it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Chicken Thought I Had a Trap

Congratulations to my amazing niece, Sophia!  She has just won both first and second place in a county-wide poetry contest. At the age of 7, she's following in her talented poet mama's footsteps.

Her first-place poem is just so darned adorable that I had, had, had to share it with you.

Chicken Thought I Had A Trap

I invited Chicken to my house. She thought
I had a trap out hidden in the door. Silly Chicken.
I don’t eat Chicken. I am a vegetarian.
I invited Chicken to a tea party!
Why isn’t Chicken here yet?
She probably thought I had a trap out.
I called her on the phone.
This is what I said, “I didn’t set a trap out, silly.
I am a vegetarian.”
We had a good time after all.

I double-dog dare you to tell me that you didn't get at least a little chuckle out of that!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Siren Call

I'm sitting here curled up on the couch, my favorite blanket wrapped around me.  (May 12 and it's still cold.) I've been working on my novel all morning, but now my eyes are starting to close, my mind beginning to doze.

I hear the dreaded siren call of a nap.

Can I resist? I should, I really should.  Uh oh, I'm now typing with my eyes closed. I'm leaving the typos in here for your giggling pleasure. I should keep writing.  th ekids have an early day and there will be no writing this afternoon, guaranteed.

On the other hand, if I take a nap, I'll be in a better mood later on and  apositive outlook is integral fo r....

Falling asleep. Can't remember what I was writing about.

Can't resist the siren call.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Writing from home is apparently a distracting business.

I spent yesterday concentrating on sending out a resume, meeting with my lunchtime critique group, combing the web for freelance opportunities and learning at my Promoting Your Book class.

And I ignored all chores.

Today was as busy as yesterday, except I did squeeze in grocery shopping, the bank and filling my tank up.  Most significantly, I made some progress on my novel. Yay!

And I ignored all chores.

By 5pm, though, I couldn't ignore them any longer.  I donned my pink rubber gloves and tackled the dishes.  I swept the floor.  I sorted laundry and as I lifted the washer lid to throw the dark load in, I found a wet and stinky load already in there.  Forgotten since Saturday.


After setting the washer on the hottest and longest cycle, I picked up the plethora of life from the downstairs. Several other chores/parenting responsibilities later, I open the dryer to switch loads. And found a wet and stinky load in there, too.  Not just forgotten since Saturday, but forgotten to actually get dried.

Double nice.

But, the way I see it, it's all a give and take, right? If I'm going to fully concentrate on a full-time writing career,  household things have to be prioritized.

Laundry apparently forgot to get in the prioritizing line this week and it's now making its frustration known.

'Cause, you know, I actually wanted to do two extra loads of laundry tonight. 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day to you!

I'm already feeling pretty special.  Emma made me breakfast in bed!  She made pancakes from scratch all by herself.  Without even any supervision over the griddle.  I'm not sure whether to be scared by that or not.  I'm choosing not.  If she's that confident in the kitchen and nothing went wrong, more power to her!

These weren't just any ol' pancakes, mind you.  These were pink pancakes.  On a pink plate.  With a pink napkin.  And juice in a pink mug.  Nothing like starting a day out surrounded by your very favorite color!

We don't have any particular plans for the day.  It's finally warm and sunny, though, so I'd like to relax on the hammock for a bit.  Not too long, though, 'cause I've got a resume to finish updating and a cover letter to write.  I really want to get them out tomorrow for the particular job I'm applying for.

Is your brow now furrowed?  Are you wondering Didn't she just quit her job to become a full-time writer? 

Yes. Yes, I did.  But certain circumstances deem the necessity of finding another job. (Life is never smooth, is it?) The job itself sounds ideal for me--it's a part-time writing/marketing job.  I've got all the qualifications, it's only 20 minutes away and it would allow me to maintain my full-time writer status.

Please, please, please say some prayers that I get this job. About six of the ten tons of bricks resting on my shoulders right now would fall away.

I'll keep y'all posted...  But in the meantime, have a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful Mother's Day!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Crazy storms = ???

In the past two days (this is May, mind you!), we've seen sun, rain, hail and sleet. I've also heard rumors of snowflakes, but I personally haven't seen any.

I have, however, seen the most intense rainbows ever!

And you, thanks to Scott's photography talent, you can see one of them, too.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Why have I never been there before?

My parents and I enjoyed a wonderful walk through the serene Japanese Gardens in Portland this morning.

It was so beautiful.  Stunning, really.

Take a look for yourself...

And as gorgeous as those photos are, this one below is my very favorite...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Make a Difference Monday!

Happy Monday, Delicious Readers!  Are you ready for a fantastic week?

I am.  I'm ready to make this week a great one in spite of crazy stress.

The key, I believe, to look beyond our own stresses is to help others.  Make someone else smile.  Do something they don't expect.

This week, in celebration of Mother's Day, send out a few notes to the mothers you know.  You don't have to contribute to Hallmark's gross national profit or create fancy cards by hand.

Just find any old piece of paper (it might be nice if you didn't use, you know, the back side of a medical bill or something) and let that mom know that you respect them.

Imagine if you received an unexpected note in the mail.  You'd be thrilled, wouldn't you?  I certainly would.

So even if you just send out one note, or even if you only have time to send an email, you'll be making a wonderful difference in another woman's life.

Enjoy your week, Delicious Friends!


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Simply Serendipitous

I flew down to Sacramento yesterday to a) celebrate my mom's birthday with the whole fam and b) drive my parents back up to my house for a visit.  (It's a *very* long drive.)

My flight landed a couple minutes early and I followed the masses of exiting travelers down the stairs.  Most people turned right to find the baggage carousel.  Since I had my two changes of clothes in my backpack, I turned left to find the restroom.

Finishing up my business, I headed to the sink side of the dividing wall.  I found an empty sink and started scrubbing.  The lady next to me finished up and walked behind me to the paper towels.  I was still rinsing, but I say out of the corner of my eye her struggle with the paper towel thingie. She tried the next one, while I tried the first one.  (It still didn't work.)

In these few seconds, masses of very large women with very large suitcases cluttered up the bathroom.  Cattle call.  Seriously.  I noticed the paper towel lady go around through the stall side to reach the exit and thought, "Smart idea".  I was about to do the same when the large women parted and I was able to dash through.

Paper towel lady was right in front of me and I noticed that her pink sweater was really pretty.  Then I actually looked at *her* and realized it was my sister!

She and her fam were picking me up at the airport, but I fully expected to meet them outside at the pick up area.  I mean, people don't generally hop out of their car to use the airport restroom, right?

After stunned surprise, we hugged and then couldn't stop giggling at how we were right next to each other and never noticed one another!

How often do you think that kind of thing happens?  When you're just so fully focused on your own task at hand that you don't notice the people next you.  Who might you have missed?