Monday, February 28, 2011

Ice Sculptures

The temperature is about 20 degrees above, but the wind chill . . . brrrr! It's cold outside. So cold that crazy creative people have carved chunks of ice into all kinds of shapes.

This is a . . . 

ridden by a Cirque du Soleil performer in a huge headdress?

And this looks like a . . . 

Humpy salmon, to be exact . . .
about to be eaten by a breaching shark, according to my 4-year-old twins.

Let's see. I think I know what this is . . .

with a tidal wave next to it?

Art is like soup. There will be some vegetables you don't like but as long as you get some soup down you it doesn't matter.
—George Wyllie

Dinner last night: prime rib, garlic mashed potatoes, zucchini

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Stay Calm, We Have a Teenager

My eldest daughter turned 13. THIRTEEN! Wasn't I just 13 myself? Wasn't my first baby born, like, a couple months ago? What is happening to the space-time continuum?

One of these days, I will sit down and write out the story of her first month of life. I am not exaggerating when I say that she lay at death's door. Her early adventures included a medical evacuation from Alaska by Lear jet to Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University. She wasn't a premie—far from it—she was born 9 days overdue, which led to her health problems but ironically may have also helped her survive her fight against PPHN and sepsis and treatments by nitric oxide and high frequency oscillatory ventilation and various hardcore medications. Doesn't that sound like a fun read?

Until I get around to that emotional post, let's all eat another slice of birthday cake and praise God for our happy, healthy girl.

Dinner last night: smoked salmon pasta alfredo with broccoli

Exactly one year ago:
Time Flies

Exactly two years ago:
Nature vs. Nurture

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Untitled, Mommy with Teeth

I struggled with whether I should publish this post. I don't want you to feel envious of my beauty or my child's talent, but after much prayer and contemplation, I have decided that the world needs to experience the glory of the portrait that my 4-year-old drew of me.

Aren't I lovely?
Try not to hate me for the 7 fingers on my left hand
or my jaunty hair.

Please notice that she included my brain, which if I'm not mistaken, is precisely the size of a pea.

You may be tempted to print this gorgeous piece of art and send it to everyone you know, but don't forget that you are legally obligated to obtain written authorization from the artist and must send any and all royalties to me.

Dinner last night: tacos

Friday, February 18, 2011

Cat Lady

Don't get me wrong. I love dogs. I grew up in a family that always had a dog or two or three, and I thought I was strictly a dog person right up until I took in a tiny orphaned kitten. I named him Ryker, and he slept on my chest each night, kneading my bony sternum as though it was a batch of bread dough. Imagine how happy he'd be pushing his paws into my current soft fleshy self.

My favorite character in the Shrek movie series is Puss in Boots, and I crack up every time he tries to manipulate others with his big dewy eyes routine. So when I happened across these stuffed animals with big ol' Puss in Boots eyes, I had to get them for my girls.



Woops. I mean, Lion! and Froggie!

Dinner last night: chicken noodle casserole, snap peas

Exactly two years ago:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I recently read a short article about cursive handwriting's deletion from the Common Core State Standards. Many schools will no longer teach cursive to children, and are replacing it instead with keyboarding lessons. The abandonment of cursive saddens me, though I can't quite pinpoint why. Tradition? Familiarity? The beauty of a flowing script?

Whether one feels strongly or not about the teaching of handwriting in school probably depends on whether one uses cursive in daily life. My husband does not. He types most documents, and prints everything else but his signature. I, on the other hand, almost exclusively write in cursive. I find it much faster than printing, though my husband finds the opposite to be true—cursive goes slower for him. I like to handwrite personal notes whenever possible, whereas my husband prefers email.

Both of my older girls have learned at their school to write cursive, and in fact, my 10-year-old still is required in 5th grade to practice script. She hates it, and like her dad, finds it faster and neater to print. My 12-year-old takes after me, and writes in longhand most of the time. The twins can barely scrawl their initials, so I'll leave them out of my unscientific poll. They WILL eventually learn cursive, but it may be from me and not from their teachers, should the administration adopt the Common Core State Standards.

What do you think? Should we continue teaching what many feel is an outdated, old-fashioned, unnecessary form of handwriting?

Dinner last night: Smoked Salmon and Egg Salad on toast

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Frozen Valentine's Day

I know that those of you who were hit by the big winter storm of 2011 will not appreciate this post. You're sick of the snow and ice and cold. About the last thing you want to see is . . .

how miles of ice show up when the tide goes out, or . . .

. . . how even the setting sun lacks warmth,
casting a cold white ray of light across the mudflats.

It's best not to dwell on the weather this holiday. When you gaze into your Valentine's eyes, just keep repeating to yourself, "Cold hands, warm heart . . . Cold hands, warm heart," as he strokes your cheek with his freezing fingers. If he complains when you lift his shirt and jam your feet into his warm belly in an attempt to thaw your popsicle toes, think of me. Wait. That didn't come out right. I mean to say, if you're in a winter wasteland this Valentine's Day, you're not alone.

