Friday, February 27, 2009

This ones for Jeff

Jeff is an old buddy of mine from high school who is a loyal reader. He says my blog is too "girlie". I was surprised to hear this because I thought my posts were gender neutral. Perhaps it was the poetry in the Valentines Day post that persuaded him otherwise. In any case, this is my remedy.
( I was going to post my favorite cookie recipe - "Gobblers" which are aptly named, but now I'm too self conscious.)

Rainbow trout can be called steel head trout. They are really Pacific salmon.
Watch this-

Warning: Do not watch the following video if you are a PETA supporter or if you like animals. (This is not a joke.)

St. Arnold: Patron Saint of Brewing
In the 11th century, Arnold of Soissons, a bishop in the Benedictine St. Medard's Abbey in Soissons, France, began to brew beer.
He encouraged the locals to drink beer instead of water for its health benefits (beer was healthier than water mainly because it was boiled and thus sterilized from pathogens).


Let's see - I've covered fishing, hunting, beer drinking and killing the enemy. Am I missing anything?

I remember "The" throw - Dwight Clark/ Joe Montana/ touchdown

And, of course, one tasteless joke:
I'm sorry. I just can't find one that I want to post and I'm tired of searching. Yuck.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday

After careful consideration I've decided to give up impatience, being judgemental and selfishness for Lent. Why not shoot for the moon? While others are giving up their morning lattes, I've decided to become a better person.(Not that I'm judging their decision to give up $4 coffees.) I'm going to embrace the Golden Rule and do my best to treat others the way I'd like to be treated. Last year I gave up wine, which believe me, was no easy task. This year I"ll require the wine to calm my restless, gossipy, nerves.

Off the top of my head, I'm thinking that the following predictable scenarios will prove to be a challenge for me.

Driving on our 2 lane county roads with no safe place to pass. There's always some dumb, oblivious driver going way below the already too slow speed limit, just puddling their way through life with no consideration for the other good drivers on the road who need to get their kids to karate on time. This is a daily cause of aggravation for me. So, being patient and not judging that driver will be hard.

If my husband gets a cold or flu, I will be tested. Once, many years ago, my husband placed his thumb and finger together as close as they could go without touching. He waved this gesture near my face while he was laying in bed and whimpering from some ailment. He told me that if he could change just one thing about me, he said weakly, "just one little thing, Janis", it would be that I would have just "this" much sympathy for him. This apparent lack of empathy for the ill must run in my family for when my sisters husband got the flu a few years back he made her promise never to go into nursing. (I say "apparent lack of..." because my sister and I defend ourselves by saying, it's not that we don't feel sorry for our spouses, we just want them to suffer in silence.)

I know that I'm not painting a very pretty picture of myself, but at least I recognize these failings and plan to be better.

One more note: I told my son that I was going to try to be a nicer person during Lent and he told me that at least I could look forward to being myself in a few weeks.

I'll keep you posted..........

Monday, February 23, 2009

A very dumb question

I have 3 pairs of running shoes in various shades of blue. They are not the same shoe but look similar. Some pairs are older than others and look it. One morning, I inadvertently put on two different shoes. Unfortunately, I didn't realize this until after I had left the house for the day.
Later that afternoon, I picked my daughter up from school and naively asked her what was wrong with my outfit. ???!!!!
Dumb, dumb, dumb.
It took 7 guesses to finally narrow it down to my feet.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mt Baker Ski (Snowboard) Day

On Presidents Day, I took my children to the mountain for a long overdo ski/snowboard day. (I ski. They snowboard, in case you had any question.) I was relieved to find that the normally cold and windy mountain was gleaming in the bright sun, with a fresh 2 inches of snow on the ground from a light snow shower the night before and no wind. This was glorious. The 3 of us were smiling from ear to ear as we peeled layers of sweaters from our backs and wrapped them around our waists.
Due to motherhood and other responsibilities, my skiing days are few and far between but my modest ability has served me well to keep up with my kids beginner to intermediate snowboard abilities . ..until this year when they frequently left me in the proverbial dust. This turn of events made me unusually preoccupied with trying to keep up them and not fall on my face or, more importantly, rip a ligament in my knee. I proceeded cautiously and was pleased when I finished the day without a fall.......that is, until......
I had successfully finished skiing, loaded the tired, sun kissed kids and our equipment in the car and was cheerfully walking back from my final trip to the lodge when I slipped and fell on the ice just 10' from my car. Thankfully, I didn't hurt myself (much), however I heard 2 teenage brats (boys) parked several cars down the row, let out a very loud and obnoxious guffaw. I sat for a brief moment, composed myself and got up. While shaking it off and walking ever so carefully back to my car, I was struck by the realization that I wasn't embarrassed. The thought I had was how embarrassed I would be to be the mother of the two boys mocking me. I was very happy to have completed the day with only a bruised butt and my ego in tact.

I think this is a sign of maturity. For that day at least, I knew when I should be embarrassed and when it was a waste of energy. (or this lack of self consciousness could be a symptom of senility, but either way...)

It was a fabulous day from start to finish.

Friday, February 13, 2009

On Valentines Day

The first representation of Saint Valentine appeared in the Nuremberg Chronicle, (1493); alongside the woodcut portrait of Valentine the text states that he was a Roman priest martyred during the reign of Claudius II, known as Claudius Gothicus. He was arrested and imprisoned upon being caught marrying Christian couples and otherwise aiding Christians who were at the time being persecuted by Claudius in Rome. Helping Christians at this time was considered a crime. Claudius took a liking to this prisoner -- until Valentinus tried to convert the Emperor -- whereupon this priest was condemned to death. He was beaten with clubs and stoned; when that didn't finish him, he was beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate. Various dates are given for the martyrdom or martyrdoms: 269, 270, or 273.

For more information about St Valentine go here:

There's not enough poetry in the world today.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach, when feeling out of sight. For the ends of being and ideal grace. I love thee to the level of everyday's most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.I love thee freely, as men strive for right. I love thee purely, as they turn from praise. I love thee with the passion put to use in my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose with my lost saints, --I love thee with the breath, smiles, tears, of all my life! -- and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Who, being loved, is poor? ~Oscar Wilde

A bell is no bell 'til you ring it, A song is no song 'til you sing it ,And love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay -Love isn’t love'til you give it away.~Oscar Hammerstein, Sound of Music, "You Are Sixteen "

One more:
You say you love me and you're thinking of me but you know you could be wrong. - Bob Dylan

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Book Club Met On Tuesday

We read Lionel Shriver's book - We Need To Talk About Kevin.
To read more about the author, including why she changed her name from Margaret Ann to Lionel, click here :

This book was like watching a well directed horror movie. It's a series of letters written by a mother to her husband about her son who, among other things, slaughters his classmates and teachers. This is disturbing, no doubt. While this may be enough information to dissuade you from picking up the book, I would encourage you to give it a shot (if you will). It's a beautifully written, emotional and thought provoking novel. I am not a fan of horror flicks, but I liked it, as did the majority of women from my club. ( All of us are mothers, the author is not, by the way.)

Read here for more reviews. :

Here's an excerpt :
"I'm unsure why one trifling incident this afternoon has moved me to write you. It's still difficult for me to venture into public. You would think, in a country that so famously has "no sense of history," as Europeans claim, that I might cash in on America's famous amnesia. No such luck.

"Khatchadourian," the girl pronounced when I handed her my debit card. She spoke loudly, as if to those waiting in line. It was late afternoon, the right shift for an after-school job; possibly about seventeen, the girl could have been one of Kevin's classmates.she fixed me with a hard stare. "That's an unusual name."

I'm not sure what got into me, but I'm so tired of this. It's not that I have no shame. Rather, I'm exhausted with shame, slippery all over with its sticky albumen taint. It's not an emotion that leads anywhere. "I'm the only Khatchadourian in New York state," I flouted, and snatched my card back. She threw my eggs in a bag, where they drooled a little more."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A timely quote

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences.” –C.S. Lewis”

Monday, February 9, 2009

Oh Canada

This picture was taken on the seawalk that surrounds Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC.

Vancouver is a short 45 minute jaunt from Lynden, so when it's time to get away, we find Vancouver to be a convenient and fun city to visit. Like San Francisco, it's surrounded by water and filled with an abundance of great restaurants. Here are some more facts about this city:

