Speaking of tongues

Chris and I get around and take a lot of photos. He took lots of photos while I watched, but then he bought me a pretty nice used camera that will fit some of his fancy lenses. So now we both take photos.

We like nature and nature’s critters, so we take a lot of animal photos. During our pursuit of a good hummingbird shot, Chris said, “Maybe I should have a special collection of photos dedicated to animal tongues.”

That’s not an easy picture to take you know. He has more tongue shots than I do, but I decided to organize what I’ve got.

Prize for the best pose of tongue goes to my house cat, Skellig:
Kitty likes to lick apples.

Prize for the best over all tongue belongs to the Okapi:
Yes, that really is blue

If you would like to see the rest of the animal tongue collection, click here

Push to Shove

In the summer between 5th and 6th grades, I had no clothes.

We’d just moved from Humboldt county California back to Alaska. I wasn’t naked, but I had one box for all my things. ALL my things, including clothes. You can imagine how that worked out.

But school had to start. I had niether enough clothes to last a week at school, nor any means to purchase them. So I hit up the give-n-take at church. That glorious closet of hand-me-downs served me well.

My goal was to own 5 pairs of pants. The clothing that I had been wearing during the summer was simply done as far as I was concerned. I never wanted to see them again, and anyway, they were past being wearable. To my delight and relief, I found four pairs of what appeared to be BRAND NEW pants in the give-n-take.

They were identical cotton polyester pants with an elastic waist band, the right size, but in four different colors:

“Look mom! I can wear a dress on chapel day, and have enough pants so I can wear different ones for each day.” They did sort of remind me of the kind of clothes a grandmother would wear, the kind that are advertised in the pages of Parade magazine in the sunday paper. But what I feared most, being teased for not owning enough pants, would certainly be averted by these glaringly different slacks.

I guess neither of us really anticipated that the kids in the Alaskan Christian School would be bigger clothes snobs than the kids from Humboldt county. It took until about the 3rd day of school for me to figure it out.

I found ways to earn money for pants as fast as I could. Three months went by before I had the 20 bucks to buy a non-shaming pair of pants. In the meantime, I found that skirts were my friend.

The pink pants were the most onerous. Kids from lower grades teased me about them, even after I had stopped wearing them (for good, believe me. I felt like burning those hated pants).

Pink pants Pink pants!!”

I didn’t wear pink even once the rest of the year.

My class was made up of three grades, fifth, sixth, and seventh. I remember once, talking with a likable fifth grader about boys. Beginning with my strategy of avoiding the color pink, I had formed a theory about attracted boys which I shared with her:

“You have to be a tomboy. If you act like a boy, they will feel comfortable around you and then..maybe…even like you.”

Such sage advice from a 12 year old–I don’t know what made me think I had something to say about attracting boys. Certainly none of the boys in our class were interested in me. Maybe I was just hoping that my natural exuberance–which wasn’t ladylike–would get me what I was hoping for.

I do consider myself feminine. I have reclaimed my beloved color pink. But I am not ladylike. I don’t wait to be asked, because I simply don’t believe that will ever happen. It’s up to me to get things started.

Ask the question if you don’t know. Ask for what you need, or even what you want.

What makes that unladylike, I’d like to know? why not?

And yet, I can’t help but notice the reaction.

I was in a training class recently, and sat in the middle. When I had a question I raised my hand and asked it. But on the break, I walked up to the front to take a look at some technology there.

The teacher (male) said “Uh Oh, I’m in trouble now.”

I wanted to smack him. How insecure is this guy to be scared of me asking a question? Or was it just me? unladylike me?

Man, it’s hard enough with all the other things that can detract and derail. I believe that women must be assertive..yes pushy..to take care of the things that are most important.

When it comes to the people we women care about, we women have to push to get them what the need. From the local school principal to the President of the United states, we have to be willing to push.

And that includes pushing for ourselves.

But you know, if people think I’m pushy, it really reflect back on themselves. I wouldn’t have to push if I could just get the answer/resources/materials that I need when I ask nicely the first time

more trivia

There will be lasagna, spaghetti, salad and bread

Eddie’s Pizzeria will be providing the lasanga and spaghetti.
…why is Pizza spelled with an ‘a’ and Pizzeria with an ‘e’…?

I will be purchasing the salad and bread elsewhere, though. Because salad and bread should simply NOT cost that much. As my Russian friend Lena said, “It’s a sin to pay that much for tea.” I’ll take that for bread and salad too.