Stay warm, gentle readers.

Dinner last night: barbecue chicken, steamed veggies (potatoes, zucchini, carrots)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Amaryllis in February

The sky is cloudy. Snow piles have crusted dirty-white. The trees are bare and scraggly and brown. Color is found in mere glimpses: a yellow scarf around someone's neck, the pink stripe on a boot, the flash of bright green as a child swings her backpack over her shoulder.

At Christmas, my mother-in-law gave me a flower bulb. I didn't think at the time much more than, "It's very nice. Thank you." But now? In the deepest, bleakest part of winter I realize how thoughtful her gift really was. I planted that bulb in a flower pot and set it on my kitchen sill. I waited. And watered. And waited some more.

That dirty, brown nothing of a bulb has grown 3' tall and is blooming gorgeous red . . .

just when I need it most.

Dinner last night: sauteed veggies over baked potato

Exactly two years ago:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I'm Not a Real Blogger, But I Play One on the Internet

I will now re-enact my response to finding out that I am today’s featured blogger at SITS (The Secret to Success is Support).

Visitors are coming! Hurry up!
Clean the family room! Wash your faces! They’ll be here any second . . . 

Sure, Mom. We'll get right on it.

Hello, my dear SITStas. Won’t you come in? Welcome to my blog.
My name is Kim, and I'd like to introduce you to
my four savages lovely and refined daughters.

This girl is 12 and plays competitive soccer, . . .

this kid is 10 and won't stay out of trees, . . .

and these chuckleheads are 4 years old.
Cable TV is unavailable where we live,
so a pair of identical twins comes in handy when we need to be entertained.

We reside in Alaska, . . .

along with our beagle, Daisy, . . .

our mouse-murdering cat, Tie-Dye, . . .

and the many moose that run through our back yard. Git! Shoo! No, not you, gentle readers. I was yelling at the moose. Don't let their cute babies fool you.

Git out of here, you skinny-legged twig eater!

I don’t know how to describe my blog, other than to say that I write a little of this and that, and post lots of pictures of . . .

Wildlife, . . .

. . . wildflowers . . .

Thanks for stopping by. If you don't come back again real soon, I could get so lonely I might wander out into a snowbank and die. And it would be all your fault.

Dinner last night: veggie stir fry over rice

Exactly one year ago:

Monday, February 7, 2011

You Can Take the Girl Out of Soccer . . .

Who knew that hitting a volleyball with your head is legal? My 12-year-old daughter, that's who! Watch as she heads the ball to her teammate in the front row. The ball stays in play, and my girl ends up scoring a point!

Dinner last night: chili dogs

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thoughts of Cairo

I once spent an afternoon walking through Egypt's National Museum. Of course, a mere afternoon wasn't nearly enough time to explore the vast collection of treasures. I did make sure to go down into the basement where the mummies were kept in a temperature-controlled room. Words—at least mine—cannot express how I felt walking among the preserved bodies, which ranged in all stages of wrapping. Some were completely covered, some partially wrapped, and others on full display. The preservation of their skin, even after thousands of years, was surreal. Their original hair still framed their faces. The room was dark and silent and cool, with a tangible sense of awe and respect emanating from the few people allowed in at one time to move amongst the bodies of former royalty and their servants.

An entire upper floor housed King Tut's treasures, which I could have spent days walking through. When I was a little kid living in Haines, Alaska, my elementary school began raising money to prepare for a huge field trip. We were going to take the ferry to Washington, where we would attend the King Tut exhibit that was traveling the world and would be settled in Seattle for a couple months. We spent an entire school year washing cars, selling baked goods, and gathering spare change to save up for the big event scheduled the following spring. My family moved away from Haines before the field trip, and I missed that fabulous experience. You can imagine how thrilled I was to finally, decades later, view what I had once worked so hard to get near. I almost did a happy dance right there at King Tut's famous golden sarcophagus, seeing with my own eyes what I had previously only viewed in pictures and studied in books.

The rest of the Museum offers up incredible relics of an advanced society—jewelry, tools, headdresses, weaponry—that make the beaded necklaces and carved masks of our Alaskan Native museum look downright primitive. It isn't just a matter of materials—gold, exquisite woods, precious stones—but an ingenuity of design and execution. Really stunning. The thought of that amazing collection being vandalized or stolen makes me sick to my stomach, but each night I watch on the news as violence in the streets of Cairo threatens to spill over the fence and through the doors of Egypt's National Museum.

People are most important. Quality of life, freedom, peace. I know this. But oh, what a loss to the world, should the contents of that museum be destroyed.

Dinner last night: Asian chicken salad

Exactly one year ago:

Exactly two years ago: