Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Things on Etsy That Freak Me Out

Doesn't everyone need a miniature felted likeness of their beloved pet?

You still have time to get one before the holidays. Click here to zip on over to this Etsy store!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Unnatural Affinity for Swedish Ingenuity

Did I tell you we're REMODELING OUR KITCHEN???

YeeHAW! It all starts this week, and I didn't have to stamp my foot (too hard) to get my way.

And let me tell you, my way was THIS SINK:

In preparation, I've been stockpiling food in the freezer, hoarding paper boxes from work, and freaking out at having my in-laws in our tiny house for so long.

Love you guys, I really do, but it's difficult enough sharing a bathroom with my own 3 boys. I hope we're all speaking to each other by the time your plane leaves.

I have chosen, for the sake of my relationship with these beautiful people, to NOT take any vacation time during their visit. Grandma Kay has free reign on playing with Fezzik the whole time she's here, and Lawnboy and Grandpa Dave will be fastidious about the kitchen.

That's the plan, anyway. Before and after pictures to follow, I promise!

Things to do:
1. Donate old cabinets to Habitat for Humanity if they'll take them
2. Unpack current cabinets
3. Everything else

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Preciousssssssssss

I love these stainless steel bottles from EarthLust. We just shelled out half our grocery budget at Kir De Vries on 3 of these pretties. Aren't they gorgeous? So much better than the same old SIGG bottle!

Fezzik has claimed the owl bottle for his school lunches.

The Amazing So and So has already gummed up the shell bottle.

Lawnboy and I are in negotiations over the crow bottle. I foresee another purchase in the near future, as I just don't do backwash. I like my own bottle. Can't you just see Lawnboy with a tree bottle? Me too.

I went to fill the crow bottle up last night and found a tiny pinhole in it, so I won't be using it any time soon. The shop we bought them from was fantastic, though, and is popping a replacement in the mail tout suite, along with a few free sport lids for our inconvenience!

Friday, September 19, 2008

More of My Two Cents

Economy. The First World's economy is in the can. That's not new news; I'm aware that I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.

Why, though? And what do we do about it?

Obama's economic plan looks like it will effectively bring us back to where we were before Bush and his cronies screwed us over. However, I don't want this country to be back on that track.

I want a new track. A track that we can sustain. A track with different values. An equitable track, where everyone has what they need, including healthy food, reasonable housing and healthcare, but not much more.

The new track will not rely on oil (foreign or domestic). It will bring our food back to reasonable production - no more industrial food products. Instead Real Food from Real Farmers (and our own back yards) will grace every table, school lunchroom, and restaurant. The track won't allow us to buy new luxury cars every two years, or live in 3,500 square foot houses. It won't allow us to have more things than we need. It will, though, put most of us on equal economic footing.

Our obsession with Stuff is killing us. It's robbing us of our health, and our children of their future. We all need to make a decision right now to stop and move in a new direction.

That's the track I want to be on.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

If You're Not Scared, You're Not Paying Attention

Lawnboy and I were shooting the breeze last night and talking about how just plain terrified we are with the state of our economy.

Short of moving to India (Lawnboy's proposal), I'm not sure if there is anything we can do.

Oh, wait a sec! We could vote. Note, Lawnboy thinks that it's futile at this point. I don't, if you were wondering. I can't think that it's futile. I just can't.

Can't embed this video, but please click on the link.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

If I had a Tattoo

I'm way too chicken; senior year in high school, Lawnboy, my BFF Desirae, and I drove down to the booming metropolis of Portland with the intent to get tattoos.

Desirae went first. She got a HUGE tribal design on her forearm. It bled. She was tough, but the tears sprang to her eyes nonetheless. My turn came up, and I wimped out.

Whoooooo, she wasn't happy about that.

Also, Lawnboy was too cheap (and I think he wouldn't mind if I told you he was also scared), and he ended up walking away uninked too.

Truth be told, it wasn't just the pain that freaked me out. It was the permanence. I kept thinking that some day, Desirae would regret that huge black mark on her arm. It didn't have much meaning, which bothered me very much. Flipping through the books of flash in the parlor, something rolled through my head: this decision deserves more thought than I've given it.

Fifteen years later, I think I've found the one thing I know I could live with for the rest of my life. It's irrelevant now, because I wouldn't fritter so much money away on something that isn't that significant to me, but it's pretty, and meaningful, and it would fit the bill if I were to find myself in a similar situation again.