But that means that I will have to find something to put the salad into. Once again, my favorite boutique, salvation army, has provided interesting cut glass bowls (they match! Imagine!) and a big punch bowl which shall serve as the gigantic salad container.

Bread will be okay in the little paper bag it comes in.

it takes some thought to feed 80 people.

Flowers show that something important is happening

So there are 24 days until the wedding.

Last weekend, I went to check out what sort of flowers I want to have. Karen, the priest’s wife from church. took me to a place that had wholesale flowers.

See, I don’t think I need a florist. I love arranging flowers.

But I was overwhelmed at the huge amount of flowers. In the end I bought a bunch of different things, and figured I would make some kind of arrangement from them.

Here is what I made. I’m pretty happy with it.


Love me, I’m famous

I heard that kids these days want to be famous.

It’s hard to miss, this celebrity culture. What are the famous people doing? Everyone wants to know!

If you are famous, people notice you. People want to know how you are and what you are doing. They think you are special.

All of which could actually be accomplished more effectively by an attentive grandmother, don’t you think?

There is a lot of distance between people now. Separate vehicles carry us, pod-like, to where we need to go. Don’t get too excited

But if americans are so happy to keep our distance, keep our fences tall, why are so many people ready to invade the privacy of celebrities? And why are kids wanted to be famous like that?

It’s just another way of getting love. Why can’t we all take turns being famous? Let’s all stop and appreciate one another frequently. Let’ s take any opportunity we find to notice and applaud each other.

The assumed Yes

Luke 11:10-11:13

I’m going to get preachy, just a little bit.

Funny, I’m almost always preachy. But I guess the sermon isn’t a sermon ’til we get to chapter and verse.

That verse talks about asking for things.

If your child asks you for something, something that is good for them and not bad for them, you give it.

Kids usually know when the yes is assumed. Yes, it is assumed that they can have a glass of water. A can of soda…maybe not. Yes, they can read a book. Can they watch that TV show? maybe not.

But for good things, they answer is usually yes. So much a yes, that the question is not always asked.

It is assumed that the answer will be yes. Parents set the answer machine to ‘yes’.

But there are other times when the answer machine is set to ‘yes’. My neighbor had confided in me that it was a problem for her, to refrain from ‘yes’ when people asked her for help.

Because there are times when yes is not the right answer.

For your children, for your spouse, the yes should be assumed.

But everyone else…case-by-case basis.

I used to be much more about the yes. But…it was abused at a young age. There were so many things that were assumed I would go along with, that the question was never asked.

Did I want to? the thought didn’t have a chance to germinate before I was doing it.

And it could get easily tangled. Was it my problem that I did not acquiesce to the unasked? It was assumed that I surely was in agreement.

But since I reached the age of accountability, I was able to contemplate all sorts of other things I wanted to do, things that I would have liked to ask for and hear yes to.

This made me hyper aware of when things were assumed. Yes, I can see that it was assumed I would clean the microwave at work.

My ‘yes’ was assumed.

But just because it is assumed doesn’t mean that it has to be given. I can not do things now, because my volition is entirely within my own power.


I get to choose.

And there are things that I do choose to say yes to.

And things I don’t.

Hero in search of an epic

It was high school graduation, and as the only member of my graduating class, it would have been a tree falling in a forest with no one around to hear.

But that was not my way. I was going to make it into an event.

I had been in home school, with no proms and no homecoming. I had never had any of those fun events, but I was going to have a graduation. And if I possibly could, I would pack that small scrap that fell off the rich table of everyone else’s high school experience into my pathetic life–I would pack that graduation celebration with as much of the other things I’d missed as possible.

And of course, the biggest grievance to me was the lack of formal wear. I was going to have a party, and I would ask my friends to dress formally.

Which meant that i would have the occasion to create a confectionary concoction of a gown. I drew it and patched together parts of different patterns so that the sleeves of one, the bodice of another and the hem of the last would result in my fantasy dress.

Sewing was the only way I could conceive of getting a dress like this. We were not people who bought clothes off the rack; it was hand-me-downs or sew it yourself if you wanted something particular.

So, the pattern was ready, but I still needed to find the perfect fabric.

I wanted to go shopping in Anchorage for it. And I thought of a friend to go with. She had graduated last year, but she was willing to go shopping with me.