-Vancouver is located on the Pacific west coast of Canada in the Province of British Columbia, known for its environmental appeal. The city is surrounded by water on three sides and mountains part of the Coast Mountain Range.
Canada's third largest city, Vancouver has the most temperate climate in the country and is consistently rated one of the top three of the world’s most livable cities by the Economist Intelligence Unit survey.
-Vancouver is probably the only place in the world where it is possible to ski, play golf, and go sailing all in the same day.
-Howard Hughes, the famous reclusive billionaire, spent a couple of years in the early 70's secluded away in a suite in the Bayshore Hotel at the entrance to Stanley Park. He moved here after having the pants scared off him by the devastating earthquake in Managua, Nicaragua in the 70's.
-Errol Flynn, the swashbuckling actor and heartthrob from the early days of film, died in a West End Apartment in the 60's. It was rumoured he was broke. It is also rumoured he stashed away a fortune somewhere in Vancouver, that has never been found, and is likely a myth.
-Despite Vancouver's reputation as a "wet" city, it actually has a lower average rainfall than Boston, Mass
-Vancouver is the birthplace of the one of the worlds largest environmental organizations - Greenpeace.
-Despite claims by Toronto & Montreal that they are the most multicultural cities in the country, 35% of Vancouver's population is foreign born, the highest figure in the world. This makes the city technically even more multicultural than New York, although maybe its not so obvious, probably since we have heavier concentrations of 2 or 3 ethic groups rather than a wide cross-section as is the case with Toronto or New York..
-Settlement: Coastal Indians settled in the region by 500 B.C. In 1792, British naval captain George Vancouver explored the area. The city was incorporated in 1886, the same year the Canada-wide railroad was completed, and named after Captain Vancouver.
-Drinking age is 19; no smoking in restaurants & bars; possession of small amounts of marijuana may be decriminalized.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

My Blog List

I added a blog list to my site that includes my nephew's blog, "Written in London". I liked the simplicity of his title, so I copied him.
He's a 22 year old graduate student working in London. He's leaving today for a long weekend in Paris. His blog is much more interesting than mine.

At the end of my run.

I took this picture at the end of my run yesterday. This is a glimpse of the sunset over the San Juan's.
While I was watching the gorgeous sun set over Puget Sound, I was listening to Jackson Browne sing, "The Pretender" on my ipod. I loved JB back in my high school glory days. I thought he was the hottest thing ever. There's a line in this song that goes something like this, "I'm gonna find myself a girl, who can show me what laughter means and we'll fill in the missing colors of each others paint my number dreams." I know it sounds corny now, but when I was 16, I thought it was the most beautifully written lyric I'd ever heard . I wanted to be his girl. It wasn't until many years later, when I read that JB was accused of beating up his girlfriend, poor Daryl Hannah, that I was grateful to have dodged that bullet.
Please note this -I use the word "run" when describing my daily exercise instead of the much more accurate word "jog" like others use the word "nanny" instead of "babysitter". It sounds better.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My sister has been pondering this.....

I've been thinking....

I loved the original constitution and the American system of government.
I would have signed my name even larger than John Hancock's if given a chance.
However, this way of life no longer exists. It's a sham. The constitution is routinely ignored, twisted, and our government officials are corrupt.
If I'm going to be dictated to by an elite group of corrupt officials, I'd rather have a king. Or queen. What's wrong with a monarchy? You get parades and pomp (which was recently demonstrated to be quite popular). You get someone who can be held responsible. Someone who has his actual name on the product so to speak.
Also, aristocrats originally become aristocrats because of merit. They win some battles, or save the country somehow and are, hopefully aristocratic qualities will run in families. They also are well educated and polite.
Plus, if you also have a strong church than you get the evitable checks and balances. This worked for eons.
And the best of all....when the monarch and nobles become corrupt (which they always eventually do) the people can revolt against someone....not have to reform themselves (which they seem to find very hard).
Viva Charlemagne

Boys and Girls

On our 8 minute ride to school today, my 10 year old daughter talked about...

1. ....Why she likes her various scarves and how she wishes she had a few more in different colors. (She likes the cream colored one I knitted for her because it goes with everything.)
2.... How her friends won their basketball game last Saturday. She was there to cheer them on, which contributed to their significant win , she says.
3.... Many of her friends little sisters, including their looks( big brown eyes with perfect black eyelashes), their disposition(shy or talkative) and their natural ability to play basketball and give high fives. She'd like a little sister.
4.... Why she dislikes P.E., but how it can be saved when they're allowed to do gymnastics.
5. ...Her math class, detailing her dislike for fractions because they are too easy to be challenging but too hard to be a breeze.
6.... Why she and her posse have decided to wear bright colors today and her hopes that everyone remembers their pact.
7..... A dream she had last night about eating a really big grilled cheese sandwich.

Yesterday, when I took my 13 year old son to school he talked about:

1. Nothing.
When he got out of the car he said, "Have a good day mom!"