One thing, though. I'd also need a waist. Or some hips. Something to make my back more closely resemble a cello.

Monday, September 15, 2008


I mentioned that we went to a wedding this weekend.

It was beautiful. Set against a backdrop of the sun setting over the Puget Sound, with Victoria, BC's twinkling lights off in the distance, it was like a picture out of Sunset magazine. There was even a doe grazing in the meadow behind the wedding party.

The wedding wasn't a big to-do, but more meaning-filled than others I've been to, officiated by the groom's best friend, with speeches by the grooms' close friends and family.

Yes, grooms. Two.

Big deal, right? To me, not at all.

But to the two of them, it was a big deal, because they, sadly and ridiculously, aren't able to do this legally in our state (yet).

During the ceremony, I found myself fighting back tears. The tears were because I know these two, I have felt the love they have for each other (trust me, it's palpable), and I know what marriage is like. Watching them watching each other was so sweet that I couldn't help but choke up. I am so excited for them to join into a contract with each other and with the rest of the world, a contract that says "I'm worthy of this guy's love." That's something that has helped me get out of bed some mornings.

One of their friends was sitting directly opposite me during the ceremony. He was weeping without abandon, and we made eye contact a few times during the speeches. I didn't get a chance to talk to him until just before he left. He approached me, and said "Thank you. I was watching you during the ceremony and I could tell by the look on your face that you get it. You totally get it. You are a beautiful person. You get it." To which I replied, "What's to get? They are in love, and they're doing exactly what they're supposed to be doing. I'm just glad I could be here to share it with them."

My friend Pete was in the closet when we were in high school. I never actually thought about his sexuality, because he wasn't so far in the closet that he overcompensated, so I just thought he didn't have a girlfriend because he was focused on his goals. (Which he was; I've never met another 16 year old who knows what he wants in a career and ends up there as directly as Pete did. Wow.) Looking back, I still wouldn't pick up on it even though our culture is much more accepting these days. However, I did think that something was missing for him. Because I knew even back then how much I wanted a family, I was worried that he wouldn't have time to find one because he was so focused on a career.

I know now that I don't have to worry about him. He has his family, and it's beautiful. Chris's eyes say it all, even when they're shrouded in $2,000 Cartier sunglasses. They love each other. What is there to get about that?

You might have noticed that I'm raising two boys. My wish for my boys is that they grow up to be kind-hearted, giving people like my friend Pete, and that they're able to find love, too.

Mazel Tov, Pete and Chris. We love you.

Feather Bed Eggs

We stayed at the Argyle House on Saturday night, and even though I was terribly hung-over (possibly still drunk?) on Sunday morning, we enjoyed a delicious breakfast. Well, the boys did; I enjoyed the fruit and a bite of the eggs, but it was a bit much for me. It was so good though, that I had to find a recipe so I can duplicate it here at home, and try it sober next time.

Feather Bed Eggs
* 4 Slices Thick Cut French-Toast Bread
* 1 1/2 cups Grated Pepper-Jack Cheeese
* 1 1/2 cups Whole Milk
* 6 Large Eggs
* To Taste Black Pepper, Oregano (I'd start with about a teaspoon of dried)
* 1/2 t. Mustard Powder
* Butter

1. Butter 4 small ramekins. Butter one side of bread, and place a single slice with buttered side up in each ramekin. Generously pepper each slice of bread and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of cheese. Beat milk with eggs and add oregano and mustard. Pour over the cheese and bread in the ramekins. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. In the morning uncover and place in a cold oven. Set to 350° and bake for 30-40 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Remove from ramekin and serve immediately.

By the way, the wedding was beautiful. I didn't cry, but it was hard work not to. Tonight, I'll sit down and tell you all about it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Idiots! Imbeciles!

We forgot our camera and therefore have no pictures of the fair to share with you.

We do, however, have the list of culinary delights:
1. Krusty Pup corn dog
2. Meyer's Onion Burger
3. Onion Rings
4. Lots of lemonade
5. Elephant Ear
6. Cheese pizza

Now, where did I put those digestive enzymes?

A Fair Day

We've pulled Fezzik out of school today and intend to hit the fair. I have two measly vacation days left this fiscal year (through September), so I'm bagging a couple of Fridays this month. Three day weekends are very nice. Not as nice as the three day work week I dream about, but I'll take what I can get.