Becky was always nice. I met her at her house and we made our way into Anchorage. We looked around and found the fabric I wanted, eventually.

It was a very low-key day. And I was not feeling low-key. But I thought about it a little, and realized that I really couldn’t expect much else.

“You know, Becky, days can just be like that. That you maybe are wishing for something spectacular, but for the most part, days are just pretty much ordinary.”

She looked at me and said, “Yes, days are pretty much ordinary.”

I don’t know if she had any idea what I was talking about. I’m not sure if it is a feeling that other people have.

Sometimes I feel like a flame, that I am HOT and consuming. Books, ideas, shows, projects, actions…I want to be always in the middle, and maybe enough is never enough.

I graduated a long time ago.

THIS summer, I am getting ready to get married. I am also launching an impressive e-commerce website and having a 350 sq. ft. addition built on my house.

THAT’s a lot of a lot.
Any one of those things could become overwhelming. But because there were three things, Chris and I were very focussed and took care of each thing in order.

Two weeks ago, we launched the website very successfully. There are still some loose ends to take care of and we need to organize the exciting world of keeping it running, but our customers are happy and so are we.

Which leaves me now with only TWO overwhelming things to do.

I feel sort of empty.

A while back, when I was even more clueless than I am now, i went to a “networking” event. Everyone was supposed to wear a name tag and put what they were looking for underneath it.

I put down “a challenge.”

And I am still looking for a challenge.

The Incredibles talks about this a little. The problem of ability vs. the utter mundanity of life

Should we stretch ourselves to greater capacity?

Like Frodo! Ah, what a glorious tale of an ordinary guy who saves the world.

I am waiting for my chance to save the world.

I found a very cool online comic strip. Yes, I’m a huge fan of Tolkien, and love the movies. But here is a satire, as if the adventures they were having were a kind of Dungeons and Dragons game.

It’s an EPIC story, the kind used for fodder in games like D&D. And the dungeon master is narrating their adventure at a certain plot point:

You run tirelessly through the endless grasslands

the players, the HEROES talk back to the narrator/Dungeon Master:
‘You mean we run endlessly through tiresome grasslands, don’t you?”

And therein is our problem. What does it take to get a good epic? We are heroes, aren’t we? Dispense with this ridiculous petty earthbound reality! Where are the dragons to slay?

And don’t make me fight through stop and go traffic to get there! I should be impervious to the laws of physics and weakness!


Excuse me, the cell phone is rining to remind to not to forget the cover sheet on the TPS reports.


The construction is progressing now. We have a concrete block and some framed walls. I think we might get a roof soon.

the piles of dirt have been pushed back into the holes they came from. At least in the front yard…And that leaves big smooth stretches of bare dirt.

And a lawn that was unwaterable for the hottest months of this year, and has given up the ghost.

My beautiful plants!

I couldn’t stand it. I couldn’t STAND it. A dead lawn, and naked dirt. I felt like I was grocery shopping in a ratty bathrobe. I was ashamed.

So I found some blue sage on sale, and planted it around the edge of the bare dirt. I thought at least that I could look like I was planning on doing something there, but it just wasn’t happening yet.

it looks kinda nice.

Soon, I will shop for a peach tree.


So, the Wall Street Journal was bought by Rupert Murdoch.

I was against it, mostly because I did not want the paper to change, and it was a change.

Newspapers right now are having trouble. The publishers don’t know what to do about the internet, and all the other sources of news. So, they are losing audience and money.

In my town, we have a local paper. The Claremont Courier comes out twice a week and it really does focus on my city.

In Los Angeles, we also have the LA times. When I first moved here, I really liked the times. But it became unbearably smug and full of opinions instead of reporting. Phoo!

and I”m not the only one that is fed up with the LA times

It’s like LA wants to be New York. LA is it’s own self, and doesn’t need to imitate. If they would focus on our own area, and let other people cover the world, I bet that they might win back readers.

As a matter of fact, there is a local paper that is doing it the way I think the LA times should: The daily bulletin for the inland empire.

I got a copy yesterday, for something to read while eating lunch out. On the first page, they had a story about a rescued puppy. They have a food reviewer that reviews drive=thru food…Now, THAT”S where I live.

Nothing in the LA times seems to have anything to do with me. Oh, except maybe the movie schedule. But I can get that online.

And that’s part of the problem.