Pictures this evening!

Speaking of dreaming, here's a little video of two dreamy boys singing a funny song. Let's hear it for the erudite ladies! Anna, this one goes out to you!

Monday, September 08, 2008

McSweeny's: An Old Friend

Who doesn't love a good McSweeny's List?

Case in point: http://www.mcsweeneys.net/links/lists/3SuzanneBroughton.html

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Glorious Music

It's Sunday. But you know, I don't do the whole "god" thing.

We keep the t.v. off on Sundays, (obviously) not for religious reasons, but to keep our brains unencumbered and have a peaceful day. We usually listen to NPR until Garrison Keillor hits the air, then lunge for the dial and switch to CD's for the rest of the day.

Those CD's have turned into a time-capsule soundtrack to our lives. Here's one song that defines our Sundays this year. Enjoy, this song is so good it can make me cry.

Today it's making me cry because my dad's best friend Pat had another heart attack last night and is in the CCU. He married my mom's best friend Tyera, and my heart goes out to both of them. If there is any afterlife, my mom is watching over them right now and wishing Pat health and Tyera strength.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Outrage, but With Vengeance

My girlfriend called last night and informed me that her daughter had brought home a letter from the school district. Apparently, someone in our neighborhood was posing as a school district official, knocking on doors, and asking if any kids lived in the home. He said that he was there to take children to their tutoring session. The smart folks he called upon reported him to the police, who tried but couldn't find him. The police informed the school district of the incident.

Here's the outrage part. Her son, and my son, are in the gifted program, so they do not go to their respective neighborhood schools. The school district chose to send letters home to three neighboring elementary schools, and both of our neighborhood schools were on the distribution list. The school that both of our sons go to, three miles as the crow flies down the street, WAS NOT INFORMED. Neither was the high school, which is outrageous, as many high school children babysit, and the incident happened close to the high school too.

Our district subscribes to a website called SchoolReport.org, which is a website that has the capability to push emails out to registered users, in cases of emergency. Our district uses it as a "pull" resource - meaning parents have to go to the website and read any information posted. Unfortunately, the district has chosen only to use this website for school closure information, so it isn't useful as an emergency notification system. It's set up to use as such, though, and you can bet I'll be at the school board meeting on Wednesday requesting (ok, demanding) that they start using it in this manner going forward.

I took the letter that was sent out to the few schools, and emailed it to our local TV news stations, along with a request that they get the word out that there was an attempted child luring in our neighborhood. As I didn't get a response right away, I figured it wasn't deemed newsworthy; who am I to judge what should be on The News?

However! I got a call on my cell phone this morning from a reporter who was very kind, and who told me "I think this is a very important story, and I'd like to come to your home and interview you if that's ok." EEP! I reluctantly agreed, and she suggested I call other parents who felt the same way, so she could interview them, too. I called my friend, who called a couple of her friends, and three of us are going to be on the news tonight. Along with my neighbor's "Everywhere Bush" (that's a technical news term, the cameraman told us), and anonymous shots of our kids playing on the swing set.

The interview was quick and dirty, and focused on feelings. I wanted to raise my fist and demand ACTION from the police and the school district, but I decided to play it cool and save my vehement protest for the school board meeting. See you there?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

It'll Be Between You, Me and the Cats

Last night, after the boys were snug in their beds. I flipped on the t.v.

Lawnboy came out to the living room and said to me "What in the hell are you watching?"

"ANTM, why?"

"WHY? Why do you watch this crap?"

"It's not crap, it's CAMP, honey. I can't not watch it, it's great. You just can't take it seriously."

"People take it seriously?"

"I dunno. You want I should be watching the Republican National Convention?"

"Point well taken. Want me to pop us some popcorn?"

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Long Lost Relatives

Getting to Know You

Fezzik's first homework was to put together a small bag of 4 items that could help him describe himself to his new class. Here's what he gathered.

1. The book "Eragon"
2. A drawing of Saphira, the dragon from the book "Eragon"
3. A Bionicle
4. An egg, from our chickens (we blew out the egg and wrapped the empty shell very carefully in tissue, then in a tupperware container)

My ideas, a pictgure of his family, a picture of him in Italy, a Star Wars figurine, were all shot down. I guess we've entered the age where I embarrass him. Yay, that should come pretty easily to me!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Rainforest Swordfight

Herein you can see how my oldest child doesn't understand the concept of videography, and continues to pose for the camera even though I keep telling him it's a movie. Please forgive me for not understanding the concept of holding the camera steady.

Also, this director's cut shows where same child got his Raptor Arms. At 0:50, watch his dorky dad model the same arm position, except without the two-claw T-Rex customization. Nice.

Note the rushing noise in the background is not a river, but in fact the soothing sounds of swiftly falling rain.

Untitled from Kathi Jenness on Vimeo.

Not What You'd Call Hard Core

Well, the camping trip was a bust. We headed out to Hoh for what was supposed to be a fun 4- or 5-night adventure. It's late August, for goodness sake, might I remind you. We're supposed to have sun.

My darling husband has wanted to camp at Olympic National Forest for years. Somehow, we kept missing it, mostly because I'm the boss of the whole wide world and I like camping on Orcas Island or in the mountains. This time, I caved, and we've been planning this trip since May.

You locals might be thinking to yourselves "but the Hoh! Why would you do that? It's in the RAIN FOREST."

You'd think that, and you'd be right.

We drove all the way to Port Angeles (maybe 4 hours from our house), before the rain kicked in. On our way to the National Park, another hour and a half from Port Angeles, we might have had the sense to turn around. Nope, though, we soldiered on. We got to the very wet campsite, and donned our rain gear, and set up the tent. Lawnboy kept telling me while he was setting up our new fancy tent that it wasn't rainproof. I kept saying "We'll be fine, Honey," all the while thinking "Man, I do NOT want to camp in this rain, you couldn't light a fire if you wanted to."

Even before he got the rain fly on the tent, the insides were covered in water. We might have brought our rain gear, but we forgot our waterproof pajamas. Lawnboy kept touching base, saying "We can go home if you want." But I didn't want to make another 5 hour drive back home that night, and I thought to myself "We can do anything for one night. We're not going to die from being damp."

Then my genius husband said "Honey, let's go into Forks and see if we can get a hotel room." I said "YES" before he finished the sentence. We left the tents to soak (we brought two tents and set them both up before he had the hotel epiphany), packed the boys into the car, and headed back to Forks, which is about an hour away.

WIMPS! But man, those dry hotel blankets and pillows sure felt good. And the opportunity to dry out our shoes was excellent.

We made a plan to go hiking at Hoh the next morning, and then to head over to the rain shadow after the hike. We were on our way before 9 AM. It was still pouring when we got back to the campsite, and because we had decided to head to Sequim to camp in the rain shadow, which was 2 hours away, we went ahead and broke down camp before trying to hike. Good thing we hadn't slept there, as our fancy big tent had puddles inside that were bigger than the kids' bodies. Lawnboy got all packed up while I kid-wrangled, and aside from being chased by The Amazing So and So with his pet banana slug, "AAAAAAA! LAWNBOY! HELP! HE'S CHASING ME! WITH A SLUG!!!" it was pretty uneventful.

Realizing it was time to head on to the next camp, we decided to pass on the rainforest hike. On the way out of the park, we passed 3 or 4 rental RV's, and devised a plan to check into that for the next time. It seems like a good idea; all the convenience and dryness of a hotel room but still kind of outside. We can go hiking in the rain, then dry off inside our own little camper.

We unpacked at Dungeness Spit in dry weather, but then we realized we'd forgotten a few key items: a pot or pan to cook in, lighter or waterproof matches, a patch kit for our air mattress (which got popped when the boys were "helping" set up camp), and warm coats. Brought the raincoats, but nothing heavy to keep warm with. Dinner consisted of bananas, Lara Bars, tortilla chips and Smores. Hooray for campground nutrition!

At bedtime, it sprinkled a bit. We weren't worried. Our small tent had fared really well in the rain at Hoh, and had already dried out. We snuggled in it together that night, and even though it started pouring in the middle of the night, we stayed dry. The shoes, our only shoes, that were left outside the tent, were another story.

We woke up and donned our squishy shoes and packed up right away. We'd had it. We headed up to Hurricane Ridge, borrowed some matches from another camper to light our stove enough to heat water for the instant soup lunch, went for a tiny 1 mile hike down to a creek, and then got in the car and headed back to home sweet home that afternoon.

This ends our camping adventures for 2008.